Thursday, May 28, 2015

BESIEGED

Suggested Reading: 2 Kings 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 Dung Gate is one of the gates in the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The gate is situated near the southeast corner of the Old City, southwest of the Temple Mount.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 25:10

And all the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down the walls of Jerusalem all around.

 

This was a day of judgement! The capital city, the symbol of the nation, was destroyed by Babylon (modern Iraq). Things had never looked worse for God’s chosen people. Earlier they had been forcefully removed from the northern areas, and now from Judah and the city of Jerusalem. What of God’s promises now? What of the prophecies of the great future ruler who would reign forever, the Messiah, the Son of David?

Look ahead! Israel was restored under leaders such as Ezra and Nehemiah. The Temple and the walls were built again. The people of God came to know a long period of peace and prosperity. Greatest of all is that in the course of time, just five miles south of Jerusalem, in the city of David, Bethlehem, Jesus was born.

We move in our reading for tomorrow into the book of Ephesians. After reading Kings, I think we need the encouragement we will receive from the Holy Spirit-inspired letter to the Church at Ephesus!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, fill me each day with the joy that comes from knowing that the darkness and despair that may seem to be all around is only temporary. Please help me to look to the eternal reality of Your plans for my future. Plans that are greater than anything I could imagine. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!!!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’m taking the time today to read at one sitting the entire book of Ephesians. We’ll consider over the next six days, God willing, the life-enriching and life-changing truths which Paul writes to the people of Ephesus, the largest city of what was then known as Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Paul spent two years there sharing the Good News of Jesus and establishing the church. Now he writes back to these people who are so precious to him. What joyful assurance he brings his loved ones! This is powerful teaching! Perhaps it’s obvious that I’m excited about the week ahead before we move back again into the books of Chronicles, which present more of a spiritual history of the dynasty of King David. The books of 2 Samuel and 1st and 2nd Kings, which we’ve just completed, are more of a political history. I hope and pray for staying power for each reader. I call it sanctified stubbornness! Never give up!! I pray that there will be steel up each backbone which will never bend to the pressures of daily life that might steal away the great blessings which God has for us. Amen!!!

Yours for consistency…as Shakespeare wrote, “Consistency, thou art a rare jewel.”

David

P.S. Today we are heading for the Ben Gurion airport here in Israel for the flight back to Toronto. Yesterday we travelled from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. 2500 feet above sea level to the lowest spot on earth, 1300 feet below sea level. At the Dead Sea the temperature was 48 celsius or 118 fahrenheit!

Norma-Jean and I are enjoying our last full day of touring Israel with a wonderful group of brothers and sisters. We talked last evening about leading another tour in November. This is such a blessing! How about joining us next time, God willing!

Norma-Jean and I are enjoying our last full day of touring Israel with a wonderful group of brothers and sisters. We talked last evening about leading another tour in November. This is such a blessing! How about joining us next time, God willing!

I don't recommend tattoos, but if you must, do as Allyn, one of our tour group members, did in the old city of Jerusalem this past Tuesday. Zephaniah 3:17 says,  "The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." The theme "10,000 Reasons" is our Crossroads slogan during this year  for celebrating the upcoming telecast #10,000 of 100 Huntley Street.

I don’t recommend tattoos, but if you must, do as Allyn, one of our tour group members, did in the old city of Jerusalem this past Tuesday. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” The theme “10,000 Reasons” is our Crossroads slogan during this year for celebrating the upcoming telecast #10,000 of 100 Huntley Street.

 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

NEBUCHADNEZZAR

Suggested Reading: 2 Kings 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 photo is of the model of the Temple in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. This magnificent structure was constructed by King Herod and was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. On today’s Google map, you will see where this model is located in Jerusalem; the original Temple stood just 300 yards to the northeast. Today the location of the Dome of the Rock Muslim shrine is just to the south of where the Temple was situated.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 24:2

And the Lord sent against him raiding bands of Chaldeans, bands of Syrians, bands of Moabites, and bands of the people of Ammon; He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken by His servants the prophets.

We are now being introduced to Nebuchadnezzar, a King who will show up in our readings more often in the remaining Hebrew Scriptures than any other foreign monarch.

