Monday, February 29, 2016

LEAPING UP!

Today’s Bonus Leap Day Reading: Acts 3

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

 

This is a model of the Temple from the time of Jesus, where it was situated on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. Today, a Muslim mosque, known as the Dome of the Rock (seen in the background), is located on that same Temple Mount.

This is a model of the Temple from the time of Jesus, where it was situated on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. Today, a Muslim mosque, known as the Dome of the Rock (seen in the background), is located on that same Temple Mount. This is where the miracle in today’s reading took place.

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

Key Verse: Acts 3:8

And he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them — walking, leaping, and praising God.

 

This is a once in four years blog, as 2016 is a leap year. Therefore, we have one extra day, February 29th. Rather than change the regular flow of our two-year journey through the Bible I’ve decided to add a special reading which should give us all great joy. Here were two Apostles, Peter and John, entering the Temple for a 3 p.m. prayer meeting. Those leading the Temple services were the very ones who had conspired to have Jesus crucified, but nothing would deter Jesus’ followers from participating in the life of their Jewish people. They had every reason to never enter the Temple again. As followers of Jesus, we must be there where the people are, in the midst of the culture, in order to meet human need and to impact that culture with the Good News of Jesus!!! It was not the “leaping man” who brought a great many to Christ that day. It was the preaching of the Word by Peter. The former lame man’s “leaping” succeeded in getting the attention of the people so that they would listen to the message. Let’s ask ourselves, What are we doing to get the attention of people so that we then can give out God’s Word? Be creative! Do something today to get someone’s time, eyes and ears, and then share Jesus!!! It may not be as dramatic as a miraculous healing. It could be as simple as a hug for a hurting person, which will provide the opportunity we need to bring someone to the Saviour.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, with “leaping up” fervency I ask for Your Holy Spirit to empower me today to get someone’s attention, so that, like Peter, I can share Your Word. In Your all-powerful Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The leap year is necessary to adjust our calendars so that they will reflect accurately the movement of the Earth around the Sun and the Moon around the Earth. I don’t understand it all, but I have an extra day. I’m using this day to keep a check-up appointment at the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. I’m now two years past my predicted expiry date. I believe that the same power of Jesus that caused the lame man at the Temple to leap up is at work in my life. I feel great! Please pray for me that I’ll share Jesus effectively today. I’m praying for every blog partner!

Click here for an example of a time on live TV when I did leap up and dance for joy. I hope that occasion did rap the attention of some viewers so that they heard the testimony which followed.

Yours for a happy Leap Day,

David

Sunday, February 28, 2016

NOAH, DANIEL, JOB, MARTIN & ELVIS

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 13-15

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

 

This wall is among the ruins of ancient Ephesus in modern-day Turkey. While some of the plaster is gone, the mortar holding the bricks has, unlike the mortar mentioned in today’s reading, lasted for 2,000 years, maintaining the integrity of the wall.

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

 

Key Verses: Ezekiel 13:10b & 14:20

…and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with untempered mortar. “…even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”

 

To temper clay and make it long-lasting mortar, it is essential to add strengthening substances which will improve the hardness, the consistency, and the resiliency of the mortar, so that walls will last for centuries. Ezekiel, over and over, mentions predictions made by “divination,” “magic charms,” and other occult practises, as well as those “who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing.” All of these deceptions are still with us today. From the palm reader or psychic, whose signs we see by the roadside, to persons who manipulate others by claiming to give personal prophecies and direct the decisions made, falsely claiming a “word from God.” Let us be very careful, remembering that the “word of prophecy” mentioned by Paul is for “edification of the church,” not personal guidance (read 1 Corinthians 14:3, 14:12).

