Monday, March 30, 2015

GUIDE ME

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 25

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

The impressive, beautifully preserved Greco-Roman ruins of ancient Jerash, located 80 miles north of Amman, Jordan. This is one of the ten cities of “The Decapolis.” According to Mark 5:20, Jesus was proclaimed here by the man who was delivered from many demons.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 25:32-33

Then David said to Abigail: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand.”

To understand this brief commentary we must have read the Scripture reading for today, asking the Lord to turn on the light of understanding for us.
Nabal was wrong in refusing to help David, but David was also wrong in his decision to take revenge against Nabal. Sometimes, in anger and frustration, we make decisions we would never consider in calmer moments. Hasty decisions can be dangerous, and when they are accompanied by rash, irresponsible actions, they can cause irreparable harm. Finally, as David listened to Abigail, he realized that God was speaking to him through her. God speaks to us in a variety of ways. It could be that He will use our Pastor, a friend, or even a stranger to communicate with us. He may speak through His Word, which we are reading each day, or through a television ministry such as 100 Huntley Street. Sometimes He guides us through circumstances, and we are not even aware that He’s going before us, showing us the way.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I need Your guidance constantly. Help me to watch for Your leading in the happenings of my life every day. Help me to listen carefully to Your still small voice within. You said, Lord Jesus, “My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they will follow Me” (John 10:27). I pray that I will spend sufficient time in reading Your Word and in prayer so I am conscious of the fact that I am in Your presence. I pray this through the Cross of the Lord Jesus. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My wife has a life verse from the Bible. It’s Proverbs 3:5 & 6, which tells her, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Over our 57 years of marriage, she has quoted that to me hundreds of times. She even wrote a song about it, “He Shall Direct Thy Paths,” which was published by The Gospel Publishing House in Springfield, Missouri. I got the message! I’ve heard solos, trios, and at least one choir sing that message. Even before we were married, Norma-Jean and I agreed together to claim this promise as from God. On her first letter to me, the following Scripture was printed across the top of the page by the printer who had created the stationery: “Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). I got the message from God. I knew that Norma-Jean was God’s choice of a wife for me.

Yours for reading and following the directions, God’s directions,

David

P.S. Here is another recent 100 Huntley Street “Flashback” segment by my son Ron. The interview guest was someone who used to be like David in today’s reading…a quick-tempered warrior (click HERE).

Sunday, March 29, 2015

THE ROCK OF SALVATION

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 23-24

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

This is En Gedi where David hid from Saul among the rocks and in the caves.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

Key Verses: 1 Samuel 23:14b, 23:26, 24:12

Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand…Then Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. So David made haste to get away from Saul, for Saul and his men were encircling David and his men to take them…”Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you.”

Under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, David wrote Psalm 22. We might want to read that Psalm today. Hiding amongst the rocks and in the caves gave David lots of time to pray and compose songs which reflect his experience in God. Notice in today’s reading the similarities to Psalm 22, the Psalm of the Cross. One thousand years before the crucifixion of Jesus, at a time when crucifixion as a method of execution was unknown, David described the event in considerable detail.
David had many hiding places, and he knew that his true stronghold was in God. Psalm 18:2a tells us, “The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer.” Like David, we know that we are not saved because we are clever or strong. We are saved from death itself because God has acted on our behalf. David was protected. Jesus was not protected. David lived, and we live, because Jesus was captured, beaten severely, and killed. Jesus is our Stronghold, our “Rock of escaping” (23:28). Let us run into Him for safety.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You revealed to David an amazing knowledge of Your suffering and death by crucifixion. I pray that as I wait before You today, You will reveal Yourself to me. May I, by the work of Your Spirit, identify so closely with Your sufferings that I can say with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ,” and “Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

It’s Palm Sunday. This is the beginning of Holy Week. Passover was about to be celebrated. At their last meal together, only three of the four cups of wine which normally accompany the meal were served. Jesus prayed in the garden, “If it be Your will, let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless not My will but Your will be done.” That fourth cup was received by Jesus as He hung on the Cross. In John 19:29 we read, “Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” “Hyssop” was used at the first passover in Egypt to put the blood of the sacrificial lamb on the lintels and door posts. At the very start of Jesus’ public ministry three years earlier, John the Baptist declared that Jesus is “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). I’ll attach a hymn in my P.S. so that all of us can worship “The Lamb.” I just read Revelation 5:9-14.

