Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, May 24-30, 2020

Matthew 28 20Today, May 24, is the twenty-first Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

We rejoice with those PR congregations and fellow saints who have begun and may begin worshiping publicly again, though it be with tight restrictions yet (smaller numbers, social distancing, masking, etc.). Some in Canada and in Michigan are beginning for the first time today (and in the weeks ahead), while in other parts (Indiana, Iowa, and Loveland, CO, for example) some are continuing with varying numbers of the congregation.

As many of our congregations and fellow believers (including our sister churches in the UK, the Philippines, and Singapore) continue to experience the temporary loss of this freedom, we pray for grace to wait on the Lord and to be content in His way until these restrictions are removed. And may we together - from church sanctuary and from home - through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit continue to worship our faithful Father, from whose love we can never be separated.

O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  (Psalm 95:1-3)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD Jehovah is everlasting strength.”

Our text is part of a song, sung by God’s people. It reflects upon the coming day of God’s deliverance of His people. It is sung in the midst of troubles that must yet be faced. The theme of the Book of Isaiah is that “Zion shall be redeemed by judgment” (Isa. 1:27). This means that the wicked will be punished, but also that God’s people will be chastised for their own good. How desolate she shall stand in this world. God’s people must be reminded of the deliverance that will be seen and experienced. We hold on to the promise of God that He will build a strong city with salvation as its walls. The gates of that city must be opened up for us that we may enter in and enjoy the security. If the gates are shut, the walls will not be helpful. It is through the Lord Jesus that we have access. The church as a righteous nation enters the city by Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. There we receive perfect safety and will dwell forever.

~ Rev. A. Spriensma, "Peace in the Storm" (one of the special meditations he is writing for the PRC website at present)

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, these PRCs are live-streaming services today (whether full or partial). You are encouraged to worship with one of these congregations: Byron Center PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM (EST); Calvary PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM CDT;  Crete PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM CDT; Doon PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM; Faith PRC at 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM (EST); First PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); First PRC-Holland at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM; Georgetown PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Grace PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM EST; Hope PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Hope PRC-Redlands, CA at 10 AM and 5 PM (PST); Hudsonville PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM EST; Hull PRC at 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM; Loveland PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM MST; Lynden PRC at 10:00 AM PST; Pittsburgh PRC at 9:30 and 5 PM EST; Southeast PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM EST; Southwest PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 (EST); Trinity PRC at 9:30 and 5:00 (EST); Zion PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM (EST). There are also many audio sermons that you can access on this website for your further use.

  • On May 17 Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN) voted to extend a call to Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). May the Lord grant him the plain knowledge of His will as he considers this new call.

  • On May 18 Rev. C. Haak received the call from Kalamazoo PRC.

  • Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC) is considering the call to First PRC of Edmonton, AB (received May 3). We pray for clear guidance from the Lord as he considers this call.

  • On May 3 Rev. J. Mahtani accepted the call to Hope PRC-GR. Lord willing, he will be installed on Sunday June 7, with Rev. C. Haak leading the service.

  • The Council of Unity PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a pastor. It consists of Revs. G. Eriks, C. Haak and E. Guichelaar. A congregational meeting is scheduled for June 17, 2020, 7:30 PM, Lord willing.

  • The Council of Grandville PRC has formed a new trio for minister on loan to Singapore: Revs. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC), and R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC).
  • Rev. John Marcus and his family arrived safely in the Grand Rapids, MI area this past week. As he awaits a call within the PRC, may the Lord give him work to do and contentment in His way.
  • Did you know... that
    • Faith PRC is hosting another online Singspiration tonight at 7:30 p.m.? All are invited to join in and sing praises together to our God and King!
    • the "SB" is back in print? From the RFPA this week comes this good news: We are happy to report that restrictions on printing have been lifted and the three back issues of the Standard Bearer (April 15, May 1, and May 15) have been printed and mailed out this past week. The June issue should also arrive very close to its usual date. While you wait for the hard copies to arrive in the mail, you can still read the three back issues online for free (https://rfpa.org/pages/the-standard-bearer).
    • our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, is writing short meditations for the PRC website - just for these present times and circumstances? Two more were posted this past week (cf. above). Be sure to look them up and read them for your spiritual profit!

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Front May 2020 3PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary has completed its second semester and has entered its spring/summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19, but there are other activities that are hoped can be carried out Continue to pray for faculy, students, and staff as we continue our labors this spring and summer.

  • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions (stay-at-home order now entended to June 12), seminary is open only for essential operations at this time. The staff can try to assist you with any needs, however. Call or email the seminary with your important needs.
  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is now available - in digital (pdf and epub) form only at present. Our printer has informed us that it will be a few weeks before the print edition can be produced.
  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 30th.

CERC ProfRD 2020 1
Prof. R. Dykstra giving a meditation at a fellowship dinner earlier this year in Covenant ERC, Singapore (taken from her last newsletter).

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today:
    • With the phase release of the Circuit Breaker, we will still need to do live streaming of our services until further notice. Pray for Brother Josiah and the elders as they bring the word of God to us every Lord’s Day.
    • Grandville PRC, the calling church for our Minister on Loan (MOL), has indicated that they are now able to call a congregation meeting as the lockdown in Michigan has been relaxed. However, in view of the various measures put up by the Singapore Government to fight the spread of COVID-19 virus, Grandville PRC is concerned how it would affect the calling of the MOL. Pray to this end that God will open doors for the MOL to come to Singapore.
    • The April 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #59 - was published and posted last week. You may find it on this page.
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • Rev. A. stewart continues to lead the services via live-stream.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - February 2020!
    • Read the new May 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"!
    • Sadly, given the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus (in God's sovereign decree), the British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference has been rescheduled to (basically) the same week next year. Thus the BRF Conference will not be taking place in 2020. Instead, it is rescheduled to 10-17 July, 2021. Same venue: Castlewellan Castle (http://castlewellancastle.org/). Same theme: Union With Christ. Same speakers: Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Lanning (USA), with John Perkins (England) giving the special lecture. For more on the BRF, see https://www.britishreformed.org/

  • Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, Bulacan PRC, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
    • Congregational and Denominational News:

~ Berean PRC: Rev. V. Ibe will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on our Facebook page. Our brothers and sisters in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us today in our worship services via Facebook live, the Lord willing.

~ PRC of Bulacan: The members of the congregation continue to worship at home. Rev. J. Flores is doing a short devotional each night via Zoom.

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. R.Smit  will lead us in both Worship Services live-stream via Facebook . Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. D.V. Metro Manila is now under the Modified Enhancement Community Quarantine (MECQ) up to May 31, 2020. Please STAY AT HOME. A number of public transportations are allowed in the City of Valenzuela with corresponding rulesand regulations.

~ Provident PRC: Rev. D. Kleyn will livestream for our family worship at home today in the morning and evening. Morning: https://youtu.be/ZCdE3wAPRi0. Evening: https://youtu.be/dVS5yRE2IJM. The Wednesday Bible study will meet at 8:00 pm. All are welcome to join on Zoom with meeting ID #949-958-1046. We will finish our study of Revelation 7 and proceed to chapter 8, Lord willing.

~The Classis’ meeting of the PRCP will be held on June 12, 2020, that is next month; however, the consistory of each churches is asked to cancel the meeting and will be rescheduled on the available dates either July or August of this year.

~ And for more on the life and work of our "sisters" in the Far East read the news under Philippine missions.

  • The PRC also has a "corresponding relationship" with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia. We remember these brothers and sisters in our prayers and labors also.

good news afflicted
Do you desire some good gospel good news in these troublous times? Read this resource for peace and comfort in Jesus Christ.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Would you like to learn more about the PRC and her doctrines and practices? Are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Psalter 1912 2Psalter music available FREE: the entire collection of Psalm Choir videos and CDs is currently available free. With many PRC members and fellow saints worshiping at home due to the present pandemic, these are a valuable resource. You may find the playlists on YouTube here. And, all volumes of the Psalm Choir CDs may be found here. These too can be used for family or personal devotions, as well as for personal comfort and peace in seasons of fear and distress.
     
  • The Reformed Book Outlet is temporarily closed for the safety of our volunteers. If you need to place an order or have questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will not be answering the phone. Thank you.

RWH Logo 2019

  • Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
    • Continuing this month, Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA) has some special messages based on the end of Hebrews 10. Today's message is titled "Why Go to Church?" based on Hebrews 10:25. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.

    • From the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:

~ The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email simply by signing up at http://eepurl.com/gikNsL.  Each newsletter contains information about places around our globe where the RWH is downloaded; news about the RWH’s witness on the radio and via the internet, printed booklet, and CD and links to many popular and relevant RWH messages.

