Monday, May 2, 2016

BEHOLD

Today’s Reading: Malachi 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).

 

Just east of Jericho, beside the Jordan River, is a church that commemorates the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. The first verse of today’s reading was fulfilled by John 400 years after it was written. This is also the area where the Children of Israel crossed into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua following 40 years of wilderness wanderings.

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

 

Key Verses: Malachi 3:8, 16

Will a man rob God?

Yet you have robbed Me!

But you say,

“In what way have we robbed You?”

In tithes and offerings.

…Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,

And the Lord listened and heard them;

So a book of remembrance was written before Him

For those who fear the Lord

And who meditate on His name.

 

In yesterday’s blog we considered Malachi 3:8 concerning tithes and offerings. The paragraph (3:6-12) begins with God saying through the prophet, “I am the Lord, I do not change.” We can, therefore, assume that God has not changed His laws on financial matters with the establishment of the New Covenant, nor had He changed in His challenge, “‘Prove Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of Heaven and pour you out such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.'” (3:10).

Malachi 4, the final Words of the Old Testament, refer to the coming of one who, in God’s eyes, is a prophet like Elijah. That prophet is John the Baptist. Matthew 17:10-13 states this fact. John the Baptist, as the one who prepares the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, God with us, prophesies of a new relationship between parents and children, and most importantly, between the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and us, His children. Today’s reading begins with the word, “BEHOLD.” It’s obvious that God wants us to pay close attention to what He has to say to us here!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, change me, I pray. According to 2 Corinthians, I am being “transformed.” I am being changed “by the Spirit of the Lord.” I ask that, as I continue faithfully reading Your Word and praying each day, I will become more like You. In Your Name, Lord Jesus, I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’m excited to know that in this blog exercise I am being recorded in a special book of remembrance being written as I type these words. I’ve just read again Malachi 3:16-18. You and I who are reading this qualify to have the Lord listen to us. According to Malachi’s words, we are the Lord’s jewels. I find myself singing a song from my childhood, “When He cometh, When He cometh, to make up His jewels, all His jewels, precious jewels, His loved and His own. Like the stars of the morning, His brightness adorning. They shall shine in their beauty, bright gems for His crown.”  Perhaps I can find this on Google… Here it is with the Gaithers and group singing (click here).

Tomorrow, God willing, we will move into the final book in our two-year journey, Revelation! I plan to do the first three chapters with a one-day stop at each one of the churches. Then I want to invite some special friends to help me. Back in the mid-1990’s, Crossroads published a series of eight books called, Day Unto Day. Jim and Kathy Cantelon wrote the New Testament commentaries in that two-year journey through the Bible. Recently I read through their words on the last 19 chapters of Revelation. They have done well! I’ve asked their permission to place their teachings here. They said “Yes!”

Revelation is a very challenging book! I remember my Doctor of Theology father telling me that he visited a library in London, England, which had over 1,000 different books which commented on the book of Revelation. He was told by the librarian that none of these books agreed on every point of interpretation. I don’t suppose the keeper of the books had read every one. Nevertheless, the statement may be true. However, God, through the Apostle John, promises a special blessing on all who take the time to read it (Revelation 1:3). Let’s be blessed!

Yours for the actual completion of the reading of every Word in the Bible. God willing, we’ll start all over again with refreshed readings in Matthew and Genesis in June,

David

A father and son work in a wood-shop in Nazareth Village…a first century re-enactment attraction for tourists. Today’s reading speaks to us of a special relationship between fathers and children.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

THE GREAT KING

Today’s Reading: Malachi 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).

 

This is St. Lazarus Church built at the location where Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave. The depiction behind the altar is of Jesus, the resurrection and life. The village in which the church is located on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives is called to this day by the local people, El Lazaria. After 400 years of prophetic silence, the people recognized that in Jesus a mighty prophet, and more than a prophet, Immanuel (“God with us”) had come to them (John 11).

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

 

Key Verses: Malachi 1:14b, 2:10b

“For I am a GREAT KING,”

Says the Lord of hosts,

“And My name is to be feared among the nations.”

…Why do we deal treacherously with one another

By profaning the covenant of the fathers?

