Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A YOUNG LION

Today’s Reading: Judges 14-15

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

 

The Tomb of Lazarus is a traditional spot of pilgrimage located in the West Bank town of al-Eizariya, identified as the Biblical village of Bethany, on the southeast slope of the Mount of Olives, some 2.4 km (1.5 miles) east of Jerusalem. The tomb is thought to be the site of the miracle recorded in the Gospel of John in which Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. This first photo is of the street level entrance to the tomb…see three more images at the bottom of this blog that will take you down into the tomb itself.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 14:5 & 6a

So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now to his surprise a young lion came roaring against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him.

 

The Apostle Peter warns us that our “adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (read 1 Peter 5:5-9). This is advice to younger people. Sampson needed this counsel. While he won this fight with a lion, he was already on the path of poor choices. His mother and father knew this but did not stand in the way of their son’s desires. Of course, God knew that this would start Sampson on his road to deliver Israel from the latest oppressor. God often allows us to go our own way, and in doing so, advances His ultimate purpose. God desired to respond to the the cries of His people for deliverance. Sampson chose a wife who did not know the God of Israel. God could’ve accomplished His purposes in different ways, but He chose to work within Sampson’s free-will decisions. How can we line up our decisions with His?

Psalm 37:4 tells us, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” When we delight ourselves in the Lord, we want only what He wants. His delight becomes our delight. Thus we have the desires of our hearts and do His will at the same time.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I desire to do Your will at all times. I delight in You! You are my joy! Therefore, I ask for Your guidance in my decisions. I am confident, going forward, that You are directing me into Your plan for me. Thank You, Lord! In the Name of Jesus, the One who always delighted to do Your will, I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

It’s Valentines Day! Sampson’s love life was sad. Contrasted to Sampson’s experience is my relation with the love of my life, Norma-Jean, my wife. We both knew we were in the centre of God’s will when we were married in 1958. We both desired to please the heart of God most of all and, therefore, God gave us the desires of our hearts. Have a Happy Valentines Day!!!  By the way, my son, Ron and his wife, Ann, with Heart to Heart Marriage and Family Ministries, have a great Valentine’s “Date Night” event planned at the Crossroads Centre this Saturday night, February 18th.  Click here for more info and tickets!

I found it interesting that my other son, David Reynold, would choose to share with us the photographs he took of the tomb of Lazarus, the tomb into which Jesus spoke the words, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:19-44). Yes, Sampson was a great champion of Israel, but our Great Champion, the Lion of Judah, the Lord Jesus Christ, is Lord of all. He has defeated death, the last enemy of every human being. He has brought us deliverance, not just for 20 years, but forever and ever.

It’s about 30 years ago that a Dr. Eby was a guest on the 100 Huntley Street telecast. He was already an old man. He held the record for being the obstetrician who had delivered more babies that anyone else. I was impressed. He told us of his experience while in the tomb of Lazarus. He had a vision of the risen Christ, and his life was forever changed. I have never had such a vision, but I know that Jesus is right here, right now!

Yours to help us delight ourselves in the Lord, thus finding His perfect will. Amen!!!!

David

The long staircase down into the tomb area of Lazarus’ Tomb.

The light at the bottom of the image is actually the entrance to the tomb.

A view from the back of the tomb towards the stairs that Lazarus would have walked up to get to Jesus.

 

Monday, February 13, 2017

SHIBBOLETH

Today’s Reading: Judges 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).

 

Cana, where Jesus performed His first public miracle, the changing of water into wine, was also the hometown of one of the Twelve Apostles, Nathanael (John 21:2). Along the street leading to the Franciscan Wedding Church, a chapel marks Nathanael’s home. The Chapel of St. Nathanael is the place to read his words to Philip as they talked about Jesus. Some believe Nathanael’s famous but curious remark, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46), indicates some consternation that the hometown of the Messiah was the “ordinary” neighbouring village of Nazareth, no more noteworthy than his own.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 12:6

…then they would say to him, “Then say, ‘Shibboleth’!” And he would say, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites.

