Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WITNESSES

Today’s Reading: Acts 1-2

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

 

David's City is part of Jerusalem and is on the south side of the Old City walls.

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

 

Key Verse: Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

 

We may consider Acts 1:8 the key verse, not only for this chapter, but for the entire book of Acts. Here we have Christ’s plan, His command to carry out the plan, and the power to carry out His goal to reach the whole world with the Good News of His salvation. We, as believers in Jesus, can easily be diverted from this first and foremost of Jesus’ instructions. We may be comfortable in our own salvation and cease to be concerned for the salvation of others. We may hide behind excuses such as, “I don’t know enough,” or “I need to understand the Bible better,” and by such means escape our Jesus-given assignment to be witnesses. Jesus told us clearly that all we need to enable us to share the Gospel is the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask Jesus now for the Holy Spirit to come upon all of us who read this blog. Begin to praise Jesus out loud as long as the volume does not offend others, and start witnessing to someone you meet. Remember, just seven weeks earlier, Peter could not witness to a waitress who gave him every opportunity to share his faith in Jesus. The power of the Holy Spirit and a willingness to acknowledge Jesus is all we need.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, John the Baptist said of You, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” That’s me Lord. I’m one of Your believers. I’ll open my mouth, make a sound, and You, Holy Spirit, as Acts 1:4 says, will give me utterance. I trust You to give me words that will communicate with You, Lord God (see 1 Cor. 14:1-6), and communicate Jesus to people. In Jesus’ Name I pray, and keep on praying until I experience Your Holy Spirit’s fullness, Amen! Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My son, David Reynold, chose the picture for today of the City of David, a part of Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit came upon 120 people who were in an upper room just at the top left of the picture. When they could no longer contain this powerful experience, they spilled out onto the streets, no doubt some of them into the City of David. I knew that the Holy Spirit came to live in me when I gave my life to Christ in December of 1951, but it was in June, 1952, that the Holy Spirit came upon me with power to witness. That July, I led a man in a prayer to receive Jesus. That August, I know without a doubt that God called me into “the ministry.” Not long ago, I visited a dying man and witnessed about Jesus. He had proclaimed himself an atheist. Soon after, my friend Jerry told me he visited him in the Kingston, Ontario, hospital just before he died. Jerry asked him about salvation. He said to Jerry, “Tell David not to worry, that’s all taken care of.”

Yours for being available to the Holy Spirit to win someone to Jesus today,

David

P.S. Yesterday we celebrated Jesus’ death and resurrection in the Garden Tomb! Among other places in Jerusalem, we visited St. Ann’s Church, built in the 11th century; it has the most amazing acoustics (click here for a video from yesterday). Thanks to group members Donald and Sheila Persaud for taking the video and for their photos below of the empty tomb (Norma-Jean is with them in the first photo). Thanks to Ron Mainse for adding these to the blog from home back in Canada.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

REFUGE

Today’s Reading: Numbers 35-36 (Tomorrow we start the book of Acts)

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 Convent of Pater Noster is on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. It is located at the site of the ruins of the "Eleona" Basilica, built in the 4th century by Constantine over a cave where, according to tradition, Jesus met with His disciples and taught the "Our Father" ("Pater Noster" in Latin). The walls of this convent are decorated with 140 large ceramic tiles, each one inscribed with the Lord's Prayer in a different language.

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

Key Verses Numbers 35:11 & 35:34

…then you shall appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there…Therefore do not defile the land which you inhabit, in which I dwell; for I the Lord dwell among the children of Israel.

 

Moses provided for a fair trial for the crime of manslaughter, or accidentally killing a person. Capital punishment by execution for murder was within the powers assigned to the state. All of us need a place of refuge. Jesus and His disciples are thought to have used the cave under the convent pictured above as their place of refuge from the misguided religious authorities. We also have a place of refuge! (Hebrews 6:17-20) Thank you, Reynold, for great photos!

After we complete the Book of Acts, we will read in the next Hebrew books that the people again and again defiled the land. Before we judge them too harshly, we need to look at our own lives. Are we defiling the place where God lives? We should live in a state of repentance, a godly sorrow for sin, so that we are constantly cleansed from sin. First John 1:7b tells us, “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I run daily into You for refuge. Keep me dwelling in You constantly, because in You is protection and Salvation. Dear Jesus, You promised that, as I have invited You into my heart, that You would live in me. I need constant cleaning so that Your dwelling place will not be defiled. Today I’m praying Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus (click Ephesians 3:14-21). Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My thoughts today go back to Monday when we visited Yad Vashem, the memorial to the most tragic betrayal of humanity in human history, the Holocaust, where at least 6,000,000 of God’s ancient people, the Jews, were murdered. As is my custom, I stopped to meditate at the tree planted in honour of the heroine of the Netherlands, Corrie Ten Boom, who provided jews with a place of refuge during WWII. Jason Patterson, my grandson-in-law, took the pictures below. Corrie’s original tree died the year she went to be with the Lord, and they planted a new tree as you can see. The book and movie “The Hiding Place” is her story. Norma-Jean and I, on a visit to Holland, crept into that hiding place and sat there for a time. We imagined what it would be like for Corrie to hurry Jews into that place to hide them from the Nazis. Corrie, her father and sister were arrested and taken to a death camp. She managed to survive but not her family members. It was a great honour to introduce Corrie to our Canadian television viewers several times in the sixties and seventies. She had never been on TV before, and her childlike approach to explaining the Gospel amazed me. I learned great lessons from her. One time she put on a clear plastic glove and said, “Jesus is like my hand, and the glove is all I want to be seen of me.” I wept openly.