 

Almost 100 years had passed since the Temple was rebuilt and since the people had heard the powerful preaching of Haggai and Zechariah. Malachi tells us that the priests had grown tired of the daily routine and that corruption was evident. This was manifested in the failure to pay their tithes and give their offerings (reading for tomorrow), as well as their marriages to wives who were not followers of the true God. Some had divorced their Jewish wives and married foreign women.The leaders in the Temple were going through the motions of worship, even showing strong emotions (Malachi 2:13). Covering “the altar of the Lord with tears” was not acceptable to God when at the same time they were living in sin as shown by their unfaithfulness in their marriages. The last four verses in today’s reading point this out. As shown in our key verses, the people no longer feared God as they once did. They were profaning, showing disrespect and irreverence for the Covenant (the most solemn and binding commitment possible between two parties), which their fathers had made with God. The evidence of this was in their disobedience to God, going through the motions of worship, even showing strong emotions, but living in sin continually.

The “love” and “hate” spoken of in Malachi 1:2 refers to Jacob (Israel) and the neighbouring nation of Edomites, descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob. We know from many Scriptures that God loves the individual person but hates the sin represented by the persistent evil practised by nations in their culture and deeds. Yes, Israel sinned too, but the difference was that Israel repented of their sins on a regular basis and reversed corrupt practises, lining up with God’s Word every three or four generations. May God grant us another wave of repentance and obedience to His unchanging Word!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I confess You as my “Great King!” I recognize Your absolute authority over my life. My tears do not prove repentance; obedience does! I pray that the grace to repent, to turn away from living in sin, will be manifested 24/7 in my life. I ask this in the Name of the One who never sinned and, therefore, had no need of repentance, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The “wife of my youth” (Malachi 2:14-15) was 19 and I was 22 when we entered what I regard as an unbreakable covenant, our marriage. She is sleeping as I write this in the early morning. We’ll be married 58 years this coming September 19th. She spends much time in prayer before she sleeps.  I’m too sleepy then, so I have my prayer time when I awake refreshed most mornings  (at my age, 79, an afternoon sleep is essential!). Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, summed it up in a humorous way when she was asked if she ever considered divorce from Billy. She said, “Murder sometimes, but divorce never!” When Norma-Jean and I gave our word (our most sacred possession) “until death do us part,” it meant just that. Obedience to our covenant with God means working through the problems and never giving up!

The other evidence of withdrawing from obedience to God is in the area of tithing…that 10% off the top of our entire income. Malachi points out that failure to PAY our tithes is actually stealing from God, as it is His, not ours. I’m jumping ahead here to Malachi 3 because of its extremely important message. These are almost the final words of the Bible which Jesus and His Apostles read and believed. We begin to GIVE back to God only when we give offerings over and above the tithe (alms for needy people, as well as for soul-winning ministries such as Crossroads, etc.). Obedience to God is a must, both in our marriages and in our tithes and offerings. Jesus and His disciples would have read Malachi and put into practice the teaching on tithes and offerings. I make no apologies for believing that these two areas of human behaviour represent the minimum level of commitment to God so that, as my father prayed in my hearing every day when I was a child, “O God, may the smile of Your approval be on my life this day.”

Yours for a revival of faith and obedience in every generation, not just every 100 years,

David

P.S. Ezra Levant, named after the ancient prophet who led in the rebuilding of the Temple, is a Canadian who is Jewish and who takes on many Christian causes. I think we should support this modern Ezra. Click here for information. Someone has said that when good people do nothing, evil flourishes. TRUE!!! Ezra is doing his part with a passion. Let’s do our part.

 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

THE LIVING WATERS (Zechariah 14:8)

Today’s Reading: Zechariah 13-14

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

 

As you enter the Church of the Holy Sepulcher you can climb a set of stone stairs on the right. This stairway, according to tradition, leads to Calvary and contains a huge rock which is believed to have been split when Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished!” The rock can be seen under glass on both sides of the altar, and beneath the altar there is a hole said to be the place where the foot of the cross was lodged. Due to the significance of this, it is the most visited site in the Holy Sepulchre church. A friend of my son Ron is Greek, and he says the words on the front of the communion table say, “I SEE YOUR GARMENTS ARE EMPTY, ALMIGHTY CHRIST,” referring to His burial clothes which remained in the tomb after HIS RESURRECTION!!!

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

 

Key Verse: Zechariah 13:1, 6

In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness... And one will say to him, “What are these wounds in your hands?” Then he will answer, “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”

 

Zechariah 12:10 tells us that the Messiah will be pierced, and those who look on Him shall grieve deeply. In today’s reading we learn that this piercing is the source of a fountain for cleansing, “For sin and for uncleanness.” The redemptive work of Jesus on the Cross gave rise to a new and purified people of God, a spiritual Israel wherein there is no idolatry and no false worship. These are difficult words to understand in this chapter: “The sword against My Shepherd.” Read Isaiah 53:10-12 for another statement as to why the sword was turned against the Messiah Shepherd. What love!!! “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him.” How can our limited human minds grasp this?

