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Daily devotional

March 22 - The victory that overcomes the world

“And the LORD threw them into a panic before Israel, who struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.” - Joshua 10:10 Scripture reading: Joshua 10:6-11 The Holy Spirit opens our eyes here to the way things are in the conflict between the church and the world. The bottom line, if you want to say it that way, is that though the world attacks us because we are not of the world, the war is actually between God and the world. That’s reflected in the way the Spirit describes the battle. On the one hand, He says Joshua and the army marched all night and came upon the Amorite armies suddenly. At the same time, He says the LORD threw the Amorite armies into a panic. That means that the LORD used what we might call the powers of nature, to terrify the Amorites. (see also e.g. I Samuel 7:10-11, Psalm 77:13-20) And then it says that Israel struck the Amorites with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by way of the ascent of Beth-Horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. But the footnote says that we could also translate this way: He - the LORD - Who struck them and chased them all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. It seems like two contradictory accounts: the LORD did it and Israel did it. But both are true. Israel had to fight, but the LORD was fighting for them. The battle belongs to the LORD, but we must put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), and overcome the world by faith (I John 5:5-6). Suggestions for prayer: Pray that the Holy Spirit will make you fully confident that the battle belongs to the LORD and that He will enable you to fight against the devil, the world and your own flesh in that confidence. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 21 - The Lord’s friend is their enemy

“Come up to me and help me, and let us strike Gibeon. For it has made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel.” - Joshua 10:4  Scripture reading: Joshua 10:1-5 We don’t know how much military or strategic sense this attack made, or what those kings were hoping to achieve from a strategic point of view by attacking Gibeon. But the author of Joshua says they didn’t attack Gibeon for military reasons, or for strategic reasons. They did it for spiritual reasons. Notice what Adoni-Zedek said: We have to attack Gibeon because they made peace with Joshua, and with the people of Israel. The name of Joshua was bound up with everything the LORD was doing, to judge the nations and to give their land to Israel as an inheritance. And in their minds, when Gibeon made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel, Gibeon became their enemy. The Spirit is showing us again how the world instinctively reacts when God enters the world to bring salvation. The world reacts with hatred and violence to the church and to anyone or anything that seems to be connected in any way to the name of Jesus Christ. And whatever differences there are between the West, Islam and communism, they’re united in their hatred for Christ and in their warfare against Him and His people. This is how the world reacts to anyone who identifies himself, or in their eyes seems to identify himself with Jesus Christ. It doesn’t always make very much sense, logically speaking. It’s actually irrational. But this is what it’s all about; we shouldn’t be surprised and we should remember the history of Joshua and the history of Jesus. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to recognize that the world’s hatred for the church is rooted in its instinctive response to Jesus and to strengthen our faith by the gospel that God has triumphed over our enemies in Him. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 20 - Who shall dwell on God’s holy hill?

“Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right.” - Psalm 15:1b-2a Scripture reading: Psalm 15:1-12  Today is our day of worship. When we worship, we enjoy fellowship with God. But Psalm 15 says that only the blameless may have fellowship with God and that might make you wonder whether you have the right to enter His presence in worship. That’s because we think that blameless means sinless. But if you look the word up in a concordance, you’ll find out that David, Noah and Job were blameless, and some who are called upright in the sight of God and righteous. Since the Bible says that every person is conceived and born in sin, the Spirit can’t be saying that these people were sinless. We know from the Bible that Noah got drunk; Job demanded that Lord explain Himself to him and Zechariah didn’t believe the angel Gabriel who told him that he and Elizabeth were going to have a son. So blameless doesn’t mean sinless. In the Bible, blameless means, trusting in God’s Word and seeking Him with all your heart. It means, living in repentance for your sin, claiming God’s forgiveness for the sake of Christ’s death and seeking to live the holy life that David describes here in Psalm 15 – the life God gives you through faith in Christ. If you are a sincere believer, if you live by faith in the promises that the triune God made to you when you were baptized, you have peace with God and stand in grace. You are welcome to enter the presence of God in worship. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that in Christ, He has opened the way for you to worship Him with a clear conscience today and to live with Him forever. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 19 - People loved the darkness rather than the light

