Tuesday, March 21, 2017

THE MANY AND THE FEW

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 14

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 an Akkadian cuneiform writing clay tablet piece and is the oldest document to mention Jerusalem. It was discovered in the south wall area of the Old City of Jerusalem and is dated at 14th century BC.

 

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 14:6b

For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.

As King Saul’s son, Jonathan had probably learned from observing the interaction between his father and the prophet Samuel. Our children often learn more from being in our presence, and in the presence of our visitors, than from our efforts at direct teaching. Obviously Jonathan had come to believe in God and in His power to equip a man for victory in battle. By just two brave men, the rout of the enemy of Israel began and confusion reigned in the ranks of the Philistines. Jonathan seemed to have more common sense than his father. Saul’s foolish edict to not eat robbed the men of the energy they needed, and resulted in the eating of blood forbidden by Moses’ Law. There are those in our day who burden God’s people in ways that rob us of spiritual vitality, rather than encouraging us to partake of the “honey” that God has provided. This has been particularly true when it comes to man-made prohibitions regarding the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Those who teach that the experience of the first believers, as recorded in the book of Acts, is not for today and prohibit the exercise of the Gifts of the Spirit have done serious damage to God’s plan for His Church. Go ahead, have some honey! Be refreshed today by the life-giving sweetness found in God’s Word and in the experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Victory is ours!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, as I read these words and pause often to worship You, I’m conscious that I’m partaking of the sweetness of Your provision for me. Like Jonathan, my countenance has brightened. I pray that this energy level will continue in order that I may “fight the good fight of faith,” as I read in 1 Timothy 6:11-16. In Jesus’ conquering Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In selecting the key verse for today, I thought of God’s provision over the years for the financial well-being of the Crossroads ministry. Sometimes God has used the many and sometimes the few. Without the participation of thousands of precious partners, this ministry, that has brought many to a saving knowledge of Jesus, would have shut down years ago. But the Lord has also used the few. Our former bank manager at the TD bank in downtown Toronto (gone to be with the Lord in Heaven now) knew our need the day that our lighting package for the new TV production studios arrived. I needed cash in order to have the shipment released. A line of credit had not been authorized. One of the “few,” whose name I do not know, sent through $50,000 directly to the bank, telling the manager that he could arrange a charitable giving receipt, but that I was not to know who it was that gave this money. The only information I was given was that it was someone from Ottawa who did not know of the need to pay for the shipment that very day but felt led of God to transfer the money. There are few who could give such a gift. Perhaps you are one of the few. We should perhaps read on in 1Timothy 6:17-19. One thing I’ve learned is that God uses BOTH the MANY and the FEW to support His work. When we sold the farm in which Norma-Jean, my wife, was born, we got to be one of “the few” one time, but every month we are one of “the many” that keep the ministry winning spiritual battles every day. That monthly offering, and the offerings of many more, are absolutely essential to the great cause to which God has called Crossroads. More of “the few” and more of “the many” would also be a big help right now. God is leading the Ministry in new initiatives for the Gospel that need us all to take up the challenge of giving sacrificially. The funds are not just sitting there in the bank doing nothing for Jesus! Crossroads continues to be a faith ministry. Please pray asking God for His instructions (click here for giving instructions).

Yours to encourage us all to be “the many” and some of us to be “the few,”

David

P.S. My granddaughter Elena has a beautiful baby girl who just turned two years old (a photo of Chelsea is below). A few years back, 100 Huntley Street did a feature on the amazing story of how Bruce & Elaine Stacey adopted Elena and her brother Alex from an orphanage in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Click here for the video.

Our great-granddaughter, Chelsea Gilmour, and her birthday buddy!

Monday, March 20, 2017

A MAN AFTER GOD’S HEART

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 13

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

 

A rectangular ritual bath (mikveh/baptismal tank) has been recently uncovered just beneath the southern wall of the Temple Mount in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park. You can see the Mount of Olives in the background.

