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Daily devotional

July 5 – Salvation through the obedience of the Savior

“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses My servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” – Joshua 1:7-8 Scripture reading: Joshua 1:1-9 Three times, the LORD told Joshua to be strong and courageous. In verses 7 and 8, He followed that charge with a command, to obey the law and to meditate on it day and night. He used the word, torah, which means, instruction. It includes the law, but it also includes covenant history. God joined His promise to His commands: Then you will make your way prosperous and you will have good success. When Joshua faced the fortified cities of Canaan, he would be tempted to believe that victory depended on his strategy, or on Israel’s military power. So God commanded him to meditate on His torah, to bolster his faith. In effect, He said, Read My Word with deep concentration; read it to yourself; and believe that it is for you. Then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. In other words, The salvation of My people depends on your faith and your obedience, Joshua. This is what He demanded of our Savior. And this is the gospel: He was perfectly obedient. “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Yeshua, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:8-11) Suggestions for prayer Praise God for the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ, Who lived a righteous life in your place, and poured out His blood to pay for your sin. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Wynia is the pastor of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, Ontario....

Daily devotional

July 4 – Only be strong and courageous

Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous. – Joshua 1:6-7a Scripture reading: Joshua 1:1-9 God gave Joshua an impossible task: “...you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.” Joshua’s experience as Moses’ assistant had equipped him for this tremendous responsibility. He had become a wise leader and a skillful general. But the heart of Joshua’s preparation to be Israel’s savior was witnessing first-hand how the LORD was with Moses and empowered him to win victories, to bring plagues, to open the Red Sea, to give the people manna and water from the rock. The LORD called Joshua to lead Israel in war. He was their general. But the LORD didn’t say, Study the geography; make sure you know all the strengths and the weaknesses of the nations that you’re going to go up against. He said, Joshua, this is My promise: You shall cause this people to inherit this land. Yes, this weak and fearful and thankless people! And those fortified cities that you see out there, and those giants that you saw when you spied out the land forty years ago, will not be able to stand against you. God only put one condition on His promise, the condition of faith and obedience: Only be strong and courageous. This is the heart of his responsibility and the key to his success as Israel’s savior. Just like it was for our Joshua, Who by His faith and obedience caused us to inherit the land and the life God has sworn to give us. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to God that by grace, through faith, you are a child of God for Christ’s sake and a fellow heir with Him. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Wynia is the pastor of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, Ontario....

Daily devotional

July 3 – Immanuel is our comfort

“Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” – Joshua 1:2b-5 Scripture reading: Joshua 1:1-9 It sounds as if the LORD was standing with Joshua, at a place where the whole land was spread out before them. And the LORD says, It’s all yours: every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you. God says it three times, in verses 2, 3 and 6. There it is. You only have to go and take it. Moses says in Deuteronomy 8 that Canaan was a paradise. There was plenty of water, wheat and barley, vines and fig trees and pomegranates and olive trees; there would be honey, and they would eat bread without scarcity. They would lack nothing. The stones were iron, and they could dig copper out of its hills. But the Jordan was at flood stage, running high and fast, overflowing its banks. And Joshua remembered the fortified cities and giants that were waiting for them. So, the promise was wonderful, but the idea of entering Canaan was intimidating. The LORD knew that Joshua needed encouragement. He said, “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave or forsake you.”That’s how we know that we will receive the inheritance that God has promised us: we have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it (Ephesians 1:13,14). Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the presence of the Holy Spirit in you, and pray that more and more, by His work, you may be confident of your inheritance in Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Wynia is the pastor of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, Ontario....