Noah, Daniel (who was already a leader when Ezekiel arrived in Babylon), and Job were tempered, made strong, consistent and resilient by their obedience and by hard lessons they had to learn. Their stories, and the truths they imparted, have lasted much longer than the wall in Reynold’s photograph, but even they could not save their children. Each generation must have a first-hand encounter with God for themselves (14:14, 14:16, 14:20). Check out Noah (Genesis 6:5-9), Daniel (Daniel 5:10-17 & 6:16-23), and Job (Job 42:10-17).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that You will place the ingredients into my life and character so that I will be a person of integrity, consistency, and strength. Lord Jesus Christ (Messiah) You have come to live in me by Your Spirit, according to Your promise to everyone who believes in You (“in”…not just about). Therefore, I confess that Your “strength is made perfect in [my] weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Two years ago today Norma-Jean and I visited the hotel where Martin Luther King was shot and murdered in Memphis, and by tunnel we walked under the street to stand on the very spot where the shooter committed this unspeakable crime. I wept as the history of those awful times coursed through my mind and heart. Also,  we visited “Graceland,” the home of Elvis Presley and where he tragically died. I was sobered to remember his life and career. He loved to sing Gospel songs, and I’ve met some of the Gospel quartet members who tell me that Elvis would want to sing hymns and Gospel songs late into the night. They said that he would weep as he sang. Elvis, I’m told, would ride the Sunday School bus as a child to the First Assembly of God, at one time the largest Sunday School in America, where he heard the Good News of Jesus and asked Jesus to come into his life. During his teen years, he continued to attend, and he also attended a great local African-American Church, where he particularly loved the music. The influences were certainly evident in Elvis’ music. Pastor Hamill, who participated in inviting me in the mid 1970’s to be the host of an internationally released TV series called, Turning Point, the official TV voice of the Assemblies of God, said that throughout his life, no matter where in the world Elvis was, he would travel home to Memphis for Easter Sunday Services. After service, the Pastor said Elvis would hold his head in his hands, weeping, and saying, “Oh Pastor, its so hard out there in the world to live as a true Christian.” The Pastor would lay hands on Elvis, pray for him, and bless him. I think everyone who knows about Elvis draws their own conclusions about his life (click here for Elvis singing “How Great Thou Art”).

Yours for God to add His strength through the daily reading of His Word to the “mortar” of our lives,

David

A thoughtful moment here in Memphis. The wreath marks the very place where the great hero of the American Civil Rights movement was shot and killed. Rev. King was a Baptist Pastor who has inspired millions to be better people of God.

Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous words, “I have a dream,” have inspired millions of people to reach beyond themselves. The words on the plaque just below the motel balcony where he was murdered are those of Joseph’s brothers. May God keep on giving dreamers to humanity! Amen!!!

From this building, James Earl Ray fired the shot which killed Dr. King. America has never been the same!

What would a visit to Memphis be without seeing Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley? He sold over one billion records of his music worldwide. His wife Priscilla says that she could hardly wait during his concerts until he sang to God, “How Great Thou Art!”

Saturday, February 27, 2016

ICHABOD

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 10-12

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

 

Angels opening a scroll are depicted in beautiful artwork inside the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome. Ezekiel’s visions of the most unusual creatures, which he refers to as Cherubim, leave us in awe at the nature of these beings.

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

 

Key Verses: Ezekiel 10:18a, 12:28

Then the glory of the Lord departed….Thus says the Lord God: “None of My words will be postponed anymore, but the word which I speak will be done,” says the Lord God.

 

In 1 Samuel 4:11-22 we find the story of an earlier time when the “Glory” departed from Israel. The time comes when God, who is 100% Holy, is so grieved by the actions of His people that He ceases to manifest His presence anymore until there is a deep sorrow for sin, a turning away from sin, and a turning back to Him. Phineas, son of the high priest Eli, who participated in removing the Ark of God from the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, was killed, and his widow bore a son whom she named “Ichabod,” which means “the glory has departed.” As our second key verse tells us, God will not postpone forever the consequences of human rebellion against His clearly stated will.

Don’t give up, family of God! He has made over 7,000 promises which are recorded in the Bible. Here’s one of them found in Ezekiel 11:17-19. Let’s read that one again from today’s reading. Verse 19 says, “I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take away the stoney heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I think of the saying, “Have a heart!” Yes! I pray for that “one heart,” and that “new spirit” to be renewed daily within me. You have created me as an eternal being as spirit, soul (heart), mind, and body. Like a father and mother care for their children, so You care for me. I rest in Your arms, totally confident in the constancy of Your love! May Your presence, Your glory, permeate my entire being 24/7. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

One time, shortly after Norma-Jean and I were married, we had retired for the night. I was half asleep when suddenly I was wide awake, sat bolt upright, and cried out in fear. Norma-Jean remembers this also. I sensed that an intensely evil presence had entered our bedroom and was threatening to destroy us. I cried out the name of our Lord and Saviour “Jesus” in a loud voice, and immediately that sense of dread and evil was gone, never to return to this day, 57 years later. That has happened only once, but over and over through the years I have experienced the presence of our loving God, sometimes with greater intensity than at other times. The Scriptures tell us that in His “presence is fullness of joy!” King David wrote a song about this. Read Psalm 16:5-11.

