Saturday, July 20, 2019

WEEP AND REJOICE

Today’s Reading: Ezra 3-4

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

 

The black volcanic stones formed the foundation of the Capernaum synagogue in the first century. Jesus healed the man with the withered hand in this building (Mark 3:1-6).

 

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

 

Key Verse: Ezra 3:12

But many of the priests and Levites and heads of their fathers’ houses, who were old men, who had seen the first Temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes; yet many shouted aloud for joy…

 

Today’s reading tells a story of tragedy and triumph! The people followed a two-year plan of worship and work (100words is also on a two-year plan). The foundation of God’s house had been completed. It was time to rejoice, reminisce, and express hope for the future.

The destruction of the original Temple by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had not hindered the worship of the true God in the people’s hearts. In fact, the opposite was true. The 70 years of captivity in Babylon had purified and intensified their fervency for God. The circumstances demanded small group gatherings. Eventually this would result in the development of the synagogue movement. Even before they began the construction project, they set up an altar to express reverence and obedience to God. Building or no building, God’s people will always find a place of personal, and if available, corporate worship.

In chapter four, we read of a delay in construction of the physical building; but the building of the holy temple, “eternal in the heavens,” went right on. Read 2 Corinthians 4:16 to 5:1-8.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Like the people who gathered around Ezra’s vision, sometimes I weep and sometimes I shout for joy. You know my heart and mind. I pray for grace and consistency to worship You at all times and all places. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I served for several years as a Judge in “The International Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.” One recipient for whom I voted was Rabbi Lord Jacobovitz, chief Rabbi of Britain and the Commonwealth (see photo below). He had written extensively on the subject of medical ethics, but the main reason I supported him was for his work with the USSR in bringing Jewish people out of the oppression and persecution of the Soviet Union. The people were called “Refuseniks.” He, like Ezra, succeeded magnificently. At Convocation Hall in the University of Toronto, where he was honoured, I had the opportunity of a long conversation with him. We agreed that one of the tragedies in history was when Jewish Christian leaders, who led the Christian Church for the first few decades, were replaced almost totally by Gentile leaders. Let us not forget that all the Apostles were Jews, as was Jesus, Himself. Read Romans 11:11-24. The Rabbi and I rejoiced for the occasion of the Templeton Prize and the recognition of his work, but we wept over the disastrous chasm which opened up between Jews and Christians. Below the Rabbi’s photo is an example of that divide. In 4th century Antioch Christians were still worshipping with their Jewish brothers and sisters in the local synagogue. This three-dimensional model is in the museum of the Jewish diaspora located on the campus of the University in Tel Aviv.

Yours for restoration for all that is God’s will for His people,

David

Rabbi Lord Jacobovits, winner of the Templeton Prize in 1991.

Add caption....Chrysotom.....

Jews and Jewish-Christians prepare to worship at the Great Synagogue of Antioch, Syria, in the 4th century AD. Chrysostom, one of the fathers of the Church, reproves the Christians and demands that they separate from the Jews.

 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Cyrus the Great

Today’s Reading: Ezra 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 Temple that Ezra rebuilt was an earlier version of what is depicted in this model from the time of Jesus. Today, a Muslim mosque, known as the Dome of the Rock (seen in the background), is located on that same Temple Mount.

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

 

Key Verse: Ezra 1:2b-3

“…He [the Lord God of Heaven] has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? May his God be with him! Now let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem.” Cyrus the Great, Ruler of the Persian Empire.

 

Cyrus defeated the Babylonians and released the Jews from captivity, encouraging them to rebuild the Temple. Today’s reading records that the amazing treasure, which Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had stolen from the original Temple of David and Solomon, was returned to the Jewish people. Several years later, after the death of Cyrus, the new ruler, Darius (of Daniel’s den of Lions fame) had to search for the memorandum Cyrus had written ordering the new Temple to be built (Ezra 6:1). It might be useful for us to read Daniel 6:25-28. Darius also had a high view of the God of Israel. Queen Esther and the potential persecution of the Jews is in the mix here also. Hopefully in the next two weeks, as we proceed through Ezra and Nehemiah, we’ll get the history sorted out adequately.

