Saturday, November 22, 2014

MAN OF WAR

Today’s Reading: Numbers 30-31

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-hand side).

 

Located just inside the Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, this is the oldest Protestant Church in the Middle East. Christ Church was completed in 1849 and soon after became known as "The Jewish Protestant Church." This is where the prayer meeting I mention below took place.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, Click HERE.

Key Verse: Numbers 31:6a

Then, Moses sent them to war, one thousand from each tribe.

 

No wonder this book is called “Numbers.” Our reading is once again filled with numbers. The census taken by our government, attendance at Sunday School and Church services, as well as the amount of the tithes and offerings given each Sunday, are important to us and to God. Numbers allow us to plan, enabling us to move forward, or to know when we’re not moving forward.

We are appalled at the violence, no doubt, in our reading today. If we are watching the news from the Middle East, we will probably conclude that not much has changed in 3,500 years. But there is change for those who follow Jesus with a fervent heart. He teaches us to love our enemies. We can debate “The Just War,” but that can be a frustrating exercise. We who live in lands of peace and safety cannot fully understand the lives of the people of this area, let alone understand the circumstances of Midian and ancient Israel. We may want to read, for consolation, the following Scriptures: John 14:27 & 16:33, Ephesians 2:14, Colossians 3:15, 2 Peter 1:2.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I ask for grace to keep my mind centred on You. You promised that as my mind is “stayed on You,” You will keep me in “perfect peace” (Isaiah 26:3). Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Allow me to expand on a story I referred to in a recent blog posting. It was in March, 1978, that people from various Christian churches gathered at the church pictured above to pray for the “peace of Jerusalem.” The next morning, President Jimmy Carter spoke in the Israeli Parliament. He looked directly at Prime Minister Begin of Israel and said, “The people want peace,” indicating that Begin did not. He ordered Air Force One readied for departure for the U.S.A. Buses pulled up for reporters to travel to the airport to cover his departure. I was credentialed as one of those reporters, making daily reports to the viewers of 100 Huntley Street. I decided to remain behind. Shortly thereafter, I was approached by Hebrew and Arabic radio station reporters for an interview. They had to fill in live-on-air until their reporters got to the airport. They asked the question, “Do you think there’s a chance for peace?” I felt as if I was in the clasp of God. Contrary to all the prevailing wisdom, I said, “Yes, there will be a breakthrough. Last night, the churches of Jerusalem prayed, and God is answering our prayers. For the first time in history, three leaders representing three different religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, prayed together in Washington, D.C. Carter, Begin, and Sadat joined in prayer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for the success of the Camp David Accords. God is answering their prayers. There will be a breakthrough.” I believe that this was a prophetic word that helped destroy the plans of Satan. It was carried on live radio all over the middle east. The so-called “prince and power of the air” was shot down and God’s plans prevailed. Air Force One did not leave that day and the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed. I had the undeserved honour to share that story with President Carter at a “Habitat for Humanity” home building project. I started to weep as I talked about the night of prayer while he and the other leaders were at Camp David (see my personal words in the September 13 blog). I’ll never forget how he put his arm around me and said, “There, there.” I’m not sure exactly what he meant by that, but I know God used me for His purpose that fateful day in Israel. The reason for prophecy in the Bible is not to make work for preachers; it is to fight against “principalities and powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Sorry, I could not get this story into 100 words.

Yours, for God to use each one of us at His time and place, for His purpose,

David

Friday, November 21, 2014

HARVEST

Today’s Reading: Numbers 29

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-hand side).

 

The sun sets through the Roman Aqueduct of Caesarea. The aqueduct, originally built by Herod in the first century BC, was repaired and expanded by the Romans in the second century AD. It conveyed water to the city from springs at the foot of Mt. Carmel, over 10 kilometres away. Yesterday, our tour group visited here and marvelled at this engineering marvel.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, Click HERE.