Yours for experiencing the presence of God! (He’s always there; I’m the one who is not constant. May God do an ongoing work in me until that day when I’ll see God face to face in eternity!),

David

Crossroads has helped train hundreds of people from 82 countries in the art of producing good TV programs. Ashvin Dev, seen over Norma-Jean’s right shoulder, is one of our graduates. He and his team presented us with scarves from India as a “thank you.” They now have three over-the-air TV stations licensed by the government of India. Dr. John Hull, a host of 100 Huntley Street, is on the right.

Did any blog readers watch Olympic hockey a while back. It’s in the Canadian nature to apologize, most of the time  for any evidence of triumphalism. I thought you might enjoy the Canadian beaver and the American eagle.

 

Friday, February 26, 2016

BEHOLD

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 7-9

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

 

The sun shining next to the Temple of Athena on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. In today’s reading we find the practise of sun worship.

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

 

Key Verse: Ezekiel 8:4

And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I saw in the plain.

 

The word, “BEHOLD,” means to see, to observe, to watch, to gaze upon, to contemplate, to inspect, and to witness an important sight. What could be more important to behold than “the glory of God!!” Ezekiel 8:16 tells us of 25 men who “were worshipping the sun.”  The Apostle John writes in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we BEHELD His ‘GLORY,’ the ‘GLORY’ as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth!” Paul wrote, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with ‘GLORY’ and honour, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9). Let’s read of other visions in Isaiah 6:1-5 and Revelation 1:13-18. The Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, pushed Jesus forward in front of the paid lackeys of the High Priest and exclaimed, “Ecce Homo”…”Behold the man.” In so doing, Pilate focused the gaze of billions of people onto that blood-streaked face of Jesus, and onto the crown of thorns that had been crushed on His brow. Paul wrote these words, “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith” (read Hebrews 12:1-3).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

O Jesus…I see You with new insight! I perceive in a greater way today than ever before who You are in all Your GLORY! You outshine the sun! I worship You! I give You my life all over again! Thank You for showing me a glimpse of Your GLORY! I pray that I will always keep You before the eyes of my understanding! In Your Name I pray, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

While my Dad was still a soldier in the Canadian Army in WWI, he made his lifetime commitment to Jesus as his Saviour and Lord. He was 21 years old when he first received Holy Communion. The next day he was helping his father work in the field. During the day, my Grandpa saw my Dad staring off into space, immobilized, having stopped work for a time. My Grandpa said to him, “Roy, what are you gazing at?” My Dad said that at that moment he saw a vision, looking into Heaven, where he was beholding Jesus in all His Glory. I’ve walked that field thinking of Dad’s vision, wondering if God would give me a vision too. It didn’t happen to me, but as I type this, in a very real way, I am beholding His GLORY in my thoughts, and in my innermost being. I’m being changed from “Glory to Glory!” “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the GLORY of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord!” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Yours for that daily transformation that the Spirit of the Lord is producing in our lives,

David

My Father, Roy Lake Mainse, in his WWI army uniform.

My Father, Roy Lake Mainse, in his WWI Canadian Army uniform.

 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

EZEKIEL BREAD

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 4-6

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

 

Bread is being cooked over a fire in Nazareth. The only recipe in the Bible is in today’s reading. Ezekiel bread can be purchased at many health food stores across the country such as “Goodness Me” in Ontario, Canada. Of course one can bake their own fresh bread with this recipe.

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

 

Key Verse: Ezekiel 4:9

Also take for yourself wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread of them for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days, you shall eat it.

 

Baking bread is the third of four visual object lessons Ezekiel was to preform in order to increase the impact of his message. Getting people to pay attention is more than half the battle in successfully communicating. Ezekiel was making sure that people who would hear him or read his words would know that the coming total destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple of God did not take God by surprise and that God’s purpose to bring His people to repentance would become a fact in history. Following the Babylonian captivity, the Jewish people would never again fall into such evil practises which they had committed during the times of the Judges and the Kings. They learned very hard lessons! How would it be known that they had repented? Ezekiel 6:9 states that “They shall loath themselves for the evils which they have committed.” True repentance produces a loathing for sin!

