Saturday, November 30, 2013

CONTENTIOUS

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 21

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

 

This stone bridge is located in eastern Turkey at the entrance to Tarsus, home of the Apostle Paul, on the Ankara - Adana Road. This bridge, with three arches, was restored in 1978 and continued to handle all of the traffic until very recently. Because goods to be sold were taxed when crossing this bridge, it was given the name "Bac" (tax) bridge. With Christmas shopping underway, our governments will take in huge amounts in taxes on the goods we purchase. It's great to give of our own free will to meet human need and, in our country, receive a charitable receipt which can help lower the amount of taxes we pay.

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

 

Key Verses: Proverbs 21:13

Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be heard.

 

Today’s reading contains instruction for the proper use of wealth. God does not condemn the possession of riches as long as they are procured in a legitimate manner and used in a God-honouring way. Our key verse makes it clear that one of the proper uses of wealth is to help people in need. Failure to do this is so serious a matter that the person who does not help when it is in their power to do so will cry someday and not be heard in their day of trouble. This same thought is presented to us by the Apostle John in 1 John 3:16-18. If we are blessed with this world’s goods and fail to share them, we do not know the love of God!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Dear God, I pray for a greater measure of Your love so that I may love others as Jesus loves me! John wrote that You loved us so much that YOU GAVE Your only begotten Son for my salvation! THANK YOU!!! I ask for the grace of giving sacrificially. In the Name of the One who gave His all, Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I was deeply moved this week to see and hear on the 100 Huntley Street telecast a lovely young lady whose roots are in the Philippines, where that most destructive typhoon hit a few days ago. Her name is Melinda Estabrooks. She is loved and known widely by many, particularly as a result of her regular appearances on the Full Circle telecast carried on CTS, the Crossroads Television System. Click here for Melinda’s short statement. My wife Norma-Jean and I have just returned from two weeks in Israel and have yet to send in our support for this cause to the Crossroads Emergency Relief and Development Fund. Our Global CEO, Dr. John Hull, who knows the Philippines well, has personally taken the lead in raising as much money as possible for this cause. Click here for information on how to, as our key verse says, respond to “the cry of the poor.” Norma-Jean and I will do this as soon as the business office at Crossroads is open. The Canadian government has promised to match all giving to this relief effort.

Yours for opening our hearts to the needs of others,

David

P.S. As promised, click here for the second half of my Sam Moore interview from 1981. As I stated earlier this week, he is one of the main reasons I use the New King James translation of the Bible in this blog and in my personal devotions, as well as in preaching and teaching. In the light of today’s key verse, let me say that Sam is a giver to others. I hope to tell just one story about Sam’s loving and giving heart in tomorrow’s blog.

 

Friday, November 29, 2013

ABOMINABLE

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 20

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

An open market in the Muslim Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. Today's reading speaks to us of the dishonest use of weights and measures in doing business. These people establish the price by bartering. It seems they are disappointed if one does not haggle. Perhaps it's their entertainment.

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

 

Key Verses: Proverbs 20:23

Diverse weights are an abomination to the Lord, and a false balance is not good.

 

Twice the word “abomination” appears in Proverbs 20. Synonyms could be “disgrace” or “obscenity.” The dictionary calls it “a thing that causes disgust.” It comes from a Latin word that means to “detest” or “loath.” God is obviously concerned with everyday life and the dishonesty that often accompanies our earthly existence. In this case, fraudulent scales are called an “abomination.”

The final verse in this chapter reads, “Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart.” Have we asked, “Why is this happening to me?” Chances are the answer is “Yes!” I have asked that question. As with all of the Proverbs, it will be helpful if we can find the time to pause in our reading and meditate on what we’ve just read. This is not mindless meditation on a meaningless word, sometimes called a mantra, but this calls for deep thought and a change of mind.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, You show concern for the details of my life. I pray that Your Teacher, Holy Spirit, will explain to me the matters that are important to You and give me grace to change, so that I may become more like Your Son and my Saviour, Jesus! In His Name I pray, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve just returned from two weeks in Israel with 99 people whose company I enjoyed immensely. A special one of those to me is my wife, Norma-Jean. Last Monday she led a group, mainly women, into the Old City of Jerusalem for a shopping experience. She loves bargaining. I must confess that I deliberately stay away. As a man I feel somewhat claustrophobic in those narrow aisles called streets. In fact, while my wife shopped I was in Bethlehem hosting and producing five half-hour TV shows to be aired from December 23rd to the 27th on CTS. Believe me when I say that I enjoyed my time there much, much more than I would’ve enjoyed the shopping experience. In an upcoming blog posting, I’ll give you details on when you can find these Christmas programs on the CTS schedule.

