Thursday, October 31, 2013

CHIEF CORNERSTONE

Suggested Reading: Psalms 117-118

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

 

Bedowins set up their transient homes (commonly tents) in locations best suited for their livestock. Here they are located just below Mount Nebo, the mountain in the Kingdom of Jordan from which Moses viewed the Promised Land.

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

 

Key Verses: Psalm 117:1-2

Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles!

Laud Him, all you peoples!

For His merciful kindness is great toward us,

And the truth of the Lord endures forever.

Praise the Lord!

Our key verses constitute the shortest Psalm, with only sixteen words in the Hebrew language. It comes in the middle point of the Bible. Of course, we have been moving back and forth between the New Testament and the Old Testament. For those who started 100words.ca with Matthew, we’ve been reading together for 17 months now. We have seven months to go to complete reading through the Bible. Don’t give up now!

Psalm 118 encourages us to join the composer with total confidence in God alone. As we look for the Bible to interpret the Bible we may want to read about the “Chief Cornerstone” (118:22) elsewhere. Click on 1 Peter 2:4-8 and Ephesians 2:19-22. Jesus, Messiah (Hebrew), Christos (Greek), is that “Chief Cornerstone” in the construction of God’s eternal building! Jesus was rejected by the majority of Roman-appointed political and religious leaders in Judaism, but not by thousands of living stones amongst the Jewish people. As that tiny Psalm says, “Oh, praise the Lord. ALL YOU GENTILES!” We non-Jews are also living stones in God’s spiritual house.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

O Lord God, I praise You, laud You, and give thanks to You. I pray that “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord” (118:17). “You are my God, and I will praise You! You are my God and I will exalt You” (118:28). I do this through the Person and work of “the Chief Cornerstone,” the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

At the wedding of our second daughter, Ellen, to Nizar Shaheen in the village of Cana of Galilee, the women from the village raised their voices in very loud high-pitched tongue shrill sounds. It’s called “ululation” (click here for a sample). If it wasn’t so early in the morning, and if my visiting son David Reynold and his wife Kathy weren’t sleeping in the next room, I’d give it a try right now. I understand that this sound is what the word translated “laud” from the Hebrew, implies in our worship of God. Pictured above is an Arab Bedouin tent home. I can guarantee that the people who live at the foot of Mount Nebo know how to “laud,” or ululate. The women at the wedding were lauding God for marriage, for vegetables, meat and other blessings!

Also I have had the honour of visiting many First Nations communities over the years. Again and again I’ve heard Chiefs, like my dear friend, the late Grand Chief Billy Diamond of the Quebec Crees, testify to the glory of the One they love to worship, whom they refer to as their “Chief Cornerstone,” Jesus, their Saviour and Lord! I’m feeling rather emotional just now as I think of Billy (click here for a news article about Billy). Tomorrow, God willing, I’ll tell just one of my stories about this man who truly was a great Chief!

Yours because “His mercy endures forever!”

David

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN

Suggested Reading: Psalms 114-116

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

The "Red Basilica" (Turkish: Kizil Avlu), also called the "Red Hall" or "Red Courtyard," is a monumental ruined temple in the ancient city of Pergamos, one of the seven churches described in Revelation 2 & 3, now Bergama, in western Turkey. It is one of the largest Roman structures still surviving in the ancient Greek world. The temple is thought to have been used for the worship of the Egyptian gods, specifically Isis and/or Serapis.

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

 

Key Verses: Psalm 116:14-15

I will pay my vows to the Lord

Now in the presence of all His people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord

Is the death of His saints.

 

Psalm 114 – What magnificent poetic imagery! We can let our imaginations soar when we consider that nature itself responds to the presence of God…”The mountains skipped like lambs!”

In Psalm 115 the question is asked by Gentiles of the Jewish people, “Where is their God?” The gods of this world were visible, as we see in the carved idol pictured below. They could not understand the worship of the God of Israel who could not be depicted by an image. Five times we are reminded here that we are blessed by our God! Let us rejoice and bless Him in return! Here’s a New Testament reading about idols – Romans 1:20-25.

