Saturday, May 28, 2022

THE HOLY CITY

Today’s Reading: Revelation 21 

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

 

The city skyline of Toronto. There are many great cities on earth, but the city known as the New Jerusalem mentioned in today’s reading will be constructed in Heaven. There is no place on earth where it could settle down. Therefore, it must be a great satellite in stationary orbit above the earth; the closest point to it here on earth would be Jerusalem. I am a private pilot and on one occasion I was flying at the correct altitude past the Toronto shoreline when I looked up and there above me was a man working on the world’s highest free standing tower seen on the skyline above. It was unnerving to say the least. Just imagine how bewildering it will be when by God’s grace we first see the New Jerusalem.

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 21:3-4

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

Suddenly, there is great excitement as the Lord declares, “I am making everything new!” The old heaven and earth give way to “a new heaven and a new earth” (verse 1). And, somehow suspended between the two, the “New Jerusalem” appears.

This new city is called “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (verse 9). It has huge dimensions (a 1,400 mile cube! That’s 27,440,000 cubic miles!) and it is overwhelmingly beautiful (verses 11-21). It is always daytime there, and there’s no temple, for God and the Lamb are its Light and its Temple (verses 22-25).

The new Jerusalem, as mentioned above, is somehow “suspended” between the new heaven and the new earth, for the “nations…and the kings of the earth” have access to it – they “bring their splendor into it” (verse 24). These gentiles must be those from every nation (7:9 – including their leaders) who have embraced Christ and “whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (verse 27).

It’s an exciting prospect. Life will be made new. And we will be fit to live both in the new Jerusalem and on the new earth. There will be no more sin, no more sorrow, and no more pollution. In a very real sense, it will be “heaven on earth”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Your Word reveals that sin will not be present in the “New Jerusalem!” Thank You that John also wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “God be merciful to me a sinner” is a prayer that Jesus guaranteed makes me right before You! I pray this to You, O Lord! And I thank You that You allow a forgiven sinner to participate in Your ultimate and final victory over all evil. Through my Saviour and Lord I pray! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In yesterday’s reading I said that I would comment on the books other than the “Book of Life” which are also opened at the “Great White Throne” of judgment where all the dead of all time whose names are not in that “Book of Life” are arraigned (Revelation 20:12). I may be wrong but I believe that as well as a record of the “works” proving sins against God, the books of the Bible may be on display. There are many questions that I have for which I believe I will receive an answer someday. In the meantime, I’m so glad that I am not anyone’s judge. God is the only truly righteous and just Judge. I back off from judgment and leave it all totally with God.

Jim and Kathy wrote about the New Jerusalem being “somehow suspended between the new heaven and the new earth.” I suppose it will be like the moon, held in place by the earth’s gravity. On one occasion I calculated that if there was a floor upward every mile, there would be enough room for everyone who ever lived to have an acre each. That’s 1,400 to 1,500 miles high as well as almost 1,500 miles on each side.That’s the distance from London, England, to Moscow, Russia. Just imagine the challenge John had in describing what he saw. Like my Dad often said to me, “David, just wait and see for yourself.” By God’s grace I believe I’ll do just that!

Yours for complete confidence in humbly trusting in God!

David

P.S. Tomorrow’s reading is the final chapter in the Bible. I’m a little sad that we are through God’s books already. But I’m also very excited that we’ll start again June 3rd in Matthew then move to Genesis, and so on. Until then, God willing, I’ll direct our attention to portions of Scripture I have selected for extra emphasis. Please, please stay with me as faithful partners in consistently reading God’s Word. Ours is the only two-year reading program I’ve come across. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You, for your loyalty and support!!!

Friday, May 27, 2022

THE BOOK OF LIFE

Today’s Reading: Revelation 20 

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

 

The sun sets over Jerusalem and the Golden Gate, also known as the Eastern Gate. Jesus will one day return to the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives through this gate, which was sealed in an attempt to prevent this from happening by the Turkish Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1541.

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 20:10

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

When the beast and his prophet were thrown into the fiery lake, the rule of Antichrist ended. Now John’s ongoing vision is about to show how the “dragon,” Satan himself, meets a similar fate.

The star-angel (of 9:1), who holds the key to the Abyss, seizes the dragon and chains him for a thousand years in the Abyss. Then the martyrs, who had died refusing to receive the mark of the beast, are resurrected and they reign with Christ on the earth for that millennium. John refers to this resurrection as “the first resurrection” (verse 5).

After the thousand years has passed, Satan is released from the Abyss for a short time – but in that brief period he is able to incite the nations (symbolized by “Gog and Magog” of verse 8 ) to “surround the camp of God’s people” in Jerusalem (“the city He loves” verse 9). But it’s too late – Satan and the nations are defeated by supernatural fire (verse 9c). Then he is thrown into the fiery lake forever.

