Saturday, July 20, 2013


Suggested Reading: Ezra 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).

The black volcanic stones formed the foundation of the Capernaum synagogue in the first century. Jesus healed the man with the withered hand in this building (Mark 3:1-6).


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


Key Verse: Ezra 3:12

But many of the priests and Levites and heads of their fathers’ houses, who were old men, who had seen the first Temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes; yet many shouted aloud for joy…

Today’s reading tells a story of tragedy and triumph! The people followed a two-year plan of worship and work (100words is also on a two-year plan). The foundation of God’s house had been completed. It was time to rejoice, reminisce, and express hope for the future.

The destruction of the original Temple by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had not hindered the worship of the true God in the people’s hearts. In fact, the opposite was true. The 70 years of captivity in Babylon had purified and intensified their fervency for God. The circumstances demanded small group gatherings. Eventually this would result in the development of the synagogue movement. Even before they began the construction project, they set up an altar to express reverence and obedience to God. Building or no building, God’s people will always find a place of personal, and if available, corporate worship.

In chapter 4 we read of a delay in construction of the physical building; but the building of the holy temple, “Eternal in the heavens” went right on. Read 2 Corinthians 4:16 to 5:1-8.


Lord God, Like the people who gathered around Ezra’s vision, sometimes I weep and sometimes I shout for joy. You know my heart and mind. I pray for grace and consistency to worship You at all times and all places. Amen!


I served for several years as a judge in “The International Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.” One recipient for whom I voted was Rabbi Lord Jacobovitz, chief Rabbi of Britain and the Commonwealth (see photo below). He had written extensively on the subject of medical ethics, but the main reason I supported him was for his work with the USSR in bringing Jewish people out of the oppression and persecution of the Soviet Union. The people were called “Refuseniks.” He, like Ezra, succeeded magnificently in the fulfillment of his vision. At Convocation Hall in the University of Toronto, where he was honoured, I had the opportunity of a long conversation with him. We agreed that one of the tragedies in history was when Jewish Christian leaders, who led the Christian Church for the first decades, were replaced by non-Jewish leaders. Let us not forget that all the Apostles were Jews, as was Jesus, Himself. Read Romans 11:11-24. We who are Gentiles are the wild olive branch grafted in. The “olive tree” itself is very much alive. Approximately two centuries later, the evil of so-called “Replacement Theology” (the Church replacing Israel in the plan of God) planted seeds from which the ugly spectre of anti-semitism eventually grew. The Rabbi and I rejoiced for the occasion of the Templeton Prize and the recognition of his work, but we wept over the disastrous chasm which opened up between those who practised Judaism and those who claimed to practise Christianity.

Yours for restoration for all that is God’s will for His people,


Rabbi Lord Jacobovits, winner of the Templeton Prize in 1991.

25 thoughts on “Saturday, July 20, 2013

  1. Trouble everywhere. I’m ready for a new glorified body! The people wanted to truly worship God and the devil tried again to steal, kill, and destroy. I was thinking about the Christian concert that was planned for this weekend. The devil will not win. I believe good will have come out of the event even with the storm. I believe it continues today (the concert).

  2. We know the devil lurks around waiting to destroy, but as we keep our focus ON THE ONE TRUE LIVING GOD, continue in His Word and do His will, we will overcome.
    Thank you Pastor David for faithfully studying and getting our blog out every day. I pray God will touch and strengthen your body each day as you do His Will. Thank you also for sharing about Rabbi Jacobivits and his works.

    God bless everyone today. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!

  3. This is the first time I have read or heard a christian leader talk about the anti-semitism that was, and is, in the christian church. Without being blinded by ideology, I still hear some preachers glory over the jews in a way that distorts Paul’s words. It was anti-semitism that lead many in the Lutheran church to support Hitler before WW II. It only denounced Hitler officially the day Hitler placed a swastika on the alter of the church, declared himself high priest and invaded Poland.

  4. Besides keeping my focus on God I continue to pray the full armor of God all over me every day.
    Thank you David for this blog, and I will continue to pray for your healing
    may God bless you hope you find a cool place from this heat.
    Lianne Hogg

  5. It’s a wonderful thing to know in one’s heart that God’s purposes will not be thwarted! We have a secure and an eternal home with the God of the ages and nothing can steal this away! Amen!

  6. We are rooted by God and it is up to us to stay attached to Him; lest we not assume anything. Our relationship and communication with our Lord is a two-way street. Romans 11:19-21: You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.