Yours for a constant confidence that we are in a secure hiding place in Christ, where no enemy can draw us from that ultimate safety,

David

P.S. Norma-Jean found this song by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.  She was deeply touched by the Holy Spirit as she joined them in worship. I was also moved deeply (click here for “Worthy is the Lamb”).

The view from the Garden Tomb area towards what many believe to be Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, where Jesus was crucified. This is the north side of the ancient quarry dug into Mount Moriah, the same mountain where Abraham, about to offer Isaac, was told, “God will provide a sacrifice.”  Stones were taken from here to build the Temple. A Muslim graveyard is on top of the hill.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

THE SWORD OF GOLIATH

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 21-22

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

This sword is on display in the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth in Greece. Here you can see the blade and the guard.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 22:2

And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.

David’s men, a collection of those who had suffered at the hands of Saul and his government, gave their loyalty to David. Each one may have seen the opportunity to improve their conditions by serving David and by helping to make him king. All were fugitives whose lives were in constant danger. The exception was their spiritual leader, Abiathar. He could have remained secure under Saul’s reign, but he chose David. It cost this priest and his family very dearly. The sword of Goliath was the symbol of David’s greatest triumph (21:9). To fight the fight of faith we need an Abiathar to provide the sword of the Spirit, which is, according to Ephesians 6:17, the Word of God.
We can probably identify with these people. We, too, are in danger from the “kingdom of darkness” (Colossians 1:9-14). Colossians 1:13 points out that “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” We are all needy people. Paul describes all who follow Jesus in 1 Corinthians 1:26-30. There is a humility here born of the recognition of our need. What a great comfort to know that “God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27b). This is who we are. We rejoice that God has chosen us to be His own.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I choose You as my King. Grant that I may humbly follow You, whatever it takes. I’m Yours! Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I watch, from time to time, a very interesting man on the Fox News Channel whose name is Bill O’Reilly. He has written several books, among which are, Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy, detailing the historical events leading up to their assassinations. More recently he has written a new book…Killing Jesus. This got my attention. I’m reading the accounts of Jesus’ death from the four Gospels each day this coming week leading up to Good Friday. I feel compelled to pray for Bill. Killing Jesus is being released this weekend on the National Geographic TV channel (Sunday at 8:00pm EST). I plan to watch. He’s touching the very heart of God in this new book. He’s also touching God’s ancient people, the Jews. I’m putting a copy of my email to him below.

Yours for giving allegiance to Jesus,

David

P.S. Here is my letter I e-mailed to Bill O’Reilly…

Dear Mr. O’Reilly,

Mel Gibson was made out to be anti-Semitic because of the way he portrayed the events leading up to the death of Jesus. I’ve done national TV across Canada for over 50 years. Before the release of “The Passion of the Christ,” I wrote Mel a letter like this one. After the release of the movie I was on TV with three Rabbis discussing their concerns of anti-Semitism. I pointed out that I believed that Mel was ill-informed in some respects, and that this was the reason for the anti-Jewish charges. I consider this to be an open letter which I’ve placed on my daily blog, 100words.ca, on the day before Palm Sunday.

First of all, Pilate’s judgment hall would’ve held a maximum of about 300 people. Jesus was brought before Pilate shortly after the 6.a.m. sacrifices. Almost all those present would have been on the payroll of the High Priest. In no way did they represent the average Jewish person when they cried,”Crucify Him” and when they said, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” They were under instructions from the High Priest whose office was highly political as well as religious. This has been twisted by anti-Semites in the church and beyond to indict all the Jewish people. What a tragedy!

Secondly, Mel Gibson had only three women weeping when Jesus was carrying His cross to Golgotha. Yes they were weeping, but so was a great multitude. Again this represents the blame some want to put on all the Jews. The facts are found in the Gospel of Luke 23:27 which says, “A great multitude of the people followed Him and women who ALSO mourned and lamented Him.” “Also” shows that thousands of the Jewish people, who were now up and in the city for 9 a.m. from a night in their tents outside the city, were mourning for Jesus.These were the pilgrims there for “Passover.” They had been exposed to the ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem, in Galilee and elsewhere. These people represented the Jewish people, not the paid lackeys of the High Priest. This fact is backed up in Luke 23:48 & 49, “And the whole crowd who came together to that site (Golgotha) seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood nearby.