I heard he story of two young boys on their way to two different Sunday Schools. One said to the other, “I go to a different abomination than you do.” Okay… it’s a joke. He meant to say, “denomination.”

Yours for good shopping this Christmas season, and for good television viewing,

David

P.S. Yesterday I introduced to you my friend, Sam Moore, a man who greatly influenced my life with his excellent initiative in hiring world-class experts in the Hebrew and Greek languages to give us “The New King James Version” of the Bible, a most important translation which I use here in my blog. Today and tomorrow, I want to invite the readers to watch my interview with Sam in two parts from about 30 years ago (click here for part one).

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A FRIEND

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 18-19

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

David Citadel is part of the walls that surround Jerusalem. It is located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. Built to strengthen a strategically weak point in the Old City's defences, the citadel that stands today has ancient foundations which were constructed during the 2nd century BC. It was subsequently destroyed and rebuilt by, in succession, the Roman, Byzantine, Muslim, Mamluk, and Ottoman occupiers of Jerusalem. It contains important archaeological finds dating back 2,700 years. The Proverbs we are reading predate these efforts in stone and are devoted to building wisdom, rather than buildings which can be destroyed.

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

 

Key Verses: Proverbs 18:21a, 19:21

Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

…There are many plans in a man’s heart,

Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel — that will stand.

 

Other verses in these chapters could and should be key to finding and exercising wisdom. For example, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). We can all think of a person or persons who are our true friends. Let’s call them today, and let’s call that greatest Friend of all in prayer! Speak life, not death! Bless others with our words! Never underestimate the power of the tongue for good or evil. James, the one known as the brother of Jesus, wrote on this. If he was writing today, he may have been a blogger! Read James 3:1-12 for healthy medicine, the main ingredient of which is wisdom.

For a commentary on our second key verse (19:21), let’s go to James again (James 4:13-15). Just imagine that James is your blogger today.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Thank You Lord Jesus for being my Friend that sticks closer than a brother. Help me, I pray, to be Your true friend! There is a hymn, Father God, that I’m reminded of. It’s called “Friendship With Jesus.” Yesterday, Lord, I meditated on the hymn, “What a Friend we have in Jesus!” Today, I ask myself the question, “Am I a genuine friend of Jesus?” I pray for Your grace to be Your true friend. For this request, Lord God, I do as the Proverb in today’s reading says, I run into the “strong tower” of Your Name! (Proverbs 18:10). Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I want to explain why I always use the New King James Version in my blog. It is because it’s one of several reliable modern translations from the original languages of the Bible, Hebrew and Greek. The NKJV in particular maintains the beauty of the 1611 translation in my opinion. The King James Version was first published at a time when the English language was at its best, as revealed in Shakespeare’s plays when thousands of ordinary, relatively uneducated people would stand for hours to watch and listen to magnificent words. Spoken languages are living organisms, and it is important to reflect the changing meanings of words. The Bible on which I was raised was an updated translation done in the mid-nineteenth century. For example, the word “prevent” meant “come before” back then. Now it means “to stop someone.” The new translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:15 translates the word as “precede” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

In the 1970’s, a man I consider my true friend, Sam Moore, owner of Thomas Nelson Publishers (the sixth largest publisher in the world and the largest publisher of Christian books), decided to give the King James Version a fresh face (this has happened approximately every 150 years), and the result is the NKJV. The late Dr. R.K. Harrison, a professor at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, was often my guest on television. He was a member of the review committee for the NKJV and would share updates on the progress of the translation. Sam Moore himself appeared several times on 100 Huntley Street. Here’s a link to learn more about this amazing man, Sam Moore (click here). Over the next few days I want to continue to share more about this great translation effort. (Ron will attempt to put links on the blog for Sam’s appearances on 100 Huntley Street starting tomorrow).

Yours in honour of true friendships,

David

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

GOOD MEDICINE

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 16-17

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

 

These Israeli spices were once used for cooking and medicine. According to our key verse, not only does a merry heart spice up our lives, but it is the true health food!

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

 

Key Verses: Proverbs 17:22

A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.