Daily devotional

July 2 – Not even Moses could save them

“Moses My servant is dead.” – Joshua 1:2 Scripture reading: Joshua 1:1-9 Moses’ name is mentioned three times in the first sentence of the book. He was the only leader the people had ever known. He had met with God and talked with Him, face to face. He had brought the good news of freedom from slavery in Egypt and he was God’s instrument of salvation, at the Red Sea and the entire way through the wilderness. And now he was gone. Israel had finally reached their destination, but after all the sorrows and frustrations of leading those thankless people through the wilderness, God wouldn’t let him enter Canaan. Yes, he had sinned. At Meribah, Moses made the worst mistake he could have made as a mediator. God wanted to show Israel His mercy and patience, but Moses was angry, and he misrepresented God. But Psalm 106:32,33 says that Israel angered God at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses on their account, for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rashly with his lips. The people were impossible. They were unsavable. Just like we are. That’s always the great obstacle to our salvation. Who can save us from our slavery to sin, and make us inherit eternal life? Jesus said, With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)That’s the answer: only God can save us. And in the name of Joshua, God promised Israel, and He promises us, that He will save us. Remember and believe: salvation is from the LORD. Suggestions for prayer Confess that you and your sin are the greatest obstacles to your salvation, and thank God that your salvation is from the LORD. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Wynia is the pastor of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, Ontario....

Daily devotional

July 1 - Introduction

How do we approach the book of Joshua, the story of the conquest of the promised land, the story of this great leader of Israel? The book is named after him, and his name is on every page.  He’s meant to be central in the story. His parents had called him, Hoshea.  Hoshea means, salvation.  But when Moses sent him to spy out the land of Canaan at Kadesh-Barnea along with eleven other men, he changed his name to Joshua.  Joshua means, salvation is from the LORD. That’s a promise; in fact, that’s the gospel.  And when the Lord sent His own Son into the world, He told Joseph and Mary to give Him that name, too. We think of Joshua as a history book.  But when the people of the old covenant described their Bible, there was no section called history books.  For them, it was simply, the Law, or the Law and the Prophets, or maybe, the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms, or the Writings. And they put Joshua into the section called, the Prophets. That’s how we have to understand the message of Joshua: salvation prophecy.  Biblically speaking, prophecy means, in the first place, telling the wonderful works of God to save His people, because God’s actions in the past shed light on the future, and how God is going to save His people in Jesus Christ.  So this book is the gospel of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through Joshua, and the gospel of the greater Joshua, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has defeated our enemies and causes us to receive the greater inheritance of a new heaven and a new earth. How can we be saved? Scripture reading: Joshua 1:1-9 There’s a lot of tension hanging over this opening passage of the book of Joshua.  In Genesis 13, the LORD promised Abraham that He would make his offspring as the dust of the earth and that He would give them the land of Canaan as their inheritance. 400 years later, Abraham’s offspring had become a nation that was growing in number, just like God had promised.  But the promise of the land was still unfulfilled.  Israel was standing on the border of the land at that moment.  If they climbed up one of the hills in the area, they could see the whole land, from north to south, and all the way out to the west, as far as the Mediterranean Sea. But they had been this close once before, forty years earlier, at Kadesh-Barnea.  That time, when they heard about the people who lived there and the fortified cities, they were afraid, and they started looking for someone to bring them back to Egypt.  What reason did Joshua have to think that this time things would go better than they had the first time?  The journey through the wilderness showed that Israel was an unbelieving, thankless, complaining people. There was no way that Israel would ever enter the land, and receive the inheritance God had promised them unless it was by grace and unless God did it for them.  And that was the gospel He proclaimed to them in the name of their leader: Joshua – salvation is from the LORD. Suggestions for prayer   Thank God that He has provided us with a salvation that is all His work, and that we receive by grace through faith. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Wynia is the pastor of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, Ontario....