Key Verse: Numbers 29:39

These you shall present to the Lord at your appointed feasts (besides your vowed offerings and your freewill offerings) as your burnt offerings and your grain offerings, as your drink offerings and your peace offerings.

 

Moses knew that he would not lead the people into the Promised Land. Therefore, he reviews for the new generation the details of the three sacrifices that were to be made. These would ensure that Israel would not overlook their divinely assigned obligations.

As Christians, we are not bound by the ceremonial laws of Moses. Nevertheless, we too have obligations. We can think of several, I’m sure. For the purpose of this blog, I’ll highlight one: READING GOD’S WORD DAILY…2 Timothy 3:14-17 (click here or look it up in your Bible). Verse 15 informs us that the Scriptures will “Make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” The result will be that we will be, “Complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (verse 17).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I thank You for keeping me faithful to follow this daily blog. You promised wisdom if I would ask. I ask You now for wisdom, and I plan to continue to do so every morning. I’m not doubting Your promise. In James 1:5 You said You would give wisdom liberally. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Today is another full day for this trip in Israel. Our group is travelling the length and breadth of this land of the Bible for two weeks. We are reading the Scriptures that pertain to each Bible-related place, and we pray together for God’s Teacher, the Holy Spirit, to instruct us as to what we need to learn. We try to visit with everyone, either on the buses or at meals. We’ve made some lifetime friends these past days. God willing, Crossroads will sponsor another trip again next year. As the Jews say, “Next year in Jerusalem.” Anyone interested in joining up? My son Ron and his wife Ann are leading a tour this Spring. Such a trip would make a great Christmas present for a loved one. Click here for information.

Yours for a thorough knowledge of God’s Word,

David

P.S. Today we travel up to Jerusalem! God willing! Below are two photos from a previous visit to the Garden Tomb. We will be there soon, and we will have communion together and anoint with oil any sick among us who need healing. We also pray with each individual who may need an intervention of God in their lives, in their families, or in their circumstances.

 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

INAUGURATION

Today’s Reading: Numbers 27-28

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-hand side).

Two ladies re-enact first century life at Nazareth Village in Nazareth. What a joy it was to visit yesterday this amazing outreach for Jesus with our group.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, Click HERE.

Key Verse: Numbers 27:22-23

So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. And he laid his hands on him and inaugurated him, just as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.  Our reading begins with God’s concerns for women’s rights and proceeds to document the protocol for choosing a new leader. The gracious way that Moses carried out the leadership transfer is a testimony to the quality of his character. Instead of a desperate attempt to retain power, he prays for his successor and expresses concern for the welfare of the people. Moses had 40 years of wilderness travel, during which time his ability and reputation as a leader were frequently under fire. His character was not shattered by tough times, but rather strengthened. We can learn here that it is not success that builds character, but trials, tribulations and difficult circumstances. James 1:2-3 tells us to “Consider it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for Your will in my life so that, like Moses, I will experience the development of Godly character. Help me to learn to accept Your direction, denying my own desires, and submitting to Your desires for my life. Through Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I was 67 years old when I stepped aside from senior leadership of Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. and Crossroads Television System (YES TV) - (click on them to see the websites of these organizations). I continued as a board member of CTS, a network of TV stations, and accepted the “Social Concerns” portfolio for CCCI. I understand these concerns to be the weighty moral issues that impact us all in various ways. Below is a 3-D ultra sound photograph of Ron and Ann’s granddaughter, and the daughter of Andrea and Jason. Her name is Jadice. She was born on December 31st, 2012. I’ve asked Ron to put that picture of Jadice on today’s blog, as well as a current picture. I ask the reader to look carefully at Jadice. Those who proclaim so-called “pro choice” are willing to have that little one torn apart in a most cruel manner. I weep now as I contemplate the many lives, full of such great promise, that have been destroyed by abortion. I believe that this is the most important moral concern today. I’ve just quoted Jesus’ final prophecy to our tour group. A great multitude of the people mourned as Jesus carried His Cross. Also the women mourned and He turned to them and said… (see Luke 23:28-31).

