Friday, September 15, 2017

FULLNESS OF JOY

Today’s Reading: Psalms 15-17

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

 

Belvoir Fortress was constructed by the Crusaders 1,000 years ago on a precipice high above the Jordan Valley. This location is only about 20 kilometres south of the Sea of Galilee and looks across into Jordan.

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

 

Key Verse: Psalm 16:11

You will show me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 

YES!!! IT’S TRUE!!! Right now we can experience that “fulness of joy!” and the pleasures that are at His “right hand!” Just think of the amazing honour to be able, by God’s grace, to do as Psalm 15 instructs us.

The Apostle Peter is a participant in today’s blog. Here’s a commentary on Psalm 16 by Peter, given in the first recorded message he preached on the birthday of the Church on the streets of Jerusalem. Let’s read together Acts 2:22-32. Jesus is alive!!! Then let’s read again our key verse. If we are not finding in Jesus the “joy” spoken of in our key verse, we should check our pulses…we may be dead!

Psalm 17 has in it the words, “apple of Your eye.” That’s God’s eye to which David refers in his prayer. Just think how careful we are to protect our eyes. David prayed, “Keep me as the apple of Your eye.” Now that’s protection! That’s the best security we could ever have! YES!!! JOY!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray with the writer of this prayer, David (a suggestion to everybody – read and pray out loud, if possible, the following verses…Psalm 17:1-8). Then, Lord, I am confessing with full assurance of faith, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (17:15). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I accept and believe God’s Truth! The Apostle John wrote three letters to us all. He begins the first letter with, “These things we write to you [you and me] that your joy may be full!” (1st John 1:4). Then in chapter 3 of that letter, verses 1-3 (click here), John declares that, “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Oh, the longing that filled my heart as a 16-year-old as I learned and sang the chorus, “O to be like Thee, Blessed Redeemer…Come in Thy sweetness. Come in Thy fullness, stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.” I weep with joy as I sing this prayer just now. I can hardly see the keys for tears. The English language fails me in expressing what is in my heart. Therefore, I’m praying, as Paul said he did, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding!” (1 Corinthians 14:15). That refers to my spirit. According to the Scriptures, I am “spirit, soul and body.” Here’s a link to that song of longing to be like Jesus.

Yours for “Fullness of Joy!”

David

P.S. Hi folks, Ron Mainse here. I wanted to let you know that dad is back in the hospital and is very ill. The doctors are very concerned, as his health has been steadily declining. I’m writing at his bedside now as he sleeps.  Although he currently doesn’t have the strength to keep up with writing/editing this blog, Ann and I will continue to post his daily words and photos from his previous two-year journey through the Bible. Please keep him in your prayers. God bless you!  – Ron

The moat around the Belvoir Fortress (described in the photo caption above). According to the Shepherd king David, we have much greater security than a castle with a moat around it! Amen!!!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

DESTROYED FOUNDATIONS

Today’s Reading: Psalms 11-14

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

 

Priene was an ancient Greek holy city located just to the north of Miletus in western Turkey. The picturesque ruins include several columns of the Temple of Athena, much of the city wall, and a well-preserved theatre and a council chamber. Priene is not mentioned in the Bible, but it is likely that the early Christians of Miletus (Acts 20:16) had contact with the city. Priene had a substantial Christian community during the Byzantine period.

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

 

Key Verse: Psalm 11:3-4a

If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? The Lord is in His holy temple, The Lord’s throne is in heaven…

 

Our key verse applies to our time! There are those who are taking jack hammers and bulldozers to the foundations of moral standards laid down over the centuries. The word “if” leaves room for the possibility of saving the values on which western civilization is built. What confidence we have in the fact that God is still on His throne! Let us never forget that God works through His people to change the world. Through the proclamation of the Person and work of Jesus Christ, and through our prayers, our witness, our giving, and our leadership, God is in the process of strengthening the foundations, so that He can continue to build His Church through us in a stronger way than ever! The Carpenter of Nazareth, the One with the calloused hands of a creative working Man, is doing as He promised, “I will build My Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”!!! (Matthew 16:18b).

There are four Psalms here – A B C – Satan’s strategy to destroy the foundations: (A) Attack! (Psalm 11); (B) Believers back off! (Psalm 12) – Satan will never be able to destroy God’s promise of success, Jesus’ Church! And (C) a Cry from believers will bring the happy ending of the closing verses of Psalms 13 & 14! Let us cry out to God now! “How long! How long! How long! How long!” Four times these words are the cry of the Shepherd King.