    This brought to mind a story I read, many many years ago, about a woman who experienced an angelic intervention; regretfully, I don’t remember the name of the book. She was walking alone in an area and a man began to come after her; she feared she would be raped. She called to God for help and was literally lifted up off her feet by an angel and moved far away from the man, out of his reach, and to safety. Years later, an incident of the same nature occurred. She thought back to when an angel lifted her to safety and said to herself, ‘oh, God will help me again, I have nothing to fear.’ But she failed to call out to God for help in the situation, and simply assumed He would help her. Sadly, she was raped by the person, and could not understand why she wasn’t saved like she had been the first time. It was an incredible testimony and reminder to call out to God, not to make assumptions. God needs us to stay connected with Him, at all times.

    So thankful today for my Heavenly Father, Lord Saviour, Jesus Christ, and the sanctity of the Holy Spirit, living and breathing through the saints. God bless each and everyone, on this incredible day the Lord has granted us!

    • Was that a true story, or one of those stories Christian writers often make up to illustrate a point? I read a lot Christian books in my life and I have learn to check the foot notes, because often “stories” are really parables-not based on actual events, which is okay, because our Lord used parables to teach lessons as well.
      But there is a difference between real events and these made up ones, for example there is the classic story about the lady on top of her house during a flood asking God to rescue her- and a person came by in a canoe, told her to get in, but she refused because she was certain God would rescue her, and then a boat came by and again she refused, then a Police Helicopter and she refused again believing God would rescue her- then the lady drowned and when she saw God in heaven she was furious because He hadn’t saved her, and He said, “What do you mean I sent you a canoe, boat and helicopter”. Well that didn’t really happen, but illustrates the point of not making assumptions about how God answers prayer.

      In reality it is about attitude. There has been plenty of times I have asked God for help in a situation and the answer was No. And there has been an equal number of times when I haven’t made a specific requests and God has intervened in my life anyway. We must never think there is a formula to prayer.
      In the case of this story above, in real life there are most likely a lot of Christian women who felt in danger of being raped, and did ask God to help them, but no angel came to lift them out of it and they were raped. And there are most likely some Christian women in the same situation or about to be, when something interferes and the rapist is spooked off.

      My point is the story today just bothered me because on the surface it sounds like wise teaching, but it doesn’t make sense that God allowed one of His children to be raped simply because she didn’t ask Him to help her in the right way, which is the impression the story gives.
      The truth is if my child was about to run out into traffic I would not wait for him to ask me to save him, I would just do it. Which is why I suspect the story today wasn’t a true story, but a metaphor. And I just don’t want non-believers reading this to get the wrong message- that God is so petty that unless you ask Him in exactly the right way, He will not help you.
      As Christians we must have a attitude of surrender meaning to accept God’s will for our lives, no matter what it might be. And yes, it is true as Christians we should never make assumptions about God’s will for us, but always be assured of His love.

      I always find your thoughts Beverlee most helpful, and I do appreciate what you are trying to say today, yet I hope you don’t mind me adding to it, just to avoid any confusion for those who do not know the Lord yet, about how God works in our lives.

      • Thank You for writing, I some times fall hard at any Bible verse that makes me feel I have to do all things the right way or I am dome some times for Hell.

        • Kelly if you are a born again believer and have accept Jesus Christ as Your Lord — rest assured you will not be condemn to Hell- not matter what you do,Jesus has taken all your sins upon Himself and paid the price for you. You are now righteous in His Father’s eyes past, present and future. The Holy Spirit will only use Scripture as a means to convict us of sin, as a way to motivate us away from behaviour that will harm us, but you will never be condemn for it.

          If you are not a born again believer I would urge you to call 1-866-273-4444 and ask one of the folks on the line for prayer and understanding to know what a personal relationship with Jesus is all about.

          God loves us in a way that is beyond what we can imagine love to be, whatever He does or doesn’t do in our lives, it is always based in love, even if we perceived differently. As our faith matures we become less and less confused by those times when God seems harsh or indifferent to us. Trust is key and that sometimes only comes through experiences with doubt.

          May God watch over you through your struggles to grow and learn. Amen

          • Thank you, You have taken up so much of your time.And given me new hope. I do believe and your words are my foundation. I just sometimes find not all people believe this.

      • Donna, it was a true story. If it were a parable, I would have said that. The point I was making is we cannot assume we don’t need to ask. When we need help from the Lord, in any instance, shout out to Him and ask for help. That was my interpretation of what I read from her book–if she would have called out for help the second time instead of just assuming God would rescue her again, surely an angel would have come again. She couldn’t understand why the situation happened as it did because she was sure she would be helped again the second time, as she was the first. Hence, my saying she should not have assumed, as none of us should assume; we need to ask for help when we are in danger.

        That’s the best explanation I can offer you.

