Sunday, April 20, 2014

SHIGIONOTH

Suggested Reading: Habakkuk 3

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

 

A majestic Elk stands poised in Banff Alberta. Today's reading tells us of the flock (sheep), the herd (cattle). It speaks of God making our feet like deer's feet so that we can walk on high places in Him like these elk on a plateau in the Rocky Mountains are doing. Let's go for a walk today. It's Resurrection Day. New life is everywhere!

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

 

Key Verses: Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree may not blossom,

Nor fruit be on the vines;

Though the labor of the olive may fail,

And the fields yield no food;

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,

And there be no herd in the stalls –

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength;

He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high hills.

 

“Shigionoth!” (Habakkuk 3:1). No respected scholar that I can find knows what that word means. The stupendous, glorious, magnificent fact of the resurrection of Jesus out from among the dead is truly so beyond our human capacity to express that we may need  words like the Apostle Paul said were the reason why he spoke in tongues more than all the Corinthian believers (1 Corinthians 14:18)… “In the spirit he speaks mysteries” (1 Corinthians 14:2b). In the very next chapter Paul writes in detail about the “Resurrection!” Paul saw the resurrected Jesus! “Last of all He was seen by me also!” (1 Corinthians 15:8a). Today is “Resurrection Sunday.” Let’s take the time to read all 58 verses of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 (click here). Let’s also take time to worship!!!

Our key verses speak of a “Saturday” grave-type experience when nothing seems to be going the way it should, but “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18). Sunday is here! He is risen!!! Go ahead! Walk on high places! “Joy” is used as a verb here. It’s an action word! Let us express our joy to God and to all we meet today and every day. Amen!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, like the Apostle Paul I find that my mother tongue is unable to fully express what I feel inside. Paul said, “My spirit prays but my understanding in unfruitful. What is the result then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will also sing with the spirit and I will also sing with the understanding!” I pray for Your grace to pray and sing both with my spirit and with my understanding. In the Name of the risen Christ Jesus! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Sometimes I start my blog and I really don’t know where I’m going with the thoughts that spill out through my fingers onto my laptop keyboard. This is now 688 days straight that I’ve been doing this without missing even one day. I think that’s a miracle of God’s grace to me. I know that the risen-from-the-dead Jesus is interceding at the throne of God for me according to Hebrews 7:25…”Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since HE EVER LIVES to make intercession for them.” Jesus is praying for me in that great prayer meeting gathered at God’s throne. Amazing!!! True!!! The word “salvation” is found three times in today’s reading. Thank You, Lord Jesus!!!

Last week I met a master mason…not the religious cultic group in which people are called “Masons”…but a man who builds with stone, concrete blocks, plaster, etc. His name is Randy Herring. Through his trade, he and his wife finance, at great personal sacrifice, a mission to needy children and teens in Honduras. Check out the “Kid’s Ark International Youth Camp” online (click here). He showed me pictures of the camp he has built, which has already impacted thousands for Christ. Randy has built for teaching purposes exact replicas of Biblical sites. The campers are there, so to speak, in the Holy Land, experiencing the places where Bible events occurred. Here is a link to some of the amazing visual aids created by Randy for the children of Honduras. This master mason has created his replicas in exact detail, even to the cracks in the stones as seen in Jerusalem at the Garden Tomb. Just imagine the powerful impact of the Gospel message at this camp! I know that Randy could use the help of others. Let’s pray and ask the Lord how to help him by volunteering on a missions trip or by giving out of our resources as he and his wife give out of theirs.

Yours for knowing Him and “The power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10),

David

Saturday, April 19, 2014

ONE WHO EMBRACES

Suggested Reading: Habakkuk 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).

 

Seleucia was the seaport from which Paul and Barnabas left with John Mark for their first missionary journey (approx. AD 49, see Acts 13:4). Part of the ancient (man-made) harbour can still be seen. In AD 70 it became the base for the imperial Roman fleet. In the light of our key verse, imagine the military and merchant navies sailing over the vast seas. The breadth and depth of the seas are symbols of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord which is predicted for a future time by Habakkuk (Habakkuk 2:14).

