Tuesday, September 29, 2020

THE BLOOD

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 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 on the right-hand side).

 

Rev. Rick Hiebert, playing the role  the High Priest, is applying the blood of the sacrifice to the horns of the Brazen Altar. This was part of the Tabernacle of Moses, which was erected in the back parking lot of the Crossroads Centre in Burlington, Ontario, during the summers of 1997 and 2012.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, click HERE.

Key Verse: Leviticus 4:17-18a

Then the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, in front of the veil. And he shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar which is before the Lord, which is in the tabernacle of meeting…

 

The first three chapters of this book explain the intricacies of the “sweet savour” offerings. Six times we read “a sweet aroma to the Lord.” In chapter four, “sacrifices for sin” are introduced. Again we read, “the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma to the Lord.” When words are repeated over and over, we recognize that the subject is of great importance to the Lord. Why was it “sweet”? The love that God has for His human family is the very reason He created us in the first place. Here is a most graphic picture of the suffering of Christ on the altar of the Cross. Jesus took His own blood to the altar, which is before the throne of God in Heaven, and presented it as the ultimate and final “sweet aroma to the Lord.” The sacrifice of Christ and the shedding of His blood, even though painful to God in the extreme, was the only way for God’s love to be consummated. It is hard to understand from a human perspective. The book of Hebrews deals with this in detail. Read Hebrews 7:25-27 and 9:18-28.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, the offering of Your precious blood on the altar in Heaven is truly sweet to God and to me too. Only by this means could Your love for me and my love for You be complete. Please give me the grace to never take my cleansing in Your blood for granted, but rather to cherish intensely what You’ve done for me. Amen!!! (1 John 1:7-9)

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As I start the Leviticus blogs, I remember why, back in the 70’s, I switched from a one year through the Bible reading program to two years. For many years before that, I could not help but notice that the majority of people were dropping out of the program somewhere in Leviticus. It was simply too much for most people. My Dad had always read three chapters on weekdays and five on Sundays. This enabled him to read it all in one year. I did the same, but when I changed to the two-year program, at least 70% of those who started with me completed reading the entire Bible. I could tell by the way people ordered the printed materials for the next quarter. Of course, now with the internet, I’m expecting that at least 70% to 90% of you who start with me will read consistently. Perhaps I’m too optimistic, but know that I pray fervently for all who read with me. I’ve designed this service so that a person can start at any point, going back and forth between the Hebrew (Old Testament) Scriptures and the Greek (New Testament) Scriptures, and complete the reading in two years. So Ron, Ann and the team at Crossroads and I began releasing the entire two-year program for the third time, beginning in Matthew, this past June 3rd, 2016!!!

Yours for the most thorough understanding of God’s Word possible for all who don’t have the opportunity to attend Bible College or a Seminary, and even for those who have attended such institutions who desire to receive the increase in faith that comes only from continuing in the Word daily,

David

Monday, September 28, 2020

VOLUNTEER

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 1-2

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

 

Inside the full-scale replica of the Tabernacle of Moses, behind the Brazen Altar and the Brazen Laver, you can see the entrance to the Holy Place. A priest would put blood on the horns of the altar (in this photo the blood is not real).  The Living Bible translation of Hebrews 10:19 says, “Now we may walk right into the very Holy of Holies, where God is, because of the blood of Jesus. This is the fresh, new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain…His human body…to let us into the holy presence of God.”

 

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, click HERE.

Key Verse: Leviticus 1:3

If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord.

 

It was a bloody, awful place of death. The fires which consumed the sacrifice on the Brazen Altar represented Hell. People make jewel-encrusted ornate crosses for decoration, but we should not mistake the fact that the altar on which Jesus suffered the fires of Hell and death was not pretty. It was an awful place! Only the eternal, infinite God-in-flesh, Jesus, could take the sins of all of us and suffer complete isolation from His Father God as sin demanded. Only Jesus could take the instrument of the most horrible method of execution and turn it into the glory of the Cross.