~ A Spanish edition of the RWH has been produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Why not check it out - and help spread the word!

 adult bible 1

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • PRYP Convention News: With heavy hearts Georgetown PRC and the Federation Board have decided to postpone the 2020 Young People’s convention until next year. Due to the current conditions in our country, getting 500 -600 people together in one location does not seem wise at this time. The Fed Board would like to adhere to the guidelines put out by the government and we do not want to have the parents weigh the benefits of sending their child to the convention against the risk of exposing them to this virus. Georgetown PRC is planning to host the convention next year.
  • From the Beacon Lights staff: Due to our printer not being able to print the magazine right now because of COVID-19, we have decided to put the May issue of Beacon Lights on our website, free of charge, for anyone who wishes to read the month’s issue. Visit us at beaconlights.org to read the issue, which will be published on May 1!

  • The Western Young People's Retreat - Update! Lynden and Spokane Young People's Retreat is still being tentatively planned for July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in Tensed, Idaho. The facility director thinks that the camp will be open and running by then. For registration information or other questions please contact Rev. Rodney Kleyn by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Colorado Retreat: Registration for the August 3–6 Colorado Young Adults’ Retreat opens tomorrow at www.lovelandprc.org/retreat. Registration will be open for one month, or until capacity is reached. Post-high young adults are welcome to join us August 3-6 for a young adults retreat in the Rocky Mountains. Pastors Key and Guichelaar will speak for us on II Timothy 1:7, as we learn to be more 'Brave and Bold in the Faith'.

  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 30th. 

  • The latest issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the March 2020 issue here.

PRF Leyte 2018
PR Fellowship in Albuera, Leyte, where services have begun again (see note below)

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors:

  • Remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church.
    • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, his present travels and activities are quite limited. The ongoing Bible study in Dorr, MI led by our missionary is currently postponed also.
    • But, he has been writing short meditations for the PRC website. You may find those here.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown continues to lead the services via live-streaming during the UK's lockdown. He recently accepted the call to Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Plans are being made for him to complete his labors in Limerick and move to Michigan as soon as it is possible, but it could be many months before that happens.
    • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was published this month (May). You may find that here.

    • (From the PRC Contact Commitee) Our sister church, the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland, reports that they have decided to close the mission station in Limerick, Ireland that they had been overseeing for the past ten years. ...We submit this disappointment to the good providence of God who is alone wise. Remember the saints in Limerick and Rev. McGeown in your prayers.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija (the saints join Berean PRC services via live-stream during this time of confinement).
  • PRC of Bulacan News: The Consistory reports this week that they have begun public services again in the PR Fellowship in Albuera. Rev. J. Flores plans to lead them by Zoom today (morning service only).
  • Maranatha PRC News: 

    The missionary work in Sipalay, Negros Occ is temporarily cancelled due to the Enchancement Community Quaratine (now extended through May 30). Let us pray that the Lord will end this plague and let His work of preaching and teaching be continued.

  • For more on life and activities in the Philippines from the personal perspective of the missionary's, visit the Kleyn's blog, the Holstege's, and the Smits!

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days of COVID-19  quarantine. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us remember to pray for the Lord's blessing on Georgetown PRC's labor in Vellore, India. The saints in that part of the world are experiencing severe restrictions too.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. The body of Christ in that place is also deeply affected by the pandemic. Let's be in prayer for these fellow saints too. This update was in CERC's bulletin today:

We are thankful that God has preserved our brethren in CERCI in Kolkata through the Super Cyclonic Storm Amphan which landed in Kolkata this past Wednesday & Thursday. Rev Singh’s house has sustained some severe damages to the roof of a room and the outside walls of certain parts of the building. Rev Singh managed to contact all the saints and they are all well except one family where the roof of the house was blown away by the cyclone. They are now staying with their cousin near to where they live. Continue to pray for God’s provisions for the needs of our brethren amidst the COVID-19 virus pandemic situation.

Myanmar:

  • We also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. 
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Peace in the Storm (A Special Meditation)

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Meditation on Isaiah 26:3,4

Peace in the Storm”

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD Jehovah is everlasting strength.”

Our text is part of a song, sung by God’s people. It reflects upon the coming day of God’s deliverance of His people. It is sung in the midst of troubles that must yet be faced. The theme of the Book of Isaiah is that “Zion shall be redeemed by judgment” (Isa. 1:27). This means that the wicked will be punished, but also that God’s people will be chastised for their own good. How desolate she shall stand in this world. God’s people must be reminded of the deliverance that will be seen and experienced. We hold on to the promise of God that He will build a strong city with salvation as its walls. The gates of that city must be opened up for us that we may enter in and enjoy the security. If the gates are shut, the walls will not be helpful. It is through the Lord Jesus that we have access. The church as a righteous nation enters the city by Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. There we receive perfect safety and will dwell forever. The keeper of the city gives protection.

Perfect peace: literally in the Hebrew it is: “Peace, peace.” Isaiah, using repetition, conveys the thought of super abundant peace. God gives supernatural peace to those who trust Him (see also Phil. 4:6,7). This peace is a gift of God. It is the opposite of fear and doubt, anxiety, trouble, conflict, and warfare. It is not an earthly peace or a peace wrought by human hands or treaties. It is a spiritual peace, a peace with God and with other believers.

What a great conflict there was between us and God and between us and our fellow human beings because of sin. God is wrathful with those who contend against Him. Because of their idolatry, Judah is going to be brought down to Babylon. God hides Himself in His anger. But here is a beautiful promise. God will not always be angry. He gives double peace. What good news! There is more peace than all the world can promise or give you. Peace is through the cross of Jesus Christ and the righteousness He imputes to us. There is forgiveness for all our sins. The gospel points us to peace so that we can face all our troubles with confidence. Our peace is in the safety of being children of God, under His protection and care. May we then live in the consciousness of His gracious forgiveness! If God is for us, who can be against us? God reigns over all things and circumstances.

When our conscience accuses us, Satan is busy trying to cause us to doubt our salvation. We know that we are still inclined to all wickedness. But we read in I John 3:20, “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” God sees us in Christ Jesus! We face death, and we know that death is the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23). But when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we have peace, for we know that Christ won the victory over sin and death. Jesus Christ takes His own home to glory.

There is no peace if we are willingly walking in the way of sin and disobedience! Our minds must be stayed or fixed on the LORD. The word “stayed” in our verse means to be propped up, leaned upon. In other words, we are not self-confident. We know our own weakness and sinfulness. We lean upon the Lord like a crippled man leans upon his cane. He cannot stand or walk with out it. We are unfaithful. God is Jehovah, the one who is unchangeably faithful to His covenant for Christ’s sake. He established his covenant, realizes it in Christ, and will perfect it. God sent his Son, removing the wall of depravity and sin. We read in Romans 5:1, “Therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We look, our eyes are fixed upon our God.

When Peter looked at Jesus, he was able to walk on the water. But the moment he took his eyes off Jesus to the storm-tossed waters, he sunk. Christ alone is our peace. May the Holy Spirit work on our minds by the Gospel. There we hear the voice of our Savior. Looking to Him, the fears, doubts, and anxieties of our minds are chased away, and instead there is a calm spirit, joyful peace. When the Lord chastises us His children, we do not doubt His love or power to save. Instead, we see it as His fatherly testing of us and working to purify us and strengthening our faith. Christ is our peace (Eph. 2:14).

So, trust in the LORD. Fix your eyes and mind and heart upon Him. He cares for you. In Him, we need not fear. In Him is all our hope. In Him is all our strength. Trust Him in every situation. The trials of life often bring doubt and anxiety to our minds, but we must cast these off. It is only when our mind and thoughts are propped up upon the Lord, thinking of Him, that we will experience peace regardless of circumstances. What anxieties trouble you? How can you lean upon the Lord?

Open up your Bible. Cling to His promises. Listen to His voice. I do not know which was more troubled: the disciple’s minds or the storm-tossed sea (Mark 4:37ff). They cried out, “Master, carest thou not that we perish? Jesus arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”

“Trust ye in the LORD for ever.” Jesus is in your storm-tossed boat. Look to Him in faith and trust. May you hear Him say, “Peace, be still.”

When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; What ever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”

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Living or Dying in Christ

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Meditation on Philippians 1:21

Living or Dying in Christ

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

A short Scripture text means a short meditation, right? No, it does not, especially for ministers. The less notes I take in the pulpit, the longer the sermon is. In our text, we need to understand what it means for the Apostle Paul when he states, “to live is Christ.” Second, how we learn to live for Christ, Third, we need to know why “to die is gain.” Should we wish for death?

The Apostle Paul wrote these verses to the believers in Philippi. They were concerned for him. Paul was a prisoner in Rome, waiting for his trial before Caesar. This trial could end with the Apostle facing death. In Paul’s absence, there were some who were preaching Christ out of envy and strife, and therefore they were adding affliction to Paul’s prison life. Paul wrote to comfort those saints who were concerned about his welfare. He said that all that was really important was that Christ was being preached. Paul was only concerned that his Savior was exalted and the gospel extended. Paul’s greatest concern in either life or death was magnifying Christ, his Master (vs. 20). Paul informs the Philippians that he is not afraid to die. He would be with Christ.