 

In the synagogue at Nazareth Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah (Luke 4:16-30). This was Jesus’ mission statement as He began three years of public ministry. He declares that “The Spirit of the Lord…has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted…”

When reading this book, it’s difficult to choose which proverbs to highlight. These words are dripping with wisdom! Examples — “Commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established” (16:3) and “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (16:18). Consider this, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (16:25). Then there are prescriptions for maintaining good health, our key verse, as well as, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (16:24). All grandparents need to listen up, particularly grandfathers: “Children’s children are the crown of old men” (17:6a). Who are our true friends? “A friend loves at all times” (17:17a). This works both ways. Each one of us needs to ask ourself, “Am I a true friend?”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I’m not capable of carrying out the wisdom of the Proverbs on my own. I ask for Your daily grace. I’m singing as I type, the old hymn written by Joseph Scrivens of Port Hope, Ontario, Canada, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus!” (click here for a rendition of this classic song when Guy Penrod sang it on 100 Huntley Street). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My reaction to the Proverbs is “WOW!” and “OUCH!” I have learned a little wisdom (very little I think sometimes), and I am learning more as I read, mark, remember, and inwardly digest what I’m reading. For example, I need to do better in sticking to my goal of 100 words in each section of this blog. The last verse of Proverbs says, “Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, [keeps to 100 words in my case] he is considered perceptive.” That’s it! I’ll stop right now. My original idea in this blog was to be short, so busy people would find time to read the Scriptures daily and complete the entire Bible in two years.

Yours with the intention of dispensing the wisdom of the ages,

David

P.S. I found it hard to resist a few more words, given the topic of our key verse! Please check out this segment from 100 Huntley Street from a couple of years ago, when we featured a DVD offer of our made-for-TV seniors’ series called Really Good Medicine (click here). To order a copy from our Crossroads online eStore, click here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A MERRY HEART

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 15

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

It has been a joy to spend the past two weeks in Israel. I recommend this trip to all. It is definitely worth more than trading an old car for a newer one, etc. When a trip through the Bible becomes a priority, most of us can afford such a journey. While in the Holy Land, one can enjoy a wonderful meal in Nazareth at this first century re-enactment location called Nazareth Village.

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

 

Key Verses: Proverbs 15:16

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble.

 

Before we consider our key verse, let’s highlight three other statements from today’s reading: (1) “A soft answer turns away wrath.” Let’s try this. It works! (2) “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance.” This works too! In fact this is very enjoyable for everybody! (3) “A wise son makes a father glad.” We have the help of two Mainse sons in creating this blog. Rev. David Reynold Mainse, a professional photographer as well as an ordained minister, has spent almost three months in Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Egypt taking the photos which appear daily as our first blog item. Rev. Ronald Wesley Mainse, the “Spiritual Director” for the Crossroads ministry and a host of the 100 Huntley Street telecast, sets up the blog format daily, prepares the links which appear in blue for our convenience, takes pictures from time to time which appear at the end of the blog, and then posts the blog for 6 a.m. daily. “Thank You” to my wise and helpful sons!

The key verse can be illustrated by clicking on Luke 16:19-31. The world says that the more wealth we have, the happier we will be. Anyone who suggests that a poor man could be better off than a rich man is looked at as a fool. But to the rich man in Jesus’ story God says, “You fool.” “Wisdom” motivates us to lay up treasure in Heaven.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that I will use the material possessions with which You bless me in those things that please You and which have eternal consequences and rewards. You have promised to supply all my needs (Philippians 4:10-19), and over and above that, enough to bless my family, as well as others! I pray this in the Name of the One who daily gives and gives and gives, the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I was born in the minister’s house provided by a congregation at the height of the Great Depression during the 1930’s. From two to eight years old, I lived on the farm owned by my mother’s sister and her husband, Mina and Harvey Lindsay. My father was overseas for the duration of World War II. Then, upon his return, we began living in Church-owned residences. My parents never took a vow of poverty as far as I know, but by today’s Canadian standards we were poor. Money never seemed to be a problem. We always had food to eat and a roof over our heads. We experienced our key verse: “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure with trouble.” We did not have “great treasure” in terms of money, but then we did not have the kind of trouble referred to in our reading either. I look back on those days with a “merry heart.” I think it shows on my countenance as Proverbs 15:13 says. Ron has posted this blog in advance, as at 6 a.m. today, Toronto time, we are actually in the sky somewhere over the province of my birth, Quebec, on our way home from Israel. On behalf of 100 of us on the tour for the past two weeks, thanks for praying for us!