God is very patient, as is demonstrated again and again in our readings about the kings of Judah, but He will not forever endure disobedience and the flagrant misuse of His name. The practices established by Moses in the Tabernacle, and enhanced by Solomon in the Temple, were continuing. But the Kings who did evil in the sight of the Lord had added the idol worship of other religions. The peoples of Israel and Judah continued to be known as the people of God, but for most of the time, they did not act in a manner honouring God. God finally refused to see any more evil done in His Holy Name. God hurled enemy after enemy against Judah until it was a mere shadow of its former self, and it became a mere puppet of foreign rulers.

Let us not despair. God was working all things after the counsel of His will. He had His faithful people amongst the captives taken to Babylon. Check out Daniel 1:1-6.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, even as You had people who were faithful to You when evil deeds were government policy in both Israel and Judah, so You have those in our land who refuse to compromise their personal standards of righteousness. I pray that I may ever be one of those who serve You with all my heart, as did Daniel and the three Hebrew youths who, even though they were forcibly removed from Jerusalem, served You with integrity. In the Name of the One who served You most faithfully, Jesus, I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

While I use the common term to describe Israel, the “Holy Land,” it is by no means “holy” today. For example, the destruction of innocent life, known as abortion, is rampant amongst secular Jews who make up the majority of the population. The evil kings of ancient Judah in our recent readings burned children as sacrifices to the god Molech. Today little bodies are burned in an incinerator. The same atrocity is happening in Canada. There is no protection in our country for a child up until the moment he or she exits the womb. I believe that the reason God is still merciful to modern Israel and to Canada is because there are people who grieve and repent for national sins against God on a daily basis. I know that our Queen, our official Head of State for Canada, is grieved deeply by the evil of abortion, but as a constitutional monarch, she does not have the power of a Hezekiah or a Josiah to change things. Our government is also powerless to protect these little ones until a clear majority of the members of the House of Commons and the Senate come to abhor the practise of abortion. Back in the eighties, we had a Minister of Health, the Hon. Jake Epp, who succeeded in getting a bill through the Commons with some protection for these little lives, but this bill was defeated in the Senate by just one vote. I pray daily for leaders, those who hold life as a sacred gift of God, to rise up, run for elected office, and form the majority of our lawmakers. I not only pray but I work for such people, regardless of party affiliation.

Yours to pray and work for God’s “will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven,”

David

P.S. Our group of Holy Land pilgrims visited Bethlehem. My wife, Norma-Jean started everyone singing “Silent Night” in the cave under the altar of the oldest church building in the world, The Church of the Nativity (click here for a video). It’s probably the authentic stable as there have been believers such as the shepherds here in Bethlehem for 2000 years.

MMMMM good! I'm enjoying fresh bread at an outdoor restaurant in the old city of Jerusalem. I've dipped the bread in olive oil and then in a spice called zatar. I'd love our blog readers to join us on a future tour. God willing I'll be able to introduce you to great old city food.

MMMMM good! I’m enjoying fresh bread at an outdoor restaurant in the old city of Jerusalem. I’ve dipped the bread in olive oil and then in a spice called zatar. I’d love our blog readers to join us on a future tour. God willing I’ll be able to introduce you to great old city food.

Ron, Ann, and Norma-Jean standing on the recently excavated "Southern Steps" leading up to the Temple on which Mary, Joseph, Jesus and others would have walked 2000 years ago.

Ron, Ann, and Norma-Jean standing on the recently excavated “Southern Steps” leading up to the Temple on which Mary, Joseph, Jesus and others would have walked 2000 years ago.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

COVENANTS

Suggested Reading: 2 Kings 23

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 view looking south from the temple mount in Jerusalem where the Kidron Valley joins the Valley of Gehenna. In today’s reading, the Valley of Gehenna is referred to as the Valley of the Son of Hinnom (2 Kings 23:10).

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 23:3

Then the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord and keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people took their stand for the covenant.