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

 

Key Verses: 1 Samuel 13:13-14

And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

 

Understanding and obeying God’s Word is of eternal importance. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Word shall never pass away” (Matthew 24:35). God’s Word is forever! God’s Word has the power to do good, heal, bring judgment, and to save. The Word is like the laws of nature. King Saul failed to obey what he knew were God’s instructions, and now he must suffer the consequences. God would choose another King who would be careful to obey both the letter and the spirit of the instructions he received. By believing and doing God’s Word, we, like David, who is yet to come onto the scene, will experience the blessing of God. David would keep God’s Word and the result was that he became the father of an eternal dynasty through his Descendant, Jesus Christ.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that You’ll help me to wait for You. My natural tendency, like Saul, is to be impatient and to run ahead of You, but Your supernatural grace to do what is right is available to me when I wait upon You. You meet me every morning as I read Your Word and pray. I can always count on Your timing. Thank You for the peace and joy this brings me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Yes Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so!!! “FACT!!!” One day last week I read the entire book of Matthew over a period of three hours. Forty-one times either Jesus or Matthew quote from their Bible, the Hebrew language Scriptures. This is true Kingdom of God teaching/preaching!!! Oh, how I long to be a man after God’s heart. This is just another reason for this blog! I need to focus more and more on the “More sure Word” (2 Peter 1:19) and less on the thoughts of mere men which are not solidly and clearly founded on God’s revealed written Word!!!

My New Testament reading for today is Philippians 4:4-9.

Yours for grace to “meditate on these things,” (Read Philippians 1:15-18),

David

Sunday, March 19, 2017

GREAT THINGS

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 11-12

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

 

The Tomb of Samuel is located atop a steep hill at an elevation of 908 metres above sea level. It is situated to the north of the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ramot. The tomb is in an underground chamber where a small synagogue is located.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 12:23-24

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.

 

Israel now has a king. Samuel is still very much present as the spiritual leader of the people. Prayer “without ceasing” is the most important leadership quality if we want God’s will to be done. David will be king over the united tribes in about 10 years. A Psalm of David indicates his daily preparation to lead as he writes, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up” (Psalm 5:3). Psalm 55:17 tells us that David prayed at “evening, morning and at noon.” There is no record of Saul praying like Samuel and David did. Saul’s reign could’ve been so different.

As a New Testament meditation, let us consider 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18: “Pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks.” This praying continuously is not as difficult as it sounds. It’s based on the knowledge that I am in Christ and He is in me. We are never apart. Therefore, we are to be ever aware of His Presence.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, Your servant Paul wrote, “We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26b). I pray that my Spirit will constantly pray within me when my conscious mind is occupied in other necessary matters. I believe this happens continuously as Your promise states. In Your Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Finding the will of God through much prayer and being confident that the right decisions are being made has been my biggest challenge. In several World Expos with our Crossroads’ sponsored “Pavilions of Promise” we had to employ what is called “artistic license” in communicating the message on such a world stage. For example, we had male and female ballet dancers play the part of Adam and Eve in Theatre One. I could give other examples from our production that upset some people, but I was convinced that God was pleased. The entertainment values guaranteed that millions of precious souls heard the Gospel in a way they could understand for the first time. In the overall effort at four Expos, we recorded over 100,000 first-time decisions for Christ, with their names, addresses, and telephone numbers. They signed up for a Bible correspondence course and were followed up in their home countries with diligence. One evangelist was very judgmental toward me. He could not find it in his heart to celebrate with me the fact of thousands of people coming to know Christ. It has been my experience that Christians who are successful personal soul winners (not only pulpit evangelists) understand the creative Holy Spirit-inspired variety that it takes to lead people into a personal relationship with Jesus.

Yours for being personal soul winners,

David

Ruins surrounding the building that covers the tomb of Samuel.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

FINDING DONKEYS

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 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).

 

This donkey is employed full-time in Petra, Jordan, helping to transport tourists over the difficult terrain.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 10:9

So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day.

Surprise! “Another heart.” It’s amazing what can happen when we’re looking for donkeys. We may discover that God is up to something in our lives other than donkeys. It’s great comfort to know that God is in charge. He knows the donkeys are fine. He wants to make us “Kings and Priests” (Revelation 1:6). Sometimes He may want us to be burden-bearing donkeys. We need “another heart.” We just don’t know when we may be at the start of a brand new adventure in God’s plan for us. Remember it was a donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem (John 12:14-15). If we are available to God, He’ll do the most useful and creative things in our lives. His ways are exciting and also very challenging.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, how often I have been perplexed, frustrated in not finding what I think I’m looking for, when all along You had everything under Your guidance. I pray for a deeper understanding of Your overarching providence, and for a simpler faith in Your promise to “work all things after the counsel of Your will.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I’ve just read all of Ephesians chapter one as my New Testament reading for today. What assurance! (click here).