Well… what are we waiting for blog partners!!! Let’s just do it!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray the prayer written by David and presented to the chief musician, “Consider and hear me, O Lord my God!!!” You have promised to hear and answer “yes” to the fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man or woman (James 5:16b). I come before You, as the hymn says, “Dressed in His (Jesus’) righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne!!!!” Amen!!!! For a New Testament reading today, we may want to (click here) read the entire chapter of James 5.

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As I type this I’m thinking about Pastors who have greatly blessed the Crossroads ministry. Rev. Albert Vaters is one of them.  Albert’s father, Rev. Eugene Vaters, has a high school named after him in St. John’s, Newfoundland. His Mom and Dad were among the very first supporters of Crossroads Christian Communications in Canada years ago. When his Dad passed on, Albert found cheques made out to Crossroads, dated for the months ahead. It brings tears to my eyes to think of the faithful people who have given and given to make this ministry possible! Back in the 1960s and 1970s, when Albert was Pastor of Stone Church in downtown Toronto, he also served as Chairman of our Board. Then God called him to Pastor a great church in California. When Albert’s Dad was called to higher service above, his Mom moved into a seniors complex at Clark’s Beach, Conception Bay, Newfoundland. For years, every time I was in Newfoundland, I never failed to visit her. What a mighty woman of prayer! She’s in that great prayer meeting before God’s Throne in Heaven now. I would kneel in front of her chair and she would lay hands on me and pray a fervent prayer.

From time to time I still visit God’s saints, kneel in God’s Presence, and I am the most blessed man ever! As the last verse of Psalm 13 says, “He has dealt bountifully with me.”

Yours on behalf of all of us who are expecting God’s bounty,

David

P.S. My son Reynold (whose birthday is today… Happy Birthday, my son!) shot a video of me talking about the genesis of this daily blog. We put it on the 100words.ca website in the “About 100words” section (click here). As you encourage others to follow along with us, please share this link with them!

P.P.S. Below is a photo of our chapel at the Crossroads Centre in Burlington, Ontario. The pews in the chapel came to us as a result of the renovation of The Stone Church in Toronto, where Albert Vaters was pastor during his years as our Crossroads Board Chairman.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

WITH MY WHOLE HEART!

Today’s Reading: Psalms 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).

 

Even the desert is marvellous to behold as you travel throughout Israel. Looking from Israel inside Timna Park, you can see on the distant horizon the mountains of Edom. This mountain range is now part of the Kingdom of Jordan. Jordan is not a wealthy country and yet because of the disaster of middle east political and moral realities, Jordan has had to care for millions of refugees. Let us do whatever we can to help!

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

 

Key Verse: Psalm 10:17

Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear.

 

Yes! God will cause His “ear to hear.” Let us make personal the prayers found in our reading. Here are examples of what we may say when we pray. The shepherd king begins his prayers with praise and worship. He writes in the first two verses the four actions he is taking. For our devotional exercises today, why not meditate on these statements, expand on them, and do as it says.

The cries of the needy stand out! David speaks of “the oppressed,” of people in “trouble,” of “the cry of the humble,” of “the needy,” of “the poor,” of “the helpless,” and of “the fatherless.” Let us name before God the names of people we know personally who may fit these descriptions. Most certainly those in war-torn lands where it seems that human cruelty knows no boundaries.

Let us never forget that Jesus issued a press release in advance of His second coming. The words this King of the Universe will utter when He will sit on “the Throne of His Glory” have to do with way we have, or have not, cared for the needy (see Matthew 25:31-46). We pray fervently and then we are moved to help! God answer our prayers. Amen!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

“Arise O Lord! Do not let man prevail” (9:19a). “Arise O Lord! O God, lift up Your hand!” (10:12a). “Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more” (10:17-18). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

A couple years back, I had the privilege of speaking at Wesley Acres camp, where they had a missions display along one side of the auditorium, including historical pictures from Egypt. I saw my parents there in the photos from the 1920s (pictures below). I believe that God is more interested in His cause here on earth than all of us put together could ever be! Let’s pool our resources and get the job done! Amen!!! My Mom and Dad would be 119 and 121 years old if they were alive today. The prayer in our reading is “Arise O Lord!” Their generation faithfully served. Now it’s our turn to “Arise” with the Lord, and do the job that He has called us to accomplish!