 

Three times in our key verse the word COVENANT is repeated! A covenant is the most solemn and most binding agreement into which two parties can enter. In verse two we read, “The king…read in their hearing all the words of the book of the COVENANT which had been found in the house of the Lord.” The King himself read the book out loud to all the people. What an experience this was! Imagine the loud voice of the young king ringing out across the crowded plaza. As did the people, will we commit with all our hearts and souls to perform the words of the covenant? According to Hebrews, for the past 2000 years we have had “A better COVENANT, which was established on better promises.” We may want to read (out loud if possible) Hebrews 8:1-13 & 2:11-15. Let us meditate on this amazing grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Almighty and eternal God, I am amazed that You would bind Your Self to such an eternally binding covenant with me and all who will personally sign the covenant with all our hearts and souls. You signed in blood at the cross. I am absolutely confident that You will keep Your end of this eternally and legally binding agreement. The courts of Heaven witness to Your signature, and those same courts rang with great joy when I signed on, and they continue to celebrate over each new name written in the Book of Life. Grant that I may bring another person to sign in today, I pray. In the Name of the “Mediator of the New Covenant,” Jesus my Lord and Saviour, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I am deeply moved to read the responses of readers of this blog.

1. What insight you make David. If we (as in this generation) fail to reach-out to the next generation, the Word of God will be something we only see as an article on a shelf in the museum. Christ must be our life, we need to be filled daily anew with His Holy Spirit, and then go forth in His service. We mustn’t miss the opportunity to proclaim the gospel, for life in this world passes quickly.

2. Please don’t think for a moment that this blog is a chore. This blog has brought me renewal and great joy every day! I’ve been a Christian for 30 years, but have never felt so alive in my Christian walk as I have this last year. Thank you David for bringing this to us daily, you’ll never know how it has enhanced my Christian walk. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in 100words for this next year. God Bless you for being a faithful servant in bringing this to us every day David.

3. What a beautiful picture of both you and Myles at the park, he is indeed a handsome young man. It must bring you great joy to have the opportunity to see and to know your great-grandchildren, and even greater joy to know that many if not all of your family has accepted the Lord as their personal Saviour! Oh what satisfaction, security and joy that must bring you!!! I pray that we all might know that same joy of having our family members ‘in Christ’ as we enjoy our walk with the Lord, unto eternity. What a gift from God that would be!

Yours, celebrating the new covenant,

David

P.S. On the side post of each door in every hotel here in Jerusalem is a mazuzah (see photo below). As Jewish people enter the doors, they caress the mazuzah. Inside each mazuza is a Bible verse. It’s the  Scripture found in Deuteronomy 6:7. From yesterday’s reading where I wrote about my great-grandchildren, I am reminded to obey Deuteronomy 6.

IMG_0520

The southern wall of the temple mount in seen on the left and in the distance are some of the thousands of graves on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. You can even see a Jewish funeral service taking place. In todays reading, verse 6, the ashes of the wooden image King Josiah had burnt were thrown on the graves of the common people.

Monday, May 25, 2015

FOUR GENERATIONS

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 22

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

 

Facing the Mount of Olives on the eastern side of the Old City of Jerusalem is The Golden Gate, also called The Eastern Gate. The Bible indicates that Jesus passed through this gate many times while He was in Jerusalem. Jewish religious tradition teaches that the coming Messiah will enter Jerusalem through this gate. To prevent this, the Muslims sealed the gate in 1541 A.D. during the rule of Suleiman. Like the walls around Jerusalem which were built for protection, may we build around our families the protection of the teaching of the things of God.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 22:11

Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the book of the law, that he tore his clothes.

 