Satan’s destruction is followed by the “great white throne” judgment, when each person is “judged according to what he [has] done” (verse 13). All whose names are not “written in the Book of Life” are “thrown into the lake of fire” (verse 15). This is called “the second death” (verse 14).

The stage is now set for God to do what He has always planned to do – to create a new heaven and a new earth where God Himself will live with His people.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for many, many more names to be written in Your Book of Life. Fill me with a passion for doing my part as a soul winner. May I share today in the spirit of prophecy “The testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 19:10b). I pray for all true Evangelists and soul-winning Pastors that they will share more boldly than ever to the world the saving message of Jesus Christ. I pray for grace to support their work with my tithes to my local church, and with offerings over and above that in support of soul-winning ministries, such as Crossroads Christian Communications and other ministries which are helping to write new names in the “Book of Life!” I pray for wisdom to give to those who will not squander my offering on expensive lifestyles and ineffective projects, but will spend the funds entrusted to them for the maximum results in new names written down in Your “Book of Life!” In Jesus’ Name I fervently ask You, Almighty God! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS

The “lake of fire” is found three times in Revelation 20! This is an emphasis I cannot miss. I cry out to God for the salvation of precious never-dying souls. I believe that by God’s grace alone I am saved and my name is written in “The Book of Life.” I ask myself, “Is there more I can do to win people to Jesus?” I’m convinced that the most selfish thing I could ever do is to keep the Good News of Jesus to myself.

Today’s reading also mentions “Gog and Magog” and many nations whose armies will surround Jerusalem and will seek to destroy the people of God everywhere. If time permits, I suggest reading Ezekiel 38:1 to 39:16. The process for burying the remains of the armies of the allied nations sounds very much like the land may be contaminated by the leftover effects of the weapons used in the war, as it takes seven months to cleanse the land.

Here’s one final question. Besides “The Book of Life” that contains the names of those who are saved, there are other “Books” which were opened. What are these books? God willing, I’ll write tomorrow about what I think they are (Revelation 20:12a).

Yours for helping at least one more person to faith in Jesus alone for their eternal life!!!

David

On June 3rd we start our next two years of journeying through the Scriptures. Click here for a video about the original inspiration for this blog and for the reason for two years rather than the standard one-year program. I ask for your help in bringing many others into the discipline of daily Bible reading. Become a 100words.ca blog promoter! Maybe you can spread the word via Facebook or in person to your friends and neighbours.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

KING OF KINGS

Today’s Reading: Revelation 19 

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

 

The Yad Lashiryon Memorial at Latrun is the Armored Corps’ Memorial Site. The memorial is surrounded by tanks used and captured in Israeli wars. The centrepiece of the Armored Corps is the Wall of Names on which are inscribed the names of all 4,965 fallen soldiers of the Armored Corps from all of modern Israel’s wars. This location is also the site of the Biblical battles of Joshua against the Amorite kings; in the book of Joshua it says: “Sun, stand still upon Giv’on; and moon, in the valley of Ayalon” (Joshua 10:12). In today’s reading we find that the warrior King, Prince of Peace, has a Name written which “No one knew except Himself!” Let us not forget that Jesus was born and lived as a Jew, and that all His disciples and thousands of the early church believers were all Jewish.

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 19:10c

For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

Chapter 19 opens with two hymns. One is sung by “great multitude[s] in heaven” praising God for the destruction of “the great prostitute” (verses 1-5). The other is also sung by “a great multitude” to the “Lamb…and His bride” (verses 6-10). Then, after the angelic guide proclaims that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (verse 10c), the chapter describes the Christ of the Last Days.

John sees Him as a Rider on a “white horse” and His name is “Faithful and True.” His robe is “dipped in blood” and the name that emerges (as John looks at the robe) is “Word of God.” He makes war with “justice” as His motive, and He “strikes down the nations.” His warfare is marked with an intimidating and irresistible “fury” that has its source in “the wrath of God Almighty.” His name is even more than “Faithful and true” and “Word of God” – it is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (verses 11-16).

The chapter concludes with the beast and the false prophet being “thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur” (verse 20). The kings of the earth and all their armies who dared to war against the Lamb in the battle “are killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse” (verse 21).