 

There still are “wars and rumours of wars” as Jesus told us there would be (read Matthew 24:3-14). A new book by Joel Rosenberg, The Third Target, surely brings it all up to date. The same lands we read about in Judges are a boiling cauldron of satanically inspired evil, as it was in ancient times. I highly recommend Joel’s book as the best current read. King Abdullah of Jordan is front and centre! (click here to order The Third Target from the Crossroads eStore).

Four more Judges and 31 more years of peace and prosperity…then came one of the most unusual characters in all the Bible, Sampson. I’ve checked with experts on the historical and archaeological accuracy of this book, and it gets high marks from them all. Therefore, the stories about Sampson, no matter how hard to believe, are no doubt true also. Sampson’s birth tells us that God plans ahead for His future leaders. It also informs us that God uses very imperfect people for His purposes. We are all candidates for His call.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I thank You that You call imperfect people like me. I ask for Your continued grace and strength to take on humanly impossible tasks. I’m not asking for physical strength like Sampson, although a little would help. I’m asking for moral strength to be more like Jesus, in whose Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My son-in-law’s parents are buried in the graveyard just behind the Church of Nathanael (photo above) in their home village of Cana of Galilee. Nizar and Ellen named their youngest of six children after the Apostle from Cana in whom Jesus found no guile (read John1:43 – John 2:12). I understand that Cana, located just five miles north of Nazareth, was the larger of the two communities. I find Nathanael’s comments, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth,” to show the human side of the Apostles…competition between the communities. My son-in-law was the heavy-weight boxing champion of the Galilee, and that’s my tenuous connection with Sampson for this blog. Nizar, like Sampson, has had to learn some very hard lessons in life. God is using him big time! (check yesterday’s blog at the end of my “100 Personal Words”).

Yours for our availability to God for His purposes,

David

Just a short walk away from Nizar Shaheen’s family homestead in Cana is the graveyard beside the Chapel of St. Nathanael (Franciscans) where Nizar’s parents are buried.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

SON OF A HARLOT

Today’s Reading: Judges 10-11

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

 

St. George Orthodox Monastery, or Monastery of St. George of Koziba, is located in Wadi Qelt, in the eastern West Bank. The sixth-century cliff-hanging complex, with its ancient chapel and gardens, is active and inhabited by Greek Orthodox monks. It is reached by a pedestrian bridge across the Wadi Qelt, which many imagine to be Psalm 23’s “valley of the shadow of death.” The valley parallels the old Roman road from Jerusalem to Jericho, the backdrop for the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 11:1

Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah.

 

Why would the writer of Scripture record our key verse? Perhaps the point he is making is that God uses all who are willing, regardless of pedigree. Our background matters little; it’s what is in our hearts that counts. The Apostle Paul urges us to consider our calling. Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. “Not many wise, not many mighty, and not many noble are called.” We have good news. God will use us as we are! He wants a surrendered, obedient heart. That’s all! Let us give Him our hearts anew now!

The last part of our reading is a difficult story (Judges 11:29-40). Notice that it does not say that Jephthah actually burnt his daughter as an offering. God would not allow Abraham to offer Isaac (Genesis 22:1-14). The Jewish Rabbis teach that Jephthah sent his daughter permanently into a wilderness retreat where she remained a virgin for the rest of her life. For this reason I asked David Reynold for a photograph of the magnificent monastery in the wadi Qelt where vows are maintained as a sacrifice to God.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, once again You’ve shown me that no ordinary human being is perfect. I can never claim to be sinless (1 John 1:8-10). Therefore, I confess my sin and trust Your promise that You forgive me and cleanse me. Here’s my heart once again. Live in and through me in the Person of Your Son and my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’m glad that Peter wrote, “No Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:19-21). This is why I appealed to the Jewish Rabbis concerning Jephthah’s daughter. I deeply value the huge body of the historical understanding of the meaning of Scripture. Some react to Scriptures that are difficult to process in an hysterical way rather than in an historical way. I try to guard against jumping to conclusions until I have read the whole of Scripture on a given matter, as well as the comments of Rabbis and of Christian teachers whose work has stood the test of centuries.