The final chapter of Zechariah appears to describe the terrible atrocities that will happen just prior to the coming of Jesus Christ in power and glory. He will cut short those days of terror. Zechariah 14:12, “…flesh dissolving while they stand on their feet,” is as close as one can come to describing what happens to the human body within the detonation area of a nuclear bomb. The animals present will suffer the same fate (14:15). The Lord will put the final period to the book of human history. In three more days, our readings move into the Revelation, the Apocalypse. The final victory over evil, and the eternal establishment of good is coming!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Keep me faithful, Lord God, I pray! Give me the clarity of thought to be able to understand as much of these challenging Scriptures as my mind and Your Spirit can enable me to grasp. I rejoice in the promise of Your first coming when You opened a fountain for cleansing from sin. I also rejoice in the promise that reveals that You are coming again to rule and reign. In the Name of Jesus I approach You with “HOLINESS TO THE LORD!!!” Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When Jesus, resurrected out from among the dead, made His second appearance to the disciples in Jerusalem, Thomas, who doubted Jesus’ resurrection, was present. Jesus said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side” (John 20:27). Immediately, Thomas believed and testified to the fact that Jesus is 100% God. He said, “My Lord and my God!” The Scripture found in Luke 24:33-43 expands on Jesus’ appearances after His resurrection. Jesus says, “‘Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I, Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and feet!” There were many appearances of Jesus, one time to over 500 people. I find it remarkable that the “Mishna,” minutes of the Sanhedrin, the ruling religious council for Judaism appointed by the Romans, did not in any way record a refutation of the claims of Jesus’ appearances. It was politically impossible, as thousands had seen the resurrected Christ (Messiah). Approximately 5,000 Jewish men, including many priests, believed in Jesus after Peter’s message in the Temple court. Read Peter’s preaching…Acts 3:12 to Acts 4:4. In Acts 6:7 we read, “And the Word of the Lord spread, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” These Jewish priests, now followers of Jesus, continued to function in the Temple for almost 40 more years. The tradition of priests in the Church evolved directly from these priests who had experienced, through Jesus, the Fountain opened in the house of David “for sin and for uncleanness.”

Yours, looking forward to that day when “His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives” once again (Zechariah 14:4). Jesus changes everything!!!

David

Friday, April 29, 2016

MOURN AND GRIEVE

Today’s Reading: Zechariah 11-12

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

 

The Altar area inside Saint Anne’s Church, next to the ruins of the Pool of Bethesda, Jerusalem. The message is that God’s altar is the Cross of Christ. Jesus said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:14,15).

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

 

Key Verse: Zechariah 12:10

And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

 

God is speaking through Zechariah. The words, “I WILL” make it clear that God is committed to the time when the people of Jerusalem will look on Him (GOD) “whom they have pierced.” This was written 500 years before Jesus was crucified, and while the people looked on Him as He hung on the Cross, it refers to a yet future time when Jesus will come again. They will see Jesus in His resurrected Body, in which the wounds of His crucifixion are visible. Other prophets wrote of the One Who was “wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5-6), and “They pierced My hands and feet” (only in crucifixion, and written centuries before any historical record of this method of execution). Read King David’s prophecy found in Psalm 22:16-18. To read one of the records of the crucifixion of Jesus, read John 19:34-37 and then read John 20:26-31 (prophesied in Zechariah 12:10 and 13:6). Make no mistake about it! Nobody other than Jesus fulfills these prophesies. Dr. Mark Hitchcock, a former attorney and now a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, appeared on the 100 Huntley Street telecast with a message called, “The Shadow of the Cross.” He documents the impossibility of the words of the prophets, including Zechariah, coming to pass as they did by accident (click here for Dr. Hitchcock).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, my heart is so very sad as I think of how You must have grieved “as One mourns for His only Son.” As Jesus is there, one with You at Your throne, You can see the marks on His hands, His feet, and His side. You gave Your “only begotten Son, that whosoever [me included] believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). I pray that the scenes of Your Cross would continuously be before me. I believe “In Him” because You have shown me the One Who is “The Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6a) through the words of the prophets, the Apostles, and Your Holy Spirit’s revelation to me. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You, Jesus!!! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I first saw the gruesome picture (below) when Dr. Paul Maier was my guest on the 100 Huntley Street telecast. Dr. Maier has a Ph.D. in semitic languages from Harvard and is professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University. The photo shows a nail which was embedded in the ankle bone of a crucified man, according to the archeologists. There must have been a knot in the wood into which it was driven that bent the point of the nail. Of course, the Romans crucified others, including the two thieves who died on the crosses on either side of Jesus. Dr. Maier’s book, Skeleton in God’s Closet, is based on the facts of Jesus’ crucifixion, and then a fictional story evolves when it is claimed that the bones of Jesus have been discovered. This book, in my opinion, is most captivating, stimulating, and well researched. I guarantee that readers will find it very difficult to put it down having begun to read (click here to purchase Skeleton in God’s Closet).