Cyrus the Great is named in an amazing prophecy. In the writings of Isaiah it is predicted, approximately 150 years before Cyrus came to the throne, the actions of a ruler named Cyrus in the restoration of the Temple and Jerusalem  (read Isaiah 44:24-28). God, who created the cosmos, could surely have let His prophet Isaiah know in advance what His plans were. Those who choose to not believe will surely say that this was added to the book of Isaiah after the event.

The historical record of these events outside of the Bible is impressive. The Encyclopedia Britannica says, “In 538 B.C. these events happened as recorded in the Bible.” Add to that the Cyrus Cylinder (see photo below…a most unusual archeological artifact – I’ve seen a replica), which tells the story exactly as the Bible records it, and of course Josephus, the Jewish historian, also records the story.

This first commentary on Ezra is way over 100 words. An economy of words hopefully will follow in the next few days.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God of Israel, You are faithful to Your promises to Your ancient people. I pray that I will have the faith given to me so that I, too, will trust Your promises which You have made over and over in Your Holy Word to all people at all times. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

On Canadian media, one of the most outspoken opinion commentators is Ezra Levant. I invited him to check out my blog, particularly because he is Jewish and obviously named after the scribe, Ezra. I did not mention to him something he no doubt already knows, that his last name, “Levant”, is the description of the name of the area once ruled by Cyrus, which extends from the Euphrates River (Babylon) on the east to the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and from southern Turkey to the tip of the Sinai in the south. It seemed to be a cultural and geographic region which had at one time been ruled by King Solomon, and later by the Assyrian Empire.

Also, I could not help but think of the far-reaching impact of the social and political actions of Cyrus. He developed the model which would be used by Rome and even the British Empire, i.e. local rulers who owed their power to the Emperor. Remember, one of the titles of Queen Victoria was, “Empress of India.”

Yours for having a far-reaching impact on today’s world,

David

The Cyrus Cylinder was discovered in 1879 and rapidly became one of the most famous cuneiform texts, as it confirms that the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great had allowed the Jews to return from their Babylonian Captivity.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

READ, LISTEN AND REJOICE

Today’s Reading: Philippians 4

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

 

The Apostle Paul was guided to the city of Philippi by a vision (Acts 16:9-10), probably around 49 or 50 AD. Accompanied by Silas, Timothy and possibly Luke, Paul preached for the first time on European soil in Philippi (Acts 16:12-40) and baptized Lydia, a purple dye merchant, in a river to the west of the city. While in Philippi, his exorcism of a demon from a slave girl caused a great uproar in the city, which led to their arrest (Paul and Silas) and public beating (Acts 16:16-24). A miraculous earthquake caused their prison to be opened. The jailer prepared to kill himself, thinking all the prisoners had escaped and knowing that he would be severely punished. Paul stopped him, indicating that all the prisoners were in fact still there. The jailer then became one of the first Christians in Europe (Acts 16:25-40). Paul visited the city at least on two other occasions, in 56 and 57 AD. The Epistle to the Philippians dates from around 61-62 AD and shows the immediate impact of Paul’s instruction.

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

 

Key Verse: Philippians 4:19

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 

The first three verses are most interesting. Paul commends the “Brothers,” but perhaps two of the women were not in such close fellowship. Nevertheless, Paul also commended the women who “laboured with me in the Gospel.”

It’s an order repeated twice, “REJOICE!” Whether we feel like it or not, let’s do it! A good start is to, “Be anxious for nothing,” then confirm our decision by prayer and thanksgiving.

We can claim 100% the promise from God stated in our key verse, because we believe the previous sentence found in verse 13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Let’s just do it! Go ahead, try something which is included under the heading of “all things,” and watch God supply “all your need” in order to accomplish “all things.” Another promise is, “All things are yours.” Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-16 & 3:1-23. Note that the word “things” is repeated 13 times.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, as You inspired Paul to write, “All things are Yours” in 1 Corinthians 3:21, may I be consciously and fervently seeking Your will so that I will know what things You desire of me and for me. I want only what You want! So, I ask You now for what You know are the best things for my service to You as well as for my personal needs. In Your all supplying Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My eldest son has a trade, and so did Paul. Paul’s was making tents to support his missions ministry, so my son is as a professional photographer through which he tries his best to earn money for personal expenses without taking a salary from any organization. I think that our 100 Words photographer, David Reynold Mainse, should be able to give 100% of his time to the mission of World Embrace by having a salary. What do you think? He and his wife Kathy live in Uganda full time. Please pray for them and support them as you are led (click here for info about their ministry – receipts for tax deductions are available in Canada and in the USA).

