Tuesday, February 19, 2019

KIDNAPPED

Today’s Reading: Judges 21

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

 

The Mount of Temptation above Jericho is said to be the hill in the Judean Desert where Jesus was tempted by the devil. The devil, who had been banished to earth, like Napoleon was banished to St. Helena years ago by the European powers, had direct access to Jesus to tempt Him to act contrary to His Father's will. How much more would the enemy of all that is good, kind, loving, and true, tempt and attack the people described in the book of Judges.

The Mount of Temptation above Jericho is said to be the hill in the Judean Desert where Jesus was tempted by the devil. The devil, who had been banished to earth, like Napoleon was banished to St. Helena years ago by the European powers, had direct access to Jesus to tempt Him to act contrary to His Father’s will. How much more would the enemy of all that is good, kind, loving, and true, tempt and attack the people described in the book of Judges.

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

 

Key Verses: Judges 21:3a & Judges 21:15

“O Lord, the God of Israel,” they cried, “why has this happened to Israel”…And the people grieved for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a void in the tribes of Israel.

 

It is gratifying to find that, after the violent war between the tribes, there came a return of tender feelings, efforts at reconciliation and peace. It must have felt like gentle rain after the hurricane of war. Human tears, as they well forth on behalf of others, reveal the existence of the love of God expressed in acts of compassion. There is an old saying that, “Those who act in haste repent at leisure.” In other words, the process of godly sorrow for sin and for the foolish decisions, which sin produces, often takes years to heal. Israel is a case in point.

Following our next readings in 1st and 2nd Corinthians (which start tomorrow), the blog will return to the book of Ruth. Here we will find the most tender feelings, even involving people from Moab, former enemies of Israel. After Ruth, the blog moves into the years of the Prophet Samuel. He is one truly bright star of righteousness who shines for God in his leadership.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, as we are soon to discover in 1 Corinthians, some people are still in a moral mess, even after they have believed in Jesus as their Saviour and been baptised as Christians. Help me to learn and communicate the difference You have made in their lives compared to the people we’ve read about in Judges. Teach me, I pray, right from wrong, and teach me how to keep filled with Your Word and Your Holy Spirit, so everything will be better. In Jesus’ Name! Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

God always answers prayer!! However, I heard a guest on the 100 Huntley Street telecast say, ” God’s answer may be as follows: NO, GROW, SLOW, and GO!” If it is “No,” that’s God’s absolute right to have other plans and to carry out those plans. If His answer is “Grow,” it means that I must grow in my Christian life before he says, “YES.” If He says, “Slow,” then circumstances must change in order to accommodate His full plan. If He says, “Go,” it’s obvious. I believe that true faith does not try to manipulate God into a “Yes;” it is simply a matter of obedience. Having prayed according to the Scriptures, I now live in God’s will and fully expect to continue living in His perfect will. Whatever happens is OK, because I’m not living according to my own understanding. I’m acknowledging Him in all my ways, and therefore His promise is activated. He directs my paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Yours for “Godliness with contentment which is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6),

David

The Monastery of the Temptation is an Orthodox Christian monastery located in the West Bank, along a cliff overlooking the city of Jericho and the Jordan Valley. It is built upon the summit of the Mount of Temptation, rising 350 meters above sea level. It currently serves as a tourist attraction and its land is under the full jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, but the monastery is owned and managed by the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem.

The Monastery of the Temptation is an Orthodox Christian monastery located in the West Bank, along a cliff overlooking the city of Jericho and the Jordan Valley. It is built upon the summit of the Mount of Temptation, rising 350 metres above sea level. It currently serves as a tourist attraction and its land is under the full jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, but the monastery is owned and managed by the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem.

Monday, February 18, 2019

DAN TO BEERSHEBA

Today’s Reading: Judges 20

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

 

Dan is a city mentioned in the Bible and described as the northernmost city of the Kingdom of Israel, belonging to the Tribe of Dan. Seen here is the main entrance to the ancient city of Dan. Beersheba, or Beersheva, as it is now known in Hebrew, is the most southwestern city. Crossroads was, at my last visit, recognized on a plaque in the entrance to the children's wing of the hospital at Beersheva. We raised a large amount of money to help build the wing in honour of Dr. Nelles Silverthorne, a famous Canadian researcher paediatrician, who often appeared on 100 Huntley Street. The hospital serves both Bedouin Arab children and Jewish children.

