Thursday, March 26, 2015

A TRUE FRIEND

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 19

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

 

These are marble heads in the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth in Greece.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 19:4

Thus Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you.”

Solomon, David’s son, had no doubt heard from his father about Jonathan. As a result, Solomon put these words in Proverbs 18:24b: “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” David needed a true friend. Historian, philosopher Henry Adams wrote, “One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible.” Jesus has been called, “the Friend of sinners.” Matthew and Zacchaeus took Jesus home with them. We may want to meditate on Jesus’ relationships with these “sinners” (Luke 19:1-10 and Mark 2:13-17). We could consider the woman at the well and the woman taken in adultery. If we had the opportunity to ask these people, ‘Who are your friends?’, Jesus’ name would probably be the first one they would mention. A friend is there for us! A short time after they met Jesus, these two men and two women experienced what He promised in Matthew 28:20b: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The phenomenon of people prophesying, as in our reading, is an experience we read about throughout religious history. It may be of God (check the content to see if the words spoken are according to the written words of Holy Scripture). It may be simply the result of the human spirit, excited because of emotional activity. It may also be from the evil one. Be very careful here. In our day, what is called “personal prophecy” can appear to be of God and sometimes seems supernatural. However, people have been seriously sidetracked from God’s will for their lives by those who use this means to manipulate them. We need to check with our pastors, wait on God in prayer, and consistently read God’s Word, the Bible.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I give my whole life to You for this new day. I’m in Your Word daily. I’m in prayer daily. Please protect me by Your Word, Your Spirit, and by the solid Bible-based teaching of my local church. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve given a great deal of thought to what is called “prophesying” in the New Testament Church. Philip, a deacon of the first church, had four daughters who were “prophetesses” (Acts 21:9). I believe that we need to let the Bible interpret the Bible. Revelation 19:10 tells us that, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” I also believe that these young girls were winning souls to Jesus on the streets of Samaria, where their Dad had a revival (Acts 8). The “Testimony of Jesus” happened on the streets of Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 2. Peter said on that occasion, quoting the prophet Joel, that “Your sons and daughters shall prophesy.” These girls were not foretelling the future. They were not lying naked on the ground like Saul in today’s reading (verse 24). They were telling everyone about Jesus! Witnessing for and about Jesus is the continuing evidence of keeping filled with the Holy Spirit. I don’t think that anyone should claim to be keeping filled with God’s Spirit if they fail to give the “Testimony of Jesus” consistently. Prophecy, one of the gifts of the Spirit, referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:10 and also in 1 Corinthians 14, is for the edification and comfort of believers. I need this gift. Prophesying, as it happened on the birthday of the Church, is something different which continues to happen every time we testify, in order to win a precious never-dying soul to Jesus.

Yours for New Testament prophecy,

David

P.S. I want to acknowledge two very special people, Rev. Don and Edith Osbourne. Don established 100 Huntley Street telephone counselling and follow-up centres across Canada and the USA in the seventies and eighties. His wise choices of leaders for each centre resulted in a most powerful exercise in New Testament prophecy, “the testimony of Jesus.” Many thousands of people were led to Jesus on those telephones. Thank you Don. The reason I’m moved to write this tribute is because Don’s beloved wife Edith departed this life for the next earlier this month. Edith is a special person of beauty and grace. In 1977 our organization was desperately in need of help in the move into computers from hand kept records. Edith provided that expertise in a most efficient way. Her team of data entry employees as well as the entire Crossroads team will be forever in Edith’s debt. Don and Edith have spent the last few years in Victoria, British Columbia, where they cared for Norma-Jean and me in their home on several occasions. Our hearts are filled with gratitude to God for the gift of these true friends. We love you Don and all your family. I’m asking Jesus to let Edith know, there in His immediate presence, how much she is loved. See you soon Edith!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WANT WISDOM?

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 18

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

 

Here is a spear and shield carved into what was a mantle in the ancient city of Philippi, Greece.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 18:14

And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him.

