Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A MIRACLE AND MEDICATION TOO

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 20-21

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

 

These ruins are located about 100 metres south of Hezekiah’s Tunnel. In the summer of 2004, these remains were discovered of a very large pool from the Second Temple period. It proved to be the Pool of Siloam. Nearby, archaeologists uncovered the remains of a stepped street (photo at bottom of page), the path taken by pilgrims ascending from the pool to the Temple Mount. Beneath the paving stones of the street they found a drainage channel that apparently served as a hiding place for the last Jewish rebels against the Romans in the year 70 AD. The pool ceased to function after the destruction of Jerusalem and, over time, filled with earth and disappeared from sight.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 20:4b-5

The Word of the Lord came to him saying, “Return and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people,Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father; I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you.”

 

God added 15 more years to Hezekiah’s life by a combination of divine healing and medicine. Isaiah prescribed a poultice, which was to be placed on Hezekiah’s boil in order to draw out the poison that was in his system. God works in our time also through this combination of prayer along with the best medical care, with which we are blessed. God hears and answers prayer! Just as God heard Hezikiah’s prayers for deliverance from the Assyrians, God hears and answers prayer today. Do we have need for God’s intervention? Yes! Yes! God will hear our fervent prayers. That does not mean that God will always do just as we ask; He knows better than we do. Our faith is best expressed in obedience to do as He has told us. We pray, believe Him for His perfect will, and the rest is up to Him. Pray! Obey! Read James 5:13-18. Then God will do what God will do!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for others (name them) and for myself as Hezekiah prayed, “Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” Thank You, Lord, that You are hearing my prayer. I know Your decisions are on the way. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I know from personal experience that God hears and answers prayer. As a result of God’s healing power, combined with the medical skills of the doctors and nurses, He has already added 61 more years to my life than the doctors predicted when I was 19 years old. The students in the Bible College in Peterborough, Ontario, went into a time of fervent prayer on my behalf, and two of the ministers/teachers anointed me with oil, laid hands on my head, and prayed in the Name of Jesus for my healing. God heard and said, “Yes!” The doctors then did surgery to correct the problem which had caused my illness in the first place.

Yours for believing in the power of prayer,

David

This is the bottom end of the stepped road and drainage channel, known as the Path of Pilgrims. In this area was a stone-paved plaza from the Second Temple period that served as a promenade for visitors to the Pool of Siloam. The promenade’s roof was supported by a row of stone columns, parts of which have been found at the site.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

HEZEKIAH PRAYED AND PRAYED!!!

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 19

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

 

This photo was taken near the top-end of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, or the Siloam Tunnel. It is a tunnel that was dug underneath the City of David in Jerusalem in ancient times. It dates from the reign of Hezekiah of Judah (late 8th and early 7th century BC) and corresponds to the waterworks mentioned in 2 Kings 20:20. The tunnel, leading from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, was designed as an aqueduct to provide Jerusalem with water during an impending siege by the Assyrians, led by Sennacherib.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 19:19

Now Therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.

Our reading begins with the statement, “Hezekiah …. went into the house of the Lord.” The tearing of Hezekiah’s clothes and the sackcloth were evidences of extreme fervency. When we fast, the same fervency is indicated. Jesus practised fasting and encouraged us to do the same. This is evidence of our determined focus on God; it is not a way of earning God’s favour. Everything we receive from God is pure grace (undeserved favour). We learn from Hezekiah the power of prayer! Four times we are presented with the words “prayer, prayed, pray, prayed.” We get it, Lord!
Isaiah, the man of God, is introduced here for the first time. Let us check on Isaiah’s preaching. He began his ministry when Uzziah was king and continued throughout the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. As a youth, Hezekiah would have sat under the teaching and preaching of Isaiah, no doubt comparing the message and the life of Isaiah against the wickedness of his father Ahaz. Read Isaiah 1:16-20 and Isaiah 2:1-11, and then consider Isaiah’s experience of God recorded in Isaiah 6:1-8. We can be sure that as a youth, before he became king, Hezekiah had prayed the words of Isaiah to the Lord, “Here am I! Send me.” The results of this prayer are very evident in history.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I’ve heard Your call. You have said, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” I respond with those powerful words, “Here am I! Send me.” I pray this in Jesus’ Name! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I was about to turn 17 when I attended Lakeshore Pentecostal Youth Camp for a week. It was there at the altar in the tabernacle that I prayed approximately this prayer with all my heart, “Lord Jesus, I want to serve You fully in Your great cause. Please Lord, do me the great favour of calling me into the ministry with a definite call so that I will know You have called me, and so that I will never turn back from serving You.” He gave me an unmistakable call almost immediately when the Youth Evangelist came to where I was kneeling in the middle of hundreds of other teens and said, with authority in his voice, “You are called into the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ!” I’ve never doubted that call for even one minute for the past 64 years.