        • Victims of sexual assault need to understand they are NOT responsible, regardless of if they know the Lord and asked for help or not.

          • I agree with you, David, absolutely. It is not an issue of blame or responsibility. No one deserves to be raped or abused. Terrible things happen to people for reasons we don’t understand. God knows everything. There is always so much more that comes out of the things that we go through, such as the woman who wrote an amazing book. I never forgot that part of the story; it stuck in my mind.

      • Having read the entire book, I am left with the impressions of interpretation that might not make sense to others who haven’t had that same opportunity. Through experiences of adversity, God allows us to overcome and turn our situations around, when others might think it impossible. We learn to stand solid on His rock and our faith deepens. God bless you!

        • I agree that God often allows to go through experiences we would not choose to go through but need to go through in order to grow. But that is a vastly different point than saying if this woman had called on God He would have helped her in the exactly same way as before. The fact is we would never know for sure.
          It is just as dangerous assuming God will act in our favour in all situations, just because we ask as it would be assuming we don’t need to ask.
          I didn’t read this lady’s book or know all the facts,but I do know through my own experiences that faith should never be based on what God does, but in who God is. If you based your faith in what God does, it becomes too easy for Satan to convince you God is not good because He didn’t answer your prayers as you asked, or He didn’t protect you when called out to Him, or if God is loving why did He heal this person and not the next.
          However, when you base your faith in who God is, it doesn’t matter whether your house survives the flood or whether your child is healed or not- you know without question God’s character is the same– He is good. He is loving. He doesn’t change His nature because of circumstances but through all them good or bad in own perception. If you get that point– you are maturing into Christ likeness.
          And that is all I was trying to say earlier–base your faith in who God is, and not depend on God acting the way you think He should— and perhaps that was the lesson this lady was trying to impart as well– I just felt the need to clarify the point because I don’t think everyone on this blog or reading this blog are Christians-and some are baby Christians, so it is important that they understand it is more important trust God’s character and not rely on formulas to try to convince God to give us what we want or don’t want.
          I hope that makes sense to someone out there, because I believe God wants someone to get that point. And I don’ t know how well I expressed it, but I trust God will use my sad attempt here and use it for a reason.

      • Donna, we are all Christians on this blog, and, each one of us is a totally unique individual. You can add your interpretation and feelings to any comment you wish; that is open to you. My comments and interpretations remain my own. God bless you!

  7. Those who wrote accusations under Ahasuerus against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem won only a short victory in ceasing the building of the temple. At the time, those strongest in their faith must have been a comfort for many who felt much discouragement and resentment over the matter. Those who believed that God always prevails were undefeated, paving the way for future generations. I lift my prayers for such believers today, inspite of all opposition to the contrary of Christian values and beliefs.

  8. Zerubbabel and the leaders refused the offers of help. Satan was not allowed to bring disunity. This principle is still of value today, we have to be aware of Satan’s tactics, and resist him!
    Thank you for sharing the story about Rabbi Lord Jacobovist, and some of the early church history.
    Blessings to one and all.

  9. I re-read Romans 11: 11 – 24 in “The Names of God” Bible version. I had never seen this version before and was curious as to what it was. I found today’s included verses in the blog re: Christians being grafted in, much clearer to me. It shows the hope for Jewish unbelievers to also be grafted in just as Christians are when they turn to God and understand the Perfect Sacrifice. That made things more clear and more full of hope.

    • Thanks for sharing that, Doreen. I am going to re-read the Romans verse in ‘The Names of God’ bible version. I just came across a beautiful brown leather bound King James Version PTL Counsellors Edition at a bookstore for $1, and it gives a prelude to each chapter and notes, throughout. I also picked up a New Testament, New English Bible purse size in red leather for $1. Our God is so helpful! Have a great day!

  10. I thank you all for your comments. Please keep a lady named Sheryl in your prayers as she is seeking but isn’t understanding yet. Sheryl grew up in a family where one parent is Catholic and the other is a Christian, she started reading the Bible. I just met her yesterday. Thank you!!!!! God bless each one!!!!

  11. ‘In this is LOVE’, not that we loved God, but that ‘HE loved us’, and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:14.

  12. David I am curious about Yeltsin ordering the roof of the church to be painted. I cannot find that story anywhere on the internet…can you explain more fully please?? I love the blog and read it faithfully every day…
    Brenda Wood, author & speaker
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    God, Gluttony & You, the Bible Study

  13. A healthy loving discution can be very helpful to believers and non believers alike. My prayer for this blog discution is that it enhans the growth of Gods Kingdom. And makes the point that we must including God in everything we do.
    Love and prayers to all 🙂

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