The Lord promises wisdom to all who ask Him for it. James 1:5 gives us this guarantee. Here is a New Testament reading for today (James 1:1-12). David not only behaved wisely himself, but he taught his son Solomon wisdom (Proverbs 4:1-9). Saul’s successes caused him to become arrogant. David’s successes brought him closer to God. Saul lived for self. David lived for God. Because Saul lived for himself, he became jealous of David. Saul’s focus was not on God’s future purpose for Israel but on protecting his own position. Many leaders have fallen into this trap over the years. There are at least three lessons to be learned from today’s reading: (1) God will fight our battles. (2) We don’t have to strive to further our own cause. (3) Serve God wholeheartedly.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Your Word teaches me that “He who wins souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30b). You’ve called me to be a soul winner. Therefore, I pray for wisdom to be given to me so that I may win someone to You. I believe Your Word, and I believe that when I engage someone in conversation, I will speak wise words. I pray this through Jesus Christ, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

From personal experience I know that when I’ve not prayed first for wisdom, I’ve done more harm than good. My passion is to win souls to Jesus. After He had given “living water” to the woman at the well, she brought the people of her village out to meet Him. As they approached, Jesus said to His followers, “Lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, for they are already ripe for harvest” (John 4:35b). I’m deeply moved as I think of that scene. Jesus was so very wise. This precious woman had been married to five husbands, and at that point she was living with a man who was not her husband. Jesus didn’t condemn her. He quenched her thirst with living water. His Words are that “living water.” He changed her life forever! I’m drinking every morning and throughout the day by thinking of His Words which I’ve read earlier. Read with me if you have time from John 7:37-38.

Yours for winning souls to Jesus,

David

P.S. God surely gives our telephone prayer partners soul-winning wisdom. Feel free to give someone you want to bring to Jesus the toll free telephone number 1-866-273-4444. Every day and every night, without fail, precious people are being led to Jesus on those phones. If you need someone to pray with you about any concern, feel free to call. As the promotional slogan on the 100 Huntley Street telecast says, “We’re here for you!” For anyone who might want to help us out by becoming one of our telephone prayer partners, here is some info.

P.P.S. Yesterday’s blog had a picture of a poster signed by Mickey Rooney. Tomorrow, God willing, I’ll tell you about the wisdom which brought Mickey to Jesus. He called our prayer lines. Please encourage others to call us too!!!

David and King Saul, as depicted in the TV miniseries THE BIBLE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

GOD’S CHAMPIONS

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 17

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

 

The Valley of Elah (1 Samuel 17:2), where David picked up five smooth stones from the brook, one of which he used in his sling to kill Goliath.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 17:45

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

David knew for sure that the God of Israel was much bigger than any giant the Philistines could produce. David’s past experiences gave him great confidence that God would enable him to defeat Goliath. All of us can think of times when we’ve seen God doing great things in our own lives, or we’ve heard of God doing great things in the lives of others. In a few days we’ll celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, the greatest victory in human history. The historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection happened in the past, and it is also a present reality. He is risen!!! David was the champion of Israel. Jesus is the Champion for all time and for every challenge. The Apostle Paul writes of “the seed of David” (2 Timothy 2:8-13). Jesus said, “Because I live, you shall live also” (to read it in context see John 14:11-21). With our faith in Jesus, we can be champions also. Jesus assures us that the person who believes in Him will win the battles. We must never let people belittle us as David’s brothers tried to do to him. In Jesus we are bigger than any challenge.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You have defeated the last human enemy, death! Therefore, I have complete confidence that with You living in me I can win over every giant that I face. I pray for boldness to take that which I know You’ve done in the past, apply that knowledge to the present, and move forward into future battles with the secure knowledge of Your presence. In Your strong Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When God gave us Canada’s first professionally equipped Christian television production studio back in 1977, I could not stand to see God’s resources sitting empty for much of the day after we went live to air with the daily 100 Huntley Street telecast. Therefore, we began producing telecasts in many languages other than English. We also did shows for children and teens. Nite Lite, an open-line show which ran live five nights a week from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. was what one of our hosts, Rev. Ken Campbell, called “the best fishing hole in Canada.” In one staff chapel service in the early 1990’s, I shared that the challenge of the middle-of-the-night ministry needed a Champion who would assume full responsibility for its future. Later that day, Jim Cantelon, who had been one of my co-hosts on 100 Huntley Street after returning from Jerusalem where he established a great Christian congregation, approached me with these words: “David, I want to be that Champion for the middle of the night.” He covered not only Canada but the U.S.A. as well for some time. I’m excited to rise every morning to Champion the ministry of this blog!