Philippi became a ghost town because they experienced earthquake after earthquake. It is said that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Take a look back at the pictures from the past three days, and “listen” to the pictures communicate. I’ve done that and I’m filled with the message that this earth is not a stable, solid foundation for my life! Only my faith in Christ provides a firm, unmovable foundation on which I can build my entire life.

Yours for reading and listening… And moving on tomorrow to a man who did just that, “EZRA,”

David

P.S. Twice yesterday I mislaid my cane. Jadice, Ron and Ann’s 4-year-old granddaughter, specializes in keeping track of my cane. I can hear her in my imagination now, “Great-Grand’pa, here’s your cane!” (picture below). This happened many times last year [2016] when Norma-Jean and I lived with Ron and Ann and Jadice was visiting from Indiana. I called out for her today, got emotional, but of course had to find my cane myself! Thanks again to Ron and Ann for making this blog possible.

This was the marketplace of ancient Philippi.

The Via Egnatia was built beginning in 145 BC . This route was Rome’s primary artery to the east and Philippi was an important outpost along the road. The Egnatian Way made it easier for Rome to move troops throughout the empire and it was the route that Paul traveled on from Neapolis to Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia and Thessalonica.

 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

“EVEN MORE JOY”

Today’s Reading: Philippians 3

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

 

A majestic arch marked the main entrance to the Amphitheatre in ancient Philippi. The city was established by Philip II of Macedon in 356 BC and abandoned in the 14th century.

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

 

Key Verse: Philippians 3:10

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…”

Paul (formerly known as Saul – read Acts 9:1-22) is a prisoner in Rome. What a man! He writes this letter in which he uses the words “Joy,” “Rejoice,” “Rejoicing,” “Glad,” “Gladness,” etc. 11 times. We should feel more joyful already! Paul’s incarceration did not inhibit his vision for his future. He states his goals: (1) “That I may gain Christ.” (2) “That I may know Him.” (3) “That I may know the power of His resurrection.” (4) “That I may know the fellowship of His sufferings.” (5) “That I may be conformed to His death.” (6) “That I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (7) “I press on!” (8) “I forget those things that are behind.” (9) I reach “forward to those things which are ahead.” (10) “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!!!” Anyone who is forward-looking, like Paul, will experience “JOY” also.

Paul’s warnings at the beginning of today’s reading come from his own background. He had been the chief legalist, and he had boasted for years of his standing in the Jewish denomination known as the Pharisees. Now he quickly makes it clear that none of these religious accomplishments are worth anything, in his opinion, in comparison to his relationship with Jesus! Let us be constantly conscious of the fact that we who believe IN Jesus (not just about Him) are not into a religion (outward observances) but are in a personal relationship with Him.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You are closer to me than the breath of my lungs. You are my Friend, my constant Companion, closer than anyone else could ever be. I pray all those goals listed above by one of my fellow believers in You, Paul. “This one thing I do!” Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I think that over the years I’ve received hundreds of letters, phone calls, e-mails, and personal encounters where someone is suffering from depression. Of course, I always suggest professional help for severe cases, but without exception I have said something like this, “If I were your physician and gave you a prescription, would you have it filled, and would you faithfully take it?” “Yes,” they would answer. “Well, here it is” I would write or say. “It will take you 5 minutes each day. Read the book of Philippians once every day for 30 days. This letter of Joy will rearrange your thinking and you will begin to rejoice.” For those who have taken my prescription, no one has ever told me that it failed to do the job!

Yours for giving this reading a fair shot at bringing new “JOY” into our lives,

David

P.S. If you missed the first two blogs from Philippians, I strongly encourage you to go back to the two previous days and partake of this four-course spiritual meal. Tomorrow will be the dessert!

This was the marketplace of ancient Philippi.