In reference to today’s reading, my English teacher in high school had us memorize the poem “The Destruction of Sennacherib,” by Lord Byron. I remember it to this day… “The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold, and his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold….” Lord Byron was a student of Holy Scripture (click here for the entire poem).

Yours for God’s call on our lives,

David

P.S. In 11 days we’ll be half-way through the entire Bible. If you have just started reading with me, in 104 weeks you’ll finish the entire Bible, moving from the Hebrew Scriptures to the Greek, the Old Testament to the New, alternating between the two. Please tell others about this blog and encourage them from time to time to stick with it throughout the entirety of the Bible. Throughout the years, I have become convinced that with the two-year reading plan, over 70% of people who start to read with me complete reading the entire Bible. In the one-year plan, which I promoted for years, only about 30% completed the entire Bible. I discovered this because of the requests (or the lack thereof) for additional study materials.

Up until 2004 this exit from Hezekiah’s Tunnel was thought to be at the Pool of Siloam. However, you will see in tomorrow’s 100words blog photo that the recent discovery, just 100 metres to the south, was in fact the Pool of Siloam. That is where Jesus, in John 9:7, after spitting in the dirt and putting it on a blind man’s eyes, told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam, and the man was healed.

Monday, May 22, 2017

GOOD DECISIONS

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 18

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

 

Hezekiah’s capital city… Jerusalem. This present-day photo is a northeast view looking toward the Temple Mount area.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 18:5

“He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any who were before him.”

Hezekiah stands out as a shining light. He served the Lord completely, destroyed false religion in the land, even to breaking up the image of the serpent that Moses had set up because the people had begun worshipping it as an idol. Read Numbers 21:4-9. Jesus referred to the serpent in John 3:14 when He spoke of being lifted up on the cross. To understand the significance of Jesus’ statement, we may consider 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He [God] made Him [Jesus] to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Hezekiah’s own father had been one of the most evil kings of Judah. Somehow, in one generation, God changed the direction of this family and of Judah. God found a young man, 25 when he became king, who made a life-long decision to turn from the wicked ways of his father, live a holy life, and lead his people back to the God of Israel. Our decisions change us for the better or the worse.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, please hear my prayer when I ask for Your help in making the right decisions for my life and for my testimony to others. Thank You that I can change from the past, moving into a glorious future because of Jesus, Your Son and my Saviour and Lord, in whose Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The basic content of the message that God called me to bring two years ago to a gathering of Christian leaders in Jerusalem was one of repentance for harbouring any hatred or even disrespect towards Arabs or Jews. Such contempt is sin against our Creator God whom the Bible says is “Love!” Yes, He judges people and nations and He reserves that right for Himself. I’m so very thankful that I am not anyone’s judge! I am to love unconditionally! It’s time to pray fervently, particularly with President Trump in Jerusalem this week.

Yours for God-inspired decisions which make positive changes in our lives and in the lives of others,

David

 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

PEOPLE IN CRISIS

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 17

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

 

Dan is described as the northernmost city of the Kingdom of Israel. The children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem. The Danites, finding their inheritance too small, decided to enlarge its boundaries by the sword; and, having conquered Leshem (Laish), they planted a colony there, calling the new settlement by the name of Dan. Seen here is one of the remaining walls of the ancient city of Dan and the Scripture cut into the metal is Joshua 19:47.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 17:18

Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone.