In our reading two days ago, King Hezekiah tore his clothes to show his strong grief. Now Hezekiah’s great-grandson, Josiah, 18 years old, tears his clothes to show his extreme grief because his father, Amon, and his grandfather, Manasseh, had utterly failed to serve the God of the Book, and Judah had, for 57 years, reverted to the practice of false religions. How could this be? Isaiah, such a mighty man of God, had taught and preached over four generations of Kings from Uzziah to Hezekiah. Hezekiah’s son and grandson led the people away from the true and living God, living evil lives. Does this not prove that we are only one or two generations away at any time from the demise of the Church? If we fail to reach the next generation for Christ, a terrible turning away from God happens. Do we do our part with a passion in teaching Sunday School, in mentoring young people, in strong intercessory prayer for the next generation? Do our church services include strong Bible teaching which is contained in the Hymns and songs as well as the sermons? Do we succeed in communicating thoroughly the things of God? We should read again how this is to be done for the eternal good of the next generation…Deuteronomy 6:1-25.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, keep me within the sound of Your Word. I need to hear Your thoughts every day without fail. I pray also that I will be enthusiastic in communicating Your Word to others, particularly to the next generation after me. Please give me wisdom in how I am to do this. I’m here Lord, please use me for Your great cause. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’m in Jerusalem today and I miss my grandchildren and great-grandchildren greatly! I’ve just looked at the picture of my great-grandson, Myles Neilson. I often put my arms around Myles when he slows down a bit (he loves his great-grandpa), and I share a story of God’s wonderful love. How thankful I am that, unlike Josiah’s father and grandfather, his parents, Sheryl and Todd Neilson, and his grandparents, the Staceys, love and serve the Lord. Below is a photo of Myles with me that we took in the park next to his home. As this picture was taken by his Mom, I was sharing the amazing story of the boy king, Josiah.

I’ve been doing this blog for almost three years now, and those who’ve been with me since the beginning will now be almost through the entire Bible 1-1/2 times, moving back and forth between the Testaments. I trust that no one who participates with me is finding the blog boring or that it has become just another duty. I’m praying fervently every day that the experience will be alive, life giving, and life changing! May the Word of God always be a mirror in which we see ourselves as we really are; a Sword which will cut away those things which weigh us down in our service to God; a Light to guide us into God’s will, keeping us faithful in the way of Truth.

For new visitors to this site, you can start today and in just 24 months you’ll have made the entire Bible part of yourself. Great goal!

Yours for God speaking to us every day through His Word to His human family,

David

P.S. I’ve put the picture of Myles and me first as my relationship with my family is much more important than what happened last night in the Pais Arena here in Jerusalem. The other pictures below are of a presentation I received. My son Ron was there. He took the pictures and I asked him to explain with his words in the captions.

My seven-year-old great-grandson, Myles Neilson is one of eleven. Hezekiah and Josiah were also great grandson and great grandfather.

Caption by Ron: Last night, Dad was honoured with a Lifetime Global Impact award at the closing Pentecost Sunday event of the Empowered 21 Global Congress in Jerusalem. Congratulations Dad! Beside Dad in the photo are the Global Co-Chairs of Empowered 21, Dr. George Wood (General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God) and Dr. Billy Wilson (President of Oral Roberts University).

Caption by Ron: Last night, Dad was honoured with a Lifetime Global Impact award at the closing Pentecost Sunday event of the Empowered 21 Global Congress in Jerusalem. Congratulations Dad! Next to Dad in the photo are the Global Co-Chairs of Empowered 21, Dr. George Wood (General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God) and Dr. Billy Wilson (President of Oral Roberts University).

Ministry leaders from over 70 countries attended the Empowered 21 Global Congress in Jerusalem.

Ministry leaders from over 70 countries attended the Empowered 21 Global Congress in Jerusalem.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A MIRACLE AND MEDICATION TOO

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 20-21

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

 

These ruins are located about 100 metres south of Hezekiah’s Tunnel. In the summer of 2004, these remains were discovered of a very large pool from the Second Temple period. It proved to be the Pool of Siloam. Nearby, archaeologists uncovered the remains of a stepped street (photo at bottom of page), the path taken by pilgrims ascending from the pool to the Temple Mount. Beneath the paving stones of the street they found a drainage channel that apparently served as a hiding place for the last Jewish rebels against the Romans in the year 70 AD. The pool ceased to function after the destruction of Jerusalem and, over time, filled with earth and disappeared from sight.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 20:4b-5

The Word of the Lord came to him saying, “Return and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people,Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father; I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you.”