In today’s reading we learn about the people of Amman. This is modern day Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This is a majority Muslim country. However, King Abdullah, whom I had the privilege of meeting, told me that he watches my Arab preacher son-in-law “all the time.” I checked on his knowledge by asking the king what TV signal he watched. He answered correctly. I’m going to Google to check once again on the ministry called, “Light for All Nations.” It’s in the Arabic language, so I won’t understand much. However, if I can find Nizar, father of six of my grandchildren, and grandfather of three of my great-grandchildren, speaking with English subtitles, I’ll attach a video link (found it…click here).

Yours for understanding the daily 100words.ca readings of Scripture,

David

 

The wilderness land between Jerusalem and Jericho is very dry and desert-like.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

THE OLIVE, THE FIG, THE VINE, THE BRAMBLE

Today’s Reading: Judges 9

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

 

Mount Gerizim is one of the two mountains in the immediate vicinity of the West Bank city of Nablus (near the ancient city of Shechem), and forms the southern side of the valley in which Nablus is situated, the northern side being formed by Mount Ebal. Gerizim is sacred to the Samaritans who regard it, rather than Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, as having been the location chosen by Yahweh for a holy temple. The mountain continues to be the centre of Samaritan religion to this day, and over 90% of the worldwide population of Samaritans live in very close proximity to Gerizim, mostly in Kiryat Luza, the main village.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 9:21

And Jotham ran away and fled; and he went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.

 

Jotham’s parable shows wisdom. He may have been able to become a judge of Israel, replacing his father Gideon, but he chose to run away because of fear. His power-hungry brother had no such fear. Abimelech became the first Israelite to claim the title “King.” How sad that the people chose the bramble to rule over them. Jotham’s prophecy came to pass in the fires, the millstone, and the sword of the armour-bearer. We should encourage the best leaders, people of integrity and wisdom, to step up for leadership in the church, the government, and in every field of human endeavour.

The Gospel says of Jesus in John 4, “He needed to go through Samaria” (read John 4:1-42). The woman at Jacob’s Well pointed to Gerizim and said, “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain.” The Samaritan religion still flourishes. An annual sacrifice is led by their high priest on the top of Gerizim. Jesus did not run away from His destiny like Jotham. He stepped up to the Cross. He is our fearless Judge, Prophet, Priest, and King.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You are my King! Your rulership is one of complete authority. I yield to You! Please grant me constant willingness to follow Your leadership in all things. In Your Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I shared a taxi some years ago with the Samaritan High Priest as I travelled from Amman, Jordan, to Jerusalem. He was dressed in an impressive robe and turban. His religion seemed to be a mixture of modern Judaism and an ancient form of Israelite worship. It seemed to be a very general approach to God, with a great deal of superstition. He was well aware of the story of Jesus at the well at the foot of Gerizim. The Samaritan religious leader, who lived in Jordan, was on his way to make the annual sacrifice on the top of Gerizim. How thankful I am for the final, once and for all Sacrifice of Jesus, and for the Living Water, which is not in the well at the foot of the mountain, from which I drink deeply every morning before doing this blog.

In the matter of leadership, I knew God called me to His cause. Some people around me encouraged me, but I had to step up and lead in the direction God was leading me. I am not one to run away like Jotham did. I may be 80 years old, but I still have the strong conviction that I can do much as long as I move boldly forward, and I’m confident that the task ahead is God’s will for me. Amen!

Yours for all that God purposes to accomplish through those who serve Him,

David

Friday, February 10, 2017

POOR DECISIONS

Today’s Reading: Judges 8

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

 

Dubbed the “Pompeii of the East,” Jerash is a Greco-Roman ruined city located 80 miles north of Amman, the capital of the modern kingdom of Jordan, The impressive, beautifully preserved ruins of Jerash include places of worship and other buildings from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine Christian, and early Muslim periods. The Oval Plaza seen in the photo is central to the ruins.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 8:34

Thus the children of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side;

 

The people of Succoth and Penuel made poor decisions. Zeba and Zalmuna made poor decisions at Tabor. Gideon made good decisions when he heard from God as recorded in yesterday’s reading. Now there is no indication that he’s listening for God’s directions. How often we rush ahead on our own without waiting on God. There comes a time when we must move forward. Beware of what someone has called “the paralysis of analysis.”