Psalm 116 encourages us to personalize the message. It is written in the first person singular. Here are at least four reasons as to why we need to pray: (1) God hears us! Amen! (2) We need salvation and rest! Amen! (3) God promises great benefits throughout our lives. Prayer activates those benefits! Amen! (4) Our key verse reminds us that even our deaths are precious to God. Therefore, we call upon the Name of the Lord! And we will keep the promises (vows) which we have made to the Lord! He keeps His promises to us and on that basis we pray! He expects us to keep our promises we have made to Him! Amen!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Your Word teaches me that I must not bow down, worship and pray to any idol! I promise You that I will never do that. I pray by Your grace given to me that I will not make an idol of anything or anyone that would draw my attention away from You. I pray that I will forever worship You and You alone. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Often when someone we know dies, my wife Norma-Jean will send to a loved one left behind the Words, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” These are believers in Jesus and not just the few who are officially called “saints.” The word “saint” comes from the Latin word “sanctus” (holy). I find that the Scriptures teach me that by faith the righteousness of Jesus Christ is put on my account in God’s sight. Therefore, I am led to consider believers in (not just about) Jesus as saints in God’s eyes, if not always in man’s eyes. Romans 3:22a tells us “The righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe.” Objectively, in God’s eyes I am promised, as a believer, the righteousness of God to me and on me! Subjectively, I have a long way to go, but I’m on my way to truly holy living! Amen!!! Writing this blog is helping me in that direction. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 is God’s truth well worth reading in regards to being seen as holy in God’s sight!

So….I greet all my fellow bloggers who are believers in Jesus by saying, “Have a saintly day, saints!”

David

Here you can see the stone-carved idol of one of the Egyptian gods that has been excavated and put on display outside of the Red Basilica in Pergamos. Many great buildings housed images as described in Psalm 115:4-8.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

THE RIGHT HAND

Suggested Reading: Psalms 110-113

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

 

In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem candles are continuously being lit outside of the Edicule (small shrine chamber), where many believe that Jesus' grave was located. When Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century after Christ, the vast wealth of the empire began to be poured into the building of magnificent church buildings. There is no tomb here hewn out of rock. It is claimed that during the second and third centuries, when Jerusalem was declared to be a pagan city, the rock in which the tomb was located was removed in an attempt to remove the memory of Jesus' resurrection.

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

 

Key Verses: Psalm 110:1

The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at My right hand,

Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”

 

The key to understanding the Bible is to let the Bible interpret the Bible. As we read, we do our best to compare Scripture with Scripture. Let’s do this by reading Matthew 22:41-46, where Jesus gives a commentary on Psalm 110. There are many New Testament Scriptures to which we could turn to help our understanding. Here’s one more example found in Hebrews 5:5-10. Psalm 110 is quoted by both Jesus and by the writer of Hebrews.

Psalms 111 & 112 are written as acrostics. In Hebrew they are beautiful poetry. All sentences begin with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The acrostic is a device which is created to help in memorization. The Scriptures were written to be studied by all people who love God and who take pleasure in learning more about God. We who do this daily blog are some of those people!

Psalm 113 quotes from the song of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, who praised God for healing her so that she was no longer childless (1 Samuel 2:1-10).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I thank You for communicating with me through prophets, kings, poets, musicians, priests, apostles, pastors, teachers, evangelists, but most of all through Your Son and my Saviour, Jesus Christ. I pray for more and more of the One that You promised would guide me into all truth…The Holy Spirit! Holy Spirit, I know that You live in me as a believer, according to the promise of Scripture. Now I pray that I, my total being, will live in You! I desire to be filled to overflowing with Your Person, Holy Spirit! I ask this in the Name of the One who was always filled with the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

It was in 1968 when, as a young Pastor, I first visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I was filled with joy to be in a place where it was said that Jesus was buried and then arose from the dead. However, as I stepped inside the man-made structure, I was met by a priest who asked for money. I gave him something, and I know I should have been more gracious, but my disappointment was so great that I turned and walked out immediately. My parents, missionaries to Egypt, had travelled to Jerusalem in 1924 for their honeymoon, where mother took pictures of what is known as “The Garden Tomb,” which is in a different location. I was raised on those pictures. That tomb may not be the actual location of Jesus’ burial, but it sure looks like it. I’m looking forward to November 12 to 26 when I expect, God willing, to lead another group of 100 people to Jerusalem. We’ll visit both the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and The Garden Tomb. There in the city of King David, again God willing, I hope to write this blog daily, posting 100words.ca at 6 a.m. eastern standard time.

Yours for experiencing the presence of God, whether in Jerusalem or here at home,

David

A side view of the Edicule built inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The candles symbolize the prayers offered here. God promises to hear the prayers of humble and sincere people of faith.

