Friday, May 25, 2018

WHO IS BILLY GRAHAM? (a waitress asked me this question)

Today’s Reading: Revelation 18 

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 a view from high up in the Roman Col0sseum looking towards the Arch of Constantine. It is one of the triumphal arches in Rome. This one is situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312. It is probable that the Christians who read or heard the “Revelation” believed that Rome was the manifestation of the ancient tower of Babel and the city which grew around it, Babylon (Revelation 18:2a).

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 18:17a

For in one hour such great riches came to nothing…

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

In this chapter we read of two angels shouting poetically over the “fallen” earthly kingdom of Rome. The first angel speaks in verses 1-20 and the second in verses 21-24. They express the lament of sailors, sea captains, merchants, workmen, and all “the world’s great men.” They also express the joy of “saints and apostles and prophets.” The truth of 11:15 is symbolized in the fall of Rome – “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ” (KJV). The Lamb has conquered! And great is the fall of any and all kingdoms outside of His rule.

Recent events (I write this in the summer of 1991) have made the suddenness of the fall of earth’s kingdoms appear less shocking. Over the course of the past 36 months, we have seen the fall of the Berlin Wall, the destruction of the Iron Curtain, the end of the Warsaw Pact, and, most recently, the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Most surprising of all was the demise of the Soviet Communist Party in less than one hour! President Gorbachev simply signed its death warrant with one stroke of a pen.

We have entered an era of instant wars and instant victories. Things have speeded up to an almost breakneck pace. No longer does it seem impossible, nor improbable, that kingdoms and “kings” rise and fall in “an hour” (verse 17).

We who believe in the return of the Lord had better “lift up our heads – for our redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Almighty God, as I read Revelation 18 I am in awe of the messages of Your angels, and of John’s recording of what he saw and heard. I pray for my mind to comprehend, and for wisdom to interpret these words correctly and to apply them to my personal life. I surrender voluntarily to Your purpose for my life. I ask this in the Name of the One who always, without fail, fulfilled Your purpose, Your Son and my Saviour, Jesus the Messiah (Christ in Greek). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The other morning I stopped at a local restaurant for breakfast and the waitress, a lovely and efficient young lady in her early twenties, asked me what I did. I mentioned that I had had the honour to interview thousands of people for national television in Canada. She asked, “Who was the most famous person you interviewed?” She had told me on another occasion that she was a Baptist, so I thought of the great evangelist who is a Baptist minister, and answered, “Billy Graham.” Then she said, “Who’s he?”

It is a fact that the human family is in big trouble if we rely on past ministries, even those as powerful as that as Billy Graham. We must pray fervently that God will raise up in this second decade of the 21st century strong prophetic voices, not necessarily a big name, but millions of us (tomorrow’s reading will explain “the spirit of prophecy”). Will Graham, Billy’s grandson, asked his grandfather what he would do differently if he had his life to live over again. Billy answered, “I would pray more, and read my Bible more!” To me this is just another reason to continue strongly to encourage prayer and reading God’s Word, as proposed by this blog, which starts its second two-year journey through the Bible on June 3rd. I would consider it a great honour if some of God’s people would stay with me for more fresh bread taken out of the oven and posted at 6 a.m.

Yours for taking more time (the earlier the better, before the phone starts to ring, etc.) in God’s Word and in prayer,

David

There is a remote chance that someone reading this does not know of Billy Graham. Here’s a link to tell us about Billy. And here is a tribute to him from 100 Huntley Street on his 95th birthday in 2013 (hosted by my son Ron and his wife Ann).

The view looking north across the Agora in Rome. The monument to Victor Emmanuel, the king that unified Italy, is seen on the horizon. As pointed out in today’s reading, man’s kingdoms are temporary and with the weapons of modern warfare can be destroyed in one hour.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, DRUNK WITH BLOOD

Today’s Reading: Revelation 17 

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 a spectacular view of the Colosseum in Rome as you walk on the Via Sacra Road from the Agora and Arch of Titus. The Colosseum is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and stone, it was the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire and is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering. It is the largest amphitheatre in the world. It is thought that the early Christians, who were under intense persecution from the Roman authorities, considered “The mother of harlots” to be the city of Rome (Rev. 17:5).

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 17:17

For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

I think it should be pretty clear to you by now that apocalyptic literature with its “picture language” is not too concerned about logic, consistency, and precision. This shouldn’t trouble us – rather, it should challenge us. Literally thousands of authors have taken up the challenge, and no two agree totally on every point of interpretation.

