Monday, March 13, 2017

A FERVENT SPIRIT

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 1

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

 

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

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

 

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 1:10

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

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

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

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

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

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

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

Yours to help us all learn and practice strong intercession,

David

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

Sunday, March 12, 2017

GOD’S PLANS

Today’s Reading: Ruth 3-4

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

 

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

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

 

Key Verse: Ruth 4:13

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

 

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

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

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

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

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

Yours for trusting God in all things,

David

Saturday, March 11, 2017

RUTH’S CHOICE

Today’s Reading: Ruth 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).

 

Ruth’s home country of Moab was located east of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, and south of the Arnon (Numbers 21:10-15). Today, Moab is within the Kingdom of Jordan. It was in the Plains of Moab, opposite Jericho (Numbers 22:1, 26:63, Joshua 13:32) that the Israelites made their last encampment before they entered the Promised Land.

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

 

Key Verse: Ruth 1:16

But Ruth said:

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.”

 

In the midst of the time of the Judges comes this beautiful love story. The book of Ruth is an account of one of the most moving acts of loyalty, and of the way that God honoured that love and loyalty. Even while evil and corruption seemed so prominent in Israel, there were many honourable people who loved and served God. That number included a Moabite woman who had married an Israelite and was now a widow. In a time when Israel was often in apostasy, she left her idolatrous religion to embrace the faith of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, and her mother-in-law Naomi. Ruth is a bright shining light pointing to the way of faith in the One true God. Over 1,000 years later, Jesus, the Son of God, would be born in Ruth’s adopted hometown of Bethlehem. From the lineage of Ruth comes the Messiah, the Christ, our Saviour and Lord.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, Ruth and Boaz were your great-great, etc. grandparents. You are 100% Human and also 100% God. As a Human, You show me how to live as a man. You are my Mentor, my Example, and my Hero. Please give me grace to follow You more closely today than yesterday. In Your loving Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I was thrilled to participate in the wedding of our second daughter, Ellen, to Nizar Shaheen, an Israeli Arab who is ordained in the Nazareth Baptist Church. As a part of the ceremony, Ellen quoted, in the Arabic language, the words of our key verse. What a powerful moment. Israeli television co-operated with TV networks in Canada and the USA to carry the wedding live across North America. In advance, we had distributed thousands of copies of a document called, “A Marriage Covenant.” I encouraged married couples everywhere to renew their vows as Ellen and Nizar said theirs at the Church in Nizar’s home village of Cana of Galilee. Jesus, His mother, and several of the disciples were guests there at another wedding 2,000 years before, and Jesus did His first miracle of turning the water into wine (read John 2:1-11). The people of Cana still call the wedding of Nizar and Ellen “the other wedding” (click here for Ellen saying the words of Ruth to her beloved Nizar).

Today, Nizar and Ellen are all over the Arabic-speaking world on TV and on the internet, winning thousands of precious people to Jesus through Light For All Nations.

Yours for love and loyalty,

David

Madaba, Jordan, just near mount Nebo where Moses looked out over the Promised Land, has a church named The Church of the Map. The church is also known as Church of Saint George. The mosaic floor map (pictured below) has the oldest known map of Jerusalem and its surrounding Biblical regions.

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

 

Friday, March 10, 2017

THORNS

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 12-13

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

 

Smyrna was the second city to receive a letter from the Apostle John in the book of Revelation. Acts 19:10 suggests that the church there was founded during Paul’s third missionary journey. Scholars believe the city grew to about 100,000 by the time of the Apostles Paul and John. That’s my eldest son and photographer Reynold in the picture.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 12:9

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

 

The smaller we are in our own eyes, the bigger we see Christ to be. There’s more room for Jesus who lives in the believer when the believer does not have a large opinion of himself. We start next week in 1st Samuel where we will find King Saul. Samuel said of him, “When you were little in your eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel?” (1 Samuel 15:17). Saul became so big that he thought he no longer had to obey God. This resulted in his loss of the throne. The Apostle Paul, before his conversion, was a “Mr. Big.” He went directly to the High Priest and received the authority to persecute the Christians. We don’t know what the “thorn in the flesh” was, but we do know God gave it to him to keep him from becoming “Mr. Big” again. When Paul was “Mr. Small,” God could be “Big” in his life and ministry. Paul, a most powerful man, was blinded and confused on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9). For God to be strong in Paul, he had to become weak in himself, not depending on his own abilities, but in the strength of Christ, Himself.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, Your servant Paul prayed three times for deliverance from the “thorn.” Each time You answered, “No.” Please help me to learn this difficult lesson. You said that “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). I bow at Your feet, and I exalt You above all in praise and worship. Use me, O Lord, in any way You desire. In Your exalted Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