Three times Nebuchadnezzar took captives to Babylon from Jerusalem. Daniel came to Babylon in the first wave, Ezekiel came eight years later. Jeremiah was still in Jerusalem during this time, and finally the prophecies of both Jeremiah and Ezekiel were fulfilled 11 years after Ezekiel was taken to Babylon. By the time of Jerusalem’s destruction, Daniel had already been in Babylon for 19 years and was well established as a leader in that empire. Jeremiah was taken by force to Egypt by some of the leaders of Judah who survived the Babylonian siege.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, grant me daily the grace to repent! May I have a constant sense of true repentance, so that I will loath my sin and cry out strongly to You in my repentance and pray for repentance to take place in people’s hearts everywhere. Like Daniel and others in Babylon, I get Ezekiel’s message, and I pray that You will enable me to live a holy life before You and before people. I ask this in the Name of the only One who always lived a holy life, Jesus Christ (Messiah). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

It was at least 25 years ago that we actually baked Ezekiel bread live on the 100 Huntley Street telecast. Rev. Val Dodd, who had at one time been the executive chef for the Holiday Inns in Toronto, had joined our staff team, and we took a page from Ezekiel’s book. Television is, of course, a visual medium of communications. We’ve never been as radical as Ezekiel in such graphic visuals to support his message (like laying on one side and then the other for many days). I think such a visual would have increased the number of people watching. In fact, the entire country would have been aware of the show. I’m not recommending this to the current leaders in Crossroads Christian Communications Inc., but I do recommend powerful visual aids wherever possible. The more people watching means that the seed of God’s Word will fall into more good soil and will produce good fruit in more precious lives. One rather conservative pastor who pastored a church nearby said in reference to the Crossroads telecast and my somewhat radical approach to communications, “We should not try to be entertaining, we should just preach the Word!” True, but if we don’t get the attention of those who would not otherwise watch, how will they hear the “Word!” I would venture to say that Ezekiel was most entertaining. His ratings were really high, probably 100% of the people along the river Chebar watched him and got the message!

Yours for communicating in such a way that many more people “Get the Message!”,

David

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

EAT THE SCROLL

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 1-3

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

 

The colours of a rainbow flooding the sky above Jerusalem. In today’s reading, Ezekiel describes what he saw before him and above him.

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

 

Key Verses: Ezekiel 1:28, 3:2

“Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord…So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll.”

 

God called His prophets to be “Watchmen.” Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others sounded the warning that if God’s people refused to listen, the responsibility for their downfall was their own; but if the prophet failed to sound the warning, every lost life was on his account. The word “rebellious” is repeated eight times in these chapters, the word “impudent,” which means “not ashamed,” is used twice. The people were not ashamed of their rebellion against the clearly stated Word of God! Other words to describe God’s people are “stubborn” and “hard-hearted.” Nevertheless, we should be encouraged because God is communicating in a variety of ways. Our Father in Heaven has not left us as orphans. His Apostles, Prophets, Pastors/Teachers, and Evangelists have spoken to us God’s message (read Ephesians 4:11-16).

Maybe the “wheel within a wheel” resembles the reports of some people on what they call “flying saucers.” What Ezekiel saw in his vision were probably the great archangels of God. Just remember, Satan is an archangel who can appear as an “angel of light” in order to deceive people. Let’s stick with the message of the Bible prophets, the Apostles, and most of all Jesus, Himself. That way we won’t be deceived. There are major false religions in the world today which were started by the appearance of an “angel” to so-called prophets. I’m thinking of Islam and Mormonism (read 2 Corinthians 11:12-15).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that by Your mercy and grace in my life I will be teachable and not rebellious, impudent, stubborn, and hard-hearted! May I “eat” Your Word daily, making it my nourishment, part of my very being. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

True Bible prophets have made predictions, many of which have already come to pass. Some of the best examples of this are Psalm 22, 1,000 years before Christ, and Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, and 53, 600-700 years before Christ.

Global warming is a deep concern for many. I am taking a wait-and-see approach to the predictions of imminent destruction of the world by the melting of the ice-caps. The prophet Moses gave us God’s promise, confirmed by a rainbow, that the earth would never again be destroyed by a flood. I just read a news item from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. A retired officer who served on icebreakers in the 70s and 80s said in 2014, “This year’s ice conditions have not been seen for 40 years. The ice cover in the Arctic is returning and getting thicker.” Recently David Philips, senior climatologist for Environment Canada, is quoted as saying, “In some way, we were suggesting that it would be colder, but not this intensely cold. It is unlike anything we’ve seen for a couple of decades.” Norma-Jean and I are doing what we can to reduce our carbon footprints.