Yours to focus on the most important event in human history, prophesied by the Prophets in the Hebrew Bible and fulfilled by Jesus only!!! (read with me 1 Peter 1:18-25),

David

In the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, this heel bone with a nail pierced through it is on display, giving evidence for the ancient Roman practice of execution on a cross. Oh Jesus, how I grieve over my sins. You suffered crucifixion so that I, and all who believe in You, could be forgiven, saved from eternal death, and given as a free gift, eternal life. The Cross of Jesus was God’s altar where His sacrificial Lamb was sacrificed in human time, but in reality was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A MARE USQUE AD MARE

Today’s Reading: Zechariah 9-10

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

 

The Palm Sunday Church on the east side of the Mount of Olives is in Bethphage. This is where Jesus mounted the unbroken donkey colt and started His triumphal entry from the Mount of Olives and into Jerusalem. From this point onwards, Jesus left no room for doubt as to His claims to be the Messiah (Christ).

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

 

Key Verses: Zechariah 9:9 & 10b

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your King is coming to you;

He is just and having salvation,

Lowly and riding on a donkey,

A colt, the foal of a donkey… His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.

 

It was very clear to every person in the vicinity of Jerusalem that Jesus’ ride on the donkey into Jerusalem meant that He claimed to be, and the people believed He was, Messiah, King of the Jews. To protect their Roman appointed and enforced positions, the Jewish leaders had to act to destroy Jesus quickly or the thousands of Passover pilgrims in Jerusalem would bring down the wrath of Rome on all Jerusalem and the Jewish people. Peter had even bought a sword with which to fight. When Jesus showed no interest in an armed overthrow of the occupying power and their Jewish backers, Judas tried to force Jesus’ hand, forcing Him into action at His arrest. All the people, His disciples, the Jewish leaders, and the Romans, failed to see that our key verses, known well by all, had two completely different times of fulfillment, the first and second comings of the Messiah. The people, including Jesus’ disciples, missed all the prophetic Scriptures which inform us of the lowly, suffering Messiah (Read Psalm 22…also read Isaiah 53). The donkey, the Bethlehem manger, and Jesus’ refusal to use His miracle-working power to help Himself, symbolized His first coming. He taught clearly that there would be another arrival in Jerusalem (Matthew 25:31-46). When He stood before the Jewish parliament He left no room for doubt when He was asked, “Are You the Christ, the Son of God?” His answer was to refer them to the prophet Daniel, another Scripture with which they were totally familiar. Jesus said, “Hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” Read Daniel 7:13-14. Also read and perhaps weep, Matthew 26:47-68.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, as I read the Bible with the advantage of hindsight, it’s very clear that there are two very different times involved in the Messiah’s coming to rule and to reign on the earth. Once again today I bow before Him, confessing that He rules and reigns over my heart, my mind, and all of me by love and grace. I also confess that He is yet to come to rule and to reign over all the earth with great power and glory. I pray for a greater manifestation of Your love and grace through me! In the Name of the lowly suffering Saviour… the One who shall soon return in His second coming, Jesus Christ! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I can identify with Jesus’ disciples (“talmudim”…used in Hebrew today to mean students). Over and over again Jesus had told them, as recorded in the Gospels, that He was going to Jerusalem where He would be arrested, crucified, die, and rise again. How did they miss it? There’s a Ben Franklin couplet that says, “Convince a man against his will, he stays the same opinion still.” I know myself well enough to say that once I think I have all the facts, and once I’ve made up my mind, it’s tough to change my mind. Just ask Norma-Jean! Let me give you just one example of what was going on with two of Jesus’ students, James and John. Both Mark and Matthew record the fact that Jesus took His disciples aside while they were travelling to Jerusalem and told them, with absolute clarity, that when they arrived at Jerusalem He would be mocked, scourged, crucified, and He would rise again the third day. He could not have made it more plain, but what was really on the minds of James and John? It was the planned request of their mother, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand, and the other on the left in Your kingdom.” In this case, human pride and ambition made them incapable of actually hearing what Jesus had just said (Matthew 20:17-28 and Mark 10:32-45). Through the years, as I’ve read the Gospels over and over, I’ve come to realize that God is often speaking to me through His Word, and because I have my own plans, I don’t really hear Him. I have a recommendation for all blog readers. It’s this…at some point take just the Gospel of Matthew, take note of all the times Jesus tried to tell His students about His death, and see if you can find the reasons why Jesus’ message didn’t get through. Take those reasons and think about yourself and your reactions to God’s truth. You’ll learn, as I have sought to do, what the mental blocks are (for me I would call it thick-headedness!!!).

