Friday, July 21, 2017

THE DECREE

Today’s┬áReading: Ezra 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).

 

Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem on the slope of the Mount of Olives. On his first visit to Jerusalem, Boris Yeltsin ordered that the onion-domed spires on this Russian Orthodox church be reguilded with golden paint.

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

 

Key Verse: Ezra 6:14

So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying [preaching and teaching] of Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, and they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes King of Persia.

 

In yesterday’s reading we were introduced to Kings Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes of Persia. It seems that they ruled between Cyrus the Great and Darius. In this interim period construction on the new Temple was stopped. A holocaust threatened the Jews until Queen Esther came on the scene (read Esther 3:12-14). Also we may want to read Esther 4:15-17 and Esther 7:4-6. In just over two weeks we’ll be reading the entire book of Esther.

Let us persist in our readings. The history of this period can be confusing. Hang in there! The Jews in the province of Judea held onto their vision. Two preachers made a big contribution to lifting the spirits of the people. Let’s read from the first preacher today, and the second tomorrow (Haggai 1:13-15 and Haggai 2:1-9). In spite of Haman’s threat to have all the Jews killed, they kept the faith. God had His Esther, and her uncle Mordecai, in the Persian Palace.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I understand that You do not violate human free will, but I thank You that You do put people in place, and You do create circumstances that cause people to be willing to do, of their own free will, what is right. Please Lord, I pray that You’ll continue to do this in our world today. I volunteer for service, Lord, if I can be of any help in Your cause. In the Name of Jesus, the greatest Volunteer, I pray, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union and her satellite countries, the “Evil Empire.” But even there God was at work. In 1985 Crossroads made it into the Soviet Newspaper, Pravda, with the story of our unusual contract with Prague for the creative content of our “Pavilion of Promise” at Expo ’86 in Vancouver. I have lots of stories out of this period as to God at work in these officially anti-God countries.

Yesterday I wrote of the deliverance of many Jews from the USSR. Today I have a Christian story. I was speaker on two evenings during the first ever gathering of Christian leaders from all 15 republics of the USSR. This invitation resulted from the 1989 release of our Crossroads Creation TV series in prime time. Friends from Finland had translated it and made it look like we were speaking Russian. One morning I sat at breakfast with five Pastors. One of them, I thought, had the worst case of arthritis ever. However, it appeared to be in only one hand. I had to ask about it. The Pastors knew what was coming and they laughed. The man with the twisted fingers said, “I was teaching my children about God and was ordered to stop. They put me in prison and broke my fingers one at a time. With each finger they offered to stop if I would sign a paper admitting my guilt and promising to stop my teaching. Each time I refused. Now, however, they have called me in and offered to fix my fingers by re-breaking them, this time under anesthetic, and they said I could continue my teaching as I pleased. But I said, ‘No!’ I get a lot more attention when I preach using this hand to help make my points.” Loud laughter broke out amongst the Pastors. I felt like crawling under the table. I was not worthy to be in the company of such strong followers of Christ. Here I was, the guest speaker, and I was learning much more from them than they would ever learn from me. That evening, after my message on “The Church After Persecution Ceases,” I was kissed at least 500 times (Russian men kiss other men on the lips!). I’ve got to report that I simply tolerated it with the grace God gave me, but at the same time, I rejoiced with them because we all knew that the “70 years of the dark red night of atheistic rule,” as they called it, was almost over. They likened it to the 70-year Babylonian captivity of Israel.

Yours, like Esther, wanting to be at the right time and the right place in order to serve God and people,

David

P.S. We brought a Mobile TV production unit over to Moscow from Leningrad (the name had not yet been changed back to St. Petersburg) and videotaped this conference. A news report was carried on 100 Huntley Street. The picture below shows how doors continued to open in Russia.

1992 – Prime Minister Brian Mulroney told Boris Yeltsin about the Crossroads ministry and our Russian students studying television at our School of Broadcasting and Communications. To me, this was a confirmation of God’s will being done over the years since my first visit to Moscow in 1968. After 70 years, the captives to atheistic communism were set free. Yeltsin’s first trip outside Russia was to Jerusalem to walk where Jesus proclaimed freedom to people everywhere.

7 thoughts on “Friday, July 21, 2017

  1. What an amazing turn-around when it looked like the work was going to be stopped. A lot like the turn-around in Esther’s time.

  2. Unfortunately Russia has turned against Christian evangelism again so I’ve heard. And it has put a fresh determination in the hearts of the leaders to not give up reflecting the determination of Ezra and the leaders in this story. God bless them and protect them in these last days. Blessings on you David and all the saints. Amen!

  3. Thank you, David.
    Jesus , the very thought of Thee
    With sweetness fills the breast;
    but sweeter far thy face to see,
    And in Thy presence rest.

  4. David, thank you for all that you do for His Kingdom. Could you please tell/send me the blog that spoke of your victory in Jesus against cancer and all of the medical centres/doctors that you used. I want to share it with another. Thank you.

  5. The Lord God has put His foot print in every country in the world!
    Let us pray for Christians to walk in those foot prints and share the Gospel to the world!
    I still remember someone saying ” yes, you need to tell people about Jesus Christ and yes, sometimes you might even have to use some words!”
    People will never be able to stiffle the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! He is all Powerful, all Knowing, He is Wisdom, Truth, Mercy and Grace! His Word will never die! amen
    please pray for a friend Eva! still in the hospital, pray she will be home by July 26 to celebrate her birthday!
    I pray healing will come to those who are in need of a healing; I pray music and laughter will come to those who need something to smile about!
    I pray the Lord will pour down rain upon the forest fires in British COlumbia and other areas of our world!
    thank you Lord, amen

  6. Agreeing with all comments within this blog…in particular your Prayer and comments and photos Pastor David!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.