 

God added 15 more years to Hezekiah’s life by a combination of divine healing and medicine. Isaiah prescribed a poultice, which was to be placed on Hezekiah’s boil in order to draw out the poison that was in his system. God works in our time also through this combination of prayer along with the best medical care, with which we are blessed. God hears and answers prayer! Just as God heard Hezikiah’s prayers for deliverance from the Assyrians, God hears and answers prayer today. Do we have need for God’s intervention? Yes! Yes! God will hear our fervent prayers. That does not mean that God will always do just as we ask; He knows better than we do. Our faith is best expressed in obedience to do as He has told us. We pray, believe him for His perfect will, and the rest is up to Him. Pray! Obey! Read James 5:13-18. Then God will do what God will do!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for others (name them) and for myself as Hezekiah prayed, “Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” Thank You, Lord, that You are hearing my prayer. I know Your decisions are on the way. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I know from personal experience that God hears and answers prayer. As a result of God’s healing power, combined with the medical skills of the doctors and nurses, He has already added 60 more years to my life than the doctors predicted when I was 19 years old. The students in the Bible College in Peterborough, Ontario, went into a time of fervent prayer on my behalf, and two of the ministers/teachers anointed me with oil, laid hands on my head, and prayed in the Name of Jesus for my healing. God heard and said, “Yes!” The doctors then did surgery to correct the problem which had caused my illness in the first place.

David

P.S. Yesterday, Ron and Ann, our son and daughter-in-love, hosted a 3-hour TV special on “God TV,” which originated live from the spot in the Jordan River where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. I had the honour to baptize a number of the wonderful people who are travelling with us here in Israel (photo below). Watch for highlights from Israel of the Empowered 21 Global Congress events on 100 Huntley Street during the week of June 8th.

Just after baptizing 89-year-old Larry Burgess from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  We are on the Israel side of Jordan. The reeds you see are in the Kingdom of Jordan. So much river water is used for irrigation that the river is much smaller than in Bible times.

Just after baptizing 89-year-old Larry Burgess from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. We are on the Israel side of Jordan. The reeds you see are in the Kingdom of Jordan. So much river water is used for irrigation that the river is much smaller than in Bible times.

This is when I joined Ann and Ron during the live production from the Jordan River yesterday! We showed an old photo of my parents in this same location 90 years ago! (see photo below).

This is when I joined Ann and Ron during the live production from the Jordan River yesterday! We showed an old photo of my parents in this same location 90 years ago! (see photo below).

During yesterday's Jordan River production, I showed this photo of my parents on their honeymoon in 1925, bathing in the Jordan River.

During yesterday’s Jordan River production, I showed this photo of my parents, Rev. Roy and Hazel Mainse, on their honeymoon in 1925, bathing in the Jordan River.

This is the bottom end of the stepped road and drainage channel, known as the Path of Pilgrims. In this area was a stone-paved plaza from the Second Temple period that served as a promenade for visitors to the Pool of Siloam. The promenade’s roof was supported by a row of stone columns, parts of which have been found at the site.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

HEZEKIAH PRAYED AND PRAYED!!!

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 19

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

 

This photo was taken near the top-end of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, or the Siloam Tunnel. It is a tunnel that was dug underneath the City of David in Jerusalem in ancient times. It dates from the reign of Hezekiah of Judah (late 8th and early 7th century BC) and corresponds to the waterworks mentioned in 2 Kings 20:20. The tunnel, leading from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, was designed as an aqueduct to provide Jerusalem with water during an impending siege by the Assyrians, led by Sennacherib.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 19:19

Now Therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.