I’m extremely thankful for what the Apostle Peter calls “The more sure Word of Prophecy.” Those predictions are totally reliable (2 Peter 1:18-20).

Yours for holding onto the One who holds the future,

David

P.S. One Saturday evening I went over to the Hamilton Harbour and took this picture of the ice melting along the shore. When I came back to our apartment I found online a 2014 satellite picture of the ice on the Great Lakes, which reached 88% coverage…a level not reached since 1994. Some predict a catastrophic flood for costal cities. As I said, I’m an agnostic on this. However, I do believe that there are constant small changes in the Climate. Temperatures have been up and down for a very long time. For all you northerners, KEEP WARM!

 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

NEW EVERY MORNING

Today’s Reading: Lamentations 3-5

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

 

This winding road is in Meteroa Greece. Perhaps the road of life resembles this. Most of the time life is up hill like the top left of Reynold’s photograph.

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

 

Key Verses: Lamentations 3:22-23

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,

Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning;

Great is Your faithfulness.

 

It is surprising to find this gem of positive affirmation in the middle of such a sad book as Lamentations. God’s “mercies,” His “lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.” That’s worth reading at least twice! On top of that, “They are new every morning!” Could this be a reason for this blog? Then here’s the clincher to understanding the heart of God! “GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS!”

An example of this is the picture on our Canadian $20 bill. Of course, it’s our Queen! For all who read this who are not familiar with the Canadian form of Government, we are a constitutional monarchy. The constitutional monarch, Queen Elizabeth, is our “Head of State.” Those who led Canada into its sovereignty believed that we needed someone above the political process. By its nature politics is messy, but not the Queen, or our Governor General who represents her for Canada, and our Lieutenant Governors who represent her in the Provinces and Territories. This institution of the monarchy illustrates in human terms the “faithfulness” of God. He remains the same! He does not wander from one position to another, as do our political leaders. God is over and above the fray. He is SOVEREIGN! We give to Him His divine right to rule over every area of our lives. “Yes” and “So be it!”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, King of the Cosmos, Absolute Ruler over my life, I kneel before You in complete submission to Your will and purpose for me. You have given me a bill of rights, in that I can come into Your presence daily, presenting my petitions. You have promised that “The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37b). That is my promise from You, and You never lie as some in human government do. Thank You for Your GREAT FAITHFULNESS! In the Name of the One the Apostle John saw in his vision of Jesus, the One who will return to earth in great power and glory…the “KING of KINGS!!!” Amen!!! (Revelation 19:16b).

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

There are many twists and turns in the road of life and I tell myself, “Just keep going!” Sometime back Norma-Jean and I bought a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) unit for our car. Don’t ask me how it works. I just use it! I know that there is a communications satellite parked in a stationary orbit about 22,500 miles above the earth through which a lady I call “Mabel” talks to me, telling me the way to turn at each crossroads. To support Mabel’s spoken word there is a road map on the screen and a purple arrow which points me to my desired destination. Mabel’s words and what I read on the screen are in agreement. Amazing! The odd time there is confusion. The words on the screen say, “Searching for satellite.” I know it’s up there somewhere.

How often on life’s road I’ve had to wait, even pull over to the side of the road, while waiting for my connection with God to be restored. As today’s reading says to God, “Great is Your faithfulness!” He’s always there, and if there is a problem, it’s my fault, not God’s. I simply go back to the instructions (the written Word), follow carefully what I read, and wait for a while. Soon the directions are clear, and there is the still small Voice of God confirming what I’ve read. I begin to move, and as He has promised, He directs my movements (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Yours because God is faithful,

David

P.S. I count among my friends the Hon. David Only and his wife, Ruth Ann. David served for years as the Queen’s representative for the province of Ontario.

Monday, February 22, 2016

THE LONELY CITY

Today’s Reading: Lamentations 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).

 

There are many covered stone streets in the Old City of Jerusalem. In this picture, one orthodox Jew walks up an incline. Imagine Jeremiah, who was left behind in Jerusalem, after most of the people were taken captive to Babylon.

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

 

Key Verses: Lamentations 2:11

My eyes fail with tears,

My heart is troubled;

My bile is poured on the ground

Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people,

Because the children and the infants

Faint in the streets of the city.