In 1st Corinthians 1:6 Paul writes, “Now these things happened as examples for us.” “These things” would include Israel’s decisions and experience during the time of the judges. When we forget God in our decisions, we become victims of our circumstances rather than victors over our circumstances.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Father, teach me to be careful to consult You daily in prayer concerning my decisions, and may I move forward with trust that You are directing me. Teach me, please, from the examples I’m reading here in Judges. I believe You for this! In Jesus’ Name! Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When I think of “Mount Tabor,” I think of the town of Taber, Alberta, Canada. Rev. Dale Lang was the minister of the Anglican church there when his son was shot and murdered in the corridor of the high school by a deranged fellow student. I’ll never forget how, during the live funeral service that was carried on national TV, in that very high school auditorium, Dale walked to the spot where his son was killed and spoke of their forgiveness for the young man who had committed this crime. Then, with spiritual authority in the Name of Jesus, he cast out the evil from the school. Dale became Canada’s Pastor from that time forward. He and his wife became regulars for some time on the daily 100 Huntley Street telecast. Dale joined me daily on TV for a year, along with Professor of ancient history, Dr. Paul Maier, for a one-year journey through the book of Acts. Dale made good decisions following his family’s tragedy. Check out this video of a unique opportunity I had to go up in a hot air ballon with Dale, as he’s also a skilled balloonist (click here).

Yours for taking the time to wait on God for His decisions, and then moving forward,

David

P.S. I’m here in cold Canada as type this. I keep a positive attitude about the cold as shown by the picture below. At the farm where Norma-Jean was born, I took Franklin Graham out in a one-horse open sleigh a number of years ago. In the field behind the barn I threw him the reins and jumped out into the snow. He safely navigated back and picked me up. Have fun all you northerners!

Some winter fun with Franklin Graham many years ago.

Some winter fun with Franklin Graham many years ago.

A family walks down the main Roman Road, the Cardo Maximus, in the old city of Jerash. Pillars and ancient buildings are on each side of the street.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

100 x 3

Today’s Reading: Judges 7

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

 

This view from Mount Tabor looks across the Jezreel Valley towards Mount Moreh. The tree-covered hill in the distance is where the Midianites encamped for their attack on the Israelites in the days of Gideon (Judges 7:1).

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 7:20

Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers–they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing–and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!”

 

In today’s reading there is an unmistakable geographical description of the very spot where, 3,400 years ago, God separated the army of 300 from the multitude at the Spring of Harod. The 300, having circled around the Midianite army, descended the hill of Moreh to break their pitchers, shine their lights, and blow their ram’s horns, creating panic in the ranks of the enemy. By dividing the 300 into 3 companies of 100 each, they were able to come from three different directions and win a God-given victory. Many of us who read this blog are members of churches that may have from 50 to 300 in regular attendance. The Pastor likely knows everyone by name, including the children. There is wisdom in having many churches, rather than one mega-congregation with several thousand members. Yes, there is a special appeal in the large church…great music, a well-prepared staff, and sometimes a large missions budget. The Pastor may be the most gifted preacher in the area. However, we need to recognize that the smaller congregations have much to offer also. The Pastor will visit you personally when you are sick (if he doesn’t, find one that will). He will know you personally and thus will be able to care for each member individually, that is if he or she is truly God-called and totally committed, as were the 300, watching, on guard, and filled with God’s Spirit.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You know Your sheep by name. You know my name, and the names of all who join me in daily readings. You’ve called into ministry pastors, teachers, evangelists, administrators, and helps in many areas of life. Please show me how to be a strength to those who care for my soul. I ask for the grace of loyalty to the congregation where I serve and worship. Bless those who prepare the spiritual food of Your Word and serve good nourishment at Sunday services, as well as at mid-week services and other gatherings. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Being retired (sort of), I have the opportunity of attending a relatively small congregation in Canada and a very large one while in Florida. I see the blessings of both large and small. I love and am blessed by both churches. I remember well, while a student in Bible College, one of the teachers pointing to two Toronto churches which, in his estimation, were “successful.” I couldn’t let the occasion pass without pointing out that the Pastor and congregation in Moose Factory, an island at the tip of James Bay, was just as successful. True success is being in God’s will and is not measured in numbers.

