Monday, August 7, 2017

A FEAST

Today’s Reading: Esther 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).

 

A meal is prepared in first century style at Nazareth Village in Nazareth. The feast Esther prepared for the King and Haman would have had more expensive tableware, but was probably not any more delicious.

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

 

Key Verses: Esther 8:3

Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews.

 

In today’s reading, the Jews of the entire Persian Empire are still under the decree of Death. Unless the order of the King was modified in some way, every Jew would die. As a result of the intercession of Esther, a new decree went out. Jews were to defend themselves against attack. Not only were the Jews saved, but it became so attractive to be a Jew that Esther 8:17b tells us that many Persians were converted to Judaism. The Feast of Purim was established to celebrate the deliverance of the Jews from destruction. This feast is celebrated to this day.

Think of all that can be accomplished if we, like Esther, refuse to put ourselves first, refuse to play it safe, and refuse to hide our true identity as God’s people. We have the opportunity and obligation to intercede, not with an Ahasuerus, but with the God of the Universe. He desires only the best for us, but He has limited Himself to acting on our behalf in response to our prayers. James 5:16 says, “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man (this includes women) avails much.” His sceptre is extended to us. Scripture urges us to “Come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I come before You now. Thank You that in Your great love and mercy, You have extended the invitation to come to You. I am here in Your presence. Once again I ask for Your help. This is a time of need! People are about to perish without Your direct intervention. I come in the Name of the One who “ever lives to make intercession for them,” Jesus, our High Priest. I pray that I will share today the greatest possible help anyone can ever receive. John 1:12 is Your promise, Lord (read John 1:9-18). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

On pages 166 to 171 of my recently published book, This Far by Faith, there is a story of intercession on behalf of Elena, a little Russian girl who is now my granddaughter. I don’t have the space to tell the story here, but let me assure you that it is one of the most powerful stories you’ll ever read (below is a photo from the book). If you haven’t already, please consider ordering my book. You can call Crossroads to check on its availability at 1-800-265-3100.

As was the case in Persia, government officials can be turned around. The story of Elena is a particular miracle of God, as in the communist system, everyone was, at one time, a government employee. A statement I’ve picked up somewhere throughout my life is, “We need to attempt things for God so humanly impossible that they will surely fail if God is not in them.” My practice is to pray fervently, then move forward boldly into something that seems impossible. If God desires what I desire, He will go before me, and “with God all things are possible” (Jesus – Matthew 19:26). My book illustrates this truth. Please get your very own copy.

Yours for bold intercession at God’s throne of grace,

David

P.S. Coming up, August 31st, is the financial year end for Crossroads/100 Huntley Street, and we all need to help the ministry finish strongly! Our CEO, Lorna Dueck, needs our prayers and support right now… and YOU can help! Here is an important message from Lorna which I’ll repeat often this month on my blog…

This has been a remarkable year at 100 Huntley Street with a growing audience on TV and an exploding audience on the web through our website, social media platforms and on You Tube (where we now reach almost 1 million views every month).  It’s also looking like a turnaround year financially because we’re SO CLOSE to finishing our fiscal year (August 31) with a balanced budget…the first time in six years!  Lots of hard work, cost-cutting, financial restraint and generous donors who believe in this ministry have made this goal achievable. We have exciting, new plans in mind for our new media mission year that begins in September.  I’m so committed that Crossroads be Canada’s “megaphone of the Gospel”…and we will not be silent about how Jesus can change lives… Jesus alone offers hope! Your donation today will make a difference in many lives.  – Lorna            

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A SPECIAL YEAR-END GIFT TO HELP US BALANCE THE BUDGET AND YOUR DONATION WILL BE MATCHED THROUGH A SPECIAL $10,000 CHALLENGE GRANT! YOU CAN ALSO CALL 1-800-265-3100 TO DONATE BY PHONE.

Elena at age six meeting my daughter Elaine in a Russian orphanage.

Elena at age six in a Russian orphanage meeting my daughter Elaine for the first time. Today, Elena is a wife and mother of her own little girl!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

HONOUR AND DISHONOUR

Today’s Reading: Esther 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).