This chapter, however, begins a section dealing with the fall of “Babylon the Great” (concluding in 19:10). There are seven visions, and each refers to the fall of the cult of Roma, the deified personification of Rome (verse 18). “Babylon” is the proto-type for Rome, an empire that, in John’s day, had extended to Asia and the East. The “worship” of Roma was introduced to these areas so that the Empire became, in fact, a state cult. The Roman ruler Octavian, for example, built temples to “Dea Roma” and “Dious Julius” at Ephesus and Nicea, and to Roma and himself in Pergamum and Nicomedia. The belief in “Roma aeterna” (eternal Rome) was cultivated so that “Roma” became a living, breathing deity in the eyes of the world at that time.

John’s vision reaches far beyond the historical realities of his day, however, and chapter 17 is the first chapter where we see a clear attempt on the part of the angelic guide to “explain” what is going on (verse 7). Even though a lot of room is still left for interpretation, we at least see beyond the physical incongruities of multi-headed beasts, horns, bowls, and cups.

John sees a “great prostitute” sitting “on many waters” (verse 1), “on seven hills” (verse 9), and on a “scarlet beast” (verse 3). So, she “sits” on three things at the same time, is dressed elegantly (verse 4a), but is full of “abominable things” and “adulteries” (verse 4c). She is guilty of martyring “the saints” (verse 6).

The beast on which she sits “once was, and now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss” (verse 8), and has seven heads, one of which is himself (verse 11). These heads are all “kings” (who are at the same time “hills” – verse 9). Five of them have already “fallen” (verse 10a), one is “presently” alive (in John’s time), and the remaining king is to come at some future day but will reign only “for a little while” (verse 10c).

The beast also has ten horns, and these are future kings “who have not yet received a kingdom” (verse 12a) but eventually will reign “for an hour” (verse 12b). They work in conjunction with the beast and will do so at the very end of history, when they will “make war against the Lamb” (verse 14a). After losing to the Lamb, their final act will be to “ruin” the prostitute and “leave her naked” (verse 16).

There are two encouraging things to notice: 1. Those whose names are “written in the book of life” (verse 8 ) will not be “astonished” nor will they be conquered by the beast (verse 14c); and 2. Even while these last-day, evil forces do their foul deeds, they will be accomplishing God’s purposes (verse 17a). God is Sovereign. Everything is under His control.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for those today who are suffering torture and death at the hands of people who are possessed by the spirit of anti-Christ. Please give Your people great grace. Fill them with love for their tormenters, the same love demonstrated by Jesus for those who nailed Him to the Cross. Bring deliverance as You did for Peter in prison in Jerusalem, and for Paul and Silas in prison in Philippi. I pray for grace to stand firm in the face of any threats I may face in my lifetime. In Jesus’ Name! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Several years ago I travelled to Kosovo to spend time with Canadian troops who were there on a peace-keeping mission. I was so very proud of our men and women. After their regular shift of doing such tasks as clearing explosives from the roads, they would go out into the community to volunteer in rebuilding homes, schools, etc., which had been destroyed in war. On Sunday I travelled with a van load of soldiers to church in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital city. We did not film the following in case we would further complicate this tragic yet wonderful happening. I saw tears in soldiers’ eyes as a girl of about 19 gave her testimony. Her face was black and blue and had obviously bled from facial wounds. But her face was also shining with joy as she told the story of her Muslim father beating her because she had insisted that she believed in Jesus as her Saviour and God. He said that if she went back to that church he would beat her again. Here she was, boldly confessing Jesus! (click here for a video from the Kosovo trip). It’s long so please watch even a part of it. You may want to fast forward from time to time. This was sent to the troops in Kosovo and to every military base in Canada.

The Apostle Peter, who was put to death by crucifixion in Rome, wrote some words about persecution. Read 1 Peter 4:12-19.

Yours for experiencing the courage and strength found in daily reading of the Bible,

David

This is one of the walking paths inside Rome’s Colosseum.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

THE CUP

Today’s Reading: Revelation 16 

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

 

Southeast of Haifa lies Mt. Carmel, a promontory rich in Biblical history. As you stand on its peak looking east, you can see the fertile plains of the Jezreel Valley. The book of Revelation also identifies this area, Armageddon (Revelation 16:16), as the place where the final battle of Armageddon will be fought. It was also on this mountain that Elijah the Prophet confronted the priests of Baal (1 Kings 18).

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 16:5

And I heard the angel of the waters saying:

“You are righteous, O Lord,

The One who is and who was and who is to be,

Because You have judged these things…”

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

In this chapter we see the anger of God at sin and the demands of His justice. Seven angels “pour out” the contents of the “seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God” (15:7). The first bowl brings a plague of ulcers upon “the people who had the mark of the beast and worshipped his image” (verse 2). The second bowl befouls the sea (verse 3) while the third bowl pollutes the fresh water (verse 4). The fourth bowl affects the sun so that the earth’s residents are “seared by the intense heat” (verse 9), and the fifth bowl plunges “the throne of the beast, and his kingdom” into darkness (verse 10). The sixth bowl dries up the Euphrates River and releases three evil spirits who gather “the kings of the whole world…for battle on the great day of God” at the valley of Megiddo (verses 12-16). The final bowl precipitates a great cataclysm culminating in a huge earthquake and violent hail storm (verses 16-21).