Yours for reaching a needy world with His love, His provision, and His Gospel,

David

Some of my parents' brothers and sisters in ministry in Assiout, Egypt, in 1929 (close-up photo below).

Some of my parents’ brothers and sisters in ministry in Assiout, Egypt, in 1929 (close-up photo below).

My father Roy Mainse is the one with the Bubles in front of him, and my mother Hazel is beside him.

My father, Roy Mainse, is the one behind the Bibles and my mother, Hazel, is beside him.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

EXCELLENT

Today’s Reading: Psalms 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).

 

How inspiring it is to watch the sun come up over the Sea of Gallilee!

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

 

Key Verses: Psalm 8:1a (and 8:9)

O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth.”

 

The shepherd king, David, sang the words of Psalm 7 “to the Lord.” Imagine singing of persecution, tearing apart like a lion, being trampled upon, etc. Somehow when we sing in our pain, it makes it more bearable, particularly when we also sing, “My defence is of God,” Who is, “angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:10-11). When in trouble, sing of God’s excellence. One of the benefits of an early morning start to our devotions is the time alone with God. There’s no rush. The telephone is not ringing. No one is texting you or knocking on the door. Therefore, since we have the time, I recommend that we listen to an excellent singer, Larnell Harris, singing, “How Excellent is Thy Name O Lord” (click here). Larnell has often appeared over the years on 100 Huntley Street, singing of the excellence of the Lord!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

“O LORD MY GOD, IN YOU I PUT MY TRUST!” O Lord, I commit to praying the prayers of David throughout my devotions daily in the Psalms. I thank You that while I pray spontaneously most of the time, I also find that it often helps me focus more intensely when I read prayers directly from Scripture or those prayers written by men and women who love and serve You passionately. I pray Your blessing and provision for all my fellow blog followers! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In preparation for partaking in communion at a Sunday service, Anglicans often read together the following powerful prayer, “Lord God, we have sinned against You; we have done evil in Your sight. We are sorry and repent. Have mercy on us according to Your love. Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin. Renew a right spirit within us and restore us to the joy of Your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Let’s make that prayer personal to us today, as an additional “Prayer for Today.”

Yours because of the “excellence” of the Name of the Lord “In all the earth,”

David

Monday, September 11, 2017

TWENTY-FOUR/SEVEN

Today’s Reading: Psalms 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).

 

Shepherds milk a sheep amidst the ruins of Jerash, Jordan. David, the shepherd king, has given us three hymns in today’s reading.

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

Key Verse: Psalm 4:8

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

 

How many of us have prayed the bedtime prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep! If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take!” How many of us have considered that this prayer could have come from David? As a boy, David slept on the hills around Bethlehem. In order to find good pasture, he would often wander far from home. With wolves and mountain lions in the area, what a comfort David’s faith in God must have been to him.

These Psalms of prayer cover 24/7 time periods: morning, evening, and all night long. By practise, we develop a special sense of God’s presence at all times. In fact, we may want to read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. While the middle verse of these three tells us to “pray without ceasing,” the verses before and after encourage us to “REJOICE” and to “GIVE THANKS!” David knew the secret of practising the presence of God. In Psalm 4, he writes of “GLADNESS” (verse 7a). In Psalm 5, he encourages, “REJOICE” and “SHOUT FOR JOY!” (verse 11a). And in Psalm 6, David writes of “WEEPING” (verse 8b). So, go ahead, get alone with God and let your emotions surface, expressing whatever is in your heart. God said of David, as recorded by the Apostle Paul, “I have found David the son of Jessie, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22b).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, “HEAR MY PRAYER!” “MY VOICE YOU SHALL HEAR IN THE MORNING, O LORD!” “HAVE MERCY ON ME, O LORD, FOR I AM WEAK; O LORD, HEAL ME, FOR MY BONES ARE TROUBLED.” I cry out to You Lord with the words of David. I also confess David’s declaration of faith, “THE LORD WILL HEAR WHEN I CALL TO HIM.” I do so in the Name and through the Person of the One Who said, “FATHER, I KNOW YOU ALWAYS HEAR ME,” Jesus Christ (John 11:42a). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Today is the anniversary of the evil and infamous attack on the World Trade Centre Towers in New York City, the Pentagon and the plane that went down in a Pennsylvania field. The Islamists who committed this unspeakable evil claim that David is one of their prophets. David wrote, “The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man” (Psalm 5:6b). If I dwell on the evil in the hearts of people, I will surely do as David did, “drench my couch with my tears” (Psalm 6:5b). And at the same time I believe that, “The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer” (Psalm 6:9).

