Friday, February 23, 2018

NEW EVERY MORNING

Today’s Reading: Lamentations 3-5

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

 

This winding road is in Meteroa Greece. Perhaps the road of life resembles this. Most of the time life is up hill like the top left of Reynold’s photograph.

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

 

Key Verses: Lamentations 3:22-23

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,

Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning;

Great is Your faithfulness.

 

It is surprising to find this gem of positive affirmation in the middle of such a sad book as Lamentations. God’s “mercies,” His “lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.” That’s worth reading at least twice! On top of that, “They are new every morning!” Could this be a reason for this blog? Then here’s the clincher to understanding the heart of God! “GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS!”

An example of this is the picture on our Canadian $20 bill. Of course, it’s our Queen! For all who read this who are not familiar with the Canadian form of Government, we are a constitutional monarchy. The constitutional monarch, Queen Elizabeth, is our “Head of State.” Those who led Canada into its sovereignty believed that we needed someone above the political process. By its nature politics is messy, but not the Queen, or our Governor General who represents her for Canada, and our Lieutenant Governors who represent her in the Provinces and Territories. This institution of the monarchy illustrates in human terms the “faithfulness” of God. He remains the same! He does not wander from one position to another, as do our political leaders. God is over and above the fray. He is SOVEREIGN! We give to Him His divine right to rule over every area of our lives. “Yes” and “So be it!”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, King of the Cosmos, Absolute Ruler over my life, I kneel before You in complete submission to Your will and purpose for me. You have given me a bill of rights, in that I can come into Your presence daily, presenting my petitions. You have promised that “The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37b). That is my promise from You, and You never lie as some in human government do. Thank You for Your GREAT FAITHFULNESS! In the Name of the One the Apostle John saw in his vision of Jesus, the One who will return to earth in great power and glory…the “KING of KINGS!!!” Amen!!! (Revelation 19:16b).

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

There are many twists and turns in the road of life and I tell myself, “Just keep going!” Sometime back Norma-Jean and I bought a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit for our car. Don’t ask me how it works. I just use it! I know that there is a communications satellite parked in a stationary orbit about 22,500 miles above the earth through which a lady I call “Mabel” talks to me, telling me the way to turn at each crossroads. To support Mabel’s spoken word there is a road map on the screen and a purple arrow which points me to my desired destination. Mabel’s words and what I read on the screen are in agreement. Amazing! The odd time there is confusion. The words on the screen say, “Searching for satellite.” I know it’s up there somewhere.

How often on life’s road I’ve had to wait, even pull over to the side of the road, while waiting for my connection with God to be restored. As today’s reading says to God, “Great is Your faithfulness!” He’s always there, and if there is a problem, it’s my fault, not God’s. I simply go back to the instructions (the written Word), follow carefully what I read, and wait for a while. Soon the directions are clear, and there is the still small Voice of God confirming what I’ve read. I begin to move, and as He has promised, He directs my movements (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Yours because God is faithful,

David

P.S. I count among my friends the Hon. David Onley and his wife, Ruth Ann. David served for years as the Queen’s representative as Lieutenant Governor for the province of Ontario.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

THE LONELY CITY

Today’s Reading: Lamentations 1-2

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

 

There are many covered stone streets in the Old City of Jerusalem. In this picture, one orthodox Jew walks up an incline. Imagine Jeremiah, who was left behind in Jerusalem, after most of the people were taken captive to Babylon.

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

 

Key Verses: Lamentations 2:11

My eyes fail with tears,

My heart is troubled;

My bile is poured on the ground

Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people,

Because the children and the infants

Faint in the streets of the city.

 