Yours with the prayer to be more like Jesus and Corrie,

David

P.S. Think about it as you meditate on the pictures below and listen to a short message from Corrie about forgiveness (click here).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honoured to walk through the pages of Scripture with Dad and you,

Ron

Monday, November 24, 2014

THE PROMISED LAND

Today’s Reading: Numbers 33-34

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 Dead Sea road follows the contour of the rugged terrain.

 

Key Verse: Numbers 33:53b

…for I have given you the land to possess.

Yesterday, Reynold’s photograph was of “The Great Sea,” the Mediterranean. Today it’s of “The Salt Sea,” or the Dead Sea. Both Seas are mentioned twice in our reading. “The Sea of Chinneret,” known now as the Sea of Galilee, is referred to once. Geography is obviously important to God. The 1948 miracle of the establishment of Israel as a sovereign nation for the first time in over 2,000 years, and the introduction of Hebrew as a language of daily life for the first time in over 2,500 years, has never happened to any people group before in human history. Israel is now on the land promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob 4,000 years ago.  Israel is surrounded by 22 countries which are hostile to its very existence. These countries have 640 times Israel’s land mass and 60 times her population, and they have all the oil that we know about in the Middle East. Was Israel pushed into the sea as Egypt’s Nasser said? Will it be wiped off the map as Iran’s Ahmadinejad said? Keep reading the Bible. Watch and pray. We’ll soon discover the answer to that question.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for insight in my understanding of ancient and modern Israel. Help me in as few words as possible to communicate Your heart to others. May I think Your thoughts after You. As Samuel said to You, Lord, I say also: “Speak, for Your servant hears.” Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

You may want to join me in reading the story of God speaking to Samuel (1 Samuel chapter 3). I’m typing this in Jerusalem, Israel. Here’s a speech from a while back by our Canadian Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper. It is, in my judgment, a message which the whole world needs to hear (click here to watch the speech). Yesterday’s “100 PERSONAL WORDS” was very much over my 100 word goal, so I’ll stop here.

Yours with the prayer that I’ll be a help and not a hindrance,

David

Sunday, November 23, 2014

BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION

Today’s Reading: Numbers 32

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 beach and distant ruins of Caesarea Maritima.

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

Key Verse: Numbers 32:23

But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sins will find you out.

 

Two messages grip my mind as I read this chapter. The first has to do with a statement my mother drummed into me when I was a boy. She died when I was 12, and her warnings were reinforced as I would think about her. Many times she said, “David, be sure your sins will find you out.” She never gave a Bible reference, but I was afraid to sin, and I never could cover it up when I did sin (click here for the stolen apple story from an earlier blog). Our key verse is her Scripture source (Numbers 32:23b). The other message is from Genesis 4:9b, where Cain asks God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The tribes who wanted to settle on the east side of the Jordan promised Moses that they would be their brothers’ keepers. Our elder Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ, has promised to be our Keeper (Psalm 121:4 & Jude 1:24).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Dear Lord God, please keep using Your Word to keep me living right. Thank You for parents who implant Scripture so deeply into their children that Your Word will never be extracted from their innermost being. Help me in my commitment to help keep my brothers and sisters from harm, from sin, and from Satan’s lies. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I witnessed the truth of Mother’s words about sin finding me out after my Father returned from overseas, where he spent six years during the Second World War. He had a “razor strap.” For the younger generation, that was not a razor, it was the leather belt on which he would run his straight razor back and forth until it was sharp. He would lather up his face with soap, and then proceed to move the sharpened blade back and forth across his face and neck. It was an awesome sight for an 8 year old who had been raised for 6 years by 3 women…mother and two older sisters (Willa, 8 years older, and Elaine, 6 years older). Believe me, it wasn’t the razor which made it scary when my sin found me out; it was the leather strap. I only remember getting the strap on each of my two hands once. That was enough. I told myself, “Never again!” It was not only legal to discipline in this way, but in the government, the Department of Education supplied every teacher with a strap for this very purpose. I’m a witness to the fact that miracles in changed behaviour resulted immediately!

Yours for behaviour improvement in us all,

David

P.S. I came down with the flu on Friday and spent most of the day yesterday in my Jerusalem hotel bed. As you can see I identified with King David of whom it was said in the old English, “He gat no heat.” My hoodie was just what I needed (see first photo below). I feel much better today and we plan to walk around old Jerusalem. The second photo below is our group on the Mount of Olives, and I’m pointing toward the beautiful view of Jerusalem.

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.