Jesus the Lamb is Jesus the King. He is Lord of lords, and all power and authority belong to Him. No one, not even the beast, can resist His fury. But everyone whose name is written in the Book of Life will rest in His Love.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Almighty God, I pray for the grace of New Testament prophecy. May I faithfully tell others of “The testimony of Jesus!” Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. The golden rule of understanding the Bible is to “Let the Bible interpret the Bible!” Today’s key verse is an example of that. The Apostle Peter preached on the birthday of the Church, the day of Pentecost, from a text found in Joel 2:28-29. When the 120 believers were filled with the Holy Spirit, they spilled out onto the streets of Jerusalem speaking about “the wonderful works of God” in the languages which the people, who had gathered from all over the world, could understand. This was “the spirit of prophecy!” Peter answered the question, “Whatever could this mean?” Your sons, daughters, young men, old men, male and female servants will have God’s Spirit poured out on them and “they shall prophesy!” The primary and continual sign of keeping filled with God’s Spirit is “Prophecy!” I’ll repeat this again for emphasis. The ongoing evidence of being filled with God’s Spirit is to consistently witness to others of the Person and work of Jesus. Let no one claim to be filled with God’s Spirit if they do not consistently testify of Jesus so that “Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!” (Read Acts 2:1-24 as the first example of the true nature of New Testament prophecy). Jesus is “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!!!” Here was Peter, who, just 50 days earlier, denied Jesus three times. He could not even witness to a waitress who suggested that she saw him in Jesus’ company. Now he is bold, fearless, and very public in giving “The testimony of Jesus!”

Yours for winning the whole world to the One called “Faithful and True,” Who will come “clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called, ‘The Word of God!'” Revelation 19:13),

David

Here are some of the names of fallen Jewish Israeli soldiers at the Yad Lashiryon Memorial. These people died in fulfillment of the many prophecies of the Bible predicting the establishment of a state called Israel once again in preparation for the rule of the Messiah. The Bible says that Jesus, the Messiah, is coming again and that He “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20b). The battle in which Jesus gave His life for our “Peace” was fought and won through the resurrection out from among the dead. Let us make His Name known to the whole world!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

WHO IS BILLY GRAHAM? (a waitress asked me this question)

Today’s Reading: Revelation 18 

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

 

This is a view from high up in the Roman Col0sseum looking towards the Arch of Constantine. It is one of the triumphal arches in Rome. This one is situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312. It is probable that the Christians who read or heard the “Revelation” believed that Rome was the manifestation of the ancient tower of Babel and the city which grew around it, Babylon (Revelation 18:2a).

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 18:17a

For in one hour such great riches came to nothing…

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

In this chapter we read of two angels shouting poetically over the “fallen” earthly kingdom of Rome. The first angel speaks in verses 1-20 and the second in verses 21-24. They express the lament of sailors, sea captains, merchants, workmen, and all “the world’s great men.” They also express the joy of “saints and apostles and prophets.” The truth of 11:15 is symbolized in the fall of Rome – “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ” (KJV). The Lamb has conquered! And great is the fall of any and all kingdoms outside of His rule.

Recent events (I write this in the summer of 1991) have made the suddenness of the fall of earth’s kingdoms appear less shocking. Over the course of the past 36 months, we have seen the fall of the Berlin Wall, the destruction of the Iron Curtain, the end of the Warsaw Pact, and, most recently, the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Most surprising of all was the demise of the Soviet Communist Party in less than one hour! President Gorbachev simply signed its death warrant with one stroke of a pen.

We have entered an era of instant wars and instant victories. Things have speeded up to an almost breakneck pace. No longer does it seem impossible, nor improbable, that kingdoms and “kings” rise and fall in “an hour” (verse 17).

We who believe in the return of the Lord had better “lift up our heads – for our redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Almighty God, as I read Revelation 18 I am in awe of the messages of Your angels, and of John’s recording of what he saw and heard. I pray for my mind to comprehend, and for wisdom to interpret these words correctly and to apply them to my personal life. I surrender voluntarily to Your purpose for my life. I ask this in the Name of the One who always, without fail, fulfilled Your purpose, Your Son and my Saviour, Jesus the Messiah (Christ in Greek). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The other morning I stopped at a local restaurant for breakfast and the waitress, a lovely and efficient young lady in her early twenties, asked me what I did. I mentioned that I had had the honour to interview thousands of people for national television in Canada. She asked, “Who was the most famous person you interviewed?” She had told me on another occasion that she was a Baptist, so I thought of the great evangelist who is a Baptist minister, and answered, “Billy Graham.” Then she said, “Who’s he?”

It is a fact that the human family is in big trouble if we rely on past ministries, even those as powerful as that as Billy Graham. We must pray fervently that God will raise up in this second decade of the 21st century strong prophetic voices, not necessarily a big name, but millions of us (tomorrow’s reading will explain “the spirit of prophecy”). Will Graham, Billy’s grandson, asked his grandfather what he would do differently if he had his life to live over again. Billy answered, “I would pray more, and read my Bible more!” To me this is just another reason to continue strongly to encourage prayer and reading God’s Word, as proposed by this blog, which starts its second two-year journey through the Bible on June 3rd. I would consider it a great honour if some of God’s people would stay with me for more fresh bread taken out of the oven and posted at 6 a.m.