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

 

Key Verse: Habakkuk 2:4, 14

Behold the proud,

His soul is not upright in him;

But the just shall live by his faith.

…For the earth will be filled

With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,

As the waters cover the sea.

 

“Habakkuk” means “One who embraces.” This prophet, motivated by love, embraced his people by warnings of imminent attack by the Chaldeans (Babylonians/modern Iraq) and by God’s mercy and restoration at a later time. He reminds Jerusalem that God is “from everlasting,” and that He is “The Holy One,” Who is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness.” When Jesus bore the sins of the world in His embrace He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Could Habakkuk 1:13a be the reason that Jesus was forsaken? Think about it!

The Lord gives His answer in chapter 2. We are thrust forward to future times when God’s message will be common knowledge, written on “billboards,” as one translation of Habakkuk 2:2 puts it. Would you believe television or even a blog? The 16th century priest, monk, teacher, and pastor, Martin Luther, staked his life on the words of Habakkuk 2:4b, words which are quoted in Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38, “The just shall live by his faith.” For more of Luther’s story click here. A special person in my life, George Upton, said to me, “Jesus reached out His arms to embrace the whole world, and we nailed His hands to the cross.” Indeed that embrace does encompass the whole world today because of His cross.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, in earth time we’re on Saturday, the day of silence between the death of Jesus and His resurrection. Your disciples, Lord Jesus, were puzzled and no doubt filled with fear as they tried to piece together what they knew about the Messiah from their Hebrew Bibles (read Isaiah 53). I pray for the discipline to spend time today thinking about these things. I have such an advantage over Peter and the others, because I know the third day’s events. I’m filled with wonder, love and worship for Your amazing grace revealed in the Gospels, which the Apostles were yet to write. Amen! Amen! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My Son David Reynold, our photographer, and his wife Kathy call their ministry, “World Embrace” (WE). Please pray for them as they embrace the people of Uganda (click here for a prayer focus).

I’m overcome with emotion just now, and I must pull myself back to loving God with my mind, and not just my heart, in order to complete the blog. It occurs to me that discoveries of natural laws, which God built into the cosmos, would revolutionize our ability to communicate God’s truth (all truth is God’s truth). Here I am typing on a laptop computer and posting what is written at the speed of light around the world. Luther wrote out his thesis on paper and nailed it on the outside of the door of the church where he was Pastor, so that people, who would not come to hear him preach, could read it. I’m nailing this to a satellite 22,500 miles above earth, and “the earth” is “filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). Of course, just as Luther’s words were not read by all, so not all will read my words here. Nevertheless, the potential is there for wide, in-depth coverage (like the sea). During the second world war years, 1939-1945, I travelled to church each Sunday in the same way that Habakkuk might have travelled, by horse and carriage (buggy). No, we were not Amish. Millions of country people did this.

Yours for putting God’s message to humanity on billboards, on television, on the internet, and also communicating one-to-one God’s love and salvation,

David

P.S. Behind the Crossroads Centre in Burlington are the satellite dishes which, like billboards, make the message plain so that “He may run who reads it” (Habakkuk 2:2). Also Crossroads has used billboards such as the one below on Bloor Street, Toronto.

The view from the top of the Crossroads Centre in Burlington, Ontario. You can see several satellite dishes in the background. This was during the summer of 2012, when we featured a full-sized replica of the Old Testament Tabernacle as part of Crossroads' 50th Anniversary celebrations. My grandson Adam Mainse (Ron & Ann's son) was one of our tour guides.

Another view of a satellite uplink dish from the roof of the Crossroads Centre. The faithful sacrificial prayers and financial support of partners in ministry (you and me) make it possible to send God's Word around the world.

A billboard in downtown Toronto in the late 1970's advertising a new program called "100 Huntley Street."

Friday, April 18, 2014

THE BLOODY CITY

Suggested Reading: Nahum 3

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

 

The Karnak Temple ruins can be seen along the Nile River. A Statue to Ramses II still stands tall in the Egyptian sun. Nahum prophesied that Assyria would receive the same treatment that they had given the ancient Egyptian capital city of No Amon (Thebes). According to Egyptian records, the destruction of Thebes by Assyria took place in 664 B.C. The destruction of Nineveh, Assyria, is dated in 612 B.C. The decision to include Nahum in the Bible, made by the council of Rabbis, was based on the fact of his accurate prediction of future events. It has been calculated that Nahum probably wrote the book named after him in the year 654 B.C., at least 42 years before predicted events took place.