Monday, October 28, 2013

AWAKEN THE DAWN

Suggested Reading: Psalms 108-109

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

Looking over the Western Wall visitor area in the Old City of Jerusalem, you can see into the Arab Quarter where many satellite dishes are mounted on roofs. You can also see solar panels which heat the water tanks, also located on the roofs. Since 1967, the flag of Israel has flown over what was part of Jordan. Over thousands of years Jerusalem has been ruled by many different powers. Every day the Good News of Jesus comes into Jerusalem homes through those satellite dishes. The modern city of Jerusalem, with its high-rise buildings, can be seen in the distance.

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

 

Key Verses: Psalm 108:2-3

Awake, lute and harp!

I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples,

And I will sing praises to You among the nations.


David could not have imagined a scene like the one pictured above in his city of Jerusalem. In a way, Psalm 108:5 is being fulfilled in that the satellites, which are in position 22,500 miles above the earth in space, do proclaim the Lord’s “glory above all the earth.” The “Light For All Nations” television ministry, originating from our Crossroads Centre building and distributed on a dozen satellites in the Arabic language, is praising the “Lord among the peoples,” as our key verse says. King David has made a decision as shown in the words, “I will.” He has decided to “awaken the dawn!” First thing each morning he is determined to “sing praises!”

Psalm 108 shows a king who prays vindictive prayers. This was probably written just after the rebellion of Absalom when many of those to whom David had shown only kindness had joined in treason against him. While David’s words do not show mercy toward his enemies, his later actions did show mercy. Jesus, who in Christian belief assumed the throne of David, not only shows mercy, but Jesus’ prayer for His enemies was, “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing!” (read Luke 23:26-38).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, because I pray “In the Name of Jesus,” I cannot pray the prayers that David prayed in Psalm 108:1-20.” But I do pray David’s prayers from 108:21-26. Particularly verse 26 expresses my heart, “Help me, O Lord my God! Oh save me according to Your mercy.” I also pray for the continuing television ministry of “Light For All Nations,” as Nizar and his guests come into those Jerusalem homes with the message of God’s love and mercy through Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve walked the streets, inside the walls of Old Jerusalem, with my son-in-law, Nizar. It takes hours when I’m with him. The people all want to talk to him. He has visited their homes daily for years through those rooftop satellite dishes. I marvel at the plan of God in bringing this man from Cana of Galilee into our family. Our daughter was led by God to study for a year at The American Institute of Holy Land Studies, where she met Nizar, and soon they were married in his home town of Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding (John 2:1-12). I believe that Jesus attended another marriage in Cana! It was definitely, as the middle-eastern custom is, “an arranged marriage,” arranged by God back in 1983. I’ve just googled “Light For All Nations” and once again I’m amazed at the grace and mercy of God (click here).

As I read from my Bible this morning, I quoted King David and said to the dawn, “Wake Up!” The dawn had awakened in Jerusalem. It was already 11 a.m. in Jerusalem. People there may have already been watching “Light for all Nations” ministry programs. I believe Psalm 108:13a, “Through God we will do valiantly!”

Yours for all of us doing “valiantly” for another day!

David

P.S. On Google, I found an interview which Ron (who does the technical side of this blog) did with Nizar. It’s from a few years ago. I enjoyed watching and listening. It occurred to me that others might enjoy this too (click here).

Sunday, October 27, 2013

“GIVE THANKS!”

Suggested Reading: Psalms 107

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

 

Large tanker ships can be seen on the Kingdom of Jordan side of the Red Sea. The wilderness where the Children of Israel spent 40 years is on the other side of the mountain range seen in Reynold's photograph.

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

 

Key Verses: Psalm 107:8, 20

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

He sent His word and healed them,

And delivered them from their destructions.

 

Today’s Psalm documents God’s answer to the prayer from 106:47a, “Save us, O Lord our God!” Today’s reading gives four real-life examples as to why we, the redeemed, should thank the Lord!

(1) God provides for our spiritual and emotional needs. Have we ever felt like we are wandering in the wilderness, our souls fainting within us? “He satisfies the longing soul!” (107:9).

(2) God provides for our deliverance from fear, bad habits, and anything that would cause us to be “bound in afflictions and irons!” God “saved them out of their distresses” and “broke their chains in pieces!” (107:13b & 107:14b).