Dan is a city mentioned in the Bible and described as the northernmost city of the Kingdom of Israel, belonging to the Tribe of Dan. Seen here is the main entrance to the ancient city of Dan. Beersheba, or Beersheva, as it is now known in Hebrew, is the most southwestern city. Our ministry of Crossroads was, at my last visit, recognized on a plaque in the entrance to the children’s wing of the hospital at Beersheva. We raised a large amount of money to help build the wing in honour of Dr. Nelles Silverthorne, a famous Canadian researcher paediatrician, who often appeared on 100 Huntley Street. The hospital serves both Bedouin Arab children and Jewish children.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 20:20a

And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin…

 

Israel had extremely hard lessons to learn. Again they were fighting members of their own family; all of them were children of Abraham. When people are estranged from God, trouble and divisions usually follow. This happens in individual families as well as in nations. Inevitably, the cause of the conflict is the curse of sin…sin against God and against people. In America this happened in the Civil War. People whose roots were mainly in the United Kingdom were killing each other, perhaps as many as 500,000 died just 150 years ago. The book, Killing Lincoln, speaks of the President’s well-worn Bible, which has many notes written in the margins. The last two US Presidents laid their hands upon that very Bible when they were sworn into office. We can be sure that President Lincoln believed he was directed by God to remove the curse of slavery from the land. It’s easy for us to second-guess decisions made by leaders. Jesus was so revolutionary (not in a military way) that He taught us to love our enemies. We should ask ourselves the question, “How well are we obeying His commandment to love unconditionally?”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I find it difficult to understand Your unconditional love. It amazes me that You, Lord Jesus, chose to die rather than call on a mighty army of angels to destroy the world and all who did such evil against You. I pray for a greater measure of Your love to fill me up to overflowing. Help me to show my love for You by loving all people, even those who would consider themselves my enemies. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In preparation for our next book in this blog, 1st Corinthians, I’ve been reading ahead. Last night I read 1st Corinthians, chapter 13. It occurred to me that this chapter is a description of the way Jesus lived His life. He was and is the very embodiment of love. He is “the Glory of God.” It’s not hard for me to believe that “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Love is the only way to make an enemy a friend. Through the years I’ve discovered this wisdom in my relationships with Government, with the media, and with people in general, and in particular those with whom I disagree. On this basis, our TV network, YES TV, has opened its door in various TV productions to spokespersons of varying opinions.

Norma-Jean mentioned to me the Frank Sinatra love song, Young At Heart, which has a line in it, “If you should survive to 105…” George Beverly Shea, who lived almost to 105, recorded the powerful song, The Love of God. If I can find it online, I’ll put it in my blog (click here). Could this be George’s secret to long life? For years he watched the 100 Huntley Street telecast on his computer every day! What a great man!!!

Yours for living and loving,

David

P.S. Here is a satellite map of the territory (Dan to Beersheba) from which the tribes gathered to fight against Benjamin because of the outrage they felt at the perversion of the men of Gibeah (Judges 19:22-30).

February 18, 2015 - extra

 

 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

SPEAK UP

Today’s Reading: Judges 19

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

 

The Via Dolorosa (Latin for "Way of Grief" or "Way of Suffering") is a street in two parts, within the Old City of Jerusalem, believed to be the path that Jesus walked, carrying His cross, on the way to His crucifixion. The winding route from the Antonia Fortress west to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a distance of about 600 metres (2,000 feet). There are 14 "Stations of the Cross" that have been marked along the way, with the last 5 Stations being inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Via Dolorosa (Latin for “Way of Grief” or “Way of Suffering”) is a street in two parts within the Old City of Jerusalem. This is believed to be the path that Jesus walked, carrying His cross, on the way to His crucifixion. The winding route from the Antonia Fortress west to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a distance of about 600 metres (2,000 feet). Jesus suffered for our sins as well as the sins of “the perverted men” in today’s reading.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 19:22

As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!”

 

Perversion, rape, and murder — The moral disease of sin is death! It’s difficult to understand how God, in Christ, took sin into Himself and became the embodiment of all that is evil, all that is destroying the human family. But He did! The words in 2 Corinthians 5:21 assure us that God “made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us.” For encouragement we may want to read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.