Daily devotional

June 30 – You shall not live by bread alone

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of God. – Deut. 8:3 Scripture reading: Deut. 8 Why do churches reject God? We see the slow degradation of churches in our neighborhoods. People will give any number of causes: not following the confessions or the church order, or external causes like TV, cellphones, rock music, the internet, cultural degradation or secular universities. Ultimately these are symptoms. The central problem is that we have forgotten God, His statutes and His rules. We have forgotten the Word: our Lord Jesus Christ. We have grown rich and tell ourselves that we ourselves have brought about the peace and prosperity that we experience. We have left our Bible on the shelf, or interpret it so it no longer pierces our hearts. We’ve forgotten what God did for us in Jesus Christ. We no longer desire to fully seek and obey every word that comes from God. We’re starving for spiritual food and seek to fill that hunger with the filth of entertainment, with vague platitudes of loving and respecting everyone, or with comfort. God warns us in Deut. 8, “If you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish because you would not obey the voice of the Lord.” If you love God, you will dig deep into His Word and seek Him. GodHimself encourages you in this task, “Strengthen yourself and be of good courage.” May He be with you. Suggestions for prayer Repent of your failures to put the Word at the center of your life. Seek the bread of the Word of the Lord and the strength of the Spirit in comprehending and applying that Word. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveld is the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 29 – Elected unto victory

And when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. – Deut. 7:2 Scripture reading: Deut. 7:1-6 God lists seven nations “more numerous and mightier than you.” That is a fearful prospect, but God promises His help in taking the land. He will defeat their enemies. Why? Because they are His chosen people and a holy nation. You too are God’s holy people, His chosen nation, and are engaged in a battle against sin. The church also battles against the false ideologies that keep our neighbor in slavery. We can have confidence that God will use us to expand His glory. God promises to be with us. Since the World Wars, Orthodox churches in North America have been gloomy in their outlook on the future of the church. There is a sense that things will get worse and worse, and they have. Today, we fight against the lies of evolution, of homosexual activists, and of people within the church who give in to false ideologies. The church is failing in her calling. Deut. 7 reminds the church of the gracious electing purpose of God and should give her boldness in her mission. God promises to be with us in the task He calls us to. We now have maturity in Christ and know we are called to do this through a witness to our Lord Jesus, which means suffering. (We might lose our tax-exempt status, our Christian schools and our status in society.) It might even mean martyrdom. Remember Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:20, “Our God is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think according to the power at work within us.” Suggestions for prayer Pray that God may give us wisdom and confidence as we seek to stand before God and man as a witness to the righteousness of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveld is the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 28 – Elected unto obedience

You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today. – Deut. 7:11 Scripture reading: Deut. 7:6-16 God, Who elected us is faithful. If Israel had no reason to doubt God’s favor, we certainly do not need to doubt it. He has shown us favor by giving us the gift of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Not only this, but He gives us the Holy Spirit who awakens us so that we might work out our salvation with fear and trembling. The unending faithfulness and love of God should teach us to respond to God’s election of us with thanksgiving for such an immeasurable grace. He has chosen us as His holy people to be holy. If God has chosen us to do good, then He will also enable us to do good. However, our remaining sin troubles us. Then we need to remember why God elected us. It isn’t because of who we are or how good we are, but because of God’s good pleasure. We can be confident that we will ultimately overcome and remain faithful. Because He is a faithful God, He has given us a way of righteousness. Christ’s victory and the Spirit He sends to us, gives us the strength to do good. In this way, God’s election is fulfilled in our lives. The Holy Spirit helps us fight against our old sinful nature. It is the doctrine of election that gives us certainty in our war against sin. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God will continue to give strength in our war against indwelling sin. Pray for the assurance that comes from the Holy Spirit. Thank Him for the fullness of His almighty and powerful gift in Jesus Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveld is the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 27 – Election and God's character

The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. – Deut. 7:8 Scripture reading: Deut. 7:1-11 In telling us of his decree of election, God reveals His character. He is full of love and compassion. He is faithful and keeps His promises. He is just and will hold the guilty responsible for their offence against a Holy God. Because of His character God has chosen a people for Himself, a treasured possession. They have extreme value to God because of His covenant. Their value does not come from themselves, but is based on God’s own faithfulness and love. God gives them their value. He has not chosen them because they were greater and mightier than other nations. Absolutely not. They were slaves in Egypt after all, and are entering a land where there are seven nations greater and mightier than they are. The basis for Israel’s election is not in any value that they have. God chose them on the basis of His good pleasure. God chooses us according to His plan, based on His good and holy will. His plan may seem arbitrary, but we cannot know the ways of God. We do know how He has revealed Himself to us in the Scriptures, a just, holy and compassionate God. He has revealed the glorious doctrine of election so that we might have confidence that He will do what is necessary to bring His sons to glory. That gives us confidence as we live out our lives with fear and trembling. Our God is for us. Our response should be total thanksgiving and total devotion to our glorious God. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the assurance He gives us through revealing the doctrine of election. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveld is the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 26 – Covenantal allegiance