(3) God provides physical healing! “They drew near the gates of death” (107:18b), but God “sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions!” (107:20)

(4) God provides a way out of seemingly impossible circumstances! People are pictured as being on the deck of a ship in a storm and “they reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man” who is trying to maintain his balance on the deck of a storm-tossed wooden ship (107:27). But God “calms the storm so that its waves are still” (107:29).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I’ve discovered the fact that in all my needs I must do as the writer of this Psalm tells me to do, “They cried out to the Lord!” I cry out to You now! I believe that You are doing now in my life as it is reported in Your Word. “He sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions!” (107:20). Now, in faith, I am participating with the inspired writer who wrote, “Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” Lord, I say, “Thank You!” Your blessings are because of Jesus, in whose Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Over the last 2 or 3 days I’ve been well over my goal of 100 words regarding each day’s reading, as well as my 100 Personal Words. Therefore, today I’ll have fewer words. I’m simply going to add to the blog a song from my wife Norma-Jean. We don’t know the original tune from Israel’s hymnbook used to sing these words in the Temple, so she decided to compose a tune for some of the words of Psalm 107. Here she is…click here.

Yours because God “Sent His Word!”

David

caption

This boat was discovered almost 30 years ago when the Sea of Galilee was low. It is called "The Jesus Boat," because it is from the time of Christ. The bottom boards are warped with age, and the sides are no longer there, but with imagination we can visualize the disciples in a storm on the sea, Jesus asleep on the "Pillow." (a bag of sand, perhaps, in order to provide ballast) Jesus spoke the words, "Peace be still!" the waves subsided. Jesus illustrated Psalm 107:23-30.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

LEAN SOULS

Suggested Reading: Psalms 106

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

 

The North end of the Red Sea is in the south of Israel and also the south of the Kingdom of Jordan. The border between Israel and Jordan runs south from the Dead Sea to Elat on the Israeli side and to Aquaba on the Jordanian side. The coral reefs and marine life in the Red Sea are, to my judgement, the most spectacular in the world. In today's reading it says of God, "He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it dried up; so He led them through the depths, as through the wilderness" (Psalm 106:9). Egypt borders Israel on the west at this point on the shores of the Red Sea. God made a way of escape for the Hebrew slaves from Egypt into what now would be the territory of Jordan or Saudi Arabia.

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

 

Key Verses: Psalm 106:13, 15

They soon forgot His works;

They did not wait for His counsel…

And He gave them their request,

But sent leanness into their soul.

 

Psalms 105 & 106 are historical records of Israel’s journeys and struggles, their high points in their relationship with God and the rebellions against their God. These Psalms were repeated by the people in their worship of God in the liturgical calendar at least once a year. The privileges of the covenant with God come with responsibilities. Israel was to worship Him and obey Him. God was faithful to keep His covenant, but the people, most of the time, were not faithful. Psalm 106 documents their unfaithfulness. The composer of this Psalm writes with a repentant heart. Verse one tells us that, “His mercy endures forever.” Without this fact, the human race would’ve been extinct long ago. No wonder we are told to, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good!”

Our key verse is still true today. God has answered our prayers, as He did with Israel. He has blessed us with so many good things, but a materialistic, self-centred life will always bring leanness to our souls. Our souls will be malnourished.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that as I partake of the fresh bread and the meat of this daily blog, that I will be well nourished. Thank You, Lord, for Your patience with me when I grieve Your great heart of love and mercy with vain pursuits and foolish pride. Lord Jesus, You gave us the sinner’s prayer. I pray it now: “Lord be merciful to me, a sinner.” In the Name of the One who promised that this prayer, prayed in true repentance, would result in my being justified in the sight of God. Amen!!! (read Luke 18:9-14).