Our key verse gives us a picture of people enjoying relatively “small sins” inside the house when they were invaded by more dramatic sins from the outside. Actually, there are no pastel shades of sin. Sin is sin. It’s all as dark as the pit of hell. We must live in a state of repentance for our sin, trusting that, as 2 Corinthians tells us, we are a “new creation.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I want to keep on thanking You throughout all eternity for taking my sin into Yourself and bearing the separation from all that is pure, all that is loving, and all that is holy. Grant me grace to live my life here and now in such a way that I do not add to Your sufferings by more and more sin. Amen! Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I may have many questions for the Lord in eternity, but perhaps not, as I may be so taken up in worship that I forget my questions. One question that comes to mind concerns a family I knew before I knew my wife, Norma-Jean (we’ve been married almost 59 years). I won’t use their real names. This story comes to my mind frequently. It made such an impact on my young life.

I was still a teenager when I rented a hall and began preaching the Gospel. I was also a public school teacher then and met people who needed Jesus very much. One Sunday, as I gave an invitation to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord, I noticed that Barbara (not her real name) was gripping the back of the chair in front of her so tightly that her knuckles were white. She refused to give her life to Christ. The following Saturday night after a party where there was heavy drinking, she and her husband were driving home drunk and Barbara was killed in an accident. I was asked by the police if I would be the one to tell her husband that she had passed away (he was in the hospital). As a result of this experience, he gave his life to Jesus and was a new man from then on. The following summer, while Barbara’s two children were visiting their grandparents, there was a house fire and both children died. The children had given their lives to Jesus at a summer Vacation Bible School. I may have been 20 years old when I stood beside Barbara’s grave and led in a prayer as the children were buried, their caskets resting on top of their mother’s casket. I weep as I type this. I am still perplexed! I have so many questions. I know one thing that I do not question…God’s overall purposes are good. In the light of eternity, all is well.

Yours for understanding fully God’s purposes some day,

David

Here is Station #7 of the Via Dolorosa. Tradition says that Jesus fell the second time here. However, the Bible does not confirm this.

Here is Station #7 of the Via Dolorosa. Tradition says that Jesus fell the second time here. However, the Bible does not confirm this.

Inside Station #7 of the Via Dolorosa.

Inside Station #7 of the Via Dolorosa.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

NO OTHER GODS

Today’s Reading: Judges 17-18

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

 

Dan is a city mentioned in the Bible, described as the northernmost city of the Kingdom of Israel, belonging to the Tribe of Dan. The city is identified with the tel known as Tel Dan, or Tel el-Qadi in Israel. Following the division of the kingdom of Solomon in 930 BC, Jeroboam established a cult at Dan as an alternative to the Temple in Jerusalem. He placed a golden calf in the city and built a house of high places and an altar. The metal frame pictured here has been recently set up to help visitors imagine how Jeroboam’s altar might have looked.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 17:6

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

 

The book of Judges was probably edited from manuscripts written during the years when the Children of Israel still held to the belief that the God of Abraham was their King. It would appear that there was a godly king in Israel at the time this record was finalized. There was no revision of history which might have made the people look better. The good, the bad and the ugly are all here. These last five chapters of Judges are the most depressing in the entire Bible. This was because, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” When the human family turns away from an objective standard of moral behaviour, disaster always follows. How often do we hear, in our time, statements such as, “If it feels good, do it” or, “I have my own beliefs,” etc. If we read these stories with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, one cannot help but notice a similarity in human behaviour.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I realize more than ever that I need to follow Your unchanging standards for my behaviour if I am to truly live my life pleasing to You and as a good influence on others. I know that I need the prayer of the man of whom Jesus spoke who prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” It’s so very true that, “All [including me] have sinned and come short…” Please lift me up higher in my conduct so that I may glorify You. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve just read a great book which shows the amazing benefits which have come to the human family as a result of having firm objective standards as opposed to “everyone doing what is right in their own eyes.” The book I highly recommend to all my blog readers is “How Christianity Changed The World” by a Lutheran pastor and scholar named Alvin Schmidt. The forward is by Dr. Paul Maier, a man well known to long-time 100 Huntley Street viewers. It shows us what the world might be like if Jesus had not come. It deals with the value of human life, sexual morality, the freedom and dignity of women, charity and compassion, hospitals and health care, education, labour and economic freedom, science, liberty and justice for all, and other areas of life in which, as I’ve often said, “Jesus changed everything.” It’s published by Zondervan and has 442 pages. Are you ready to tackle reading a book which will show to the world that “YOU NEED JESUS!!!” I’m not sure what it costs, as I borrowed my son-in-law, Bruce Stacey’s copy. I intend to buy my own copy no matter how much it costs. It’s just that important a book (click here to order).