I identify strongly with the words of Psalm 6:2b, “Heal me for my bones are troubled.” I pray with fervency every day, “Heal me, O Lord!” I believe God hears and answers my prayer. I’ve quoted before the couplet I heard my dad say, “Be my symptoms what they will, Jesus is my Healer still!” Amen!!!

Yours with total confidence in God’s provision!

David

P.S. I’ve had the honour of preaching in many different churches (those that hold to the solid faith of the early church fathers clearly written in the ancient creeds). I cherish the hymnbook pictured below which was presented to me after I preached in a Lutheran Church. The Psalms were the hymn book for worship in the Temple in Jerusalem for 1,000 years. Jesus worshipped in the Temple, and no doubt the Psalms were the book from which He sang and worshipped. This hymn book sits on the shelf just above the place where I type this blog. I often take it down and read or sing one or more of the great hymns handed down to us by men and women of God. I don’t sing solos in public, but I surely do so when it’s just God and me here in my study.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

THE BLESSED PERSON

Today’s Reading: Psalms 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).

 

In the northern Israel region where the tribe of Dan settled, cool streams come off snow-capped Mount Herman to join other streams and continue south as the Jordan River. Psalm 1:3 says that the blessed person will be “like a tree planted by the rivers of water…”

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

 

Key Verses: Psalm 1:2, 2:7, 3:3

His delight…in His law he meditates day and night.

The Lord has said to me, You are My Son, today I have begotten You.

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.

 

First Psalm – the choice is ours to make! Either we will be like the well-watered fruit tree or like chaff, which the wind drives away. All who are faithful daily in meditating on God’s Word will be blessed people. Is that a sufficient reason for this blog?

Second Psalm – the Son of God is revealed. As the ancient Christian creed declares of Jesus, He is “Very God of Very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.” There are those who teach that Jesus is a created being, an angel. False! They’ve probably knocked on your door at some time (Luke 1:34-38). Also, Hebrews chapter one (click here) expands on the prophetic words of Psalm 2.

Third Psalm – the shepherd boy who became king wrote these words and music for stringed instruments to accompany the singing of his words. David’s poems, for the most part, are most encouraging and have an optimistic outlook on life. His experience was that the Lord lifted up his head! Let us now look up, and away from the pessimists who say, “There is no help for him in God.” Amen!!! and Amen!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray with the shepherd king, “Arise, O Lord; save me O my God!” (Psalm 3). I pray that I will “serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2). I also pray that I will be like the tree beside the free-flowing waters, blossoming with Your beauty and then bearing good fruit! (Psalm 1). Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Recently Norma-Jean wrote out, in her beautiful handwriting, a statement which fits in with most of the Psalms. Here it is: “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of opportunities. An optimist makes opportunities of difficulties.”

Yours for an optimistic outlook, almost always expecting something good to happen!

David

Saturday, September 9, 2017

THE WORD

Today’s Reading: 2 Timothy 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).

 

Celsus Library – This library is one of the most beautiful structures in Ephesus. It was built in 117 AD as a monumental tomb for Gaius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, the governor of the province of Asia. The grave of Celsus was beneath the ground floor across the entrance, and there was a statue of Athena over it because she was the goddess of wisdom. The Celsus Library facade has two-stories with Corinthian-style columns on the ground floor and three entrances to the building. They used an optical trick. The columns on the sides of the facade are shorter than those at the center, giving the illusion of the building being greater in size. The statues in the niches of the columns today are copies of the originals. The statues symbolize wisdom (Sophia), knowledge (Episteme), intelligence (Ennoia) and valor (Arete). These are the virtues to which Celsus aspired. No doubt at some time Celsus had heard the message that “In Whom, (Jesus) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). The library scrolls and the manuscripts were kept in cupboards in niches on the walls. There were double walls behind the bookcases to protect the scrolls from the extremes of temperature and humidity. The capacity of the library was more than 12,000 scrolls.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

 

What was to be the substance of Timothy’s message? Firstly, The Holy Scriptures (3:15). Secondly, “all Scripture” (3:16). Let us remember that the New Testament had not yet been compiled. “The parchments” to which Paul refers in 4:13b were probably portions of the Hebrew Bible. “The books” Paul asks to have brought to him may have been writings of general knowledge, such as those found in the great library of Ephesus. Even back then, “readers” were “leaders.”