There is a big man (physically) who is one of my heroes in the Christian ministry. He’s also a humble man. He would never claim any exalted status for himself, but God exalted him. Many years ago, he was elected by those of us who are his peers as our District Superintendent for Western Ontario for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. He was over 90 when he passed into the immediate Presence of Christ.  I’m sure that if he were to write here, he would speak of weakness, and most of all he would testify to God’s strength in him. I’m referring to Rev. Homer Cantelon. His son, Jim, who hosted the 100 Huntley Street telecast for years and founded Visionledd, a mission to the AIDS sufferers of Africa, said on one occasion, “When I grow up, I want to be like Homer.” I feel the same way. I used to remind Homer from time to time that years ago he agreed to preach my funeral service. We had a good laugh. Here is a video of Jim interviewing his dad Homer a few years back on 100 Huntley Street (part one click here…part two click here). Throughout the years, I’ve found humble people who may be leaders or may be everyday people. I’ve sat at their feet and learned from them. I’m still learning!

Yours for growing bigger in Christ and smaller in self,

David

 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

AN ANGEL OF LIGHT?

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 11

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

 

Zion Gate is located in the southern part of the Old City. This gate was used by the Israel Defense Forces in 1967 to enter and capture the Old City. The stones surrounding the gate are still pockmarked by weapons fire. This entrance leads to the Jewish and Armenian quarters.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 11:14b, 15

For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

 

Here is a strong, clear warning. Throughout this chapter Paul is building walls of spiritual protection around his friends and fellow believers in Jesus. He is deeply concerned over the possibility of deception. He is determined that they will be protected from the false teaching of an evil spirit masquerading as an angel of light. We must not take these warnings lightly. Throughout the centuries again and again, so-called prophets have claimed to have messages from angels which are contrary to our historical understanding of the Christian faith, or which claim to add additions to the truth delivered by the Bible Prophets, Jesus Himself, and the Apostles! If Satan cannot keep us from believing in Jesus, he will try to twist the truth ever so slightly in an ingenious way, so as to move us away from the solid truths of God’s Word (2 Peter 3:11-16). Be on guard! Stay close to your God-given pastor and congregation! There are those people who will “twist” the Scriptures “to their own destruction,” and they want to drag you down with them (2 Peter 1:15-21).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I’m well aware that the deceiver comes masquerading as an angel of light. Help me through Your Word and this blog to rip off his mask, and reveal to my heart, mind, and spirit the deceptive thoughts the enemy would plant in me. By Your grace, may I behold Your face, Lord Jesus. In You, I will see the One who is called “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and I will not be deceived. In Your Name, Lord Jesus, I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I was 18 years old when a book fell into my hands that captivated my attention, so much so that I shared its content with another young man to whom I had been witnessing about Jesus. I was hoping to lead him to receive Christ as his Saviour and Lord. After about a month, I noticed that we were talking more about the subject of the book than about Jesus. Alarm bells went off in me, and I threw the book away. I determined to never bring up the subject again. It was a kind of conspiracy theory which I later learned was a total lie. The enemy almost succeeded in sidetracking me from the main thing. This is one of the reasons I’ve always placed the words of “The Apostles Creed” in a prominent place at the entrance to our places of ministry, such as the Crossroads Centre in Burlington. The leaders of Christ’s Church, following the deaths of the Apostles, faced the so-called “angel of light” again and again. Therefore, they gathered leaders from all over the world and came to an agreement on every word in that statement. They fasted and prayed over every word. This creed was set up as if written in stone, like the Ten Commandments of Moses. The deceptions and arrogance of Satan and his false teachers have dashed against this strong rock but have been unable to move it. It is the summary of what was believed and taught by the Apostles (click here for “The Apostles Creed”).

Yours for holding firmly to the “Truth once delivered,”

David

Here is an Arrow Loop in the wall of the Zion Gate. These were slots in the walls and structures that were used to shoot arrows through. They came in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

 WAR

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 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).

 

An ancient war helmet on display at the museum in Corinth.