Yours to take a stand for God’s standards and for life,

David

Stairs to what was the Bema – the High Place – in the ancient city of Dan.

Friday, February 15, 2019

RESTORATION

Today’s Reading: Judges 16

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

 

Tel Lachish National Park. According to the Bible, the Israelites captured and destroyed Lachish for joining the league against the Gibeonites (Joshua 10:31-33), but its territory was later assigned to the tribe of Judah (15:39) and became a part of the Kingdom of Israel. In this picture you see an ancient wall of the Commander’s palace that has been excavated.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 16:20

And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.

 

Here is a very sad verse. A mighty champion of God has compromised himself. He has let down the standards with which he was raised and conducted himself in a way that would guarantee shame for him, his people, and most of all, his God. Here is a man who was unaware that the Lord was no longer with him. Defeat was inevitable. During his humiliating imprisonment, doing a job that an ox would normally do, he repented to God. That most often repeated verse in the Bible, “His mercy endures forever,” took hold. God restored His supernatural strength in Sampson once more.

If we wonder where God’s strength has gone from our lives, just look back and almost always we’ll find a time when we departed from Him. He did not leave us or forsake us; we forsook Him by going our own way. He’s always there waiting for us to return. The word, “repent” means, “turn around with sorrow for our disobedience.” Let us return to the crossroads where we went our own way, ask forgiveness, and make a new start.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You always did the will of Your Father. According to Your promise, You live in me. Therefore, I pray with confidence, believing that You are leading me in the way I should go. Keep me by Your grace on the straight and narrow path of consistent Christian living. In Your Name, Lord Jesus, I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As a teen I heard a preacher who entitled his sermon, “A haircut in the devil’s barber shop.” From the time I was a small child I knew the story that was coming. I would feel so sad for God, for Samson, and for all the people. And yet there was hope. I knew that with repentance, God would restore that which was lost.

A letter from several years ago stands out in my memory. A preacher from New Brunswick had turned away from God, left his calling, and gone into a life of rebellion against God. He may have had his reasons, but the letter did not tell that story. What it did tell was that one day, while watching the 100 Huntley Street telecast, God’s Spirit overwhelmed this old preacher, and he cried out in repentance and was restored to God. The next week, the preacher went to his ungodly son and asked his forgiveness for failing to live a consistent Christian life. His son forgave his Dad and together they prayed. The son came to faith in Christ. One week later, the son was killed in a car accident. I marvel at the grace of God. God knew of the son’s impending death. He brought Dad back to Himself just in time. Truly, God’s “mercy endures forever.”

Yours in celebration of God’s unfailing love,

David

Further excavations in ancient Lachish reveal many rooms.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A YOUNG LION

Today’s Reading: Judges 14-15

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

 

The Tomb of Lazarus is a traditional spot of pilgrimage located in the West Bank town of al-Eizariya, identified as the Biblical village of Bethany, on the southeast slope of the Mount of Olives, some 2.4 km (1.5 miles) east of Jerusalem. The tomb is thought to be the site of the miracle recorded in the Gospel of John in which Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. This first photo is of the street level entrance to the tomb…see three more images at the bottom of this blog that will take you down into the tomb itself.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 14:5 & 6a

So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now to his surprise a young lion came roaring against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him.

 

The Apostle Peter warns us that our “adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (read 1 Peter 5:5-9). This is advice to younger people. Sampson needed this counsel. While he won this fight with a lion, he was already on the path of poor choices. His mother and father knew this but did not stand in the way of their son’s desires. Of course, God knew that this would start Sampson on his road to deliver Israel from the latest oppressor. God often allows us to go our own way, and in doing so, advances His ultimate purpose. God desired to respond to the the cries of His people for deliverance. Sampson chose a wife who did not know the God of Israel. God could’ve accomplished His purposes in different ways, but He chose to work within Sampson’s free-will decisions. How can we line up our decisions with His?