Even those who don’t speak Greek can likely decipher the words on the second line of this inscription found among the ruins of Philippi…”Province of Macedonia” and “Philippi.”

 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

ESTEEM OTHERS

Today’s Reading: Philippians 2

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

 

Looking over the ruins of ancient Philippi. They comprise roughly one square kilometre.

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

 

Key Verses: Philippians 2:1a, 3

THEREFORE…Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

 

The word, “therefore” appears six times in this reading. It could be written, “Because of the preceding statement, we do as follows:” (1) We do as verse three tells us because we “believe in Him” (Jesus), and because “we suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29).

(2) “Therefore” (verse 9), because of Christ’s humility in voluntarily restricting the use of His attributes as “God-with-us,” living as a human being, we humble ourselves and in “lowliness of mind,” we “esteem others better than ourselves.”

(3) “Therefore,” because God has exalted Jesus and “given Him a Name which is above every other Name,” we seek to live in unity with our brothers and sisters in Him, so that we “may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (verse 15).

Paul states his case around that word “therefore.” We may want to read the second chapter again, checking out the statements before and after that key word, “therefore.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You are God; therefore, I pray that I will be granted the grace to live in humility and in unity with fellow believers. Grant that I may shine as a light in the world, “holding fast the word of life.” In Your strong Name I ask these mercies, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As I’ve read and reread Philippians 2, I can’t help but think of those I know and hold in high esteem (verse 29). Bob Johnson stepped through the curtain of death not long ago. He is son of Leah, whom I mentioned yesterday is such a special person to me. His picture was in the hall of my high school and listed below his name were the honours he had received. Bob could have entered any university of his choice and had great worldly success, but he chose to study for the Christian ministry. By the summer of 1952, Bob had graduated from his theological studies and was establishing a new congregation. His brother, Wallace, my classmate, and I traveled on weekends to help Bob, singing and playing our trumpets on the street corner in preparation for Bob to preach. He was still single then and did not have money to buy a bed. We slept on the floor. It was on one of those weekends that I began to pray, “Lord Jesus, would You do me the honour of calling me into the full-time Christian ministry?” I’m sure it was because of the sacrifice I saw in Bob’s life. I hold Bob and many others in high esteem. Thank you, Bob, for being like these men in our reading. I sincerely want to be such a man also.

Yours, in Christ’s love and service,

David

Philippi…the remains of an ancient Greek temple are in the foreground with the ruins of an early church in the distance.

The remnants of an ancient home or market in Philippi.

 

Monday, July 15, 2019

JOY

Today’s Reading: Philippians 1

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

 

Paul’s letter among the ruins of ancient Philippi.

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

 

Key Verses: Philippians 1:3-4

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy…

 

In Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, he was under house arrest. The Romans had a practical financial plan. Prisoners who had resources paid for their own imprisonment costs. The initial purpose of this letter is to thank the congregation in Philippi for their financial support.

This was the first church Paul planted in Europe. Philippi was a Roman military city where Paul had experienced a severe beating and imprisonment. The warden of the prison and his family would’ve been there at church when this letter was read. The members no doubt expected “JOY.” After all, Paul, and his co-worker, Silas, had been singing praises to God (probably a Psalm of David) at midnight, their feet and hands securely fastened, when an earthquake hit the city and the shaking set them free. Read Acts 16:9-40.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, grant me the grace to exude joy in the midst of circumstances that would not naturally produce joy. Thank You for those You have allowed to bless my life. I pray that I will consistently pass on the blessing! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When I opened my Bible to read Philippians, I found my notes from the message I brought at the home-going celebration of Leah Johnson. This special person in my life showed joy in very difficult circumstances. A mother of five, she still had time for me. I was 16 years old and still needed a mother figure. Her third son, Wallace, a classmate of mine, brought me home with him again and again. Leah, a single mom, welcomed me with love and joy. My own mother had died when I was 12, and my father had returned to Egypt where his services were required as a missionary. I can see in my mind’s eye her loving face, complete with the warmest smile I could imagine. I do thank God upon every remembrance of Leah and her family.