 

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…

 

A companion reading for consideration today would be Ephesians 6:10-17. Notice particularly Ephesians 6:12. On the human level, we are to make no defence and no offence. We are not to defend ourselves when people attack us with false accusations, nor are we to attack others with accusations which may even be true. The devil is the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). We recognize the source of slander and lies. Therefore, in the realm of spiritual warfare, we fight. Jesus is the best Example of this in His response to Satan. He quoted the Scriptures (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus did not have to go and get His Bible; it would’ve taken a wagon to carry all the scrolls. He knew the Word of God as a result of reading the scrolls at the synagogue and listening to the Rabbi’s teachings. We have a distinct advantage in the Bible before us now, and in sitting faithfully under the preaching/teaching ministry of our Pastors. Spiritual warfare is one very important reason for this discipline of reading God’s Word and meditating on what God says to us. This blog, if read daily, helps to provide us with God’s protection and with the weapon with which we attack, “the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

Chapter nine is more about giving to God’s cause. I’m impressed at the amount of time spent on the matter of our support for God’s work. No doubt, that is because “where your heart is, there will your treasure be also” (Matthew 6:21). The way we handle money may be the greatest indication as to what is really in our hearts.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I ask that by Your Spirit You will help me to be equipped with weapons which will destroy all attacks by the enemy of my soul. I’m attacking his so-called “strongholds” with Your Word right now as I read it and speak it. You are making me “more than a conqueror” (Romans 8:37). I pray this in and through the Person of Jesus, the One who is the ultimate Conqueror. Amen & Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I struggled for a long time with the concept of our supporters making pledges for future support of God’s work. I was well aware of the softer approach, which was called a “faith promise.” Both terms, pledge and faith promise, mean the same. Finally, after the first 15 years of TV ministry (’62 – ’77), where I did not even use the word “support” on TV, I learned that even the most godly people need to know about the need in order to respond. I also learned that Crossroads needed to know what I might expect in the giving of God’s people, so that I could give leadership in planning for the future. Jesus said that we are to count the cost first (Luke 14:28-30). I finally got the message that in order to “count the cost” I must know what to expect, not only on the expense side but also on the income side of the budget (from donations). I realized that Paul had no problem writing to the people of God these words, “Your bountiful gift which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity, and not as a grudging obligation” (2 Corinthians 9:5b). For me, the Board of Directors would approve or not approve the policies and budgets that the Chief Financial Officer and I proposed, and as the Chief Executive Officer, I was then responsible to carry out those policies within the budgets approved. I look back over the decades and realize that God did marvelous works as a result of the beautiful co-operation between supporters of the ministry and the board and management of Crossroads Christian Communications Inc.

Yours for the work of God done in God’s way,

David

P.S. In the light of today’s reading, please pray for Crossroads and give as God prospers you. Amen and thank you, thank you and thank you!!! Click HERE to donate online.

Part of an ancient bronze statue on display at the Archaeological Museum in Pella, Greece.

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

 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

THE RICHES OF LIBERALITY

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 8

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

 

Pella is an ancient Greek city located in the current Pella regional unit of Central Macedonia in Greece. It was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 8:9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

 

Today’s reading is all about giving. Jesus instructed a young person who had abundance to sell what he had and give it away (Matthew 19:16-26) and (Luke 18:18-27). I know of two families who did just that. God made sure that they never lacked any necessity, and in fact they have blessed many others since that time. One of these was Charles and Esther Mully. They owned and operated a large trucking firm in Nairobi, Kenya, sold everything, gave it all to the Lord, and then opened the Mully Children’s Family, which Crossroads Missions supports. The other family is here in Canada, and they want to remain anonymous. Paul may have done this himself, as he was from a family of Jews who were also Roman citizens. For Roman citizenship they no doubt paid a large amount. Of course, he may have been disinherited when he confessed Jesus as Messiah and God. However, he does not ask the rest of us to give everything. He does, however, expect sacrificial giving of all who have received the riches of Christ.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You, most of all, gave everything to save me from sin and eternal loss. I pray for grace to give sacrificially. In Your giving Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The 100 Huntley Street daily TV ministry had just begun when I received a letter from a lawyer telling me that a lady had left a sum of money in her will in support of the non-profit charity listed as Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. Shortly thereafter, the cheque arrived from the law firm. Then a letter from her son arrived. He was a tough union leader who objected and claimed that his mother had been manipulated in some way. I could never calculate the value of his soul in dollars, so I went to the treasurer who cut a cheque in the full amount of the bequest and sent it to the son. I started to pray fervently for him and about two years later, Crossroads received a cheque from him for double the amount of his mother’s bequest. He had started watching 100 Huntley Street, gave his life to Christ, and obviously repented of his actions towards his mom’s wishes. There are those who give in different ways. One comes to mind where a lady, who obviously wanted “treasure in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-21), made the payments on a life insurance policy for which Crossroads was the beneficiary. We heard from her lawyer after her passing into her eternal reward. I endorse fully Paul’s exhortation in 8:20-21: “Avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us – providing honourable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” Crossroads is audited annually by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and has an excellent report “in the sight of men.” Norma-Jean and I trust the Board of Directors and the management, led by Lorna Dueck, CEO, completely, and we are monthly givers. We support other worthy ministries as well.