God gave the 10 tribes of the north every opportunity to repent. He sent mighty prophets like Elijah and Elisha, but the leaders and the majority of the people did not listen and change their ways. God does not always strive with us. However, He does seek to move us to Himself in a variety of ways. If we do not respond, the time comes when God must put the emphasis on righteousness and His holy nature must eventually seek justice and judgment. Genesis 6:3 tells us that God said, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man forever.” The Apostle Peter picks up this theme of Noah and God’s judgment in 1 Peter 3:18-22 and 4:1-8. Our salvation is secure in Christ! But in the north of Israel, those who were following God closely were swept up in the destruction and relocation actions of the Assyrian King. War and destruction is happening in our time. It is absolutely essential that we seek to be salt and light in our entire country, as well as the whole world.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your ministry to the people who lived in the north such as the Samaritans who descended from those who were relocated there by the Assyrian king. You care about people everywhere! I pray that I will love and seek to bless all people everywhere in every way I can. Most of all, Lord, may I witness to Your Salvation and may I support world missions in a generous and sacrificial way. In Your Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

There are Christian missions all over the world. Brian Stewart, for many years the senior foreign correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, tells of his camera operator somewhere in Africa saying approximately, “I wish that just once we could go to a remote place where a missionary does not walk out of the jungle to greet us.” This witness brought Brian back to his childhood faith which he had set aside during his university years. Countries such as South Korea have become powerful missionary-sending countries. It is impossible to follow Jesus closely without caring deeply about world missions.

Yours for living right in God’s sight, sharing God’s love, and teaching in word and deed the person of Jesus Christ,

David

Saturday, May 20, 2017

RELIGION AND TRUTH

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 15-16

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. It is a very impressive sight to see. As in today’s reading, the kings of history come and go, but not the King of Kings. He remains forever!

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 16:14

He also brought the bronze altar which was before the Lord, from the front of the temple–from between the new altar and the house of the Lord–and put it on the north side of the new altar.

King Ahaz of Judah made slight changes in the pattern of worship in the Temple of Solomon, as our key verse shows. He was impressed by an altar he saw in Damascus, and brought the design home with him to Jerusalem. Through the centuries, customs, patterns, and traditions have developed which may be useful in the worship of God, or may be distractions leading us away from God. Jesus, Himself, participated fully in the worship at the Jerusalem Temple, and while the Temple is no more, the customs, liturgies, etc., live on, after a fashion, in churches today. These traditions were brought into Christian practices by Jewish priests who became followers of Jesus (Acts 6:7). These priests were scattered over the world by the persecutions in Jerusalem and the destruction of Herod’s Temple in 70 A.D. They brought their robes and temple liturgies right into their Christian gatherings as we would expect, as the early Christians were almost all Jews.

Just as in the times of Ahaz, and much later in the times of the Apostle Peter, and in our day also, there are those who mess with the truth of God, turning people away from the true worship of God. Please, please let us not start another denomination or another congregation unaffiliated with an existing fellowship of churches. Let us seek the widest possible connection of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. We may want to think about the words of 2 Peter 2:1-22. Don’t be discouraged. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I pray for a daily illumination of Truth from the Scriptures I am reading. Grant that I may always find Your Person revealed clearly to my understanding. Keep me true to You in my thoughts, words, and deeds. In Your Name I ask these mercies, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I mentioned yesterday that I would tell the story of what happened to my Arab son-in-law, Nizar Shaheen, in Gath Hepher, modern day Mishad, the ancestral home of the prophet Jonah. Today it is a Muslim village, located between Nazareth and Cana.

Nizar’s brothers are stone masons from Cana and are much in demand. Nizar was a student at the University of Haifa while his oldest brother had the contract to build a new mosque in Mishad. While helping his brother, Nizar fell from the top of the mosque and should’ve been killed. He said that he felt that he was being turned as he fell, by unseen hands. He landed on his hands and feet in the only place on the ground which was clear of stones and pieces of steel bars. His brothers loaded him in the back seat of their car and rushed him to the hospital in Nazareth. As he went he says that he heard a voice speaking to him saying, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are Mine.” He was unaware at the time that these were words from Isaiah 43:1. This was one of the major factors in Nizar’s decision to become a believer in Jesus Christ.

Check out the ministry of “Light for all Nations.” Nizar and his wife, my daughter Ellen, and their team are reaching the entire Arabic-speaking world with the message of Jesus (click here).