According to the dictionary, a “lament” is a poem expressing passionate grief or sorrow. “Lamentations” is such a poem. Each chapter in this book contains 22 stanzas, but chapter three has 66 (22×3). Each stanza begins with the succeeding letter of the Hebrew 22-letter alphabet. Jeremiah’s prophecies came true, and he had every right to say, “I told you so!” He not only knew the Word of God, he knew the heart of God! Here in chapters 1 & 2, Jeremiah cannot stop weeping. Can we hear the weeping in the voice of Jesus when He said of Jerusalem the words found in Matthew 23:34-37. Jesus ministered in person in Jerusalem, as did Jeremiah. Shortly before the next great destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus is recorded saying the words of Matthew 24:6-14.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for the same heart of compassion and grief as was evident in Jeremiah and in Jesus. Grant me, I ask, the strength to bear a burden of intercession for my country and its great cities, towns, villages and country areas. Increase my capacity to care for people who are all very precious and of infinite value to You. I pray in the Name of the One who cared more than anyone else for people, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The photo below shows the street lights of Burlington and the lights on the Burlington Skyway Bridge over the entrance to the Hamilton Harbour. The light is reflected off the snow and ice. The harbour is frozen over and the ships are docked at the wharfs for the winter. In the distance are the lights of the city of Hamilton. Fire is visible coming from the huge chimneys at the steel plants, Stelco and Dofasco. For a time I served as a pastor of a Hamilton congregation. Often early in the morning I would walk to the brow of the escarpment which overlooks Hamilton from the opposite direction from where this picture is taken. There I would pray over the needs of these cities, sometimes weeping as I cried out to God for His mercy and salvation to come to many more people. I am committed to prayer and to experiencing a greater manifestation of the caring heart of Jesus than ever before.

Yours for a heartfelt concern for people everywhere!

David

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

FERVENT LOVE

Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 3-5

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

 

A visit to Rome is a feast for the eyes. In the centre is the Trajan’s Column with a church on either side. The larger church in the photo is the Church of the Most Holy Name of Mary at the Trajan Forum. At the very end of today’s reading, “Babylon” is mentioned. In Roman times the persecuted Christians called the source of their persecution, Rome, by the name of the capitol city of the ancient persecutors of the Jewish people, “Babylon” (Revelation 17:1-6).

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Peter 5:7

…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

 

There are three points of emphasis here, all three mentioned more than once!

(1) PRAYER – 1 Peter 3:7 informs us that if we, as husbands, don’t honour our wives properly, our prayers may be hindered. Let’s not forget that elsewhere it says, “Let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33b). This is serious! Do we want God’s ears to be open to our prayers? Then pay attention to 1 Peter 3:9-12. Amen!!!

(2) A message from Jesus to those “spirits in prison” (3:19 & 20) and “those who are dead!” (4:6). This seems strange. Yet we understand that all who had died in faith prior to the Cross and the Resurrection were somehow incarcerated in a place where they could not enter Heaven above, because their sins were not removed until Jesus had paid the full price for their redemption by His blood sacrifice. It would be amazing to hear a replay of Jesus’ message to these people someday.

(3) “Love!” “Love!” and “Love!” (3:8 & 4:8). And this is to be “FERVENT LOVE!” We may think we know something about the meanings of the word “love.” But what about the word “fervent.” The dictionary says, “Displaying a passionate intensity – burning – glowing – boiling hot!”

O yes! Let’s read several times 1 Peter 5:5-9. “Be humble!” “Cast your cares on Him!” “Be sober!” “Be vigilant!” The result? The Devil may roar, but he can’t harm us!!! Let us be “steadfast in the faith.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for all You have for me. I now am wide open to receive Your provisions. Thank You! Praise Your holy Name! I worship You with a fervent heart full of love for You, and for others. Through the world’s greatest Lover, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS (or more)

I’ve just read all of First Peter again. As I read Chapter 1 verse 3, the word “begotten” stood out for me. The same thing happened as I read 1:23 which says, “Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever.” Recently someone sent me a picture of Billy Graham and Chuck Templeton (below). I remember when Billy and Chuck worked together as Evangelists in the Youth For Christ Movement. Billy was steadfast in his faith and commitment to the Gospel, but Chuck went to a very liberal theological seminary, and it seems he lost his faith in Christ. He returned to Toronto, wrote books, and became a broadcaster of note. On one occasion I was interviewed by Chuck on national CBC television. Chuck said, “David, you talk a lot about being born again. The Bible only refers to this one time.” I responded in a way that I later apologized for. I said, “Chuck, you’ve not been reading your Bible lately! Jesus said those words twice in John 3, and there are other places where the ‘born again’ experience is found. For example, Peter wrote those words, ‘born again.'” Then I referenced other synonymous expressions of this truth. e.g. “a new creation” and “born of the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 5:17 & John 3:8b). After the live show was over (I would only go on live shows because they had in the past edited me to make me say what I did not!), I prayed about it, and that still small Voice said to me, “David, you do not love Chuck.” I repented, and the next time when we were together (off camera), I asked his forgiveness for my lack of love, and he graciously forgave me. In the late 80’s, when the TV Evangelists scandals broke, Chuck was everywhere on Canadian TV, radio, and in the press defending me as an evangelist of integrity. Shortly before his death, he said to an interviewer, “I love Jesus very much, and I’ve missed Him for a long while.” I believe I’ll meet Chuck in Heaven!