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In my leadership calling at Crossroads over the years, I worked hard to make sure every cent given to the ministry was well spent for the cause to which God’s people gave. Apart from things I learned from my Dad, like turning out lights that are not needed, etc., I would list everything we did under three categories… (1) Necessary (2) Essential (3) Absolutely Essential. If funds were not available, the “Necessary” would be cut. If there still was not enough money coming in from the offerings of our wonderful partners, the “Essential” would be cut. Never, never, never was the “Absolutely Essential” cut, as these were the vital organs of ministry! Without the television ministry going out every day, the ministry would loose its purpose and die. Winning people to Christ on the telephones in response to the telecasts was never on the table for cuts!!! In yesterday’s blog, I placed an appeal from our Global CEO, Dr. John Hull, for funds to upgrade the whole telephone centre and the computer software. What he didn’t say was that his reason was that with the present set up, we’re losing 23% of the calls because of technical shortcomings. This means that 200 to 250 calls every day are not being answered by our prayer partners. John is very deeply concerned about this. He has shared this with me personally. To me, a busy signal on those lines is like a person heading for the altar in church and an usher tripping them on the way down the aisle! Souls are being lost as not everyone will call back again. I’m so thankful for the hundreds of calls being answered each day, and many are giving their lives to Christ. But I ask myself, “What about that one ‘prodigal son’ or that one ‘lost sheep’ who may be lost because of the lack of resources?” John’s burden for this “Absolutely Essential” component of Crossroads is the reason Norma-Jean and I called in yesterday an increase of $50.00 per month in our giving to Crossroads. I’m told that a complete upgrade in our telephone equipment will cost a considerable amount. This needs to be over and above regular giving which carries the ongoing operational costs of doing television ministry. The pledge line number is 1-888-288-0003. Would I be too bold in asking for extra help from my blog readers?

Yours with an apology for going way over my goal of 100 words again,

David

P.S. Here is a video of our Crossroads Spiritual Director, Ron, with a “Stay In Touch” message called “Beyond Just Hearing, Just Do It” (click here).

P.P.S. I realized that in yesterday’s blog I gave the wrong email address for Dr. John Hull. It’s actually [email protected] Please consider sending him an email of encouragement in his new leadership role at Crossroads.

Friday, October 25, 2013

“PRAISE THE LORD!” (the last words of today’s reading)

Suggested Reading: Psalms 105

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

 

The Giza necropolis, situated in the immediate vicinity of the southwestern suburbs of Cairo, is home to the most famous ancient Egyptian monuments. The Great Pyramid of Khufu (on the right) is the oldest and sole remnant of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Over 2 million blocks of stone were used to construct the pyramid during a 20-year period, concluding around 2560 BC, at about the same time period in which Chinese became the world's first written language (don't miss the amazing message from a Chinese Pastor in Singapore attached to yesterday's blog). The pyramid is awe-inspiring, rising 139 metres (455 feet) high, making it the largest pyramid in Egypt. Abraham would have passed by this pyramid on his way into Egypt, and the Hebrew slaves on their way out of Egypt.

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

 

Key Verses: Psalm 105:1-3

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!

Call upon His name;

Make known His deeds among the peoples!

Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;

Talk of all His wondrous works!

Glory in His holy name;

 

Those first three verses of today’s reading sum up what we should do daily. (1) Give thanks! (2) Pray! (3) Communicate! (4) Sing! (5) Testify! These are the five essential elements of the mission of Crossroads Christian Communications Incorpotated in all Crossroads Ministry efforts around the world. Today is the final day of the membership drive for Fall, 2013! In about 3 1/2 hours from the time this blog is posted, Ron, Moira, and our Global Chief Executive Officer, Dr. John Hull, will go to air live on the Global Television Network’s land-based transmitters, as well as several satellite television channels across the continent. Later today this telecast will be repeated several times on our CTS network, as well as around the world as a part of the seven television channels which make up Crossroads 360 on the internet. This blog is also an outreach of Crossroads. All of us who do this devotional are urged to call the toll-free telephone number today or tonight (1-888-288-0003) to pledge support which enables Crossroads to continue doing what those five points listed above call us to do! How long are we to do this? Psalm 105:8 lets us know the answer, “For a thousand generations!” Our responsibilities are not over yet! God remembers “His holy promise.” He promised Abraham that in his seed (105:6) all nations would be blessed! Together we will help make the blessing of the “Seed of Abraham,” Jesus, known to the whole world! Read Genesis 22:1-18. God spared Abraham’s son but did not spare His own Son. God provided the final and complete sacrifice for the sins of the entire human family. Our job is to make this known to all generations!!! HELP!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I pray with thanksgiving for Ron, Moira, John, and the entire Crossroads team as they go live to air. I ask for Your Holy Spirit to communicate through them in a powerful way, persuading people who are able to help carry the responsibility throughout the next twelve months to join them, along with Norma-Jean and me, in monthly giving. I ask dear Lord that You will suggest a monthly amount to pledge. Lord God, please encourage the Crossroads team by our calls (Norma-Jean and I are calling in a monthly increase later this morning). Thus we, all of us together, will enable the leadership and the Board to establish the budget for the next year as to what extent we can follow God’s instructions given in our key verses! In the Name of the “Seed” (singular) of Abraham, Jesus, I pray! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As founders of the Crossroads Family of Ministries, Norma-Jean and I have experienced such “joy” and “gladness.” We read those words in verse 43 of today’s reading! We’re now in our 52nd year of soul-winning television productions for children, teens, families, and people of all ages, as our Crossroads Board Chairman, Don Simmonds, says, “For all ages and stages along peoples’ spiritual journeys.” A quarter of a million children and teens have spent at least a week each at our Circle Square Ranches, approximately 60% of whom came from homes where they don’t attend Church. About 100,000 of these have made first-time decisions to give their lives to Jesus! We have graduates from our School of Broadcasting and Communications in over 80 countries of the world, and many of them are reaching their own people on television with the message of Jesus! I could give more examples of what has been accomplished (“remember” as Psalm 105 tells us), but the reason I’m telling this story again is that I know what it is to carry the heavy burden of leadership. It is a huge responsibility before God to make sure sufficient funds are on hand to do all that God expects of us! My heart is heavy for John Hull and our team as they conclude this Fall’s fundraising effort. Ron tells me that they haven’t yet reached the needed goal in order to carry on without cutting back on ministry. Norma-Jean and I, at our ages, 77 & 74, are pressed financially in various ways, but we are cutting back on other things in order to pledge a monthly increase. Our offerings are automatically taken out of our account each month. It saves stamps and the time to write a cheque, tuck it into an envelope and mail it in to Crossroads. We’ve been moved this week to encourage our new leader, John Hull, by giving this increase. This former Pastor of the great missions church, “The People’s Church,” Toronto, has taken on this heavy load. I get the picture in my mind of lifting a piano. Every hand, giving a lift, makes the move possible. Here’s John with a statement he made on the 100 Huntley Street telecast earlier this week (click here).