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. – Deut. 6:7 Scripture reading: Deut. 6:20-25 In verse seven, the move from a call to live according to the love of God, to the call to educate one’s children may be a bit jarring. This call is not merely the “evangelization” of one’s children, but it is connected to the call for all covenant people to fear Him. God is working with Israel so that, “You may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son”(v.2). You are to teach your children because the promise belongs to them as much as to you. There is a sense of a new creation here. God placed Adam and Eve in the garden so he could commune with them. He brought Israel through the baptism of the Red Sea for the same purpose. He brought a people out of Egypt and put them in a new garden, the Promised Land, so that He may dwell among them. In the same way, God brings us through the baptism of Christ, or the death and resurrection of Christ, so that He may create a new people. As Paul says, “You are a new creation.” and Peter, “You are a holy nation.” Just as children belonged to the holy nation of Israel, so children belong to the holy nation that is the church today. But we cannot presume our children’s salvation any more than we can presume our own. They need the regeneration of God. God has given them His promises and we are obligated to train our children up in the fear of the Lord. Suggestions for prayer Pray for your children and pray that God may give you all that you need in raising them in the fear of the Lord. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveldis the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 25 – Centered on God

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. – Deut. 6:5-6 Scripture reading: Deut. 6:4-9 God is one. He has one law, one Christ, one Spirit and one Bible. God calls us to worship Him in Spirit and Truth and to love His mercy and His justice. He calls us to love Him with heart, soul, and mind. With our heart: Our heart is our center; all things we do come from the heart, so it needs to be set on God. We can think of our heart as a compass. For accurate direction, the needle must be set toward the north. Our heart must always be directed toward God. We should be immersed in the Scriptures, the revelation of God, always seeking to obey it. With our soul: The soul refers to the whole animating force of the body and to all bodily action. To love God with our soul is to love Him with everything we do, to love God in the very way that we use our bodies. For example, when we stand at the beginning and end of worship, we honor God as we enter and leave His presence. With our mind: God teaches our hearts through the mind. We use our mind to contemplate God’s Word, to apply it to our lives, to judge those who live in disobedience to God and to judge those who teach heresy and error. In the freedom that Christ brings in the Spirit, the mind grows even more important in using the wisdom that comes from above to apply God’s Word. This is the way of flourishing. Suggestions for prayer Acknowledge your failure in loving God. We have all fallen short of God’s commands. We have only a small beginning of obedience to this, the greatest of all commands in this life. Seek God’s help in calibrating your life toward His righteousness. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveldis the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 24 – The only Holy God

Hear, Oh Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. – Deut. 6:4 Scripture reading: Deut. 6:1-6 There is more in these words than the assertion that God is one. If that was all this text was teaching, we might be left with the arbitrary God of the Muslims or the silent God of the Deists. The oneness of God reveals He is uniquely God, uniquely one in His love and promises to Israel. He is one in being and will. There is no contradiction or change in Him. There is no division or disagreement within Himself. We call this the simplicity of God. Any attribute of God describes the fullness of God. He is mercifully just. He is righteously loving. He is lovingly holy. The unique goodness of God, His constancy, His faithfulness, is something we can rely on. Those who claim that there are many ways to God, contradict the truth that God is one. God does not provide contradictory ways to Himself. In the Old Testament, the way was through the promise He gave to Abraham and through Israel, whom He set apart as holy. In the New Testament, that way is found in Christ. Israel was tempted by the teaching that there are many ways to God, just as we may be today. Remember the story of the golden calf? Israel had received the Ten Commandments and instead of waiting for God, they choose to directly contradict the second commandment. They set up an image of the Lord God, a golden calf. They replaced the center of God’s worship, drawing near to fellowship with God through sacrifice, with a golden calf. Suggestions for prayer Pray for growth in your relationship with the one true God. Seek His grace as you seek to love Yahweh before all other gods. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveld is the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 23 – God's prayer

Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever! – Deut. 5:29 Scripture reading: Deut. 5:22-33 The Lord sees that Israel’s request for a mediator comes out of a recognition of who He is and who they really are. The request is a humble one. Israel recognizes her weak and sinful nature and that she does not have any inherent right to speak to God. God praises her for that and He grants her a mediator. But God goes further; He reveals something about Himself in the wish that He expresses in verse 29. He desires that the same heart that responded in a proper fear of God on hearing His voice on the mountain, would continue in that fear and keep all His commandments. God’s prayer should be at the forefront of the minds of all those who are tempted to question their salvation. God is not an arbitrary God, willfully sending some to hell and some to heaven. He is a God of compassion and love, Who desires that those who are in covenant with Him might live out the commandments that He has given them. He is a loving Father, for all who are willing to humble themselves before Him, recognizing their rebellious nature. This is because God has made men to glorify and enjoy Him forever. The fact that God chooses out a people for Himself is rooted in His loving nature. He has proven this through the cross of Christ. Ask, and He will give. He offers the sacrifice of Christ and the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in the task of living as a Christian. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for how He reveals a disposition of love and kindness toward His people. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveld is the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 22 – Israel's prayer

For who is there of all flesh that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire as we have and has still lived? – Deut. 5:26 Scripture reading: Deut. 5:22-33, Hebrews 12:18-29 Israel is devastated. The unveiled Word is before them. They know that they cannot continue to stand before God and live. The leaders come to Moses as soon as God has finished and told him that if they continue listening to God, they will die. They need a mediator between God and their sinful flesh. God affirms their prayer. They have rightly understood their status before Him. They affirm God’s choice of Moses as mediator. He will pass on the words of God to Israel. But Moses prefigures someone far greater. In Christ, God will provide a Mediator Who brings us to Mt. Zion, where we may hear the Word of God in the light, not in the darkness and flame as Israel did. Our recognition of the holiness of God is often missing in the church today. People tell us that we can approach God in any way we want, but the advent of Christ makes this recognition of holiness more important. Christ brings us to a new intimacy with God, but Christ also calls us to come before Him having purified our hearts and prepared our hands and feet to approach His throne. This is done through a knowledge of our sin and the One who takes away our sin… and a desire to do His will. Israel’s fear is demonstrating the importance of preparing our hearts for worship. We are called to prepare and examine ourselves as we approach God on Sunday to hear the Word of God and to partake of the sacrament. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God may strengthen you as you approach Him both in your daily worship and your worship among the people of God. Acknowledge the Lord’s almighty works and His holiness. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveldis the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 21 – The unveiled word

These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. – Deut. 5:22 Scripture reading: Deut. 5:22-33 You are going to church at a mountain. You approach, but not too close. You’ve been warned against touching the mountain. You probably wouldn’t want to. It is full of fire, smoke and wind and shakes as you approach. You feel the ground trembling. This is not your regular church service. Then out of the fire, God speaks. His words? The Ten Commandments. God gives these words in the midst of the fire and smoke and speaks no more. I have called this the unveiled Word, but this is not entirely true. The Word of God is still veiled in darkness, fire and smoke. However, Israel does hear that Word directly from God. That God chooses to speak this Word from the mountain, underlines its significance. God meets His people in this unique way and chooses that moment to give these Ten Words. They are a summary of God’s holiness and righteousness. In following these Ten Words, we reflect the holiness of God. This is the closest that the people of Israel ever came to God near the mount. We experience a far more fearsome unveiling, for we approach Mt. Zion by the Spirit, a place of glory and light. We are only able to bear it because the Word spoken on the mountain has become incarnate in Jesus Christ. Yet, even now we cannot properly speak of the Word as completely unveiled for someday Jesus Christ will step down from His role as Mediator and we shall have unveiled access to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the closeness of the communion we have with Him in Jesus Christ. Pray for continual humility and thankfulness for this gift of God. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveldis the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 20 – Trust and obey

