Wednesday, April 18, 2018

THE BLOODY CITY

Today’s Reading: Nahum 3

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

 

The Karnak Temple ruins can be seen along the Nile River. A Statue to Ramses II still stands tall in the Egyptian sun. Nahum prophesied that Assyria would receive the same treatment that they had given the ancient Egyptian capital city of No Amon (Thebes). According to Egyptian records, the destruction of Thebes by Assyria took place in 664 B.C. The destruction of Nineveh, Assyria, is dated in 612 B.C.  The decision to include Nahum in the Bible, made by the council of Rabbis, was based on the fact of his accurate prediction of future events. It has been calculated that Nahum probably wrote the book named after him in the year 654 B.C., at least 42 years before predicted events took place.

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

 

Key Verse: Nahum 3:18

“Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; your nobles rest in the dust. Your people are scattered on the mountains, and no one gathers them.”

 

It is certain that Nahum knew all about the repentance before God by the king, the nobles and the people of Nineveh approximately 65 years before the writing of this book, as a result of the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3:1-10). Nineveh, over the space of two generations, had degenerated from a God-fearing people to the people Nahum describes, a “bloody city,” “full of lies and robbery,” violence, and sexual seduction (Nahum 3:1-4). There is sadness in Nahum’s words at the decline of the moral standards of a once upright people. In our key verse, Nahum puts the blame for this turning away from doing what is right in God’s sight directly on the business community (“merchants”), the government (“commanders”, “captains”) and religious leaders (“shepherds”), the leaders of Assyria.

We who live in the developed world have seen a huge change in moral standards over the past 65 years. From the end of World War Two until now, there has been a steady rise in violence on our streets, in our schools and in our homes. The greatest change morally has been the destruction of millions of little lives in what should be the safest place on earth, the wombs of their mothers. This holocaust against these defenceless lives must call out to God for judgment, as did the holocaust against the Jews by the Nazis. Today’s reading should teach us the terrible results when leaders abdicate their responsibility. Eventually “people are scattered”… “injury has no healing”… and the “wound is severe.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I repent for not doing all I might have done to help prevent the moral decline that is obvious to anyone who studies the statistics on violence, family breakdown, sexual promiscuity, etc. I pray for grace to take a stand daily for what is right in Your eyes, holding the truth in love, and living my life with integrity. Keep me faithful to You, O Lord, in reading and making part of myself Your Holy Word every day. May I do as the Psalmist wrote, “Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You!” (Psalm 119:11). May my reading today be not just in my head, but may it penetrate my innermost being. In the Name of the only sinless human Person, Your divine Son, Jesus, I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Some scholars believe that Elkosh (Nahum 1:1), the hometown of Nahum, is Capernaum (“Kafer Nahum” – village of Nahum). After Nahum’s accurate prophesies, some say the name of his village was changed to honour him. Capernaum was the town to which Jesus moved after His rejection in Nazareth. It was the home of Matthew, Peter, Andrew, James and John. A New Testament reading today might be Matthew 4:12-17. Here “Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent.'” I think that Nahum would’ve supported Jesus’ message! I’ll try to put below some pictures of the ruins of Capernaum from the time of Jesus.

I have called myself on several occasions “a champion of loosing causes.” The latest being my attempts to influence a majority of Canada’s political leaders to support the traditional and Biblical meaning of the word “Marriage.” We do have leaders in government who do not “slumber”, as Nahum said of the Assyrian shepherds. But there are not enough leaders who are wide awake and who stand up for just causes. While I believe the marriage issue is important, I also believe that the “slaughter of the innocents” in the abortion industry is the greatest evil in our land. We are in this respect a “bloody city” (Nahum 3:1a). Canada has absolutely no protection in law for the little ones in the womb. The final prophesy given by Jesus is worth reading again in this context (read Luke 23:28-31). May God have mercy on us!

Yours for remembering that on Good Friday, Jesus took into Himself the judgment deserved by all the sin mentioned in today’s reading, all the sins mentioned in the entire Bible, and all the sins of the human race, past, present and future. On that day, Jerusalem was truly “The bloody city”,

David

P.S. Jesus prophesied about the town of Nahum, Capernaum, as recorded in Matthew 11:23-30. Capernaum is only a tourist destination today. This once bustling commercial centre is uninhabited today. Here are some pictures which would seem to support Jesus’ prophecy.