Yours with a measure of frustration, because often I feel like a blockhead when it comes to truly understanding what God is trying to say to me as I read His Word! Also, I’m increasingly disappointed in myself when I look at the name of this blog (my original intention when I named it)…”100words.ca,”

David

P.S. O yes, I forgot to mention that Canada’s official motto, “A Mare Usque Ad Mare” (Latin for “From Sea to Sea), is taken directly from today’s reading, as well as Psalm 72:8. Also I wanted to write a special thanks to all blog readers who have prayed for me for healing from MDS acute leukemia. I truly believe that God has said “yes” in answer to your prayers for me. I feel so good that I’ll challenge any 79-year-old reading this to a race… ha-ha! As the doxology says, “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow! Praise Him all creatures here below!” Amen!!!

Also on display in The Palm Sunday Church is a large square rock on which the story of the donkey is told by an artist.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

OLD MEN, OLD WOMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS

Today’s Reading: Zechariah 7-8

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

 

Jews of all ages visit the Western Wall, which is the retaining wall of the platform which enabled the creation of the large flat area on top of Mt. Moriah, where the Temple once stood in Jerusalem. Large numbers of men and women come here to pray. Today’s reading is about the prayers God ignores and those prayers to which He pays attention.

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

 

Key Verses: Zechariah 8:4-5 and 8:21b

Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“Old men and old women shall again sit

In the streets of Jerusalem,

Each one with his staff in his hand

Because of great age.

The streets of the city

Shall be full of boys and girls

Playing in its streets.” …Let us continue to go and pray before the Lord!

 

Zechariah 7 sounds like a good prayer at first reading, but then we understand that their prayers were all about themselves, not about God and others. An example of this kind of prayer is found in Isaiah 58, “They made their hearts like flint!” (7:12a). But God, through Ezekiel who prophesied in Babylon during the captivity of the Jews, said that their hearts would be changed! “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you.” Read Ezekiel 36:24-28.

Zechariah 8 is the result of the genuine repentance of God’s people during the years of exile in Babylon. Renewed and rebuilt Jerusalem is a beautiful picture of contentment, old men and old women sitting in the streets with boys and girls playing around them. Let us learn the lessons taught here. As Jesus said, “Ask…seek…knock” in consistent God-centred and people-centred prayer, and God’s promises are activated for the good of all. Read Jesus’ Words on this in Matthew 7:7-11.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, as Jesus was asked, so I ask, “Teach me to pray!” I pray not just for the words to say, but to actually “Pray!” You said through James, “Confess your trespasses one to another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man [or woman] avails much!!!” Give me grace to always have a soft heart for others and toward You! I ask this in the Name of the One who got up early in the morning to pray, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen! (Mark 1:35).

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Every day I thank God for what feels like excellent health. I have now lived for over two years past the date when it was predicted I would die. I was diagnosed four years ago with MDS acute leukaemia. King Hezekiah of Judah was told that he would shortly die, but God gave him another 15 years (Isaiah 38:1-5 and 38:21). Also the prophet Isaiah (obviously some kind of medical practitioner) prescribed treatment. In Isaiah 39:8 Hezekiah commended Isaiah for “good” prescriptions (words of advice).

Yours in thankfulness for the prayers of my blog readers, for God’s healing Power, and for health practitioners,

David

P.S. God willing, tomorrow, I want to emphasize my heartfelt thanks for everyone who prayed for me individually, and for the churches and ministries that prayed collectively.

These ladies with a child are from Harran, which was a major city in ancient Mesopotamia, reflecting the title of today’s blog.