Our reading begins with the statement, “Hezekiah …. went into the house of the Lord.” The tearing of Hezekiah’s clothes and the sackcloth were evidences of extreme fervency. When we fast, the same fervency is indicated. Jesus practised fasting and encouraged us to do the same. This is evidence of our determined focus on God; it is not a way of earning God’s favour. Everything we receive from God is pure grace (undeserved favour). We learn from Hezekiah the power of prayer! Four times we are presented with the words “prayer, prayed, pray, prayed.” We get it, Lord!
Isaiah, the man of God, is introduced here for the first time. Let us check on Isaiah’s preaching. He began his ministry when Uzziah was king and continued throughout the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. As a youth, Hezekiah would have sat under the teaching and preaching of Isaiah, no doubt comparing the message and the life of Isaiah against the wickedness of his father Ahaz. Read Isaiah 1:16-20 and Isaiah 2:1-11. Then consider Isaiah’s experience of God recorded in Isaiah 6:1-8. We can be sure that as a youth, before he became king, Hezekiah had prayed the words of Isaiah to the Lord, “Here am I! Send me.” The results of this prayer are very evident in history.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I’ve heard Your call. You have said, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” I respond with those powerful words, “Here am I! Send me.” I pray this in Jesus’ Name! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I was about to turn 17 when I attended Lakeshore Pentecostal Youth Camp for a week. It was there at the altar in the tabernacle that I prayed approximately this prayer with all my heart, “Lord Jesus, I want to serve You fully in Your great cause. Please Lord, do me the great favour of calling me with a definite call so that I will know You have called me, and so that I will never turn back from serving You.” He gave me an unmistakable call almost immediately when the Youth Evangelist came to where I was kneeling in the middle of hundreds of other teens and said, with authority in his voice, “You are called into the Ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ!” I’ve never doubted that call for even one minute for the past 62 years.

In reference to today’s reading, my English teacher in high school had us memorize the poem “The Destruction of Sennacherib,” by Lord Byron. I remember it to this day… “The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold, and his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold….” Lord Byron was a student of Holy Scripture (click here for the entire poem).

Yours for God’s call on our lives,

David

P.S. It’s now 12:42 p.m. in Jerusalem, where I am right now (5:42 a.m. Eastern time -Toronto-New York). In 11 days we’ll be half-way through the entire Bible. If you have just started reading with me, in 104 weeks you’ll finish the entire Bible, moving from the Hebrew Scriptures to the Greek, the Old Testament to the New, alternating between the two. Please tell others about this blog and encourage them from time to time to stick with it throughout the entirety of the Bible. Throughout the years, I have become convinced that with the two year reading plan, over 70% of people who start to read with me complete reading the entire Bible. In the one year plan which I promoted for years, only about 30% completed the entire Bible. I discovered this because of the requests (or the lack thereof) for additional study materials.

Up until 2004 this exit from Hezekiah’s Tunnel was thought to be at the Pool of Siloam. However, you will see in tomorrow’s 100words blog photo that the recent discovery, just 100 metres to the south, was in fact the Pool of Siloam. That is where Jesus, in John 9:7, after spitting in the dirt and putting it on a blind man’s eyes, told him to wash in the pool of Siloam, and the man was healed.

Friday, May 22, 2015

GOOD DECISIONS

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 18

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

 

Hezekiah’s capital city… Jerusalem. This present-day photo is a northeast view looking toward the Temple Mount area.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 18:5

“He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any who were before him.”

Hezekiah stands out as a shining light. He served the Lord completely, destroyed false religion in the land, even to breaking up the image of the serpent that Moses had set up because the people had begun worshipping it as an idol. Read Numbers 21:4-9. Jesus referred to the serpent in John 3:14 when He spoke of being lifted up on the cross. To understand the significance of Jesus’ statement, we may consider 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He [God] made Him [Jesus] to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Hezekiah’s own father had been one of the most evil kings of Judah. Somehow, in one generation, God changed the direction of this family and of Judah. God found a young man, 25 when he became king, who made a life-long decision to turn from the wicked ways of his father, live a holy life, and lead his people back to the God of Israel. Our decisions change us for the better or the worse.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, please hear my prayer when I ask for Your help in making the right decisions for my life and for my testimony to others. Thank You that I can change from the past, moving into a glorious future because of Jesus, Your Son and my Saviour and Lord, in whose Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The basic content of the message that God called me to bring to the Christian leaders gathered here in Jerusalem was one of repentance for harbouring any hatred or even disrespect towards Arabs or Jews. Such contempt is sin against our Creator God whom the Bible says is “Love!” Yes, He judges people and nations and He reserves that right for Himself. I’m so very thankful that I am not anyone’s judge! I am to love unconditionally!!!