The tourist entrance to the ancient ruins of Capernaum (“Kafer Nahum” – village of Nahum).

An ancient millstone among the ruins of Capernaum.

 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

THE LORD IS GOOD

Today’s Reading: Nahum 1-2

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

 

Looking east from the Zion Gate towards the Mount of Olives you can see Jerusalem’s City walls. Perhaps Nahum had such walls in mind when he wrote that the Lord is “A stronghold in the day of trouble.”

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

 

Key Verse: Nahum 1:7

The Lord is good,

A stronghold in the day of trouble;

And He knows those who trust in Him.

 

Anyone quickly reading today’s chapters may well assume that Nahum is only about judgment. Why? Because the theme is about the destruction of Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian Empire, as a result of the evil of their rule. By consistent reading of the Scriptures, we would not jump to that conclusion; we would remember that 100 years before Nahum’s prophesies, Jonah preached in the streets of Nineveh, the entire city repented, and they were spared from disaster. Nineveh became the mightiest city on earth. In 1842 the city was excavated by archeologists, and they found walls 100 feet high and wide enough to allow three chariots to run abreast, as well as a moat 150 feet wide and 60 feet deep. Nahum predicted Nineveh’s destruction by an “overwhelming flood,” and 18 years later the Tigris river flooded, destroying part of the wall. The Babylonians invaded through this breach and Nineveh was destroyed, and its people subjugated.

Ten times in today’s reading the word “Lord” is found. While God is merciful and patient, justice for the nations must prevail sooner or later in time, and it is guaranteed in eternity. In chapter two, notice the word “excellence” repeated twice. God promises “excellence” to His people. Here’s the challenge to find this excellence! Man the fort! Watch the road! Strengthen your flanks! Fortify your power mightily!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for excellence in all my ways. May I have the determination spiritually that the people of Israel were exhorted to have physically in their restoration. You are Good! You are my Stronghold in my time of trouble! You know me because I trust in You! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

[NOTE: This blog was originally written by David Mainse on April 17, 2016]

Here I am, 25 months past the date when it was predicted I would die of acute MDS leukemia. Sometimes I feel like a teenager again, filled with energy and positive thoughts for the future. “The Lord is GOOD!” In the days of trouble over the past four years, I quote daily that couplet I heard my father say, “Be my symptoms what they will, Jesus is my Healer still.” I’m very aware of another saying my dad said, “Man proposes, but God disposes!”

Yours for finding the reasons why God has put each one of us here on earth, and for fulfilling His purposes!!!

David

P.S. My son, Ron, showed me on his computer how you can take each day’s blog photograph location and get a 360 degree look all around the place where my other son, David Reynold, took the photos. If you haven’t tried it yet, click the “Google Maps” link under the photo and explore the area by dragging and dropping the little yellow man (located on the bottom right of the map). Then you will get the “street view,” and you can look all around by clicking the right or left arrows, which rotate the view.

Monday, April 16, 2018

CONTEND

Today’s Reading: Jude

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

 

From En Gedi, Israel, looking north along the shore of the Dead Sea, the waves, heavy with minerals, roll slowly toward the shore. Today’s reading tells about people who are like “waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame.”

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

 

Key Verses: Jude 24-25

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,

And to present you faultless

Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

To God our Savior,

Who alone is wise,

Be glory and majesty,

Dominion and power,

Both now and forever.

Amen.

 