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

BY MY SPIRIT

Today’s Reading: Zechariah 4-6

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

 

A single olive tree blooms just outside of this northern section of the wall of the Old City of Jerusalem. The symbol of the spiritual life of Israel is the olive tree.

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

 

Key Verse: Zechariah 4:6

So he answered and said to me:

“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:

‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’

Says the Lord of hosts.”

 

In chapter four, the Governor of Judea, Zerubbabel, and the High Priest, Joshua, are likened to two olive trees whose lives and ministries flow directly in the Holy Spirit in order to keep the lamps of worship to God and light for the people aflame. They have a 24/7 relationship with “the Lord of the whole earth,” and they understand that it’s “not by might [corporate military or political action] nor by power [personal influence] but BY MY SPIRIT, SAYS THE LORD OF HOSTS!!!” We need to understand that for us to do as Jesus said, as recorded in Matthew 5:14-16, “Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven,” the Spirit of God must flow through us always. All our organizational strength and all our individual efforts won’t make spiritual renewal happen. It takes God’s Spirit and His flow through our lives corporately and individually.

The vision of the huge flying scroll of chapter 5 should underline for us the importance God places on what we’re doing right now, paying attention to His written Word!

In chapter 6 we read of “the Branch.” Turn back to the words of the prophet Isaiah and understand that these words written by Zechariah could only refer to the coming Messiah or “Christ” in the Greek language (read Isaiah 11:1-5). In Christ, the true holy eternal temple grows by the Spirit of God, not by the work of men’s hands (read Ephesians 2:13-22).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that I will faithfully, by Your Spirit and not by corporate might or personal power, see Your purposes all take place. As the last words of today’s reading tell me, “This shall come to pass if you [me] diligently obey the voice of the Lord your [my] God.” In the Name of the One who always obeyed the Voice of His Father God, Jesus, the Christ, I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In the days before television, there was radio. Every Sunday morning as a child and a teenager, I would hear Rev. C. M. Ward, preacher on the Revivaltime broadcast, quote Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.” C. M. Ward was born in what was known as Cabbage Town, Toronto. This Canadian was considered by many to be the greatest preacher ever to minister on radio. Revivaltime originated from the headquarters building of the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri, USA. When I was invited by the Assemblies of God to host Turning Point, their TV ministry back in the early 1970s, Brother Ward took me aside and said, “David, you need to understand why the leaders of the Assemblies have chosen you. It’s because you are a Canadian. Your Canadian accent cannot be identified as from the south or from New England. Canadians have a rather neutral accent.” All the time I was thinking,”accent or not, it’s got to be ‘Not by might or by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts.'” It was quite frightening to me to have a denomination of 15,000 churches, in the United States alone, and thousands more in other countries, ask me to do this. The call from Springfield came immediately after a week in Moncton, New Brunswick, when I preached each evening on the occasion of the opening of a new church building. I had fasted and spent much time in prayer that week, and by the end of the week I found myself interceding in fervent prayer for the people of the United States. This had never happened in this intensity to me before. I always thought that the USA had plenty of evangelists, and that I’d just stick to my beloved Canada. For every believer in Jesus, in one way or another, Jesus said, “You shall receive power [corporately and personally] when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem [our home town], and in all Judea and Samaria [for me that was English and French Canada], and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). That’s for every blog reader! Pray and give! Go ourselves or make it possible for others to go!!!

Yours for the unhindered work of the “Spirit” of “The Lord of Hosts!!!”

David

Monday, April 25, 2016

PROSPERITY AND LOYALTY

Today’s Reading: Zechariah 1-3

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 model of the Temple from the time of Jesus. King Herod renovated the Temple which had been built in the time of Zechariah 500 years earlier. This Temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans.

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

 

Key Verses: Zechariah 1:17, 2:5

Again proclaim, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘My cities shall again spread out through prosperity;

The Lord will again comfort Zion,

And will again choose Jerusalem.'”

“…For I,” says the Lord, “will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”

 

That word “prosperity,” in our first key verse, may have been a strange concept for these people who had been through very hard times. Ezra, the priest, who had led the original group of Jews back to Jerusalem from Babylon, wrote these words: “So the elders of Israel built, and they PROSPERED through the prophesying of Haggai, the prophet, and Zechariah, the son of Iddo” (Ezra 6:14a). Initially, Zechariah, a younger man, may have ministered as an assistant to Haggai. Zechariah’s book is the longest of all the minor prophets. It is truly a major message from God to all of us.