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

 

Key Verse: Nahum 3:18

“Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; your nobles rest in the dust. Your people are scattered on the mountains, and no one gathers them.”

 

It is certain that Nahum knew all about the repentance before God of the king, the nobles and the people of Nineveh approximately 65 years before the writing of this book, as a result of the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3:1-10). Nineveh, over the space of two generations, had degenerated from a God-fearing people to the people Nahum describes, a “bloody city,” “full of lies and robbery,” violence, and sexual seduction. (Nahum 3:1-4). There is sadness in Nahum’s words at the decline of the moral standards of a once upright people. In our key verse, Nahum puts the blame for this turning away from doing what is right in God’s sight directly on the business community (“merchants”), the government (“commanders”, “captains”) and religious leaders (“shepherds”), the leaders of Assyria.

We who live in the developed world have seen a huge change in moral standards over the past 65 years. From the end of the second world war until now, there has been a steady rise in violence on our streets, in our schools and in our homes. The greatest change morally has been the destruction of millions of little lives in what should be the safest place on earth, the wombs of their mothers. This holocaust against these defenceless lives must call out to God for judgment, as did the holocaust against the Jews by the Nazis. Today’s reading should teach us the terrible results when leaders abdicate their responsibility. Eventually “people are scattered”… “injury has no healing”… and the “wound is severe.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I repent for not doing all I might have done to help prevent the moral decline that is obvious to anyone who studies the statistics on violence, family breakdown, sexual promiscuity, etc. I pray for grace to take a stand daily for what is right in Your eyes, holding the truth in love, and living my life with integrity. Keep me faithful to You, O Lord, in reading and making part of myself Your Holy Word every day. May I do as the Psalmist wrote, “Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You!” (Psalm 119:11). May my reading today be not just in my head, but may it penetrate my innermost being. In the Name of the only sinless human Person, Your divine Son, Jesus, I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Some scholars believe that Elkosh (Nahum 1:1), the hometown of Nahum, is Capernaum (“Kafer Nahum” – village of Nahum). After Nahum’s accurate prophesies, some say the name of his village was changed to honour him. Capernaum was the town to which Jesus moved after His rejection in Nazareth. It was the home of Matthew, Peter, Andrew, James and John. A New Testament reading today might be Matthew 4:12-17. Here “Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent.’” I think that Nahum would’ve supported Jesus’ message! I’ll try to put below some pictures of the ruins of Capernaum from the time of Jesus.

I have called myself on several occasions “a champion of loosing causes.” The latest being my attempts to influence a majority of Canada’s political leaders to support the traditional and Biblical meaning of the word “Marriage.” I first met the Hon. Jim Flaherty, minister of Finance at both the provincial and federal levels, at one of my speaking engagements for this cause in the city of Oshawa. He assured me of his support.  He was given a state funeral in Toronto this past Wednesday, a well-deserved tribute. We do have leaders in government who do not “slumber”, as Nahum said of the Assyrian shepherds. But there are not enough leaders who are wide awake and who stand up for just causes. While I believe the marriage issue is important, I also believe that the “slaughter of the innocents” in the abortion industry is the greatest evil in our land. We are in this respect a “bloody city” (Nahum 3:1a). Canada has absolutely no protection in law for the little ones in the womb. The final prophesy given by Jesus is worth reading again in this context (read Luke 23:28-31). May God have mercy on us!

Yours for remembering that on Good Friday, Jesus took into Himself the judgement deserved by all the sin mentioned in today’s reading, all the sins mentioned in the entire Bible, and all the sins of the human race, past, present and future. On that day, Jerusalem was truly “The bloody city.”

David

P.S. Jesus prophesied about the town of Nahum, Capernaum, as recorded in Matthew 11:23-30. Capernaum is only a tourist destination today. This once bustling commercial centre is uninhabited today. Here are some pictures which would seem to support Jesus’ prophecy.