Yours for the development in us all of Jesus’ character,

David

P.S. Also, in addition to Jadice’s photos below, here is a video from a barber shop in Israel two days ago. Michael T. Wall, a country and western singer from Newfoundland, is travelling with us. He was surprised with one of his songs that the barber found online and brought up on the TV screen…what followed was a lot of fun! (click here)…and here is one of his songs on Youtube.

3-D ultrasound of Ron & Ann's granddaughter, Jadice, born on December 31st, 2012.

Jadice today at almost 2 years old.

 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WEEPING

Today’s Reading: Numbers 25-26

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-hand side).

 

Salt deposits are abundant in the Dead Sea, which is 10 times more salty than ocean water. In the background, the sun is setting on the mountains of Moab in Jordan.

 

Key Verse: Numbers 25:3

So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.

Just across the salt deposits pictured above was Moab. The Israelite men committed adultery with Moabite women. The idea was simple. If Balaam could not curse Israel, then the plan was to corrupt them and God would have to punish them. Sexual sin was followed by the Israelite men joining the Midianite women in worshipping their gods. The curse of yet another plague came on Israel and 24,000 of the people of Israel died. Severe judgment came on the people of Midian and Balaam himself was killed by the sword (Numbers 31:8). The effects of Balaam’s far-reaching influence was still felt 1,500 years later. Revelation 2:14 tells us that it was Balaam who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the Children of Israel by introducing sexual immorality and participation in idol worship. The doctrine of Balaam was still believed and practised by some in the Church in Pergamos. The Lord tells this Church to repent or He will judge them severely.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, as You revealed sin in the churches of the Revelation, reveal to me any sin in my life, and I ask for the grace of true repentance. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As a boy, I read John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.” My imagination was captivated by a sketch of Pilgrim turning aside from his journey to the Celestial City to spend time in “Vanity Fair.” I thought, “No, no, Pilgrim. Don’t go there! You will risk never making it to the Celestial city. The pleasures of sin are destructive.” I had no radio or TV, only books, and my imagination was more powerful than any pictures a movie director could create. I still see that picture of Pilgrim and I cringe at the memory. I’ve just read Proverbs 2:10-22. The writer may have been thinking of the story in today’s reading. Proverbs 2:18, “Her house leads down to death, and her paths to the dead.” Surely this was the experience of the men of Israel with the Midianite women.

Yours for a single-minded pursuit of the “Celestial City,”

David

P.S. On Monday, I read to our group here in Israel parts of Jesus’ longest recorded message known as “The Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5, 6 & 7). Matthew 5:27-28 shows us that Jesus raised the standard of sexual purity to an even higher standard than that of our Numbers reading. Yesterday I baptized many in the Jordan River. Baptism speaks of repentance for sin. As each one came out of the water, I said with a loud voice, “Buried with Him in Baptism and raised with Him to newness of life.” Just before beginning the water baptisms, I read to our brothers and sisters, Romans 6:1-11. Please read this passage with me and think and pray about the message in today’s reading.

In the photo below from yesterday, Michael T. Wall, a well-known country singer from Newfoundland, is about to be baptized. Earlier in the day in a barber shop on the Golan Heights, the barber brought up on his TV screen one of Michael’s favourite songs. The results were hilarious! Perhaps I can share more about it in my next blog.

 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

BALAAM

Today’s Reading: Numbers 23-24

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-hand side).

 

The Grave of Oskar Schindler is in Jerusalem just south of the Zion Gate on the south side of the Old City wall. Stones are placed on the graves by visitors and loved ones as a sign of respect in lieu of flowers.