Yours because, as the Scriptures say over and over, “His mercy endures forever!”

David

Young Evangelists, Chuck Templeton of Toronto and Billy Graham of Chicago at the time.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

PETER’S PRIORITIES

Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 1-2

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

 

The Church of St. Anne (the mother of Mary) is located at the start of the Via Dolorosa, near the Lions’ Gate in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The current church is erected near the remains of an earlier Byzantine basilica. There is a tradition which claims that this was the site of the home of the parents of the Virgin Mary, and that she was born here and grew up here. The sculptor has offered us this depiction of a mother and a young girl.

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

 

Key Verses: 1 Peter 1:5, 2:2

…who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.…As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.

 

“Kept by the power of God!” What a confidence-building statement! Can it be any better than that? Add to that the amazing privilege of growth through the Word of God! We’ve been reading daily the Prophets. We are encouraged to learn a most important lesson from them. They “inquired and searched diligently!” (1:10). We are given clear instructions as to how to do this: “Gird up the loins of your mind” (1:13). That picturesque language helps us understand the process. We could put it differently, like, “Take yourself by the scruff of the neck and partake daily of all the spiritual nutrients we need to grow and thrive.” A baby’s whole world is all about survival and growth.  As a hungry baby desires mother’s milk, so we should hunger and thirst, eating and drinking God’s Word!!!

In Peter’s writing he sounds a lot like he did when he delivered the very first sermon on the birthday of the Church (Read Acts 2:22-24). Peter quotes from his Hebrew Bible from Isaiah 53. Compare 1 Peter 2:24 & 25 with Isaiah 53:5 & 6. All the Apostles were “Word of God” preachers and teachers.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for the grace of consistency in my reading and my meditating on and in Your Holy Word. I ask that Your Spirit will impart to me a greater comprehension and practical application of Your Word. May I, like the Apostles, have a strong ministry to others by skillfully, and with wisdom, sharing Your Word with others. In the Name of the “Living Word,” Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

A while back, I spoke at the Crossroads Chapel service about the DNA of the Crossroads Ministry. I took “Uncle Jasper” and “Caspar the Cop” with me to illustrate the commitment Crossroads has had to children’s ministry since the beginning of the TV ministry back in 1962 (photo below). I used these same puppets to help me grab the attention of the children in a Sunday School I started in Chalk River, Ontario, when I was 18 back in 1954. Most of the time there has been a children’s component to the Crossroads ministry.

Yours for getting the attention of the children so that they will drink the “pure milk of the Word” and “grow thereby!”

David

P.S. Jasper and Caspar are pictured below. Notice the copy of a Bible under the wooden shoes. The symbolism is that we stand on the solid foundation of the Scriptures. The Word of God is over and above all the other books in my library! The wooden shoes were a gift from the Netherlands when I travelled to that country speaking about the dangers of euthanasia in the great reformed churches of that land. To the dismay of historical Christians, the government passed a bill allowing the killing of the elderly. I weep now because Belgium, where two of my grandchildren were born, has passed legislation by which children can be euthanized. May God have mercy on His human family!!!

Monday, February 19, 2018

ALL OUR DAYS!

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 52

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

 

In today’s reading, pots, bowls and utensils are mentioned. Reynold, who is still in Africa, sent this picture on the internet of vessels excavated in Corinth, Greece. It’s just possible that the pottery of Babylon might have looked like these. It’s a stretch for my imagination to connect these to Babylon, but history tells us that the Greeks were going to defeat Babylon, Persia and all the lands of the Middle East within about 200 years after the time of Jeremiah 52.

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 52:33

So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life.

 

Jehoiachin was made King of Judah when he was just 18 (read 2 Kings 24:6-15). Eight years later he was taken captive to Babylon in the first defeat of Judah. Zedekiah was ordered to serve as a vassal king under Nebuchadnezzar. Zedekiah’s rebellion caused the Babylonians to destroy the Temple, the walls, and the homes of Jerusalem, murdering Zedekiah’s sons in front of him and then blinding him and taking him in chains to Babylon where he was executed.