With preaching, such as in our second key verse, it’s no wonder that the people responded by working together in unity to complete the Temple construction and restore the worship of the One True God. The “wall of fire” would provide protection against temptations from within, because of the glory of God inside, and protection from the attacks of the world from outside. As we daily live in the presence of God, worshipping and serving Him, He’s got us covered!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that I will never take You for granted, but take You at Your Word! May I rely on Your promises daily, promises such as those found in our key verses. I believe that You are my “Prosperity,” and “The wall of fire” protecting me. Grant that I may be always at peace and that I may be encouraged in my service to You. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I am a greatly blessed man. I’m prospering as a result of the preaching of God-called preachers/pastors. I believe and preach that one should be totally loyal to one’s home Church and Pastor, being present whenever a service is convened. But I also believe and teach that with that solid foundation of loyalty, we can be blessed and encouraged by others. During one period of my life, I went to three Sunday Schools every Sunday: our own church at 10 a.m., the Christian and Missionary Alliance at 2 p.m. and the Salvation Army at 3 p.m. I can hear it now, “This boy had the makings of a fanatic!” Well it just depends on one’s definition of the word “fanatic”…e.g. a sports “fan-atic,” or “someone who is more enthusiastic about their cause than you are about yours.” Anyway, the people of Jerusalem worked with unusual enthusiasm in their cause due to the preaching of those two preachers, and the result was that they prospered!!!

Yours for loving and serving God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength!

David

P.S. Monday through Friday next week (first week of May) I have been asked to interview briefly Dr. John Hull on the 100 Huntley Street telecast (click here for info on times and stations). Please watch if possible and send me a comment. I want to know your thoughts about the future of 100 Huntley Street. “Founder” is a position from which no one can resign. It’s a life-long calling.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

CONSIDER

Today’s Reading: Haggai 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).

 

Seen on the right of the photo is the Tomb of Zechariah. It is located on the foothills of the Mount of Olives facing the Temple Mount. It is cut into the rock and made entirely from that rock. Tomorrow, God willing, we begin our readings in the book of Zechariah. Haggai and Zechariah ministered in Jerusalem as a dynamic duo following the first return of the Jews from Babylon. These two prophets had the assignment of urging the people to complete the rebuilding of the Temple.

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

 

Key Verses: Haggai 1:5, 7, 2:7a

Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!…” Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!…and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,” says the Lord of hosts.

 

Haggai was probably one of the older generation who remembered what the Temple of Solomon had looked like. They started construction of a new Temple with great enthusiasm (read Ezra 3:10-13). But the people who had not been to Babylon harassed and discouraged the project. Construction was halted as a result, but Haggai and Zechariah did their job and the Temple was finally completed (read Ezra 4:24-5:2).

The word “consider” is repeated by Haggai five times. Daily through this blog we “consider,” “think about,” “contemplate,” “examine,” “review,” “ponder,” “evaluate,” “assess,” etc. Haggai tells his people and us, “Consider your ways!” As a result of Haggai’s preaching, “The Lord stirred up the spirit” of both the governor and the high priest and resumed building the Temple (Haggai 1:14). Consider Haggai 2:5-7. King Herod, 500 years later, enlarged their Temple, and when Jesus entered that Temple, the “desire of all nations” was present (Haggai 2:7). The ultimate fulfillment of Haggai’s prophecy will be at Jesus’ return to Jerusalem, as predicted by the angels and recorded in Acts 1:6-11.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, through this blog and through the preaching of my pastor, I pray that my spirit will be stirred up so that I may be motivated again to work tirelessly for You, working with Jesus Who said, “I will build My Church,” and in Whose Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve just found in my home library book #8 in the series, Day unto Day, by Jim and Cathy Cantelon (New Testament commentaries), and Nizar and Ellen Shaheen (Old Testament commentaries). There are eleven paragraphs on Haggai, chapters 1 & 2. Here’s just one paragraph from my son-in-law, Nizar, and my daughter, Ellen:

“Even before they had received the official notification (the decree of Persian Emperor Cyrus which had earlier permitted the construction of a new Temple), the Lord had stirred up the people because of the exhortation of Haggai (along with that of Zechariah), and they resumed the building of the Temple; it had been lying unfinished for about 16 years. In his exhortation, Haggai told them the reason they had not experienced the blessing of God upon their fields and finances. They had put their own interests ahead of the interests of God. God desired them to build His Temple and thereby bring glory to Him (1:8). By leaving His dwelling in ruins, they were not honouring God. When believers today do not work to build up the Kingdom of God by pointing the lost to Jesus, and when they do not support or participate in the work of the Lord (the local church and other outreach ministries), then this also does not bring glory to God. Our faithful service to Him and fulfilling His desires should be our primary concern. Many people today are guilty of the same thing for which Haggai rebuked the people of Jerusalem in his day. There was nothing wrong with working hard in their fields or building fine homes; what was wrong was that they did these things while neglecting their duty to the Lord. Their priorities were out of order, and thus the Lord’s displeasure was upon them. For this reason they had not been blessed in their work or income.”