I pray that you will have this passed on to you by your team members. I can hope for your eyes to see this. As you can tell I think this is very important for you, the “No Spin” man. The Jewish people are suffering because of the “Spin” of the 3rd and 4th centuries.

I watch you often and have read several of your books. I respect highly all you are trying to accomplish.

David Mainse

Friday, March 27, 2015

“I LOVE YOU!” – Jesus

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 20

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Dubbed the “Pompeii of the East,” Jerash is an ancient Greco-Roman city located 80 miles north of Amman Jordan. The impressive, beautifully preserved ruins of Jerash include places of worship and other buildings from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and early Muslim periods.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 20:3b & 20:17

But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death…And Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

 

When death stares us in the face, we tend to focus our minds on the most important issues of life. Loving one another becomes a top priority. Jonathan and David understood this. Their affection was demonstrated in commitment, in keeping their promises, and in their willingness to sacrifice their own lives for each other if necessary. Jonathan, although he was heir to the throne, was willing to give up his own rights because of love for David. The story of David and Jonathan provide a picture of Jesus. Jesus, in fulfilling His destiny, loved so much that He was willing to die. As we approach the time of year when we celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus, we may want to read the Gospel stories. John chapters 13 to 17 is the dialogue between Jesus and His loved ones during the Passover meal. Jesus begins by washing the feet of these whom He loved and ends with His prayer for them in these Words, “That the love with which You [the Father] loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” In these chapters the words love, loves, and loved are spoken by Jesus more than 20 times. Jesus then led His loved ones to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He would be betrayed by one of those He loved, Judas. 1 John 4:19 reads, “We love Him because He first loved us” (click here for 1 John 4:7-21).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, may my heart be filled with Your love, and may that love be expressed in my love for others. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Amen! Amen! Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In my prayer time I pray for my immediate family by name, and I name before God many others for whom I’m committed to pray. As a boy, I remember at our family altar hearing this prayer and praying it out loud myself: “I pray for those for whom we should pray.” This would include people whose names we did not mention. I thought at the time that if we should pray for them, why not name them. Then I realized that it’s humanly impossible. However, “With God all things are possible!” There is a 24/7 family altar in Heaven where Jesus leads the prayers and in which we participate every time we pray. He knows every one of us by name. He knows us better than we could ever know ourselves, and He prays for us. He prays, not just a general prayer, but prays for me by my name. “Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). He knows us by our names. I’ve just read John 10:1-16. I don’t have any idea how He does it, but I know that every day I put at least 50 names into His prayer meeting. My Father and Mother are right now in that prayer meeting above. I believe they put my name regularly before God’s throne of Grace. I desire intensely to love others. One of the primary ways I have found to love others is to take the time to pray for them.

Yours for loving one another,

David

P.S. From Crossroads 360 here is a link to a beautiful sketch. My son Ron’s wife Ann introduces the artist, Todd Vaters (click here).

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A TRUE FRIEND

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 19

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

These are marble heads in the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth in Greece.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 19:4

Thus Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you.”