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

Key Verse: Numbers 23:19

God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

 

Schindler saved the lives of many Jewish people during the Second World War. He was buried in a Gentile graveyard in Jerusalem with honour. The descendants of those he saved come annually to place stones of remembrance on his grave. Israel honours those who have honoured them. Balaam was one such person. Moses wrote Balaam’s story and prophecies in Holy Scripture. We believe that God is, and that “He is a rewarder of those who dilligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). If necessary, God will speak in most unusual ways, as in the case of Balaam’s donkey. There are others, not from the chosen people, to whom God has spoken. Cornelius, commanding officer of the Italian regiment of the armies of Rome, is a prime example (Acts 10). We’ll arrive at the story of this outstanding man on December 1st. Numbers 21:17 encourages the singing of “Spring Up, Oh Well” (click here to sing along to a ukelele rendition of the song).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Speak to me today, Lord God; I need to hear from You. You did it for Balaam, and dozens of others throughout the Bible record. I’m listening. Lord Jesus, You said, “My sheep know My voice.” Thanks for not restricting Your voice only to spiritual giants but also to us average people. I pray this and praise You for revealing Your thoughts to me. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’m here in Jerusalem where people say, “Pray… it’s a local call from here.” God has spoken most often in that “still small voice.” There was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me during the last ditch effort by U.S. President Carter to save the Camp David Accords, the peace agreement between President Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Begin of Israel. I was one of hundreds of reporters with credentials to cover Carter’s speech in the Israeli Parliament in 1978. Carter said, while looking directly at Begin, “The people want peace.” In other words, “Begin, you don’t really want peace.” Carter walked off the stage, requested Air Force One readied and his bags taken from the Hotel to the airport. Buses gathered to transport the reporters to cover Carter’s departure. My associate, Jay Rawlings, and I stayed behind where we were approached by two live radio hosts, one Jew and one Arab. They asked, “Do you think there will be peace?” (it was translated into Arabic and Hebrew). Suddenly I heard God speak through me. Balaam knew what this was like. I said, “Yes, for the first time leaders of three different countries and three different religions prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has heard the prayers of many people and there will be peace between Egypt and Israel.” There is power over the evil in the world through a prophetic utterance. Carter stayed behind, went again to Egypt. The rest is history. Many years later, I had the privilege of working beside Carter in a Habitat for Humanity building project. I wept as I told him this story. He patted me on the back and said, “There, there.”

Yours for hearing from God and speaking, while praying for wisdom, what God wants out there in the fight against evil and for the good of all His people,

David

P.S. Below is a photo of our current group touring the land of the Bible! This photo was taken on the Mount of Beattitudes.

 

Monday, November 17, 2014

LOOK

Today’s Reading: Numbers 21-22

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-hand side).

 

The mountains of ancient Moab, across the Dead Sea from Israel. Our group of friends had a similar view today as we drove along the shore of the Dead Sea.

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

Key Verse: Numbers 21:9

So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

 

The serpent of bronze holds a prominent place in human history, primarily because of the dialogue of Jesus with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21). It’s the worldwide symbol for the medical profession and may have originated with Moses (pictured below).

Medical Logo

The serpent corrupted our first parents, and he bears a major responsibility for causing mankind to sin against God…sin that has been nailed to the Cross. 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). The choice to LOOK in faith brought life instead of death to the Israelites. Jesus declared the parallel truth in Himself. Later, the bronze serpent had to be destroyed because people began to worship it (2 Kings 18:1-8). Moses’ serpent happened long before Greek mythology introduced the symbol. Tomorrow, God willing, we’ll look at the attempt by Balaam to curse Israel.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You were lifted up on the Cross, and You have caused me to look to You, not with eyesight, but with insight. Thank You!!! I know, by faith, that I have the gift of eternal life, not through any goodness in myself, but because of Your clearly stated promise. You cannot lie! Therefore, I live! The serpent’s venom cannot destroy me. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

God told Moses to make the image of the serpent. Those who don’t think deeply enough would think God is against making a sculpture. There’s no sin here. The sin would be, according to the second commandment, in bowing down to an image and serving the image. People mess with God’s Word. For example, Norma-Jean and I, along with travelling companions, are here in Israel, and in one area of Jerusalem on any day, if you try to take a picture of some of the successors to the Pharisees, they may smash your camera. They think you are making a graven image. Have you bowed down to a picture lately? I don’t think so! Have you served a picture lately? I don’t think so! Be sure you read and understand the Scriptures in context.