When the Apostle said so emphatically, “to me” placing this word at the very beginning of the sentence, he is giving a profound personal testimony. At the same time, he was drawing a contrast between the preachers who are proclaiming Christ out of selfish ambition. Paul was not self-centered, but Christ-centered. “For me to live is Christ.” Is this true of your life? Paul was concerned with the honor and glory of his wonderful Redeemer.

Paul was speaking of his life lived from day to day, continuous living on earth as a child of God. He could have spoken of the continuous hardships that he had faced. He experienced a thorn in his flesh that he had prayed might be removed. He had been beaten, stoned, and left for dead. He had been in prison both in Philippi and now in Rome. Oh, how he had suffered for the sake of the gospel. But he did not speak about those things. He spoke about Christ! Christ was the center of his whole life. Christ was everything. This was not just his preaching to others. Paul himself relied upon Christ for the whole of his salvation. He would boast in nothing but Christ crucified.

What is it to live in Christ? It is to derive one’s strength from Christ (Phil. 4:13), to have the mind, the humble disposition of Christ (Phil. 2:5-11), to know Christ with the knowledge of Christian experience (Phil. 3:8), to be covered with Christ’s righteousness (Phil. 3:9), to rejoice in Christ (Phil. 3:1; 4;4), to live not for self but for His glory (II Cor. 5:14,15), to rest one’s faith on Christ and to love Him in return for His love (Gal. 2:20).

How is this life possible? Not in ourselves. We would live for pleasure, sin, earthly things. Paul had been trying to by his own works to be right with God. It was only by Christ taking ahold of him on the Damascus Road. It was by the Spirit of Christ giving him a new heart and working conversion and faith. Paul was turned around from a physical life that leads to death to a new life lived for Jesus Christ.

Can you make this personal confession, “For me to live is Christ”? Do you and I live this confession with our daily lives: in our marriage, being a parent, in the workplace, the friends that we have, in our recreation, what we think, what we desire, and everything that we do? May God work in us and give us the grace to live in Christ.

Then “to die is gain.” This seems so strange, for death is loss. It is the loss of earthly relationships, family, friends, earthly things, and even our earthly bodies for a while. We know from Rom. 6:23 that death is God’s punishment for sin. But my friend, the sting of death has been taken away ( I Cor. 15:55). Christ bore all the punishment for our sins in our place. Death now becomes a servant to take us as pilgrims and strangers to a far better land. Dying physically meant gain for Paul. It meant that he would be with Christ (see vs. 23), “at home with the Lord” (II Cor. 5:8). Death is the gateway to a clearer knowledge, more wholehearted perfect service, more exuberant joy, and a closer walk. No more sin or temptation, no more sickness, pain, trial, sorrow, affliction.

Death is gain! I will be with Christ. I will be like Christ. All the blessings of Christ will more abundantly be poured out. What do you live for? Is the glory and honor of Christ’s name more important to you, or is comfort and ease of life? Paul’s life was so wrapped up in Christ and the gospel that he wanted nothing more than to see the gospel advance, even if it meant that others sought to add to his affliction. When life’s circumstances get difficult, it is easy to become focused on self. May we say, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.”

Jesus is all the world to me, My life, my joy, my all; He is my strength from day to day, Without him I would fall. Jesus is all the world to me, I want no better friend; I trust him now, I’ll trust him when life’s fleeting days shall end. Beautiful life with such a friend; Beautiful life that has no end,; Eternal life, eternal joy, He’s my friend.”

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This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, May 17-23, 2020 *(Updated)

Psalm 92 1Today, May 17, is the twentieth Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

We rejoice with those PR congregations and fellow saints who have begun and can begin worshiping publicly again, though it be with tight restrictions yet (smaller numbers, social distancing, masking, etc.). Some in Michigan are beginning for the first time today, while in other parts (Indiana, Iowa, and Loveland, CO, for example) some are continuing with varying numbers of the congregation.

As most of our congregations and fellow believers (including our sister churches in the UK, the Philippines, and Singapore) continue to experience the temporary loss of this freedom, we pray for grace to wait on the Lord and to be content in His way until these restrictions are removed. And may we together - from church sanctuary and from home - through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit continue to worship our faithful Father, from whom we can never be separated.

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. (Psalm 92:1-4)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Job did not know why God had so afflicted him. You and I should not ask, “Why are these troubles coming to me? Why does God allow or cause it?” Know this, child of God; affliction is for our profit. By it, God is testing us. He is also weaning us from this life and all it has to offer, to the world which is to come. He is saying to us, “Look to me.” We are taught to live as those who desire to see God’s face. When is the last time that you have included in your prayers the petition, “Come Lord Jesus, yea, come quickly”?

I know my Redeemer lives. Therefore, I shall see God! This statement shows the indestructible nature of true, saving faith. In the midst of circumstances that Job did not understand, he nevertheless fell back on the most basic truth of the gospel: his redeemer lives! Redemption brings to mind the glorious truth that the Christian is owned by God, purchased with his own blood, declared righteous with the righteousness that God freely gives to him by grace alone through faith. Can you say, “I know that my Redeemer lives”? ~ Rev. A. Spriensma, "Confidence in the Midst of Calamities"

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, these PRCs are live-streaming services today (whether full or partial). You are encouraged to worship with one of these congregations: Byron Center PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM (EST); Calvary PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM CDT;  Crete PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM CDT; Doon PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM; Faith PRC at 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM (EST); First PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); First PRC-Holland at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM; Georgetown PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Grace PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM EST; Hope PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Hope PRC-Redlands, CA at 10 AM and 5 PM (PST); Hudsonville PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM EST; Hull PRC at 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM; Loveland PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM MST; Lynden PRC at 10:00 AM PST; Pittsburgh PRC at 9:30 and 5 PM EST; Southeast PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM EST; Southwest PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 (EST); Trinity PRC at 9:30 and 5:00 (EST); Zion PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM (EST). There are also many audio sermons that you can access on this website for your further use.

  • Today Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN) voted to extend a call to Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). May the Lord grant him the plain knowledge of His will as he considers this new call.

  • On May 3 Rev. J. Mahtani accepted the call to Hope PRC-GR. Lord willing, he will be installed on Sunday June 7, with Rev. C. Haak leading the service.

  • Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC) is considering the call to First PRC of Edmonton, AB (received May 3). We pray for clear guidance from the Lord as he considers this call.

  • From Kalamazoo PRC's bulletin: The Consistory has formed a trio consisting of Revs. C. Haak (Georgetown PRC), S. Key (Loveland PRC), and R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). A congregational vote will be held on Monday evening, May 18, at 7:00 p.m., the Lord willing. *UPDATE: Rev. C. Haak received this call.

  • The Council of Grandville PRC has formed a new trio for minister on loan to Singapore: Revs. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC), and R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). At present the congregation is not able to gather for a congregational meeting to vote; when restrictions are lifted, she will.
  • Rev. John Marcus and his family plan to leave Edmonton this week Wednesday (May 20) to live in West Michigan, as he awaits a call within the PRC. May the Lord grant traveling mercies and soon provide a new call to serve in the churches.
  • Did you know... that
    • Ascension Day services will also be held this week Thursday, May 21, in the PRC - some "in-house" and some online? Is the truth of Christ's glorification to heaven important to you? Does it have bearing on your faith and life? Then attend a service or watch a service this Thursday! The Lord Christ will be present to receive your praise.
    •  Rev. R. Smit (missionary to the Philippines) has a birthday today? Thanks to the bulletin of sister church Maranatha PRC today, we know that. They added these words, to which we give our hearty Amen: "...and let’s pray for him and his family. Are we remembering to pray for ALL of our missionaries and their wives and families during these difficult times?
    • our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, is writing short meditations for the PRC website - just for these present times and circumstances? Two more were posted this past week (cf. above). Be sure to look them up and read them for your spiritual profit!

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Spring 2020 coverPRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary completed its second semester this past week, with students finishing their exams on FridayWe thank the Lord for enabling us to carry on and complete the semester with long-distance teaching and learning. Continue to pray for faculy, students, and staff as we continue our labors this spring and summer.

  • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, seminary is open only for essential operations at this time (hopefully only through May). The staff can try to assist you with any needs, however. Call or email the seminary with your important needs.

  • Sem. Josiah Tan and his family remain in Singapore for the time being (his mother passed away there on April 11 after a long battle with cancer). He resumed and completed his classes and exams online and is assisting in 'speaking a word of edification' for his congregation (Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church). He plans to stay until mid-June, when he will return to the States to begin his seminary internship in First PRC (Grand Rapids, MI) on July 1, D.V.
  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is now available - in digital (pdf) form only at present (ePub coming soon!). Our printer has informed us that it will be a few weeks before the print edition can be produced.
  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 30th.

PRC Bulacan

Read the latest issue from our sister church in Singapore!