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, and I’ve been thinking back on a Crossroads/100 Huntley Street outreach to Ireland called, “To Ireland With Love.” Violence was raging between ungodly Protestant and equally ungodly Roman Catholic factions, so we determined to send a team of Christians, RC’s and Protestants, to work with local groups of Christians who were fasting and praying for God to intervene. Fr. Bob MacDougall, a Jesuit priest on our team, was our main preacher in Protestant churches. The churches were packed and hundreds came forward at his invitation to receive Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Not long after those days, the powers of hell were driven back and a time of tranquility and evangelism emerged.

I can’t remember why I was in Winnipeg back in 1976. I may have been “looking for donkeys,” but that was the occasion when I first met Bob MacDougall. He had let it be known amongst the charismatic prayer meetings that he was to perform an exorcism and he wanted a Pentecostal Pastor to accompany him. I ended up being that Pastor. Before agreeing to accompany him, he gave me his testimony of personal salvation and I gave him mine. The Lord found a couple of donkeys, Bob and me, and that day, God delivered an immigrant man from Brazil, who had become deeply involved in voodooism. The rest is history. Bob worked with me full-time for 15 years as an Evangelist. He’s in the immediate Presence of the Lord now, but I wanted you to hear him from the past on a video. Here’s a partial interview clip of him from 1980. I’m sorry it’s not longer, but it gives you a good sense of this Jesuit priest’s heart for Jesus…click here.

Yours for God’s intervention while looking for donkeys,

David

A father and son tending their sheep and goats at Nazareth Village. This village, in modern-day Nazareth, is run by a Christian ministry and it depicts what life was like at the time of Jesus.

 

Friday, March 17, 2017

CONTENTMENT

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 7-8

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

 

Ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheatre in Bet Guvrin at the Maresha National Park in Israel.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 8:5

…and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”

Throughout history there seems to be a pattern that repeats itself over and over. We don’t learn well from history. There were the sons of Eli, and now the sons of Samuel. In each case the next generation failed to serve the God of their fathers faithfully. Surely they knew the consequences of their actions; nevertheless they failed. There is a strong tendency in us all to act as the popular song says, “I did it my way.” We’ve all heard little children say, “No! Me do!” It is my fervent desire that this daily blog will help us all say, “Yes! God’s way!”
God’s way did not satisfy the majority of the Israelites. He wanted to be their King, and it seemed to work very well for the people. They were prosperous. They were safe from oppression by their enemies all the days when Samuel functioned as their judge, before they had a king. But they were not content. The Scripture says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, may I be given grace every day to be content. You are my King, my absolute Monarch. I want to obey You in all things. I receive my instructions from You. I pray that I will steadfastly resist the pressures to conform to the world around me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

For my personal devotions I’ve just read Romans 8:26-30 and also Romans 11:25-36/ Romans 12:1-2. The answer to the human problem of being faithful to God is here. It takes a positive and a negative charge to release electrical power. So it is with the release of the power of God in my life. Positive – “Be conformed to the image of His Son.” Negative – “Do not be conformed to this world.” Again I think of the electrical analogy. We have a built-in transformer. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Not long ago, as I drove along Burnt Hills Road just north of Kingston, an electrical storm was raging. Lightening hit a transformer and it exploded in front of me. Of course, everyone’s lights went out in the area. There is a storm raging all around, a storm that can knock out my connection to God’s power. I count on God’s power crew, the Word and the Spirit, to be on hand constantly to keep me in complete union with Him.

Yours for a constant flow, without interruption, of God’s power,

David

P.S. Five years ago I was given a life expiry date of two years (Mayo Clinic and Juravinski Clinic). My “best before” month was March, 2014. I often told my family, “I’m indestructible until God is finished with me in this life.”  Thanks for your prayers!

The view from walking in the tunnels of the amphitheatre ruins in Bet Guvrin at the Maresha National Park in Israel.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

DAGON FALLEN

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 5-6

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

This is some of the landscape that the Children of Israel of would have beheld as they sojourned in the desert before entering the Promised Land. This is Timna National Park in Southern Israel.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 6:20

And the men of Beth Shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? And to whom shall it go up from us?”