Meanwhile, Judah’s former King, Jehoiachin, languished in prison in Babylon for 37 years. When Nebuchadnezzar’s son ascended to the throne, he released Jehoiachin, brought him into the Palace, and cared for him for the rest of his life. I expect there will be more about Babylon in Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel, but beginning tomorrow, God willing, we’ll move over to First Peter for our meditations. What Jehoiachin experienced is something like Jesus does for us. He brings us out of the prison house of sin, forgives us, and makes us clean before God. He put a robe of righteousness on us, and we are seated in heavenly places with Him. Hallelujah!!! (read Isaiah 61:10 & Ephesians 2:4-9).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I am the recipient of much greater mercy from You than Jehoiachin received. His freedom and provision was temporal, but what You’ve done for me is eternal! I pray for more and more opportunities to come my way to tell everyone that there is freedom, peace, blessing and honour in the Salvation which is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, in whose Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I mentioned in a previous blog that, according to the doctor’s prediction in 2012, my journey into the “great beyond” was scheduled to take place at the latest in March 2014. Back at the first of January 2014 he said that my health was “jaw-dropping remarkable.” Thanks for your prayers!!! God’s timing is O.K. with me whenever it’s time to step out of this life into the next one. If it’s today, it would appear I’ll be feeling well for the trip home to Heaven! My children have reminded me over the past months that I’ve said to them, “We who serve the Lord are indestructible until God is finished with us!” Any time Lord!

Yours for trusting God with His perfect timing in all things,

David

P.S. The motorcycle pictured below was a bank repossession with a dented front fender that I bought very cheaply in February 2014. I considered this a statement of victory over the prediction of my soon demise. It was a way of thumbing my nose at “the last enemy.” I sold my former bike in 2006, after we had completed the “Steel Horse Ride,” a trip across Canada where we raised funds to equip our Circle Square Ranches for children with physical limitations. I bought my very first motorcycle with money I had earned when I was just 14. In the photo I have on my “Duck Dynasty” T-shirt that says, “Happy, Happy, Happy!”

Sunday, February 18, 2018

DULL HEARTED

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 51

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

 

Reynold photographed a Ugandan woman winnowing. Reynold and Kathy are helping to bring church leaders together in several areas to help answer the prayer of Jesus for unity (John 17). In today’s reading Jeremiah says that Babylon is “like a threshing floor” (51:33). This woman is standing on such a floor where the harvest is beaten with sticks and then exposed to a winnowing process to remove the chaff. You can see a bag of charcoal in the background ready for sale.

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 51:17a

“Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge.”

 

It’s apparent that Jeremiah is trying to get God’s message through, not only to his own people, but to the Babylonians also. Jeremiah is doing his best to awaken the “dull hearted” and to impart knowledge, so he writes the words of this prophecy on a special scroll. Then he arranged to have the scroll taken to Babylon (Iraq), read to the exiles who were already there, such as Daniel and the others, and then, with a stone tied to the scroll, sink it to the bottom of the Euphrates River, which flows through the centre of Babylon (Jeremiah 51:63, 64). This picture would probably have been in Daniel’s mind as he opened his window toward Jerusalem three times each day and prayed (Daniel 6:10).