Yours for “a merry heart.” Is it too early to say MERRY Christmas?

David

P.S. Below is a picture of me standing at the “Wailing Wall”… the prayer wall for Jews and for us too. I am placing there written prayer requests sent to me by blog partners for this purpose.

Monday, November 25, 2013

OXEN

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 14

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

 

Jerash, Jordan, reveals glimpses of splendour that once adorned this city. It was one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis mentioned in the Gospel of Mark 5:20. Jesus travelled throughout these cities showing the love of God to the non-Jewish population. These nations were not righteous and they did not experience the promise of Proverbs 14:34.

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

 

Key Verses: Proverbs 14: 26, 34

…In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,

And His children will have a place of refuge.

…Righteousness exalts a nation,

But sin is a reproach to any people.

 

We should consider verse 27 also, “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life!” The ultimate in respect, reverence, worship and honour is the main ingredient in “the fear of the Lord.” It’s truly a matter of life and death! Choose Life!!!

Before we consider the second of the key verses, let’s back up to Proverbs 14:4a. “Where no oxen are (the stall), the trough is clean.” When we are involved in life, in government, in business, in caring for others, and in the church, life can get messy. It’s really hard to keep everything as it should be. It may resemble the stall where the oxen are housed. The only way to keep from the mess of everyday life would be to live on an isolated island. But then we, ourselves, would be a mess! We need to live in the middle of the action, pulling the load of our families, and our communities with strength that comes from God!

What about our nation? We should weep over the fact that in Canada the precious little ones in the womb of his or her mother have no protection in law. How we treat the weakest and most vulnerable life is the true measure of a righteous or an unrighteous nation.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, how Your great heart must be broken over the modern slaughter of the innocents. Have mercy, O God, I pray. Have mercy on our country and on the many nations (ethnos) who live inside the borders of my Canada. I pray this for Jesus’ sake, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

This past weekend here in Jerusalem I stood beside the Hinnom Valley, known in Hebrew as “Gehenna” (translated “Hell”). It was here that the bodies of babies were burned in the fires. I’ve just googled the words “burned his children in the fire” (see 2 Chronicles 28:1-3 and 2 Chronicles 29:1-11). Today our government sanctions the throwing of the bodies of the little ones into incinerators. I pray with weeping. God have mercy! O God, I repent on behalf of our land! Ours is a country for which our founders declared in our official motto that You would have dominion from sea to sea, “Ad mare usque ad mare!” Lord God, we need many Hezekiah’s in our Houses of Parliament. Have mercy on us, O God!!!

I’m back to thinking about the choice we have in today’s reading. Oxen, or not! Near our former home north of Kingston was “Red Ox Point.” It was named this because a team of oxen outpulled a team of huge work horses. It is said that oxen have a steady pull and when horses try to pull a load that is too heavy, they will start and stop, start and stop. In that case I would rather be an ox than a horse. Steady progress in righting the evils that plague our land will eventually win the day!

Yours for pulling together as a team!

David

P.S. Here’s a picture of members of our tour group in front of the Wailing Wall. Left to right: Dave & Carolyn from Edmonton, Alberta – June from Haliburton, Ontario – Rav from Vaughn, Ontario – Jason from Vaughn, Ontario.

P.P.S. A second picture below I found on Google depicts the King of Judah about to burn a little life in the fires of the Valley of the Sons of Hinnom, offering a child to be sacrificed to the image of the pagan god Molech. The people of Jerusalem believed that this valley was the entrance to Hell.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

TALMUDIM

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 13

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

The Trevi Fountain is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy. Standing 26.3 metres (86 ft) high and 49.15 metres (161.3 ft) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. Competitions had become the rage during the Baroque era to design buildings, fountains, and even the Spanish Steps. In 1730 Pope Clement XII organized a contest in which Nicola Salvi initially lost to Alessandro Galilei -- but due to the outcry in Rome over the fact that a Florentine won, Salvi was awarded the commission. Work began in 1732, and the fountain was completed in 1762. It's good to have an appreciation of past artistic creations, buildings, etc. as we are now experiencing here in Jerusalem where I'm writing this. We can do this for our children's children (our key verse) by being creative in the inheritance we leave for them. It won't be a Trevi fountain, but it can be a unique gift of some kind.