I’m taking the liberty of more than 100 personal words today. When the television opportunity presented itself in 1962, I had no idea how I would pay the bills. While I had the blessing of the congregation of which I was Pastor, there was no way that a television ministry could be funded out of the general fund of the church. I believe God speaks to me from the pages of Holy Scripture. Here in Philippians chapter one I found what I believe was, and still is, God’s answer to my prayer for the money to fulfill my vision to use television to communicate the Good News of Jesus. The Amplified Bible, which brings out all the shades of meaning present in the original text, is the translation that particularly spoke to me. Here are the words in which I found the answer of God to the challenge: Philippians 1:3-5 in the Amplified Bible says…

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. In every prayer of mine I always make my entreaty and petition for you all with joy (delight). [I thank my God] for your fellowship (your sympathetic cooperation and contributions and partnership) in advancing the good news (the Gospel) from the first day [you heard it] until now.

This is exactly what has been happening. I resonate with the same joy expressed by Paul throughout his letter to the people of Philippi. Check out the Crossroads Ministry at www.crossroads.ca.

Yours for a joy-filled life based on the love and provision of God!

David

A modern gate prohibits visitors from walking into an ancient prison in Philippi, likely where Paul and Silas were held and miraculously delivered.

The spectacular Theatre of Ancient Philippi.

 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

NO REMEDY

Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 36

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

 

In Jerusalem, you can still see the enormous cut rocks that were thrown down onto the street from the upper walls of the Temple Mount. Evidence is everywhere of the destructions of Jerusalem through the centuries.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Chronicles 36:16

But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy.

 

Ezra is probably the one who compiled the Chronicles. The book that bears Ezra’s name is our next study in the Hebrew Scriptures. In today’s reading, Ezra starts with the Egypt-Babylon war. Israel was caught in the middle and choice young men like Daniel were taken as captives to Babylon. Then in the final verses, Ezra jumps seven decades to his own story, when he was allowed to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem by King Cyrus of Persia (Iran) who had conquered Babylon (Iraq).

It is sobering to realize that the destruction of the Temple and the city need not have happened. God had repeatedly called His people to repentance. Sometimes they did repent, but finally, God, who has given humanity a free will, was so hurt by rejection that He withdrew from Israel. Jeremiah the prophet, who was ministering at the time, was known as “The Weeping Prophet” as he mirrored the heart of God. “There was no remedy.” How very sad! For followers of Jesus who recognize our rebellious natures, there must be a commitment to a continuing correction of our lives, keeping in line with the Word of God, which we are reading in this blog every day. How absolutely essential is that? AMEN!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I thank You that even in the decline and fall of Israel, You still had a remnant of the people, prophets, and priests who were loyal to You and Your Word. May I be one of these on whom You can count to love and serve You with all my heart, my mind, and my entire being…all that I am and ever will be. I pray for this grace. In the Name of the One who always served You at 100%, Jesus, my Saviour and Lord, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’m thankful that turning around from our own destructive ways to God’s ways is possible. I was reading recently from a book called, The Blessing, by Thomas Trask and Wayde Goodall. This book is excellent in its thorough coverage of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s people. One person can make a huge difference (click here to find this book). On pages 166-169 there is the story of Steve Crew. His life was a total mess, and but for the grace of God, he would’ve spent years in prison. Instead, he repented, was transformed by Christ, and became a preacher of the Gospel. He was the preacher for several weeks in a church in Brownsville, Florida, when God poured out His Spirit in what became known around the world as “The Brownsville Revival.” It is a fact that God, with the co-operation of His people, does come in power to revolutionize His people. My former co-host on 100 Huntley Street, Lorna Dueck, now our Crossroads leader, interviewed the Pastor of that Brownsville church. I recommend that for encouragement everyone should take the time to view this interview. I am greatly encouraged by this story (click here for the interview).

Yours for revival while there is still a “remedy,”

David

More evidence of the past destruction of Jerusalem through the centuries.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

PASSOVER

Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 35

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

 

The Great Sphinx of Giza, commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. In today’s reading, King Josiah unwisely decides to pick a fight with an Egyptian Pharaoh.

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

 

Key Verses: 2 Chronicles 35:1, 22b

Now Josiah kept a Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem, and they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the first month….[Josiah] did not heed the words of Necho from the mouth of God. So he came to fight in the Valley of Megiddo.