“As soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction … and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel … he feared greatly.” - Joshua 10:1-2a  Scripture reading: Joshua 10:1-5 We’re not sure how much difference it makes why the king of Jerusalem responded the way he did to the news that the Gibeonites had made peace with Israel, but the writer of Joshua obviously thought that was an important part of the story. The Holy Spirit keeps coming back to this in the book of Joshua, how the Canaanite kings and their people responded to the news of what the LORD did to Jericho and to Ai, and before that, to Sihon and Og on the far side of the Jordan. They’re always afraid. On the one hand, we say, of course, those people were afraid when they heard what the LORD had done. The foundations of their world were shaking. This is how the world naturally feels and responds when God comes into their land and into their world, so to speak. They don’t welcome the arrival of this righteous and almighty God. It terrifies them. But they don’t surrender. Of all the people in Canaan, it seems like Rahab was the only one who repented and believed. The overwhelming response is fear and hostility. Jesus explains this natural response to God in John 3: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. This is the suicidal impulse of the guilty conscience: to fight God rather than repent of sin. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His sovereign grace, by which you were brought to repentance and faith in Jesus, so that you would not perish, but have eternal life. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 18 - Every knee shall bow

“But Joshua made them that day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD, to this day, in the place that he should choose.” - Joshua 9:27  Scripture reading: Joshua 9:22-27 Look at what God did for these lying Gibeonites. The people of Israel wanted to wipe them out, but Joshua delivered the Gibeonites out of the hand of the people of Israel. In His sovereign goodness, God let these deceivers live and stay in their cities. In that respect, we might be inclined to say that their lie paid off. But Joshua made them day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD, to this day, in the place that He should choose. Don’t just skip over that. The Gibeonites were allowed to live, even though they didn’t repent and believe in Israel’s God. But throughout their generations, they cut wood and drew water that was used in the worship of the LORD. Paul says in Philippians 2 that when Jesus comes again, every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. This is a picture and a promise of what will happen on that day. Not every knee will bow in worship; not every tongue will confess His Name with joy. The world will still hate Him. Just like it says in Revelation 16, in spite of experiencing the wrath of God, the world refuses to repent. But willingly or not, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is LORD to the glory of God the Father. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to haste the day when we will see the whole world kneel before Jesus and hear every tongue confess that He is Lord and to give you faith to live in expectation of that day. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 17 - Love your enemies and do good

“… the leaders said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel, and now we may not touch them.”” - Joshua 9:19  Scripture reading: Joshua 9:16-21 In light of this passage, we can make a point about how we need to do what we promise. That’s an encouragement we definitely need to hear. But we can also understand why the people felt like they had plenty of reasons to break their word and wipe out the deceptive Gibeonites. But they had sworn their oath in the Name of the LORD. That was the great issue: the glory of the Name of the LORD. God glorifies His Name in the salvation of His people. He makes us live a new kind of life in the midst of the world. He redeems slaves through the blood of His Son and He puts His Spirit in those slaves, writing His law on our hearts, to show that we are sons of God that we might display the heart and the character of God. We carry God’s Name in the world. The morality and the lifestyle of God’s people are the salt of the earth. It is the light that God sets in the darkness. The congregation wanted to attack Gibeon and wipe them out because they had been cheated; they had been deceived and they wanted to make the Gibeonites pay. That’s natural. We want revenge too when someone cheats us or deceives us. But standing up for your own rights and taking revenge is not the culture of the kingdom. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace and humility to do good to those who hate you, to pray for those who abuse you, to turn the other cheek to those who strike you and to love your enemies. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 16 - When pride comes, then comes disgrace