Yours for only bowing down to the One True God,

David

P.S. The picture below was taken yesterday at the place where Gideon chose his final army of 300 men (Judges 7:1-8). Rev. Jason Patterson, our grandson-in-law and the husband of Andrea, Ron and Ann’s daughter, is our co-host on this tour of Israel. He took this picture yesterday afternoon and sent it through to our son, Ron, to be inserted here. Also, Rev. Gideon Chiu prayed a mighty prayer here back in 2001 (click HERE for a video from the “The Journey of Hope”). At the conference last week in Jerusalem, I mentioned to about 4,000 people (over 1,000 from mainland China) that when Gideon prayed in the video, the trees shook and the eagles flew overhead. I’m not sure we captured the eagles on video, but watch for the trees moving. I felt no wind where I was standing. Gideon has a background in the tribe of Manasseh (same as Gideon in the Bible), many of which ended up in China in the diaspora. Dr. David Damien, originally a surgeon from Egypt, now President of Watchmen for the Nations, and the dance team from Montreal, Alliance et Vie, are also on the video. The music is by Ron Kenoly.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

GOD’S GRACE AND MERCY

Suggested Reading: Numbers 19-20

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-hand side).

 

The olive grinding wheel at Nazareth Village.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, Click HERE.

 

Key Verse: Numbers 20:6

So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and they fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them.

 

The charge against Moses and Aaron was cruel and unjust (20:3-5). They turned in silence in the right direction. They prostrated themselves before the Lord. The result was that Moses was given a new vision of God and, at the same time, a command and a promise (20:8). Moses could’ve brought a message of the goodness and grace of God, but instead he was overcome with anger and seemed to forget God’s word to him. He called the people “rebels,” and became a rebel himself. Nevertheless, God provided abundant water so that His promise of the Promised Land to the people would eventually be realized. The deaths of Miriam and Aaron are sad and were followed over 40 years by the passing of the entire generation who left Egypt, with the exceptions of Caleb and Joshua. God forgives our sins, but the circumstances which arise, because of our actions, are very unforgiving.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for total deliverance from past hurts, real or imagined, which may cause me to lose my ability to respond in Your way, with grace and obedience. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Suicide is unforgiving. In other words, once the act has been accomplished, there is no way back. Therefore, Crossroads has launched a campaign to stop suicides, with an emphasis on Jr. High and High School students. Here’s a response to my blog. I wept for joy at one life that was saved…

“Hi David, I wanted to say Thank you! About 35 yrs ago I was a young girl contemplating suicide. I was a Christian and feeling God’s whisper I wrote you a letter. You wrote me back! As a little girl I was in awe that you had taken the time to write me back! It was not a printed letter, it was handwritten. You gave me hope Mr.Mainse! I reread the letter many times. Years later I wrote you again in despair. I was constantly told by my earthly father how worthless I was. Again I received a letter from you. You helped me see my worth in my Heavenly Father’s eyes! I watched you everyday on T.V. My mom taped it. I pretended you were my earthly father. I love you! Thank you for taking the time to help a lost little girl. I knew I had worth and that Jesus loved me because of you!” -Michelle

Yours for sharing the message of life and of obedience to God’s will,

David

Saturday, November 15, 2014

GOD’S CHOICE

Today’s Reading: Numbers 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 on the right-hand side).

 

Evening sets on the Eastern Gate, or Golden Gate, of the Old City of Jerusalem.

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

Key Verse: Numbers 17:10

And the Lord said to Moses, “Bring Aaron’s rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die.