Any of us who take the time and exercise the discipline necessary to read and study the Word of God daily are definitely not “dull hearted” and are not “without knowledge.” For example, we can have our hearts stimulated and our knowledge increased by reading Revelation 17:1 to 18:24. Here we read of a yet future Babylon which symbolically represents an “Evil Empire” (to quote Ronald Reagan) opposed to God. Again, as in the prophecy of Jeremiah, the Lord urgently calls to His people by a Voice from Heaven, “Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” We, as believers in Jesus, the holy Son of God, have a message for the present time, which, if our hearts are not dull, we will heed! The Apostle quotes from Isaiah 52:11 and tells all followers of Jesus to “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord, and do not touch what is unclean.” Paul is referring to the idols of the Greeks and Romans. Read 2 Corinthians 6:11-18. He’s not telling us to enter a monastery or join the Amish. Essentially he’s telling us to be faithful to God in the midst of a Babylonian world all around us.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that You will help me not to be dull hearted. May I apply myself most diligently to the “knowledge” of You as You reveal Yourself through Your thoughts, which are expressed in all the Scriptures. May my heart be inundated by Your Truth, always perceiving Truth with the insight gained through the knowledge of Jesus, the One who is the “Living Word,” the true and full Expression of what You have to say to Your human family. In His Name I pray, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I am praying fervently early each morning that God, the Holy Spirit, will use this blog to stimulate hearts (the opposite to “dull hearted”) by providing a practical daily path to “knowledge.” That fisher of men from the Sea of Galilee, Peter, gave his reason for writing his letters. He urged people to “be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets” (2 Peter 3:2a). I try to put myself in his shoes by remembering that the only written Word of God Peter had was his Hebrew Bible. He may or may not have been aware that he was writing a part of the Scriptures of the New Covenant of which Jeremiah had written. The Apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable…” Join me in reading Paul’s words about his Bible (the Scriptures of the First Covenant) found in 2 Timothy 3:14 to 4:5. This speaks to me about the importance of reading even the difficult Scriptures such as Jeremiah 50 and 51.

There are 730 blogs on “100words.ca” that are taking us on this 24-month journey through all the Scriptures. I ask every reader to help me to get the word out about these blogs. Remember that anyone can start at any point and two years hence will have completed the entire volume of the knowledge God wants us to read from His Word, the Bible. Readers can take what I have to say as relatively unimportant compared to the actual Bible readings. I started this the day after the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the ministry I founded known as Crossroads Christian Communications (for a short video of the inspiration for this blog click here).

Yours as faithfully as God has given me His grace to continue,

David

P.S. It occurs to me that anyone can go back to all the earlier blogs and find any specific reading suggestion and commentary. I’m asking my son, Ron, to explain here how we can do this on our computers. For example, Ron, show me how I can find the longest recorded message of Jesus in Matthew 5, 6, and 7. I know how to find this in my Bible, but how do I find the commentaries from those blogs. Thank you my son!

OK…Ron here. If you go to www.100words.ca, you can type search words into the search bar at the top right, then hit “enter.” The results will show all of the blog posts with that particular word, and at the bottom of the results page you can click “older posts” to keep going back in time for that search. HOWEVER…if you want to be specific with a phrase or specific chapter of the Bible, then add “quotation marks” around the search words. For example, to find a blog regarding the Sermon on the Mount, you could put “Matthew 5” into the search bar (using quotation marks). Then the results will show ONLY the blogs where “Matthew” and “5” are used together in combination (otherwise, without quotation marks, it will show every blog where either “Matthew” or the number “5” was written). You could also put “Sermon on the Mount” in quotation marks. Hopefully that makes sense!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

SHEEP AND THE GOOD SHEPHERD

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 50

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

 

For thousands of years sheep have fed on these grasses in the Jordan Rift Valley in Israel. Again and again the Bible likens us to sheep. I think I’ve found a sheep that represents me in this picture. Pick one out that may represent you! Where is the shepherd?

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 50:6

My people have been lost sheep.

Their shepherds have led them astray;

They have turned them away on the mountains.

They have gone from mountain to hill;

They have forgotten their resting place.

 

Chapters 50 (today) and 51 (tomorrow) are the longest pronouncements of judgment against a people. The Chaldeans, with their capital city of Babylon (located about 80 km south of modern Bagdad, Iraq), were defeated by the Persians (Iran), and much of the city was destroyed. Sadam Hussein, former President of Iraq, was in the process of beginning to rebuild Babylon when he was removed from power. The rebuilding stopped. The prophecy of Jeremiah remains true to this day (50:39b)…”It shall be inhabited no more forever, nor shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.”