 

A horse grazing among the ruins of ancient Jerash in Jordan. Jerash was a Greco-Roman city located 80 miles north of Amman, the capital of the modern kingdom of Jordan, near the place where Gideon and his 300 crossed over Jordan.

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

 

Key Verses: Esther 5:13, 6:1

Yet all this avails me nothing as long as I see Mordecai, the Jew, sitting at the king’s gate…That night the king could not sleep. So he commanded to bring the book of the records of the chronicles, and they were read before the king.

 

“Great riches,” “multitude of children,” “promotion and advancement,” and the Queen’s invitation to dinner were meaningless to Haman because of his wounded ego. When this world’s gain is all we have, the least thing that goes wrong can spoil it all. Scripture teaches, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (read 1 Timothy 6:3-11).

A couple of movies have been made in recent years on “Esther” (click here for one, and here to watch another). It would be humorous if it was not so tragic, that Haman gets his just desserts when he has to do for the Jew what he thought was the honour he, himself, deserved. We cannot miss the protecting hand of God on his servant Mordecai. Haman, at the suggestion of his wife, built a gallows so high that everyone in the capital city could see who was hanged on it. Haman was hung on his own gallows. What are we building in our lives? Is it on a foundation of truth and a structure of love and righteousness, or is it a gallows on which we ourselves will be hung?

Let us meditate on Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” These words would not be written by Paul for another 540 years, but Mordecai knew the truth of this promise from God. Amen!!! Probably Mordecai knew the truth of God’s promise to Samuel, the prophet of God, written at least 500 years before, “Those who honour Me, I will honour” (1 Samuel 2:30b).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, You promised that if I acknowledge You (know who You are and recognize You), You will direct my paths (Proverbs 3:6). I pray that I will fully embrace Your promises and know without doubting that You keep Your promises. Thank You for this amazing grace! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Proverbs 3:5-6 are Norma-Jean’s life verses. Among the songs she has written, she has put some verses of Scripture to music. Below is her sheet music for that song “He Shall Direct Thy Paths.”

On my way to the church where Norma-Jean and I were married (now a French Roman Catholic Church where I have brought the message to the R.C.s in French), I prayed, “Lord if this marriage is not Your perfect will, You can still stop it.” I surely did not want it stopped, but my understanding of the promise of God’s direction is that I must be willing for Him to intervene and change my direction. I’ve experienced His intervention to stop my intentions several times. I have the gas pedal and the brakes of my life under my control, but I take my hands off the steering wheel, trusting Him to steer my life. Is that good advice or not? If I happen to see Mordecai sometime in the eternal future, I’ll ask him what he thinks!

Yours for God’s overruling guidance based on our willingness for Him to be in control of our destinies,

David

P.S. Coming up, August 31st, is the financial year end for Crossroads/100 Huntley Street, and we all need to help the ministry finish strongly! Our CEO, Lorna Dueck, needs our prayers and support right now… and YOU can help! Here is an important message from Lorna which I’ll repeat often this month on my blog…

This has been a remarkable year at 100 Huntley Street with a growing audience on TV and an exploding audience on the web through our website, social media platforms and on You Tube (where we now reach almost 1 million views every month).  It’s also looking like a turnaround year financially because we’re SO CLOSE to finishing our fiscal year (August 31) with a balanced budget…the first time in six years!  Lots of hard work, cost-cutting, financial restraint and generous donors who believe in this ministry have made this goal achievable. We have exciting, new plans in mind for our new media mission year that begins in September.  I’m so committed that Crossroads be Canada’s “megaphone of the Gospel”…and we will not be silent about how Jesus can change lives… Jesus alone offers hope! Your donation today will make a difference in many lives.  – Lorna            

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A SPECIAL YEAR-END GIFT TO HELP US BALANCE THE BUDGET AND YOUR DONATION WILL BE MATCHED THROUGH A SPECIAL $10,000 CHALLENGE GRANT! YOU CAN ALSO CALL 1-800-265-3100 TO DONATE BY PHONE.