In today’s reading we learn of the different ways of handling the Ark of the Covenant. First, the Philistines of Ashdod offended God, and then the Israelites of Beth Shemesh, who knew better, treated the Ark as an article of curiosity, failing to respect the symbol of God’s Presence as Moses had instructed them. The Philistines may have thought they were honouring the God of Israel by placing the Ark in the Temple of Dagon, but instead they abused Him. They failed to understand that God does not share worship with an idol. We can look up in our Bibles the proper way to handle the Ark. The people to whom the cattle brought the ark may not have had immediate access to the scrolls with the instructions. Ignorance, in this case, was no excuse.
We have the assurance that since Jesus came, we can stand before God with reverence, worshipping Him. We must not take Him for granted or presume upon His mercy. It’s true that Jesus changed our approach to God. The excruciating suffering and death of Christ is ample proof that our holy God is outraged by sin in all its forms. We throw ourselves on His grace and mercy.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I come boldly to Your throne of grace. According to Your Word in Hebrews 4:16, I receive mercy and find grace in my time of need. Please help me to always approach You with all reverence and total respect, knowing that Jesus, our great High Priest, has gone before me with His blood sprinkled on the Mercy Seat of the Ark in the heavens. In His Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I lived on my uncle’s farm for six years while my Dad was away from our family during WW2. Three years after his return, Dad accepted a call to two rural congregations filled with farmers. I spent much time on their farms, learning all about cattle, and then I worked full time on farms for five summers. I know first-hand that the natural way for a cow that has just given birth to a calf to behave is to remain beside that calf. What we read about today is not natural but supernatural. God always retains the right to intervene, changing patterns of behaviour to bring about His purposes. Animals are not made in God’s image as humans are. They function by pre-programmed instinct. I’ve learned that I am not like that. I must deliberately give my will over to God’s will, obeying His instructions. When I decide to follow Him, I know that supernatural provision for my journey will be provided as I go.

Yours for decisions to follow God’s instructions more closely,

David

The Ark of the Covenant, as depicted in a replica of the Old Testament Tabernacle at Timna Park in Israel.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

LORD, REVEAL YOUR GLORY!

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 3-4

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

 

The Ark of the Covenant, as depicted in a replica of the Old Testament Tabernacle at Timna Park in Israel. We read today how the sons of Eli carried the Ark into battle where it was captured by Israel’s enemies.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 3:10

Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

 

The first verse of our reading is a sad commentary on the spiritual life of Israel. “Rare” and “no widespread revelation” says it all. But God spoke to Samuel and Eli was knowledgeable enough to recognize that God wanted someone to listen to Him. God is a communicating God, but are we listening? It’s hard to hear that “still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life. This is one of the main reasons why getting up early each day to wait on God is so very important.

God cut Eli’s family off from His blessing because, as our reading informs us, Eli did not restrain his sons from their vile behaviour. This resulted in the tragic capture of the Ark by the enemies of Israel, the death of Eli’s sons, and Eli himself. Most tragic of all was the name of Eli’s grandson, “Ichabod,” meaning that the glory of God had departed from Israel. In our churches, let us reverse the decline and bring God’s glory in Jesus Christ into sharp focus. John said of Jesus, “We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14b).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I take time right now to spend listening for Your voice. In the quietness of this moment, I wait on You. I meditate on the revelation of Your glory! Hallelujah! Grant that I may help to make that revelation widespread throughout the whole world. Please keep me from being so selfish as to keep that revelation to myself. In Your empowering Name I pray, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Eli was the ripe old age of 98 when he died. I was thinking of Eli’s passing this past week. If I live as long as Eli, I’ve got 18 years to go. Whatever time I may have left, I want to serve God faithfully. I want to serve you, dear blog readers. I want to serve the leaders of the Crossroads Family of Ministries. I’m absolutely sure that God did not allow me to live this long in order that I may sit around and twiddle my thumbs! At my age Winston Churchill was serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. I’m asking for advice from you who read my blog. What do you think I should spend my remaining days in doing? Please pray for me and ask God to give you a word for me!