A background reading today might be Acts 19:23-41. As Paul writes what may have been his final letter before his beheading in Rome, he challenges Timothy to concentrate on using Scripture to fight against doctrinal error and moral evil. This is vitally important for us, as it was for Timothy. Paul had the credentials to say these things. He had proven himself by demonstrations of faith, such as found in 1 Corinthians 15:32, “I have fought with beasts at Ephesus.” Paul may have indeed been placed in the arena for the entertainment of the people of Ephesus. God must have shut the mouths of lions once again as He had done to protect Daniel. The book of Daniel may well have been in the parchments Paul wanted. We may want to read Daniel 6:10-28.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, we are living in perilous times right now! Therefore, I pray that, as never before, I will effectively “convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” May I preach the WORD everywhere in messages in the pulpit, in the media, as well as in personal one-to-one witnessing. I make this request through Jesus, the One who is in Himself the full Expression of Your WORD! I ask for Your grace that I may fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

From my earliest days of public preaching, I sought to fill my speaking with “The Word of God,” the Holy Scriptures. I reached the conclusion that when I did this faithfully, I saw results. God has not promised to bless my verbal wanderings, but He has promised to bless His Word!

Yours for the greatest possible effectiveness of God’s Word in our lives and in the lives of everyone we meet,

David

P.S. Those parchments which Paul wanted brought to him may have included “The Psalms.” God willing, we’ll start those Scriptures in tomorrow’s reading.

Ruins of the ancient Celsus Library in Ephesus (described in the photo caption above). In the second century after Christ, the gods and godesses of ancient Greece and Rome were still prominent, but as a result of Paul’s three years here, as well as the ministry of Timothy as Pastor and others, the Church of Jesus Christ was growing stronger all the time.

Friday, September 8, 2017

A PURE HEART

Today’s Reading: 2 Timothy 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 modern day Roman soldier stands guard at the Palazzo del Quirinale – the President’s residence in Rome.

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

 

Key Verses: 2 Timothy 2:15, 22b

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth…but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

 

Today’s reading continues the military manual for spiritual warfare. “Endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2:3). “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life” (2:4). Our weapon of choice is “The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Eph. 6:17b). “The Word of God is not chained” (2:9b). We are “not to strive about words to no profit.” Let us keep to God’s Word and not become caught up in conspiracy theories, etc. “Avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife” (2:23). Finally, God approves of those who “rightly divide the Word of Truth” (2:15b). In division in mathematics, there are several factors. Remember the divisor, etc.? Even so, comparing Scripture with Scripture will help us learn “TRUTH”…rightly divided.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray, as I often heard my Father pray as we would kneel after breakfast around the kitchen table, “Father God, may the smile of Your approval be on my life this new day.” In Jesus’ Name I ask this mercy, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My Dad in his prayer would often quote the couplet, “Heaven came down our souls to greet, and glory crowns the mercy seat.” God is seated in mercy toward all who have confessed their sin, repented with godly sorrow, and turned away from sin. What great assurance!!!

For some reason as I read today’s Scriptures, I thought of the time when Norma-Jean and I, along with our four children, were in a tough place financially. I was offered a job selling pots and pans from door to door in order to supplement our $25.00 per week salary from the church. The Scripture about not “entangling” myself came to mind. I determined to spend even more time visiting from door to door with the message of Jesus than I would have spent trying to sell pots and pans. The result was that more people began attending services and the offerings grew to more than I could have ever made in sales. When we brought in a new Pastor we were able to pay him $60.00 per week!

Yours for being “diligent” in the reading of God’s Word,

David

Palazzo del Quirinale – the President’s residence in Rome. Someone said, “Let us make Jesus, not just resident in our lives, but PRESIDENT, in charge of our lives.”

Thursday, September 7, 2017

NO FEAR

Today’s Reading: 2 Timothy 1

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 foundations of shops and homes that can be seen in ancient Ephesus. In this photo you can see a threshold to what was once a shop or home. The symbols that can be seen indicate that a Christian lived here, and the many small round divots that were carved into the threshold had a very practical purpose…so that people would not slip as they entered.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

 

The New King James translation is an excellent study Bible. The edition I use for this blog is called “The Open Bible Expanded Edition.” Here are quotations from the commentary on 2nd Timothy: “It is clear from the sharp imperatives that his letter is really a combat manual for use in spiritual warfare: ‘stir up’ (verse 6) – ‘do not be ashamed’ (verses 8 & 12) – ‘share with me in the sufferings’ (verse 8 ) – ‘hold fast…sound words’ (verse 13) – ‘that good thing…keep’ (verse 14).”