The tourist entrance to the ancient ruins of Capernaum ("Kafer Nahum" - village of Nahum).

An ancient millstone among the ruins of Capernaum.

 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

THE LORD IS GOOD

Suggested Reading: Nahum 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).

 

Looking east from the Zion Gate towards the Mount of Olives you can see Jerusalem's City walls. Perhaps Nahum had such walls in mind when he wrote that the Lord is "A stronghold in the day of trouble."

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

 

Key Verse: Nahum 1:7

The Lord is good,

A stronghold in the day of trouble;

And He knows those who trust in Him.

 

Anyone quickly reading today’s chapters may well assume that Nahum is only about judgment. Why? Because the theme is about the destruction of Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian Empire, as a result of the evil of their rule. By consistent reading of the Scriptures, we would not jump to that conclusion; we would remember that 100 years before Nahum’s prophesies, Jonah preached in the streets of Nineveh, the entire city repented, and they were spared from disaster. Nineveh became the mightiest city on earth. In 1842 the city was excavated by archeologists and they found walls 100 feet high and wide enough to allow three chariots to run abreast, as well as a moat 150 feet wide and 60 feet deep. Nahum predicted Nineveh’s destruction by an “overwhelming flood,” and 18 years later the Tigris river flooded, destroying part of the wall. The Babylonians invaded through this breach and Nineveh was destroyed, and its people subjugated.

Ten times in today’s reading the word “Lord” is found. While God is merciful and patient, justice for the nations must prevail sooner or later in time, and it is guaranteed in eternity. In chapter two, notice the word “excellence” repeated twice. God promises “excellence” to His people. Here’s the challenge to find this excellence! Man the fort! Watch the road! Strengthen your flanks! Fortify your power mightily!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for excellence in all my ways. May I have the determination spiritually that the people of Israel were exhorted to have physically in their restoration. You are Good! You are my Stronghold in my time of trouble! You know me because I trust in You! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Here I am, one month past the date when it was predicted I would die of acute MDS leukemia. As I ride my 1996 motorcycle, I feel like a teenager again, filled with energy and positive thoughts for the future. “The Lord is GOOD!” In the days of trouble over the past two years, I would quote that couplet I heard my father say, “Be my symptoms what they will, Jesus is my healer still.” Lately I’ve been sensing that God may be asking me to conduct healing services on Sunday nights during July and August. God has given me, I believe, a gift of faith for the healing of others. Of course, I’m very aware of another saying my dad said, “Man proposes, but God disposes!” God willing, I’ll report here on the blog by the end of May a decision regarding these healing services. Please join me in prayer for God’s direction. I would hope to sing the great hymns of faith that God’s people have sung through the centuries, as well as preach and teach God’s Word about healing and restoration!

Yours for finding the reasons why God has left each one of us here on earth, and fulfilling His purposes!!!

David

P.S. My son Ron showed me on his computer how you can to take each day’s blog photograph locations and get a 360 degree look all around the place where my other son, David Reynold, took the photos. If you haven’t tried it yet, click the “Google Maps” link under the photo and explore the area by dragging and dropping the little yellow man (located on the bottom right of the map). Then you will get the “street view,” and you can look all around by clicking the right or left arrows, which rotate the view.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

CONTEND

Suggested Reading: Jude

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

 

From En Gedi, Israel, looking north along the shore of the Dead Sea, the waves, heavy with minerals, roll slowly toward the shore. Today's reading tells about people who are like "waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame."

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

 

Key Verses: Jude 24-25

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,

And to present you faultless

Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

To God our Savior,

Who alone is wise,

Be glory and majesty,

Dominion and power,

Both now and forever.

Amen.