Solomon, David’s son, had no doubt heard from his father about Jonathan. As a result, Solomon put these words in Proverbs 18:24b: “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” David needed a true friend. Historian, philosopher Henry Adams wrote, “One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible.” Jesus has been called, “the Friend of sinners.” Matthew and Zacchaeus took Jesus home with them. We may want to meditate on Jesus’ relationships with these “sinners” (Luke 19:1-10 and Mark 2:13-17). We could consider the woman at the well and the woman taken in adultery. If we had the opportunity to ask these people, ‘Who are your friends?’, Jesus’ name would probably be the first one they would mention. A friend is there for us! A short time after they met Jesus, these two men and two women experienced what He promised in Matthew 28:20b: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The phenomenon of people prophesying, as in our reading, is an experience we read about throughout religious history. It may be of God (check the content to see if the words spoken are according to the written words of Holy Scripture). It may be simply the result of the human spirit, excited because of emotional activity. It may also be from the evil one. Be very careful here. In our day, what is called “personal prophecy” can appear to be of God and sometimes seems supernatural. However, people have been seriously sidetracked from God’s will for their lives by those who use this means to manipulate them. We need to check with our pastors, wait on God in prayer, and consistently read God’s Word, the Bible.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I give my whole life to You for this new day. I’m in Your Word daily. I’m in prayer daily. Please protect me by Your Word, Your Spirit, and by the solid Bible-based teaching of my local church. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve given a great deal of thought to what is called “prophesying” in the New Testament Church. Philip, a deacon of the first church, had four daughters who were “prophetesses” (Acts 21:9). I believe that we need to let the Bible interpret the Bible. Revelation 19:10 tells us that, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” I also believe that these young girls were winning souls to Jesus on the streets of Samaria, where their Dad had a revival (Acts 8). The “Testimony of Jesus” happened on the streets of Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 2. Peter said on that occasion, quoting the prophet Joel, that “Your sons and daughters shall prophesy.” These girls were not foretelling the future. They were not lying naked on the ground like Saul in today’s reading (verse 24). They were telling everyone about Jesus! Witnessing for and about Jesus is the continuing evidence of keeping filled with the Holy Spirit. I don’t think that anyone should claim to be keeping filled with God’s Spirit if they fail to give the “Testimony of Jesus” consistently. Prophecy, one of the gifts of the Spirit, referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:10 and also in 1 Corinthians 14, is for the edification and comfort of believers. I need this gift. Prophesying, as it happened on the birthday of the Church, is something different which continues to happen every time we testify, in order to win a precious never-dying soul to Jesus.

Yours for New Testament prophecy,

David

P.S. I want to acknowledge two very special people, Rev. Don and Edith Osbourne. Don established 100 Huntley Street telephone counselling and follow-up centres across Canada and the USA in the seventies and eighties. His wise choices of leaders for each centre resulted in a most powerful exercise in New Testament prophecy, “the testimony of Jesus.” Many thousands of people were led to Jesus on those telephones. Thank you Don. The reason I’m moved to write this tribute is because Don’s beloved wife Edith departed this life for the next earlier this month. Edith is a special person of beauty and grace. In 1977 our organization was desperately in need of help in the move into computers from hand kept records. Edith provided that expertise in a most efficient way. Her team of data entry employees as well as the entire Crossroads team will be forever in Edith’s debt. Don and Edith have spent the last few years in Victoria, British Columbia, where they cared for Norma-Jean and me in their home on several occasions. Our hearts are filled with gratitude to God for the gift of these true friends. We love you Don and all your family. I’m asking Jesus to let Edith know, there in His immediate presence, how much she is loved. See you soon Edith!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WANT WISDOM?

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 18

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Here is a spear and shield carved into what was a mantle in the ancient city of Philippi, Greece.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 18:14

And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him.

The Lord promises wisdom to all who ask Him for it. James 1:5 gives us this guarantee. Here is a New Testament reading for today (James 1:1-12). David not only behaved wisely himself, but he taught his son Solomon wisdom (Proverbs 4:1-9). Saul’s successes caused him to become arrogant. David’s successes brought him closer to God. Saul lived for self. David lived for God. Because Saul lived for himself, he became jealous of David. Saul’s focus was not on God’s future purpose for Israel but on protecting his own position. Many leaders have fallen into this trap over the years. There are at least three lessons to be learned from today’s reading: (1) God will fight our battles. (2) We don’t have to strive to further our own cause. (3) Serve God wholeheartedly.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Your Word teaches me that “He who wins souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30b). You’ve called me to be a soul winner. Therefore, I pray for wisdom to be given to me so that I may win someone to You. I believe Your Word, and I believe that when I engage someone in conversation, I will speak wise words. I pray this through Jesus Christ, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

From personal experience I know that when I’ve not prayed first for wisdom, I’ve done more harm than good. My passion is to win souls to Jesus. After He had given “living water” to the woman at the well, she brought the people of her village out to meet Him. As they approached, Jesus said to His followers, “Lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, for they are already ripe for harvest” (John 4:35b). I’m deeply moved as I think of that scene. Jesus was so very wise. This precious woman had been married to five husbands, and at that point she was living with a man who was not her husband. Jesus didn’t condemn her. He quenched her thirst with living water. His Words are that “living water.” He changed her life forever! I’m drinking every morning and throughout the day by thinking of His Words which I’ve read earlier. Read with me if you have time from John 7:37-38.