 

At 26 years old, King Josiah served God faithfully, following in detail God’s instructions for the celebration of the Passover. This was to be the annual observance for remembering the time when God delivered the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12:1-14). No doubt Josiah learned how to do this from the Bible Scrolls which were discovered in the Temple. Josiah, as recorded in 2 Chronicles 34:31, had read aloud the entire book in the hearing of all the leaders of the people. Josiah was obedient to the words he had read.

But when it came to another encounter of the Children of Israel with Egypt, there is no record of Josiah praying for guidance in his decision to engage Pharaoh Necho in war. We can learn from this tragic end to Josiah’s life that we need to add prayer and waiting on God before we make our decisions…waiting on God for His directions. Poor and destructive decisions will result from failure to hear clearly from God. Amazingly, God warned Josiah through the mouth of Necho, but still Josiah stubbornly went into battle.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

O Lord Jesus, teach me to pray as You taught Your disciples (at this point let’s pray “The Lord’s Prayer,” slowly and carefully, found in Luke 11:1-4). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In thinking about what Josiah did when he was 26, I was reminded of one decision I made at the same age, about which I prayed a great deal. When I felt the “go-ahead” from God, I called Wes Millar, formerly the accountant at Healey Motors in Pembroke (where I had worked when I was 16). Now, 10 years later, Wes was a co-owner of a car dealership in Cornwall, Ontario. Someone had told me that they saw a used school bus on his car lot. After our chat, Wes and his partners decided to donate the bus for our Deep River Sunday School. I was so excited as I went to buy a bus ticket to travel to Cornwall to pick up the bus. As I drove it back, I could see it in my mind’s eye…the bus filled with Sunday School students. That’s what happened! On one side of the bus I painted the words, “TEACH ME THY WAYS, O LORD. PSALM 86:11.” On the other side I put the words, “STUDY TO SHOW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD. 2 TIMOTHY 2:15.” For at least the next three years, that bus ran steadily every Sunday morning from Deep River to Deux Rivieres and back, and in the afternoon to Chalk River and back. Our new little Sunday School in Deep River grew to almost 150 students, and in Chalk River we reached another 50 children. God was in that decision to ask for the bus. He taught us His ways, and we studied His Word. His ways are discovered only through much prayer and complete obedience.

Yours for reading and studying God’s Word, obeying God’s Word, and praying until we are convinced we’ve heard from God concerning decisions which will have far-reaching effects,

David

The Temple of Luxor was originally founded by Pharaoh Amenophis III but altered in later years by Tutankhamun, Horemheb, and Ramses II. At night the temple is illuminated with yellow lights to reveal a golden halo around the ruins and statues.

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

Friday, July 12, 2019

DILIGENCE

Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 34

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

 

An actor from “Nazareth Village” in Nazareth holds a scroll in the synagogue as he depicts Jesus from Luke 4:14-20. Perhaps it was a scroll resembling this one from which young king Josiah read aloud in the hearing of his people, and which produced nation-changing results.

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

 

Key Verses: 2 Chronicles 34:19, 31

Now it happened that when the king heard the words of the law, that he tore his clothes…Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book.

 

Back in 2 Chronicles 24, we read of the boy king, Joash, who became king at seven years old. He did well as long as he had his teacher present, but then went astray. Now we have an eight-year-old, Josiah, made king. No doubt he also had strong guidance from godly people. Unlike Joash, Josiah stayed true to the God of Israel all his life. It seems reasonable to suggest that finding the lost manuscript of the Bible made all the difference. The turning points of Josiah’s life are as follows: At eight he became king. Josiah would’ve been six when his grandfather, Manasseh, died. Manasseh had turned from God and then returned in repentance. Perhaps Josiah’s grandpa had told him the stories of the tragedies that resulted from ungodly behaviour. At 16 Josiah began to seek the God of King David. At 20 he began to destroy the idols such as the Baals which the people had been worshipping. The northern tribes had been dispersed throughout the world in what is now known as ethnic cleansing, but the remnant who remained came under Josiah’s leadership. At 24 Josiah began to repair the ancient Temple of God built by Solomon. Then comes the words of our key verses.