Yours for taking more time (the earlier the better, before the phone starts to ring, etc.) in God’s Word and in prayer,

David

There is a remote chance that someone reading this does not know of Billy Graham. Here’s a link to tell us about Billy. And here is a tribute to him from 100 Huntley Street on his 95th birthday in 2013 (hosted by my son Ron and his wife Ann).

The view looking north across the Agora in Rome. The monument to Victor Emmanuel, the king that unified Italy, is seen on the horizon. As pointed out in today’s reading, man’s kingdoms are temporary and with the weapons of modern warfare can be destroyed in one hour.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, DRUNK WITH BLOOD

Today’s Reading: Revelation 17 

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

 

This is a spectacular view of the Colosseum in Rome as you walk on the Via Sacra Road from the Agora and Arch of Titus. The Colosseum is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and stone, it was the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire and is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering. It is the largest amphitheatre in the world. It is thought that the early Christians, who were under intense persecution from the Roman authorities, considered “The mother of harlots” to be the city of Rome (Rev. 17:5).

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 17:17

For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

I think it should be pretty clear to you by now that apocalyptic literature with its “picture language” is not too concerned about logic, consistency, and precision. This shouldn’t trouble us – rather, it should challenge us. Literally thousands of authors have taken up the challenge, and no two agree totally on every point of interpretation.

This chapter, however, begins a section dealing with the fall of “Babylon the Great” (concluding in 19:10). There are seven visions, and each refers to the fall of the cult of Roma, the deified personification of Rome (verse 18). “Babylon” is the proto-type for Rome, an empire that, in John’s day, had extended to Asia and the East. The “worship” of Roma was introduced to these areas so that the Empire became, in fact, a state cult. The Roman ruler Octavian, for example, built temples to “Dea Roma” and “Dious Julius” at Ephesus and Nicea, and to Roma and himself in Pergamum and Nicomedia. The belief in “Roma aeterna” (eternal Rome) was cultivated so that “Roma” became a living, breathing deity in the eyes of the world at that time.

John’s vision reaches far beyond the historical realities of his day, however, and chapter 17 is the first chapter where we see a clear attempt on the part of the angelic guide to “explain” what is going on (verse 7). Even though a lot of room is still left for interpretation, we at least see beyond the physical incongruities of multi-headed beasts, horns, bowls, and cups.

John sees a “great prostitute” sitting “on many waters” (verse 1), “on seven hills” (verse 9), and on a “scarlet beast” (verse 3). So, she “sits” on three things at the same time, is dressed elegantly (verse 4a), but is full of “abominable things” and “adulteries” (verse 4c). She is guilty of martyring “the saints” (verse 6).

The beast on which she sits “once was, and now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss” (verse 8), and has seven heads, one of which is himself (verse 11). These heads are all “kings” (who are at the same time “hills” – verse 9). Five of them have already “fallen” (verse 10a), one is “presently” alive (in John’s time), and the remaining king is to come at some future day but will reign only “for a little while” (verse 10c).

The beast also has ten horns, and these are future kings “who have not yet received a kingdom” (verse 12a) but eventually will reign “for an hour” (verse 12b). They work in conjunction with the beast and will do so at the very end of history, when they will “make war against the Lamb” (verse 14a). After losing to the Lamb, their final act will be to “ruin” the prostitute and “leave her naked” (verse 16).

There are two encouraging things to notice: 1. Those whose names are “written in the book of life” (verse 8 ) will not be “astonished” nor will they be conquered by the beast (verse 14c); and 2. Even while these last-day, evil forces do their foul deeds, they will be accomplishing God’s purposes (verse 17a). God is Sovereign. Everything is under His control.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for those today who are suffering torture and death at the hands of people who are possessed by the spirit of anti-Christ. Please give Your people great grace. Fill them with love for their tormenters, the same love demonstrated by Jesus for those who nailed Him to the Cross. Bring deliverance as You did for Peter in prison in Jerusalem, and for Paul and Silas in prison in Philippi. I pray for grace to stand firm in the face of any threats I may face in my lifetime. In Jesus’ Name! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Several years ago I travelled to Kosovo to spend time with Canadian troops who were there on a peace-keeping mission. I was so very proud of our men and women. After their regular shift of doing such tasks as clearing explosives from the roads, they would go out into the community to volunteer in rebuilding homes, schools, etc., which had been destroyed in war. On Sunday I travelled with a van load of soldiers to church in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital city. We did not film the following in case we would further complicate this tragic yet wonderful happening. I saw tears in soldiers’ eyes as a girl of about 19 gave her testimony. Her face was black and blue and had obviously bled from facial wounds. But her face was also shining with joy as she told the story of her Muslim father beating her because she had insisted that she believed in Jesus as her Saviour and God. He said that if she went back to that church he would beat her again. Here she was, boldly confessing Jesus! (click here for a video from the Kosovo trip). It’s long so please watch even a part of it. You may want to fast forward from time to time. This was sent to the troops in Kosovo and to every military base in Canada.