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

 

Key Verses: Proverbs 13:22

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

 

Let’s back up to yesterday’s blog, Proverbs 12, for an observation. Every one of us desires to be successful in life. Here are principles which will help us reach our goals: (1) Be teachable! – 12:1a (2) Ask God for wisdom and be wise! -12:8a (3) Be industrious! – 12:11a (4) Be a listener! – 12:15b (5) Be prudent! – 12:16b. The word “prudent” means well judged, making good decisions, sensible, and well advised!

Today we continue to read a litany of the results of our behaviour. Proverbs 13:7 may have been in the mind of Jesus when He challenged the rich young ruler to sell everything, give to the poor, and come and be one of His disciples (students). Jesus promised this young man that he would have treasure in Heaven if he sacrificed his worldly possessions. The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all carry this story (check out Mark 10:17-22). Mark says that Jesus loved this young man. I can’t help but wonder if perhaps this young man was Mark, himself. We know that his family owned the upper room where Jesus celebrated the last Passover before His death and where the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 people gathered in that room. I like to think that this youth whom Jesus loved did as Jesus said to do after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, and as our reading tells us, “One who makes himself poor, yet has great riches!”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, it’s a joy to consider the inheritance I will leave behind me someday. I pray for wisdom in the choices I make. May my legacy be a strong influence for You and for good in the lives of those who come after me. I ask this in the Name of Jesus, the One with whom I am, according to Scripture, a joint-heir of God (Romans 8:14-17). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

This brings me to Proverbs 13:24, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” My how things change! When I taught public school, I was supplied with a regulation strap by the government of Ontario for the disciplining of my students. I understood that the word “discipline” comes from the word “disciple” (a learner), and I also knew that for learning to take place, an orderly learning atmosphere must be maintained. Yes, I used that strap once. I took the boys (who had locked me out of the classroom) into the cloakroom, closed the door, and the other children (grades 5 & 6) could hear what was going on. I never had to use it again. I had asked my Dad for advice in discipline. He quoted Shakespeare, “Consistency, thou are a rare jewel.” I wanted more advice, and he said, “That’s enough. Just meditate on that statement.” The message came through clearly. Speak once, make sure you are heard and understood, and then act if your instructions are disobeyed. It happened once to my son, David Reynold, whose photos are always at the top of the blog. I heard about this from all four of my children at dinner that evening. Mr. Murray Pipe, the elementary school principal, strapped him for a just cause (throwing snowballs in the playground!). To make an example of him, Mr. Pipe took my son into his office, turned on the P.A. system that was carried into all the classrooms, and Elaine, Ellen and Ron heard the unmistakable sounds of the strap…and then the recognizable sound of Reynold’s voice expressing his discomfort. Mr. Pipe was a wise man; it happened only once in the memories of our children and all knew that their principal was CONSISTENT!

Yours for all of us being what the school children here in Israel are called: “Talmudim.” It is translated into English from the Hebrew language as “Disciples,”

David

P.S. We are all “Talmudim” in our tour group here in Israel. Here I’m sharing the names and home communities of several “Disciples.” It requires discipline to receive the most benefit from such a trip. The two photos below were taken yesterday at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. Photo one, left to right: Lorne & Liz from Caledonia, Ontario – Ivet from Brampton, Ontario – Joyce from Kelowna, British Columbia – Doreen from Ottawa, Ontario. Photo two, left to right: Alysia from Mississauga, Ontario – Dolores from Edmonton, Alberta – Barbara & Stan from Elmira, Ontario – Joy & George from Stayner, Ontario.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

THE CROWN

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 12

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

 

In Rome stands a national monument known as the Altar of the Fatherland, honouring Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. On top you can see a work of art depicting the goddess Victoria riding in a chariot behind quadrigas (four horses abreast). In today's key verse, God shows his care for animals. The horse is one of God's magnificent creations.

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

 

Key Verses: Proverbs 12:10

A righteous man regards the life of his animal,
But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

 

Being a married man means that husbands need to appreciate Proverbs 12:4a. According to these words, men, our wives are our crowns! And they are “excellent,” as the proverb says! I have a small icon that Ron put on my computer screen that says “Dictionary.” When I look up “excellent” it means outstanding, exceptional, marvellous, wonderful, magnificent, etc. etc. Need I say more? Men, let’s make sure our wives read the blog today. If we notice that our wives are a little more romantic for the next while, this may be the reason!!