The word “voluntary” emphasizes, with great clarity, the under-girding reason for burnt offerings. Jesus went to the Cross as a “voluntary” Sacrifice. The Cross was the place where an eternal settlement was reached between ultimate justice and the holy, without blemish, Victim. We should meditate on this, partake in communion with other believers, and read more fully today, if possible, Hebrews 10:1-25.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

I confess my sinfulness to You, Lord Jesus, and I voluntarily give myself to identify with Your death on the Cross. Please help me to believe and understand that I now live in the power of Your life. I’m Your volunteer for living for You. In Your Name, dear Saviour, I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ll never forget the day at Expo ’92 in Seville, Spain when the Salvation Army band from Bristol, England, marched through the streets and played the hymn, In the Cross of Christ I Glory, “…towering over the wrecks of time.” That day, Sept 1st, was the day of honour for Saudi Arabia. The Saudis brought a 747 load of young men from their Imam training school in Mecca. They distributed 200,000 flags bearing the inscription in the Arabic language, “Allah is God and Mohammad is His Prophet.” At the first intersection, the band had to wait for the Saudi trams to pass. Hell knew and Heaven knew the words on the flag in Arabic and the words to the hymn the band was playing, “Would you be free from your burden of sin? There’s power in the Blood.” The second intersection where they met, the Salvation Army band got there first and the Saudis had to stop. To me the symbolism and the power of spiritual warfare was never so obvious. The “Power in the Blood” defeated the effort to convert people to Islam. The next day at our Crossroads Pavilion of Promise at Expo ’92 (photo below), there were not just 700-800 decisions for Christ, as was usual daily total, but over 1,200 precious people made first time decisions to give their lives fully to Jesus. Nothing else had changed on earth, but in the heavenlies the victory of the Cross had been clearly declared! The number of daily decisions for Christ remained at over 1,200 for the remaining six weeks of the Expo. What had really happened? I think about this often.

Yours to encourage us all to voluntarily serve the Lord,

David

The “Pabellon de la Promesa” (Pavilion of Promise) at Expo ’92 in Seville, Spain.

 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

GREAT JOY

Today’s Reading: Luke 24

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 is the entrance of the Garden Tomb, where the body of Jesus may have been laid. Over 2,000 years ago, this large trough was carved from the rock so that a huge stone could be rolled in front of the doorway.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: Luke 24:52

And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy…

 

There are many, many proofs of the truth of the resurrection. Those who believed numbered in the thousands in Jerusalem. Approximately 3,000 people believed on Him on the Day of Pentecost (most of these were pilgrims from Galilee and elsewhere) and some 5,000 (mainly from Jerusalem) saw the lame man healed and responded to Peter’s message in the courtyard of the Temple (Acts 3:1-26 and 4:1-4). These counts referred to the men, then add in their families, and you have a huge number of witnesses! Later, in Acts 6:7, we read that “the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” It has been estimated that when the authorities began to persecute the followers of Jesus, at least half the population of Jerusalem were believers in Him. If thousands of people were lying, the authorities would have been all over them. But there is no record of a contradiction in the minutes of the Sanhedrin, known as the Mishna. No one could ever tell me that Jesus simply swooned and escaped the city or was substituted by someone else, as Muslims believe, or that His body was removed from the tomb as a cover up, as the High Priest’s office claimed. These “great joy” people were Jews who worshipped Jesus as God! This all happened within a few months of Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension. If we aren’t rejoicing too, let us check our pulses to see if we’re still alive!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, I pray that today and every day I’ll be a “great rejoicing person.” This kind of joy in believing will result in believers being multiplied in my community and in my Church. I love You Jesus! Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The most marked up, finger-printed page in my Bible is page 1256, Hebrews 12:1-3. If I ever become weary or discouraged, here’s where I go. I could just ask you to look it up, but it’s so important to me that I’ll type verses 2 & 3: “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him Who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest You become weary or discouraged in your souls.” Once again, as I type this blog, I am considering Him. I cannot help myself. I’m filled with “great rejoicing.”

Yours for every weary and discouraged person,

David

Saturday, September 26, 2020

READ CAREFULLY

Today’s Reading: Luke 23

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 Roman road made of paving stones is below the modern city level of Jerusalem. It is the road Jesus would have walked on while carrying His cross to Calvary.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, click HERE.