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today:
    • Often, we are like the psalmist asking “How long...?” as we await for God’s deliverance from our waiting, be it our spiritual or physical struggles, body aches, sicknesses, unhappiness, waiting for the MOL and even in this coronavirus pandemic. How much longer do we have to wait before getting back to church life again, etc… The answer is WAIT! Wait on the Lord and continue to be patient. For the Lord’s timings are not ours to predict or determine, for all things will surely come to an end. Instead, be like the psalmist and ask God to hear us: “3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God:” (Psalm 13:3). We pray that God will sustain us and that we will trust in His mercy for our heart shall rejoice in His salvation.
    • The April 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #59 - was published and posted last week. You may find it on this page.
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • Rev. A. stewart continues to lead the services via live-stream.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - February 2020!
    • Read the new May 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"!
    • Sadly, given the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus (in God's sovereign decree), the British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference has been rescheduled to (basically) the same week next year. Thus the BRF Conference will not be taking place in 2020. Instead, it is rescheduled to 10-17 July, 2021. Same venue: Castlewellan Castle (http://castlewellancastle.org/). Same theme: Union With Christ. Same speakers: Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Lanning (USA), with John Perkins (England) giving the special lecture. For more on the BRF, see https://www.britishreformed.org/

  • Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, Bulacan PRC, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
    • Congregational and Denominational News:

~ Berean PRC: Rev. V. Ibe will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on our Facebook page. Our brothers and sisters in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us today in our worship services via Facebook live, the Lord willing.

~ PRC of Bulacan: The members of the congregation continue to worship at home. Rev. J. Flores is doing a short devotional each night via Zoom.

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. L. Trinidad will lead us in both Worship Services live-stream via Facebook . Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. D.V. Metro Manila is now under the Modified Enhancement Community Quarantine (MECQ) up to  May 31, 2020. Please STAY AT HOME. In this crisis, let us pray for our children who are studying via on-line and those parents who can now return to their own work according to the rules.

~ Provident PRC: Rev. D. Holstege will lead us in worship this morning at 9:30 on YouTube. The elders have sent a link to a worship service of Zion PRC and a sermon by Rev. Joe Holstege for our evening worship Next Sunday, Lord willing, Rev. D. Kleyn will provide messages for us in the morning and evening on YouTube.

~ PRCP Seminary: Classes are continuing long distance at this time.

~The Classis’ meeting of the PRCP will be held on June 12, 2020, that is next month; however, the consistory of each churches is asked to cancel the meeting and will be rescheduled on the available dates either July or August of this year.

~ And for more on the life and work of our "sisters" in the Far East read the news under Philippine missions.

  • The PRC also has a "corresponding relationship" with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia. We remember these brothers and sisters in our prayers and labors also.

SB May15 2020 cover

Due to printing restrictions related to COVID-19, the RFPA is temporarily unable to print and distribute hard copies of the Standard Bearer. Once these restrictions have been lifted (and that is soon, it is reported), the RFPA will print and mail out all postponed issues of the magazine. In the meantime, these issues will be available for free online as they are produced. You can find the newest issues, May 1 (a special issue on death and dying) and May 15, at this link on the home page.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Would you like to learn more about the PRC and her doctrines and practices? Are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Psalter 1912 2Psalter music available FREE: the entire collection of Psalm Choir videos and CDs is currently available free. With many PRC members and fellow saints worshiping at home due to the present pandemic, these are a valuable resource. You may find the playlists on YouTube here. And, all volumes of the Psalm Choir CDs may be found here. These too can be used for family or personal devotions, as well as for personal comfort and peace in seasons of fear and distress.
     
  • The Reformed Book Outlet is temporarily closed for the safety of our volunteers. If you need to place an order or have questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will not be answering the phone. Thank you.

RWH Logo 2019

  • Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
    • Continuing this month, Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA) has some special messages based on the end of Hebrews 10. Today's message is based on Hebrews 10:24 and titled "Considering and Provoking One Another." Listen to the broadcast on the station near you or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.

    • From the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:

~ The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email simply by signing up at http://eepurl.com/gikNsL.  Each newsletter contains information about places around our globe where the RWH is downloaded; news about the RWH’s witness on the radio and via the internet, printed booklet, and CD and links to many popular and relevant RWH messages.

~ A Spanish edition of the RWH has been produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Why not check it out - and help spread the word!

 adult bible 1

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • PRYP Convention News: With heavy hearts Georgetown PRC and the Federation Board have decided to postpone the 2020 Young People’s convention until next year. Due to the current conditions in our country, getting 500 -600 people together in one location does not seem wise at this time. The Fed Board would like to adhere to the guidelines put out by the government and we do not want to have the parents weigh the benefits of sending their child to the convention against the risk of exposing them to this virus. Georgetown PRC is planning to host the convention next year.
  • From the Beacon Lights staff: Due to our printer not being able to print the magazine right now because of COVID-19, we have decided to put the May issue of Beacon Lights on our website, free of charge, for anyone who wishes to read the month’s issue. Visit us at beaconlights.org to read the issue, which will be published on May 1!

  • The Western Young People's Retreat - Update! Lynden and Spokane Young People's Retreat is still being tentatively planned for July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in Tensed, Idaho. The facility director thinks that the camp will be open and running by then. For registration information or other questions please contact Rev. Rodney Kleyn by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Colorado Retreat: Registration will open next week Monday, May 25!  Post-high young adults are welcome to join us August 3-6 for a young adults retreat in the Rocky Mountains.  Space will be limited. Pastors Key and Guichelaar will speak for us on II Timothy 1:7, as we learn to be more 'Brave and Bold in the Faith'.  A link to register will be available next week.

  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 30th. 

  • A new issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the March 2020 issue here.

greatcommission1

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors:

  • Remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church.
    • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, his present travels and activities are quite limited. The ongoing Bible study in Dorr, MI led by our missionary is currently postponed also.
    • But, he has begun writing short meditations for the PRC website. You may find those here.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown continues to lead the services via live-streaming during the UK's lockdown. He recently accepted the call to Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Plans are being made for him to complete his labors in Limerick and move to Michigan as soon as it is possible, but it could be many months before that happens.
    • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was published this month (May). You may find that here.

    • (From the PRC Contact Commitee) Our sister church, the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland, reports that they have decided to close the mission station in Limerick, Ireland that they had been overseeing for the past ten years. ...We submit this disappointment to the good providence of God who is alone wise. Remember the saints in Limerick and Rev. McGeown in your prayers.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija (the saints join Berean PRC services via live-stream during this time of confinement).
  • PRC of Bulacan News: The Consistory reports this week that they have decided to suspend public services again in the PR Fellowship in Albuera even though some restrictions were lifted. After speaking to local government, they feel this is best for now.
  • Maranatha PRC News: 

    The missionary work in Sipalay, Negros Occ is temporarily cancelled due to the Enchancement Community Quaratine (now extended through May 30). Let us pray that the Lord will end this plague and let His work of preaching and teaching be continued.

  • For more on life and activities in the Philippines from the personal perspective of the missionary's, visit the Kleyn's blog, the Holstege's, and the Smits!

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days ofCOVID-19  quarantine. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us remember to pray for the Lord's blessing on Georgetown PRC's labor in Vellore, India. The saints in that part of the world are experiencing severe restrictions too.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. The body of Christ in that place is also deeply affected by the pandemic. Let's be in prayer for these fellow saints too. This note was in CERC's bulletin today:

We are thankful to receive report from Rev. Singh that diaconate help from us has reached them. They were able to get food supplies to those in need, though still under lockdown and supplies are still limited. God’s word continued to be streamed over the YouTube and Facebook to God’s people over the past weeks. Mission work continues to grow in Kolkata through the use of social media. May God continue to strengthen Rev Singh and CERC Kolkata in their work.

Myanmar:

  • We also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. Hope had this update from him in her bulletin last week:

On May 2 the Myanmar committee was again able to meet remotely by video with Rev. Titus. He reports that he and the Hope PRCM congregation are staying healthy. The shutdown orders are still in place and enforced by army checkpoints. This affects the working men and the formal training of Htay Nine. As of May 2, there were about 150 reported cases of Covid-19 in the Yangon area. About 70 of them were linked to a Pentecostal church, whose pastor before had proclaimed to his congregation that it was revealed to him that the Lord would not permit him or his congregation to contract the virus. This caused a bit of a disturbance among the community and an occasion to mock the Christian faith in general. Rev. Titus has publically responded in defense of the Reformed faith regarding the Spirit of truth as revealed in his scripture alone. He continues his translating work, as you will soon read in his upcoming letter. The Hope PRCM congregation is able to meet for worship in a limited capacity. We are grateful to the Lord and for Rev. Titus for his dedication to magnify the name of the Lord Jesus Christ through his preaching, translating, training, pastoral work, and other evangelistic activities. We ask that you keep Rev. Titus and the saints in Myanmar in your prayers.