This short but powerful letter gives us a huge challenge, as well as great encouragement. After praying that “mercy, peace and love” would be multiplied, Jude then challenges us to “Contend earnestly for the faith!” The word “contend” means “to assert,” “to affirm,” “to grapple with,” and “to go head to head”! Just think! Jude uses that word “contend” again in describing the confrontation of Michael, the Archangel, with Satan! (verse 9). This gives us some idea as to how we are to engage in the battle for Truth! Jude says that we can do this by (1) Building yourselves up, (2) Praying in the Holy Spirit, (3) Keeping yourselves in the love of God, and (4) Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Let’s read two or three times verses 22 & 23 and decide firmly to “contend” with “compassion!” Finally Jude gives us a most beautiful and powerful benediction, our key verse. Amen!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Yes! I pray Jude’s benediction. Lord God, keep me from “stumbling,” and may I be filled with  “exceeding joy!” In the Name of Jesus, “God, our Saviour!” Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When I was 12 years of age, my mother died. I was angry at God but loved my minister Dad who, at that time, had taken on two country churches in the Ottawa Valley. I listened to sermons and knew that he truly practiced what he preached. But it was not until after he had left for his mission to Egypt when I was 15 that I came to “grapple” with whether to believe in God or not. It was when I was 16 that the owner of the Chrysler dealership, where I worked part time, took me on, not just as an employee, but as a lost soul who needed Jesus. Syd Healey truly contended for my salvation by incessantly quoting Scripture, arranging for me to drive his 1952 Chrysler New Yorker to church (what 16-year-old could resist that!), and the result was that I made a lifetime decision to believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him forever.

By the time I was 18, I was a public school teacher in the village of Chalk River, Ontario. I remember clearly struggling with the challenge of conducting myself as a follower of Jesus should. I memorized Jude 24 & 25 and would quote it often. Later in my life as a Pastor, I would often say those words as the benediction at the close of a Sunday service. To this day, those words fill me with joy and confidence!

Yours for the wisdom that comes from “God our Saviour, Who alone is wise!”

David

Sunday, April 15, 2018

MARVELOUS THINGS

Today’s Reading: Micah 7

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

 

Once inside The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, you can look to the right and see the entrance to the adjoining building, which is an Armenian monastery. The present leader of the Armenian Church was once the atheist leader of the Young Communists of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. He testifies to an amazing conversion to Christ.

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

 

Key Verse: Micah 7:19

He will again have compassion on us,

And will subdue our iniquities.

You will cast all our sins

Into the depths of the sea.

 

Most of Micah’s words tell of the troubles that will come on the world because of sin, personal and collective. The cumulative result of rejecting God is stated in Micah 7:13, “The land shall be desolate because of those who dwell in it, and for the fruit of their deeds.” Man’s efforts at creating a utopian society have ended up in “desolation.” Consider the end results of the world’s mass murderers in the 20th century. The communism of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, (perhaps 100,000,000 murders) and the national socialists of Hitler (perhaps 20,000,000). The first four were atheists, and Hitler and the leaders around him, who tried to introduce the ancient pagan gods, despised Jesus and the writers of the Bible because they were Jews. Surely these abysmal failures of mere man are cause for despair. But don’t give up! The future is bright because God is not finished with the world yet. Read the last seven verses of Micah again!!! God has done, and will do, “marvelous things”!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, who is a God like You…pardoning iniquity, delighting in mercy, and having compassion on us? Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I’m overwhelmed by You, Lord. I give You my life again for this new day! I pray that I will not dredge up from the depths of the sea my past sins or the sins of others. May I think, speak and act in the Truth of Your Word and in the same mercy which You have sworn to give us “from days of old!” (last four words of Micah). In the Name of the One Whose mercy and truth took Him to the Cross and out from the empty tomb, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I was 17 years old when I sang a solo in the Baptist Church of Renfrew, Ontario. I was very nervous, but as I got into it, the truth of which I sang gripped my heart and the fear left. The song’s words were “Down, down, down, down (I sang the words with my voice going lower and lower), down in the depths of the sea. The sins of the past are all gone at last; down in  the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19b). I had given my life to Christ just over a year before, and I realized that when I expressed the Word of God with my voice, I grew in confidence that those Words were true! (I’ve Googled that song and here’s what I found…click here).

Gossips, backbiters, and judgmental people go fishing down there in the “depths of the sea.” Then they often put what they find in their “net”…on the aptly named “inter-net.” Please, please, don’t even go there into the sludge of these bottom feeders. I’m sure that there are many lies there. Besides, when sin is confessed, forgiven by God, and cast into His sea of forgetfulness, He puts up a sign that says, “No Fishing!”

Yours with thankfulness for sins forgiven,

David

Saturday, April 14, 2018

FROM EVERLASTING

Today’s Reading: Micah 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).

 

Manger Square in Bethlehem is just across the street from the Church of the Nativity, which is built over the spot where it is believed that Jesus was born. The Palestinian government has offices here. God has something to say to political authorities.