Yours for the glory of God, even in humour,

David

P.S. I’m thankful that, unlike Eli’s sons, my sons are serving God well. The eldest, David Reynold, is a missionary in Africa, and along with his wife, Kathy, leads a ministry called “World Embrace.” He is our blog photographer.  My youngest son, Ronald Wesley, is now, along with his wife, Ann, leading a marriage and family enrichment ministry called “Heart to Heart.” Ron did a series of “Flashback” segments which were released on 100 Huntley Street during the 10,000th episode season (click here for a Flashback to 1978 and here for one from 1981).  Ron and Ann work with me daily on this blog.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A FAITHFUL PRIEST

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 2

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

 

A statue of a monk reading God’s Word with a cross in his hand is on the wall of a Franciscan monastery just outside of the Zion Gate in Jerusalem. Franciscans adhere to the teachings and spiritual disciplines of Saint Francis of Assisi. The current Pope chose the name Francis in his honour.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 2:35

Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever.

There is only one “forever” Priest, and that is Jesus! A priest represents us before God and a prophet represents God to us. Jesus did both. Mary, the mother of Jesus, gave a powerful word (read Luke 1:46-55). Hannah gave a magnificent word also from today’s reading. It’s well worth reading two or three times. We should let our spirits exalt the Lord as these women did. Start speaking whatever words come to mind. We may be surprised at what we hear ourselves saying. The rule is that what we say will be just for God and ourselves. However, there are exceptions. You may receive a word that will bless others.
After the glorious experience of Hannah, it is a huge let-down to read of Hophni and Phineas. They were the next generation who were to carry on God’s work. How tragic the words of 2:12: “They did not know the Lord.” It has been said that “The Church is just one generation away from extinction.” Eli’s sons had the same opportunity as did Samuel to know the Lord, but they missed it. Jesus said, “I will build My Church.” The Church has Jesus’ guarantee of success. Some will fail. Jesus has others waiting to step up. Don’t fear for God’s cause. He is never caught by surprise. Amen!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Thank You, Lord, for the prophetic prayers of Mary and Hannah. I pray that You would grant me a revelation of Your greatness, and give me words to express to You my heart and mind. Words which are just between You and me, Lord Jesus!!! Here goes ………………………. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I love the fact that after waiting so long for her first child (Samuel), Hannah had five more children. With my Mother, Hazel Pritchard Mainse, it was the opposite. My oldest sister, Willa, is eight years older than me, and my second sister, Elaine, is six years older than me. After Elaine was born, the wait began, according to my Dad. Our mother had several miscarriages, and then I made my appearance in 1936. There were no more children in our family. We don’t have a record of our mother praying a prophetic prayer as Hannah did, but my Dad did write a poem. If I can find it, I’ll add it in a P.S. below. My mother died when I was 12, and my most vivid memory of her is seeing her on her knees, praying for others, and particularly for her husband and her children. In order to spend a long time on her knees without tiring, she would either kneel with her back straight, or down on what we called her “hunkers.” She would sit back on her ankles. I’ve tried that but it doesn’t work for me. The straight up posture is my best and most comfortable kneeling position. My back does not tire as it does if I bend at the waist. This is probably more information than needed, but I find that as time goes by, I’m more and more comfortable writing this daily blog! I hope you don’t mind.

Yours, asking the Lord as the disciples did, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Amen!

David

P.S. Here is the poem my father wrote about me on March 29, 1944. He was serving as a missionary in Egypt. He was unable to return home to us for six years, due to restricted travel for civilians during the Second World War…

“Sonny”

Now that’s what I feel to call you,
You, whom I’ll love my whole life through.
Sonny’s a bright and cheery name,
And is ‘Daddy’ to you the same?
A good son is a precious gift,
To the father who needs a lift,
When the pathway of life seems hard,
And e’en would his foot-steps retard.
O’ that nippy hop, step and jump,
Which does not lack pep at the pump,
Puts courage and vim in us all,
And helps us rise up should we fall.
May your teen-age be bright and gay,
As you march forth to manhood’s day;
Be e’er free from evil design,
Be full of kindness to mankind.
The future with promise is bright,
To you, if you dare to do right;
‘Twill to you in life grant a place,
Where you’ll never, no ne’er lose face;
E’en among the true and renowned,
Who did fight and have won the crown,
That shall never more fade away
In that haven of endless day.
So my dear son it’s up to you,
To trust in God and ever do,
That which is good, and better still,
Follow the leadings of His will:
Yea, follow the gleam from afar,
And for His best do thou aspire!
Blest help Divine will God vouchsafe
To every stray, prodigal waif.