Yours, praying Jesus’ prayer request: “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers [champions] into the harvest field” (Matthew 9:38, Luke 10:2),

David

P.S. In the God Rocks children’s animated TV series produced by a Champion, Bruce Stacey, the actor Mickey Rooney, certainly not a “giant” in stature, is the voice of “Bullseye”…the little rock that bopped Goliath. It’s a creative re-telling of today’s reading. Below is a poster from that episode (signed by Mickey). The episode is called “Splat Ball Square Off” and here’s a link to a trailer for it. Some of the GodRocks “Bible Toons” are available HERE. you might want to buy some and share it with the children for whom you can be a Champion for Christ.

Monday, March 23, 2015

GOD’S CHOICE

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 16

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

 

This is the entrance to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the hometown of King David. This is the oldest functioning church building in the world. It is believed to cover the stable/cave where Jesus was born.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 16:7b

For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

The key verse points out several truths. (1) The Lord sees us! (2) Other people see us! (3) The Lord sees our hearts! (4) People see our outward appearance! Lets cover those four points starting with point four. Rather than slavishly following the latest clothing trends, let us ask God if our apparel draws undo attention to us, detracting from our witness. Three – Go ahead and wear our hearts in such a way that people see our hearts. Two – May people see in us the Person of Jesus in all His beauty. One – The old hymn says, “Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.” Here’s a link to “The Solid Rock.” The last verse has those powerful words in it. Why not sing along.
Samuel found David, who was doing his job looking after the sheep while all the rest of the family were standing around. God chooses a person whose heart is engaged with life and its responsibilities. John 15 says, “You did not choose Me, I chose you” -Jesus. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “You are a chosen people.” Why are we chosen? To “declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (read 1 Peter 2:9-17).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I ask that everyone I meet today will see You. You live in my heart. I am, according to Your Word, the temple of the Holy Spirit. You are looking on my heart. If You see anything that should not be there, please clean it out of me now and forever. May Your love, Your joy, and Your peace be seen by all those with whom I interact. In Your Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When Norma-Jean gets up, (not right away) I may suggest that we sing together “The Solid Rock.” While it’s true that we are joined as one flesh before God, I’ll still have to stand as an individual at the judgement of the believers. Getting up at 4 a.m. is not Norma-Jean’s calling from God. When we were first married, I asked her to get up and pray with me. That did not go over too well. She spends considerable time praying before she sleeps at night. Whereas I’m far too sleepy at night to do more than a brief, “See You in the morning Lord.” I’m asleep long before my wife finishes reading my blog for the day, the suggested Scriptures and praying. So I concluded that between the two of us, we cover more of the 24-hour clock this way! She’s a night person, and I’m a morning person. 57 years of marriage, and we’re still deeply committed to each other. (that’s true love) It’s a miracle of God’s grace! Amen! As I’m typing this, she’s still sleeping soundly. I often remind Norma-Jean before I fall asleep that over and over God promises rest to the weary.

Yours for seeing our hearts as God sees our hearts,

David

The stained glass artwork at the exit of the Church of St. Catherine, which is attached to the Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem. This newer church is where the Christmas Eve celebration takes place and is televised live worldwide. In a cave beneath this building, St. Jerome translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into what is known as the Latin Vulgate Version.

