Saturday, February 13, 2016

BABYLON OR EGYPT?

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 42-44

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

 

The temple of Edufu was dedicated to the falcon god Horus and is one of the best-preserved temples in Egypt. The walls of the temple are covered in inscriptions that tell many stories. The gods of Egypt are mentioned twice in today’s reading.

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 42:6, 42:20-21a

Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God…For you were hypocrites in your hearts when you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, “Pray for us to the Lord our God, and according to all that the Lord your God says, so declare to us and we will do it.” And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God…

 

These people probably did not intend to disobey God. Someone has said that “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” It seemed reasonable to them to ask Jeremiah for direction from God. But their hearts were hypocritical, not reasonable. Fear, a heart condition, won the day. “Egypt” is mentioned 22 times in these 3 chapters. No doubt they still celebrated “Passover” to help them remember that God had delivered Israel from Egypt (Exodus 12:12-14).

It seems that Jeremiah was forced to go with them back to Egypt. When they arrived, Jeremiah again warned them of their folly (43:10-13).

Jeremiah 44:7 is a commentary on the human heart and the foolishness of the human mind that decides to go our own way rather than God’s way. God says, “Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves, to cut off from you man and woman, child and infant, out of Judah, leaving none to remain?” Most of them died in Egypt, never to return. This was not to be the case of the Babylonian captives. They returned to rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that I will reason, according to the Scriptures, and obey You with both my mind and heart. Deliver me from the hypocrisy of saying one thing and doing another. I ask this through the Person and work of the One Who always said exactly what He intended to say, and then did what He said, the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Babylon or Egypt? Neither place was God’s highest plan for His people. Judah was still there as an option. King Zedekiah and many others were forced into Babylon because of their stubborn resistance to the Word from God, and in today’s reading, and later Johanan and the remnant still in Judah, exercised their own free will (they were called “proud men”) and went to Egypt where they died. Again and again I’ve had to simply obey what I believed God was saying to me through His written Word, the still small Voice within me, or through the counsel of men and women of God!

In yesterday’s blog I mentioned the first ever conference of Christian leaders which gathered in Moscow from all 15 Republics of the Soviet Union. It was obvious that communist rule was an utter failure and that the people would shortly be freed from this curse on the human family. Several pastors who had resisted the cruelties of communism, and like Daniel in Babylon kept the faith, referred to “THE 70 YEARS OF THE DARK RED NIGHT OF COMMUNIST RULE,” boldly proclaiming that their 70 years of captivity (roughly 1917 to 1987) was now over. At the time of this conference, the Communists were still in power. In fact, the Pastor that I referred to yesterday said, gesticulating with his twisted fingers on his right hand, “The communists even called me the other day and offered to break my fingers again to straighten them back, this time in hospital under anesthetic, but I refused. When I preach and lift my hand to make a point (this was said with laughter from himself and the other Pastors at my table), people really pay attention!” Perhaps this will help explain my statement yesterday, that I felt totally unworthy to be in this man’s presence and felt like crawling under the table, let alone be the preacher for two nights of the conference. That night I preached with God’s help on “The Church Through the Centuries After Persecution Ceases.” I had studied the history of persecution over the past 2,000 years and came to the conclusion that the Church is the greatest blessing when the Gospel is preached fearlessly, whether under persecution or freedom!!!

Yours for “OBEDIENCE” to God!

David

Friday, February 12, 2016

THE PRIZE

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 39-41

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

 

This statue of Cola Di Rienzo was erected in 1877 near Campidoglio, Italy, where he was killed. Di Rienzo was an Italian medieval politician and popular leader in the mid-14th century. As far as we know, the people of Jerusalem did not make sculptures of their most famous leaders, otherwise there would’ve been statues of David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and Josiah. These men all accomplished great things, unlike the king in today’s reading who was disgraced and executed by the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar.

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 39:18

“…For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,” says the Lord.

 

Our key verse gives us the eternal perspective of God as He sees the future deliverance of His people. This should help us to realize that when we put our trust in God, regardless of present circumstances, we’ll eventually win the “Gold”.

Chapter 39 – After 18 months of siege, the Babylonians broke through Jerusalem’s walls, burned the city, captured King Zedekiah, killed his sons in front of him, blinded him and took him to Babylon in chains, never to return to Jerusalem. Such was the end of one who had repeatedly heard the Word of God but ignored it. Zedekiah brought this on himself. God had done His best through Jeremiah to warn the King (2 Kings 25:4-7).