The Apostle Peter, who was put to death by crucifixion in Rome, wrote some words about persecution. Read 1 Peter 4:12-19.

Yours for experiencing the courage and strength found in daily reading of the Bible,

David

This is one of the walking paths inside Rome’s Colosseum.

Monday, May 23, 2022

THE CUP

Today’s Reading: Revelation 16 

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

 

Southeast of Haifa lies Mt. Carmel, a promontory rich in Biblical history. As you stand on its peak looking east, you can see the fertile plains of the Jezreel Valley. The book of Revelation also identifies this area, Armageddon (Revelation 16:16), as the place where the final battle of Armageddon will be fought. It was also on this mountain that Elijah the Prophet confronted the priests of Baal (1 Kings 18).

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 16:5

And I heard the angel of the waters saying:

“You are righteous, O Lord,

The One who is and who was and who is to be,

Because You have judged these things…”

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

In this chapter we see the anger of God at sin and the demands of His justice. Seven angels “pour out” the contents of the “seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God” (15:7). The first bowl brings a plague of ulcers upon “the people who had the mark of the beast and worshipped his image” (verse 2). The second bowl befouls the sea (verse 3) while the third bowl pollutes the fresh water (verse 4). The fourth bowl affects the sun so that the earth’s residents are “seared by the intense heat” (verse 9), and the fifth bowl plunges “the throne of the beast, and his kingdom” into darkness (verse 10). The sixth bowl dries up the Euphrates River and releases three evil spirits who gather “the kings of the whole world…for battle on the great day of God” at the valley of Megiddo (verses 12-16). The final bowl precipitates a great cataclysm culminating in a huge earthquake and violent hail storm (verses 16-21).

All of this comes from God Himself. And the people “curse” Him because of it (verses 9-10). There’s something in human nature that resents superior power, even when it comes from God, who is the ultimate Power. We each can choose to submit or rebel.

One of the most significant messages of the book of Revelation is that God will ultimately manifest His holiness and punish all unholiness. In the context of this chapter, we can clearly see that all this wrath and destruction could have been prevented – but sinful mankind “refused to repent of what they had done” (verse 11b). God will go to almost any length to impress on us our need to turn away from sin. But if we refuse, we’ll suffer the consequences.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God Almighty, as I read Revelation 16 I’m hearing clearly Your message: “You are righteous, O Lord” (16:4a), and I am a sinner. Therefore, I repent! Grant me the grace to live in a state of repentance. I pray for a constant awareness of Your holy presence, so that I may, as You said, Lord Jesus, in 16:15, be blessed by watching for Your coming again, and by keeping the garments of Your righteousness as my clothing. In Your Name, I pray, dear Jesus. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As a new believer in Jesus as my Saviour and Lord, I thought long and hard about the reason for the suffering and death of Christ. For example, when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion, “Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will but Yours be done,” what was in the cup? The answer came from Revelation 16:19b and from other Scriptures…”The cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath!” God’s anger against all that hurts and destroys those He has created and loves was in that cup. I ask myself, “How can I get my mind around this eternal truth?” Over the years I’ve read the words from Isaiah again and again, “The cup of His fury” and “The cup of My fury” (Isaiah 51). I would urge us all, as I have done this morning, to read again Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12. I read this and weep, throwing myself on the mercies of God and confident in God’s promise that “He [Jesus] has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4a), and that “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

Yours for giving our lives in a fresh commitment to Jesus every day,

David

Looking west from Mount Carmel towards the Mediterranean Sea.

Jim and Kathy Cantelon. I appreciate that they’ve allowed me to use their Revelation commentary, which Crossroads originally published in the “Day Unto Day” devotional series in the early nineties.

 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

WHY?

Today’s Reading: Revelation 15 

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

 

About 15 kilometres from ancient Laodicea is Pamukkale. Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a natural site in southwestern Turkey. The city contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. It is located in Turkey’s Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year. The ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis was built on top of this white “castle” which is in total about 2,700 metres (8,860 ft) long, 600 metres (1,970 ft) wide and 160 metres (525 ft) high.