Yours to help Crossroads not only to survive but to thrive in the saving of precious souls for time and for eternity!

David

P.S. I’ve just watched that clip of John on Crossroads 360. It’s true he smiled once when he acknowledged saying the pledge line telephone number incorrectly, but his body language says that he’s feeling the big burden of his new leadership responsibilities. Let’s all respond so that when he co-hosts with Moira from November 12 to 26, his body language, as well as his words, will show, as in today’s reading, “joy” and “gladness.” You could send an e-mail to John welcoming him to his new calling ([email protected]). I sense that he needs our uplifting encouragement. Please everybody, please do this! Thank You!!!

The Luxor Temple is located on the east bank of the River Nile in the ancient city of Thebes and was founded in 1400 BC during the New Kingdom, about 100 years after the Hebrew slaves had escaped their bondage in Egypt. Today's reading tells us that, "Egypt was glad when they departed for the fear of them had fallen upon them" (Psalm 105:38). Let us consider the impact of these visual temple scenes on the people! Today's visual support for our message is television!!! Imagine the cost and sacrifice involved in building the pyramids and temples. To fulfill the Crossroads mission, it requires all who will to give sacrificially so that the "Glory" of His holy Name will be seen and heard all over the world!!! Together we are building, not a temple of stone, or a memorial to a dead Pharoah, but a worldwide communications network potentially reaching every person with the saving message of Christ.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

CREATION

Suggested Reading: Psalms 104

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

 

Gobeklitepe, located in Turkey, is the oldest archeological sanctuary and oldest civilization known to man. It is a series of mainly circular and oval-shaped structures set on the top of a hill. Excavations began in 1995 by Prof. Klaus Schmidt with the help of the German Archeological Institute. There is archelological proof that these installations were not used for domestic use but predominantly for ritual or religious purposes.

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

 

Key Verses: Psalm 104:31

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;

May the Lord rejoice in His works.

 

All the earliest records of the human race show that intelligent people were moved to worship the Creator God (as illustrated by the youtube attachment in our the P.S.). Our native people here in Canada and original peoples everywhere speak of “The Great Creator.” When we pause to think deeply, without the brainwashing efforts of those who, for some reason, refuse to believe in God, we cannot escape the conclusion that a supremely intelligent and all-powerful Creator made all that we see in nature. In deep appreciation for the Creator, the writer of today’s reading begins and ends with “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” Yesterday we recognized that we need to order our souls to practice the worship of God consistently! Bless Him! Cause Him to rejoice because we acknowledge that He has made us and all that there is!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Today, Lord God, I’m not making a prayer request here in the blog. I’m simply giving the order to myself to bless You with my worship! The Hymn comes to mind, “Crown Him With Many Crowns.” He is worthy of all my praise!!! (click here for the hymn of worship along with beautiful visuals of the glories of creation).