Yours for the One who said, “I will build My church,” God’s great success story!

David

 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

MIGHTY MAN OF VALOUR

Today’s Reading: Judges 6

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

 

Some of the excavations from the tel of Jericho show the foundation of an old tower and walls. The Tower of Jericho is an 8.5-metre-tall (28 ft) stone structure. Regular readers will remember “The Palace of Eglon” and the fact that Jericho was rebuilt by the Midianites who were still settled here at the time of Gideon.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 6:12

And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour!”

 

When God calls a person to service, He chooses someone who is humble and has a heart to serve others. That person, genuinely called of God, will be sensitive to God’s leading day by day. It has been said that God is not looking for ability, but availability. He often equips the most unlikely people for His purposes, great and small. God uses people who are willing to risk everything for His cause. Gideon did this when he destroyed the altar of Baal and the image which his own father had built. When Gideon built an altar to the Lord and burned the wooden image under the sacrifice to the true God, he established his leadership. He was also very human and needed confirmation from God. The sign of the wet and dry fleece gave him additional confidence.

The God-called leadership of the Church was confirmed with signs of God’s presence. In Acts 2:42-47 we read of God’s confirmation of His call on the lives of the Apostles. The sign which indicated God’s call on Gideon was that the people supported him. When we recognize the call of God on someone’s life, we need to support that person in any way we can.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, help me to find ways to support those You have genuinely called into some form of leadership in Your cause. I know I can’t support everyone, therefore guide me in knowing where to put my support. Bless my Pastor and in particular those who are effective in bringing new people into a relationship with You, O God. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When the Roman Catholic Bishop of Calgary, Bishop Henry, took a strong stand in favour of “one man, one woman” marriage, he was maligned terribly by those who opposed his stand. I called him on the telephone and my first words were a quote from the angel who appeared to Gideon. I quoted the old translation of the words found in Judges 6:12, “Hail, thou mighty man of valour.” He laughed and so did I. He encouraged me in my campaign to see marriage retained as it had been throughout human history. We lost that battle in the House of Commons and in the Senate of Canada. I received a call from the then Prime Minister, Paul Martin, who wanted to thank me for a book I had sent him. It was kind of him to call. However, the conversation went downhill when I said something to this effect… “Sir, you have led Canada in a direction which will eventually prove to be most destructive to the human family…God’s plan is one man, one woman.” I believed that to be true then and still do today…and I speak the Truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). I love people and, therefore, I want only what I believe would be best for everyone. I believe I’m following Jesus in this. Check out Matthew 19:4-6.

Yours to encourage all who serve the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ to take a stand for what is right in God’s eyes,

David

 

Here is a view from the tell of Jericho and some of the modern town of Jericho and in the distance is the Mount of Temptation.

Here is a view from the tel of Jericho showing some of the modern town of Jericho. In the distance is the traditional Mount of Temptation, where Jesus was tempted by Satan following His baptism in the Jordan, not far east of here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

IT’S A HIT

Today’s Reading: Judges 5

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

 

Jewish children dance at a presentation in Jerusalem.

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 5:3

Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes!
I, even I, will sing to the Lord;
I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.

 

Yesterday we read of a hit from a hammer on a tent peg; today it’s a hit song that I’m sure became #1 with the Children of Israel. Another generation learned through this song. They learned that those who love the Lord will be “Like the sun when it comes out in full strength.” The result was 40 more years of faithfulness to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Joshua and Deborah. We have great advantages in knowing God in our time. Back then they had the scrolls of the first books of the Bible, but very few of these children of ex-slaves could read. The synagogue movement where the Scriptures are taught by the Rabbi was still to come 1,000 years later. The people would gather for a message from their spiritual and temporal leader only once a year. No wonder they wandered far from God. The influences from the Canaanite culture were strong, and unless each family had daily prayer and the recitation of God’s stories, they were easily overcome by the evil around them.