Yours for winning souls to Jesus,

David

P.S. God surely gives our telephone prayer partners soul-winning wisdom. Feel free to give someone you want to bring to Jesus the toll free telephone number 1-866-273-4444. Every day and every night, without fail, precious people are being led to Jesus on those phones. If you need someone to pray with you about any concern, feel free to call. As the promotional slogan on the 100 Huntley Street telecast says, “We’re here for you!” For anyone who might want to help us out by becoming one of our telephone prayer partners, here is some info.

P.P.S. Yesterday’s blog had a picture of a poster signed by Mickey Rooney. Tomorrow, God willing, I’ll tell you about the wisdom which brought Mickey to Jesus. He called our prayer lines. Please encourage others to call us too!!!

David and King Saul, as depicted in the TV miniseries THE BIBLE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

GOD’S CHAMPIONS

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 17

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

The Valley of Elah (1 Samuel 17:2), where David picked up five smooth stones from the brook, one of which he used in his sling to kill Goliath.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 17:45

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

David knew for sure that the God of Israel was much bigger than any giant the Philistines could produce. David’s past experiences gave him great confidence that God would enable him to defeat Goliath. All of us can think of times when we’ve seen God doing great things in our own lives, or we’ve heard of God doing great things in the lives of others. In a few days we’ll celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, the greatest victory in human history. The historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection happened in the past, and it is also a present reality. He is risen!!! David was the champion of Israel. Jesus is the Champion for all time and for every challenge. The Apostle Paul writes of “the seed of David” (2 Timothy 2:8-13). Jesus said, “Because I live, you shall live also” (to read it in context see John 14:11-21). With our faith in Jesus, we can be champions also. Jesus assures us that the person who believes in Him will win the battles. We must never let people belittle us as David’s brothers tried to do to him. In Jesus we are bigger than any challenge.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You have defeated the last human enemy, death! Therefore, I have complete confidence that with You living in me I can win over every giant that I face. I pray for boldness to take that which I know You’ve done in the past, apply that knowledge to the present, and move forward into future battles with the secure knowledge of Your presence. In Your strong Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When God gave us Canada’s first professionally equipped Christian television production studio back in 1977, I could not stand to see God’s resources sitting empty for much of the day after we went live to air with the daily 100 Huntley Street telecast. Therefore, we began producing telecasts in many languages other than English. We also did shows for children and teens. Nite Lite, an open-line show which ran live five nights a week from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. was what one of our hosts, Rev. Ken Campbell, called “the best fishing hole in Canada.” In one staff chapel service in the early 1990’s, I shared that the challenge of the middle-of-the-night ministry needed a Champion who would assume full responsibility for its future. Later that day, Jim Cantelon, who had been one of my co-hosts on 100 Huntley Street after returning from Jerusalem where he established a great Christian congregation, approached me with these words: “David, I want to be that Champion for the middle of the night.” He covered not only Canada but the U.S.A. as well for some time. I’m excited to rise every morning to Champion the ministry of this blog!

Yours, praying Jesus’ prayer request: “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers [champions] into the harvest field” (Matthew 9:38, Luke 10:2),

David

P.S. In the God Rocks children’s animated TV series produced by a Champion, Bruce Stacey, the actor Mickey Rooney, certainly not a “giant” in stature, is the voice of “Bullseye”…the little rock that bopped Goliath. It’s a creative re-telling of today’s reading. Below is a poster from that episode (signed by Mickey). The episode is called “Splat Ball Square Off” and here’s a link to a trailer for it. Some of the GodRocks “Bible Toons” are available HERE. you might want to buy some and share it with the children for whom you can be a Champion for Christ.