 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

BE QUIET

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 15

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

 

Bedouins set up their transient homes wherever it is best for their livestock. Here they are located just below Mount Nebo. The promised land is seen in the distance.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 15:22

So Samuel said:

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams…”

Saul’s lame excuses for disobedience brought a sharp “Be Quiet” from the Prophet. Samuel was harsh with the King, and at the same time the last verse of our reading tells us that he mourned for Saul. Saul showed such promise. God gave him a new heart, but Saul’s will was not fully yielded to God’s will. Saul’s biggest problem was himself. He wanted to build a kingdom for himself. It was all about him and not about God’s continued sovereignty over Israel. When Saul disobeyed, he tried to blame it on others and to justify himself. Then he immediately followed up by building a monument to himself. Upon hearing God’s verdict on his actions, Saul’s biggest concern was his reputation. He begged Samuel to make him look good. Saul’s successor, David sinned also, but the difference was that David did not offer any excuses or try to justify himself. He repented with godly sorrow, and took all the blame. Honest repentance brings God’s forgiveness. God will not tolerate a self-centred focus on the part of His leaders. God is a God of mercy, but the time comes when justice, as in the case of the Amalekites, must be meted out. These are harsh judgements, but so was the flood of Noah and, most of all, the judgment of God which was borne by Jesus as He took our place in suffering and death. God Himself, in the Person of His Son, took the full force of the penalty for the disobedience of all humanity. Justice was satisfied, and we who believe in Jesus are the beneficiaries.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Lord God, You have taken the judgement I deserved. Dear Lord Jesus, You suffered far more than King Agag and King Saul did for the evil of their sin. All I can do now is cry out to You, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” I say this with my whole heart, mind and soul. You’ve said, Lord Jesus, that I am now made right in the sight of God. I have no excuses for my sin, and like King David, I have found forgiveness. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I was compelled just now to meditate on God’s mercy. In the Virgin Mary’s prophetic utterance, she spoke these words: “He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:49-50). Later in his Gospel, Luke records the prayer of repentance and cry for mercy which God hears and answers with His assuring “Yes” (Luke 18:9-14). What comfort! I’ve also just read Hebrews 8, the entire chapter is my New Testament reading for today.

All who are in leadership, particularly Christian leadership, must be warned that God will never take excuses for sin. He only receives sorrow for sin…that’s being sorry enough to quit sinning…and that’s called repentance! Christian leaders have built memorials to themselves, as Saul did. I fall on my face and cry out for mercy. I take most seriously the Words of our key verse, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” Once again I pray the sinners prayer, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” I remember clearly the words of John, who included himself, writing, “If we say that we have no sin [present tense] we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9). What assurance!

Yours for constant cleansing from all sin (1 John 1:1 – 2:6),

David

The Memorial Church of Moses on Mount Nebo is currently getting a new structure built over the aging one. It was from here that Moses viewed the Promised Land. God forgave Moses for his sin, but there were still consequences of his sin (Deuteronomy 34:1-4).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

THE MANY AND THE FEW

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 14

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

 

This is an Akkadian cuneiform writing clay tablet piece and is the oldest document to mention Jerusalem. It was discovered in the south wall area of the Old City of Jerusalem and is dated at 14th century BC.

 

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 14:6b

For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.