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

 

Key Verses: Micah 5:2, 6:8

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,

Yet out of you shall come forth to Me

The One to be Ruler in Israel,

Whose goings forth are from of old,

From everlasting…

He has shown you, O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord require of you

But to do justly,

To love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God?

 

The Bible scholars consulted by King Herod during the visit of the wise men had no trouble finding the scroll which contained the 700-year-old words of Micah and identifying the place of the birth of “the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting!” (literally the days of eternity). If the story of the birth of Jesus was not true, one would think that, with the amazing growth of the Jesus movement in Jerusalem, it would’ve brought official denials recorded in the Mishna (minutes of the Jewish ruling council which still exist today), from the priest/historian Josephus, or the Jewish teachers such as Gamaliel, grandson of the famous Rabbi Hillel; but there is no record which denies  the claims of the Apostles and others (read Matthew 2:1-12). Rabbi Saul, student of Gamaliel, who became the Apostle Paul, wrote, “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ [Messiah] our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh…” (Romans 1:1-6).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, thank You for what Peter called “The prophetic word made more sure, which you would do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19a). I pray that I will see with insight, with a new perception, and a clarity of understanding. May I reflect Your light into dark places today. I ask this in the Name of “the Light of the World,” Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve quoted often the words of our second key verse, but the most memorable time was on a phone call to former Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney. He had given me his private phone number sometime earlier, and I had never used it prior to this occasion. Now it was different. He had just lost a referendum on his formula to bring the French speaking province of Quebec into full partnership in the constitution of Canada. He had invested all his political capital and years of his time into the fulfillment of this vision. As I knelt in prayer that evening after the vote tally was in, I knew it was time to call him. Norma-Jean was beside me and she heard me say, “This is David Mainse. Is the Prime Minister in?” A lady said, “No, he’s at Meech Lake. He needs to talk to you, I’ll put you through.” A very discouraged Prime Minister said, “Hello.” His voice, always low, was lower than usual. When I told him who it was, he said, “I’m sitting here on the couch with my children. I’m reading them a story, thanks for calling.” In order to not keep him too long away from his children I got right to my point. I said, “I believe that God has a word for you. You’ve worked very hard to do what you believe is best for Canada. On behalf of all of us, thank you!” Then I shared the Word from the prophet Micah. I said, “Here’s all God expects of you: ‘What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?'” (Micah 6:8b). He thanked me for praying for him, his family and his government, and then we said goodbye. On a previous visit, he said that he and his wife, Mila, watched a 100 Huntley Street repeat most evenings around midnight. He laughed and said that I helped him sleep well.

Yours for the Word that God has for each person from His Book!

David

P.S. Below is Prime Minister Brian Mulroney receiving one the books on Canada’s spiritual heritage which Crossroads published. Because of the 100 Huntley Street Christian television ministry, I’ve had the honour to converse with all our Canadian Prime Ministers who have served our country over the last few decades (except for the very short term P.M. Kim Campbell).  I pray every morning for, as Paul writes, “All who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:2-4).

Friday, April 13, 2018

THE ROADMAP or THE GPS

Today’s Reading: Micah 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).

 

Bethlehem can be seen just over the first hill to the right. The metal barrier is for protection of drivers entering a tunnel that is under the ground to the right.

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

 

Key Verse: Micah 4:2

Many nations shall come and say,

“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

To the house of the God of Jacob;

He will teach us His ways,

And we shall walk in His paths.”

For out of Zion the law shall go forth,

And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

 

In yesterday’s reading there is a contrast between “Do not My Words do good to him who walks uprightly” (Micah 2:7b), and the twice-repeated word, “prattle” or “incessant babble” (Micah 2:6 &11). The consistent reading of God’s Word does us GOOD! We can’t avoid taking in “prattle,” but we can keep it to a minimum.