Key Verse: Luke 23:27-28

And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children…”

 

In the movie, Passion of the Christ, they got it wrong. They showed only two or three women weeping. Notice the word “also.” The great multitude had just arrived in the city after spending the night in neighbouring communities. Thousands had come from the Galilee for the Passover in Jerusalem. The “great multitude” wept also. More proof is found in verses 48 & 49. “The whole crowd…beat their breasts.” It was not the average Jew who crucified Jesus, it was the crowd who were on the payroll of the High Priest. The High Priest and his early morning employees were the ones who cried, “Crucify Him…His blood be upon us and upon our children.” The twisting of Scripture to condemn all the Jewish people has been a tool of Satan to promote anti-semitism, which eventually resulted in the Holocaust of the Nazis. This illustrates the supreme importance of a careful study of God’s Word, Word by Word!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You said that the Spirit of Truth would guide us into all truth. I’m asking, Holy Spirit, that You will do that for me today. By Your illumination of Your Word, I’ll do my best to pay attention to little words like “also.” I weep to think of the tragedies perpetrated on the Jewish people because Satan messed with the minds of those who either ignorantly or deliberately misinterpreted these Scriptures. Please give us a new start in our relationships with Your ancient people.  Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

How well I remember making statements like, “The fickle crowd shouted their praises of Jesus on Palm Sunday and just five days later were shouting, ‘Crucify Him.'” I was 100% wrong. They were not the same people. The small area known as Pilate’s Judgment Hall would hold only about 300 people. It was 6 a.m. when the first shift of those on the High Priest’s payroll arrived for work. The great multitude would not have arrived in the city until about 9 a.m. I’ve prayed fervently that I will be more careful in my studies and my efforts to teach. There is another example of the twisting of Scripture in today’s reading. It’s in verse 43. Back in the 1840’s, a Brooklyn, NY, pastor moved the comma from before the word “today” to after it. He began to preach that the thief was not in Paradise with Jesus the day of his death, but only in the future resurrection. This was the beginning of the Watchtower Society, otherwise known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The pastor’s name was Charles Russell. He continued to twist other Scriptures to go against the historical understanding of the Word of God. There are no commas in the original language, but a comparison of the rest of the Scriptures would show that in English the comma belongs where it is in our Bibles. I pledge to pay careful attention to detail in this blog and always.

Yours for a more thorough understanding of the Word of God,

David

P.S. Once again, here is a segment from 100 Huntley Street. Moira Brown interviews Dr. Andy Bannister. This again is for the purpose of emphasizing the reliability of the Bible and how it answers life’s toughest questions (click here).

 

Friday, September 25, 2020

SIMON, SIMON

NOTE FROM RON MAINSE: It was three years ago today that Dad’s physical suffering ended, and he was ushered into the presence of the Lord. A memorial website has been created with highlights of his life, as well as a link to his homegoing celebration service. You can find the website HERE. While he is greatly missed here on earth, his legacy lives on in many ways, including this daily blog. I trust that it’s an ongoing blessing to you.

Today’s Reading: Luke 22

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).

 

Tourists look down into what is believed to be the ruins of Peter’s house in Capernaum. There is evidence that there were several enlargements of the space. This may have been the place of worship for the earliest Christian Church in the Galilee. I preached in a church building in a village in Russia that was still  a private home. It had been enlarged several times. Building permits were not given for church buildings, but you could add to an existing house.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, click HERE.

Key Verses: Luke 22:31-32

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, (Peter) that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

 

Believe it! Jesus prayed for Peter, and He prays for us too. Here is the statement of that fact! “Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, [you and me] since He ever lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). What confidence we have in His intercession! The Lord Jesus was fully aware that Peter was about to curse and swear, declaring that he did not even know who Jesus is! So how does Jesus respond to Peter…in anger and judgment? Not at all. The Lord looked beyond Peter’s failure to his repentance, and his faith and bold leadership was restored. Jesus knew that in just 50 days, Peter would be filled with the Holy Spirit and would preach a powerful message on the street to thousands. Jesus has a plan for each one of us. He sees restoration following failure. Never give up! Repent and move forward. Judas gave up after his failure. Peter or Judas…which example will we follow?

