Friday, February 24, 2017

WINNING THE PRIZE

Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 8-9

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 a main street in Ancient Corinth.

Ruins of a main street in Ancient Corinth.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 9:22

…to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

 

Paul’s commitment, his personal discipline, his work schedule, and the way he lived his life are all described in our key verse. The motivation, “that I might by all means save some,” is all consuming. Yes, he’s very human also. His statement about Cephas (Peter) bringing along his wife may have been evidence that for brief moments he felt sorry for himself (9:5). Nevertheless, Paul persevered with a godly stubbornness that refused to pander to his personal pleasures. The same could be said about his financial resources. He worked long hours making tents to support himself here in Corinth. He makes the point that he had every right to be supported by the offerings of the believers, but that for his own reasons, chose not to accept money from them for personal use. Just in case some would make a mandatory practice of this, remember that Jesus and the twelve accepted donations for their support (Luke 8:3). Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and many others provided for Jesus from their substance. Paul, himself, declared in 9:14 that those who preach the Gospel should live from the Gospel. However, Paul made a personal choice to support himself by his trade. I’m sure this added exclamation points (!!!) to his message and to the way these rough, tough people of Corinth opened their hearts to Paul’s preaching.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, May I be given grace to “become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” I pray in the Name of the One who did this completely, the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen!!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When Jesus left Nazareth, He may have set up a carpenter shop in Capernaum. From time to time, in order to care for my family, I’ve worked extra jobs to provide necessary funds. For some reason one of my efforts comes to mind. I hope I don’t offend anyone, but I would drive to one of the many lakes in the area of Northern Ontario, catch bull frogs, and ship them overnight by train to a Montreal restaurant for their menu of frog’s legs the next day! There are several other initiatives I took in order to have the funds to stay in ministry, preaching the Gospel.

In this blog, I’m like a child colouring in the pictures of a colouring book. My sons, Reynold and Ron, both ordained ministers, create the framework and outlines in which I “colour.” Reynold is a missionary in Africa with World Embrace, as well as a professional photographer. He spent three months in Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, and Italy to shoot the photos for this blog. Ron is President of Heart to Heart Marriage & Family Ministries.

Yours to “by all means save some,” hopefully by being “winsome,”

David

The Bible is opened to 1st Corinthians in front of the Temple of Apollo in ancient Corinth.

The Bible is opened to 1st Corinthians in front of the Temple of Apollo in ancient Corinth.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

HUSBANDS, WIVES AND THE “IMPREGNABLE ROCK”

Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 7

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

 

The Bible is featured in front of the Temple of Apollo in ancient Corinth. My son put it there. I think he had the right idea. The ancient temples are in ruins, but as Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words will by no means pass away" Matthew 24:35.

The Bible is featured in front of the Temple of Apollo in ancient Corinth. My son put it there. I think he had the right idea. The ancient temples are in ruins, but as Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words will by no means pass away” Matthew 24:35.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 7:3 responding

Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

 

The first verse of today’s reading tells us that 1st Corinthians is the answer to a letter from believers in the church there. Paul is responding, not dogmatically, not claiming every word is from God, but as a caring counselor. We may want to reread verses 6,12, 25, and 40. Notice statements such as, “I say this as a concession,” and, “But to the rest I, not the Lord say:” “Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord.” “I think I also have the Spirit of God.” This letter is “The Word of God,” not in the sense that God spoke directly here, but in the sense that it is an accurate record of Paul’s best advice as the one who had led many of these very people to Christ in the first place. In the city of Corinth there were approximately 800,000 precious souls. Many of them may have messed up in their marriages. Those tabloids with horror stories of messed up marriages found at the checkout counter would’ve had big sales there. To all, Jesus says, “Come to Me” (Matthew 11:25-30).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Dear Jesus, I come to You, as the old invitation song says, “Without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bidst me come to Thee. O Lamb of God, I come.” I’d love to hear those words sung again (click here). Help me to pay attention to Paul’s advice, even if he does not claim it’s directly from You. Help me to listen carefully to my Pastor also. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I must not make the mistake of thinking all Paul writes is in the personal thoughts category. Almost all he writes is distilled from the Word of God Himself in the book that Paul knows so well, the scrolls of his Hebrew Bible. Paul was educated in the most prestigious rabbinical school of his time. He writes 99.9% of the time with the full apostolic authority of God, Himself. No doubt he had memorized huge portions of God’s Word. Paul’s main teacher was Gamaliel, grandson of Hillel. Hillel is, to this day, perhaps the most respected teacher in all of Judaism.