What is our excuse when the prevailing culture overcomes any godly influence we may have on our children and grandchildren? Just think of the helps to godliness we have which the second and third generations of Israelites did not have. When we consider our struggles today, perhaps we should not judge those people too harshly.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

[As you pray today, think of the ways your life is enriched through your local Body of Believers. We are a blessed people.]

Lord God, I have a great local congregation. I have Sunday services, weekly prayer meetings and Bible studies. I read my Bible every day and watch 100 Huntley Street on TV daily. Help me to be consistent in my personal prayer life, oh Lord. Compared to the Israelites in Deborah’s day, I have absolutely no excuse for ever drifting away from You. Thank You, Jesus! Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Compared to the early Israelites, I have so much to be thankful for when I consider the spiritual input I had as a child. We prayed on our knees three times a day as a family, plus “Now I lay me down to sleep” at bed time. My Dad, Rev. Dr. Roy Lake Mainse, served as a missionary, a pastor, and a college president. During his years as an educator, he approved of my Sunday schedule…10 a.m. Sunday School at our own church, 2 p.m. at the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, and then 3 p.m. at the Salvation Army Church almost across the street. For some reason, I loved every minute. Okay, there were other reasons. I was not allowed to play ball with my friends on Sunday afternoon, and I also got to play in the Salvation Army band. If I can find a picture of my Dad, I’ll attach it below. Just look at him. He was “Authority” in my eyes. I’m ever so thankful. My mother passed away when I was 12, and my Dad and I grew so very close. He’d be 120 if he were still alive here on earth. In case they read this in Heaven, I love you Dad and Mom, and I’ll see you soon!

Yours because of all the blessings we’ve received from generations past, including the generation of Judge Deborah,

David

My Father and Mother, Rev. Dr. Roy and Hazel Mainse.

Monday, February 6, 2017

JUDGE DEBORAH

Today’s Reading: Judges 4

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

 

The Church of Transfiguration is beautifully presented at the pinnacle of Mt. Tabor. Mt. Tabor is located in Lower Galilee, Israel, at the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley, 18 km west of the Sea of Galilee. It was the site of the Mt. Tabor battle between Barak, under the leadership of the Israelite judge Deborah, and the army of Jabin, commanded by Sisera, in the mid 14th century BC. It is believed by many Christians to be the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Therefore, it is also known as the Mount of Transfiguration. Remember how Peter wanted to build three tabernacles up here? Some well-meaning people have built one for Peter (Matthew 17:1-8).

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

 

Key Verse: Judges 4:4, 5b

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time…And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

 

God is an equal opportunity Employer. His candidates for leadership included women as well as men. God chooses the person best suited for the task. Perhaps, because Israel’s judge was a woman, King Jabin, who was oppressing Israel, allowed her to continue in her role. She used her position of strength to recruit Barak, who in turn called up an army of 10,000 troops. Tomorrow’s reading tells us about the torrent of Kishon, the stream that runs across the valley between Mt. Tabor and the Carmel range of hills. Flood conditions bogged down the chariots of Sisera in the mud and Israel prevailed.