P.P.S. Below is the published sheet music of Norma-Jean’s song that I referred to above. Click on the images to enlarge them (and print, if you wish).

Saturday, August 5, 2017

GOD’S PLAN

Today’s Reading: Esther 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).

 

Herodium is next door to Bethlehem, and is just south of Jerusalem. Its summit is 2,460 feet above sea level. Herod built or re-built eleven fortresses. This one he constructed on the location of his victory over Antigonus in 40 BC. Constructed over a pre-existing hill, the Herodium was a fortress to which Herod could quickly flee from Jerusalem. He chose to be buried here and the mountain is in the shape of a tumulus (a burial mound). Herod’s tomb was discovered by archaeologist Ehud Netzer in 2007. This illustrates the immense ego of the ancient monarchs such as Ahasuerus of Persia featured in today’s reading.

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

 

Key Verses: Esther 3:2b

But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage.

 

Mordecai, a Jew who did not return with Ezra to Jerusalem, was a man with steel down his backbone. He would not bow or pay homage to the second in command of the Persian Empire, Haman. Homage is a form of worship, and to give this to anyone other than God would have been a form of idolatry. Because of this one man, Mordecai, and one woman, Esther, one of the greatest turn-arounds in Israel’s history took place.

We are not suggesting that every act of civil disobedience is blessed of God, nor are we suggesting that we should make a great show of our dedication to the will and purposes of God, but we do suggest that everyone of us should learn to personally relate to God in such obedience and dedication that we care little about the consequences which may follow. The often-quoted words of Mordecai to Esther, “Who knows but that you were brought to the kingdom for such a time as this,” could apply to each one of us.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I bow before You! I pay homage to You! You alone are worthy of my worship! I pray that I will find and fulfill Your purpose for me, the very reason that I was born and placed in Your Kingdom at this particular time. I ask this in the Name of the One Whom You sent to this earth and Who fulfilled His purpose, bringing salvation, not just to His own people, the Jews, but also to the whole world, Jesus, the Messiah. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In the mid 1950’s I had the privilege to teach in an Ontario public school. One Jewish girl in my class was named Sandra Levine. I’ve often wondered where she is today and what has become of her. Sandra was a beautiful child of about eleven years old. Her Dad and Mom owned and operated a local grocery store. I spent hours with her father playing chess and often talking about the Scriptures. The reason I’m telling this story is because in those days public school teachers were required by the Provincial Department of Education to teach a weekly Bible lesson. On one occasion I dramatized the story of Esther and featured Sandra as the Jewish Queen of Persia. I think she felt honoured by my efforts. I loved telling Bible stories and still do, as is shown in this daily blog.

May I ask a favour of every reader? Please send my blog on to someone else and ask that we all work together to build the readership to greater numbers. I was told the other day that over 5,000 people have signed up for daily e-mails, besides those who simply go into the 100words.ca website. Let’s go for 50,000 signed up for the daily e-mails. Let’s see… that would mean that each reader would try to find 10 new readers. The reason I ask this is not because of me, but because of the benefits, now and throughout eternity, that will accrue to every faithful reader of God’s Word.

Yours for recognizing that we are here “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14b),

David

P.S. I know I’m terribly biased, but I think Norma-Jean is beautiful like Queen Esther. A few years ago we were leading a tour group on a Nile River cruise, and one evening Norma-Jean dressed up in an Egyptian outfit. In my eyes, Cleopatra could not have been more beautiful (see photo below). In the city of Sudbury, in northern Ontario, some people in our congregation called Norma-Jean, the Queen of the Parsonage!

Friday, August 4, 2017

 A STAR

Today’s Reading: Esther 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).

 

Located about 200 metres inside Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate is Christ Church. It is the oldest Protestant Church in the Middle East. It was completed in 1849 and soon after became known as the “Jewish Protestant Church.” My son chose this photograph for today’s reading because of the “Star” in the sky.