Micah 3 gives us an example of “prattle,” those “who chant peace” (Micah 3:5). Jeremiah writes of those who “Say, ‘peace, peace’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14b). The Apostle Paul writes, “For when they say, ‘peace and safety,’ then sudden destruction comes upon them” (read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11). Many peace activists must not realize that their starting point is all wrong. Micah 4 makes it clear that first we must take in “the Word of the Lord” (Micah 4:2b). As a result of God’s Word in the hearts and minds of people, God will rebuke “strong nations” and “they shall beat their swords into ploughshares…” (Micah 4:3).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, through Isaiah You told me that You would keep me in perfect peace when my mind is stayed or anchored on You! I pray for discipline to be consistent in my input of Your Word into my mind every day! As a result, You will give me personal peace. I will be a peaceful place in the midst of a world in turmoil. May Your peace spread through me to others. In the Name of “the Prince of peace,” Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’m using that mysterious thing to me called “WiFi” to write this blog. I understand it is facilitated by a satellite somewhere up above the earth. “Mabel” is the name I call the GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) person who gives voice instructions like, “Turn right in 100 metres,” etc. This is a great help in getting me to the places I want to go. God’s Word is like that. The scholars consulted by King Herod were able to pinpoint the place of the birth of the new King by reading from the Word of God (but I should wait 24 hours, as that’s in tomorrow’s reading).

Yours for hearing God through reading His Word daily!

David

Thursday, April 12, 2018

LISTEN, O EARTH! (Micah 1:2)

Today’s Reading: Micah 1-2

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

 

Here you can see a row of homes in the region of ancient Pergamos. All seven churches of Revelation (Pergamos is one) are in modern day Turkey. The book of Micah, like the Revelation, is God’s attempt to communicate with people where they take shelter, eat, sleep, and go about their daily lives.

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

 

Key Verse: Micah 2:1

Woe to those who devise iniquity,

And work out evil on their beds!

At morning light they practice it,

Because it is in the power of their hand.

 

Micah reveals the compassion of God for people who suffer social injustice at the hands of a powerful corrupt elite. Micah strongly condemns rulers, false prophets, and ungodly priests who exploit the poor for their own gain. He declares that both the Northern Kingdom, Samaria, and the Southern Kingdom, Jerusalem, will be overthrown because of their iniquity, evil, covetousness and oppression of those who are disadvantaged.

When Christ returns to earth to rule as Messiah, His statement to all the nations of the earth will be, “I was hungry and you gave Me food” (Matthew 25:31-46). Jesus makes it clear that care for needy people will be His #1 priority when He sets up His earthly Kingdom. He will judge all nations by His standards of justice for all. In the meantime, as our key verse says, evil “is in the power of their hand.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, You have given me a free will. Because of the example of Jesus, and Your grace You freely give me, I pray that I will decide to do good and not evil all the days of my life. I ask this in the Name of the One who always cares for others, Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

At the tail end of the Great Depression of the 1930s, when so much poverty was evident, I can remember men that society called “tramps” (homeless people) knocking on our door asking for food and shelter. Mother would prepare some food, but as my father was away, they would usually sit on the porch. I would sit and watch. I couldn’t think of anything to say, but I knew mother had done something important. I also knew that she was keeping an eye on me for my safety. When I entered high school in the late 1940s, I learned that my all-time favourite teacher had been one of those homeless in the 30s. This gave me a new perspective on helping others.

As a young Pastor in the late 1950s and 1960s, I encouraged the congregations to support the Salvation Army, and I think it was in 1965 that World Vision came to our city with a Korean orphan choir. Our people got involved as childcare sponsors. Our television ministry got involved directly as a result of my son’s (David Reynold, our photographer for this blog) prayers every evening at family devotions for about a month. He was just a little guy, but somehow he encountered human need. He would pray, in an mournful voice, “O God, please help Daddy to help those poor children in India.” God answered his prayer and within another month we had raised, through the TV ministry, monthly childcare support for about 1,000 children, and we turned the names and addresses over to World Vision Canada for the cause, which was the ministry of Mark and Huldah Buntain in Calcutta, India. Crossroads has consistently encouraged support of ministries of compassion and has for decades now been directly involved (click here for Crossroads’ current missions projects).

Yours for being moved with the compassion of Christ toward those in need,

David

 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

JONAH & THE GREAT FISH

Today’s Reading: Jonah 1-4

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

 

Jaffa, Israel (ancient Joppa), is one of the world’s oldest harbours still in use today. “He (Jonah) went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish (Spain); so he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:3b).

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

 

Key Verses: Jonah 1:17, 4:11

Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights….

And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left–and much livestock?