Some may remember that after I stepped aside as leader of the Crossroads ministry, I was given the title by the Board, “Minister of Social Concerns.” Paul was obviously carrying the “Social Concerns” portfolio here in chapter seven. In this role, I’ve participated in debates, appeared before government committees, etc. I’ve also sought to encourage the strengthening of Canada’s social safety net. I’ve tried to stay above politics and concentrate on the moral principles that should guide us to a better, more caring society. I’ve tried to avoid stepping into the quicksand of situational ethics, keeping my feet firmly planted on what the former British P.M. Gladstone (who negotiated with Canadians on our non-violent separation from Great Britain) called, “The impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture.” In fact, Gladstone sponsored three tours of his country by the American Evangelist D.L.Moody.

Yours from someone who aims at 100 words, but rarely succeeds,

David

Ruins and pieces of pillars can be seen at the Temple of Apollo in old Corinth.

Ruins and pieces of pillars can be seen at the Temple of Apollo in old Corinth.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SEXUAL MORALITY

Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 5-6

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

 

Corinth was an important city in ancient Greece and it played a major role in the missionary work of the Apostle Paul. Seen behind the Temple of Apollo is the steep mountain of the Acrocorinth. On top is the fortified citadel of ancient and medieval Corinth (see David Reynold's picture below). It is the most important fortification work in the area from antiquity until the Greek War of Independence in 1821. The mountain is 575 metres high and its walls are almost 2,000 metres in length. At the highest summit was the Temple of Aphrodite, where prostitution was a prominent part of the worship of the goddess.

Corinth was an important city in ancient Greece and it played a major role in the missionary work of the Apostle Paul. Seen behind the Temple of Apollo is the steep mountain of the Acrocorinth. On top is the fortified citadel of ancient and medieval Corinth (see David Reynold’s picture below). It is the most important fortification work in the area from antiquity until the Greek War of Independence in 1821. The mountain is 575 metres high and its walls are almost 2,000 metres in length. At the highest summit was the Temple of Aphrodite, where prostitution was a prominent part of the worship of the goddess.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 6:11

And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

 

The Amish call the practice of separating a person from the congregation, “shunning.” Paul, in 5:11-13, gives a list of those who are to be set aside from participating in the congregation. There is another list in 6:8-10. The leaders of the church in Corinth had written to Paul, who had founded their church, to ask him for his guidance in handling these most difficult matters (7:1). Why would Paul be so strict? The answer is found in 5:6-8. If we can find the time, we might do well to reread the words in the references listed here. Leaven, or yeast, will cause the bread to rise well above the pan, unless checked by the heat of baking. Unchecked, it can make quite a mess. Sin, unless checked, will eventually infect the whole loaf, the church, the family, the individual life, and even the life of our country. The role of government is to stop evil from spreading out of control. More about that tomorrow. We might want to pray for a turn-around in the health of huge numbers of people infected by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Sexual promiscuity is the root cause of this modern epidemic. May God help us to be faithful to one man, one woman marriage, or else remain chaste as a single person.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I’m well aware that sin is not just those actions mentioned in Paul’s lists. I often think of Your Word that says, “To know to do good and to not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). Anything less than Your perfect plan for the human family is sin. Therefore, I have no problem agreeing with the Apostle John in 1 John 1:8-9. Thus, I ask for Your constant forgiveness and Your cleansing action in my life. In Your Holy Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When I was a very young minister, my hero in the ministry, Tom Johnstone, shocked me with this story. He was a Pastor in Montreal when he discovered one of the prominent men in his church was unfaithful to his wife. Here’s what happened! Pastor Johnstone, a one-time boxer, took this man by the lapels of his suit coat and said, “With the spiritual authority God has given me as your Pastor, I now deliver you unto Satan for the destruction of your flesh, so that your spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (5:5). The man fell to his knees, repented before God and his Pastor, and later to his wife, and the woman with whom he had committed this sin. God forgave him and so did his wife. That family was restored. His flesh was destroyed in that he, by his godly sorrow, identified with Christ in death. In Galatians 2:20 Paul writes, “I am crucified with Christ.” In Romans 6:11, Paul writes, “Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I’ve never been brave enough to do what Tom Johnstone did, but I’ve seen the same results in a number of wayward men. I’ve knelt beside them and prayed fervently for the gift of repentance, and for the power of God to deliver them from evil. I know God answers prayer. AMEN!!!!!