 

According to the dictionary, a “lament” is a poem expressing passionate grief or sorrow. “Lamentations” is such a poem. Each chapter in this book contains 22 stanzas, but chapter three has 66 (22×3). Each stanza begins with the succeeding letter of the Hebrew 22-letter alphabet. Jeremiah’s prophecies came true, and he had every right to say, “I told you so!” He not only knew the Word of God, he knew the heart of God! Here in chapters 1 & 2, Jeremiah cannot stop weeping. Can we hear the weeping in the voice of Jesus when He said of Jerusalem the words found in Matthew 23:34-37. Jesus ministered in person in Jerusalem, as did Jeremiah. Shortly before the next great destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus is recorded saying the words of Matthew 24:6-14.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for the same heart of compassion and grief as was evident in Jeremiah and in Jesus. Grant me, I ask, the strength to bear a burden of intercession for my country and its great cities, towns, villages and country areas. Increase my capacity to care for people who are all very precious and of infinite value to You. I pray in the Name of the One who cared more than anyone else for people, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The photo below shows the street lights of Burlington, the lights on the Burlington Skyway Bridge over the entrance to the Hamilton Harbour. The light is reflected off the snow and ice. The harbour is frozen over and the ships are docked at the wharfs for the winter. In the distance are the lights of the city of Hamilton. Fire is visible coming from the huge chimneys at the steel plants, Stelco and Dofasco. For a time I served as a pastor of a Hamilton congregation. Often early in the morning I would walk to the brow of the escarpment which overlooks Hamilton from the opposite direction from where this picture is taken. There I would pray over the needs of these cities, sometimes weeping as I cried out to God for His mercy and salvation to come to many more people. I am committed to prayer and to experiencing a greater manifestation of the caring heart of Jesus than ever before.

Yours for a heartfelt concern for people everywhere!

David

Sunday, February 21, 2016

FERVENT LOVE

Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 3-5

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

 

A visit to Rome is a feast for the eyes. In the centre is the Trajan’s Column with a church on either side. The larger church in the photo is the Church of the Most Holy Name of Mary at the Trajan Forum. At the very end of today’s reading, “Babylon” is mentioned. In Roman times the persecuted Christians called the source of their persecution, Rome, by the name of the capitol city of the ancient persecutors of the Jewish people, “Babylon” (Revelation 17:1-6).

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Peter 5:7

…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

 

There are three points of emphasis here, all three mentioned more than once!

(1) PRAYER – 1 Peter 3:7 informs us that if we, as husbands, don’t honour our wives properly, our prayers may be hindered. Let’s not forget that elsewhere it says, “Let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33b). This is serious! Do we want God’s ears to be open to our prayers? Then pay attention to 1 Peter 3:9-12. Amen!!!

(2) A message from Jesus to those “spirits in prison” (3:19 & 20) and “those who are dead!” (4:6). This seems strange. Yet we understand that all who had died in faith prior to the Cross and the Resurrection were somehow incarcerated in a place where they could not enter Heaven above, because their sins were not removed until Jesus had paid the full price for their redemption by His blood sacrifice. It would be amazing to hear a replay of Jesus’ message to these people someday.

(3) “Love!” “Love!” and “Love!” (3:8 & 4:8). And this is to be “FERVENT LOVE!” We may think we know something about the meanings of the word “love.” But what about the word “fervent.” The dictionary says, “Displaying a passionate intensity – burning – glowing – boiling hot!”

O yes! Let’s read several times 1 Peter 5:5-9. “Be humble!” “Cast your cares on Him!” “Be sober!” “Be vigilant!” The result? The Devil may roar, but he can’t harm us!!! Let us be “steadfast in the faith.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for all You have for me. I now am wide open to receive Your provisions. Thank You! Praise Your holy Name! I worship You with a fervent heart full of love for You, and for others. Through the world’s greatest Lover, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS (or more)