All of this comes from God Himself. And the people “curse” Him because of it (verses 9-10). There’s something in human nature that resents superior power, even when it comes from God, who is the ultimate Power. We each can choose to submit or rebel.

One of the most significant messages of the book of Revelation is that God will ultimately manifest His holiness and punish all unholiness. In the context of this chapter, we can clearly see that all this wrath and destruction could have been prevented – but sinful mankind “refused to repent of what they had done” (verse 11b). God will go to almost any length to impress on us our need to turn away from sin. But if we refuse, we’ll suffer the consequences.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God Almighty, as I read Revelation 16 I’m hearing clearly Your message: “You are righteous, O Lord” (16:4a), and I am a sinner. Therefore, I repent! Grant me the grace to live in a state of repentance. I pray for a constant awareness of Your holy presence, so that I may, as You said, Lord Jesus, in 16:15, be blessed by watching for Your coming again, and by keeping the garments of Your righteousness as my clothing. In Your Name, I pray, dear Jesus. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As a new believer in Jesus as my Saviour and Lord, I thought long and hard about the reason for the suffering and death of Christ. For example, when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion, “Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will but Yours be done,” what was in the cup? The answer came from Revelation 16:19b and from other Scriptures…”The cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath!” God’s anger against all that hurts and destroys those He has created and loves was in that cup. I ask myself, “How can I get my mind around this eternal truth?” Over the years I’ve read the words from Isaiah again and again, “The cup of His fury” and “The cup of My fury” (Isaiah 51). I would urge us all, as I have done this morning, to read again Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12. I read this and weep, throwing myself on the mercies of God and confident in God’s promise that “He [Jesus] has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4a), and that “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

Yours for giving our lives in a fresh commitment to Jesus every day,

David

Looking west from Mount Carmel towards the Mediterranean Sea.

Jim and Kathy Cantelon. I appreciate that they’ve allowed me to use their Revelation commentary, which Crossroads originally published in the “Day Unto Day” devotional series in the early nineties.

 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

WHY?

Today’s Reading: Revelation 15 

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

 

About 15 kilometres from ancient Laodicea is Pamukkale. Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a natural site in southwestern Turkey. The city contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. It is located in Turkey’s Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year. The ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis was built on top of this white “castle” which is in total about 2,700 metres (8,860 ft) long, 600 metres (1,970 ft) wide and 160 metres (525 ft) high.

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 15:4a

Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

In chapters 15 and 16 we read about God’s wrath. This isn’t pleasant reading, and if we’ve thought of God only in terms of His love, these chapters can be disconcerting and even repellent. But we’ve got to understand something – Jesus didn’t come to earth merely to give us a good example, nor was His death at Calvary some sort of morality play. He didn’t come to make us better people. He came to make us new.

Why? Because God the Father is wholly pure, holy, and just. Sin offends Him – so much so that He has decreed that “the wages of sin is death.” All mankind have sinned, and all deserve death in His eyes – His justice demands it. But He is also love. He is not willing that any should perish; He loves the sinner and hates his sin. So what does He do?

God becomes one of us. His Son, Jesus, is born in Bethlehem, is raised in Nazareth, and for three years teaches all who will hear about the Kingdom of Heaven. He tells us what God is like, and He tells us to repent of sin. He takes the penalty of our sin upon Himself and dies on the Cross. Three days later He rises from the grave and issues in a whole new order of life that transcends death and enters the eternal. He becomes the “first fruits” of “them who shall also rise.”