“So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD.” - Joshua 9:14  Scripture reading: Joshua 9:3-15 The men of Israel who first met the Gibeonites and brought them to Joshua seemed to be suspicious of these people. The Gibeonites, however, appeared to be humble, claiming they wanted to make a covenant because they had heard about what the LORD had done. They showed them their dry bread, their burst wineskins and their worn-out clothes and sandals. But the men who spoke with them didn’t ask counsel from the LORD. That’s a criticism. The Holy Spirit wants to make sure that we recognize the failure of Joshua and the leaders of Israel. We don’t know why Joshua didn’t ask the LORD for counsel, but it sure looks like pride The Holy Spirit is saying to us, Joshua was great, but he isn’t the Joshua that Israel really needs. He didn’t have the wisdom, or the humility, to rely entirely on the help of the LORD. Our Joshua was a wise and humble Saviour. The gospels tell us how frequently and passionately He sought the Father’s help in prayer and submitted Himself to His Father’s will. Notice that the LORD didn’t send any angels to warn Joshua about the mistake he was about to make. He did that for Joseph (Matthew 1:20). But sometimes, when we’re about to make a mistake, the LORD lets us do it. It is as if to say, You know what I told you. You have a choice to make, but you will be held accountable for the choice you make. Suggestions for prayer:  Thank the Lord for the faithful and obedient Saviour He provided for you in Jesus Christ. Ask God to give you the humility to simply obey His Word and to follow the Spirit’s direction. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 15 - Deception rather than repentance

“Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the LORD your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan.” - Joshua 9:8b-10a Scripture reading: Joshua 9:1-15 A whole group of Canaanite kings gathered together to fight against Israel because they heard what happened to Jericho and to Ai. When the Gibeonites approached Joshua to ask him to enter into a covenant with them, they didn’t mention Jericho or Ai, but they had certainly heard about what happened to them. That’s what prompted them to make a covenant with Israel. They had undoubtedly heard about Rahab and how Israel treated her. When Rahab, along with everyone in that part of the world, heard what God had done in Egypt and on the other side of the Jordan, she repented and put her faith in Israel’s God. According to their promise, Israel spared her and her family when Jericho was destroyed. That was also known in Canaan. The Gibeonites seemed to realize that there was no hope in fighting Israel. They didn’t want to be destroyed, like Jericho and Ai, but they didn’t want to repent like Rahab, either. So they exploited Israel’s faithfulness and God’s mercy by tricking Joshua into making a covenant with them. We confess that our neighbours may be won for Christ by our godly walk of life and we should pray that they will be. But we shouldn’t be surprised – or discouraged - when sometimes, our neighbours want to share in the benefit of the life Christ has created among us without turning to Him in repentance and faith. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to use your godly walk of life to win your neighbours for Christ and to help you persevere in seeking to lead them to salvation in Him. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 14 - Disguised hatred is still hatred

“…when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning” - Joshua 9:3b,4a  Scripture reading: Joshua 9:1-6 The Bible says that God put enmity between the offspring of the serpent and the offspring of the woman; the Lord Jesus told His disciples that the world would hate them as it had hated Him; Paul told Timothy that all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. The world hates the church, but its hatred isn’t always shown in open hostility. The opening verses of Joshua 9 tell us that the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites gathered together as one to fight against Joshua and Israel. In other words, those people showed their enmity by getting ready for war. The Gibeonites showed their enmity toward Israel in a different way: when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning. Until recently, the church in the West has not faced open opposition or persecution, but we have nonetheless been under assault from the world in the constant enticement to pursue “the good life” as our culture defines it, the life we receive from the gods of pleasure, power, money, technology and science. The Holy Spirit has told us that the world will hate us and we should believe Him. We should recognize the world’s propaganda for what it is: a cunning strategy to undermine our faith and our commitment to live by faith in the only true God. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to help you believe that the world hates you, to recognize its hatred even when it is disguised and to live only by faith in God’s promises. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 13 - God calls his people to worship him before the world