 

This short but powerful letter gives us a huge challenge, as well as great encouragement. After praying that “mercy, peace and love” would be multiplied, Jude then challenges us to “Contend earnestly for the faith!” The word “contend” means “to assert,” “to affirm,” “to grapple with,” and “to go head to head”! Just think! Jude uses that word “contend” again in describing the confrontation of Michael, the Archangel, with Satan! (verse 9). This gives us some idea as to how we are to engage in the battle for Truth! Jude says that we can do this by (1) Building yourselves up, (2) Praying in the Holy Spirit, (3) Keeping yourselves in the love of God, and (4) Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Let’s read two or three times verses 22 & 23 and decide firmly to “contend” with “compassion!” Finally Jude gives us a most beautiful and powerful benediction, our key verse. Amen!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Yes! I pray Jude’s benediction. Lord God, keep me from “stumbling,” and to be filled with  ”exceeding joy!” In the Name of Jesus, “God, our Saviour!” Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When I was 12 years of age my mother died. I was angry at God but loved my minister Dad who, at that time, had taken on two country churches in the Ottawa Valley. I listened to sermons and knew that he truly practiced what he preached. But it was not until after he had left for his mission to Egypt when I was 15 that I came to “grapple” with whether to believe in God or not. It was when I was 16 that the owner of the Chrysler dealership, where I worked part time, took me on, not just as an employee, but as a lost soul who needed Jesus. Syd Healey truly contended for my salvation by incessantly quoting Scripture, arranging for me to drive his 1952 Chrysler New Yorker to church (what 16-year-old could resist that!), and the result was that I made a lifetime decision to believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him forever.

By the time I was 18, I was a public school teacher in the village of Chalk River, Ontario. I remember clearly struggling with the challenge of conducting myself as a follower of Jesus should. I memorized Jude 24 & 25 and would quote it often. Later in my life as a Pastor, I would often say those words as the benediction at the close of a Sunday service. To this day, those words fill me with joy and confidence!

Yours for the wisdom that comes from “God our Saviour, Who alone is wise!”

David

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MARVELLOUS THINGS

Suggested Reading: Micah 7

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

 

Once inside The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, you can look to the right and see the entrance to the adjoining building, which is an Armenian monastery. The present leader of the Armenian Church was once the atheist leader of the Young Communists of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. He testifies to an amazing conversion to Christ.

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

 

Key Verse: Micah 7:19

He will again have compassion on us,

And will subdue our iniquities.

You will cast all our sins

Into the depths of the sea.

 

Most of Micah’s words tell of the troubles that will come on the world because of sin, personal and collective. The cumulative result of rejecting God is stated in Micah 7:13, “The land shall be desolate because of those who dwell in it, and for the fruit of their deeds.” Man’s efforts at creating a utopian society have ended up in “desolation.” Consider the end results of the world’s mass murderers in the 20th century. The communism of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, (perhaps 100,000,000 murders) and the national socialists of Hitler (perhaps 20,000,000). The first four were atheists, and Hitler and the leaders around him, who tried to introduce the ancient pagan gods, despised Jesus and the writers of the Bible because they were Jews. Surely these abysmal failures of mere man are cause for despair. But don’t give up! The future is bright because God is not finished with the world yet. Read the last seven verses of Micah again!!! God has done, and will do, “marvellous things!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, who is a God like You…pardoning iniquity, delighting in mercy, and having compassion on us? Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I’m overwhelmed by You, Lord. I give You my life again for this new day! I pray that I will not dredge up from the depths of the sea my past sins or the sins of others. May I think, speak and act in the truth of Your Word and in mercy which You have sworn to give us “from days of old!” (last four words of Micah). In the Name of the One Whose mercy and truth took Him to the Cross and from the empty tomb, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I was 17 years old when I sang a solo in the Baptist Church of Renfrew, Ontario. I was very nervous, but as I got into it, the truth of which I sang gripped my heart and the fear left. The song’s words were “Down, down, down, down (I sang the words with my voice going lower and lower), down in the depths of the sea. The sins of the past are all gone at last; down in  the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19b). I had given my life to Christ just over a year before, and I realized that when I expressed the Word of God with my voice, I grew in confidence that those Words were true! (I’ve Googled that song and here’s what I found…click here)

Gossips, backbiters, and judgmental people go fishing down there in the “depths of the sea.” Then they put what they find in their “net” on the aptly named “inter-net.” Please, please, don’t even go there into the sludge of these bottom feeders. I’m sure that there are many lies there. Besides, when sin is confessed and forgiven by God, He puts up a sign that says, “No fishing!”