He does all this to satisfy His justice so that man can have a second chance. But if we don’t accept His offer, we’ll suffer His anger. And “it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Revelation makes that very clear.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Your creation of the natural world should be sufficient to cause me to fear You! May I give You at all times total respect! When I realize that You entered Your creation as a tiny life in the womb of the Virgin Mary, I am in complete awe of You. I am moved to pray the prayer of King David found in Psalm 51:1-13. Lord Jesus, You took upon Yourself my sin and the sins of the human family as the sacrificial Lamb. I confess my sin, and I ask for the assurance of forgiveness and cleansing from all sin. In Your Name I pray! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The Apostle John served as the Overseer, or Bishop, of the Roman province of Asia Minor. Today this land is called Turkey. Norma-Jean and I travelled across Turkey with 150 friends, otherwise known as tourists. Actually we called ourselves Pilgrims, visiting cities such as Antioch, where people were first called Christians. I remember well the city of Tarsus, birthplace of the Apostle Paul and his home until he left to study in Jerusalem. At each stop, I would read the Scriptures about the place. Rev. Dale Lang, of Tabor Alberta, would make an application to our lives today, and Dr. Paul Maier, Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, would give the historical background. On one occasion we were at the ruins of the first century synagogue in Tarsus. Dr. Maier pointed to a rose bush growing out of the ruins and said with a straight face, “This is where Paul got his thorn.” As Jim mentioned above about today’s reading, “This isn’t pleasant reading.” I thought I’d share a time of hilarious laughter from our group there in Tarsus. Paul wrote of his “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Recently I met with a Pastor who is constantly in pain and yet he soldiers on. In my judgment he is one of the finest Bible teachers and preachers I’ve ever met. His name is Jay, and I want to ask you to pray for his healing. He said that he drew strength from the knowledge that Paul persevered. He quoted Paul, “For when I am weak, then I am strong!” I said that the Corinthian letters were some of Paul’s first letters to the churches he had planted, and that I like to believe that by the time Paul was executed by beheading in Rome, God had said, “Yes” to his prayers; and if the thorn was a physical problem, he was healed! By the grace of God I expect to ask many questions of the Lord, His Apostles, and others. The thorn question is on my list!

Yours for the attitude in our lives of Paul to the thorn and John toward his imprisonment on Patmos,

David

Pamukkale’s terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs. In this area, there are 17 hot water springs in which the temperature ranges from 35 °C (95 °F) to 100 °C (212 °F).

Monday, May 21, 2018

READ, LOOK, LISTEN

Today’s Reading: Revelation 14 

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

 

One of the many sculptures in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome depicts a woman reading the Bible. John XXIII began changes which would have encouraged reformers such as Martin Luther. He issued a revolutionary statement. He told his people to “READ THE BIBLE!”

 

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 14:3a

They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders…

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

John now shifts from a description of the beast and his worshippers (chapter 13) to a description of the Lamb and His followers. Consistent with Old Testament expectation, the venue is Mount Zion. Micah, for instance, foresaw the day when God would gather the faithful remnant to Mount Zion and reign over them forever (Micah 4:6-8). Joel and Isaiah also saw something similar (Joel 2:32; Isaiah 11:9-12; 40:1-46).

Who are these “144,000”? In chapter 7, we saw this number first mentioned, and I underlined the importance of the symbolic numbering. The group in this chapter (chapter 14) is probably the same people. In both chapters, the 144,000 are sealed on their foreheads…in chapter 7, the substance of the seal is not mentioned, but in chapter 14, John tells us that the seal comprises the names of the Father and the Lamb. This seal, of course, is in direct contrast to the name (or number of the name) of the beast which was placed on the right hand or forehead of his worshippers in chapter 13.

The message to the worshippers of the beast is one of dire warning – they “will drink of the wine of God’s fury” and “will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb” (verse 10). Usually we think of torment as the exclusive domain of Hell, but here we see the high view God has of our wilful choices and the total anger He has at those who choose to reject His Son. That’s why verse 13 has special meaning and warning: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I’m very aware that one day I will stand before Your Judgment Seat where believers in Jesus will be judged. The words of the hymn writer come to mind, “Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.” I pray for Your grace so that my faith in Jesus’ salvation will never waver. In Jesus’ Name! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Besides telling his people to read the Bible, which was something discouraged by the Roman Catholic church for centuries, Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) symbolically opened a window in the vatican which faced St. Peter’s Square, and in front of thousands of people welcomed the Holy Spirit to come in. Shortly after this I was preaching in Quebec City at the invitation of Rev. Vern O’Brien, when we received an invitation to visit a Roman Catholic convent to preach to the nuns. The Mother Superior had written to me as a result of seeing the Crossroads telecasts on local TV. She wrote that she had prayed with me and for the first time in her life she had the assurance of eternal life. Vern and I witnessed an amazing sight… 20 or more Roman Catholic sisters opening their hearts and minds to the assurance of salvation according to the promises of the Bible as shared with them by Protestants. It was quite shocking for us to see the Holy Spirit come upon these nuns as the Apostle Peter had seen at the home of the Roman Centurion, Cornelius, as recorded in Acts 10:34-48. This work of the Holy Spirit, I discovered, was happening all over the world. When we begin to read seriously and consistently God’s Word, we begin to think God’s thoughts, and as someone has said, “When a person begins to think, God has the advantage.”

Yours for reading (or listening) to God’s Word and for enthusiastically convincing others to do the same,

David

The Basilica centers around the Papal Altar where only the Pope celebrates Mass. It was consecrated by Clement VIII, June 5, 1594, on top of several other older altars. Rising above the altar is the baldacchino (95ft. canopy), Bernini’s masterpiece and first work in St. Peter’s. The ancient tomb where the Apostle Peter is said to be buried lies directly below the altar.