“…they offered on it burnt offerings to the LORD and sacrificed peace offerings. And there, in the presence of the people of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written.” - Joshua 8:31b-32  Scripture reading: Joshua 8:30-35 The altar Joshua built on Mount Ebal wasn’t the first altar to Yahweh in this part of Canaan. Both Abram (Genesis 12:6-8) and Jacob (Genesis 33:18-20) built altars to Him at Shechem, which is right between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. That history was probably one of the reasons the LORD chose this place for this worship service. Geography was another reason: Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim were also close to the very centre of the land of Canaan. He said, “I want you to go to that place, in the heart of this land, where Abram and Jacob confessed their faith and set up an altar to Yahweh. In public worship, I want you to testify before all the gods and all the people of Canaan that Yahweh has done all that He promised, that He has given you this land as an inheritance and that the worship of His Name has been established in the land.” In the shadow of the stones on which Joshua had written the law of God, Israel showed their thankfulness to Yahweh by offering burnt offerings and rejoiced in their fellowship with Him by offering peace offerings. This is what our worship today is all about: before the world and in the company of His people, we will offer ourselves to Him in thankfulness and commit ourselves to live in obedience to Him, because He is our God and we are His people, and in Christ, He has redeemed us and given us an eternal inheritance. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to help you worship the Lord in thankfulness, to consciously and intentionally present yourself to Him as a living sacrifice and to sincerely submit your life to His Word. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 12 - God calls his people to confess him before the world

“At that time Joshua built an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded … “an altar of uncut stones, upon which no man has wielded an iron tool.”” - Joshua 8:30-31a Scripture reading: Joshua 8:30-35 You could compare the ceremony that’s recorded here at the end of Joshua 8 to a public profession of faith. In our tradition as Reformed churches, pretty well from the moment they’re baptized, parents and elders and ministers are leading the children of the congregation to make a profession of their faith. In their baptism, God has shown and confirmed His covenant commitment to them and as His covenant partners, He expects our children to commit themselves to Him, to believe His promises, to walk in His ways and to confess Him before a watching world. That’s what this ceremony is about. In Deuteronomy 11:29, Moses said, “When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, you shall set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal.” And in his instructions in Deuteronomy 27:12, Moses told them that they had to do all of these things on the day they crossed over the Jordan. Moses didn’t mean, literally, “Hold this worship service on the first day you get into Canaan.” He meant, “The LORD wants you to do this as soon as you can.” You might say that Israel had been headed toward Mt. Ebal pretty well from the moment they entered the land of Canaan. As soon as they could, in response to the proof of God’s commitment to them, they answered Him with their public commitment, to walk with Him in covenant fellowship, namely, in repentance, faith and obedience. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to be ready to profess your faith in God and your commitment to Him, both privately and publicly, in response to the faithfulness and mercy He has shown you, above all, in the gift of salvation through Christ. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 11 - God lures his enemies to their destruction

“And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city, and that the smoke of the city went up, then they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. And the others came out from the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. And Israel struck them down, until there was left none that survived or escaped.” - Joshua 8:21-22 Scripture reading: Joshua 8:10-29 It’s confusing for us to follow the action of Israel’s battle with Ai, but God commanded Israel to use a strategy that involved deceit. Joshua and the soldiers in front of the city had to pretend to run away when the soldiers of Ai came out after them and 5,000 soldiers, lying in ambush, ran into the city and captured it. Our holy and truthful God told Joshua to deceive Ai. That’s our God: He lets our enemies rush to their own destruction; in fact, He lures them into doing that. When our enemies think they’re going to finish us off, God has them right where He wants them. Goliath was offended when David was sent out against him, all alone, with only his staff and a sling. And David brought him down. Satan and Jesus’ enemies thought they would destroy Jesus by getting Him crucified. But they destroyed themselves. In Revelation 20, Jesus showed John how Satan will be released and will deceive the nations to gather them for battle against the church. With their number like the sand of the sea, they surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them. That’s the way God works. Right now, our enemies are growing strong, on every side. But that doesn’t mean the end for us. Because God will use their pride, their presumption, their thirst for our blood, to lead them to their own destruction. And their destruction is our salvation. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to use this story, and others like it, to encourage you as you see the enemies of the church and the gospel growing in strength, and to help you stand firm in faith in spite of the way things seem to be going. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 10 - We receive our inheritance in the way of humble faith 