These orders continue on throughout 2nd Timothy. Our key verse contains what may be the most important fact for us to know with absolute assurance. Fear cripples people. There is the fear of the unknown, of people, and of death, to name a few. Fear will cause us to shrink back by demoralizing us (1 Samuel 13:5-8) and by giving us an attitude of defeat (Numbers 13:30 – 14:2). God does not intend His people to live in fear!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I confess with my mouth, backed up by my whole heart, these words as I pray, “You have given me power, love, and a sound mind.” I ask for grace to take and use Your gifts to me again today and every day. May I seize the opportunities that surely will come my today. In the Name of the One whose motto could be, “NO FEAR,” Jesus, Himself, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I can imagine Timothy there in Ephesus, standing under the shadow of that immense Temple of Diana, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, attempting to speak about Jesus with those who were entering or exiting the gigantic structure to give themselves to the goddess. I know that I would surely be in fervent prayer for boldness!

I take encouragement from Timothy. From his first letter I learned that Timothy may have had stomach problems (1 Timothy 5:23). Illness is a human problem we all face from time to time. To bolster my courage for today, I’ve read again 1 Timothy 6:12-16. I serve the One who is “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honour and everlasting power. Amen!” Almighty God has become One of us in the Person of Jesus! How amazing is that?

Yours for sharing Jesus today and every day with those we meet,

David

A closer view of the threshold described in the photo above.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

THE GOOD FIGHT

Today’s Reading: 1 Timothy 6

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

 

As King of Sardinia and victor over the Austrian army in Lombardy, Victor Emmanuel had become a symbol of the Risorgimento, the movement for a united Italy. After his army joined forces with Garibaldi and defeated the Papal army (believe it or not, the Pope had an army! – but from this point (1860) onward, the Pope was restricted to being ruler over Vatican City with no army), the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed in 1861 with Victor Emmanuel as king. This is his monument in Rome.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Timothy 6:12

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

 

It’s obvious that the fight symbolized in today’s photo is VERY different from the fight of which Paul writes. By writing, posting, and reading this blog, we are “fighting the good fight of faith.” Our reading today identifies the enemies against which we fight. Arrayed against us are (1) “Disputes and arguments over words from which come envy, strife, reviling and evil suspicions” (verse 4). And (2) “Useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain” (verse 5). Could this mean the “prosperity teachings” so prevalent today? Perhaps as on the football field, we need to call a “time out,” withdrawing for a time from the fight for a renewal of our commitment to Jesus, who Himself often withdrew to a time of prayer, alone with His Father. Let us fall on our faces before God, letting the firepower of the enemy pass over us. Then, renewed in strength and purpose, let us rise up and “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (verse 11). These are our invincible weapons in the fight “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 – read once again Ephesians 6:10-20). On the human level, “no attack, no defence,” only love. But we need to move out with our testimony that “Jesus is Lord” into our workplaces, our neighbourhoods, and beyond. The 100 Huntley Street television ministry is doing just that this very day and night in the Name of Jesus and in the names of all who pray and support this outreach. The war is being won by our great Commander-in-Chief, the Lord Jesus!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Your Word says, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal [human efforts] but are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:4 and 5a). I pray that today and every day I will “fight the good fight of faith.” Jesus, in whose Name I pray, did this, and I believe that through Him, I can do this too! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve used far more than 100 words above so I’ll try to be brief here. I don’t believe that God is finished with the old churches which made many mistakes through the centuries (e.g. a Papal army). I believe that God is putting in place leaders who are true to His Word and His ways! There is a new humble desire to do God’s work as Jesus did God’s work. Let us pray fervently for the Bishop of Rome (the Pope), the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Patriarch of the eastern churches, and the leaders of the Protestant Reformation churches. Amazing new churches are being planted. God is a God of great variety, but the one Constant is the Person of Jesus, who through His cross, His resurrection, His ascension, and His return will bring all His purposes to fulfillment.

Yours to encourage us all to “fight the good fight of faith,”

David