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 15:4a

Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

In chapters 15 and 16 we read about God’s wrath. This isn’t pleasant reading, and if we’ve thought of God only in terms of His love, these chapters can be disconcerting and even repellent. But we’ve got to understand something – Jesus didn’t come to earth merely to give us a good example, nor was His death at Calvary some sort of morality play. He didn’t come to make us better people. He came to make us new.

Why? Because God the Father is wholly pure, holy, and just. Sin offends Him – so much so that He has decreed that “the wages of sin is death.” All mankind have sinned, and all deserve death in His eyes – His justice demands it. But He is also love. He is not willing that any should perish; He loves the sinner and hates his sin. So what does He do?

God becomes one of us. His Son, Jesus, is born in Bethlehem, is raised in Nazareth, and for three years teaches all who will hear about the Kingdom of Heaven. He tells us what God is like, and He tells us to repent of sin. He takes the penalty of our sin upon Himself and dies on the Cross. Three days later He rises from the grave and issues in a whole new order of life that transcends death and enters the eternal. He becomes the “first fruits” of “them who shall also rise.”

He does all this to satisfy His justice so that man can have a second chance. But if we don’t accept His offer, we’ll suffer His anger. And “it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Revelation makes that very clear.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Your creation of the natural world should be sufficient to cause me to fear You! May I give You at all times total respect! When I realize that You entered Your creation as a tiny life in the womb of the Virgin Mary, I am in complete awe of You. I am moved to pray the prayer of King David found in Psalm 51:1-13. Lord Jesus, You took upon Yourself my sin and the sins of the human family as the sacrificial Lamb. I confess my sin, and I ask for the assurance of forgiveness and cleansing from all sin. In Your Name I pray! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The Apostle John served as the Overseer, or Bishop, of the Roman province of Asia Minor. Today this land is called Turkey. Norma-Jean and I travelled across Turkey with 150 friends, otherwise known as tourists. Actually we called ourselves Pilgrims, visiting cities such as Antioch, where people were first called Christians. I remember well the city of Tarsus, birthplace of the Apostle Paul and his home until he left to study in Jerusalem. At each stop, I would read the Scriptures about the place. Rev. Dale Lang, of Tabor Alberta, would make an application to our lives today, and Dr. Paul Maier, Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, would give the historical background. On one occasion we were at the ruins of the first century synagogue in Tarsus. Dr. Maier pointed to a rose bush growing out of the ruins and said with a straight face, “This is where Paul got his thorn.” As Jim mentioned above about today’s reading, “This isn’t pleasant reading.” I thought I’d share a time of hilarious laughter from our group there in Tarsus. Paul wrote of his “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Recently I met with a Pastor who is constantly in pain and yet he soldiers on. In my judgment he is one of the finest Bible teachers and preachers I’ve ever met. His name is Jay, and I want to ask you to pray for his healing. He said that he drew strength from the knowledge that Paul persevered. He quoted Paul, “For when I am weak, then I am strong!” I said that the Corinthian letters were some of Paul’s first letters to the churches he had planted, and that I like to believe that by the time Paul was executed by beheading in Rome, God had said, “Yes” to his prayers; and if the thorn was a physical problem, he was healed! By the grace of God I expect to ask many questions of the Lord, His Apostles, and others. The thorn question is on my list!

Yours for the attitude in our lives of Paul to the thorn and John toward his imprisonment on Patmos,

David

Pamukkale’s terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs. In this area, there are 17 hot water springs in which the temperature ranges from 35 °C (95 °F) to 100 °C (212 °F).

Saturday, May 21, 2022

READ, LOOK, LISTEN

Today’s Reading: Revelation 14 

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

 

One of the many sculptures in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome depicts a woman reading the Bible. John XXIII began changes which would have encouraged reformers such as Martin Luther. He issued a revolutionary statement. He told his people to “READ THE BIBLE!”

 

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 14:3a

They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders…

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

John now shifts from a description of the beast and his worshippers (chapter 13) to a description of the Lamb and His followers. Consistent with Old Testament expectation, the venue is Mount Zion. Micah, for instance, foresaw the day when God would gather the faithful remnant to Mount Zion and reign over them forever (Micah 4:6-8). Joel and Isaiah also saw something similar (Joel 2:32; Isaiah 11:9-12; 40:1-46).

Who are these “144,000”? In chapter 7, we saw this number first mentioned, and I underlined the importance of the symbolic numbering. The group in this chapter (chapter 14) is probably the same people. In both chapters, the 144,000 are sealed on their foreheads…in chapter 7, the substance of the seal is not mentioned, but in chapter 14, John tells us that the seal comprises the names of the Father and the Lamb. This seal, of course, is in direct contrast to the name (or number of the name) of the beast which was placed on the right hand or forehead of his worshippers in chapter 13.