Proverbs 12 deals with contrasts between several opposites — e.g. in the first verse, “knowledge” and “stupid.” The final contrast is shown between the truthful dealings of a righteous man and the deceit and lies of a wicked man. These paths are going in opposite directions. One leads to life and the other to death. The choice is ours to make as we stand at the crossroads of decision. Let us choose life!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I thank You for my spouse, the one with whom You made me one flesh. May I bless this special person every day in every way. I pray that I will learn valuable life lessons from the book of Proverbs. I ask for wisdom and knowledge in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I think that I’ve been on the verge of depression from time to time. The reason is a big heavy word, “ANXIETY!” According to Proverbs 12:25 this was caused, in my case, by my failure to trust God 100%! While depression can be caused by a disorder in my brain, which needs to be treated by a qualified professional, my near depression was lifted again and again by, as that verse says, “A good word which makes it, the heart, glad!” A psychiatrist once said to my former TV co-host, Father Bob MacDougal, after Bob had been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, “Father MacDougal, your symptoms have …REVERSED!” Bob had three graduate degrees and practised in Toronto at one time as a clinical psychologist. I often heard him tell that story. Jesus is the turn-around, go-the-opposite-direction, specialist!

I must confess that I had anxiety today. At one point in our travels to various Bible locations here in the Holy Land, I thought I’d lost one of our tour members somewhere. However, my excellent wife assured me that our charge was safely on the bus at the back. I figure that over the years we have brought at least 7,000 people to Israel in our tours. What a joy to get to know more people who love and appreciate the ministry of Crossroads Christian Communications Incorporated. God willing, we’ll do it again next November.

Yours for learning every day more and more of the ways of God,

David

P.S. Here are nine more of our faithful enthusiastic pilgrims in front the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. From left to right they are Bob & Judy from Calgary, Alberta – Barb from Calgary, Alberta – Elaine from Vegreville, Alberta – Foster from Aurora, Ontario – Marlyn from Palmerston, Ontario – Joanne from Millet, Alberta – Carol from Kitchener, Ontario – Lilian from Calgary, Alberta

I am standing in Bethlehem's Manger Square as they prepare for the Christmas celebrations just over a month from now. The people of Bethlehem are helping me get into the Christmas spirit early this year. This is probably one of the tallest artificial Christmas trees in the world. They are just starting to decorate it.

 

Friday, November 22, 2013

A SWINE’S SNOUT

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 11

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

 

Modern day Izmir, Turkey, is a major port on the Aegean Sea, off of the Mediterranean. The remains of Smyrna can be seen here. Jesus said about the church in Smyrna, "I know your works, tribulation and poverty, but you are rich!" (Revelation 2:9a). Jesus may have been thinking of the words in today's reading, our key verses! (Proverbs 11:24-25).

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

 

Key Verses: Proverbs 11:24-25

There is one who scatters, yet increases more;

And there is one who withholds more than is right,

But it leads to poverty.

The generous soul will be made rich,

And he who waters will also be watered himself.

 

It’s difficult to pick some of the wisdom contained here when all of these words are of equal importance. Nevertheless, let’s consider four proverbs.

(1) Verse #1 – God is concerned about the butcher who weighs out meat with a thumb on the scale. “A just weight” is the basis of all commerce!

(2) Verse #14 – Do we want to make good and safe major decisions? Then don’t just take the advice of one person. Listen to several people. One person may or may not be trying to manipulate you into doing what they want, and not what is best.

(3) Verse #22 – “A swine’s snout” is so descriptive, particularly for Solomon, a Jew. Pigs are not kosher. “Discretion” is covered in our blog of November 17 (click here).

(4) Verse #30b – It is a wise thing to win souls to the Lord! But be assured that without wisdom in our approach, our body language, and our words, we’ll do more harm than good to the eternal souls of people, all of whom are of infinite value. Therefore, it would be good to read from James 1:5-8. Let’s go ahead and ask God for wisdom, and then win souls!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Dear Father God, there is much wisdom in the chorus which I pray now: “Lord lay some soul upon my heart, and love that soul through me. And may I ever do my part to win that soul to Thee.” In and through the Person and work of Jesus, I pray, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In leading the ministry of Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. for many years, I have valued highly the counsel of our Board of Directors and CCCI Executives. When I think of major decisions I’ve made, I must expand that to include others in the decision-making process, as Solomon wrote, “a multitude of counsellors.” That would include many of my fellow employees and many supporters in prayer and in the giving of financial offerings. Also, thinking of “a lovely woman,” I want to thank my wife Norma-Jean, whose counsel has been wise, prayerful and loving. She has consistently shown “discretion.” My children and their spouses have given wise counsel. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Everyone who has had input into my life!!! When I think of decisions made that have brought CCCI to what it is today, I invite readers to check out the Crossroads website (click here).