As King Saul’s son, Jonathan had probably learned from observing the interaction between his father and the prophet Samuel. Our children often learn more from being in our presence, and in the presence of our visitors, than from our efforts at direct teaching. Obviously Jonathan had come to believe in God and in His power to equip a man for victory in battle. By just two brave men, the rout of the enemy of Israel began and confusion reigned in the ranks of the Philistines. Jonathan seemed to have more common sense than his father. Saul’s foolish edict to not eat robbed the men of the energy they needed, and resulted in the eating of blood forbidden by Moses’ Law. There are those in our day who burden God’s people in ways that rob us of spiritual vitality, rather than encouraging us to partake of the “honey” that God has provided. This has been particularly true when it comes to man-made prohibitions regarding the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Those who teach that the experience of the first believers, as recorded in the book of Acts, is not for today and prohibit the exercise of the Gifts of the Spirit have done serious damage to God’s plan for His Church. Go ahead, have some honey! Be refreshed today by the life-giving sweetness found in God’s Word and in the experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Victory is ours!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, as I read these words and pause often to worship You, I’m conscious that I’m partaking of the sweetness of Your provision for me. Like Jonathan, my countenance has brightened. I pray that this energy level will continue in order that I may “fight the good fight of faith,” as I read in 1 Timothy 6:11-16. In Jesus’ conquering Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In selecting the key verse for today, I thought of God’s provision over the years for the financial well-being of the Crossroads ministry. Sometimes God has used the many and sometimes the few. Without the participation of thousands of precious partners, this ministry, that has brought many to a saving knowledge of Jesus, would have shut down years ago. But the Lord has also used the few. Our former bank manager at the TD bank in downtown Toronto (gone to be with the Lord in Heaven now) knew our need the day that our lighting package for the new TV production studios arrived. I needed cash in order to have the shipment released. A line of credit had not been authorized. One of the “few,” whose name I do not know, sent through $50,000 directly to the bank, telling the manager that he could arrange a charitable giving receipt, but that I was not to know who it was that gave this money. The only information I was given was that it was someone from Ottawa who did not know of the need to pay for the shipment that very day but felt led of God to transfer the money. There are few who could give such a gift. Perhaps you are one of the few. We should perhaps read on in 1Timothy 6:17-19. One thing I’ve learned is that God uses BOTH the MANY and the FEW to support His work. When we sold the farm in which Norma-Jean, my wife, was born, we got to be one of “the few” one time, but every month we are one of “the many” that keep the ministry winning spiritual battles every day. That monthly offering, and the offerings of many more, are absolutely essential to the great cause to which God has called Crossroads. More of “the few” and more of “the many” would also be a big help right now. God is leading the Ministry in new initiatives for the Gospel that need us all to take up the challenge of giving sacrificially. The funds are not just sitting there in the bank doing nothing for Jesus! Crossroads continues to be a faith ministry. Please pray asking God for His instructions (click here for giving instructions).

Yours to encourage us all to be “the many,” and some of us to be “the few,”

David

P.S. Yesterday’s blog featured a photo of my granddaughter Elena’s new baby. Now here is a 100 Huntley Street feature from a few years back. It is the story of Bruce & Elaine’s adoption of Elena and Alex from a Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) orphanage (click here).

 

Friday, March 20, 2015

A MAN AFTER GOD’S HEART

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 13

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

 

A rectangular ritual bath (mikveh/baptismal tank) has been recently uncovered just beneath the southern wall of the Temple Mount in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park. You can see the Mount of Olives in the background.

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

 

Key Verses: 1 Samuel 13:13-14

And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

 

Understanding and obeying God’s Word is of eternal importance. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Word shall never pass away” (Matthew 24:35). God’s Word is forever! God’s Word has the power to do good, to heal, bring judgment, and to save. The Word is like the laws of nature. King Saul failed to obey what he knew were God’s instructions, and now he must suffer the consequences. God would choose another King who would be careful to obey both the letter and the spirit of the instructions he received. By believing and doing God’s Word, we, like David, who is yet to come onto the scene, will experience the blessing of God. David would keep God’s Word and the result was that he became the father of an eternal dynasty through his Descendant, Jesus Christ.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that You’ll help me to wait for You. My natural tendency, like Saul, is to be impatient and to run ahead of You, but Your supernatural grace to do what is right is available to me when I wait upon You. You meet me every morning as I read Your Word and pray. I can always count on Your timing. Thank You for the peace and joy this brings me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Yes Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so!!! “FACT!!!” One day last week I read the entire book of Matthew over a period of three hours. Forty-one times either Jesus or Matthew quote from their Bible, the Hebrew language Scriptures. This is true Kingdom of God teaching/preaching!!! Oh, how I long to be a man after God’s heart. This is just another reason for this blog! I need to focus more and more on the “More sure Word” (2 Peter 1:19) and less on the thoughts of mere men which are not solidly and clearly founded on God’s revealed written Word!!!

My New Testament reading for today is Philippians 4:4-9.