Monday, March 23, 2015

GOD’S CHOICE

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 16

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

This is the entrance to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the hometown of King David. This is the oldest functioning church building in the world. It is believed to cover the stable/cave where Jesus was born.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 16:7b

For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

The key verse points out several truths. (1) The Lord sees us! (2) Other people see us! (3) The Lord sees our hearts! (4) People see our outward appearance! Lets cover those four points starting with point four. Rather than slavishly following the latest clothing trends, let us ask God if our apparel draws undo attention to us, detracting from our witness. Three – Go ahead and wear our hearts in such a way that people see our hearts. Two – May people see in us the Person of Jesus in all His beauty. One – The old hymn says, “Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.” Here’s a link to “The Solid Rock.” The last verse has those powerful words in it. Why not sing along.
Samuel found David, who was doing his job looking after the sheep while all the rest of the family were standing around. God chooses a person whose heart is engaged with life and its responsibilities. John 15 says, “You did not choose Me, I chose you” -Jesus. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “You are a chosen people.” Why are we chosen? To “declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (read 1 Peter 2:9-17).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I ask that everyone I meet today will see You. You live in my heart. I am, according to Your Word, the temple of the Holy Spirit. You are looking on my heart. If You see anything that should not be there, please clean it out of me now and forever. May Your love, Your joy, and Your peace be seen by all those with whom I interact. In Your Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When Norma-Jean gets up, (not right away) I may suggest that we sing together “The Solid Rock.” While it’s true that we are joined as one flesh before God, I’ll still have to stand as an individual at the judgement of the believers. Getting up at 4 a.m. is not Norma-Jean’s calling from God. When we were first married, I asked her to get up and pray with me. That did not go over too well. She spends considerable time praying before she sleeps at night. Whereas I’m far too sleepy at night to do more than a brief, “See You in the morning Lord.” I’m asleep long before my wife finishes reading my blog for the day, the suggested Scriptures and praying. So I concluded that between the two of us, we cover more of the 24-hour clock this way! She’s a night person, and I’m a morning person. 57 years of marriage, and we’re still deeply committed to each other. (that’s true love) It’s a miracle of God’s grace! Amen! As I’m typing this, she’s still sleeping soundly. I often remind Norma-Jean before I fall asleep that over and over God promises rest to the weary.

Yours for seeing our hearts as God sees our hearts,

David

The stained glass artwork at the exit of the Church of St. Catherine, which is attached to the Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem. This newer church is where the Christmas Eve celebration takes place and is televised live worldwide. In a cave beneath this building, St. Jerome translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into what is known as the Latin Vulgate Version.

 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

BE QUIET

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 15

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Bedouins set up their transient homes wherever it is best for their livestock. Here they are located just below Mount Nebo. The promised land is seen in the distance.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 15:22

So Samuel said:

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams…”

Saul’s lame excuses for disobedience brought a sharp “Be Quiet” from the Prophet. Samuel was harsh with the King, and at the same time the last verse of our reading tells us that he mourned for Saul. Saul showed such promise. God gave him a new heart, but Saul’s will was not fully yielded to God’s will. Saul’s biggest problem was himself. He wanted to build a kingdom for himself. It was all about him and not about God’s continued sovereignty over Israel. When Saul disobeyed, he tried to blame it on others and to justify himself. Then he immediately followed up by building a monument to himself. Upon hearing God’s verdict on his actions, Saul’s biggest concern was his reputation. He begged Samuel to make him look good. Saul’s successor, David sinned also, but the difference was that David did not offer any excuses or try to justify himself. He repented with godly sorrow, and took all the blame. Honest repentance brings God’s forgiveness. God will not tolerate a self-centred focus on the part of His leaders. God is a God of mercy, but the time comes when justice, as in the case of the Amalekites, must be meted out. These are harsh judgements, but so was the flood of Noah and, most of all, the judgment of God which was borne by Jesus as He took our place in suffering and death. God Himself, in the Person of His Son, took the full force of the penalty for the disobedience of all humanity. Justice was satisfied, and we who believe in Jesus are the beneficiaries.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Lord God, You have taken the judgement I deserved. Dear Lord Jesus, You suffered far more than King Agag and King Saul did for the evil of their sin. All I can do now is cry out to You, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” I say this with my whole heart, mind and soul. You’ve said, Lord Jesus, that I am now made right in the sight of God. I have no excuses for my sin, and like King David, I have found forgiveness. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I was compelled just now to meditate on God’s mercy. In the Virgin Mary’s prophetic utterance, she spoke these words: “He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:49-50). Later in his Gospel, Luke records the prayer of repentance and cry for mercy which God hears and answers with His assuring “Yes” (Luke 18:9-14). What comfort! I’ve also just read Hebrews 8, the entire chapter is my New Testament reading for today.