Monday, March 13, 2017

A FERVENT SPIRIT

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 1

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

 

“Shiloh” is referred to in 1 Samuel 1:3. Its ancient ruins are in this hill area where an Israeli settlement now stands.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 1:10

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.

Today we begin 1st and 2nd Samuel. These books tell us of the life and times of Samuel — Judge, Prophet, and Priest. It was Samuel who appointed the first two Kings of Israel, Saul and David.
The birth of Samuel is a miracle of God. His mother, Hannah, was childless. Like Sarah before her, she experienced intense sorrow because of her inability to conceive. She took her anguish to God again and again, so much so that Eli, the Priest, thought she was drunk. God intervened for her and for His long-term plan to raise up a mighty man of God. Let us remember that “fervent effectual prayer avails much” (James 5:16). God does not violate human free will; therefore, the high level of fervency is a sure sign that our wills are surrendered to God’s will. Hannah and Samuel teach us that God responds directly in proportion to the level of our obedience and fervency in prayer.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I pray, as Your disciples asked You, “Lord, increase our [my] faith!” Your response to this request called for some “fervent” action on the part of the “learners” from You. Please grant me the grace to put into practice Your means of increasing my faith (read Luke 17:1-10).

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve just gone back to my blog from last September when I did a paragraph on Luke 17. Understanding Jesus’ answer to the “increase our faith” petition can teach us much. I thought it was worth repeating, and I need the reminder regularly (here is a link back to that blog posting).

Eli, the Priest, thought Hannah was drunk. I’ve seen drunken people, particularly as a Pastor. I’ve never been drunk with an alcoholic substance, and I don’t intend to ever find out what it’s like. However, I’m sure I’ve had the symptoms from time to time in the anguish of strong intercessory prayer. I’ve been overcome with powerful emotions as I have identified with the crushing hurts of humanity. This is good! This kind of prayer “avails much.” Jesus, Himself, while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, “being in anguish, prayed more earnestly” (Luke 22:44). The result was that in His humanity He received the strength to endure the Cross. Hallelujah!

Yours to help us all learn and practice strong intercession,

David

This is in the area of the Garden of Gethsemane, beside the present day Church of All Nations, on the Mount of Olives.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

GOD’S PLANS

Today’s Reading: Ruth 3-4

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

 

Boaz was from Bethlehem. The fields of Boaz (in the foreground) are now taken up with communities, roads and tunnels with protective walls such as this one. You can see Bethlehem just behind the first hill on the right.

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

 

Key Verse: Ruth 4:13

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.

 

Ruth had little reason to expect anything good from life. As a young widow she travelled with her mother-in-law, also a widow, to a land completely foreign to her. There the two widows had no human reason to expect anything other than a harsh, hand-to-mouth existence. In Bethlehem they would glean some grain to make bread and live on the generosity of others. But God had a different plan. Ruth is redeemed by Boaz. This redemption is a picture of what our divine Redeemer, a descendant of Boaz and Ruth, Jesus of Nazareth, has done for us. Naomi, who had lost her husband and two sons, would now have a grandson, Obed, and a great-grandson, Jesse, followed by a great-great-grandson, King David.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You are my Kinsman Redeemer. You were born right there in Bethlehem, where Ruth gave birth to Your ancestor, Obed. Help me, dear God, to trust Your long-term plans which are for my good. Also, help me to trust Your short-term plans. You had everything arranged for Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. I’m trusting You to guide each step I take. In Your caring Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My sister-in-law, Evelyn, lost her first husband and her only two children in a tragic car accident many years ago. She could have been in total depression, and one would’ve expected her to withdraw from life. But instead, she went from church to church telling of the grace of God which she was experiencing. As a result, many came to faith in Christ, including members of her family. Like Ruth, she declared her faith in God and God restored her. She married my brother-in-law, Ralph Rutledge, and God gave her three more children, Ruth, David, and Jonathan. Malachi 3:6 tells me about God’s faithfulness, “I am the Lord, I do not change.”

Yours for trusting God in all things,

David