Psalm 37:4 tells us, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” When we delight ourselves in the Lord, we want only what He wants. His delight becomes our delight. Thus we have the desires of our hearts and do His will at the same time.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I desire to do Your will at all times. I delight in You! You are my joy! Therefore, I ask for Your guidance in my decisions. I am confident, going forward, that You are directing me into Your plan for me. Thank You, Lord! In the Name of Jesus, the One who always delighted to do Your will, I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

It’s Valentines Day! Sampson’s love life was sad. Contrasted to Sampson’s experience is my relation with the love of my life, Norma-Jean, my wife. We both knew we were in the centre of God’s will when we were married in 1958. We both desired to please the heart of God most of all and, therefore, God gave us the desires of our hearts. Have a Happy Valentines Day!!!

I found it interesting that my son, David Reynold, would choose to share with us the photographs he took of the tomb of Lazarus, the tomb into which Jesus spoke the words, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:19-44). Yes, Sampson was a great champion of Israel, but our Great Champion, the Lion of Judah, the Lord Jesus Christ, is Lord of all. He has defeated death, the last enemy of every human being. He has brought us deliverance, not just for 20 years, but forever and ever.

It’s about 30 years ago that a Dr. Eby was a guest on the 100 Huntley Street telecast. He was already an old man. He held the record for being the obstetrician who had delivered more babies that anyone else. I was impressed. He told us of his experience while in the tomb of Lazarus. He had a vision of the risen Christ, and his life was forever changed. I have never had such a vision, but I know that Jesus is right here, right now!

Yours to help us delight ourselves in the Lord, thus finding His perfect will. Amen!!!!

David

The long staircase down into the tomb area of Lazarus’ Tomb.

The light at the bottom of the image is actually the entrance to the tomb.

A view from the back of the tomb towards the stairs that Lazarus would have walked up to get to Jesus.

 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

SHIBBOLETH

Today’s Reading: Judges 12-13

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

 

Cana, where Jesus performed His first public miracle, the changing of water into wine, was also the hometown of one of the Twelve Apostles, Nathanael (John 21:2). Along the street leading to the Franciscan Wedding Church, a chapel marks Nathanael’s home. The Chapel of St. Nathanael is the place to read his words to Philip as they talked about Jesus. Some believe Nathanael’s famous but curious remark, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46), indicates some consternation that the hometown of the Messiah was the “ordinary” neighbouring village of Nazareth, no more noteworthy than his own.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 12:6

…then they would say to him, “Then say, ‘Shibboleth’!” And he would say, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites.

 

There still are “wars and rumours of wars” as Jesus told us there would be (read Matthew 24:3-14). A new book by Joel Rosenberg, The Third Target, surely brings it all up to date. The same lands we read about in Judges are a boiling cauldron of satanically inspired evil, as it was in ancient times. I highly recommend Joel’s book as the best current read. King Abdullah of Jordan is front and centre! (click here to order The Third Target from the Crossroads eStore).

Four more Judges and 31 more years of peace and prosperity…then came one of the most unusual characters in all the Bible, Sampson. I’ve checked with experts on the historical and archaeological accuracy of this book, and it gets high marks from them all. Therefore, the stories about Sampson, no matter how hard to believe, are no doubt true also. Sampson’s birth tells us that God plans ahead for His future leaders. It also informs us that God uses very imperfect people for His purposes. We are all candidates for His call.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I thank You that You call imperfect people like me. I ask for Your continued grace and strength to take on humanly impossible tasks. I’m not asking for physical strength like Sampson, although a little would help. I’m asking for moral strength to be more like Jesus, in whose Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My son-in-law’s parents are buried in the graveyard just behind the Church of Nathanael (photo above) in their home village of Cana of Galilee. Nizar and Ellen named their youngest of six children after the Apostle from Cana in whom Jesus found no guile (read John1:43 – John 2:12). I understand that Cana, located just five miles north of Nazareth, was the larger of the two communities. I find Nathanael’s comments, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth,” to show the human side of the Apostles…competition between the communities. My son-in-law was the heavy-weight boxing champion of the Galilee, and that’s my tenuous connection with Sampson for this blog. Nizar, like Sampson, has had to learn some very hard lessons in life. God is using him big time! (check yesterday’s blog at the end of my “100 Personal Words”).