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

 

Key Verses: Esther 2:7

And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

 

Esther’s name means “Star” in the Persian language. Ahasuerus is the Hebrew name for Xerses, King of Persia (modern day Iran). The historian Herodotus refers to the six month long banquet (of today’s reading) as the occasion of Xerxes’ planning for the expansion of his empire into Europe. Persia was defeated in a sea battle just off the coast of Greece (479 BC). Xerxes then headed home where he sought a new Queen. A few days ago we were reading from the book of Ezra. The story of Esther fits between chapters 7 & 8 of Ezra. Xerxes is called Artaxerxes in Ezra.

God chose an orphan girl, raised by her closest relative, Mordecai, to save His ancient people from a holocaust which would have otherwise destroyed the Jewish people. God had long-term plans for the Jews, which continue to this day. God also has plans to bless all of us too, as long as we, like Mordecai and Esther, co-operate with His plans by our own free will. Like Esther, we may not comprehend what God is doing at the present time, but as we are faithful, someday we will look back and we will see that God was at work.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that all the plans You have for me will be accomplished as I am faithful to read Your word and pray every day. You have said that You desire to give me “a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11-13). I believe You are at work in me and in the lives and circumstances around me. I ask these mercies in Jesus’ Name, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve stood on the eastern shore of the Ionian Sea at Salamis, between Athens and Corinth, and imagined the defeat of Xerxes’ mighty naval armada by the smaller and faster Greek ships who set the Persian vessels on fire and forced them to retreat. Xerxes never had a chance to land his army on the shores of Europe. Several years later, the Greek emperor conquered Persia and a new Empire arose under Alexander the Great.

Norma-Jean, my wife of almost 59 years, won’t read this until it’s too late to keep me from telling this story, so here goes… People would often comment about her lovely dresses, and I wouldn’t tell where she purchased her changes of wardrobe. It was at the Hadassah Bazzar (“Hadassah” is Esther’s Hebrew name). This Jewish women’s organization, named with Esther’s Hebrew name, would sell slightly used clothes at an annual event. Norma-Jean never wanted to miss the great deals at the annual sale. Years later, in the year 2000, our youngest grandson, Nathaniel Shaheen, was born in the “Hadassah” Hospital in Jerusalem (pictures below). The hospital is one of the projects supported by the Jewish women’s organization in Canada. Norma-Jean always looked great in those dresses as she would often sing on national TV. A Jerusalem hospital was helped a little bit by Norma-Jean’s purchases!

Yours for being like Mordecai and Esther (Hadassah), at the right place and at the right time, so that God’s will may be done “on earth as it is in Heaven,”

David

P.S. Coming up, August 31st, is the financial year end for Crossroads/100 Huntley Street, and we all need to help the ministry finish strongly! Our CEO, Lorna Dueck, needs our prayers and support right now…and YOU can help! Here is an important message from Lorna which I’ll repeat often this month on my blog…

This has been a remarkable year at 100 Huntley Street with a growing audience on TV and an exploding audience on the web through our website, social media platforms and on You Tube (where we now reach almost 1 million views every month).  It’s also looking like a turnaround year financially because we’re SO CLOSE to finishing our fiscal year (August 31) with a balanced budget…the first time in six years!  Lots of hard work, cost-cutting, financial restraint and generous donors who believe in this ministry have made this goal achievable. We have exciting, new plans in mind for our new media mission year that begins in September.  I’m so committed that Crossroads be Canada’s “megaphone of the Gospel”…and we will not be silent about how Jesus can change lives… Jesus alone offers hope! Your donation today will make a difference in many lives.  – Lorna            

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A SPECIAL YEAR-END GIFT TO HELP US BALANCE THE BUDGET AND YOUR DONATION WILL BE MATCHED THROUGH A SPECIAL $10,000 CHALLENGE GRANT! YOU CAN ALSO CALL 1-800-265-3100 TO DONATE BY PHONE.

IMG_0001

My grandson, Nathaniel Shaheen, born November 23, 2000 in the Hadassah (Esther) hospital, Jerusalem.

Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem

Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, where Nathaniel Shaheen was born.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

“PUT” and “LET”

Today’s Reading: Colossians 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 Garden Tomb in Jerusalem is believed by some to be the burial place of Jesus (but only temporarily). HALLELUJAH!!! At some point in history the door was enlarged and in so-doing they must have broken out the rock wall between the entrance and the window.  Also, notice the groove where a large circular stone could have been rolled back and forth. The rolling stone from this tomb is missing, but there is another tomb near Mt. Carmel that has a stone which would fit in this groove.

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

 

Key Verses: Colossians 3:14-15

But above all these things PUT on love, which is the bond of perfection [completion]. And LET the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

 

In today’s reading the word “PUT” is repeated four times, and the word “LET” three times. This daily blog is highlighting over two years those words or concepts that are repeated for extra emphasis. If we had heard Paul speak in person, he may have raised his voice or made dramatic body language gestures to reinforce his main points. In writing, repetition serves the same purpose. Paul is intent on getting our full attention!

(1)”PUT” to death fornication, etc. (2) “PUT” off … filthy language, etc. (3) “PUT” on the new man. (4) “PUT” on love…. (1) “LET” the peace of God rule in your hearts. (2) “LET” the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom… (3) “LET” your speech always be seasoned with grace.

The action word is “PUT.” The passive word is “LET.” The first, we deliberately make happen; the second, we relax and yield to the Spirit of Christ living in us. Compare Scripture with Scripture. For example, read James 4:7-8 for action, and read a statement about letting “the power that works in us” go to work. It’s not an effort. “LET” it happen as in Ephesians 3:20 (read Eph 3:14-20).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for grace to do all I should do to live as Your follower, and grace to rest in the knowledge that Your power is working in me. I know with absolute certainty that You are “ABLE TO DO EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL THAT WE ASK OR THINK.” Thank You that Your power is working in me now and always!!! In and through the Person of Jesus I pray, AMEN!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As part of today’s reading in Colossians 4:2-4, Paul asked for his readers to pray for him. I’m asking you to pray for me in the same way, “That God would open a door for the Word” (i.e. keep the blog going and give His favour in sharing it with others. Also pray for future opportunities to use new media, high definition web-casting online, etc.).

In reading Colossians several times over three days, I’ve thought often of a story from New York City. Norma-Jean and I visited the Teen Challenge Centre in Brooklyn, which is located in a very rough area. As we were leaving, Rev. Don Wilkerson (brother of David Wilkerson, Teen Challenge founder) said to us, “Jesus will take you safely to the subway station.” About a minute later, a Puerto Rican teenager approached us. He said, “Hi, I’m Jesus, just follow me to the subway.” We laughed with joy at the prospect of safely following Jesus. I had often heard baseball commentators talk about a great play made by “Jesus” (in Spanish, of course, it’s pronounced like “Heysoos”).

Yours for following Jesus, knowing when to “PUT” and when to “LET,”

David

P.S. Seeing that Colossians is “All about Jesus,” here’s another clip from the Matthew movie with actor Bruce Marchiano playing the part of Jesus (click here).

Inside The Garden Tomb, visitors can look through the barrier into the burial chamber. In our Israel tours Norma-Jean usually stands in the foreground shown in the picture, pointing out features of the tomb to the members of our family of travellers as they enter and marvel at the truth of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

TREASURE

Today’s Reading: Colossians 2

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

 

Jeremiah’s Grotto is where tradition says the Prophet Jeremiah penned his “Lamentations.” His cave is just to the right of what is believed by some to be the Jewish and Roman place of execution. Nowhere does the Bible say that Jesus was crucified on a hill. Executions took place in the most public places. This public place today is a bus station. On top of the hill is a Muslim graveyard. Just to the left is a garden with a rock-hewn tomb (check John 19:38-42).