God had waited patiently until Israel called out to Him for deliverance before He would get involved. God does not necessarily bring trouble into our lives when we turn away from Him; it’s simply that if we abandon His presence and protection, and then try, in our own strength, to overcome our problems, we fail in our attempts at finding freedom. We, ourselves, have opened the door for the oppressor to triumph over us.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Father God, I cry out to You daily for Your presence. You are most welcome to intervene in any way You choose in my life, my family, and in my community. You’ve created me in Your image, and that includes a free will. I yield my will to You so that I may do Your will. I pray this in the Name of the One who always did Your will, Your Son and my Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve often stopped along the highway at the base of Mt. Tabor where the village named after Judge Deborah is located (see the first picture below looking east down Mt. Tabor to the village of Deborah at Tabor’s base). The present road up Mt. Tabor is quite steep with many hairpin switchbacks. In 1978 there was an old very steep road up the side of the mountain. My son, David Reynold, who does the photography for the blog, had just turned 16. He had his beginners driver’s license but little experience. I let him drive the vintage, stick shift, under-powered Volkswagen van up to the top. My wife, Norma-Jean, will tell you that she prayed most fervently all the way up! I admit that it was scary. I know that she believes that the God of Deborah helped us greatly! Experience is a great teacher. I’m learning lots from the examples provided in the first books of the Bible. Read with me, if you have time, from 1 Corinthians 10:11-13. Just as Israel was tested, or tempted, by those who lived around them, so are we tested. But “God is faithful;” He will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I am able to handle, but will, with the temptation (testing), make a way of escape. I’ve had to learn, sometimes the hard way, that I must run from temptation. God provides the way of escape, but I must choose to escape into safety in Christ.

Yours for learning from the examples given here in Judges,

David

View from next to the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor towards the East. Below you can see the town of Deborah, named after the judge in today’s Bible reading.

The view from Mt. Tabor to the South, showing the east end of the Jezreel Valley.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A VERY FAT DICTATOR REMOVED

Today’s Reading: JUDGES 3

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

 

Tel Lachish National Park. According to the Bible, the Israelites captured and destroyed Lachish for joining the league against the Gibeonites (Joshua 10:31-33), but its territory was later assigned to the tribe of Judah (15:39) and became a part of the Kingdom of Israel.

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

 

Key Verses: Judges 3:9, 15a

When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother….But when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man…

 

Every year Israelite parents were to bring their children to Mt. Gerizim (Shechem) and show them the stone of witness on which was written the summary of the commandments which Moses, and Joshua after him, had given in his final words to the people of God (Joshua 24:27). We can be confident that Caleb’s nephew, Othniel, the first Judge, saw that stone, and then Ehud, the next Judge, also got the message written on that stone. There was always a remnant of the people who were faithful to the God of their fathers, but they may have been silent, not taking a public stand for righteousness. When they did stand up, God stood up for them. Our reading today lets us know that there were, in total, 26 years of serving foreign rulers and 120 years of freedom and prosperity.

Thank God that the Spirit of God is still calling brave and godly leaders. Let us rally around and support them as they lead us in evangelism and in strong growth of God’s people, the Church.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

I join the Apostle Paul and ask You, Lord God, “May Israel be saved” (Romans 10:1). There is a modern remnant of those who seek to do Your will, and thousands of Israelis who believe in Jesus, Yeshua, as their Saviour and Lord. In these times when destruction looms over Israel, may the people cry out to You as they did in the times of Othniel and Ehud. In Yeshua’s Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve had the opportunity of spending much time in modern Israel. God’s purposes there are underway. Two former team members of Crossroads co-founded one of the churches in Jerusalem. Wayne and Ann Hilsden are in my prayers consistently. Their congregation, which they pastored for over 30 years, is strong (check it out here), as are many congregations in Israel.

Biblical names are common there, such as, Ehud Barak, former minister of Defense and a former Prime Minister of Israel.

I’ve entitled today’s reading after Eglon, King of Moab, who lived in a rebuilt Jericho, known as “The City of the Palms.” It’s a gruesome story, but that’s war. I’m interested in archaeology and Eglon’s palace has been found (here’s a link if interested – scroll down to find the section on “Judges” then the subtitle “Eglon’s Palace at Jericho”).

Also, I initiated the placing of a stone of witness at the Crossroads Centre in 1999. A link to a video of the stone’s dedication is here. I encourage the reading of the Scripture on its plaque (Jeremiah 6:16). May it serve God’s purpose as did the stone of witness in Joshua 24.

Yours in support of God’s leaders who serve God’s cause with boldness and wisdom,

David

Ruins of ancient Lachish at Tel Lachish National Park.