Yours for God-inspired decisions which make positive changes in our lives and in the lives of others,

David

P.S. Here’s a clip of Elijah Harper, a superb First Nations leader for many years in Canada, addressing the Sacred Assembly in 1995, as well as a portion of Prime Minister Harper’s apology to the native peoples in 2008. I’m here in the Middle East just now where the issue is Jew and Arab. I’m a Canadian, and in my opinion our main issue, which requires an ongoing attitude of repentance, has to do with the sad long-term consequences of the sometimes self-centred rule by those of us who are currently in the majority.  God cares infinitely about the individual person, tribe, ethnic background, etc.

 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

PEOPLE IN CRISIS

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 17

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

 

Dan is described as the northernmost city of the Kingdom of Israel. The children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem. The Danites, finding their inheritance too small, decided to enlarge its boundaries by the sword; and, having conquered Leshem (Laish), they planted a colony there, calling the new settlement by the name of Dan. Seen here is one of the remaining walls of the ancient city of Dan and the Scripture cut into the metal is Joshua 19:47.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 17:18

Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone.

God gave the 10 tribes of the north every opportunity to repent. He sent mighty prophets like Elijah and Elisha, but the leaders and the majority of the people did not listen and change their ways. God does not always strive with us. However, He does seek to move us to Himself in a variety of ways. If we do not respond, the time comes when God must put the emphasis on righteousness and the holy nature of God must eventually seek justice and judgement. Genesis 6:3 tells us that God said, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man forever.” The Apostle Peter picks up this theme of Noah and God’s judgement in 1 Peter 3:18-22 and 4:1-8. Our salvation is secure in Christ! But in the north of Israel, those who were following God closely were swept up in the destruction and relocation actions of the Assyrian King. War and destruction has happened in our time. It is absolutely essential that we seek to be salt and light in our entire country, as well as the whole world.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your ministry to the people who lived in the north such as the Samaritans who descended from those who were relocated there by the Assyrian king. You care about people everywhere! I pray that I will love and seek to bless all people everywhere in every way I can. Most of all, Lord, may I witness to Your Salvation and may I support world missions in a generous and sacrificial way. In Your Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

There are Christian missions all over the world. Brian Stewart, for many years the senior foreign correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, tells of his camera operator somewhere in Africa saying approximately, “I wish that just once we could go to a remote place where a missionary does not walk out of the jungle to greet us.” This witness brought Brian back to his childhood faith which he had lost during his university years. Countries such as South Korea have become powerful missionary-sending countries. It is impossible to follow Jesus closely without caring deeply about world missions.

Yours for living right in God’s sight, sharing God’s love, and teaching in word and deed the person of Jesus Christ,

David

P.S. Yesterday, I had the honour of addressing Christian leaders from more than 60 countries who, along with thousands of others, are gathered here in Jerusalem for the Empowered 21 Global Congress. The message I believe God inspired me to bring was a simple one: Love Arabs, Jews, and all people everywhere. Ron took some pictures from today’s leaders luncheon (below) and a short video of the worship time at the evening kick-off celebration (click HERE). You can view the live streaming of this week’s events online HERE (make the time adjustments for your time zone). Thanks everybody everywhere who take the time to read with me!!!

Jerusalem 2

Jerusalem 1

 

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

RELIGION AND TRUTH

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 15-16

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

 

In Rome stands a national monument known as the Altar of the Fatherland, honouring Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. It is a very impressive sight to see. As in today’s reading, the kings of history come and go, but not the King of Kings. He remains forever!

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 16:14

He also brought the bronze altar which was before the Lord, from the front of the temple–from between the new altar and the house of the Lord–and put it on the north side of the new altar.

King Ahaz of Judah made slight changes in the pattern of worship in the Temple of Solomon, as our key verse shows. He was impressed by an altar he saw in Damascus, and brought the design home with him to Jerusalem. Through the centuries, customs, patterns, and traditions have developed which may be useful in the worship of God, or may be distractions leading us away from God. Jesus, Himself, participated fully in the worship at the Jerusalem Temple, and while the Temple is no more, the customs, liturgies, etc., live on, after a fashion, in churches today. These traditions were brought into Christian practices by Jewish priests who became followers of Jesus (Acts 6:7). These priests were scattered over the world by the persecutions in Jerusalem and the destruction of Herod’s Temple in 70 A.D. They brought their robes and temple liturgies right into their Christian gatherings as we would expect, as the early Christians were almost all Jews.