Three times in today’s reading the Babylonians are referred to as “proud.” The images of their god, Bel Merodac (or Marduk, creator and sun god), were “broken in pieces” as verse two says. “Pride” can be traced to its source; Lucifer, the Archangel, was lifted up in “pride,” sought to be worshipped, and, as a result, was exiled from Heaven and banished to the earth. He has, by inspiring idolatry, sought to receive the worship that he was denied in Heaven. When Jesus came to us through the gateway of the Virgin’s womb, He modelled the opposite to this pride. For a New Testament reading, consider Philippians 2:5-11.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Your Word tells me, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5). Also, You tell me that “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). I pray for Your grace so that I may humble myself before You. As I’ve just read in Philippians, Jesus is my Example of humility, and I pray this in His Name. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve just been looking at the sheep in Reynold’s photograph. I identify with the one near the back of the flock that has its head up looking at the familiar paths. I can see those paths on the right. They are worn into the hillside by generations of sheep ascending and descending the slope. Perhaps the sheep with the raised head wants to head back home to the safety of the cave where the shepherd personally stands guard between the sheep and any approaching enemy. I’ve just read, as I’ve done hundreds of times before, John 10:1-18. I have total confidence in Jesus, the One Who said, “I am the Good Shepherd.” In contrast to our “Shepherd,” the people of God in Jeremiah’s prophecy had become as “lost sheep” because of shepherds who had led them astray. I’m singing just now Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Here’s the song I’ve found online by Keith Green, my son Ron’s musical hero when he was a teenager (click here).

Yours because the “Good Shepherd” takes “Good” care of His own sheep,

David

P.S. When we travel with our friends in Israel I often have a little fun by taking the microphone on the bus and pointing out the worn paths on the hillsides, as in today’s picture. Then I’ll say that the forces of evolution over thousands of years have caused the legs of the sheep and goats to be shorter on one side than the other, because they are always on a hillside. I pause to let that sink in, and then I say, with a grin on my face, this gives the sheep trouble when they turn around and start for home (laugh here). This is an example of a warped sense of humour. With all the doom and gloom in our readings, it occurred to me that we could use a laugh. If you don’t find my story funny, please forgive me, like Norma-Jean does several times a day!

Friday, February 16, 2018

WINGS

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 49

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

 

The Obelisk Tomb and Bab As-Siq Triclinium are directly across from the Djinn Blocks at the entrance to the siq, the narrow easily defended rock-hewn corridor which leads into the city of Petra. The four Obelisks of the Tomb (top monument in the photo) were clearly built under an Egyptian influence. The Bab As-Siq Triclinium (bottom monument in the photo) is a chamber with three benches (Tri-clinium) and may have served as a location for sacred feasts honouring the dead. This area of modern Jordan was once the capital city of Edom, mentioned in today’s reading.

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 49:16a, 22

Your fierceness has deceived you,

The pride of your heart,

O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock,

Who hold the height of the hill!

…Behold He [The Lord] shall come up and fly like the eagle,

And spread His wings over Bozrah;

The heart of the mighty men of Edom in that day shall be

Like the heart of a woman in birth pangs.

 

To a young bird, a shadow cast by approaching wings can mean two completely different things. One shadow, which baby birds know well, means that their mother or father is returning to the nest with food and protection. But another shadow, which may look exactly the same to an untrained human eye, signals danger, the attack of a predator, and the chicks cower in fear.

Throughout the Bible, the image of “the wings of God” frequently appears. People welcome God as Provider and Protector or in the opposite way, as Someone who brings fear and judgment. In today’s reading, judgment is pronounced on Rabbah (present day Amman in Jordan). The people of Edom are reminded of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-29). Damascus, Syria, is in a time of destruction again today. Kedar (Saudi Arabia, and the other Arab states) was also devastated by the marauding armies of Egypt and Babylon. In spite of all this, chapter 49 ends with “hope,” as did chapter 48. As believers in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we need not fear. Yes we have reverence and awe, but never terror! Under His wings there is safety, nourishment, and all we need to grow into all that God has planned for each one of us. Amen!!! (Read Psalm 63:1-7). “In the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I take refuge 24/7 as Psalm 91:4 says, under the covering of Your “feathers,” and under Your “wings.” I pray that I will never separate myself from Your presence by allowing unconfessed sin to remain. I pray daily the sinner’s prayer, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13-14). Lord Jesus, You said that the man who prayed that prayer most sincerely was justified before God. Thank You, Lord, for Your deliverance from sin, Your protection, Your provision, and for my very life! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