“Joshua chose 30,000 mighty men of valor and sent them out by night. And he commanded them, Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind it.” - Joshua 8:3b-4 Scripture reading: Joshua 8:3-9 Strictly speaking, the LORD didn’t need a strategy, or Israel’s fighting men, to defeat Ai. The purpose of the strategy was not first of all to win the battle, but to show Israel what He is like and to teach them how to receive their promised inheritance. The way Joshua and Israel approached Ai the first time showed that they had forgotten those things. They lost the battle against Ai because God wasn’t with them, and God wasn’t with them because they hadn’t asked Him to go with them. They thought that they could defeat Ai without His help. But the way God’s people defeat their enemies and receive the inheritance God has promised is by living from day to day, in complete reliance on the Lord and in close communion with Him. Without God, you can’t defeat the weakest enemy and you won’t know the way you have to go. The way of salvation is the way of faith, the way of prayer, of dependence on God and of careful obedience to His will. Unlike Joshua, that’s what Jesus did: He prayed regularly and fervently because He needed to. You might think that if anyone could make it on His own, it would have been Jesus, the Son of God. But His confession was, “I have come to do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7). That’s the kind of Saviour we need – a Saviour Who knows what God is like and leads us in the way that will bring us to live in fellowship with Him. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the faithful leadership and instruction of the Lord Jesus and pray that the Spirit would help you to live by humble faith in God. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 9 - Repentance leads to reconciliation

“And the LORD said to Joshua, Do not fear and do not be dismayed.” - Joshua 8:1a Scripture reading: Joshua 8:1-2 We have a chapter division separating what it says at the end of chapter 7 and what the LORD says at the beginning of chapter 8, but the one comes right after the other. It goes like this: Then the LORD turned from His burning anger. Therefore, to this day, the name of that place is called the valley of Achor. And the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear, and do not be dismayed” (Joshua 8:1). That’s God. When He proclaimed His Name to Moses, the LORD said, I am merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but I will by no means clear the guilty. When Israel broke faith with regard to the devoted things, the LORD said, I will be with you no more unless you destroy the devoted things from among you. When Israel punished Achan, that was an act of national repentance. And as soon as Israel had repented of her sin, God said to Joshua, Do not fear and do not be dismayed. That’s God: when the guilty repent, He does what we find so hard, almost impossible to do: He forgives our sin, and the relationship is restored. We are reconciled to Him. That’s what God has shown us in Jesus Christ. If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O LORD, who could stand? But with You, there is forgiveness, that You may be feared. Suggestions for prayer Praise God for His mercy and His readiness to forgive you and receive you for the sake of Jesus Christ, as often as you accept the promise of the gospel. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 8 - History that prophesies

“And the LORD said to Joshua, Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land.” - Joshua 8:1 Scripture reading: Joshua 8:1-2 When God gave us His Word, the Holy Spirit used many of the kinds of literature that you find in human writing. There’s poetry and wisdom literature; there’s apocalypse, where God reveals the future to us with strange images; there are biographies and letters and there’s history. Those are all human literary forms. But the Bible is God’s inspired Word that proclaims the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ and so these human literary forms have a special character. We would characterize the book of Joshua as history, but the Old Testament church called it prophecy because it doesn’t just tell us facts about things that God and His people did as Israel entered the Promised Land. Old Testament history prophesies: it proclaims and foreshadows God’s work of salvation in Jesus Christ. So as we read what is recorded in Joshua 8, we shouldn’t think that this is here just so that everything turned out alright, because Israel eventually managed to defeat Ai, and they really made them pay for what happened the first time. The story of Israel’s victory at Ai tells us Who God is and how we can expect Him to deal with us. It shows us how we can claim the inheritance of eternal life that He has promised us in Jesus Christ. Our times, our circumstances and our calling are in many ways different from Israel’s. But God is the same. The way of salvation is the same for us as it was for them – by grace and through faith. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what Old Testament history is teaching us about the character and ways of God, how it foreshadows the coming and the saving ministry of Christ, so that you may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 7 - Our God is a consuming fire