Yours for faithfully keeping the Lord our top priority and experiencing His blessings,

David

P.S. The Day Unto Day series consisted of eight books published over two years. Although it has been out of print for over 20 years, when you do a Google search, it’s amazing how many copies are still floating around for sale. For example, here is one, here is another, and here is yet another.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

“HE NEVER FAILS!”

Today’s Reading: Zephaniah 3

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

 

On the right of the photograph you can see the southwest corner of the Temple Mount area. The broken foundations of the walls were built thousands of years before modern Jerusalem’s walls. Seen in the middle of the photo are new buildings in modern Jerusalem built with the same kind of stone that was used by builders down through the ages. The people who live in these buildings want to be near the Temple area where they “call on the Name of the Lord” with “a pure language.” Hebrew has been restored as the language of modern Israel (Zephaniah 3:9a).

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

 

Key Verse: Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God in your midst,

The Mighty One, will save;

He will rejoice over you with gladness,

He will quiet you with His love,

He will rejoice over you with singing.

 

Today’s reading begins with a description of the condition of Jerusalem’s leaders at that time. There are corrupt princes, judges, prophets and priests (Zephaniah 3:3) who are in place. But this will not last! Zephaniah is coming on strongly! Daniel and other godly young men are about to come on the scene to shepherd God’s people under the coming Babylonian rule. Zephaniah is optimistic about the future. God gives him prophecies that are full of promises of God’s favour. Our key verse is filled with hope! Someone has said, “The future is as bright as the promises of God!” As the above photograph shows, Jerusalem as a city has been restored. And the spiritual “City of God” described by Zephaniah is under construction by the Spirit of God. Jerusalem is the only city for which the Bible asks readers to pray. Let’s do this today! Let’s all read Psalm 122.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Yes Lord, I am praying for Jerusalem. I sing with You! I am glad and rejoice with You! (Zephaniah 3:14). I have seen the fulfillment of Your promise, O Lord,  to bring the Jewish people back to Israel. Now, Lord, I pray for a mighty spiritual revival where Your Messiah, Jesus, will be Lord and Saviour for the majority! In His Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS: (actually about 300 words…sorry about that!)

I understand that by about 65 A.D. close to a majority of the people of Jerusalem believed that Jesus of Nazareth was Messiah. But then, because of persecution by the Roman appointed High Priest, the actions of those who wanted to overthrow Roman rule, and the cruel response of the Roman authorities, thousands of Jewish Christians left Jerusalem and settled elsewhere. Jerusalem and the Temple suffered destruction in 70 A.D. Eventually, the Romans would not allow Jews or Christians (who were mostly Jews) to live in Jerusalem, and so it became a totally pagan city for at least 150 years. Jews and Christians trickled back there around the year 320 A.D., after Constantine became Emperor of Rome.

I must comment on God’s promise of Zephaniah 3:9, “I will restore to the people a pure language.” In 1979 Crossroads produced a movie called “Apples of Gold.” In that movie our film crew interviewed an elderly lady who was the daughter of Eleazer Ben Jehuda. She told how her father was awakened in the middle of the night and heard a voice saying to him, “You are called to revive the Hebrew language as the everyday language of the people who will come to live in a future state called Israel.” That is exactly what has happened! Today even the menus in the Jerusalem restaurants are in Hebrew. A language that had been dead since the Babylonian captivity has been revived. To my knowledge this has never happened before to any people. I think we can assume that the other promises given by God through Zephaniah will also be fulfilled!!! There are now dozens of Jewish Christian congregations throughout Israel that conduct their services in Hebrew. Zephaniah wrote of God, “He never fails!” (3:5) and God said, “Therefore, wait for Me!” (3:8a).

Yours because “He never fails!”

David

P.S. I couldn’t help but begin singing the song, “God can do anything but fail” (click here for the Charlotte Mass Choir with soloist Albertina Walker).