Know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth beneath; there is no other. Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today… – Deut. 4:39-40a Scripture reading: Deut. 4:32-40 Israel can learn from the works that God has done. “Know therefore that the Lord is God and there is no other.” The implied command is “Trust in Him.” God has revealed Himself to you and given you the way of salvation. What is left to do – but acknowledge Him as your Lord? You want this God on your side – not against you. He has proven that He is a good God and cares about you. Don’t ignore Him. This is the first half of the command “trust and obey.” Here is your God, Who you can trust and Who will reward your trust with good things. This is faith. And it is only by faith that you can fulfill the second part: obedience. Obedience springs naturally from trust in God. If you believe that what He says is true then you will obey Him. “Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today.” Moses uses the word “keep.” It has the sense of both guarding and watching with close attention. Israel is to use the law as a guard to keep herself from sin, so that she might prosper. Think of the “happy man” of Psalm 1. The law is a source of life to him because he trusts the Giver of the law. We have the same instruction, “Trust and obey.” This sums up the central command of Scripture. This is also your call: submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Suggestions for prayer Seek the Lord in prayer for the Spirit who works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveldis the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 19 – Knowing God and the discipline of God

Out of heaven He let you hear his voice, that He might discipline you. And on earth He let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire. – Deut. 4:35 Scripture reading: Deut. 4:32-40 Deuteronomy notes two different ways that God made Himself known to Israel: through the mountain where He spoke to her through fire and through the works that He did in rescuing her from Egypt. He shows her that He is the one true God. He shows Israel His faithfulness and love so that He might discipline her and train her to have the same love He has. God speaks in the midst of the fire, or in verse 36, “out of heaven” so that He might discipline Israel. God’s self-revelation in the law is a boundary to teach His people how to live in relationship with Him. The revelation of God here is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Just as God spoke in the fire, God spoke through Christ. You can even see the same response of fear that Israel had toward the fire of God on Mt. Sinai in the Disciples of Christ when they see the works of Christ. The coming of Christ disciplines his Disciples. God continues to discipline us as Sons in Christ. It’s easy to respond to the discipline of God with anger and fear like Israel did. Let us respond to the discipline of God by seeking Him. We know that the Son is better than the law, for He sends His enlivening Spirit of wisdom to help us obey His law. Seek Christ, through the Spirit, by learning what He desires in the Scriptures. Seek Him by looking to the love that Christ demonstrated in His life on earth. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that we have the discipline of the Spirit. Pray that through His Spirit you may grow in knowing His desires for your life. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveldis the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 18 – Going deep into history

For ask now of the days that are past which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. – Deut. 4:32 Scripture reading: Deut. 4:32-40 Our faith is a historical faith. The mighty acts of God are a foundation for our faith. God has revealed himself to us through Abraham, Moses, David and ultimately, Jesus. Deut. 4 is a call for Israel to remember her history so that she might live in faithful obedience to God. God calls Israel to remember what happened when she sinned at Baal Peor and to remember that she did not see any form or image at Mt. Sinai. God calls Israel to dig deep into history to see if anything has happened to other people like what has happened to her. Christians are a people of history. They are the only people who understand that the uniting theme of history is the work God is doing so that He may have a people who glorify Him. God is bringing many sons to glory so that He may delight in and enjoy communion with His people. We can look into our past, two thousand years of Christianity and another four thousand since the earth was created, and see the hand of God through it all, leading and guiding His people. The calls of Deut. 4 are just as much a call for us to search into the history God gives here as it was for the Israelites of that time. It is our history and it reveals the glory of our God which is the history given in Scripture. In this way, know the only God Who has given us His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Suggestions for prayer Pray for a knowledge of the wonders that God has done. Thank God for His gifts, especially for the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveld is the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 17 – A fading glory

Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan. – Deut. 3:27 Scripture reading: Deut. 3:23-29, 2 Corinthians 3 The covenant that God established through Moses was glorious. We read about the glory of God in Moses’ face in 2 Corinthians 3. When Moses descended from Mt. Sinai after talking to God, his face shone so brightly that the people could not look at him and he had to veil his face. The glory that Moses had at the foot of the mountain faded away. He would not live forever and would not continue to stand as a mediator between Israel and God. Even as the glory faded from Moses, so it faded from the people. They eventually rebelled against God and not long after Moses and Joshua died, the people began to fade again. Flesh decays and is corrupt. It cannot be overcome unless a new principle of life can be found to overcome it. What can be done about this problem? God gives glory in the Old Covenant, but it fades away under the weight of the sin of the people. Moses eventually died and stayed dead. He sent a successor into the Promised Land: Joshua. Joshua had a short-lived glory. He died and the people failed to take the rest of the Promised Land successfully. Therefore, his death could not take care of sin. But the ministry of the law of Moses, or as Paul calls it, the ministry of condemnation, has been replaced by the ministry of the Spirit through the righteousness of Jesus. Christ died. Through Him, death becomes an entrance into the Promised Land. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the great glory that is given in Jesus Christ. Pray that we may live by the Spirit in all that we do. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveld is the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 16 – Punished in order to picture Christ

But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. – Deut. 3:26 Scripture reading: Deut. 3:23-29, Romans 4:16-25 The Father of all good things, the fount of mercy denies Moses' request. Why? Moses says, “The Lord was angry with me because of you.” To clarify this, we need to go back to chapter 1:37, “Even with me the Lord was angry on your account and said you shall not go in there.” If Numbers 20 tells us that the Lord was angry at Moses for his sin, how is it that God’s anger is on account of the people? Ps. 106:32-33 gives us helpful words: “They angered him at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses on their account, for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rashly with his lips.” The evil of the people partly accounts for Moses’ anger. This in no way clears Moses of fault, but it helps us understand why he was angry. Moses, like Christ, is called to accept the consequences of the sin of the people. God has a reason for denying Moses’ request. He wants to typify the life and death of the Son that He will send for the sake of the sins of the world. Of course, Moses' death does not cover sin, but it foretells Christ’s coming. It is only in the resurrection of Christ that the faith of God's people is vindicated, for it is by His resurrection that we are justified. When we suffer the consequences of other peoples’ sin, we too point to the suffering of our Lord and Saviour. Suggestions for prayer Pray to the Lord that He might give you the strength to sacrifice yourself for the sake of others. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveld is the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

Daily devotional

June 15 – The prayer of a righteous man

Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon. – Deut. 3:25 Scripture reading: Deut. 3:23-29, Numbers 20:2-13 In God’s denial of Moses’ request, we see some of the complexity of God’s relationship to us. God is a good Father. God freely forgives sins in Jesus Christ. But God does not acquiesce to Moses’ request. The book of James tells us, “The prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Is Moses’ prayer the prayer of a righteous man? Moses failed to represent the righteousness of God before His people. In Numbers 20, we read that God told Moses to speak to a rock so that water would come from it. Instead of reflecting God’s merciful answer to a selfish request, Moses struck the rock with his rod and shouted at the people, calling them “rebels.” He failed to present God’s holiness to the people. But Moses was also a righteous man through faith in God. He pleads with a heart that loved the Lord. We need to think of the prayer of Moses along the lines of Christ in Gethsemane. Like Moses, Christ prays, “Let this cup pass from me.” Christ’s desire is not evil. Moses’ desire is not evil. Moses prayer is a good prayer. However, it doesn’t seem to be a perfect prayer. Christ, unlike Moses, adds, “Lord, let your will be done.” Jesus, the truly righteous man, is better able than Moses to accept the verdict of the Lord. Moses sets an example, just as Christ does, in bringing all our burdens and hopes before God. However, we should also be willing to accept the verdict of the Lord, even a verdict we do not understand. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for being a faithful Father as our Lord Jesus Christ showed us. Pray that He may strengthen us in accepting His will in our lives. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Zekveld is the pastor of the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church In Niverville, MB....

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