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Confidence in the Midst of Calamities

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Meditation on Job 19: 25,26

Confidence in the Midst of Calamities

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”

Job was in the midst of calamities. In one day, everything was taken away. All his children died. His servants were killed or stolen. He had a dreadful disease in his body: an awful breath, he was skin and bones, sores all over his body. Job was an outcast of society. His wife told him to commit suicide, and his friends despised him as a terrible sinner. He is reproached and persecuted. Job was all alone! What a terrible condition.

But Job had hope. He made an amazing confession. “I know that my redeemer liveth!’ He knew that he suffered this at God’s hand even though he did not know why (vs. 6ff). Let’s look at Job’s confession.

“Redeemer”: the Hebrew word has the idea of a vindicator, one who takes up the cause for another. There are many examples of this in the Old Testament. If someone murdered a member of your family, you could appoint a person to avenge the blood that was taken. If a family was sold into slavery because of debts owed, one like a Boaz came so that the household of Naomi and Ruth could be freed from bondage. It was a near kinsman who took care of Naomi and Ruth by allowing them to glean in his fields. He would take their land and harvest the crops for them. He would marry Ruth, so that there would be children. Without children, the woman would be cut off from God’s promise and inheritance. In Boaz’s marriage, Naomi and Ruth had a rich lineage, resulting in the Christ.

There was nothing that Job could do to stop his calamity, persecution, rebuke, or the accusations made against him. He clung to the One who would vindicate him and his righteousness: God in Christ Jesus. Job clung to his righteousness in Christ. While the dark clouds of calamity swirled around him, he lifted his eyes heavenward. “I know that my redeemer liveth.”

“My redeemer lives!” What a confession. While Job saw his own death (“though after my skin worms destroy this body”), he saw that his redeemer lives. He saw two things by faith. First, he confessed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Job’s faith was like the faith of Abraham, when Abraham was called to kill his only son, Isaac, he knew that God was able to raise his son back to life (Hebrews 11:17-19). Second, Job knew that this vindicator “shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” Over against what Satan, Job’s so-called friends, or the world had to say, his vindicator would declare Job righteous in God’s court. This was Job’s hope. He had a vindicator who would pay for his sins, who would take up his cause. Although accused as a terrible sinner by his three friends, Job knew that one day the redeemer would stand as Judge, declaring him righteous. He would be declared righteous, not by his own works but by the work of his redeemer. By the grace of God, Job had faith in this redeemer: one who would take up his cause before God himself! It is the promised seed of the woman, promised to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. One would come who would pay the debt for his sins.

The beauty and significance of this confession is found in how personal it is. Job speaks of “my redeemer.” Not only is there a redeemer, but he is mine! He will stand up for me and vindicate me. That means that Job was certain that God declares him righteous. God is for Job even though his so-called friends and society were against him. Notice the words, “I know that my redeemer lives.” “I know!” Not, “I think so” or “I hope so.” There is no certainty in that at all. Can you say, “I know that my redeemer lives”? Surely, if Job who lived in the time of types and shadows could have this certainty, how much more can we who have the completed Scriptures and who live after the fact of Jesus’ birth, suffering, death, and resurrection! “I know that my redeemer lives.” No ifs, buts, or perhaps; that would surely rob us of peace and comfort!

Job, facing his own death had the certainty of life afterwards. “And though after skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” They say that there are only two certainties in life: taxes and death. But for the child of God, there is the certainty of life after death. We shall see God. How? God is Spirit and therefore invisible. The answer is that we shall see God in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ. We shall dwell in his beauty and love and fellowship. Is this what you desire?

Job did not know why God had so afflicted him. You and I should not ask, “Why are these troubles coming to me? Why does God allow or cause it?” Know this, child of God; affliction is for our profit. By it, God is testing us. He is also weaning us from this life and all it has to offer, to the world which is to come. He is saying to us, “Look to me.” We are taught to live as those who desire to see God’s face. When is the last time that you have included in your prayers the petition, “Come Lord Jesus, yea, come quickly”?

I know my Redeemer lives. Therefore, I shall see God! This statement shows the indestructible nature of true, saving faith. In the midst of circumstances that Job did not understand, he nevertheless fell back on the most basic truth of the gospel: his redeemer lives! Redemption brings to mind the glorious truth that the Christian is owned by God, purchased with his own blood, declared righteous with the righteousness that God freely gives to him by grace alone through faith. Can you say, “I know that my Redeemer lives”?

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Murmuring or Singing? (A Meditation on Numbers 14:1,2)

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Meditation on Numbers 14: 1,2

Murmuring or Singing?

And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured...”

God’s people were standing at the border of Canaan, the promised land! This was a time for celebration and praise to the God who had delivered them from the bondage of Egypt and led them through the wilderness. They were right on the border of blessing. But they were faced with another crisis of faith. The twelve spies had returned from the land with vivid proof that the land was all God had promised it would be.

There was a majority report and a minority report. The majority report of the ten made no mention of God. Rather they reported: “The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitant thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

The minority report declared: “the land that we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it unto us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.”

Both reports acknowledged that the land will only be taken by fighting and conquest. Certainly, it would not be easy to conquer the land. It was not lying there vacant, ready to be taken. There were many and strong people there, and Israel could not simply walk in and possess it. They would have to fight. (In reality, there was no need for the spies to scout the land, but we read in Deuteronomy 1:21,22, when Moses set before the people the land that the LORD had promised them, they demanded of Moses to send men before them to search out the land. This was in itself an act of unbelief.) The first report was evil, because it was given with an evil purpose and great exaggeration. The report of the majority of the spies intended to impress one thing on the minds of the people. “We be not able to go up against the people” (Numb.13:3). It did not take into account the power of the unseen God. It did not remember the mighty deliverance out of Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, the manna that fell from heaven, or the many deliverances the Lord had given them. The manna was still there, as was the cloud that still overshadows them by day or that blazes above them by night. We read that all the congregation cried, all of the people wept, all the children of Israel murmured. Theirs was the sin of self-pity, unbelief, and disobedience. They wish to die in the wilderness, or go back to the bondage of Egypt.

In contrast was the faith of men like Joshua and Caleb over against the unbelief of the rest of the children of Israel. We read “all the congregation cried” and “all the children of Israel murmured”. Of course, this does not refer to every individual. We know that there were those who did not murmur. There is always a small remnant such as those like Joshua and Caleb whose voices are drowned out by the noise of the whole. They speak of the glory and sureness of God’s promise and His help in the battles to come. For victory comes only by way of struggle and fighting. “They took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us…The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes” (Deut. 1:25,30). There was no need for fear or dismay, no reason to weep and wail. They were near the promised land. God was with them; he had fulfilled all his promises! Over against the lies of the ten spies, Caleb and Joshua bore witness to the truth. They warned the people not to rebel against the LORD. “The LORD is with us.”

Dear reader, do you today murmur in unbelief or sing praises in faith? What is your response when forced to stay home, or not able to work, or perhaps seeing your stock portfolio crumble? We are near the land of promise, heaven. Jesus is coming, coming soon. In the world, we can expect tribulation and trouble. The victory is gained not without a fight, the battle of faith. How are you dealing with the trial set before you? God is with His people. As He has so wonderfully delivered us in the past, led us all the way through our wilderness, do you cling and believe His promise? We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. We have a greater leader than Moses or Joshua. Our Lord Jesus has conquered sin, Satan, and death by His own death on the cross. He will give us the good land flowing with milk and honey! Sing and shout His praises. Stand firm in unwavering faith and hope. The LORD is with us: fear not! Not murmuring but singing!

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This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, May 10-16, 2020 *(Updated)

Proverbs 31 30Today, May 10, is the nineteenth Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

We rejoice with those PR congregations and fellow saints who can begin worshiping publicly again, though it be with some restrictions yet (in Indiana, Iowa, and Loveland, CO, for example). As most of our congregations and fellow believers (including our sister churches) continue to experience the temporary loss of this freedom, we pray for grace to wait on the Lord and to be content in His way until these restrictions are removed. And may we together - from sanctuary and from home - through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit continue to worship our good and faithful Father.

The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved. The LORD is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people. Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy. (Psalm 99:1-3)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

The children of this virtuous woman rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her. Not all children and husbands of virtuous woman do this. This is not to the credit of these ungrateful and derelict children and husbands. Sad to say, even in the sphere of the church there are wicked and ungrateful husbands and children. This is a shameful thing. Yet in the covenant home we see this on every hand. Husbands and children who have wives and mothers who show the virtues described in Proverbs 31 ought to praise and bless them profusely. The blessing of her children and the praise of her husband are a great reward for the virtuous woman. Because she has understanding and wisdom she rejoices greatly in these things. Husbands and children have a great calling and obligation regularly to bless and praise their virtuous wife and mother. There are few things in life that God gives which are a greater blessing than a virtuous wife and mother. The spiritual and psychological well-being of children are the fruits of the labors of the virtuous mother in the home.