Artistic representation of Biblical stories and portrayals of important leaders seem to cover every square inch of St. Peter’s Basilica. John’s challenge was to try to put the visuals he saw in his visions into words. The artists such as Michelangelo had the opposite challenge. They sought to put words into visuals.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD

Today’s Reading: Revelation 13 

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 station 7 on the Via Dolorosa (Latin, “Way of Suffering”). It is a street in two parts within the Old City of Jerusalem, believed to be the actual pathway that Jesus walked, carrying His cross on the way to His crucifixion. Today’s key verse tells us of “The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.” In point of time it happened on the Cross, but God operates outside time. God, who is “Love” (1 John 4:8b) is also the One “Who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty”!!! (Revelation 1:8b).

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 13:8

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

Two “beasts” appear in this chapter. It is quite characteristic of apocalyptic visions for animals to symbolize human beings. In this instance, we see (in verse 18) that the beast is a man, for he has a “man’s number.”

For many readers, the book of Revelation is dominated by the number “666.” And all kinds of attempts have been made to “calculate the number of the beast” to discover his identity, but I think John wants it to remain an enigma. It is beyond the scope of this brief commentary to review some of the more creditable efforts to unravel the mystery.

The important thing to keep in mind is the expectation of a powerful, charismatic leader who will appear on the world stage and dominate it (or “exercise his authority” – verse 5) for “forty-two months.” For that period of time he has total control “over every tribe, people, language and nation” (verse 7). What is more, he has a side-kick who acts on his behalf with awesome signs and wonders (verses 13-15), who is so effective and intimidating that he is able to “deceive the inhabitants of the earth” (verse 14). Why, he can even make a statue of his boss talk! He also imposes a strict economic policy on the people of the world, so that only those who “receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead” are able to buy and sell (verses 16-17).

These two beasts have become known as the “Antichrist” and the “False Prophet.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Your One and Only Son, Jesus, our Messiah, suffered the most excruciating death ever devised by man and by Satan. Dear Jesus, You took upon Yourself, because of Your infinite love, all the sin and wrong I’ve done and will ever do. I pray for a deeper understanding of the ways in which I can serve You with greater love and faithfulness than ever. In Your strong Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When I read the horror-filled words John used to try to describe what he saw, I cannot help but think that while there is disaster yet to come, Jesus has already won the eternal victory over sin, death, Satan, and Hell! Jesus shouted just before His death, “It is finished!!!” I remember that the event of the cross, while inside time, is not limited by time, but covers my past, present and future, as it does for the entire human race.

Jim and Kathy Cantelon, who lived for seven years in Jerusalem, have often walked the Via Dolorosa as I have done on visits to Israel. They will understand my story here. On one occasion in 1968, I stopped along the “Way of Suffering” at “Gabatha,” the “Pavement” stones which covered the courtyard of the Roman Governor where Jesus was beaten so severely. It’s located below the present road beneath a convent. The sister who took us down to the level of the street from Jesus’ time was very unemotional and matter of fact as she gave us the details of the place. The next time I visited, the same sister was totally different. With tears in her eyes she began to sing, “He is Lord. He is Lord. He is risen from the dead and He is Lord. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!” I said to her, “Sister what has happened to you? You are so different now than the last time you took us here.” She answered, “O, I know Him now!” She had experienced the power of the Holy Spirit revealing Jesus at a local prayer meeting, and her life was transformed from one of religious activities into a vibrant living relationship with Jesus! This experience happened to me as a 16 year old. I’ve never been the same either.

Yours for moving from religion to relationship with the living resurrected Lord Jesus!!!,

David

A closer view of station 7 on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

THE WOMAN, THE DRAGON, AND THE MALE CHILD

Today’s Reading: Revelation 12 

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

 

Pictured is the exit of the Grotto at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The “male Child” of today’s reading was born here in the cave just beyond the open door.

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 12:11

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

In this chapter, we read of a “war in heaven” (verse 7) precipitated by an attempt by Satan to destroy the pre-existent Messiah – the “male Child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter” (verse 5). One of the unusual aspects of this account is the use of the past tense. John writes of something that has already happened both in the heavenly and earthly realms.

In reading about Satan’s downfall (verses 8-9) one thinks of Jesus’ words in Luke 10:18, when He says to disciples He had sent out two by two, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” This may help us to understand why Satan now operates in the space/time realm of the created universe. It may also help us understand why this world and this age are so utterly evil. But it should also encourage us to know that Satan’s rule will not last forever…“his time is short” (verse 12c).