Yours for grace to “meditate on these things,” (Read Philippians 1:15-18),

David

P.S. Norma-Jean and I have become Great-Grandparents for the tenth time. Our granddaughter Elena, and her husband Justin Gilmour, are proud first-time parents of Chelsea Grace (see photos below). It’s amazing that Elena, my smallest grandchild, gave birth to our biggest great-grandchild…10 lbs 6 oz! One of the most remarkable stories in my latest book, This Far By Faith, is the story of Elena…adopted from Russia as a six-year-old by Bruce and Elaine Stacey, our oldest daughter and her husband (to order a copy of the book, call 1-800-265-3100).

Justin & Elena Gilmour with new little Chelsea Grace.

Justin & Elena Gilmour with new little Chelsea Grace…10 lbs 6 oz.

Chelsea Grace Gilmour.

Chelsea Grace Gilmour.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

GREAT THINGS

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 11-12

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

 

The Tomb of Samuel is located atop a steep hill at an elevation of 908 metres above sea level. It is situated to the north of the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ramot. The tomb is in an underground chamber where a small synagogue is located.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 12:23-24

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.

 

Israel now has a king. Samuel is still very much present as the spiritual leader of the people. Prayer “without ceasing” is the most important leadership quality if we want God’s will to be done. David will be king over the united tribes in about 10 years. A Psalm of David indicates his daily preparation to lead as he writes, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up” (Psalm 5:3). Psalm 55:17 tells us that David prayed at “evening, morning and at noon.” There is no record of Saul praying like Samuel and David did. Saul’s reign could’ve been so different.

As a New Testament meditation, let us consider 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18: “Pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks.” This praying continuously is not as difficult as it sounds. It’s based on the knowledge that I am in Christ and He is in me. We are never apart. Therefore, we are to be ever aware of His Presence.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, Your servant Paul wrote, “We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26b). I pray that Your Spirit will constantly pray within me when my conscious mind is occupied in other necessary matters. I believe this happens continuously as Your promise states. In Your Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Finding the will of God through much prayer and being confident that the right decisions are being made has been my biggest challenge. In several World Expos with our Crossroads’ sponsored “Pavilions of Promise” we had to employ what is called “artistic license” in communicating the message on such a world stage. For example, we had male and female ballet dancers play the part of Adam and Eve in Theatre One. I could give other examples from our production that upset some people, but I was convinced that God was pleased. The entertainment values guaranteed that millions of precious souls heard the Gospel in a way they could understand for the first time. In the overall effort at four Expos, we recorded over 100,000 first-time decisions for Christ, with their names, addresses, and telephone numbers. They signed up for a Bible correspondence course and were followed up in their home countries with diligence. One evangelist was very judgmental toward me. He could not find it in his heart to celebrate with me the fact of thousands of people coming to know Christ. It has been my experience that Christians who are successful personal soul winners (not only pulpit evangelists), understand the creative Holy Spirit-inspired variety that it takes to lead people into a personal relationship with Jesus.

Yours for being personal soul winners,

David

P.S. Yesterday I wrote that I would include a video clip of Fr. Bob MacDougall if I was able to locate one. We found a partial interview clip of him from 1980. I’m sorry it’s not longer, but it gives you a good sense of this Jesuit priest’s heart for Jesus…click here.

Ruins surrounding the building that covers the tomb of Samuel.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

NOTE: We apologize for the technical problem we had with yesterday’s blog. If you missed it, click here to read it online.

 

FINDING DONKEYS

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 9-10

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

 

This donkey is employed full-time in Petra, Jordan, helping to transport tourists over the difficult terrain.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 10:9

So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day.

Surprise! “Another heart.” It’s amazing what can happen when we’re looking for donkeys. We may discover that God is up to something in our lives other than donkeys. It’s great comfort to know that God is in charge. He knows the donkeys are fine. He wants to make us “Kings and Priests” (Revelation 1:6). Sometimes He may want us to be burden bearing donkeys. We need “another heart.” We just don’t know when we may be at the start of a brand new adventure in God’s plan for us. Remember it was a donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem (John 12:14-15). If we are available to God, He’ll do the most useful and creative things in our lives. His ways are exciting and also very challenging.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, how often I have been perplexed, frustrated in not finding what I think I’m looking for, when all along You had everything under Your guidance. I pray for a deeper understanding of Your overarching providence, and for a simpler faith in Your promise to “work all things after the counsel of Your will.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I’ve just read all of Ephesians chapter one as my New Testament reading for today. What assurance! (click here).