Yours for living right before God and people,

David

A view from the entrance to the top of the Acropolis Hill (Acrocorinth).

A view from the entrance to the top of the Acropolis Hill (Acrocorinth).

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

“CONSISTENCY, THOU ART A RARE JEWEL.”

Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 3-4

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

 

The Corinth Canal is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island. The builders dug the canal through the Isthmus at sea level; no locks are employed. It is 6.4 kilometres (4 miles) in length and only 21.3 metres (70 feet) wide at its base, making it impassable for most modern ships. It now has little economic importance. The canal was envisioned in classical times and an initial effort was made to build it in the 1st century AD, but the project was aborted. Construction finally got underway in 1881 and was completed in 1893.

The Corinth Canal connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island. The builders dug the canal through the Isthmus at sea level; no locks are employed. It is 6.4 kilometres (4 miles) in length and only 21.3 metres (70 feet) wide at its base, making it impassable for most modern ships. It now has little economic importance. The canal was envisioned in classical times and an initial effort was made to build it in the 1st century AD, but the project was aborted. Construction finally got underway in 1881 and was completed in 1893.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 3:1, 3

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ…for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

 

“Behaving like mere men?” Jesus said to Peter, “You are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:23). A paraphrase of that is, “You think like men think and not as God thinks.” God’s Word is the expression of His thoughts. In order to think and behave as God would think and act, it is of ultimate importance to stay consistent in reading and meditating on God’s Word. God has called and equipped pastor/teacher servants and put them in the pulpits of our local churches. We need this ministry gift. God put these people in our home congregations. Some of us unwisely run after big name ministers, or even think we can grow in our Christian life without the local church. If we think that, we’re wrong, and we, our families and friends will suffer negative consequences.

As I think on today’s reading, it occurs to me that indeed, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Paul’s pen penetrates deeply into our innermost beings. The church of Corinth provides an understanding into what eventually became our many denominational divisions. Paul’s has cut away (ouch!) at our careless attitudes toward those things that are harmful to the temple (our bodies) in which we live… overeating, smoking, etc, etc, and laziness or failure to work. All things which harm us are dealt with. It may be repentance time right now!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Allow me this personal prayer today…

Lord God, I repent of my laziness. Recently, I’ve twice slept beyond my early morning prayer time. Please help me as I grow older, and have certain physical challenges, to remain faithful to the disciplines to which You’ve called me. I can’t do this on my own. I need Your supernatural strength 24/7. I believe with all my heart, mind and soul that You will impart Your grace to me at all times. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Several years ago, one of my fellow ministers introduced me to a book by Campbell McAlpine called, Alone with God. The author points out that our spiritual maturity is determined by the answer to this question, “How well do I know God?” He goes on to ask, “Do you believe your spiritual growth is commensurate with the time you’ve known God? Have you neglected the means of growth? What adjustments do you believe are necessary in your life to correct this?” I received a call from a person who is reading through the Bible with the 100words reading pattern. She said that she had read through the entire Bible once before, but could not remember reading of the horrible crimes recorded in the last chapters of Judges. My response was that in an attempt to read quickly, our eyes often glaze over and our minds go into neutral. Thus the extreme importance of a well-ordered reading schedule. The two-year program will make sure that we don’t miss anything and that our minds will stay sharp each reading time.