Yours for giving!

David

Mosaic floor among the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Pella.

Monday, March 6, 2017

WORKERS TOGETHER

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 6-7

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

 

Excavations in a northern area of David’s City just outside of Jerusalem’s Dung Gate and 200 metres from the Temple mount.

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

 

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 6:2b, 7:1

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation…Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

 

“NOW!” The present is always the time to do business with God. Like interest on unpaid bills, it will cost more to procrastinate in confessing sin with true repentance. John the Baptist, Jesus, and Peter all began their public ministries with a call to repent. Our reading today gives the very best definition of “repentance” (7:9, 10, & 11). Is this important? Yes, yes, yes!

Just as the Corinthian believers refreshed the spirit of Titus, let’s do our best to refresh our Pastor’s spirit, along with the spirits of church administrators and our missionaries. We could jump ahead and read Paul’s letter to Titus (click here). There is much wisdom in the little book of Titus. How do we do all things well? How do we make sure that we give no offense and that our ministry is not blamed? It’s well worth the time to read today’s chapters 6 & 7 all over again.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, You have called me again today to repent. Your Word is true north. It points to You without fail. It is my Compass. Like a pilot or a ship’s captain, may I constantly make corrections in the direction I take in life. Grant me the grace to be diligent. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I received a letter recently from the former Pastor of Compass Point Church. The initiative taken by Pastor Ron Gannett has refreshed my spirit. “Compass Point” has a magnificent building next door to the Crossroads Centre in Burlington, Ontario (a photo of the church is below). The real Church is the people. Over the years my spirit has been refreshed again and again by the Pastors and people of this great congregation. As I type this blog, I’m praying at the same time that everyone who reads this with me will find their spirits refreshed.

When I became a believer at 16, I was asked to share a personal testimony in the High School auditorium at a Youth for Christ rally. I went to my part-time job boss at the local Chrysler dealership for help. He said, “David, you can never go wrong quoting Scripture,” and suggested Titus 3:5a. I remember that in a faltering voice, I simply said, “This is my testimony, ‘Not by works of righteousness that I have done, but according to His mercy, He saved me.'” The actual quote says, “we” and “us,” but to me it became very personal.

I cannot conclude this blog without commending the leadership of Crossroads. They exemplify the righteous leadership portrayed in today’s reading. I’m so very thankful for our CEO, Lorna Dueck and the entire team at Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. and at the TV network, YES TV.

Yours for “Perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (7:1b). Let the process continue!

David

Compass Point Bible Church, Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

DO NOT LOSE HEART

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 4-5

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

Ruins of ancient Corinth. These buildings were temporary. Paul wrote, “We have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens.” 2 Corinthians 5:1

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

 

Key Verses: 2 Corinthians 5:1, 17

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

 

The tent-maker, Paul, calls our bodies “tents.” Our new dwelling is a “building…a house…a new creation.” He uses the present tense. Faith says that the new is already ours.

Seven times the word “therefore” is repeated. This word could be replaced by “as a result” or “the conclusion is that…” (1) “We do not lose heart.” (2) “We are renewed day by day.” (3) “We are always confident.” (4) “Our aim . . . to be well pleasing to Him.” (5) “Now we know Him.” (6) “All things have become new.” And (7) “We are ambassadors for Christ.”