We need to remember that Satan is not God, nor is he a dark equivalent. He does not possess godlike attributes. He is not all-present. He is not all-knowing. He is not all-powerful. He is an enemy, but a defeated one. And in the interim, between his present “warrings” and his future destruction, we can resist him “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [our] testimony.”

Satan is powerless in the presence of the “Lamb.” All those who by faith have placed themselves beneath the atoning blood of Christ are absolutely beyond the limited reach of this “accuser of the brethren.” As the old hymn says, we are “safe in the arms of Jesus.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for 24/7 faith to resist Satan through “The blood of the Lamb and by the word of their [my] testimony” (Revelation 12:11). Grant me grace, O Lord, as You did those early church believers who “did not love their lives to the death.” I ask these requests in the Name of the One who lived as an Overcomer 100% of the time, Jesus Christ (Messiah). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

John sees into eternity past. He can only describe Satan as a fearsome creature who reminds him of a dragon. The woman, Mary, represented the Jewish people through whom Messiah was born. They, the Jewish nation, will be supernaturally protected from the hatred and destruction of the dragon’s puppet, the Antichrist, for 3 1/2 years, the latter half of the great tribulation (12:6). These prophetic pictures seem to move back and forth, from the past to the future. Let us remember that at all times the male Child, Jesus Christ, continues to rule and overrule with the “rod of iron” (complete authority in the lives of all who have given Him their lives, and who continue by a daily act of their free will to yield to Him as their King).

Jesus spoke in John’s hearing decades earlier in similar Words (for a Gospel reading check out Luke 9:51 to 10:1-20). The sin of Satan in Heaven was pride. Jesus used the example of Satan’s fall to warn the disciples against the spiritual pride expressed in their report of successful ministry. Jesus does not say, “Good job, boys!” He immediately references Satan’s fall. John was allowed to see what Jesus had described years before. With God, time is not a limiting factor. He is outside of time! (quantum physics) He sees our first parents cast out of the Garden and the defeat of the serpent/dragon at the same instant.

Yours for the total overcoming power of Jesus who dwells in every believer,

David

This is the inside entrance to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. This building is the oldest standing church in the Holy Land.

Originally built by Constantine’s mother in the fourth century, Emperor Justinian rebuilt the current structure in the 530s. The Church of the Nativity was apparently spared destruction from the Persians in 614 A.D. because the invaders saw the depictions of the Magi on the walls. Local Muslim-Christian friendship is believed to be why the church was not destroyed during al-Hakim’s rule in 1009. The trapdoors in the floor reveal 4th-century floor mosaics from the Constantinian church.

 

Friday, May 18, 2018

THE KINGDOM

Today’s Reading: Revelation 11 

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

 

The Red Basilica is a monumental ruined temple in the ancient city of Pergamos, now Bergama, in western Turkey. The temple was built by the Roman Empire, probably in the time of Emperor Hadrian and possibly on his orders. It is one of the largest Roman structures still surviving. This great empire obviously felt threatened by a 90-year-old Christian Jew named John, so much so that they arrested him, put him in prison, and then exiled him to an island so he could no longer preach on the streets of their cities. But they still could not silence him. There on that island he wrote the amazing book called, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ!”

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 11:15b

The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

As John’s vision continues, he is given a measuring device and is told to “measure the temple of God and the altar” and to “count the worshippers there” (verse 1). He is also told not to measure the “outer court” because it has been given to “the Gentiles” who will “trample on the holy city for 42 months” (verse 2). Then the speaker refers to “my two witnesses” (the speaker is not named but I think we can assume it is Jesus) who will “prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth” (verse 3).

John goes on to say that these two witnesses are “two olive trees” and “two lampstands” who devour their enemies with fire that comes out of their mouths (verses 4, 5). Then, in verse 6, he calls them men, and in verses 7-12 we see them killed by a “beast that comes up from the Abyss”, and after three and a half days, they are resurrected and ascend “up to heaven in a cloud.”

The witnesses are not named, so I won’t speculate as to their identity (although some commentators build a case for them being Elijah and Moses). The beast is also not named, but we do know that this beast is the first of four referred to in the vision. The other three were the dragon (or Satan, 12:3), the beast with ten horns and seven heads (13:1), and the beast with two horns who spoke like a dragon (13:11). Apart from the variety of description, all these beasts are committed enemies of God. In this chapter, many commentators identify this beast with the Antichrist.