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In the mid 1800’s the walls between Roman Catholics and the Church of England were very high. Nevertheless, the hymn “Crown Him With Many Crowns” was one of several hymns in the English language that broke through those walls and everyone worshipped in song. The words were written by a Roman Catholic and the music by a Protestant. Another of those hymns was “Faith of Our Fathers.” On Father’s Day each year when I was a boy we would sing the words, “In spite of dungeon, fire and sword, etc.” I would think of the Protestants persecuted by the Roman Catholics as I sang (I had read the book, Fox’s Book of Martyrs). I was shocked to discover while in my twenties that this hymn was written by a Roman Catholic priest while serving time in a dungeon, where he had been placed by King Henry VIII. Doctrinal differences are important, particularly as to how and where we encounter God in the salvation of our never-dying souls, but the worship of God and His Son, our Saviour, is our common ground!

Yours for the glory of “The Great Creator!”

David

P.S. This attachment will take close to an hour to watch, but it is well worth the time, if not now, then later. If possible, please don’t miss it. It’s a video called, “God In Ancient China.” It is a teaching from a Chinese Pastor in Singapore on the meanings of the Chinese language characters. You’ll be amazed!!! (click HERE).

Among the ancient ruins of Gobeklitepe in Turkey, you can see a stork or crane being depicted. Enhancing the beauty of structures with sculptures has been a feature of temples everywhere, including the Tabernacle of Moses, and the Temple and synagogues in which Jesus would have participated in the prayers, Scripture readings and teachings. Like this carved picture of a bird, the Chinese characters, as shown in the above youtube attachment, are pictures or engravings.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

BLESS THE LORD!

Suggested Reading: Psalms 103

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

 

Heading south in the Kidron Valley you come to the Pillar of Absalom or Absolom's Monument. 2 Samuel 18:18 tells us that, "Absalom in his life time set up a pillar for himself.....he called the pillar after his own name, and to this day it is called Absalom's monument." The Kidron Valley, also known as the King's Valley, is located between the eastern walls of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives.

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

 

Key Verses: Psalm 103:15-16

As for man, his days are like grass;

As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

And its place remembers it no more.

 

We remember Prince Absalom, son of King David, who committed treason in trying to overthrow his father’s reign in Israel. Absolom’s untimely and violent death may have been in David’s mind when he penned the words of today’s reading. David grieved so very deeply over the death of his son (read 2 Samuel 18:9-33). Paul preached in the Antioch synagogue telling all that God said, “I have found David, the son of Jessie, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” The Apostle went on to say, “From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Saviour – Jesus!”

David had reason to grieve, but he ordered his soul to “BLESS THE LORD!” Six times in today’s reading these words appear. What does it mean to “BLESS?” It means that we are to make someone joyful! Let us ask ourselves this question: Does the smile of God’s approval rest upon our lives? My father often prayed at our family altar, “May the smile of Your approval to be on our lives this day and always.” If we don’t have the assurance that God is blessed by our lives, we need to repent, ask forgiveness, and then look up again. Look for His joy to be revealed. Our souls will know when God is blessed!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, may the smile of Your approval be upon our lives this day and always. I pray that my soul will BLESS YOU, LORD GOD!!! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Bob Code, a man whom my mother led to Christ, along with his wife and daughter, would often say, “Bless the Lord!” I was about 13 years old then and I questioned how Mr. Code could bless God. I thought, “God is the One who does the blessing.” And God does bless us in awesome ways, but I’ve learned that blessing is a two-way street. God blesses us and we bless Him! Amen!

I’ve often read our key verses while standing at a grave side. I’ve just read again the verses just before, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear [respect, awe, worship] Him. For He knows our frame; that we are dust” (Psalm 103:12-14).

Yours for being blessed and for blessing God and all with whom we come into contact!

David

The view from behind Absalom's Monument. His pillar is sculpted out of the bedrock in the valley below the city walls. Tourists don't usually see the sculpture from this angle. Our photographer, my son, David Reynold, was determined to get the best pictures for these blogs. Thank you, my son!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

HOLY VISUALS!