Chapters 40 & 41 show us why Jeremiah won God’s prize for his life. The Babylonians released him from Zedekiah’s prison and offered him position, land and freedom in Babylon, but he chose to stay home and minister to those left behind in the ruins of their country, where wicked and violent men such as Ishmael were creating continued havoc. Our choices also should be to stay where we are most needed, serving the Lord faithfully.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that I will consistently do my very best to win the prize of life, here and now, as well as eternally. Lord, Your Word tells me that my works will be “revealed by fire.” The “wood, hay and straw” will be burned up, but the “gold, silver and precious stones” will remain (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). I’m asking for grace to “strive for the prize.” In the Name of the One Who has gone before me, the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I cannot help but recall the first gathering ever of the leaders of various Christian denominations in the history of communist Russia and the former 14 additional republics of the Soviet Union. Undeservedly, I was invited to be the speaker at two nights of this conference. With the help of a Finnish ministry, we had earlier released across the Soviet Union the first ever Christian-produced TV series in the Russian language on prime time television. I had the privilege on these telecasts of interviewing leading scientists, philosophers, etc. about God’s creation. The USSR was officially atheist, and our goal was to create doubt in the minds of those who believed that God did not exist. As was the case with Jeremiah, pastors had been severely persecuted. One pastor I met had badly twisted fingers on his right hand. I asked him what happened. He said that the local authorities had broken his fingers, one at a time, to try to make him deny his faith in God, but he refused. I felt like crawling under the table at which we were sitting. I was not worthy to be in his presence, let alone be the guest preacher. I weep at the memory.

Yours for striving for the “gold” that will remain through the fire,

David

P.S. Prior to the invasion of Iraq (Chaldea/Babylon) by the American coalition of nations, billboards were everywhere which pictured the brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, with his hero, Nebuchadnezzar.

Saddam Hussein and King Nebuchadnezzar on a billboard in Iraq. This modern would-be emperor tortured and murdered tens of thousands of his people. He allowed his sons to have “rape rooms” to which they took any woman that they wanted. This was evil personified!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

“LIFE”

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 37-38

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

 

The ruins of the School of Aristotle is a short distance from contemporary Naoussa, Greece. This is the place believed to be where the renowned philosopher of antiquity taught classical Greek thought and the ideals of Platonic philosophy. His students included the son of the King of Macedonia Phillip II, Alexander the Great, and the other nobles of the Macedonian court. The encounter of these two most prominent personalities of the ancient world, Aristotle, the scientist, with the great military commander, Alexander, would definitely affect the future of mankind.

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

 

Key Verse: Jeremiah 38:20b

Please obey the voice of the Lord which I speak to you. So it shall be well with you and your soul shall live.

 

Today’s reading tells of Jeremiah’s ministry during the siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans/Babylonians. It seems that the reason King Zedekiah did not do as the Lord said through Jeremiah was that he was a weak leader who could not stand up to the strong, ruthless and ungodly leaders around him. They believed that an alliance with Egypt would save them, preserving the sovereignty of Judah and Benjamin. The Babylonians left their siege of Jerusalem to go and fight the approaching Egyptian army and the people thought they were safe. This was not to be the case. Jeremiah was imprisoned, released and imprisoned again because of his message. Our key verse is Jeremiah’s final call to King Zedekiah. Zedekiah feared men more than God, and the final result was disaster. All Jeremiah’s prophecies came to fulfillment.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for strength to obey Your Word rather than the words of those opposed to You. I ask for grace so that it will be well with me, with my family, and with those for whom I bear the responsibility to communicate Your Word. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My photographer son chose a picture for today which speaks to me of the rising of another great world empire, Macedonia/Greece. Israel/Judah and Jerusalem are located on the land bridge between Europe (Greece, Rome), Asia (Assyria, Babylon, Persia), and Africa (Egypt, Ethiopia). The armies of these nations crossed back and forth again and again through Israel. This is why the British began referring to the region as the “Middle East.” This small piece of our planet is still the focus of world news and the attention of the world’s great powers. God’s original creation of the human family happened in this area, and people then spread out to all points of the compass. The same was true for the Message of Jesus in the first centuries of the Church of Jesus Christ. The Greek language of that time was like the English language of today. English is everywhere as a result of the former British Empire and of the world’s super power of today, the United States. Because of this, our online communications service (Crossroads360.com) could potentially be accessed by far more people outside Canada, U.S.A., and other places where English is the majority language, than inside these countries. The teachings of the philosophers, as highlighted by today’s photo, have had great influence, but the teachings of Jesus, His life, death and resurrection, has brought life to billions of people (read John 1:1-18).