Yours for following Jesus more closely than ever,

David

Inside Rome’s Altar of the Fatherland is another altar that appears to be a small walk-by chapel.

 

Friday, May 19, 2017

BONES

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 13-14

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

 

Perhaps it was a tomb not unlike the one above in which Elisha was buried. In this photo you can see the Tomb of the Sons of Hezir and the Tomb of Zechariah on the right.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 13:21

So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

Imagine the surprise of the graveyard crew when they were running from the Moabites, to find the man they had just thrown in the tomb of Elisha running after them! Perhaps this is the reason why in some cathedrals the bones of people judged to be very godly are on display. I wouldn’t count on the same thing happening with those bones. Stretch this last of Elisha’s miracles a bit to connect to the bones, as if they were were of Paul, Peter, John Wesley, and others. When we read their writings, there is a sense that we are touching the very structure of their lives and spiritual life is flowing. There were no bones left behind in the tomb of Jesus (I’ve personally checked it out in both suggested tombs), yet life definitely flows into us from contact with the living Christ. We can never read too often Colossians 2:13-22.
If we really like figuring out things, the Jehoash/Joash kings in both the north and the south will prove an enjoyable challenge. Their mother’s names may be the key to solving the puzzle.
We are first introduced to the Prophet Jonah here (2 Kings 14:25). Perhaps Jonah knew that Nineveh, capital city of Assyria, would soon devastate Israel and in an ethnic cleansing move the Assyrians would disperse the ten tribes of the north over the entire world. This may be the reason Jonah headed west to Spain instead of Northeast to Nineveh.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I pray for Your consistency to be strong in me. This is a two-year journey which may well be the most important two years of my life. I’m counting on Your indwelling Presence to keep me true. In Your all-powerful Name, JESUS, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In today’s reading I noticed that Jonah was from Gath Hepher. This is not the “Gath” of the Philistines, from which Goliath came. This place is located between Cana of Galilee and Nazareth. It’s now called Mishad. This is the village which figures prominently in the conversion of my Arab son-in-law. I’ll try to remember to tell the story tomorrow, God willing, of how God saved Nizar’s life in the ancestral hometown of Jonah.

Yours for consistency and integrity,

David

Thursday, May 18, 2017

OSKAR

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 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 Grave of Oskar Schindler is in Jerusalem just south of the Zion Gate on the south side of the Old City wall. Stones are placed on the graves by visitors and loved ones.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 12:2

Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him.

There are two spellings for the seven-year-old king’s name, Jehoash and Joash. What an amazing story! The boy king, under the tutelage of a priest of the God of Israel, began a reign of 40 years in Judah. Both Judah and Israel had fallen from the unity and prosperity they had experienced under David and Solomon. Since the death of Solomon, the ten tribes to the north had no righteous kings. In the tribes to the south (Judah, which included Benjamin), there were some rulers like Joash who served the Lord. Because of those few good rulers, Judah was able to maintain its sovereignty for 150 years longer than Israel.
Leaders today who are right before God and their people can have the same impact. Our intercessory prayers on behalf of our families, our neighbours, and our leaders are absolutely essential to peace, security, prosperity, and a place of positive influence in the world. Here’s a New Testament reading – 1 Timothy 2:1-8.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, Your servant and apostle tells us, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). That’s a tall order, Lord. It’s easy to pray every day for those I like, but I have a problem with some leaders. I know that these instructions are not optional. I am to love everyone! Therefore, I pray for a large dose of Your love and grace to fill my life 24/7. In Your all loving Name, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

A number of years back, my granddaughter, Sarah Shaheen Stowell, who is on her father’s side Arab Israeli, called in to the Michael Coren show live prime time on CTS. She was 17 at the time and had just moved from Jerusalem to Canada. She told Michael, his guests and viewers that as a Christian she had just moved to Canada from Israel and that she knew that she should love all people, Jews included, but that it was hard to do that. She shared her views on the Israeli-Palestinian situation, and Michael said that hers was the most intelligent call he received throughout the show.

Today’s pictures tell the unusual story of Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of many Jews during the Nazi reign of terror. His body was brought to Jerusalem and buried in a non-Jewish graveyard on the side of Mt. Zion. Every year, on the anniversary of his death, the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of those whose lives he saved gather at his grave for a memorial service to honour Oskar. As is the Jewish custom, they each place a stone in his memory. I’ve stood at his graveside several times and thanked God for people who are willing to risk their lives for others.