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian believers produced the desired result, a correction in their doctrines and in their practices. This second letter, we may be sure, also produced the desired results. A result is something brought about by a cause. Our reading today is producing in us strength, courage, confidence, inspiration, and a resolve to live to the fullest measure of our potential in Christ. AMEN!!!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You are the pure, holy, sinless Son Of God. Yet I read in 5:21 that You were made to be the very embodiment of sin itself for me. I’m overwhelmed by this truth. Enable me, I pray, to live the “new creation” life, which You have provided for me by taking my sin upon Yourself. Amen! Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I noticed a Latin inscription in the picture below and wished I could find my old Latin textbook from 60 years ago to help me figure out what it says. Instead, I emailed my friend Dr. Paul Maier, Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, and asked him what it meant. He replied right away with the following…”The inscriptions are incomplete, hence the brackets in this attempt at translation: ‘Built by N.P. Caesar, [descendant of] the divine [emperor] Antoninus Pius [and] grandson of Minerva.‘” Dr. Maier explained that Antoninus Pius was Emperor of Rome from A.D. 138-161.

It’s interesting how many of the Roman Emperors claimed to be divine, or a god. Jesus said to Pilate, “My Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). The Roman-appointed Jewish leaders said to the Roman Governor, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend” (John 19:12). I’ve just read from John 18:28 to John 19:22 (click here).

Yours for daily soaking in God’s Word,

David

This inscription was discovered in ancient Corinth and was likely above a main entrance to a building. The translation of the inscription is in the “100 Personal Words” section above.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

THE FRAGRANCE OF CHRIST

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 2-3

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

 

Underneath the Convent of the Sisters of Zion inside the Old City of Jerusalem, pilgrims can visit stone pavings which are claimed to be the Stone Pavement (Lithostrotos) where Pilate had his judgment seat (John 19:13). This place is considered to be the second station of the Via Dolorosa (the path that Jesus took while carrying His cross on the way to be crucified). The Roman soldiers’ game in Lithostrotos pavement can still be seen as shown in the picture above. Markings in the paving stones, indicating a dice game known as the King’s Game, suggested this was where Jesus was mocked by the soldiers (John 19:2-3).

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

Key Verses: 2 Corinthians 2:7, 3:18

…so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow….But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

God is doing a wonderful work in the lives of the Corinthian people! What a joy! What has produced a people whose very presence exudes the fragrance or aroma of Christ?

First – As a result of the strong ministry in 1st Corinthians and their obedience, individuals were changed. Their lives reflected the One they were beholding, Jesus Christ.

Second – They forgave and restored the brother who was living immorally of whom we read in 1st Corinthians chapter 5. Paul’s “anguish of heart” and “many tears” of intercession (2:4) was rewarded with a new unity in the Church.

Third – Integrity, right living, honesty in all things, particularly in the sincerity with which the Gospel is presented (2:17). This is the character of Christ revealed in the administration of the cause of Christ.

The glorious result is that “we all” see the glory of the Lord and “ARE BEING TRANSFORMED.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Dear Lord, please continue the transformation of my life into the image of Christ. I am beholding You (seeing with insight) in the mirror of Your Word each day as I read and pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My meditation brings to mind the words of the Roman Governor, Pilate. When he thrust Jesus forward in front of the crowd, he said, “Behold the Man” (John 19:1-11). In so doing he focused the gaze of the ages on Jesus. Jesus was dressed in an old robe of royal purple in order to mock His claim to be the King. The crown of thorns was pressed into His brow. I have just read Psalm 22. I am deeply moved, and I give my life to Him in a renewed commitment.

Paul writes of “so many, peddling the word of God” (2:17). As a TV evangelist, I hear that! Many times I’ve been asked, “What do you do?” I’ll mumble something unintelligible, and change the subject to a conversation that may lead to an opportunity to share Jesus. I don’t want to talk about TV evangelists. I just want to talk about Jesus. I weep as I type these words over the poor witness to Jesus that we have often portrayed. Oh how I desire to be changed from glory to glory, so that I may reflect the Person of Christ in a more accurate way.

Yours for the work of “the Spirit of the Lord” in us all,

David

P.S. Rev. Tom Johnstone, whom I mentioned a few days ago, was a Pastor in Montreal. He told the story of walking through a slum area when suddenly he smelled a beautiful fragrance in the air. He looked down the alley, and there were the girls who worked in a perfume factory. They were sitting outside eating their lunch. They were saturated in the aroma of their occupation. Let us be saturated every day in the fragrance of Christ, so that He becomes present wherever we go!