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Dear Lord, I confess my failure. Just as You saw Peter’s tears and witnessed his repentance, even so I repent and I am confident that You pray for me that my faith will not fail. I receive, by faith, Your forgiveness and restoration. I’m ready to start this new day in my service for You. Fill me with Your Spirit I pray. I praise You. I worship You. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I am continuing to exalt Your Holy Name…

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I identify with Peter. He tried to help by attacking the servant of the High Priest. He tried by following Jesus after His arrest and stood where he could see Jesus before the High Priest. He failed to stand up for Jesus. After eye contact with Jesus, he went out into the darkness and wept bitterly over his failure. How I thank God for His mercy and grace. Peter saw Jesus crucified, buried, and resurrected from the dead. How else could anyone explain Peter’s transformation? Jesus baptized Peter with the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God became like a fire inside him! I know 100% for sure that Jesus is alive!!! I, too, have been filled with the Holy Spirit! Now, all I have to do is open my mouth and share Jesus wisely and boldly with others. Jesus intercedes for me as He did for Peter, and Jesus’ prayers are always answered “YES!!!” WOW!!!

Yours for a consistent, clear, thoughtful, mostly gentle and always bold, witness for Jesus,

David

P.S. Here’s another powerful witness with Moira Brown interviewing Dr. Andy Bannister on 100 Huntley Street. The Bible is reliable and our faith in God is totally reasonable! (click here).

Thursday, September 24, 2020

TAKE HEED

Today’s Reading: Luke 20-21

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).

 

In the Western Wall tunnel of Jerusalem is this model of the Temple in which Jesus worshipped, turned over the money changer’s tables, engaged with the religious officials, and ministered truth and love. In the building which this represents, the former lame man danced to the amazement of all. Then Peter preached and about 5,000 became believers in Jesus, including many of the priests (Acts 4:4 & Acts 6:7).

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, click HERE.

Key Verse: Luke 20:25

And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

 

Today’s reading concludes with, “take heed.” Here is Jesus’ conclusion to almost 100 verses of teaching, “Watch therefore and pray always.” This blog can help us do that! We learn from the happenings here that when someone argues with Jesus, they don’t win the argument. The “coin” is a case in point. The Jews were groaning under the heel of Rome. Jesus’ answer to the tax question was simple, yet profound. Today, we struggle with our responsibilities to government and to God. We use money printed or minted by government, yet, our ultimate values are not government actions, but God Himself. God will put the final period in the last history book of this age. Back in 1967 Billy Graham said, “For the first time in over 2,000 years, Jerusalem is ruled by Jews. The ‘time of the Gentiles’ is over (Luke 21:24). Soon we will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory'” (Luke 21:27).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, here I am. I’m determined to “take heed.” By Your grace, I believe that at Your return, I will “escape all these things that will come to pass.” Please help me to be prepared at any moment to welcome Your coming. Please give me the gift of diligence, consistency, and purity so that, because of Your forgiveness of my sin, I’ll be ready! Amen!

 PERSONAL WORDS:

I remember an old preacher saying, regarding those who told the story of the seven husbands who married the woman in Jesus’ story, “They thought by the inch, spoke by the yard, and should be moved by the foot!” I’ve read chapters 20 & 21 twice and some portions three times. Of course, I’ve read these words before. I’ve even taught through the entire book of Luke at a Bible Camp recently. Nevertheless, I’ve had fresh insight from the Holy Spirit today, such as from Luke 21:34… I am not weighed down with carousing and drunkenness, but I confess that I struggle with the “cares of this life.” I sometimes think that at 80, I’m too old for the plans I keep making (for when I’m released from the hospital). I believe God isn’t finished with me yet!

Yours for a more perfect understanding of God’s Word, and for His plans and purposes for my life,

David

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

LOST AND FOUND

Today’s Reading: Luke 19

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 is a model of the Temple from the time of Jesus, where it was situated on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. Today, a Muslim mosque, known as the Dome of the Rock (seen in the background), is located on that same Temple Mount.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, click HERE.

Key Verse: Luke 19:10

…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

 