Yours for communicating the message as to how, as Jeremiah said, “It shall be well with you and your soul shall live!” (click here for Crossroads presents, “THE LIFE!”),

David

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ANOTHER SCROLL

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 35-36

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

 

Sometimes hard to spot, Bedouin tents can be seen as you drive through the wilderness around the Jordan Valley. Jeremiah 35:7 tells us that, like some Bedouins, the Rechabites lived in isolated places.

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 35:13; 36:28

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ‘Will you not receive instruction to obey My words?’ says the Lord…Take yet another scroll, and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned…”

 

Jeremiah 35 reverts back in time at least 11 years before the immediately preceding chapters. King Jehoiakim and his court had turned away from God, but there still were true believers in Jerusalem. The Rechabites (35:2) were a clan that had lived as nomads, living for the most part in tents in the wilderness, something like the Bedouin tent pictured above. They would not allow themselves to be under the influence of the corruption of the city, even though they had moved in for protection. They remained steadfast in their loyalty and obedience to God. They had maintained this for 300 years, ever since their ancestor, Jonadab, had helped King Jehu eradicate the worship of the false god, Baal, from Israel (read 2 Kings 10:15-23). They stayed away from the idolatrous cults in which intoxicating drink played a major role. The Lord used a test of the Rechabites’ obedience as an object lesson to show the rest of Jerusalem’s people how they had sinned. They would be put to shame by this example and hopefully repent! Let’s think about this example for us today.

Jeremiah 36 shows us that, even though the King burnt the first scroll which contained Jeremiah’s message from God, God’s Word will ultimately prevail.

Therefore, let us be loyal to God as were the Rechabites, and let us be determined to make the Word of God known as were Jeremiah and Baruch. Amen!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, there were Church of England priests by the names of John and Charles Wesley who, like Jonadab, the son of Rechab, left a legacy. The Wesley brothers’ legacy was known as Methodism. This message, and that of other men and women of God in other movements of revival, has reached down to my generation hundreds of years later and has had a profound influence on me. May I be faithful and wise in passing such a legacy on to future generations. In the Name of the One Who is Faithful and True, the Lord Jesus Christ (Messiah), Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In a way, this blog is something like the efforts of Jeremiah and Baruch who had to do their scroll writings twice to make sure that God’s Word was maintained for current and future generations. I don’t understand much about the technology I’m using in making this blog. Sometimes I’ve made a technical mistake and my blog has been burned up somewhere in the “blogosphere.” I just pray for patience and write it again. Writing on a scroll would be simpler. I could understand that. Here is a way of writing that will last! I’m told that as long as the laws of God’s creation allow this blog to exist in the blogosphere, it will continue to be available all over the world! These words I’m typing will be here for anyone who takes the trouble to Google anything that approximates 100words, Crossroads, 100huntleystreet, etc. Please help share this blog with others. Remember, a person can start any day and in just 24 months complete the reading of the Bible from cover to cover, New Testament to the Old Testament and back to the New, book by book.

Yours for making absolutely sure that God’s Word is faithfully communicated!

David

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

GREAT AND MIGHTY THINGS

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 33-34

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

 

In the lower parts of what was the High Priest Caiaphas’ house is a dungeon. This is the area where Jesus would have spent the night after He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. In today’s reading, we find Jeremiah is “still shut up in the court of the prison” here in Jerusalem. Above the dungeon, the Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu (“the cock crowing”) now sits.