Yours for reading the responses of a “Multitude of Counsellors” to this blog!!!

David

P.S. Here’s another picture of some of our pilgrims here in Israel. We are now in Jerusalem, but yesterday we visited Beersheba, the home of Abraham. One of the wells here, perhaps dug by Abraham, is over 200 feet deep. Ron, my son and Crossroads “Spiritual Director” read to us all from Genesis 21:25-34. Pictured here, left to right, are Rita & Tony from Burlington, Ontario – Donald & Louise from Alfred, Ontario – Bena (our tour guide) from Tel Aviv, Israel – Judy & Dave from Calgary, Alberta – Bob & Erika from Hamilton, Ontario – Marilyn from Calgary, Alberta.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

THE GOOD AND THE BAD

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 9-10

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

The beautiful view looking from the balcony of the Beit Bracha guest house in Migdal (the hometown of Mary Magdalene), next to the Sea of Galilee. This Christian ministry house is run by CMJ (www.cmj-israel.org). Looking down on this restful garden the proclamation is clear. Every believer has the responsibility to share his or her faith, in person and in support of ministries who do share the faith!

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

 

Key Verses: Proverbs 9:8-9

Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;

Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;

Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

 

In Proverbs 9 wisdom is personified as a woman who invites guests into her house. Foolishness, similarly personified, does likewise. Wisdom and foolishness both presume the necessity of choice. Both invitations are sounding in his ear, and it is clear that he cannot have both! He must make a choice, and that is the most urgent and pressing business in life: MAKING A CHOICE!!!

The second section of Proverbs begins with chapter 10. There are 375 proverbs to come. In the Hebrew language letters have numerical value. It’s interesting that the letters in Solomon’s name add up to 375. In this chapter the list of the rewards of the two men are opposites. The wise man receives many blessings; the unwise man reaps a harvest of sorrow and death.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, You give such great blessings to those who live in Your wisdom! I pray that You will put a watch over my mouth so that, with Your Word and Your Spirit, I will communicate only that which will bring encouragement, life, love, knowledge, good food for the soul, strength, and wisdom. I come to You, Lord, in and through the Person who does all this and much much more, the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve just turned in my Bible to Hebrews 4:9-13 where I read about the Word of God being living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. Here in Israel our group of 100 people visited Nazareth Village last Sunday. There we were shown a Roman two-edged sword from 2,000 years ago. I don’t think that any symbol does an adequate job of describing the power of God’s Word. I experienced that power as a boy in our family devotions. For example, I can’t begin to count the number of times I heard my father quote Proverbs 10:22. “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” Never once did I think that Dad was talking about material possessions. He was a minister for four years of a country circuit with two congregations, one in Haley’s Station and the other in Admaston, Ontario. We had a big garden with lots of vegetables and farmers would often bless us with a gift of meat. It seemed that we only needed money for gas for the car, and that cost about 20 cents a gallon. I knew we were “blessed” and “rich” in the things that were really important in life. Dad read the Scriptures out loud to us at breakfast and at supper. I got the message!!!

Yours for all God has for us,

David

P.S. I chose the key verses because giving “Instruction,” “Teaching,” which will result in “An increase in learning” is a primary purpose for this blog! Here in Israel we are learning much as we travel and listen to our excellent guides, Bena and Val. Here are some of our fellow learners atop the famous mountain, Masada, after riding up in the cable car. From left to right – June from Alix, Alberta – Don and Sheila from Fredericton, New Brunswick – Louisa from Brampton, Ontario – Faiza from Port Alberni, British Columbia – Wayne and Della from Inuvik, Northwest Territories – Linda from Young’s Cove, New Brunswick – Freda from Young’s Cove, New Brunswick – Helen from Red Deer, Alberta.

The Fortress of Masada rises from 1,300 feet below sea level to 100 feet above sea level. You can see the cable car wires on the left.

The cable car ride up Masada!