The message to the worshippers of the beast is one of dire warning – they “will drink of the wine of God’s fury” and “will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb” (verse 10). Usually we think of torment as the exclusive domain of Hell, but here we see the high view God has of our wilful choices and the total anger He has at those who choose to reject His Son. That’s why verse 13 has special meaning and warning: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I’m very aware that one day I will stand before Your Judgment Seat where believers in Jesus will be judged. The words of the hymn writer come to mind, “Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.” I pray for Your grace so that my faith in Jesus’ salvation will never waver. In Jesus’ Name! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Besides telling his people to read the Bible, which was something discouraged by the Roman Catholic church for centuries, Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) symbolically opened a window in the vatican which faced St. Peter’s Square, and in front of thousands of people welcomed the Holy Spirit to come in. Shortly after this I was preaching in Quebec City at the invitation of Rev. Vern O’Brien, when we received an invitation to visit a Roman Catholic convent to preach to the nuns. The Mother Superior had written to me as a result of seeing the Crossroads telecasts on local TV. She wrote that she had prayed with me and for the first time in her life she had the assurance of eternal life. Vern and I witnessed an amazing sight… 20 or more Roman Catholic sisters opening their hearts and minds to the assurance of salvation according to the promises of the Bible as shared with them by Protestants. It was quite shocking for us to see the Holy Spirit come upon these nuns as the Apostle Peter had seen at the home of the Roman Centurion, Cornelius, as recorded in Acts 10:34-48. This work of the Holy Spirit, I discovered, was happening all over the world. When we begin to read seriously and consistently God’s Word, we begin to think God’s thoughts, and as someone has said, “When a person begins to think, God has the advantage.”

Yours for reading (or listening) to God’s Word and for enthusiastically convincing others to do the same,

David

The Basilica centers around the Papal Altar where only the Pope celebrates Mass. It was consecrated by Clement VIII, June 5, 1594, on top of several other older altars. Rising above the altar is the baldacchino (95ft. canopy), Bernini’s masterpiece and first work in St. Peter’s. The ancient tomb where the Apostle Peter is said to be buried lies directly below the altar.

Artistic representation of Biblical stories and portrayals of important leaders seem to cover every square inch of St. Peter’s Basilica. John’s challenge was to try to put the visuals he saw in his visions into words. The artists such as Michelangelo had the opposite challenge. They sought to put words into visuals.

Friday, May 20, 2022

FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD

Today’s Reading: Revelation 13 

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

 

This is station 7 on the Via Dolorosa (Latin, “Way of Suffering”). It is a street in two parts within the Old City of Jerusalem, believed to be the actual pathway that Jesus walked, carrying His cross on the way to His crucifixion. Today’s key verse tells us of “The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.” In point of time it happened on the Cross, but God operates outside time. God, who is “Love” (1 John 4:8b) is also the One “Who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty”!!! (Revelation 1:8b).

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 13:8

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

Two “beasts” appear in this chapter. It is quite characteristic of apocalyptic visions for animals to symbolize human beings. In this instance, we see (in verse 18) that the beast is a man, for he has a “man’s number.”

For many readers, the book of Revelation is dominated by the number “666.” And all kinds of attempts have been made to “calculate the number of the beast” to discover his identity, but I think John wants it to remain an enigma. It is beyond the scope of this brief commentary to review some of the more creditable efforts to unravel the mystery.

The important thing to keep in mind is the expectation of a powerful, charismatic leader who will appear on the world stage and dominate it (or “exercise his authority” – verse 5) for “forty-two months.” For that period of time he has total control “over every tribe, people, language and nation” (verse 7). What is more, he has a side-kick who acts on his behalf with awesome signs and wonders (verses 13-15), who is so effective and intimidating that he is able to “deceive the inhabitants of the earth” (verse 14). Why, he can even make a statue of his boss talk! He also imposes a strict economic policy on the people of the world, so that only those who “receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead” are able to buy and sell (verses 16-17).

These two beasts have become known as the “Antichrist” and the “False Prophet.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Your One and Only Son, Jesus, our Messiah, suffered the most excruciating death ever devised by man and by Satan. Dear Jesus, You took upon Yourself, because of Your infinite love, all the sin and wrong I’ve done and will ever do. I pray for a deeper understanding of the ways in which I can serve You with greater love and faithfulness than ever. In Your strong Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When I read the horror-filled words John used to try to describe what he saw, I cannot help but think that while there is disaster yet to come, Jesus has already won the eternal victory over sin, death, Satan, and Hell! Jesus shouted just before His death, “It is finished!!!” I remember that the event of the cross, while inside time, is not limited by time, but covers my past, present and future, as it does for the entire human race.