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 33:3

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

 

God spoke the words of our key verse to Jeremiah while he was in prison. Whatever our circumstances, we just need to “call,” then listen and watch! God hears and answers pivotal prayers. The pivotal word, “behold” (33:6), turns our eyes from the judgment we bring upon ourselves to God’s promises of healing, abundance of peace and truth, return, rebuilding, cleansing from sin, joy, praise, honour, goodness and prosperity. It’s no wonder that Jeremiah quotes the often-repeated words of King David, “His mercy endures forever!” The fact is that King Zedekiah is the last of the line of Kings descended from David to reign in Jerusalem until the Roman authority, Governor Pilate, places these words over the head of Jesus as He hung on the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:27-37). Jesus said to Pilate, “My Kingdom is not of this world; if My Kingdom was of this world then would My servants fight” (John 18:36-38). It is estimated that by the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D., at least half of the people of Jerusalem, and many of the priests, had made Jesus, the Messiah King, their Lord and Saviour.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for grace sufficient to truly repent, so that I consistently do the right thing, not as the leaders of Jerusalem who seemed to repent but then reneged on their decision to free the slaves (Jeremiah 34:8-16). Lord, I sing the chorus, “Keep me true, Lord Jesus. Keep me true. There’s a race that I must run, there are victories to be won. Give me power every hour to be true.” I pray this in and through the Name of the only 100% consistent One, the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Jeremiah 34:22 tells me that, “The host of Heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured.” The inspired-by-God Scriptures, while not a scientific document, when it contains a statement concerning natural science, does not contradict truth. Around 200 B.C. the first textbook on astronomy was written by Hyparchus, a Greek. He claimed that he had counted the stars and there were 850 in total. Some claim that Hyparchus counted 1,022 stars. Of course, 1600 years later, Galileo discovered the stars were numberless. At any rate, when even modern texts are different than the clear statement of fact in the Bible, I take my father’s advice on this. When I came home from a grade seven class and reported that I had been embarrassed in front of my science class by a teacher who mocked me for believing that God created all there is, Dad said, “Just wait, David, you’ll find out that the Bible is right when all the facts are in.” I’m pointing this out with several examples during this two-year journey through the Bible. For example, the Babylonian wise men, advisers to Nebuchadnezzar, believed, according to their records, that we humans, animals, etc., were vermin on the hide of a great giant. In spite of 70 years in captivity in Babylon, the Jewish writers of the Bible never wrote such nonsense. They had God’s revelation of Himself, the Holy Scriptures.

Yours for a wait-and-see approach to current “scientific” texts, which are always changing and in many cases the scientists are at odds with each other,

David

 

Monday, February 8, 2016

PIVOTAL PRAYING!

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 32

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

 

Today’s reading says, “Look, the siege mounds!” None of these mounds remain at the walls of Jerusalem. Here is the mound built for the assault on the fortress of Masada following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 32:16b-17

I prayed to the Lord, saying: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You…”

 

The statement in today’s reading, “THERE IS NOTHING TOO HARD FOR YOU” (32:17B), and the question, “IS THERE ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR ME?” (32:17), should encourage us to expect God to accomplish, as Ephesians 1:11b says, “the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will!”

The fact is that Jerusalem was, at the time of Jeremiah’s writing of these words, under siege by the army of Nebuchadnezzar. This should have proven to King Zedekiah and his court that Jeremiah was a true prophet of God. Over and over again Jeremiah had foretold that this would happen. Rather than humbling themselves and repenting before God for their sins, they threw Jeremiah into jail. The countryside around Jerusalem, including Jeremiah’s hometown, Anathoth, had been conquered and plundered already. Therefore, land values would have been almost nothing. Yet in an act of faith for the future in obedience to God, Jeremiah purchased land from a relative who had lost all hope. In this way Jeremiah showed that although his prophecy of 70 years of captivity in Babylon would come to pass, God would bring His people back home where they would again occupy the land which He had given to His people. How about all of us saying out loud if possible, “THERE IS NOTHING TOO HARD FOR GOD!”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I’m thinking just now of something (a private matter) that is definitely too hard for me, but I’m doing as Jeremiah said he did, “I prayed to God!” This is one of those “Pivotal Prayers,” as Dr. John Hull writes in his latest book. I ask You, Lord, to turn it around according to Your purpose. I pray these mercies in the Name of the most pivotal Person in human history, Jesus Christ (Messiah), Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve just read again yesterday’s blog where my son, Ron, put the information as to how every blog reader can get John Hull’s interview on pivotal praying. PRAYER can be the pivot on which our lives and the lives of those around us will turn around and go God’s way rather that our own way. In basketball, a team will lose the ball if they move to soon what is called their “pivot foot.” It’s called “travelling.” In order to move from the pivot spot, the player must either pass the ball or begin dribbling (bouncing the ball). I have a picture in my mind of all of us on God’s team. Our pivot foot must not move until we decide to take action. We turn around with that foot firmly planted in one place. If that pivot foot moves before passing or dribbling the ball, the referee blows his whistle and the opposing team takes over. Prayer is like that; we stay put, that pivot foot immovable, until we decide the right way to proceed and then we make our move confident that God will, as Proverbs 3:6b says, “Direct your paths” (straight to the basket). Do this and win!!!