But the key verse (verse 15) is the focus of the chapter. The “kingdom of the world”, that is: Satan’s domain, will eventually give way to “the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.” The Lamb will “begin to reign” (verse 17).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, rule and reign over my life here and now! You have given me the great honour to come into Your presence and speak with You in prayer…and You speak to me through Your Word, which I read daily. I pray for the ability to concentrate on what You have to say, and after I have listened carefully, I ask for grace to do that which pleases You! In the Name of the One Who always pleased You, Your Son and my Saviour, Jesus Christ! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Very early in my life, I knew that a king ruled over a kingdom. As a Canadian, our king was named George VI. He was my king for my first 16 years. I was confused as a little boy, because we had a Canadian Prime Minister called Mackenzie King. There was never any confusion in my mind as to the real King, the King of kings, Jesus Christ. As a family, we bowed our heads and prayed before every meal and went to our knees after every meal to worship God and to pray for His blessings upon us. I never doubted that we were in the very presence of Almighty God! At least once every day my father would pray, “O God, may the smile of Your approval be upon our lives for this day!”

For several years I had the honour to serve as a judge in the awarding of the “Templeton Prize.” Among the prize winners were Billy Graham, Mother Theresa, Rabbi Jacobovitz (Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth), Bill Bright, and others. The judges were invited each year to Buckingham Palace where the presentation was made to the winner. I discovered that there were ornately decorated rooms in the Palace representing every area of the world where Britain had once ruled. While their “Kingdom of this world” has been diminished greatly, the memories of an empire that once ruled over people on every continent were still there. The symbol of the “Lion,” depicting Great Britain’s power, seemed to be everywhere in and around the Palace. Look again at today’s key verse. The “Lamb” upon the throne! For some reason, I keep thinking over and over again of the nursery rhyme, “Mary had a little lamb.” Yes she did! The blessed Virgin Mary gave birth to “The Lamb of God!” A marvellous songwriter, Mark Lowry, who has often appeared on the 100 Huntley Street telecast, wrote a song called, Mary, Did You Know? Click here to listen to this song of profound and powerful truth.

Yours for Jesus’ reign forever and ever!!!,

David

P.S. What is Jesus’ Kingdom like? It’s described by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The stories and teachings written in the Gospels, which took place in between the birth of Jesus and His death, followed by His resurrection, are about His Kingdom rule here and now and in the world to come!!! I have a suggestion! This summer, set aside four days to read, non-stop if possible, one complete Gospel each day. I plan to do this in order to comprehend, in a fuller way, the eternal Kingdom!

A view from inside the Red Basilica in ancient Pergamos.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A MIGHTY ANGEL

Today’s Reading: Revelation 10 

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

 

Looking from Israel across the Dead Sea to the Kingdom of Jordan, you can see the salt-laden shoreline and the spotted sink holes. Imagine John’s vision of a gigantic angel. One of the angel’s feet is on the land and the other on the sea.

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 10:6b-7

…there should be delay no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

The key verse is a quote from a “mighty angel” who comes “down from heaven” (verse 1). He is of immense size, his body “robed in a cloud,” with “a rainbow above his head,” his face shining “like the sun,” and his legs “like fiery pillars.” He places one foot on the sea and the other on the land, raises his hands to heaven, and shouts with a lion’s roar (verses 2-3).

To this point in Revelation, John has written as though he were in Heaven. Now, however, he is on earth (visions have a way of changing from one scene to another), and he is able to converse with this remarkable angel. Another aspect of the scene, which in the natural world would be incongruous, is perfectly in order in an apocalyptic vision – John, the human being (with human physical dimensions) not only converses with this immense angel, but is also able to take a scroll from the angel’s hand and “eat” it.

The scroll tastes “sweet,” but turns John’s stomach “sour” (verse 10). Its content has something to do with prophecy – for John is told, after eating it, that he “must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings” (verse 11).

Perhaps the key ingredient in the scroll has to do with “the mystery of God [being] accomplished” after the seventh trumpet is blown (verse 7). That mystery is very much related to “our Lord and…His Christ” who “will reign for ever and ever” (11:15).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You are the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. You reign supreme. I look around me and see confusion, violence, and evil men destroying people’s lives. I pray for insight to see that while human free will seems to be in charge temporarily, in reality You are working in spite of me and all other men and women, as well as through me and all who are people of good will, to ultimately bring about Your will here on earth. In Your loving and all-powerful Name I ask You for grace. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Some Bible prophesies I think I can understand, particularly the 500 or so that have already been fulfilled. The remaining 500+ still in the future are a far greater challenge. There is so much symbolism, understandable because people such as Daniel, Ezekiel, and John were human just like me. Not that I’m comparing myself to them, but it’s comforting to know that they were also imperfect pilgrims on their way, as John Bunyan wrote, to the “Celestial City.” The Apostle Paul, originally known as Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, a brilliant intellectual, wrote, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then [in the future] face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known!” That’s from the Bible’s love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13:12. The infinite value of reading God’s Word daily, even when we “know in part,” is absolutely essential to me as a believer in Jesus. God does reveal Himself through reading the Bible. For example, I was browsing Youtube and rediscovered a testimony from the 100 Huntley Street telecast. Stan Telchin, a Jew, was shattered by a phone call from his daughter in university, telling him that she had come to believe that Jesus Christ was the Jewish Messiah. He set out to prove her wrong by studying the Bible. You can guess at the outcome. Click here for the interview from a few years back, hosted by Reynold and Kathy Mainse. I’ve learned to keep on keeping on reading God’s Word, even if I do not have total insight into the mysteries which will only be fully understood when the actual events have occurred.