“And Joshua said, Why did you bring trouble on us? The LORD brings trouble on you today. And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.” - Joshua 7:25  Scripture reading: Joshua 7:16-26 When Achan finally confessed what he had done, he and his family were stoned to death and their bodies burned. Achan had identified himself with the city that was under God’s curse and so he suffered a cursed death. We want to know why his whole family had to die for Achan’s sin. Does that mean that they knew about the gold and silver and the clothes hidden under their tent? Why would God say that they had to die? And where did they go when they died – did they go to heaven? The Holy Spirit doesn’t really answer our questions. But He lays the story of Rahab and the story of Achan beside each other, and the message of God’s righteousness is clear. Rahab was a pagan, a prostitute, but when she put her faith in Israel’s God, she and her whole family were spared from the judgement that fell on Jericho. They came to share in the inheritance as members of the people of God. Achan and his family were God’s covenant children, heirs of the promise, but when they broke faith with God, they came under the same judgment that Jericho did. John writes, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (I John 2:15,17). Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see and remember that “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life - is not from the Father, but is from the world”, and to help you to love Him with heart, soul and mind. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 6 - The Lord’s throne is in heaven 

“The LORD is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face.” - Psalm 11:7  Scripture reading: Psalm 11:1-7 We don’t know what situation is reflected in Psalm 11. It sounds like Israel was going through some kind of a crisis and David’s throne and life were in danger. Some of David’s friends and advisors believed that Israel was on the brink of a real disaster. The foundations were being destroyed, and there was nothing the righteous could do; it was time for him to run. In the West, the moral and social foundations are being destroyed. Psalm 11 asks us, How do we respond to what’s going on? Are we anxious, panicked? Or are we comforted by God’s promises? There are times when we need to run away from danger. David ran away when Saul was trying to kill him and when Absalom tried to steal the throne. But this time, for whatever reason, he said, I’m not going to run. And when he was convinced that he couldn’t run away from the danger that he faced at that moment in his life, David found courage to stay by lifting up his eyes and remembering the truth about his life and how things really are: The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven. Sunday is a special blessing for God’s people in these times. In worship, the LORD reminds us that His throne is in heaven! And we are comforted in the knowledge that whatever happens to us, the LORD is upright and the upright shall surely behold His face! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to help you overcome your fears and anxieties by encouraging you to lift up your eyes from what people are doing in your life and in this world, to Him, remembering that nothing can separate you from His love, which is yours in Christ Jesus. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 5 - Judgement day

“And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.” - Joshua 7:18  Scripture reading: Joshua 7:16-22 You need to think about the way God exposed Achan’s sin. He conducted the investigation, so to speak. And He did it in front of the whole nation. We don’t know exactly how it happened, but it sounds like they cast the lot. By casting the lot, they called on God to judge. Think of what God is showing us here. Early in the morning, the whole congregation of Israel stood before the LORD to be judged. This is as real as it gets. This is a picture of judgement day. We tend to think of ourselves and the things we do in terms of what other people know about us or think about us. We miss the boat altogether. The Spirit says to us here, You live before the face of God and He is your Judge. Hebrews 4 says, No creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account. Step by step, the circle grew smaller and smaller. And finally, only Achan was left. You have to wonder why he didn’t step forward and just admit what he had done. Maybe he kept hoping, kept fooling himself that he wouldn’t be found out. But even when God exposed him as the guilty one, he didn’t confess. That’s the stubborn nature we all inherited from Adam and Eve. We think that confessing our sin is suicide. In fact, it’s the only way to save our lives. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you that you live before the face of God, that you are naked and exposed to the eyes of the One to Whom you must give account, and to help you live a life of integrity. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 4 - God’s wrath on a covenant child