Why did Jesus come to earth? To teach? To heal? To set a fine example? Yes, to all these things. But His top priority is to seek and to save all who are lost! He seeks for us by His Holy Spirit and by the power of His Word which is proclaimed in the Gospels and which we share every day (check out 100 Huntley Street – click here). His God-sized death on the cross is big enough to save all of us from eternal death. Jesus was seeking the lost from the beginning of His public ministry. He found some mending their nets, another at the tax collector’s desk, others going about their business in Galilee, Zacchaeus up a tree in Jericho, and now, He has found you and me. Jesus has not changed. The difference is that He seeks the lost through us. We cannot save anyone, but we can bring precious lost people to Jesus, pray with them, give them Jesus’ Word, and He will save them.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, I thank You for those who found me and introduced me to You. Thank You for Your Words of acceptance to me, “The one who comes to Me, I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). I believe Your Words and I know You cannot lie. You do not cast me out. Therefore, You receive me. Help me today, and every day, to do for others what was done for me. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As a boy, the game known as “hide and seek” was a favourite. Can you remember the excitement of the search and the joy of discovering the hiding place of a friend. My first effort at serious seeking lost people involved creating a hockey team in the village of Haley’s Station in the Ottawa Valley, where my Dad was a minister. I was 17 then. The men created an outdoor rink every winter. I pulled together several boys and offered to buy hockey sweaters with the name “Haley’s Comets” splashed across them. We formed a league with three other small villages and played several games. My main motivation was not to win at hockey, but rather to win my friends to Christ. I arranged to take the team to the nearby city of Ottawa to hear Evangelist Hyman Appleman. That night they went forward and Jesus saved them as they believed His Words. The next Sunday, my Dad’s church had a row of teens sitting at the front, worshipping God. Since that time, my greatest thrill is in finding creative ways to bring the lost to Jesus.

Yours for sparking initiatives to help find the lost and introducing them to Jesus!

David

P.S. In this space for a few days, we’ve considered the historical accuracy of the Holy Bible. Here’s a story from an Israeli tour bus. Norma-Jean and I were leading 100 pilgrims for two weeks, walking and riding through the pages of the Bible. Our well-educated Jewish tour guide said that the story in Luke about the Roman census and taxation under the Governor of Syria could not be historically correct because Quirinius did not become Governor until eight years after the birth of Jesus. I immediately called from the bus on my cell phone Dr. Paul Maier, a PhD professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University. Dr. Maier is recognized by many news organizations as the world’s foremost expert on the first century. I put the tour guide on the phone and here’s what Dr. Maier said, “We know for a fact the Roman census of Gaul (France) took twenty years to complete. The census in the province of Syria, which included Palestine, probably took a similar amount of time, and indeed Quirinius was Governor of Syria when the census results were delivered to Caesar in Rome. The Romans dated their census taking from the time of completion. Therefore, Luke’s record is correct. The Jewish guide ate a little humble pie and admitted that Dr. Maier was right. There is no bad history in the Bible! Check out Dr. Maier on 100 Huntley Street from a few years back…here’s part one of a two part interview.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

UNPROFITABLE SERVANTS

Today’s Reading: Luke 17-18

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 is a millstone from the time of Christ that was uncovered in Capernaum on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, click HERE.

Key Verses: Luke 17:2 & 10

It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones…

So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’

 

Imagine the millstone pictured above hung around someone’s neck. Imagine that person with the weight of that stone being cast into the sea. Jesus presented very graphic word pictures. Jesus goes on to teach that if someone sins against us seven times in one day and says to us, “I repent,” we are to forgive that person. All this is humanly impossible. No wonder the disciples said to Jesus, “Increase our faith.” Jesus’ response to this request is as follows: First, take the tiny mustard seed faith we already have, and take authority over the mulberry tree and its roots. Get rid of any unnecessary thing that would take up space in our lives so that we’ll have more room for an increased level of faith. Second, consider ourselves “unprofitable servants.” Being small in our own eyes will leave more room for an increase of faith. Check out 1 Samuel 15:17 and 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I’m getting rid of anything that would clutter up my life. Please help me to identify the “mulberry tree.” Also, Lord, I humble myself before You and consider myself an “unprofitable servant.” Please fill the additional space now available with an increase in my faith in You. Thank You Lord! In the Name of Jesus I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I will never forget one of our frequent guests on the 100 Huntley Street telecast, the late Dr. John Wesley White. He was a native of Saskatchewan, an associate evangelist with Billy Graham, and a PhD from Oxford University. The very first time on air with me he looked into the camera and said to the viewers, “God has given you a guarantee that if a person will simply pray, ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner,’ that precious person will be made right with God.” I believe that millions have been justified as a result of humbly praying that prayer (Luke 18:13-14). Another guarantee from God is found in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Yours for the sure knowledge that we are justified before God by believing and acting upon His Word  (“Mustard seed” faith is simply enough faith to do exactly what God tells us to do in His Word!!!),