Yours with thankfulness for sins forgiven,

David

Monday, April 14, 2014

FROM EVERLASTING

Suggested Reading: Micah 5-6

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

Manger Square in Bethlehem is just across the street from the Church of the Nativity, which is built over the spot where it is believed that Jesus was born. The Palestinian government has offices here. God has something to say to political authorities.

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

 

Key Verses: Micah 5:2, 6:8

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,

Yet out of you shall come forth to Me

The One to be Ruler in Israel,

Whose goings forth are from of old,

From everlasting…

He has shown you, O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord require of you

But to do justly,

To love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God?

 

The Bible scholars consulted by King Herod, during the visit of the wise men, had no trouble finding the scroll which contained the 700-year-old words of Micah and identifying the place of the birth of “the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting!” (literally the days of eternity). If the story of the birth of Jesus was not true, one would think that, with the amazing growth of the Jesus movement in Jerusalem, it would’ve brought official denials recorded in the Mishna (minutes of the Jewish ruling council which still exist today), from the priest/historian Josephus, or the Jewish teachers such as Gamaliel, grandson of the famous Rabbi Hillel; but there is no record which denies  the claims of the Apostles and others (read Matthew 2:1-12). Rabbi Saul, student of Gamaliel, who became the Apostle Paul, wrote, “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ [Messiah] our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh…” (Romans 1:1-6).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, thank You for what Peter called “The prophetic word made more sure, which you would do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19a). I pray that I will see with insight, with a new perception, and a clarity of understanding. May I reflect Your light into dark places today. I ask this in the Name of “the Light of the World,” Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve quoted often the words of our second key verse, but the most memorable time was on a phone call to former Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney. He had given me his private phone number sometime earlier, and I had never used it prior to this occasion. Now it was different. He had just lost a referendum on his formula to bring the French speaking province of Quebec into full partnership in the constitution of Canada. He had invested all his political capital and years of his time into the fulfillment of this vision. As I knelt in prayer that evening after the vote tally was in, I knew it was time to call him. Norma-Jean was beside me and she heard me say, “This is David Mainse. Is the Prime Minister in?” A lady said, “No, he’s at Meech Lake. He needs to talk to you, I’ll put you through.” A very discouraged Prime Minister said, “Hello.” His voice, always low, was lower than usual. When I told him who it was, he said, “I’m sitting here on the couch with my children. I’m reading them a story, thanks for calling.” In order to not keep him too long away from his children I got right to my point. I said, “I believe that God has a word for you. You’ve worked very hard to do what you believe is best for Canada. On behalf of all of us, thank you!” Then I shared the Word from the prophet Micah. I said, “Here’s all God expects of you: ‘What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?’” (Micah 6:8b). He thanked me for praying for him, his family and his government, and then we said goodbye. On a previous visit, he said that he and his wife, Mila, watched a 100 Huntley Street repeat most evenings around midnight. He laughed and said that I helped him sleep well.

Yours for the Word that God has for each person from His Book!

David

P.S. Here’s Prime Minister Brian Mulroney receiving one the books on Canada’s spiritual heritage which Crossroads published. Because of the 100 Huntley Street Christian television ministry, I’ve had the honour to converse with all our Canadian Prime Ministers (except for the very short term P.M. Kim Campbell) who have served our country over the last few decades. I pray every morning for, as Paul writes, “All who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:2-4)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

THE ROADMAP or THE GPS

Suggested Reading: Micah 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).

 

Bethlehem can be seen just over the first hill to the right. The metal barrier is for protection of drivers entering a tunnel that is under the ground to the right.

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

 

Key Verse: Micah 4:2

Many nations shall come and say,

“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

To the house of the God of Jacob;

He will teach us His ways,

And we shall walk in His paths.”

For out of Zion the law shall go forth,

And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

 

In yesterday’s reading there is a contrast between “Do not My Words do good to him who walks uprightly” (Micah 2:7b), and the twice-repeated word, “prattle” or “incessant babble” (Micah 2:6 &11). The consistent reading of God’s Word does us GOOD! We can’t avoid taking in “prattle,” but we can keep it to a minimum.