Suggested Reading: Psalms 101-102

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 the Holy Apostles in Athens, Greece, is often covered with birds that fly over the ruins of the ancient agora (close-up photo below). Today's reading tells us of "A sparrow alone on the housetop." These Athenian pigeons are not lonely birds.

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

 

Key Verses: Psalms 101:3a, 102:27

I will set nothing wicked before my eyes…

But You are the same and Your years will have no end.

 

We are bombarded with all kinds of evil things. It seems impossible to avoid seeing vile images. It may seem that we cannot open our eyes without seeing some moral corruption. We do, however, have a choice of what we view. When we watch some TV programs, we are just asking for trouble, because whatever we feed our minds, particularly through the eyegate, if it is not positive and good, will inevitably infect our thoughts and sometimes our actions in a way displeasing to our holy God! The opposite, good thoughts and actions, can happen from watching 100 Huntley Street and other productions which please God! Psalm 101 was written by King David. It’s possible that Bathsheba knew exactly what she was doing when she took a bath on her rooftop in full view of David’s balcony, which was located just up the hill above her home. David, when he wrote the words of this Psalm, may have been thinking of the great damage he caused because he gave in to visual temptation and committed adultery (2 Samuel 11). We must repent of our carelessness, guarding our hearts and minds, keeping our eyes on the Lord and those things of which He approves, and keeping our minds in His holy Word.

In Psalm 102 we find a writer who feels very much alone, as is evident from the metaphors of the birds. Thinking of this temporary life here on earth causes him to remember that God is eternal! The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews quotes from this Psalm and refers to Jesus (Hebrews 1:10-12). We can be encouraged because Hebrews 13:8 tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!” I find myself singing softly, so as to not wake up Norma-Jean, the beautiful prayer hymn, “Abide With Me.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, thank You that the words of the hymn are true: “Change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changes not, abide with me” (click here for a rendition of “Abide With Me”). This is my prayer, O Lord! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I find that the sight of a bird all alone is sad. Two birds together (many kinds mate for life) or a flock of birds is a joyful scene, like the birds on the church roof in today’s photos. Norma-Jean and I watch for people who appear lonely and try to include them in our lives in some way. I’ve often heard my wife say something like, “She looks lonely, let’s invite her for a coffee.” Sometimes through the years, she has brought people home for a meal and for fellowship. I was saying to Dr. John Hull yesterday afternoon that our television ministry gives us the amazing opportunity of visiting right there in the homes of our viewers. It really is the next best thing to a personal visit!

Over 500,000,000 tablets and iPads have been sold around the world so far this year. That figure would not include laptop computers and smart phones. Dr. Jerry Johnston, our Crossroads USA Executive Director, tells me he reads this blog first thing every morning on his iPhone before he does anything else. There are several billion visual devices in use around the world. Think of the potential for seeing vile and evil things! Crossroads is doing its best to fill those screens with the opposite…beautiful words and visuals. Norma-Jean and I do our best to support all the God-given visions of Crossroads, as well as several other ministries. I urge everyone to do the same! Click here for a recent word from CEO Dr. John Hull on the Crossroads vision to provide for the viewing of holy alternatives, in order to “OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD!!! (Romans 12:21b).

Yours for viewing, reading, and hearing good, holy, uplifting things!

David

P.S. Here is an example of one of those good things. Crossroads is helping the Salvation Army produce a new media-based Sunday School curriculum called “Ready To Serve.” The old fashioned Sunday School quarterlies, which I studied in a Salvation Army Sunday School as a child, don’t do the job adequately any more. In most churches, Sunday School attendance is seriously down. This is why the S.A. approached Crossroads for help. Below is a picture of the series cast on one of the sets, located in our Studio “B” at the Crossroads Centre. Our faithful ministry supporters make many holy productions possible! Because of these tremendous productions, we can predict the opposite to our first key verse. Here’s what we can state, because of Crossroads and our partners, “I will set good, positive, wholesome things before my eyes!!!” Everyone pray for God’s blessing on this and the many other initiatives in which Crossroads is involved.

The cast of "Ready To Serve." Notice the "S" on the jacket of the young lady on the right. The "cool" officer at the back is a great communicator of good things in the new Salvation Army Christian Education curriculum.

 

Birds on the Church of the Holy Apostles in Athens Greece. Because of strong and good teaching, the Greeks did not give in to islamic conversions during approximately 300 years of moslem rule. The church is an integral component in the every day life of the greek people.