Yours for loving others, even if it’s extremely hard to do that with some. Why? Because Jesus told us that if we are to please God, we must do this, whether we like it or not! Check out Mark 12:28-34.

David

The entrance to the Christian graveyard where Oskar Schindler’s body lies.

 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

JEHU

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 10

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

 

On display at the Archaeological Museum of ancient Corinth in Greece is a gold ring and many other artifacts. As far as we know, there are no golden calves, as in today’s reading.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 10:29

However, Jehu did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin, that is, from the golden calves that were at Bethel and Dan.

Surely Jehu or some of the advisers and priests knew about the judgment of God on those who practised worship of the golden calf at the foot of Mt. Sinai shortly after the deliverance of the Children of Israel from Egypt (Exodus 32). Jehu most certainly knew the first of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-6). They knew these things, but Jehu did not know them in his heart, the core of his being where decisions are made for right and wrong. Verse 31 in today’s reading tells us that “Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel WITH ALL HIS HEART.” The disintegration of the northern tribes began as a result. Syria took over the territories of three of the tribes on the east side of the Jordan River, from its source south to Galilee. This is the border territory today between Syria and Israel. Our reading informs us that God wanted the destruction of the altars of Baal, but no instructions from God to do the same with the golden calves. Could it be that the Lord always leaves a test in place to see whether or not we will decide for Him or otherwise?

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I decide for You 100%. May I be granted grace, intelligence, and a heart that is true to You in all things. I pray that I will put out of my life all idols, those things that take priority ahead of You. I realize that to worship is to ascribe worth to someone or something. I worship You, Lord God; all else fades away in the focus of my life on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In the late 1970s I took my sons out of high school for the month of March and we back-packed throughout Israel. However, when we arrived at Vered Hagalil, a dude ranch just above the Mount of Beatitudes north of the Sea of Galilee, we rented horses for a day and rode across the hillsides and back for 20 miles or so. By the time we arrived at the northern stretch of the Jordan river, I realized that while I was doing fine walking and carrying a large back pack, I was not in shape for long periods in the saddle. I was very sore on a certain part of my anatomy! I remember jumping into the river, clothes and all, propping my feet against a fallen tree trunk and lying upstream into the current. The fast flowing waters of the Jordan provided the best and most refreshing massage imaginable. When my spiritual muscles and joints are tired and sore, I picture myself doing the same as I lie back into the river of prayer and worship. It’s amazing how refreshed I am after doing this. I’m ready to mount up and go again.

Yours for the refreshing streams of God’s Presence,

David

P.S.  Below are pictures from our backpack & horseback trek across Israel in 1978, including the northern Galilee region and the rushing Jordan River.

My sons Reynold & Ron with me backpacking around Israel in 1978.

 

Riding across the hills north of the Sea of Galilee. Reynold (left) was 16 and Ron (right) was 14.

Me lying upsream in the Jordan having a blessed massage that I needed after a long horseback ride.

My boys next to a rushing Jordan River in Northern Israel.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

THE WRONG PATH

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 9

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

 

Southeast of Haifa lies Mount Carmel. As you stand on its peak, below you can see the fertile plains of the Jezreel Valley which, during the course of 7,000 years, has seen countless battles. The Book of Revelation identifies this spot as the place where the final battle of Armageddon will be fought. It was on Mount Carmel that Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 9:6

Then he arose and went into the house. And he poured the oil on his head, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I have anointed you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel…'”

God endorsed the appointment of Jehu to replace Ahab. What fresh new potential! Almost immediately Jehu’s choices led him down the wrong path. He murdered both the King of Israel and the King of Judah, who, with their armies, were defending their lands against Syria. We understand that the events of the tragic, as well as the blessed, history of the people of God were written down so that we might learn from the things they did wrong as well as the things they did right. Let us remember that, while today’s reading shows the mess made by those who do wrong, there were still thousands of people who were humbly serving the God of Elijah and Elisha.
Like Jehu, we are always in danger of relying on a past blessing while we are in the process of moving rapidly away from God. We can never rely on previous experience with God as a guarantee that we are right in His sight now. We must make a deliberate decision to communicate with God and hear from Him every day. Jesus, in His humanity, did that. He rose early in the morning and spent time in prayer. He was receiving His guidance for the day. Therefore, He could say, “The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that please Him” (John 8:29).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, thank You for setting such an example for me. You demonstrated that as a human being, not using Your divine nature to help Yourself, I too can “do the things that please Him.” I ask that I will be given daily grace to remain always faithful to You. Because of Your indwelling Presence, I live with confidence in Your keeping power. May the smile of Your approval be upon me. In Your Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