Yours for never, never, never giving up on reading our Bibles!!!,

David

P.S. COMING UP JUNE 3rd! We start our next two-year journey through the Bible, beginning in Matthew’s Gospel, and then to Genesis. Every day will have fresh insights. Some content will be put back into the oven and brought out at 6 a.m., just as fresh and hot as it was the first time around. Let’s do it again! Let all your Facebook and/or Twitter friends know. Tell your neighbours and friends across the country and around the world. Let’s take up the challenge for another two-years!!! Amen!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

ABADDON (Hebrew – “Destruction”) & APOLLYON (Greek – “Destroyer”)

Today’s Reading: Revelation 9 

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

 

You can see the remains of the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, Greece. This temple and the idols of gold, silver, brass, stone and wood, which were in it, represents the efforts of man to replace Almighty God with likenesses of fallen angels and demons who desired to be worshipped as if they were “The Great Creator,” the One and only true God who is over and above His creation, yet is present everywhere, and who cannot possibly be represented by the works of man’s hands. At the writing of the “Revelation,” priests and people were in this building with the worship of (as Revelation 9:20-21 says), “demons and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone and wood which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 9:20a

But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands…

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

By now you’ve seen how difficult it is to try to analyze and systematize the content of apocalyptic writing. John is describing a vision, and in doing so is attempting to describe the indescribable. Scores of well-meaning attempts have been made over the years to tell us what John “really meant,” but all such efforts should be taken with a grain of salt. Especially if the would-be interpreter is dogmatic about his interpretation!

This is why it’s refreshing from time to time in Revelation to come across material that hints at the purpose of the vision. Look at verses 20 and 21. These two sentences follow a description of two of the three remaining trumpet-disasters. The fifth trumpet precedes a fallen star unlocking “the shaft of the Abyss,” out of which a dense cloud of smoke produces a plague of tormenting locusts (verses 1-11). The sixth trumpet releases a supernatural army of 200 million who destroy a third of mankind. What’s the point of these cataclysmic horrors?

Apparently repentance is the point. Verses 20 and 21 tell us that the “work of [mankind’s] hands” is sufficient to bring heaven’s wrath upon the earth. That “work” is idolatry, murder, occultism, and sexual immorality. The scope of the disasters shows how enraged God is at sin. Were it not for the gracious work of Christ, mankind would have been destroyed long ago. That’s why we should repent of all sin now – while there is yet time.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Almighty God, I pray for continuous grace so that I may live in a repentant state, deliberately turning away from sin and moving always toward You! Lord Jesus, may I take my stand beside You at the entrance to the bottomless pit, Hell, and by every means at my disposal, seek to rescue the perishing multitudes. In Your Name, Jesus, I volunteer! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As a Pastor for many years, I would take the opportunity at least once a month to speak at a gathering of our young people. On one occasion I passed around papers and pencils, asking that they would describe modern warfare…tanks, fighter aircraft, flame throwers, etc., but they were not allowed to use any language which was developed in the past 100 years. One by one, I saw the lights going on in their faces as they understood what their Pastor was getting at. They faced the same challenge as did John in Revelation, trying to describe a battle scene which was 2,000 years into the future (Revelation 9:7-10). John uses the word “like” four times here. This means it’s symbolic, not literal.

It’s confession time for me. The reason I chose to use Jim and Kathy’s commentary on Revelation, besides my high respect for them, is that I can sometimes be a chicken (the opposite of a lion) when it comes to this book. Surprised? As I shared in a recent blog, I think it has something to do with my Doctor of Theology Dad telling me when I was just a boy that he had visited a library in London, England, which had over 1,000 commentary books on Revelation and, according to the librarian, not one of them, as far as he knew, agreed 100% in their interpretations. Sometimes, we just have to wait and see.  I remember coming home from grade 7 at Hopewell Public School, starting to cry when I saw my Dad, and telling him that my science teacher had made fun of me in front of the class because I had raised my hand and said that God created all things. My father put his hand on my shoulder and gently said, “Just wait David, God will prove Himself to you over the years.” I waited, and God has surely proven Himself to me over and over!

Yours for the blessing John promised we would receive from reading and hearing this book, even if we don’t understand everything at the present time,

David