Yours for our availability to God for His purposes,

David

Just a short walk away from Nizar Shaheen’s family homestead in Cana is the graveyard beside the Chapel of St. Nathanael (Franciscans) where Nizar’s parents are buried.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

SON OF A HARLOT

Today’s Reading: Judges 10-11

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

 

St. George Orthodox Monastery, or Monastery of St. George of Koziba, is located in Wadi Qelt, in the eastern West Bank. The sixth-century cliff-hanging complex, with its ancient chapel and gardens, is active and inhabited by Greek Orthodox monks. It is reached by a pedestrian bridge across the Wadi Qelt, which many imagine to be Psalm 23’s “valley of the shadow of death.” The valley parallels the old Roman road from Jerusalem to Jericho, the backdrop for the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 11:1

Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah.

 

Why would the writer of Scripture record our key verse? Perhaps the point he is making is that God uses all who are willing, regardless of pedigree. Our background matters little; it’s what is in our hearts that counts. The Apostle Paul urges us to consider our calling. Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. “Not many wise, not many mighty, and not many noble are called.” We have good news. God will use us as we are! He wants a surrendered, obedient heart. That’s all! Let us give Him our hearts anew now!

The last part of our reading is a difficult story (Judges 11:29-40). Notice that it does not say that Jephthah actually burnt his daughter as an offering. God would not allow Abraham to offer Isaac (Genesis 22:1-14). The Jewish Rabbis teach that Jephthah sent his daughter permanently into a wilderness retreat where she remained a virgin for the rest of her life. For this reason I asked David Reynold for a photograph of the magnificent monastery in the wadi Qelt where vows are maintained as a sacrifice to God.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, once again You’ve shown me that no ordinary human being is perfect. I can never claim to be sinless (1 John 1:8-10). Therefore, I confess my sin and trust Your promise that You forgive me and cleanse me. Here’s my heart once again. Live in and through me in the Person of Your Son and my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’m glad that Peter wrote, “No Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:19-21). This is why I appealed to the Jewish Rabbis concerning Jephthah’s daughter. I deeply value the huge body of the historical understanding of the meaning of Scripture. Some react to Scriptures that are difficult to process in an hysterical way rather than in an historical way. I try to guard against jumping to conclusions until I have read the whole of Scripture on a given matter, as well as the comments of Rabbis and of Christian teachers whose work has stood the test of centuries.

In today’s reading we learn about the people of Amman. This is modern day Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This is a majority Muslim country. However, King Abdullah, whom I had the privilege of meeting, told me that he watches my Arab preacher son-in-law “all the time.” I checked on his knowledge by asking the king what TV signal he watched. He answered correctly. I’m going to Google to check once again on the ministry called, “Light for All Nations.” It’s in the Arabic language, so I won’t understand much. However, if I can find Nizar, father of six of my grandchildren, and grandfather of three of my great-grandchildren, speaking with English subtitles, I’ll attach a video link (found it…click here).

Yours for understanding the daily 100words.ca readings of Scripture,

David

The wilderness land between Jerusalem and Jericho is very dry and desert-like.

Monday, February 11, 2019

THE OLIVE, THE FIG, THE VINE, THE BRAMBLE

Today’s Reading: Judges 9

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

 

Mount Gerizim is one of the two mountains in the immediate vicinity of the West Bank city of Nablus (near the ancient city of Shechem), and forms the southern side of the valley in which Nablus is situated, the northern side being formed by Mount Ebal. Gerizim is sacred to the Samaritans who regard it, rather than Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, as having been the location chosen by Yahweh for a holy temple. The mountain continues to be the centre of Samaritan religion to this day, and over 90% of the worldwide population of Samaritans live in very close proximity to Gerizim, mostly in Kiryat Luza, the main village.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 9:21

And Jotham ran away and fled; and he went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.

 

Jotham’s parable shows wisdom. He may have been able to become a judge of Israel, replacing his father Gideon, but he chose to run away because of fear. His power-hungry brother had no such fear. Abimelech became the first Israelite to claim the title “King.” How sad that the people chose the bramble to rule over them. Jotham’s prophecy came to pass in the fires, the millstone, and the sword of the armour-bearer. We should encourage the best leaders, people of integrity and wisdom, to step up for leadership in the church, the government, and in every field of human endeavour.