I’ve just read all of First Peter again. As I read Chapter 1 verse 3, the word “begotten” stood out for me. The same thing happened as I read 1:23 which says, “Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever.” Recently someone sent me a picture of Billy Graham and Chuck Templeton (below). I remember when Billy and Chuck worked together as Evangelists in the Youth For Christ Movement. Billy was steadfast in his faith and commitment to the Gospel, but Chuck went to a very liberal theological seminary, and it seems he lost his faith in Christ. He returned to Toronto, wrote books, and became a broadcaster of note. On one occasion I was interviewed by Chuck on national CBC television. Chuck said, “David, you talk a lot about being born again. The Bible only refers to this one time.” I responded in a way that I later apologized for. I said, “Chuck, you’ve not been reading your Bible lately! Jesus said those words twice in John 3, and there are other places where the ‘born again’ experience is found. For example, Peter wrote those words, ‘born again.'” Then I referenced other synonymous expressions of this truth. e.g. “a new creation” and “born of the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 5:17 & John 3:8b). After the live show was over (I would only go on live shows because they had in the past edited me to make me say what I did not!), I prayed about it, and that still small Voice said to me, “David, you do not love Chuck.” I repented, and the next time when we were together (off camera), I asked his forgiveness for my lack of love, and he graciously forgave me. In the late 80’s, when the TV Evangelists scandals broke, Chuck was everywhere on Canadian TV, radio, and in the press defending me as an evangelist of integrity. Shortly before his death, he said to an interviewer, “I love Jesus very much, and I’ve missed Him for a long while.” I believe I’ll meet Chuck in Heaven!

Yours because, as the Scriptures say over and over, “His mercy endures forever!”

David

Young Evangelists, Chuck Templeton of Toronto and Billy Graham of Chicago at the time.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

PETER’S PRIORITIES

Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 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).

 

The Church of St. Anne (the mother of Mary) is located at the start of the Via Dolorosa, near the Lions’ Gate in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The current church is erected near the remains of an earlier Byzantine basilica. There is a tradition which claims that this was the site of the home of the parents of the Virgin Mary, and that she was born here and grew up here. The sculptor has offered us this depiction of a mother and a young girl.

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

 

Key Verses: 1 Peter 1:5, 2:2

…who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.…As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.

 

“Kept by the power of God!” What a confidence-building statement! Can it be any better than that? Add to that the amazing privilege of growth through the Word of God! We’ve been reading daily the Prophets. We are encouraged to learn a most important lesson from them. They “inquired and searched diligently!” (1:10). We are given clear instructions as to how to do this: “Gird up the loins of your mind” (1:13). That picturesque language helps us understand the process. We could put it differently, like, “Take yourself by the scruff of the neck and partake daily of all the spiritual nutrients we need to grow and thrive.” As a hungry baby desires mother’s milk, so we should hunger and thirst, eating and drinking God’s Word!!! A baby’s whole world is all about survival and growth.

In Peter’s writing he sounds a lot like he did when he delivered the very first sermon on the birthday of the Church (Read Acts 2:22-24). Peter quotes from his Hebrew Bible from Isaiah 53. Compare 1 Peter 2:24 & 25 with Isaiah 53:5 & 6. All the Apostles were “Word of God” preachers and teachers.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for the brace of consistency in my reading and my meditating on and in Your Holy Word. I ask that Your Spirit will impart to me a greater comprehension and practical application of Your Word. May I, like the Apostles, have a strong ministry to others by skillfully, and with wisdom, sharing Your Word with others. In the Name of the “Living Word,” Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I believe that when the second two-year journey through the Bible with this blog is completed this June 2nd, I want to try to write Bible stories for children which a Dad, Mom, or others could read to their kids as possible bedtime stories. Please pray for me. Recently I spoke about the DNA of the Crossroads Ministry. I took “Uncle Jasper” and “Caspar the Cop” with me to illustrate the commitment Crossroads has had to children’s ministry since the beginning of the TV ministry back in 1962 (photo below). I used these same puppets to help me grab the attention of the children in a Sunday School I started in Chalk River, Ontario, when I was 18 back in 1954. Most of the time there has been a children’s component to the Crossroads ministry.

Yours for getting the attention of the children so that they will drink the “pure milk of the Word” and “grow thereby!”

David

P.S. Jasper and Caspar are pictured below. Notice the copy of a Bible under the wooden shoes. The symbolism is that we stand on the solid foundation of the Scriptures. The Word of God is over and above all the other books in my library! The wooden shoes were a gift from the Netherlands when I travelled to that country speaking about the dangers of euthanasia in the great reformed churches of that land. To the dismay of historical Christians, the government passed a bill allowing the killing of the elderly. I weep now because Belgium, where two of my grandchildren were born, has passed legislation by which children can be euthanized. May God have mercy on His human family!!!