From my earliest memories hearing or reading children’s Bible stories, I saw Jehu as a hero. Those stories would gloss over the worst parts. Jehu driving his chariot “furiously” was an exciting mental picture for me. I could imagine myself driving a chariot like that. Then there was the death of Jezebel and the dogs consuming the remains of this exceedingly wicked woman. I may have been older when I remember thinking that this was justice because of her crimes against humanity. Around this time I also remember seeing the body of the Italian dictator, Mussolini, near the close of World War II, hanging from a balcony in a central city square. It was justice, people said. I understood from Scripture that all of us “reap what we have sown.” A New Testament reading I’ve just looked up is Galatians 6:7-10. Those verses speak to me of reaping good things also. This “good” reaping will continue into eternity in Heaven as I stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ, where believers are judged according to their works and eternal rewards are given or withheld (see 2 Corinthians 5:6-10).

Yours for laying up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21),

David

P.S. I have chosen to ask my son Ron to continue recording the video version of my blog, since I have not quite been up to the task lately. Thank you for your ongoing prayers! The “vlogs” can be found HERE.

The statue of Elijah at the Carmelite Monastery on Mount Carmel reflects the Lord’s victory over the prophets of Baal. Shortly afterward, fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, the altar, and even the water.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A LAMP

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 8

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

 

On display at the Convent of the Sisters of Zion in the Old City of Jerusalem on the Via Delarosa are several oil lamps from ancient times.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Kings 8:19

Yet the Lord would not destroy Judah, for the sake of His servant David, as He promised him to give a lamp to him and his sons forever.

The writer of these words in our reading must have caught a faint glimpse of the glory that was to come, that of Jesus, Son of David. He spoke prophetically when he wrote that God had promised David a lamp, for Jesus is the Light of the world, a Light that shines more brightly than many lamps. Consider the statements of Jesus before and after His “I am the Light of the world” declaration (John 8:1-20). The hymn, “Amazing Grace” gets it right: “I…was blind but now I see.” In Christ we’ve moved out of the darkness into the light.
In yesterday’s reading, the servant of Elisha, Gehazi, became a leper. We considered the possibility that Gehazi may have been one of the lepers who said, “We are not doing what is right. This is a day of good news and we remain silent” (2 Kings 7:9). He may have repented and the leprosy healed, because here we see him back in his job as Elisha’s assistant. This is speculation, as we are not told the details. God’s mercy “endures forever.” We are told this 26 times in the 26 verses of Psalm 136.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You light up my life. I pray for grace to always walk in the light as You are in the light (1 John 1:7). In Your bright and shining Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ll never forget the morning that Debbie Boone appeared on 100 Huntley Street in the late 80’s. Her hit song You Light Up My Life had been at the top of the pop charts. She was in Toronto in a stage production where she was playing the part of Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. As we entered into our prayer time before going to air, Debbie sobbed, saying to the Lord, “It’s been so long, so long, Lord.” She was experiencing the Presence of the Lord in our Green Room as we knelt in prayer, and with her busy schedule, even though she knew Jesus as her Saviour, she may not have taken the time to let His Light permeate her daily experience. I trust I’m not being too repetitive when I write again…Jesus changes everything! I pray again, “Lord Jesus, I throw open the blinds that hide or dim Your Light. I see You Jesus! Shine Jesus shine!” As the Scriptures say, “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).

Yours for Jesus, our “Lamp,”

David

P.S. Here’s a video of Debbie Boone when she came back to 100 Huntley Street in the mid-90’s. At the beginning of the interview with Lorna Dueck (after she sings), Debbie shares who she was thinking of each time she sang You Light Up My Life (click here).