 

Instead of going 500 miles northeast in obedience to God, Jonah disobeys God and sets out for Spain, 2,000 miles west. Jonah lived in the northern kingdom of Israel and had to travel 50 miles southwest to reach the harbour of Joppa, exactly the opposite direction from Nineveh. Read the historical reference to Jonah from 2 Kings 14:23-26. “Gath Hepher,” Jonah’s home village, is the modern village of Mishad, an Arab Muslim community three miles north of Nazareth. Jewish tradition says that Jonah was the son of the widow of Zarephath, whom Elijah had raised from the dead (1Kings 17:8-24).

Jonah knew his Bible. He quoted from four different Psalms while inside “the belly of the fish” (Psalm 3:8, 31:22, 42:7, and 69:1). In fact, he quotes from 14 Bible verses. When he finally confesses, “I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord,” the fish rises to the surface and spits him out onto shore, perhaps the very one in Joppa.

The Apostle Matthew records that Jesus likened his time in the grave to Jonah’s experience inside the great fish (Matthew 12:38-41). Another time Jesus speaks of the “sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 16:2-4).

When Jonah finally reaches Nineveh and preaches a one-sentence sermon, “Yet 40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown,” we read that the entire city “turned from their evil way.” That’s called repentance! (Jonah 3:10a).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, give me grace to always obey You. I pray that if I should, like Jonah, go in the opposite direction that You desire of me, that You will do whatever it takes to turn me 180 degrees back into the centre of Your perfect will! Lord, You prepared a great fish to turn Jonah around, and I ask You to prepare a circumstance of Your choice which, if necessary, will do the same for me. I pray this in the Name of the One who taught about Himself using the story of Jonah, Jesus Christ (Messiah)! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

There is a tradition that says that Jonah was a student at the “School of the Prophets.” Remember the student who was chopping down a tree to help build a new building at the Bible College when the axehead came loose, sank to the bottom of the river, and became the occasion of one of Elisha’s miracles? The axe head floated to the surface and the student picked it up (2 Kings 6:1-7). Do you think that student could’ve been Jonah who, when the sailors threw him overboard, knew that if God would save an axehead, He would also save him from drowning? Maybe yes maybe no. I like to think about what was going on inside Jonah’s head when he said, “Throw me overboard” (read 2 Kings 6:1-7).

Some say that the story of Jonah is way too unbelievable. The way I look at it is this…I’ve decided for myself that if God decides to do anything, He has the ability to do it. Of course I don’t understand how this could be, but then I certainly don’t understand the nature of the billions of stars and planets in the cosmos either. There’s an old chorus I’m singing under my breath just now, “God can do anything, anything, anything, anything but fail” (I forget some words here, help me out). I’ll try to find it on “Google”…Yes! here is an unusual version of the song. I’m worshipping the Lord along with the singer (click here).

Yours for believing that God can do anything but fail!!!

David

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

OBADIAH’S VISION

Today’s Reading: Obadiah

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

 

In Petra, Jordan, this massive façade, 30m wide and 43m high, is carved out of the sheer, dusky pink rock-face and dwarfs everything around it. The engineering genius of the ancient people who lived here is awe inspiring. Petra was the capital city of the Edomites. In today’s reading the prophet Obadiah denounces Edom for her pride. Secure in their impregnable fortress city, the Edomites felt that they were beyond the danger of invasion or conquest.

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

 

Key Verses: Obadiah verse 17

But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance,

And there shall be holiness;

The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

 

The Edomites were descended from Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, sons of Isaac and Rebekah (read Genesis 25:19-23). Rebekah “went to inquire of the Lord.” This expectant mother was aware that the twins were struggling in her womb and she prayed about it. “The Lord said to her: ‘Two nations are in your womb…the older shall serve the younger.'” Obadiah’s prophecy confirms what God said to Rebekah, that Edom (Esau) would serve Israel (Jacob). Mount Zion (Jerusalem) is the capital city of the descendants of Jacob.