The principle from which the virtuous woman lives her life is the fear of God. …  As much as the virtuous woman is motivated in all her life and business by her faithfulness to her husband and devotedness to her children, there is a higher principle out of which she does all things. This principle is the fear of the Lord. God Himself works His fear and love in the heart of the virtuous woman. She is therefore His glorious workmanship created in Christ Jesus. This is the greatest reason for her virtue and praiseworthiness. And therefore also, more important even than the blessing and praise of husband and children, she is blessed of the Lord and she will receive a great reward from Him.

Let us look around us in our churches and in our covenant homes. The Lord has given us such virtuous women. How worthy they are of praise, and what reason for thanking God we have that He has given such great women to His church. ~ Rev. Arie DenHartog in the Standard Bearer

  • These PRCs are live-streaming services today (and for the time being, full or partial). You are encouraged to worship with one of these congregations: Byron Center PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM (EST); Calvary PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM CDT;  Crete PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM CDT; Faith PRC at 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM (EST); First PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); First PRC-Holland at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM; Georgetown PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Grace PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM EST; Hope PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Hope PRC-Redlands, CA at 10 AM and 5 PM (PST); Hudsonville PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM EST; Hull PRC at 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM; Loveland PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM MST; Lynden PRC at 10:00 AM PST; Pittsburgh PRC at 9:30 and 5 PM EST; Southeast PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM EST; Southwest PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 (EST); Trinity PRC at 9:30 and 5:00 (EST); Zion PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM (EST). There are also many audio sermons that you can access on this website for your further use.

  • Last Sunday, May 3, Rev. J. Mahtani accepted the call to Hope PRC-GR. We rejoice with this congregation in God's good provision in this time of need.

  • Last Sunday, May 3, First PRC of Edmonton extended a call tol Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC). We pray for clear guidance from the Lord as he considers this call.

  • Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN) announces a new trio from which to call a minister: Rev. M. DeBoer (Edgerton PRC), R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC), and R. Van Overloop (Grace PRC).

  • From Kalamazoo PRC's bulletin this week: The Consistory has formed a trio consisting of Revs. C. Haak (Georgetown PRC), S. Key (Loveland PRC), and R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). A congregational vote will be held on Monday evening, May 18, at 7:00 p.m., the Lord willing.
  • The Council of Grandville PRC has formed a new trio for minister on loan to Singapore: Revs. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC), and R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). At present the congregation is not able to gather for a congregational meeting to vote; when restrictions are lifted, she will.

  • On April 5 Rev. M. McGeown announced his acceptance of the call to Providence PRC (Hudsonville, MI). Rev. McGeown is making application to come to the States as he finishes his mission labors in Limerick, Ireland.

  • Rev. H. Bleyenberg and his wife remain in West Michigan awaiting permission to move to Lacombe, AB so he can take up his ministry in Immanuel PRC. We pray that the Lord will soon open that door for them. In the meantime he continues preparing pre-recorded sermons for them, as well as catechism lessons.
  • Rev. John Marcus and his family plan to leave Edmonton May 20 (next week) to live in West Michigan, as he awaits a call within the PRC.
  • Did you know... that
    • some of the congregations able to meet now are doing so with half the congregation coming in the morning and the other half in the evening, and that they are maintaining social distancing by occupying every other pew?
    • our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, has begun writing short meditations for the PRC website - just for these present times and circumstances. Be sure to look them up and read them for your spiritual profit!
    • you can read the Standard Bearer FREE online at this time (while the SB is not allowed to be printed)? You can find the latest issues - May 1 and 15 - at the newly revamped SB website.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Classis East Update:

Classis East of the Protestant Reformed Churches will not meet on May 13, 2020. This decision was made by the Classical Committee of Classis East on the ground that because of the “current restrictions by the state, Byron Center PRC cannot host Classis, and these restrictions make it impossible to hold Classis at an alternate venue.” The next scheduled meeting of Classis East is September 9, 2020. There is a possibility of an earlier meeting of Classis East after the legal restrictions on meetings have been removed. The Rules of Order for Classis East state, “When a consistory desires an early or special Classis, it shall request two neighboring consistories to join with it in requesting such of the Classical Committee, which shall then make the necessary arrangements.” If arrangements are made for an earlier meeting of Classis East, the churches will be informed in due course.
In the service of Christ’s church,
Rev. C. Spronk, Stated Clerk, Classis East

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PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary was able to complete its regular course of the second semester with online classes, and students will be taking exams this weekPray for them as they prepare and take these final exams of the school year.

  • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, seminary is open only for essential operations at this time. No auditors or visitors should come until the restrictions are lifted. The staff can try to assist you with any needs, however. Call or email the seminary with your important needs.

  • Sem. Josiah Tan and his family remain in Singapore for the time being (his mother passed away there on April 11 after a long battle with cancer). He resumed and completed his classes online and is assisting in 'speaking a word of edification' for his congregation (Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church). He plans to stay until mid-June, when he will return to the States to begin his seminary internship in First PRC (Grand Rapids, MI) on July 1, D.V.
  • Work continues on the Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal, and it is close to completion. Though we may have to wait for the print edition under the present circumstances, the seminary will produce and post the digital copy as soon as it is ready.
  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 30th.

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Read the latest issue from our sister church in Singapore! And happy 37th birthday to Maranatha PRC! (see below)

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today:
    • We are now entering into the second month of the circuit breaker measures implemented by our government. From the recent updates, by our authority, on easing the measures, religious activities are given a lower priority than other industries to resume normal activities. This means that we may have to continue live-streaming of the worship service for a while more. ...In this COVID-19 situation, God in His Providence has prevented us from attending worship service and caused most of us to remain at home on the Lord’s Day. We remain at home not because we want to. But in God’s Providence, we remain at home for the love of the neighbour in this COVID-19 situation. Nevertheless, we thank God for technology, such as live-streaming, that we are able to participate worship service though we cannot attend the worship service except for the few persons present in church.
    • The April 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #59 - was published and posted this week. You may find it on this page.
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • Rev. A. stewart continues to lead the services via live-stream.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - February 2020!
    • Read the new May 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"!
    • Sadly, given the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus (in God's sovereign decree), the British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference has been rescheduled to (basically) the same week next year. Thus the BRF Conference will not be taking place in 2020. Instead, it is rescheduled to 10-17 July, 2021. Same venue: Castlewellan Castle (http://castlewellancastle.org/). Same theme: Union With Christ. Same speakers: Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Lanning (USA), with John Perkins (England) giving the special lecture. For more on the BRF, see https://www.britishreformed.org/

  • Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
    • Congregational and Denominational News:

~ Berean PRC: Rev. V. Ibe will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on our Facebook page. Our brothers and sisters in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us today in our worship services via Facebook live, the Lord willing.

~ PRC of Bulacan: The members of the congregation continue to worship at home. Rev. J. Flores is doing a short devotional each night via Zoom. The Consistory reports that due to the relaxing of some of the quaratine orders in Luzon, the PR Fellowship in Albuera has begun worshiping again (as of May 3).

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. R. Smit will lead us in both Worship Services live-stream via Facebook . Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. D.V. Our Church is celebrating its 37th Church Anniversary, today. As we celebrate, let us pray for one another that our God and Father will continue to protect, to guide and to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ accordingly.

~ Provident PRC: Rev. D. Kleyn will lead us in worship this morning at 9:30 on YouTube. Here are the links to the two livestreams: https://youtu.be/YbVz5AUZvw8 (9:30 am) and https://youtu.be/2D02P7Tt5Nc (5:30 pm). Next Sunday, Lord willing, Rev. D. Kleyn will provide messages for us in the morning and evening.

~ PRCP Seminary: Classes have resumed and are being given long distance.

~ The next meeting of the PRCP Classis is scheduled for June 12, D.V.

~ And for more on the life and work of our "sisters" in the Far East read the news under Philippine missions.

  • The PRC also has a "corresponding relationship" with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia. We remember these brothers and sisters in our prayers and labors also.

SB May 1 2020 cover

Due to printing restrictions related to COVID-19, the RFPA is temporarily unable to print and distribute hard copies of the Standard Bearer. Once these restrictions have been lifted, the RFPA will print and mail out all postponed issues of the magazine. In the meantime, these issues will be available for free online as they are produced. You can find the newest issues, May 1 (a special issue on death and dying) and May 15, at this link on the home page.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Would you like to learn more about the PRC and her doctrines and practices? Are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Psalter 1912 2Psalter music available FREE: the entire collection of Psalm Choir videos and CDs is currently available free. With many PRC members and fellow saints worshiping at home due to the present pandemic, these are a valuable resource. You may find the playlists on YouTube here. And, all volumes of the Psalm Choir CDs may be found here. These too can be used for family or personal devotions, as well as for personal comfort and peace in seasons of fear and distress.
     