Micah 3 gives us an example of “prattle,” those “who chant peace” (Micah 3:5). Jeremiah writes of those who “Say, ‘peace, peace’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14b). The Apostle Paul writes, “For when they say, ‘peace and safety,” then sudden destruction comes upon them” (read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11). Many peace activists must not realize that their starting point is all wrong. Micah 4 makes it clear that first we must take in “the Word of the Lord” (Micah 4:2b). As a result of God’s Word in the hearts and minds of people, God will rebuke “strong nations” and “they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, etc. (Micah 4:3).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, through Isaiah You told me that You would keep me in perfect peace when my mind is stayed or anchored on You! I pray for discipline to be consistent in my input of Your Word into my mind every day! As a result, You will give me personal peace. I will be a peaceful place in the midst of a world in turmoil. May Your peace spread through me to others. In the Name of “the Prince of peace,” Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’m in Florida where Norma-Jean and I have a mobile home in a senior’s park. I’m using that mysterious thing to me called “WiFi.” I understand it is facilitated by a satellite somewhere up above the earth. I’ve just purchased a GPS (global positioning system) unit for my motorcycle, as I plan, God willing, to ride it back to Canada shortly. I can find my directions to my sister Elaine’s place in Kentucky, and my nephew David’s place in Indiana on a road map, but that’s tough to follow, particularly on a motorcycle. “Mabel,” the name I call the GPS person who speaks into my ear inside my helmut with instructions, “Turn right” etc., will be a great help in getting me to the place to which I want to go. God’s Word is like that. The scholars consulted by King Herod were able to pinpoint the place of the birth of the new King by reading from the Word of God (but I should wait 24 hours, as that’s in tomorrow’s reading).

Yours for hearing God through reading His Word daily!

David

Saturday, April 12, 2014

LISTEN, O EARTH! (Micah 1:2)

Suggested Reading: Micah 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).

 

Here you can see a row of homes in the region of ancient Pergamos. All seven churches of Revelation (Pergamos is one) are in modern day Turkey. The book of Micah, like the Revelation, is God's attempt to communicate with people where they take shelter, eat, sleep, and go about their daily lives.

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

 

Key Verse: Micah 2:1

Woe to those who devise iniquity,

And work out evil on their beds!

At morning light they practice it,

Because it is in the power of their hand.

 

Micah reveals the compassion of God for people who suffer social injustice at the hands of a powerful corrupt elite. Micah strongly condemns rulers, false prophets, and ungodly priests who exploit the poor for their own gain. He declares that both the northern kingdom, Samaria, and the southern kingdom, Jerusalem, will be overthrown because of their iniquity, evil, covetousness and oppression of those who are disadvantaged.

When Christ returns to earth to rule as Messiah, His statement to all the nations of the earth will be, “I was hungry and you gave Me food” (Matthew 25:31-46). Jesus makes it clear that care for needy people will be His #1 priority when He sets up His earthly Kingdom. He will judge all nations by His standards of justice for all. In the meantime, as our key verse says, evil “is in the power of their hand.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, You have given me a free will. Because of the example of Jesus, and Your grace You freely give me, I pray that I will decide to do good and not evil all the days of my life. I ask this in the Name of the One who always cares for others, Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

At the tail end of the great depression of the 1930s, when so much poverty was evident, I can remember men that society called “tramps” (homeless people) knocking on our door asking for food and shelter. Mother would prepare some food, but as my father was away, they would usually sit on the porch. I would sit and watch. I couldn’t think of anything to say, but I knew mother had done something important. I also knew that she was keeping an eye on me for my safety. When I entered high school in the late 1940s, I learned that my all-time favourite teacher had been one of those on the road in the 30s. This gave me a new perspective on helping others.

As a young Pastor in the late 50s and 60s, I encouraged the congregations to support the Salvation Army, and I think it was in 1965 that World Vision came to our city with a Korean orphan choir. Our people got involved as child care sponsors. Our television ministry got involved directly as a result of my son, David Reynold (our photographer for this blog), praying every evening at family devotions for about a month. He was just a little guy, but somehow he encountered human need. He would pray, in an mournful voice, “O God, please help daddy to help those poor children in India.” God answered his prayer and within another month we had raised, through the TV ministry, monthly childcare support for about 1,000 children, and we turned the names and address over to World Vision Canada for the cause, which was the ministry of Mark and Huldah Buntain in Calcutta, India. Crossroads has consistently encouraged support of ministries of compassion and has for decades now been directly involved (click here for Crossroads’ current missions projects).