Jim and Kathy Cantelon, who lived for seven years in Jerusalem, have often walked the Via Dolorosa as I have done on visits to Israel. They will understand my story here. On one occasion in 1968, I stopped along the “Way of Suffering” at “Gabatha,” the “Pavement” stones which covered the courtyard of the Roman Governor where Jesus was beaten so severely. It’s located below the present road beneath a convent. The sister who took us down to the level of the street from Jesus’ time was very unemotional and matter of fact as she gave us the details of the place. The next time I visited, the same sister was totally different. With tears in her eyes she began to sing, “He is Lord. He is Lord. He is risen from the dead and He is Lord. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!” I said to her, “Sister what has happened to you? You are so different now than the last time you took us here.” She answered, “O, I know Him now!” She had experienced the power of the Holy Spirit revealing Jesus at a local prayer meeting, and her life was transformed from one of religious activities into a vibrant living relationship with Jesus! This experience happened to me as a 16 year old. I’ve never been the same either.

Yours for moving from religion to relationship with the living resurrected Lord Jesus!!!,

David

A closer view of station 7 on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

THE WOMAN, THE DRAGON, AND THE MALE CHILD

Today’s Reading: Revelation 12 

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

 

Pictured is the exit of the Grotto at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The “male Child” of today’s reading was born here in the cave just beyond the open door.

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

 

Key Verse: Revelation 12:11

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

 

Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…

In this chapter, we read of a “war in heaven” (verse 7) precipitated by an attempt by Satan to destroy the pre-existent Messiah – the “male Child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter” (verse 5). One of the unusual aspects of this account is the use of the past tense. John writes of something that has already happened both in the heavenly and earthly realms.

In reading about Satan’s downfall (verses 8-9) one thinks of Jesus’ words in Luke 10:18, when He says to disciples He had sent out two by two, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” This may help us to understand why Satan now operates in the space/time realm of the created universe. It may also help us understand why this world and this age are so utterly evil. But it should also encourage us to know that Satan’s rule will not last forever…“his time is short” (verse 12c).

We need to remember that Satan is not God, nor is he a dark equivalent. He does not possess godlike attributes. He is not all-present. He is not all-knowing. He is not all-powerful. He is an enemy, but a defeated one. And in the interim, between his present “warrings” and his future destruction, we can resist him “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [our] testimony.”

Satan is powerless in the presence of the “Lamb.” All those who by faith have placed themselves beneath the atoning blood of Christ are absolutely beyond the limited reach of this “accuser of the brethren.” As the old hymn says, we are “safe in the arms of Jesus.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for 24/7 faith to resist Satan through “The blood of the Lamb and by the word of their [my] testimony” (Revelation 12:11). Grant me grace, O Lord, as You did those early church believers who “did not love their lives to the death.” I ask these requests in the Name of the One who lived as an Overcomer 100% of the time, Jesus Christ (Messiah). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

John sees into eternity past. He can only describe Satan as a fearsome creature who reminds him of a dragon. The woman, Mary, represented the Jewish people through whom Messiah was born. They, the Jewish nation, will be supernaturally protected from the hatred and destruction of the dragon’s puppet, the Antichrist, for 3 1/2 years, the latter half of the great tribulation (12:6). These prophetic pictures seem to move back and forth, from the past to the future. Let us remember that at all times the male Child, Jesus Christ, continues to rule and overrule with the “rod of iron” (complete authority in the lives of all who have given Him their lives, and who continue by a daily act of their free will to yield to Him as their King).

Jesus spoke in John’s hearing decades earlier in similar Words (for a Gospel reading check out Luke 9:51 to 10:1-20). The sin of Satan in Heaven was pride. Jesus used the example of Satan’s fall to warn the disciples against the spiritual pride expressed in their report of successful ministry. Jesus does not say, “Good job, boys!” He immediately references Satan’s fall. John was allowed to see what Jesus had described years before. With God, time is not a limiting factor. He is outside of time! (quantum physics) He sees our first parents cast out of the Garden and the defeat of the serpent/dragon at the same instant.

Yours for the total overcoming power of Jesus who dwells in every believer,

David

This is the inside entrance to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. This building is the oldest standing church in the Holy Land.

Originally built by Constantine’s mother in the fourth century, Emperor Justinian rebuilt the current structure in the 530s. The Church of the Nativity was apparently spared destruction from the Persians in 614 A.D. because the invaders saw the depictions of the Magi on the walls. Local Muslim-Christian friendship is believed to be why the church was not destroyed during al-Hakim’s rule in 1009. The trapdoors in the floor reveal 4th-century floor mosaics from the Constantinian church.