For some reason my son David Reynold typed in the word, “Djinn” in his caption to his photograph. “Djinn” are mentioned in the Koran. They are depicted as beings with godlike powers. They were said to feed on fear. I have “NO FEAR!” Why? Because of the guaranteed protection of Almighty God through His Son and my Saviour, Jesus Christ (Messiah). In contrast to this fear-producing figment of a fevered imagination, the “Djinn,” when God or one of His angels (ministering spirits to God’s children – Hebrews 1:13-14) shows up, their first words are usually, “FEAR NOT!!!” I have not made this count myself, but those who have tell me that there are 365 repetitions of “FEAR NOT” in the Bible, one for every day of the year! How’s that for producing a sense of well being in all of us who believe. Evil systems of human government feed on fear. When Karl Wojtowa, Pope John Paul II, returned home to his native Poland, ruled by atheistic communism, he said to his people, “Do not fear!” Not long after this, the totalitarian communist government fell and was replaced by a freely elected government.

Yours with total confidence in the God Who declares to us with no uncertainty whatsoever, “FEAR NOT!”,

David

P.S. Today’s reading mentions those who dwell in the “clefts of the rock.” Below are more pictures of one-time dwellings in homes carved out of the rock cliffs of Petra, Jordan.

Homes carved into the solid rock are quite comfortable, warm in winter and cool in summer. Petra was considered to be an impregnable city.

 

 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

HOPE

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 48

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

 

The view that Moses had on Mount Nebo as he looked westward to the Promised Land. The green seen in the centre of the photo is the oasis of Jericho. On the far horizon is Jerusalem, approximately 25 miles (40 kilometres) beyond Jericho. The Judean wilderness lies between Jericho and Jerusalem. The territory of Moab begins just south of this point. Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David, was from Moab. To travel from Moab to Bethlehem, where she married Boaz, she would have had to travel through this wilderness. God cares about individuals and countries too.

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 48:10a, 29

“Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully.”

“We have heard the pride of Moab (He is exceedingly proud),

Of his loftiness and arrogance and pride,

And of the haughtiness of his heart.”

 

Like Philistia, Moab was caught in the middle between the warring super powers of the day, Egypt and Babylon (Iraq), and was suffering the horrors of genocidal destruction. God was seen as in charge overall, but let us remember that God has given humans a free will. He refuses to turn us into robots and puppets. We bring judgment on ourselves! “Moab” is mentioned 25 times in this chapter. This is evidence of God’s deep concern, not just for Israel, but for the people of Moab also. This was like a hell on earth for them. Jesus taught of an eternal Hell (10 times in the 4 Gospels) in order to warn us. He provided through His cross, suffering hell’s worst agony, the way of escape and eternal salvation for all who are willing to accept by free will His saving grace.

What can we learn from Moab? They were materialistic worshippers of a false god, deceitful, deliberate liars, filled with pride, self glory, haughtiness and carelessness. Do any of these descriptions sound familiar in our day? Jeremiah reveals the heart of God for these people by ending the chapter on a note of hope in the final sentence. There are dozens of Bible verses about “hope”! The word “hope” is used twice in one sentence in Romans 15:13. Read Romans 15:10-13 for our reason to have “hope”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Dear God, You desire to save the whole world from death and Hell. Forgive me for going my own way again and again instead of Your way. I’m made in Your image, as is every person, and I have a free will so I can, if I’m not surrendering to You daily, fall into the traps into which the Moabites fell. I repent, asking You to give me power to overcome sin today and every day. Keep me true to You. I pray this in the Name of the only Person who lived 100% of the time in a way which pleased You, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Alexander Pope wrote these familiar words in the early eighteenth century, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” In reading his words further, it’s certain that Pope wanted his readers to be “hopeful” by believing in the gift of eternal life. Meaning or purpose for life, beyond the daily grind of waking, eating, drinking, etc., is so important for human wellbeing. Secularists and atheists face an empty and often horrible future without “hope” for a better world to come where truth, love, comfort, no more pain, no more separation, and no more death is the human experience.

I was 11 years old the first time I heard Billy Graham preach. We went to an Ottawa, Canada, “Youth for Christ” rally. I remember vividly that Billy pictured fame, pleasure, wealth, etc. as soap bubbles… all shiny and bright looking, but then he reached out his hand to grasp the imaginary bubbles he was describing and they were as nothing. They burst the moment he touched them. There is nothing satisfying out there apart from “hope” in God! Paul ends what I consider to be perhaps the most beautiful use of language, perhaps of all time. “And now abides faith, hope, love, these three, but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). “Hope” is the middle word. Faith is a gift from God. “Hope” is our word of confidence. The result is that “HOPE” surprises me when it springs out of my heart, Pope’s “Human Breast.” What a joy to be alive, facing another day with complete confidence in God.