 

King David wrote, “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4b). The “rod” was the shepherd’s aggressive weapon. With this, leadership was established, both with the sheep and an attacking animal or person. This instrument of authority, the rod, was God’s choice as a sign of His authority. The dead stick, Aaron’s rod, sprouted buds, blossoms and ripe almonds. By putting this in the Ark, the leadership issue was settled once and for all. Chapter 18 has to do with the remuneration of those who served full time in the work of God on behalf of the people. It’s not so long ago that Pastors and Evangelists serving in farming communities were paid with a side of beef, vegetables, chickens, etc. During the 1930′s and into the Second World War, cash was hard to come by. No doubt it was the same in Israel’s case.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord, if necessary to stop murmuring, give Your people a sign which confirms Your call on the lives of the leaders You have chosen. Enable me, O Lord, to have that inner witness of Your Spirit with my spirit, that my leaders are Your choice, whether or not I have a physical manifestation such as a dead stick that springs to life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I was born in 1936, the height of the depression, and our family lived by the gifts of meat and other produce given by those great people called “Farmers.” Every evening from about ’41 to ’45, I would run over to Mr. White’s farm across the field. I would carefully walk back as I was carrying a pail of fresh milk, still warm from the cow. The White family were of a different denomination than we were, but it made no difference. A portion of the tithe of the milk went to our family while my father served as a missionary in Egypt. Our family stayed behind in Canada because of the danger of the war raging in North Africa and Europe. When Daddy arrived home in December of 1944, Mr. White, Chairman of the local School Board, asked my Father to take over teaching the 52 pupils from grades 1 – 8 in our one-room schoolhouse. He did, and believe me, there was absolutely no murmuring, particularly from me, about Dad’s authority and leadership.

Yours for obedience to God’s directions and loyalty to those He has chosen,

David

P.S. Over the past few days I’ve been participating in a conference in Jerusalem that has drawn several thousand of our Christian leaders from all over the world. Yesterday I gave a link to “Watchmen for the Nations” and its President, David Damien. Today I want to introduce you to a great Pastor whose leadership is an example we can all follow. His name is Rev. Dr. Gideon Chiu. He has been one of the primary reasons for my 100% support of the “Watchmen” movement (click here). Below is a photo of a time of prayer at Caesarea Philippi, where Peter responded to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” Find Peter’s answer in Matthew 16:13-26.

 

Friday, November 14, 2014

LEADERSHIP

Today’s Reading: Numbers 16

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-hand side).

 

A photo looking inland from the southern shore of the Dead Sea, 1,300 feet below sea level, the lowest place on earth. The Rift Valley starts in Syria and continues into Africa. As in our reading today, the earth opened up here at some ancient time.

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

Key Verse: Numbers 16:9a, 10

Is it a small thing to you…that He has brought you near to Himself, you and all your brethren, the sons of Levi, with you? And are you seeking the priesthood also?

 

Twice in our reading, Moses fell on his face before God (verses 4 & 45) in intercession for the people. He was desperate for God’s mercy upon the rebellious people. The one thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history. First, the judgment of God came upon those who coveted the positions of Moses and Aaron, and then by a plague that took the lives of 14,700 people. Earlier we read about the carefully crafted laws for the health of the people, and we don’t know what disease hit them. Perhaps, if those who rejected Moses’ leadership had left quietly, the tragedies could’ve been avoided. Judgment can be averted by genuine repentance.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Dear Lord, please help me to be loyal to the leaders You have chosen, and if I cannot support them, may I have the grace to leave quietly so as not to damage Your work in any way. I repent for my failure to recognize from time to time Your appointments to positions of leadership authority. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In five hours my precious Norma-Jean arrives with a wonderful group of friends at Ben Gurion Airport here in Israel. I’ll meet them there and by bus we’ll proceed to travel through Beersheba, Abraham’s main residence, down, down through rugged country as pictured above to a hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea. Please remember us all in your prayers.