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

 

Key Verses: Colossians 2:8-10

Beware lest anyone cheat you (take spoil, rob, steal) through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

 

WARNING! The treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ (verse 3). There are those who are intent on stealing your TREASURE! They use “persuasive words” to accomplish this heist. Paul lists ways they try to break into our lives and rob us: (1) “Philosophy” (it may sound reasonable); (2) “Deceit” (they lie); (3) “Tradition” (Jesus is our focus, not centuries of tradition); (4) “Principles of the world” (materialism, prosperity, etc.); (5) Verse 16 – Requirements for certain foods; (6) Insisting on keeping appointed festivals and holy days as essential for God’s favour; (7) Verse 18 – The deceivers will put on a show of humility and claim to have superior knowledge, claiming to have heard from angels or being deceived themselves, even worshipping the fallen angel who is called in Scripture “The god of this world” (read 2 Cor 11:13-14); (8) Verses 21-23 – Self-imposed regulations or a “self-imposed religion.” Therefore, watch out for thieves!

Galatians 5:1 teaches us to “Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” AMEN!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, there are forces out to rob me of Your ultimate truth in Jesus alone. Thank You that I am “complete in Him” (Colossians 2:10). I pray for grace to live constantly in that “Blessed Assurance” (click here for the hymn by that name). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Dr. Ben Carson, the world’s most famous children’s neurosurgeon and a former candidate for President of the United States, has a song he sings when he is under great pressure. It’s all about Jesus, and fits well with our reading of the book of Colossians. The song is, “Jesus is all the world to me” (click here for a rendition of the song). Dr. Carson has been a guest on the 100 Huntley Street telecast (click here for an interview from when he was running for President).

I was 18 when I came to realize my full freedom in Christ. I had been struggling to live according to certain rules and regulations when I came to the end of myself and said to God, “I can’t do this. I quit!” Then I’m sure I heard the Lord say, “Good, now perhaps you will let Me live My Life in and through you.” He did this! It became a joy instead of a duty to rise in the morning to read the Scriptures and pray. It became a joy to share my faith in Jesus, and so many other blessings followed that I can’t begin to mention them all.

Yours for the true freedom found only in Christ,

David

P.S. In Colossians we are focusing on Jesus. Click here for another installment of Bruce Marchiano in the Matthew movie.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

PEACE WITH GOD

Today’s Reading: Colossians 1

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

 

Located just outside the ancient walls of Jerusalem, this rock face is believed by many to be “Golgotha” or “The Place of the Skull” (Matthew 27:33), where Jesus was crucified. Isaiah 53:10 tells us that,”It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” God was “Pleased.” “The pleasure of the Lord.” What a sublime mystery! Let’s think deeply about this.

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

 

Key Verse: Colossians 1:19-20

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

 

Just in case we might miss Paul’s main theme for this letter, he repeats the Name of Jesus, or a personal pronoun referring to Jesus, about 30 times in today’s reading. Jesus is the Lord of creation (1:16-17), the Source of reconciliation (1:20-22), the Reason for the believer’s hope (1:5, 1:23, 27), the Strength to live a new life (1:11 & 29), our Redeemer (1:14), 100% fully God (1:15 & 19), the Reason the cosmos exists and holds together (1:16, 17), the Head of the Church, the resurrected One, the preeminent Person in the universe (1:18), the Peacemaker between God and humanity (1:20), and the One who works mightily in us (1:29). Do we have the message clearly in our minds and hearts? God’s answer to human need is “Jesus.” We got this fact as children in Sunday School. We may remember that when the teacher asked a question, we would usually guess the answer was “Jesus.” Jesus taught that we are to become as little children (Matthew 18:1-5). In contrast to the first Covenant of God with mankind, which we read about yesterday (about keeping laws and regulations), the New Covenant is all about a Person and a personal relationship with Him.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I believe IN You, not just about You. I believe IN You as a bride believes in her man whom she meets at the altar of God. I give You, Lord, my entire life forever and ever. As Paul gave thanks and prayed consistently for the people of Colosse, even so I give thanks and pray for all my blog brothers and sisters. I’m praying from the “prayer book” of Colossians (1: 9-11), and I believe God says a resounding “YES!” to my prayers. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve attached a movie clip to the blog of what I believe is most powerful. It features actor Bruce Marchiano as Jesus, quoting the actual words of Jesus. The Apostle Matthew was Bruce’s script writer. Bruce has often guested on the 100 Huntley Street telecast. My mind is putting Colossians chapter one as an overlay to the movie scene. I am deeply moved! (Click here to watch a short video clip).