Yours for being as 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord!”

David

The SEU “Fire” player has the ball. His pivot foot is planted just behind him and he has obviously made a decision to begin dribbling the ball and running around the opposing player.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A NEW COVENANT

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 31

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

 

First century family life is depicted by the actors in Nazareth Village as they attempt to recreate life as it was in ancient times. Today’s reading contains the statement, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel.” Jesus lived here in Nazareth from His childhood until He was 30 years old.

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 31:31, 33

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

 

Jeremiah 31 was written as an encouragement to God’s people who had been forcibly removed from Jerusalem and relocated in Babylon. The prophet reminds them of God’s promise to their father, Abraham, that in his seed all families would be blessed. Statements such as, “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” and “Again I will build you,” may have been the inspiration for Daniel’s prayer offered through his open window in Babylon, three times every day (Daniel 6:10-11).

Jeremiah 31:15-17 is a prophecy fulfilled in Bethlehem (Ramah) when Herod’s soldiers killed the babies two years old and under (Matthew 2:16-23).

One cannot miss the word “covenant” repeated four times in today’s reading (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  A “covenant” is the most binding agreement that can be made between two parties. These words constitute a legal document registered in God’s unchanging Word for time and eternity. This New Covenant (or “Testament” as in Last Will and Testament) was executed by God, Himself, and sealed with the Blood of the eternal Sacrifice of the Messiah as He died on the Cross (Hebrews 7:22 – 8:13). How wonderful it is that this New Covenant is written on our hearts, not just on tablets of stone!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God of Jeremiah and Daniel, I ask that I will gain a new understanding of the New Covenant written on my heart, and may I learn to pray powerful pivotal prayers for the fulfillment of Your Word as did Daniel. “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth” (Psalm 86:11a). I pray this in the Name of the One who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6a). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Hi friends…Ron Mainse here. Whether one is a brand new believer in Jesus or a seasoned follower of His, when life’s storms hit us hard, we need God’s help. But what are the keys to effectively connecting with God beyond a typical knee-jerk reactionary prayer? John G. Lake, an influential Christian leader in the early 20th century, observed, “There is a mighty lot of difference between saying prayers and praying.” Moira Brown interviewed John Hull regarding his book on prayer. If you missed it, you can watch it HERE.

The former president of Iraq (ancient Babylon), Saddam Hussein, was in the process of rebuilding the city of Babylon when the allied armies led by the U.S.A. invaded, occupied, and stopped the restoration project. This part of the wall is known as “The Ishtar Gate.”

Saturday, February 6, 2016

SEARCH!!!

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 29-30

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 the tel Herodian. It is located just southeast of Bethlehem. Excavations have revealed Herod’s Fortress Palace. Perhaps he was in this stronghold when he ordered the slaughter of the children in Bethlehem.

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 29:11-13

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says the Lord, “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

 

Our key verse is true for all people at all times, a good verse to memorize! It’s a guarantee of strength when one feels under pressure and vulnerable!

David Reynold’s photograph above speaks to the practice of empire builders of appointing puppet kings in the conquered regions. Everything was O.K. as long as the king ensured that taxes were paid to overlords (in Herod’s time, the Romans, and in Zedekiah’s time, the Babylonians).

Most of us do this blog for inspiration, but here’s some information. King Josiah, a king who did right before God, had sons who were corrupt and did evil in God’s eyes. The ones that ascended to the throne were Johannan, Shallum, Jehoiakim (his son Jeconiah), and Zedekiah (1 Chronicles 3:15). All reigned for very short periods of time. Jeconiah was taken to Babylon in the first captivity with others, including Ezekiel and Daniel. These displaced persons were treated rather well. The Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar obviously believed that Zedekiah would be content to be a puppet ruler and submit to every order from Babylon. That was not the case and when Zedekiah asserted Judah’s sovereignty, Nebuchadnezzar invaded again (11 years later) and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon. He took Zedekiah and the people as slaves to Babylon (modern-day Iraq).