Just as in the times of Ahaz, and much later in the times of the Apostle Peter, and in our day also, there are those who mess with the truth of God, turning people away from the true worship of God. Please, please let us not start another denomination or another congregation unaffiliated with an existing fellowship of churches. Let us seek the widest possible connection of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. We may want to think about the words of 2 Peter 2:1-22. Don’t be discouraged. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I pray for a daily illumination of truth from the Scriptures I am reading. Grant that I may always find Your Person revealed clearly to my understanding. Keep me true to You in my thoughts, words, and deeds. In Your Name I ask these mercies, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I mentioned yesterday that I would tell the story of what happened to my Arab son-in-law, Nizar Shaheen, in Gath Hepher, modern day Mishad, the ancestral home of the prophet Jonah. Today it is a Muslim village, located between Nazareth and Cana.

Nizar’s brothers are stone masons from Cana and are much in demand. Nizar was a student at the University of Haifa while his oldest brother had the contract to build a new mosque in Mishad. While helping his brother, Nizar fell from the top of the mosque and should’ve been killed. He said that he felt that he was being turned as he fell, by unseen hands. He landed on his hands and feet in the only place on the ground which was clear of stones and pieces of steel bars. His brothers loaded him in the back seat of their car and rushed him to the hospital in Nazareth. As he went he says that he heard a voice speaking to him saying, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are Mine.” He was unaware at the time that these were words from Isaiah 43:1. This was one of the major factors in Nizar’s decision to become a believer in Jesus Christ.

Check out the ministry of “Light for all Nations.” Nizar and his wife, my daughter Ellen, and their team are reaching the entire Arabic-speaking world with the message of Jesus (click here).

Yours for following Jesus more closely than ever,

David

Inside Rome’s Altar of the Fatherland is another altar that appears to be a small walk-by chapel.

 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

BONES

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 13-14

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

 

Perhaps it was a tomb not unlike the one above in which Elisha was buried. In this photo you can see the Tomb of the Sons of Hezir and the Tomb of Zechariah on the right.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 13:21

So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

Imagine the surprise of the graveyard crew when they were running from the Moabites, to find the man they had just thrown in the tomb of Elisha running after them! Perhaps this is the reason why in some cathedrals the bones of people judged to be very godly are on display. I wouldn’t count on the same thing happening with those bones. Stretch this last of Elisha’s miracles a bit to connect to the bones, as it were of Paul, Peter, John Wesley, and others. When we read their writings, there is a sense that we are touching the very structure of their lives and spiritual life is flowing. There were no bones left behind in the tomb of Jesus (I’ve personally checked it out in both suggested tombs), yet life definitely flows into us from contact with the living Christ. We can never read too often Colossians 2:13-22.
If we really like figuring out things, the Jehoash/Joash kings in both the north and the south will prove an enjoyable challenge. Their mother’s names may be the key to solving the puzzle.
We are first introduced to the Prophet Jonah here (2 Kings 14:25). Perhaps Jonah knew that Nineveh, capital city of Assyria, would soon devastate Israel and in an ethnic cleansing move the Assyrians would disperse the ten tribes of the north over the entire world. This may be the reason Jonah headed west to Spain instead of Northeast to Nineveh.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I pray for Your consistency to be strong in me. This is a two-year journey which may well be the most important two years of my life. I’m counting on Your indwelling Presence to keep me true. In Your all-powerful Name, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I should point out that no ministry funds are used for trips such as the one depicted below with Ron and Ann in Petra (the Biblical Selah mentioned in today’s reading).

In today’s reading I noticed that Jonah was from Gath Hepher. This is not the “Gath” of the Philistines, from which Goliath came. This place is located between Cana of Galilee and Nazareth. It’s now called Mishad. This is the village which figures prominently in the conversion of my Arab son-in-law. I’ll try to remember to tell the story tomorrow, God willing, of how God saved Nizar’s life in the ancestral hometown of Jonah.

Yours for consistency and integrity,

David