We need to cherish the Book we are reading together. Many years before the workmen discovered the manuscript of the Bible (probably Deuteronomy), diligent people had spent countless hours copying, by hand, the Words. There were no print shops where copies could be run off. All the effort at copying was rewarded long after the writers had passed on. Do we wonder if we will ever see the fruit of our labours? Don’t lose heart! Rejoice in our sowing of good seed; we can trust God with the reaping of results in His timing.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for determination to serve You well today, leaving the results of my labours up to You and Your timing. Thank You, Father God, for the opportunity to sow seeds which will yield a good harvest. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Twenty-four year old King Josiah tore his clothes to indicate his profound grief at the failure of Israel to keep true to the writings on the scroll which was found hidden in the Temple. The King, himself, read aloud from the Bible in the hearing of all the elders of Israel. I often read the Word of God out loud when it is called for. One of those times was in Regina, Saskatchewan. Dr. Shapiro, a Jewish medical doctor, had, like Josiah, torn his clothes to show extreme grief. I don’t have space to tell the story here. It’s on pages 113 -116 in my book, This Far by Faith. A great turn-around happened in the doctor’s life as a result. I find it interesting that offerings are often the lead-up to blessings. Again and again in our readings, I find the connection between giving and receiving. That has certainly been my personal experience through the years. A New Testament reading on which I’ve just meditated is 2 Corinthians chapter 9 (click here to read with me).

Yours for finding our Bibles and for reading carefully its transformative message daily!

David

Jesus portrayed by an actor entering the synagogue in Nazareth. In this synagogue I take delight during our tours in reading from Isaiah, as Jesus did here in His hometown synagogue.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A 180 DEGREE TURN

Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 33

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

 

An hour’s drive north of the Sea of Galilee is Caesarea Philippi, also known as Banias. Here you can view the remnants of the Temple of Pan. It was here that Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13-20). As in today’s reading, here is evidence of the people of God turning to false gods.

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

 

Key Verses: 2 Chronicles 33:3, 15

For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baals, and made wooden images; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them…He took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord…

 

Manasseh was just 12 when he was crowned king. His father, Hezekiah, was a man of the true God, but he died, and obviously those around the new boy king exerted a great influence. Not only did Manasseh reintroduce idol worship, he led the people deeply into the occult, practising witchcraft, sorcery, and consulting mediums and spiritists. This list sounds as if it could be lifted from today’s newspapers and magazines. Manasseh worshipped the starry hosts. Does that sound like reading the horoscopes? Ouija boards, fortune telling, and palm reading are prominent in our time. Let us run from such practises into the truth of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord!

Manasseh repented, making a 180 degree turn, but only after he had paid a horrible price. Nevertheless, God is full of mercy, and the latter days of Manasseh’s 55-year reign produced a return to God and God’s blessings upon the people of Judah and Israel. The story of Amon, Manasseh’s son, was a return to evil practises. However, Amon reigned for only two years. For that we can be thankful. How crucial it is for each generation to have its personal encounter with the true God!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for total freedom in my life from any and all influences that come from the “rulers of the darkness of this age.” I run into Your complete protection! Keep me pure in Your sight, Lord Jesus. In Your holy and all-powerful Name I ask, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In tours that Norma-Jean and I have led to Israel, I have spoken at the location of today’s photos regarding the confession Peter made there, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). May I suggest that all of us read Matthew 16:12-23. Could it have been the influence of the spirits inhabiting this shrine that caused Jesus to have to say to Peter shortly thereafter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me.” In order to always think like God thinks, I must be faithful in reading, underlining, meditating and assimilating God’s thoughts, His Word.

Here’s a powerful 100 Huntley Street testimony of a woman who was deeply involved in the occult, as Manasseh was, who found deliverance in Christ (click here for part 1 of the story of Carole Kornacki and click here for part 2).

Yours for turning away from any influence whatsoever from the occult,

David

This was a “high place” in ancient Caesarea Philippi. It was a temple where various gods were worshipped. The main source of the Jordan River flows from under this mountain.

Jesus and His disciples likely walked on these very steps when they visited Caesarea Philippi.

This is a depiction of what the sacred high places in Caesarea Philippi may have looked like at the time of Jesus.