I’ve been learning about leadership this week, both in the life of Moses and in the lives of the leaders here in the “822call” (Zechariah 8:22) Conference: David Damien M.D. and Rev. Dr. Gideon Chiu of Zion Church in Vancouver. We read earlier this week from Numbers 11 where God gave Moses 70 elders to stand with him and advise him. David and Gideon have two groups active this week as they lead a conference of approximately 4,000 people from many countries (about 1,000 from The People’s Republic of China) and many different Christian bodies. I’m part of a group of 40 which meets twice each day and then this group is joined by about 120 others once a day. As long as time permits we are encouraged to stand and share what we believe we should say and do in the upcoming sessions (three each day). I’m amazed how well this works. There is unity here that is heartwarming and God works mightily where there is love and respect one for another. I encourage readers to check out the sponsoring ministry and leadership team here.

Yours for recognition and support of God’s chosen leaders,

David

P.S. Every Fall there are those with us who want to reconfirm their baptism, and some are first-timers, by going into the Jordan River as Jesus did.

 

 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

WWJD

Today’s Reading: Numbers 15

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-hand side).

 

Orthodox Jews (perhaps the successors of the Pharisees) at the Western Wall or "Wailing Wall" of the Old City of Jerusalem. This wall is part of the retaining wall around the peak of Mount Moriah on which the Temples of Solomon, Ezra, and Herod once stood.

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

Key Verse: Numbers 15:41

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.

 

Religion vs. relationship!! There is a very big difference. Jesus brought us into a living and loving connection with God. The Pharisees, one of the denominations within Judaism, is still present. This movement, according to Jesus, practised an intricate observance of a multitude of details. We might do well to read now Matthew 23:1-33. According to Jesus, the Scribes and Pharisees claimed to “sit in Moses’ seat.” Today’s reading from Moses would’ve made them feel so “holier than thou.” Moses wrote of the man who died from stoning. Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone” (John 8:7). James, first Pastor of the Jerusalem Church, wrote, in James 1:26-27, what true religion is.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

I’m ever so thankful, Lord Jesus, for the “great exchange,” as Martin Luther put it. I have given You my sin in confession and repentance, and You have put Your holiness, Your righteousness, on my account with God. Please give me Your grace so that I may live in a constant state of repentance and, as a result, a consistent assurance of my salvation. You’ve given me peace and joy. I’m eternally grateful. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I believe in what James called “pure religion.” The word “religion” comes from the same root word as “ligament.” Ligaments are essential in order to keep our body together. I sought to identify what “religion” is in a presentation I made to the Radio and Television Commission a number of years ago. That hearing resulted in Crossroads being granted licenses for TV stations. “One’s religion,” I said, “is what a person holds as their highest value in life.” If that is true, James, who was also known as “the brother of our Lord,” nailed it right on. Perhaps we could sum it up with the WWJD campaign, What Would Jesus Do? What would He say and do with the man picking up sticks on the Sabbath in today’s reading? I’m thinking about it. I think He would probably lend him a hand. Jesus changes everything!

Yours for rejoicing in the fact that Jesus came to live as One of us,

David

P.S. Below is a photo from two years ago where I was speaking to our tour group at the place on the shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus, after His resurrection, asked Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” Each time Peter affirmed his love, and Jesus followed up with “Feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17).

P.P.S. I can hardly wait to meet Norma-Jean, my beloved wife, at the Tel Aviv airport with another group of travellers to Israel. That will happen, God willing, Friday noon (Israel time). In case you missed the reason I came to Israel before Norma-Jean, here is the website to find out more about this gathering…www.822call.org…The 822 stands for Zechariah 8:22. I encourage you to read Zechariah 8:20-23. Also, here’s a link to the videos, including the Tuesday afternoon session where I participated in another step in a journey of reconciliation between Christians and Jews (scroll down to the videos marked “Tuesday Afternoon 4″ and “Tuesday Afternoon 5″).