I have had the honour in several communities to serve as a Chaplain for veterans’ associations. Invariably, when I spoke at memorial services, I chose today’s key verse as my text. Those who gave their lives for our country have made a great sacrifice. Jesus gave His life for mankind to have peace with God and peace between all people groups. He “made peace through the blood of His cross.” I share the fact that each of us must receive Jesus into our lives in order to experience the peace Jesus wants us to have. Many veterans and their family members have done this right there at the memorial service.

Yours for knowing and experiencing who Jesus is,

David

Monday, July 31, 2017

REMEMBER

Today’s Reading: Nehemiah 13

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

 

This olive tree is just outside the ancient city walls of the City of David in Jerusalem. Science has determined that olive trees can live and produce olives well over 2,000 years. Perhaps Jesus picked an olive from this tree’s branches.

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

 

Key Verse: Nehemiah 13:2b, 13:31b

Our God turned the curse into a blessing….Remember me, O my God, for good!

God takes any bad situation and turns it into good as we pray fervently about it, trust Him, and then make a full commitment to His will being done! He turns a curse into a blessing!

God does remember, but He does not remember our sins which we have confessed and for which we have been forgiven (Hebrews 8:10-13). A few days ago we were reminded that “a book of remembrance” is kept by God. Malachi was there in Nehemiah’s time and he wrote about that book. We can be sure God heard and answered Nehemiah’s prayer (Malachi 3:16-18).

Things were very different under the first covenant. Under the New Covenant (read Jeremiah 31:31-34) there are big changes. We start tomorrow, God willing, in the book of Colossians. We’ll learn that this church was coming under bondage to the rules and regulations of the Old Covenant, over-emphasis on the observance of sacred days, and religious forms and regulations. Let us not miss the next three days, and then we expect to begin our consideration of the book of Esther.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Thank You, Lord, that You have not shut the gates to any person anywhere at any time in these days of the New Covenant. You have invited me to come “boldly to Your throne of grace.” There I receive mercy and help in my time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16). I pray for grace to do this without fail every day. Lord Jesus, You are the Door by which we enter, and I pray these things in Your name, Amen! (John 10:7-10).

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’m aware from the records that this blog has new readers. Therefore, I want to tell again about the most important thing that ever happened to me. I found that God did not shut the gates on me as Nehemiah did on the non-Jews during the Sabbath. I was 16 when I went forward at the invitation of an evangelist who was preaching in the Glebe Collegiate Auditorium in Ottawa. There, an elderly man gave me the sentence spoken by Jesus which turned my life around. He opened his Bible to John 6:37 and asked me to read it out loud to him. I read, “The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” He said, “Now David (he had asked my name already), you have come to Jesus, right?” “Yes” I said. Then he asked me, “What does Jesus do?” I answered, “He receives me.” Immediately, the light in my spirit turned on. I knew that I was not rejected by God but accepted by Him. I believed this fact. The next day, in order to confirm what had happened to me, I walked down to the stream behind my sister’s house, where I was staying, and repeated that promise of Jesus over and over. I’ve never doubted since that time that this most unworthy sinner had been accepted by God into His eternal family.

Yours for assurance that in the New Covenant God does not shut the gates on anyone who comes to Him,

David

Sunday, July 30, 2017

SINGERS AND THEIR SONGS

Today’s Reading: Nehemiah 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 Church of All Nations, also known as the Church or Basilica of the Agony, is a Roman Catholic church located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, next to the Garden of Gethsemane. Here worshippers gather to encounter God.

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

 

Key Verse: Nehemiah 12:46

For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.