Words worth noting are “diminished” and “increased” (Jeremiah 29:6b). It’s our choice.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray fervently that I will, 24/7, do as Jeremiah’s letter exhorts me…search for You with all my heart. You are not hiding! I see You clearly in the Life and Words of my Saviour and Lord, Jesus, Messiah, in Whose Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Several times I have walked to the top of Herodian (pictured above) and meditated on the life of a king who, like Zedekiah, owed his throne to a foreign emperor. King Herod was totally spooked by the possibility of rebellion of his own family members and the people of Jerusalem. He murdered family members and anyone suspected of disloyalty, but he never rebelled against Rome. He constantly pandered to Caesar and with brutality collected the tribute from the Jews, sending great amounts of money to Rome.

I must not pass up the opportunity here on today’s blog to testify to the fact that the promise of our key verse is so very true (Jeremiah 29:11-13). The week I turned 17, at the altar in the tabernacle at Lakeshore Pentecostal Youth Camp in Cobourg, Ontario, I believe that I did seek God with all my heart. He found me, and I found Him in such a life-changing new direction that I’ve never been the same! He gave me a “FUTURE” such as I could have never imagined, and a “HOPE” which has been a constant throughout 62 years since that pivotal moment!

Yours for our “search” for God with the help of daily Scripture readings, daily prayer and this daily blog!!!

David

On top of Herodian recording a Christmas Special, November 2013. Bethlehem is in the distance behind me.

This is a model of Herod’s fortress palace. Herod’s fears were not of the Roman overlords, but of his own people.

Friday, February 5, 2016

PERHAPS

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 26-28

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

 

A menorah stands atop a table at the altar of Christ Church in Jerusalem. This church is known as the Jewish Church and is the oldest Protestant church in Israel. It is located just inside the Jaffa (Joppa) Gate on the areal where Herod’s Palace once stood. Today’s reading mentions the vessels of the Temple several times. The menorah was one of these which was taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and then returned by Cyrus. This happened exactly as was prophesied.

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

 

Key Verse: Jeremiah 26:8

Now it happened, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, saying, “You will surely die!…”

 

Jeremiah 26 tells us that while Jeremiah did not die, his fellow true prophet, Urijah, did die for repeating and confirming Jeremiah’s words. Urijah was one of the unsung heroes of faith spoken of in Hebrews 11:36-40. Jeremiah was well aware of the price he might pay for speaking what God had commanded him to speak. However, Jeremiah’s love for God and his commitment to obey God were greater than his desire to be accepted by his peers.

Chapter 27 begins with a repetition of 26:1. Obviously Zedekiah was now king (verse 3b). Scholars agree that here is an example of a mistake by the scribe who copied this passage. This verse is omitted in some other manuscripts. Remember that the original in Hebrew was inspired by God and is correct. God allows human error. In fact, some mistakes like this can be good. Why? Because if someone at a later date was trying to cover up a copying error, it would put in question the accuracy of the record in other places. The fact is that those who copied the scrolls got it right 99.999% of the time.

Chapter 28 features one of the false prophets, Hananiah. Jeremiah said “70” years in Babylon and Hananiah said “2” years. They could not both be right. Jeremiah said “Amen” to “2” years because he wished it could be so. We always hope for what is the most optimistic outcome. Jeremiah finally said, “Hear now, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, but you make this people trust a lie” (Jeremiah 28:15).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for a willingness to trust You completely, even when my limited mind cannot fully understand Your ways. I surrender myself to You that Your will may be done in my life. In the Name of the One who always did Your perfect will, Jesus Christ. Amen!!! (I’ve just prayed the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven…”)

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Jeremiah was severely persecuted, and his fellow prophet who supported him was murdered by a corrupt government. The same thing is happening today over and over. I’ve done my best through the years to speak out against these evil acts of persecution around the world. A great guest who appeared on 100 Huntley Street television several times was Rev. Richard Wurmbrand of Romania, Founder of Voice of the Martyrs. The communist authorities imprisoned him and beat him severely in order to try to silence him. They did not succeed! My favourite part of his story was his description of how he would worship, making music with the clanging of the chains fastened to his wrists. He would demonstrate for us on TV and say to a beat, “Cling clang! Cling Clang!” A great sense of joy would fill the studio as he sang. I was always challenged to my very core by this man as to my level of commitment to Christ!