All who are in leadership, particularly Christian leadership, must be warned that God will never take excuses for sin. He only receives sorrow for sin…that’s being sorry enough to quit sinning…and that’s called repentance! Christian leaders have built memorials to themselves, as Saul did. I fall on my face and cry out for mercy. I take most seriously the Words of our key verse, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” Once again I pray the sinners prayer, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” I remember clearly the words of John, who included himself, writing, “If we say that we have no sin [present tense] we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9). What assurance!

Yours for constant cleansing from all sin (1 John 1:1 – 2:6),

David

The Memorial Church of Moses on Mount Nebo is currently getting a new structure built over the aging one. It was from here that Moses viewed the Promised Land. God forgave Moses for his sin, but there were still consequences of his sin (Deuteronomy 34:1-4).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

THE MANY AND THE FEW

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 14

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

This is an Akkadian cuneiform writing clay tablet piece and is the oldest document to mention Jerusalem. It was discovered in the south wall area of the Old City of Jerusalem and is dated at 14th century BC.

 

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 14:6b

For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.

As King Saul’s son, Jonathan had probably learned from observing the interaction between his father and the prophet Samuel. Our children often learn more from being in our presence, and in the presence of our visitors, than from our efforts at direct teaching. Obviously Jonathan had come to believe in God and in His power to equip a man for victory in battle. By just two brave men, the rout of the enemy of Israel began and confusion reigned in the ranks of the Philistines. Jonathan seemed to have more common sense than his father. Saul’s foolish edict to not eat robbed the men of the energy they needed, and resulted in the eating of blood forbidden by Moses’ Law. There are those in our day who burden God’s people in ways that rob us of spiritual vitality, rather than encouraging us to partake of the “honey” that God has provided. This has been particularly true when it comes to man-made prohibitions regarding the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Those who teach that the experience of the first believers, as recorded in the book of Acts, is not for today and prohibit the exercise of the Gifts of the Spirit have done serious damage to God’s plan for His Church. Go ahead, have some honey! Be refreshed today by the life-giving sweetness found in God’s Word and in the experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Victory is ours!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, as I read these words and pause often to worship You, I’m conscious that I’m partaking of the sweetness of Your provision for me. Like Jonathan, my countenance has brightened. I pray that this energy level will continue in order that I may “fight the good fight of faith,” as I read in 1 Timothy 6:11-16. In Jesus’ conquering Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In selecting the key verse for today, I thought of God’s provision over the years for the financial well-being of the Crossroads ministry. Sometimes God has used the many and sometimes the few. Without the participation of thousands of precious partners, this ministry, that has brought many to a saving knowledge of Jesus, would have shut down years ago. But the Lord has also used the few. Our former bank manager at the TD bank in downtown Toronto (gone to be with the Lord in Heaven now) knew our need the day that our lighting package for the new TV production studios arrived. I needed cash in order to have the shipment released. A line of credit had not been authorized. One of the “few,” whose name I do not know, sent through $50,000 directly to the bank, telling the manager that he could arrange a charitable giving receipt, but that I was not to know who it was that gave this money. The only information I was given was that it was someone from Ottawa who did not know of the need to pay for the shipment that very day but felt led of God to transfer the money. There are few who could give such a gift. Perhaps you are one of the few. We should perhaps read on in 1Timothy 6:17-19. One thing I’ve learned is that God uses BOTH the MANY and the FEW to support His work. When we sold the farm in which Norma-Jean, my wife, was born, we got to be one of “the few” one time, but every month we are one of “the many” that keep the ministry winning spiritual battles every day. That monthly offering, and the offerings of many more, are absolutely essential to the great cause to which God has called Crossroads. More of “the few” and more of “the many” would also be a big help right now. God is leading the Ministry in new initiatives for the Gospel that need us all to take up the challenge of giving sacrificially. The funds are not just sitting there in the bank doing nothing for Jesus! Crossroads continues to be a faith ministry. Please pray asking God for His instructions (click here for giving instructions).

Yours to encourage us all to be “the many,” and some of us to be “the few,”

David

P.S. Yesterday’s blog featured a photo of my granddaughter Elena’s new baby. Now here is a 100 Huntley Street feature from a few years back. It is the story of Bruce & Elaine’s adoption of Elena and Alex from a Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) orphanage (click here).