Yours for finding that rare jewel, according to Shakespeare, “CONSISTENCY,”

David

A ship travels through the Corinth Canal.

A ship travels through the Corinth Canal.

Monday, February 20, 2017

THE ESSENTIAL MESSAGE

Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 1-2

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

 

Here is the view of Athens from the Acropolis down towards the ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

Here is the view of Athens from the Acropolis down towards the ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 2:1, 4

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God…And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

 

Athens, where Paul preached his famous sermon on Mars Hill, was very different from Corinth. In Athens, he did use “excellence of speech” as he debated the philosophers (Acts 17:16-34). In today’s reading Paul has moved about 40 miles south to the largest city of Greece, Corinth. Athens was the intellectual centre. Corinth was the commercial centre. Because of its location on a very narrow strip of land between the Adriatic and Aegean Seas, almost all shipping to the eastern regions of the Roman Empire passed through Corinth in order to avoid the dangerous trip around the southern peninsula. A canal was dug in 1893 for the ships, but back in the first century A.D. it took at least a week to haul the ships on rails or great wagons up and over to the opposite Sea. Meanwhile thousands of sailors, government officials, military personnel, businessmen, etc. would have a week of leisure. Paul, who financed his mission here by making tents, would’ve had no trouble selling everything he made to accommodate the travelers. It has been estimated that there were at least 5,000 prostitutes in Corinth.

I wrote the above in order to set the stage for Paul’s ministry, which will unfold for us as we continue over the next few days to read and consider these two letters from Paul to Corinth. The intellectual discourse of Athens would not get a hearing there. Demonstration of the Spirit and of power was absolutely essential in order to get anyone’s attention for the preaching of the Gospel. I’m way over 100 words….sorry.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, just as Paul had to understand the cities in which he communicated Your message, help me to understand the people and places where I live and witness for You. Please show me when and how to make Your case for believing in You. In Your Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Back in the 60’s and 70’s I read the Bible from cover to cover once a year, three chapters a day and five on Sunday. I encouraged others to do the same. Our ministry published study guides which were ordered by readers in advance. I discovered that by the time we reached Joshua, almost 80% of those who started with me had dropped out. In the 80’s and 90’s I moved our readings to two years through the Bible, moving from the Hebrew Scripture to the Greek, with alternate books for variety and balance between the Old and New Testaments. Approximately 80% of those who started with me in the new reading program ordered the materials and completed the entire Bible. These publications are out of print now, so I’ve moved into the brave new world of cyberspace just for you!!!

Yours for God’s gift of sanctified stubbornness in not giving up,

David

These are the ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens. The Temple construction began in the 6th century BC.

These are the ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens. The Temple construction began in the 6th century BC.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

KIDNAPPED

Today’s Reading: Judges 21

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

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

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

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

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

David

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

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

Saturday, February 18, 2017

DAN TO BEERSHEBA

Today’s Reading: Judges 20

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

 

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

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

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 20:20a

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

 

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

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

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

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

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

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

Yours for living and loving,

David

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

February 18, 2015 - extra

 

 

Friday, February 17, 2017

SPEAK UP

Today’s Reading: Judges 19

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

 

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

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

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 19:22

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

 

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

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

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

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

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

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

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

Yours for understanding fully God’s purposes some day,

David

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

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

Inside Station #7 of the Via Dolorosa.

Inside Station #7 of the Via Dolorosa.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

NO OTHER GODS

Today’s Reading: Judges 17-18

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

 

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

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 17:6

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

 

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

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

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

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

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

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

David

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

RESTORATION

Today’s Reading: Judges 16

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

 

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

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 16:20

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

 

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

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

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

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

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

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

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

Yours in celebration of God’s unfailing love,

David

Further excavations in ancient Lachish reveal many rooms.