 

Name after name after name! It’s for sure that God treats each individual as a VIP (very important person). Let us always do the same and rejoice that each of us are the object of God’s attention. This knowledge of God’s care will put a song in our hearts and in our mouths. This was the case in Jerusalem, as we saw in today’s reading. Seven times the words “songs” or “singers” are mentioned. King David and Asaph, the Minister of Music, had left at least 150 songs (Psalms) for the worshippers of God.

As was suggested in yesterday’s blog, we may want to continue to compile a list of all the good things God has done for us. Then review the list each day. Try composing a song about God’s blessings! Our songs may be sung by others if we publish them, but chances are that it’s just between God and us. God is the most important audience we will ever sing to.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I desire that Your praise will continually be in my mouth. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “Having food and raiment, with these things we are content.” He also wrote, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” I have so very much for which to praise You Lord, that I’ll keep doing this into eternity. You are worthy, O Lord, of all my worship! Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As a pastor of four different congregations during the first few years of my public ministry, I encountered various modes of worship. Believe it or not, I tended to be quite conservative in my tastes in music. Give me a magnificent sounding organ and I was content in worship. A lovely lady in my last congregation insisted on bringing her tambourine. She was the art teacher at the high school attended by my daughter Elaine. I must admit that I prayed for grace each time I saw her in the congregation. God gave me grace and then would you believe guitars and drums began to make an appearance. I’ve opened my heart and mind to various forms of expression in worship.

I began a Sunday School when I was a public school teacher. One Lord’s Day an elderly man arrived. Under his arm he had a violin case. I thought that we were about to be treated to a violin solo, but such was not the case. He carefully took out his instrument and proceeded to sing into the openings in the body of the violin. I must confess I laughed to myself. He must have liked the sound of his voice coming back to him. He sang to the Lord songs of his own composition. I found out that he worked at Atomic Energy of Canada, not as one of the scientists, but as a dish washer in the cafeteria. I came to the conclusion that, crazy or not, his worship was pleasing to God. He came every Sunday. I can see him and hear him in my memory. I think he’s in Heaven now; I wonder if he has his violin. I hope I have the opportunity to meet him again. God put a love for him in my heart.

Yours for singing to the Lord “a new song” (Psalm 96),

David

 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

JERUSALEM

Today’s Reading: Nehemiah 10-11

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

 

Looking north from the east side of the City David you can see the Kidron Valley with the Mount of Olives on the right and the Temple Mount on the Left.

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

 

Key Verse: Nehemiah 11:2

And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.

 

Dwelling in Jerusalem today is much easier than in ancient times. Frozen meat and vegetables are available as in our western grocery stores. Jerusalem, at that time, was built on Mt. Moriah and Mt. Zion, rocky peaks where arable land is scarce. Jerusalem families had garden plots outside the city to which they would commute. Jerusalem was not “flowing with milk and honey” as was most of the rest of Israel. Living there 2,500 years ago was a sacrifice.

Blessing is the opposite of cursing. Understanding this fact enables us to grasp the meaning of “blessing.” All the dictionary meanings of “blessing” fall short of explaining what it means to bless someone. So…let’s bless someone today! Let’s use our imaginations to come up with a unique, personalized way to bless others.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God of Ezra and Nehemiah, I pray that today I will bless someone who needs a blessing! I ask for creative ideas and for the determination to follow through until I bless someone. In the Name of the One who has blessed the whole world, Jesus, my Saviour and Lord! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I am a blessed man. Our granddaughter, Sarah, who was 16 back in 2000, blessed me and many others by reading the Scriptures on a live satellite transmission from Jerusalem on the 100 Huntley Street telecast. This was the start of 24/7 broadcasting on a network of three satellite channels covering the world, where there was continuous reading of the books written in Jerusalem by the Prophets and Apostles. This continued from October to the end of December, 2000, when the funds designated for this purpose ran out. May I say that you, yes you, who have supported Crossroads/100 Huntley Street, and many other outreaches for God’s work, have blessed me more than words can express. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Someone sent me a picture (seen below) of Sarah blessing us with her reading from Jerusalem. The picture was taken off the person’s TV screen as 100 Huntley Street was live from Jerusalem.

Yours for blessing and being blessed!

David