Yours for eternal “hope”… that’s forever, and ever, and ever, Amen!!!

David

P.S. I’m singing as I close off the blog these words, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Here is a YouTube rendition (click here).

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

TRUE LOVE

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 45-47

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 from atop Mount Carmel looking west toward the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea. It was from here that a “cloud the size of a man’s hand” was reported to Elijah (1 Kings 18:44). God spoke to Elijah as He did to Jeremiah. God’s love will find a way sooner or later to bring people back to Himself, but it must be a decision of human free will. That’s what true love means. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

 

Key Verse: Jeremiah 46:27

But do not fear, O My servant Jacob,

And do not be dismayed, O Israel!

For behold, I will save you from afar,

And your offspring from the land of their captivity;

Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease;

No one shall make him afraid.

 

Jeremiah 45 is Jeremiah’s word from God for his personal assistant and secretary (scribe), Baruch. Baruch’s prize was “Life.” He went as a guest of honour to Babylon where he was allowed to buy property and to prosper. There is an Apocryphal book called by his name. The Apocrypha is a collection of writings judged by the Jewish scholars as not inspired by God, yet somewhat valuable for study.

Jeremiah 46 tells us of Pharaoh Necho, King of Egypt. Necho had killed good King Josiah of Judah (2 Chronicles 35:20-27). After his return to Egypt, Necho deposed and deported Josiah’s son Jehoahaz, and made Jehoiakim his puppet king in Jerusalem. In 606 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Necho and world history was forever altered. Egypt would never again be considered a world power (46:13). In the midst of all this, God’s Word to His people is stated in our key verse. Jeremiah 47 tells us of the Philistine cities which were also caught in the midst of the wars between Egypt and Babylon (Iraq).

This Valentines Day let’s contrast the message of Jesus with that of Muhammed. The Koran says, “God loves those who love him.” In contrast to this, the Bible says, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Let’s take time to read 1 John 4:7-19 as our St. Valentine’s Day meditation. Recently a man from Mecca called in to the Light For All Nations Arabic ministry and received the unconditional love of Jesus by grace through faith.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I love You because You first loved me! Not as the Koran says, in effect, that You love me because I first loved You! You are the Initiator! You courted and wooed me! You won my heart!!! Increase my capacity to be filled with more of Your love than ever before, I pray. In the Name of the One of Whom it is written, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16a), Jesus Christ! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I have asked our son Ron to write the personal words for today. He posts the blog every morning for me at 6 a.m.

Hi Friends! The Bible tells us to “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Dad embedded prayer into the DNA of Crossroads from the very beginning. I know this will take me well over the 100 words Dad asked me to write, but allow me to share a story that illustrates what I’m talking about…

When I was a teenager, I was part of our high school basketball team. I remember having to wake up extremely early one morning in order to attend a practice, which our overly zealous coach had scheduled well before the school day began. My teammates and I were far from enthusiastic about having to get our bodies out of bed that early, but that was the only time the gymnasium was available before our big championship game. So I set my alarm for “dark and early.” When the dreaded beeping noise hit my ears, I reluctantly rolled out of bed, got dressed, and tiptoed my way through the dark hallway and down the stairs, being careful not to wake anyone else in the family. However, when I got to the living room, I was surprised to see the lights on and hear someone speaking. When I looked to my left, I saw my Dad kneeling next to the couch with dozens of pieces of paper spread out all over the furniture. I paused long enough to figure out what was going on. Dad was in prayer, weeping and interceding before God on behalf of the many who had written to him as a result of the recently launched 100 Huntley Street daily TV program. He never saw me as I continued tiptoeing out the door and off to my practice. That experience deeply impacted me. It strongly reinforced to my heart the truth of Dad’s genuine passion for God and passion for people. He wasn’t on television because of any ego trip or because he needed a job. He was called by God to share the love of Jesus to a lost and hurting world. He lived what he believed about the infinite value of a soul. After that, I could think of nothing else I wanted to do with my life than work with my Dad, which I had the privilege of doing from 1985 to 2015.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone,

Ron