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, and I’ve been thinking back on a Crossroads/100 Huntley Street outreach to Ireland called, “To Ireland With Love.” Violence was raging between ungodly Protestant and equally ungodly Roman Catholic factions, so we determined to send a team of Christians, RC’s and Protestants, to work with local groups of Christians who were fasting and praying for God to intervene. Fr. Bob MacDougall, a Jesuit priest on our team, was our main preacher in Protestant churches. The churches were packed and hundreds came forward at his invitation to receive Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Not long after those days, the powers of hell were driven back and a time of tranquility and evangelism emerged.

I can’t remember why I was in Winnipeg back in 1976. I may have been “looking for donkeys,” but that was the occasion when I first met Bob MacDougall. He had let it be known amongst the charismatic prayer meetings that he was to perform an exorcism and he wanted a pentecostal Pastor to accompany him. I ended up being that Pastor. Before agreeing to accompany him, he gave me his testimony of personal salvation and I gave him mine. The Lord found a couple of donkeys, Bob and me, and that day, God delivered an immigrant man from Brazil, who had become deeply involved in voodooism. The rest is history. Bob worked with me full-time for 15 years as an Evangelist. He’s in the immediate Presence of the Lord now, but I wanted you to hear him from the past on a video. If I can arrange it in the next couple of days, I’ll provide a link.

Yours for God’s intervention while looking for donkeys,

David

A father and son tending their sheep and goats at Nazareth Village. This village, in modern-day Nazareth, is run by a Christian ministry and it depicts what life was like at the time of Jesus.

 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

CONTENTMENT

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 7-8

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

 

Ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheatre in Bet Guvrin at the Maresha National Park in Israel.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 8:5

…and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”

Throughout history there seems to be a pattern that repeats itself over and over. We don’t learn well from history. There were the sons of Eli, and now the sons of Samuel. In each case the next generation failed to serve the God of their fathers faithfully. Surely they knew the consequences of their actions; nevertheless they failed. There is a strong tendency in us all to act as the popular song says, “I did it my way.” We’ve all heard little children say, “No! I do it!” It is my fervent desire that this daily blog will help us all say, “Yes! God’s way!”
God’s way did not satisfy the majority of the Israelites. He wanted to be their King, and it seemed to work very well for the people. They were prosperous. They were safe from oppression by their enemies all the days when Samuel functioned as their judge, before they had a king. But they were not content. The Scripture says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, may I be given grace every day to be content. You are my King, my absolute Monarch. I want to obey You in all things. I receive my instructions from You. I pray that I will steadfastly resist the pressures to conform to the world around me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

For my personal devotions I’ve just read Romans 8:26-30 and also Romans 11:25-36/ Romans 12:1-2. The answer to the human problem of being faithful to God is here. It takes a positive and a negative charge to release electrical power. So it is with the release of the power of God in my life. Positive – “Be conformed to the image of His Son.” Negative – “Do not be conformed to this world.” Again I think of the electrical analogy. We have a built-in transformer. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Not long ago, as I drove along Burnt Hills road just north of Kingston, an electrical storm was raging. Right in front of me I saw lightening hit a transformer which was up on a pole. Of course, everyone’s lights went out in the area, and power was not restored until the electrical crew arrived to make repairs. There is a storm raging all around, a storm that can knock out my connection to God’s power. I count on God’s power crew, the Word and the Spirit, to be on hand constantly to keep me in complete union with Him.

Yours for a constant flow, without interruption, of God’s power,

David

P.S. Romans 10:1 and 11:26 encourage us to pray with Paul that “Israel” “may be saved.” This is so very important for eternal salvation, but today we should apply our prayers to the nation of Israel. There is an election there!! Pray for God’s will to be done!!!

The view from walking in the tunnels of the amphitheatre ruins in Bet Guvrin at the Maresha National Park in Israel.