Yours for being moved with the compassion of Christ toward those in need,

David

P.S. I was in bed when Mark Buntain called me from India and asked me to help him help children. My other son, Ron and his wife Ann are in Regina, Saskatchewan, this weekend speaking at a conference, and it occurs to me that the people of Saskatchewan were the first to respond to the challenge of helping the children of India as I presented the need for the first time on the local CTV station.

Friday, April 11, 2014

JONAH & THE GREAT FISH

Suggested Reading: Jonah 1-4

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

 

Jaffa, Israel (ancient Joppa), is one of the world's oldest harbours still in use today. "He (Jonah) went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish (Spain); so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord" (Jonah 1:3b).

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

 

Key Verses: Jonah 1:17, 4:11

Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights….

And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left–and much livestock?

 

Instead of going 500 miles northeast in obedience to God, Jonah disobeys God and sets out for Spain, 2,000 miles west. Jonah lived in the northern kingdom of Israel and had to travel 50 miles southwest to reach the harbour of Joppa, exactly the opposite direction from Nineveh. Read the historical reference to Jonah from 2 Kings 14:23-26. “Gath Hepher,” Jonah’s home village, is the modern village of Mishad, an Arab Muslim community three miles north of Nazareth. Jewish tradition says that Jonah was the son of the widow of Zarephath, whom Elijah had raised from the dead (1Kings 17:8-24).

Jonah knew his Bible. He quoted from four different Psalms while inside “the belly of the fish” (Psalm 3:8, 31:22, 42:7, and 69:1). In fact, he quotes from 14 Bible verses. When he finally confesses, “I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord,” the fish rises to the surface and spits him out onto shore, perhaps the very one in Joppa.

The Apostle Matthew records that Jesus likened his time in the grave to Jonah’s experience inside the great fish (Matthew 12:38-41). Another time Jesus speaks of the “sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 16:2-4).

When Jonah finally reaches Nineveh and preaches a one-sentence sermon, “Yet 40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown,” we read that the entire city “turned from their evil way.” That’s called repentance! (Jonah 3:10a).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, give me grace to always obey You. I pray that if I should, like Jonah, go in the opposite direction that You desire of me, that You will do whatever it takes to turn me 180 degrees back into the centre of Your perfect will! Lord, You prepared a great fish to turn Jonah around, and I ask You to prepare a circumstance of Your choice which, if necessary, will do the same for me. I pray this in the Name of the One who taught about Himself using the story of Jonah, Jesus Christ (Messiah) Himself! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

There is a tradition that says that Jonah was a student at the “School of the Prophets” founded by Elisha, Elijah’s successor. Last Sunday evening, Pastor Blackburn preached about the student who was chopping down a tree to help build a new building at the Bible College when the axehead came loose, sank to the bottom of the river, and became the occasion of one of Elisha’s miracles. The axe head floated to the surface and the student picked it up. In the parking lot after the service, I said to the Pastor, “Do you think that student could’ve been Jonah who, when the sailors throw him overboard, knew that if God would save an axehead, He would also save him from drowning?” The Pastor said with a big smile, “Let’s say so!” Maybe “yes” maybe “no.” I like to think about what was going on inside Jonah’s head when he said, “Throw me overboard” (read 2 Kings 6:1-7).

Some say that the story of Jonah is way too unbelievable. The way I look at it is this…I’ve decided for myself that if God decides to do anything, He has the ability to do it. Of course I don’t understand how this could be, but then I certainly don’t understand the nature of the billions of stars and planets in the cosmos either. There’s an old chorus I’m singing under my breath just now, “God can do anything, anything, anything, anything but fail” (I forget some words here, help me out). I’ll try to find it on “Google”…Yes! here is an unusual version of the song. I’m worshipping the Lord along with the singer (click here).

Yours for believing that God can do anything but fail!!!

David