The Gospel says of Jesus in John 4, “He needed to go through Samaria” (read John 4:1-42). The woman at Jacob’s Well pointed to Gerizim and said, “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain.” The Samaritan religion still flourishes. An annual sacrifice is led by their high priest on the top of Gerizim. Jesus did not run away from His destiny like Jotham. He stepped up to the Cross. He is our fearless Judge, Prophet, Priest, and King.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You are my King! Your rulership is one of complete authority. I yield to You! Please grant me constant willingness to follow Your leadership in all things. In Your Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I shared a taxi some years ago with the Samaritan High Priest as I travelled from Amman, Jordan, to Jerusalem. He was dressed in an impressive robe and turban. His religion seemed to be a mixture of modern Judaism and an ancient form of Israelite worship. It seemed to be a very general approach to God, with a great deal of superstition. He was well aware of the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well at the foot of Mount Gerizim. This Samaritan High Priest, who lived in Jordan, was on his way to make the annual sacrifice on the top of Gerizim. How thankful I am for the final, once and for all Sacrifice of Jesus, and for the Living Water, which is not in the well at the foot of the mountain, from which I drink deeply every morning before doing this blog.

In the matter of leadership, I knew God called me to His cause. Some people around me encouraged me, but I had to step up and lead in the direction God was leading me. I am not one to run away like Jotham did. I may be 80 years old, but I still have the strong conviction that I can do much as long as I move boldly forward, and I’m confident that the task ahead is God’s will for me. Amen!

Yours for all that God purposes to accomplish through those who serve Him,

David

Sunday, February 10, 2019

POOR DECISIONS

Today’s Reading: Judges 8

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

 

Dubbed the “Pompeii of the East,” Jerash is a Greco-Roman ruined city located 80 miles north of Amman, the capital of the modern kingdom of Jordan, The impressive, beautifully preserved ruins of Jerash include places of worship and other buildings from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine Christian, and early Muslim periods. The Oval Plaza seen in the photo is central to the ruins.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 8:34

Thus the children of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side;

 

The people of Succoth and Penuel made poor decisions. Zeba and Zalmuna made poor decisions at Tabor. Gideon made good decisions when he heard from God as recorded in yesterday’s reading. Now there is no indication that he’s listening for God’s directions. How often we rush ahead on our own without waiting on God. There comes a time when we must move forward. Beware of what someone has called “the paralysis of analysis.”

In 1st Corinthians 1:6 Paul writes, “Now these things happened as examples for us.” “These things” would include Israel’s decisions and experience during the time of the judges. When we forget God in our decisions, we become victims of our circumstances rather than victors over our circumstances.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Father, teach me to be careful to consult You daily in prayer concerning my decisions, and may I move forward with trust that You are directing me. Teach me, please, from the examples I’m reading here in Judges. I believe You for this! In Jesus’ Name! Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When I think of “Mount Tabor,” I think of the town of Taber, Alberta, Canada. Rev. Dale Lang was the minister of the Anglican church there when his son was shot and murdered in the corridor of the high school by a deranged fellow student. I’ll never forget how, during the live funeral service that was carried on national TV, in that very high school auditorium, Dale walked to the spot where his son was killed and spoke of their forgiveness for the young man who had committed this crime. Then, with spiritual authority in the Name of Jesus, he cast out the evil from the school. Dale became Canada’s Pastor from that time forward. He and his wife became regulars for some time on the daily 100 Huntley Street telecast. Dale joined me daily on TV for a year, along with Professor of ancient history, Dr. Paul Maier, for a one-year journey through the book of Acts. Dale made good decisions following his family’s tragedy. Check out this video of a unique opportunity I had to go up in a hot air ballon with Dale, as he’s also a skilled balloonist (click here).

Yours for taking the time to wait on God for His decisions, and then moving forward,

David

P.S. I’m here in cold Canada as type this. I keep a positive attitude about the cold as shown by the picture below. At the farm where Norma-Jean was born, I took Franklin Graham out in a one-horse open sleigh a number of years ago. In the field behind the barn I threw him the reins and jumped out into the snow. He safely navigated back and picked me up. Have fun all you northerners!

Some winter fun with Franklin Graham many years ago.

Some winter fun with Franklin Graham many years ago.

A family walks down the main Roman Road, the Cardo Maximus, in the old city of Jerash. Pillars and ancient buildings are on each side of the street.