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0148/7987/products/Unfolding6_1024x1024.png?v=1580485685Two NEW books from the RFPA: 1) Unfolding Covenant History Vol. 6 (From Samuel to Solomon) by Prof. D. Engelsma will be sent to book club members and those who ordered it. 2) Letters from Katie Luther: A Novel by Shirley Casemier will be sent to Gold Star members and others who ordered it. While we are facing delays in the delivery of some of these books, we are working with your church’s book club agent to get them to you as soon as possible. If you would like to order either book, visit rfpa.org, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 457-5970. Your book club agent will deliver your book as soon as he/she is able.

  • The Reformed Book Outlet is temporarily closed for the safety of our volunteers. If you need to place an order or have questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will not be answering the phone. Thank you.

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  • Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
    • Continuing this month, Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA) has some special messages based on the end of Hebrews 10. Today's message, however, is a special one for Mother's Day and is titled "The Praiseworthy Woman." based on Proverbs 31:10-31. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.

    • From the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:

~ The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email simply by signing up at http://eepurl.com/gikNsL.  Each newsletter contains information about places around our globe where the RWH is downloaded; news about the RWH’s witness on the radio and via the internet, printed booklet, and CD and links to many popular and relevant RWH messages.

~ A Spanish edition of the RWH has been produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Why not check it out - and help spread the word!

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*A new issue (May) was released recently - Are you reading it? (see below)

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • PRYP Convention News: With heavy hearts Georgetown PRC and the Federation Board have decided to postpone the 2020 Young People’s convention until next year. Due to the current conditions in our country, getting 500 -600 people together in one location does not seem wise at this time. The Fed Board would like to adhere to the guidelines put out by the government and we do not want to have the parents weigh the benefits of sending their child to the convention against the risk of exposing them to this virus. Georgetown PRC is planning to host the convention next year.
  • *From the Beacon Lights staff: Due to our printer not being able to print the magazine right now because of COVID-19, we have decided to put the May issue of Beacon Lights on our website, free of charge, for anyone who wishes to read the month’s issue. Visit us at beaconlights.org to read the issue, which will be published on May 1!

  • The Western Young People's Retreat, hosted by the Lynden and Spokane Young Peoples, will be held July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in N. Idaho.  This is a retreat for Young People ages 13-18 (going into 9th-12th grade).  More information and registration will be available in March. Contact Rev. Kleyn at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.

  • Colorado Retreat: Save the date August 3-6, 2020 for a young adults retreat in Colorado!

  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 30th. 

  • A new issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the March 2020 issue here.

Gospel to all nations

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors:

  • Remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church.
    • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, his present travels and activities are quite limited. The ongoing Bible study in Dorr, MI led by our missionary is currently postponed also.
    • But, he has begun writing short meditations for the PRC website. You may find those here.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown continues to lead the services via live-streaming during the UK's lockdown. He recently announced his acceptance of the call to Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Plans are being made for him to complete his labors in Limerick and move to Michigan as soon as it is possible.
    • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was published this week. You may find that here.

    • (From the PRC Contact Commitee) Our sister church, the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland, reports that they have decided to close the mission station in Limerick, Ireland that they had been overseeing for the past ten years. ...We submit this disappointment to the good providence of God who is alone wise. Remember the saints in Limerick and Rev. McGeown in your prayers.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija (the saints join Berean PRC services via live-stream during this time of confinement).
  • PRC of Bulacan News: The Consistory reports that due to the relaxing of some of the quaratine orders in Luzon, the PR Fellowship in Albuera has begun worshiping again (as of May 3). 
  • Maranatha PRC News: 

    The missionary work in Sipalay, Negros Occ is temporarily cancelled due to the Enchancement Community Quaratine (through May 15 at this time). Let us pray that the Lord will end this plague and let His work of preaching and teaching be continued.

  • For more on life and activities in the Philippines from the personal perspective of the missionary's, visit the Kleyn's blog, the Holstege's, and the Smits!

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days of quarantine. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us remember to pray for the Lord's blessing on Georgetown PRC's labor in Vellore, India. The saints in that part of the world are experiencing severe restrictions too.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. The body of Christ in that place is also deeply affected by the pandemic. Let's be in prayer for these fellow saints too.

Myanmar:

  • We also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. Hope had this update from him in her bulletin this week:

On May 2 the Myanmar committee was again able to meet remotely by video with Rev. Titus. He reports that he and the Hope PRCM congregation are staying healthy. The shutdown orders are still in place and enforced by army checkpoints. This affects the working men and the formal training of Htay Nine. As of May 2, there were about 150 reported cases of Covid-19 in the Yangon area. About 70 of them were linked to a Pentecostal church, whose pastor before had proclaimed to his congregation that it was revealed to him that the Lord would not permit him or his congregation to contract the virus. This caused a bit of a disturbance among the community and an occasion to mock the Christian faith in general. Rev. Titus has publically responded in defense of the Reformed faith regarding the Spirit of truth as revealed in his scripture alone. He continues his translating work, as you will soon read in his upcoming letter. The Hope PRCM congregation is able to meet for worship in a limited capacity. We are grateful to the Lord and for Rev. Titus for his dedication to magnify the name of the Lord Jesus Christ through his preaching, translating, training, pastoral work, and other evangelistic activities. We ask that you keep Rev. Titus and the saints in Myanmar in your prayers.

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Who Will Show Us Any Good? (A Meditation on Psalm 4:6-8)

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Meditation on Psalm 4:6-8

Who Will Show Any Good?

There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.”

Once again, a sharp contrast is presented in these verses! It is a contrast between many who seek happiness in the things of this world and the spiritual joy given to the godly. Which are you? The blind person, outside of Jesus Christ, ignorant of what is truly good, is filled with a longing and desire for earthly things: “their corn and their wine increased.” Corn and wine represent both what is necessary and that is luxurious in life. Therein they will be happy. Of these, the Psalmist says, “There be many who say, Who will show us any good?” Over against these, the godly join with one another seeking God’s favor and love. “LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.”

As we learn in our last meditation on Jer. 17:5-8, the green tree produces faith, joy, and peace. We see these three things in this Psalm. What is good? The person outside of Christ asks this in the midst of the necessities, trials, and difficulties of our lives. Have you asked this same question, perhaps in the political and economic upheavals these last months? Perhaps you were unable to work. You were unable to go to school or be involved in sports. You or a loved one were sick and laid up in the hospital, unable to have family with you. You are an aged person in a rest home, and the children and friends could not visit with you. “Who will show us any good?”

What do you mean by good? The Bible tells us that none but God are good. We read in Micah 6:8,” He hath shown thee, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” There you have a definition of good. If you have that, you are happy now in our pilgrimage and in eternity.

Faith looks up. In contrast with the wicked looking all round them in the world, the child of God prays. “LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.” We desire and pray for the smile of God’s face in favor and love. But how can we experience that favor? We are not just, loving mercy, nor walking humbly with God. Instead, we are just the opposite. How can we be reconciled with this God? The answer is in one person whom God has given for us, his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of what God requires of a person. Jesus did justly all his life, never wavering. All of his life up to his hanging on the cross, he took the punishment for our sins and fulfilled all righteousness. Oh, how he loved and showed mercy, having compassion on the crowds who were like sheep without a shepherd. He has brought his sheep out of the pit of despair and set their feet upon the rock of ages. We hear Jesus say to the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn thee. Go, sin no more.” Did you hear Jesus’ answer to the thief on the cross who cried, “Lord, remember me when thou comest to thy kingdom.” Jesus walked humbly with his God and cried out, “Not my will but thy will be done.” Our faith stands in our God in Christ Jesus.

What joy this gives us, even in the midst of difficulties and trials! “Thou hast put gladness in my heart.” The best that the world can give us is corn and wine, staples of a luxurious living. You can smile when you belly is full of food and your cup is full of wine, making glad the heart of man. But do not build anything on that gladness. It only lasts until the crops fail and the economy drops. When the LORD lifts our hearts with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then there is gladness that is overwhelming and eternal! It will fill all your real needs, even if the corn and wine fail.

We have peace. There is terrible anxiety in the hearts and lives of many today over their jobs, stocks, and future. They worry and worry and maybe cannot sleep at night. Those who have the light of God’s countenance upon them have peace. The Psalmist says, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. When you know that all your needs are fulfilled, you are at peace. If you know that God is for you, who then could ever be against you? God did not spare his only begotten Son but gave him up for me; what can then be against me? No, all things work together for good unto those that love God. We can sing:

In God’s love abiding, I have joy and peace, More than all the wicked, though their wealth increase. In his care confiding, I will safely sleep, for the Lord my Savior, will in safety keep.” (Psalter #7, Stanza 3

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Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter - May 2020

Limerick Reformed Fellowship
Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland
http://www.limerickreformed.com/ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Thursday, May 7, 2020

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

In this newsletter I want to go back to happier times, before the current upheaval in church and state, although the happier times seem but distant memories now. In the last newsletter, 17 December 2019, I mentioned our plans to go to Australia.