“He who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.” - Joshua 7:15 Scripture reading: Joshua 7:10-15 Joshua had asked the LORD, “What will You do for Your great Name?” (Joshua 7:9). That was a good question, because that is the heart of the matter when it comes to our salvation. God saves sinful people for the glory of His Name. But Joshua asked the right question for the wrong reason, you might say. We can be extremely thankful that God has chosen to glorify Himself by showing grace to sinful people like us, by saving unsaveable people. But we should never let ourselves imagine that being a church member somehow makes us immune from God’s judgement. God glorifies His Name by showing grace to repentant and believing sinners, not by tolerating spiritual adultery. James says, Friendship with the world is enmity with God. Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. We make a mockery of His Name if we become unfaithful and live in friendship with the world. Then we cannot expect God’s blessing, but His curse. The world is our enemy and we cannot stand before our enemy. We cannot defend ourselves from the world, much less overcome the world, as long as we live in friendship with the world. To love the world is to do an outrageous thing and transgress the covenant of the Lord. It makes us the enemies of God and we will fall, along with the world, under His wrath. Then God will defend the glory of His Name by justly judging us. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God will keep you and all His people from wishing to be friends of the world, and that He will help you to seek the glory of His Name by your complete devotion to Him. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 3 - Repentance is a condition of fellowship with God

“I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.” - Joshua 7:12b Scripture reading: Joshua 7:2-13  Joshua didn’t know what had happened, but when God didn’t go with Israel’s soldiers when they went to fight against Ai, he tore his clothes and put dust on his head and fell on his face before the ark of the Lord, together with the elders. It never occurred to him that it might be Israel’s fault. He pointed the finger at God, Why have You brought these people over the Jordan, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? The LORD was having none of that. He told Joshua, Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? There’s a special stress there on you: Joshua, you of all people should know better than this! Do you really think that I would break My Word? This didn’t happen because I broke My promise. Israel has sinned; they have transgressed My covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. That’s why they can’t stand before their enemies: because they have become devoted to destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you. Israel had committed adultery and there was only one way to restore the relationship and receive their inheritance in the promised land: repentance, and just judgement. We cannot live in fellowship with God unless we are cleansed of our unfaithfulness. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord that He calls you to repentance and provides atonement for your sin and an open door to life with God, through the death of Jesus Christ. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 2 - What fellowship has light with darkness? 

“… Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the LORD burned against the people of Israel.” - Joshua 7:1b  Scripture reading: Joshua 7:1 The Spirit identifies Achan in terms of his genealogy to underline the fact that he is a covenant child of God. But when he took some of the devoted things from Jericho, he identified himself with the city that was under God’s judgement. Achan was one of God’s holy people. He had the covenant promises; he had witnessed God’s great acts of salvation and he had an inheritance in Canaan. But what he had as a child of God wasn’t enough for him. He wanted what the world offered. That’s spiritual adultery. It’s when we’re surrounded by the evidence of God’s mercy and love, when we’ve tasted His goodness and we can see His judgement falling on the world, but we still want what the world has. Paul says in II Corinthians 6, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.” We usually think that he’s forbidding us to marry unbelievers, and he is. But he’s not only warning young people not to look for a boyfriend or a girlfriend in the world. He’s warning all of us not to identify with the world, to love the world, to want its life, even though as His children, we have everything in Christ and we can see that God is pouring out His wrath on the people and the culture around us. We can only stand firm against the temptation to love the world in the way of faith, being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we don’t see. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to be satisfied with God’s promises, to set your mind on the things that are above, not on things that are on earth and to put to death what is earthly in you. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

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