Obadiah predicts that the proud people of Edom would be humiliated. In the day of Jerusalem’s calamity, Edom had gloated and even surrendered Israelite fugitives to the enemy. Edom was guilty of flagrant injustice. “The day of the Lord” is a time of reckoning for all nations.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that I will be found walking in “holiness,” ready for “the day of the Lord!” May the laws enacted by our nations reflect Your “Holiness”, Lord Jesus! I pray for our leaders. Grant them grace, I pray, to serve You and all people in righteousness. May our leaders be made aware that the nations are being judged in Your courtroom! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I marvel at the homes and public buildings carved from the solid rock in Petra. Today it is not a proud capital city; it’s a tourist destination, a most impressive relic of an ancient powerful nation. King Abdullah of Jordan was in New York City, and no doubt he was intent on promoting tourism, which is a mainstay in the economy of his country, when I had the privilege to meet him at the Mayflower Hotel. As we visited I mentioned that my son-in-law covered his country several times each week on TV in the Arabic language. The King said, “What is his name?” “Rev. Nizar Shaheen,” I answered. With a surprised look on his face, the king said, “Nizar is a great man of God. I watch him on TV regularly.” It occurred to me that the king might have been tempted to say this for tourism’s sake, so I asked him, “On what channel do you watch Nizar?” He knew all the details, so I concluded he really did watch the message of God’s Word as Nizar and his guests present Jesus as Saviour and Lord!

The Crossroads ministry launched the Light For All Nations Arabic language ministry over 30 years ago. We were able to do this because of the prayers and support of God’s people (click here for more about Light For All Nations).

Yours for shining the Light of Jesus around the world,

David

Monday, April 9, 2018

TWO SHORT LETTERS

Today’s Reading: 2 – 3 John

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

 

The ruins of Ephesus. The top of the ancient Celsus Library can be seen lit by the sun just beyond the pillars. John’s two letters, today’s reading, were probably written from here. Ephesus spawned many religious cults. John writes, “Many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” (2 John 1:7).

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

 

Key Verses: 2 John 1:5, 3 John 1:5-6

And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another…

Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well.

 

John’s primary message in his Gospel and in his three letters is about God’s love and “that we love one another.” Second John teaches how to behave as Christians, and how to recognize any teaching which diminishes the Person of Jesus Christ by teaching that He was an angelic spirit who was not 100% human as well as 100% God! Let’s not forget that while John was a most loving person, he was also referred to by Jesus as one of the “sons of thunder” (“Boanerges” in Greek – Mark 3:17). Because he loved God and people, John was able to thunder out his message of uncompromising truth, particularly the truth about the One with whom he spent over three years.

In his third letter, John refers to a previous letter which he had written, perhaps First or Second John, which had been rejected by “Diotrephes,” a leader in one of the churches. Religious cult founders are much like this man who “loved the preeminence,” who “spoke malicious words,” and who exalts himself into a place of egotistical religious authority. Gaius and Demetrius are two generous and humble men. We would do well to follow their examples.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I did not have the glorious opportunity that John had. He spent all that time with You during Your ministry in the Galilee and Jerusalem, and he was there at the cross when You died. He even fished with You, Lord, along with his brother James, Peter and Andrew, when You caused great catches of fish, and he was there when You miraculously fed the 4,000 and the 5,000. Realizing that John knew You better than I ever could, I pray for the grace to accept and believe John’s words about You. In Your Name I ask this. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I find it hard to imagine how inflated are the opinions some have of themselves, that they think they know better than the Prophets and Apostles, who gave us the historical record of God interacting with His human family. The wanderings of the imaginations of some who teach false doctrines, like Diotrephes, are with us in books, lectures in universities, media appearances, etc. Now, 2,000 years later, there are still some who are getting attention who think they know the facts better than those who were actually there when the events they describe happened. In order to deceive people, the devil even comes as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:12-15). There are false doctrines brought to our doors. The founder of one of these says he got his information from an angel (Mormonism), and another founder was an independent minister in Brooklyn, NY, who was bitter against other Pastors in his area. He claimed to know the Greek language in which the New Testament was written, but in the records of a court of law in which he appeared, he could not name the letters of the Greek alphabet. He resurrected the false doctrines which John thundered against. Then it was called “Arianism;” today it’s “The Watchtower Society” or “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Yours for “Truth,” John’s message, and for living out that truth as did “the elect lady and her children.” Also for learning from the godliness and generosity of Gaius, and for following the example of the one who “has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself,” Demetrius!!

David

P.S. If readers have the time, I suggest going back into the blogs and reviewing all three of John’s letters. Tomorrow, God willing, we’ll be in the book of Obadiah.