The journey to Australia was long (bus trip from Limerick to Dublin, flight from Dublin to Amsterdam, second flight from Amsterdam to Singapore, and, finally, a third flight from Singapore to Brisbane). I am sorry that we could not visit the saints in Singapore; our layover was not long enough. Singapore airlines offer a wonderful service, by the way. Perhaps they need to do that in order to make such long flights bearable. Although I survived the flight to Singapore, my heart sank when realization hit that we had another flight of over eight hours to Brisbane. Nevertheless, we arrived safely, for which we thank the Lord.

Dear friends, (Pastor) David and Ruth Torlach (Brisbane Evangelical Presbyterian Church), whom I have known from my seminary days, were our gracious hosts in Australia. To see them again was a happy reunion: the only regret is that we did not see their children, who live in Tassie (Tasmania). Seth, with his wife Megan, was the exception: they came to Brisbane to attend the Youth Camp, and it was wonderful to see Seth again and meet his wife. David and Ruth welcomed us warmly and made us feel right at home the entire time that we were there.

MLMcgeown wallaby 2019Since David and I are both in the ministry and since we had not seen one another (except once) since our seminary days, we had a lot to talk about. I was greatly encouraged to be able to discuss the joys and sorrows of the ministry with a likeminded colleague. Ruth and Larisa also enjoyed chatting about the realities of being the wives of pastors. I discovered quite quickly that ministers the world over face the same basic issues; churches the world over have the same encouragements and discouragements; and the devil attacks churches across the world in very similar ways. How good it was to see the Lord’s work in different parts of His vineyard!

The main reason for our visit was the EPC Youth Camp, which is held every two years, and is hosted and organized by the youth of the different EPC congregations. This year the Brisbane youth hosted the camp in Minden, Queensland. The EPC youth camp is a much smaller and more intimate version of the Protestant Reformed YPC with about forty young people in attendance, with ages ranging from thirteen to the mid-twenties. They were truly a beautiful group of godly, spiritually mature, enthusiastic, servant-hearted, and fun-loving young people! Ruth Torlach and her sisterin-law, Sue Higgs, were the caterers, while the young people led devotions, served the food, and cleaned up afterwards. There was a lot of time for team games, swimming (when the temperatures hit the mid 30’s Celsius or mid 90’s Fahrenheit a pool is a must!), chatting, fellowship, and even wildlife exploration. Larisa and I even got an air-conditioned room. Speaking of wildlife, contrary to reports, not all the fabulous Australian fauna is deadly. One boy brought me an Australian tree frog, while another teenage boy caught a possum, which he cornered in a cupboard, and David showed me a rhinoceros beetle.

My role was camp speaker. Over the seven days of the camp I gave seven speeches/sermons on the Armour of God from Ephesians 6, instruction that the young people enthusiastically received. On Thursday, word got out that I planned a test to see how much the young people had learned and understood, so the young people started cramming for the quiz that I prepared. They took the test very seriously, huddling in corners, poring over their notes, and begging me for clues. The test was “Military Graduation Exercises,” in which the teams had to answer questions on the Armour of God to demonstrate that they were ready to deploy the various pieces of armour described in the speeches. The exam ended with a sword drill to test their ability to find passages in the Scriptures. None of the young people had any cause for embarrassment, for they all performed extremely well and duly graduated as “Christian soldiers.”

Another highlight of the visit to Australia was the privilege afforded to me to preach in Brisbane EPC for two consecutive Sundays. It was wonderful to meet the congregation, lead them in worship, and fellowship in their homes. The EPC uses the same Psalter as the Limerick Reformed Fellowship, the Scottish Metrical Version. Their order of worship is also almost identical to ours in Limerick, so I felt quite at home. Since December/January is the Australian summer, the other church activities (Bible studies, catechism, young people’s meetings, etc.) were not taking place, which gave the Torlachs lots of time to show us the sights of Brisbane and beyond.

Mcgeown lizard 2019When we arrived at the EPC worship place (Mount Ommaney Special School) I was surprised and fascinated to see a large lizard, an Australian water dragon, about the size of a small dog, sitting on the pathway. I was informed that such lizards are common: they run around freely and they are quite familiar with humans. I saw many such lizards in Australia (including geckos that gathered around a light outside the Torlachs’ house), and on one occasion David caught a lizard and gave it to me to hold it. In addition, we saw koalas, kangaroos, parrots, bats, kookaburras, and cane toads. The latter are a pest species, but I still found them interesting. We swam in the ocean, visited a mountain forest retreat (O’Reilly’s), explored the city of Brisbane, and visited the
famous Australia Zoo to see crocodiles and many other creatures.

All in all it was a wonderful trip, which gave us greater appreciation for the saints in Australia. It was difficult to bid the Torlachs farewell, but we had people in Limerick eagerly awaiting our return. In the next newsletter, I will get back to reporting about Limerick, which, as I write, is under a “lockdown” order, so that we have not met for public worship since March 22. Therefore, as a lot of you are doing, we have had to be creative to get the Word out.

In Christian love, Rev. Martyn and Larisa McGeown

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Reformed News Asia - April 2020

 
Issue 59
Pamphlets

We print pamphlets written by our members and those from other Reformed churches of like-minded faith. They include a wide range of topics from doctrines to church history and practical Christian living. These pamphlets serve to promote knowledge of the true God as expressed in the Reformed faith.
NEWPamphlet!
Questions in the Bible - Genesis
By Rev Andrew Lanning & Prof Hermon Hanko

This project was inspired by 'Pastoral Voice' written by Rev. Andy Lanning for CERC in Oct 13-Jan 14 which covered 6 questions in Genesis.

There are many questions within the Bible, 2,540 to be exact.

The Christian Literature Ministry has shortlisted and compiled a list of them based on certain criteria:

i) Can be linked to Christ
ii) Significant in history of church
iii) Spiritual lesson for us
iv) A question we may also ask

After 6 years of effort, 12 books of the bible have been completed. In addition to the 6 meditations from Rev. Lanning, the writers are: Prof. Herman Hanko, Rev. Richard Smit and Rev. Cory Griess. We are grateful for their labour of love.

May you benefit spiritually from the meditations, and pray with us that gradually we may compile more meditations from questions in other books of the Bible.

The first pamphlet from Genesis can be found by clicking the picture above. 


Click hereto view our catalogue of pamphlets.

Click here to make an order.

All pamphlets are free. CERC reserves some discretion regarding large orders and/or orders from those outside Singapore.
 
Featured Book
For local orders (S'pore), please contact Ms Daisy Lim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For international orders, click here.
For God's Glory and the Church's Consolation
by Ronald L. Cammenga
 

From the RFPA website:

Among Reformed Christians, the celebration of the anniversary of the Synod of Dordt (1618–19) is second only to the commemoration of the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Indeed, marking the anniversary of the “great synod,” as it soon was called, is commemoration of the Reformation. For mainly Dordt’s accomplishment was the preservation of the gospel of God’s sovereign grace, which was restored to the church through the Reformation.

The Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary held a conference to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of the Synod of Dordt. For God’s Glory and the Church’s Consolation includes all the presentations made at this conference, plus a bit more. The book explores the heritage that faithful Reformed churches ought to esteem, as that heritage was defended and handed down by the Synod of Dordt.

The chapters included in this book are written by: Rev. Angus Stewart, Prof. Brian Huizinga, Rev. Mark Shand, Prof. Douglas Kuiper, Rev. William Langerak, Prof. Ronald Cammenga, and Prof. Barrett Gritters. 

 
Audio Recordings
Click to listen to the sermons by Prof Russell Dykstra on Lord's Supper Day:

No Greater Love
Delighting in the Fairest
 
Upcoming Events!
 
Save the date!

21 24 Dec 2020 - Church Camp 2020
 
 
Past Events...
 
Prof & Mrs Dykstra 

We were very glad to welcome Prof & Mrs Dykstra to Singapore for 2 weeks. We thank God for bringing them here into our midst and appreciate their work and time here. We hope they had an enjoyable time here!
 
 
 
 
Prof & Mrs Dykstra at a dinner fellowship organised by Follow-Up Committee
 
CERC Activities (March - April)

Due to the current situation, most activities for these months have been cancelled or postponed. Singapore's "Circuit Breaker" restriction has also been extended to 1 June 2020. Worship services and meet-ups have been brought online. We thank God for this means and we continue to pray for God's guidance and His will for the days ahead. 
 
Notes
 
Salt Shakers
 

Salt Shakers is a bi-monthly magazine published by the youth in Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC). Included in each issue are writings pertaining to bothReformed doctrine and practical theology. Contributors to Salt Shakers include our pastor, youth and members of CERC, and pastors and professors from the Protestant Reformed Churches in America. Salt Shakers also features articles from the Standard Bearer and other Reformed publications. Click here to access.

 
Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church
We are a Reformed Church that holds to the doctrines of the Reformation as they are expressed in the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt.

Lord’s Day services on Sunday at 930 am & 2 pm • 11 Jalan Mesin, #04-00, Standard Industrial Building, Singapore 368813 • www.cerc.org.sg 
 
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