Here’s Pastor Wurmbrand on video, recorded in the 1960’s. He would have understood all that Jeremiah was going through (click here).

Yours for being faithful to God and His Word, whatever the cost!

David

Thursday, February 4, 2016

REPENT!

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 24-25

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

 

A cross can be seen in windows of the Church of Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. This is the traditional place where Jesus was joined by Moses and Elijah, and where Peter suggested building three tabernacles. There are at least three buildings on the top of the mountain today built to celebrate the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8). I think that Moses and Elijah were there to encourage Jesus at a time when He needed human companionship in facing His suffering and death on the cross. Jesus had tried again and again to speak to His disciples about the cross, but they failed to understand the necessity of it.

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

 

Key Verse: Jeremiah 25:5

They said, “Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers forever and ever…”

 

Our key verse summarizes the essential message of all the Prophets from Moses to Jeremiah. “Repent” is also a word proclaimed by John the Baptist, Jesus, and Peter at the very beginning of their public ministries.

Jeremiah 24 contains the story of two groups taken to Babylon from Jerusalem, the first symbolized by the good figs and the second by the bad figs. The story of the first exiles is found in 2 Kings 24:11-16. These people were taken away for their own good. The Lord, in this way, protected them from the evil influence of King Zedekiah and from the slaughter and total destruction of Jerusalem, which would come eleven years later. Included in these first exiles were Ezekiel and Daniel. In a few weeks we’ll be reading their books.

Jeremiah 25 is another of Jeremiah’s messages to Judah and Jerusalem. For 23 years he has been faithfully preaching the message of repentance (sorrow and regret for sin sufficient to stop doing wrong). Here he predicts accurately that in the future there will be a 70-year captivity in Babylon. Now that 70-year period is history (read Daniel 9:1-4). Throughout human history, because of His love, God continues to offer forgiveness and restoration to all who “repent!” At the same time, because He is holy, justice is absolutely essential. Jeremiah speaks of God’s “fury” and His “fierce anger.” The most horrible crimes against humanity were committed under Judah’s evil kings. Imagine the emotions of the judges, who sat on the bench at the Nuremburg trials of the Nazis following WWII, watching the pictures from the death camps where children were systematically put to death along with their parents. The people of Jerusalem had put their children to death (Jeremiah 19:4-5; 2 Chronicles 28:2-3; 2 Chronicles 33:5-6).

When Jesus prayed just before His crucifixion these words, “Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42), perhaps He had in mind the words of Jeremiah, who six times in our reading uses the word “drink.” Evil had filled the cup of God’s anger against all that destroys people whom He loves. After being warned over and over again to “repent,” the religious and political leaders refused to do so. Judgment was the only alternative. Jesus drank that cup. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21, “We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for grace to live in an attitude of repentance constantly. John, Your Apostle, wrote, “If we say that we have [present tense, and he included himself] no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1John 1:7-10). I confess my sin, and I believe that according to Your Word (You cannot lie), I am forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness. I know this to be true because, “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin,” and in His Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

One of our grandsons is named David-Peter (after his two grandfathers), but he likes to use the name “David Mainse the 3rd.” It’s on the cover of his Bible. I’ll try to get a picture of his Bible to add below. Also the back window of his friend’s Hummer vehicle has on it “Galatians 2:20.” This verse has been my daily confession each morning when I first awaken for many years. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Yours to help raise up a generation, unlike the one in today’s reading, where God’s Word is honoured, studied and obeyed!

David

I’m proud of all my grandchildren. I’ve told them that I would do this blog even if they were the only ones who read it.

Caleb’s grandfather has travelled from the USA to Canada as the guest preacher at Evangel Temple, Toronto. His Dad is a top executive at Hershey’s Chocolates in Pennsylvania. Caleb believes God has called him to preach the Gospel. His determination to witness for Christ is evident on his vehicle. “Fire” is the name of the SEU football team.

David Mainse III and Caleb Harris in front of one of the Southeastern University dormitory buildings. I’m proud of these young men who want to serve Jesus Christ with all their hearts, minds, and bodies.