David (the man who goes way over his 100 words, particularly in the P.S. below)

P.S. Here’s more on the historical accuracy and reliability of the Scriptures. The writer of 14 books of the Greek language New Testament Scriptures, the Apostle Paul, had a name change. Before his conversion to Jesus Christ (Acts 9), he was known as Saul of Tarsus, the fiercest enemy of the new movement of believers in Jesus Christ. He was educated by Rabbi Gamaliel, who was the grandson of Rabbi Hillel, perhaps the most famous Rabbi of all time. Saul had access directly to the High Priest. He asked for, and received, letters of authority to imprison, and even kill, followers of Jesus (Acts 7:58, 8:1).  He approved of the stoning execution of the early church deacon, Stephen. As a person of obvious Jewish religious power, he would have followed closely all the events over the three years of Jesus’ ministry and been aware of Jesus’ teaching, crucifixion, and reported resurrection. His rage was no doubt fuelled by the frustration at not being able to refute any of Jesus’ miracles, particularly Jesus’ resurrection from the dead!!! Therefore, after Saul of Tarsus’ conversion, we find Saul/Paul verifying all the historical records in his writings and teaching!!! Luke, the historian of a 60-70 year period from the birth of Jesus onward, was the constant travelling and ministry companion of the Apostle Paul. It is my firm conviction that if all Luke wrote was not accurate, and if the dozens of places in Paul’s writings where he references Jesus’ life were not reliable, Luke and Paul would have been contradicted by the Jewish historian Josephus, or one of the other contemporaries of Paul with whom he had been educated who had not been converted to Christ. No such contradictions exist!!! Think with me about these P.S. comments. My young friend, Dr. Jeremiah Johnston, has a goal in life – making Christians into thinkers and thinkers into Christians. You can visit his website here.

Monday, September 21, 2020

LOST AND FOUND

Today’s Reading: Luke 15-16

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).

 

Near Tabgha Beach, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, stands the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. This square building of black basalt, built in 1934, is where Jesus is believed to have made a third appearance to His disciples after His Resurrection. As the event is described in the 21st chapter of John’s Gospel, Peter and six other disciples had been fishing all night without catching anything. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach, though they did not recognize Him. Jesus told the disciples to cast their net on the right side of the boat and the net filled with 153 fish. When the disciples dragged the net ashore, they found that Jesus had cooked them breakfast on a charcoal fire. The rock incorporated in the church floor is traditionally believed to be the place where Jesus prepared breakfast. It was known to medieval pilgrims as Mensa Christ (the table of Christ). Numbers are very significant to people who know Hebrew. The number 153 translates into “Ana Elohim.” “I am God!”

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, click HERE.

Key Verse: Luke 15:4-5

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it, and when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

 

The lost sheep! The lost coin! The lost son! Do we get it? Our reading finishes with the story of the lost rich man, his lost brothers, and the salvation of the beggar Lazarus. Jesus really cares about lost people. We must recognize the infinite value of one precious person. If we want to be like Jesus, there is no other way than to focus our attention on finding the lost and bringing them to our Father in Heaven. Do we look for the prodigal as the father did in the story, or do we betray an essential selfishness like the older brother who had been faithful but uncaring for his lost brother? Chapter 16 introduces money into the mix. Giving time is equal to giving money. We need to do both!!! Are our priorities right before God and before people?

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, in today’s reading, You are getting through to me. There are lost souls all around me. Help me to bring the lost back home to You today and every day. Help me, and help my church and the ministries I support, to constantly find opportunities to reach out to those lost in the maze of man-made philosophies, self-centred goals, and all the traps set by the enemy of our souls. I pray this, determined to look for the lost, in Your Name, Lord Jesus. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

One tool that the Crossroads ministry has used to find the lost and bring them to Jesus has been to encourage Christian pavilions at World Expos. The last Expo in which we were involved was Germany’s first…Expo 2000 in Hanover. The great fish, sketched out on the dining room table of our home, designed by architect Rob Adsett of Australia and pictured below, was voted the “Icon of the Expo” by the German people. The content of the pavilion in Hanover, Germany, was a movie based on the story of the prodigal son and the story of Jonah, written and produced by Bruce Stacey. Out of the millions who visited the pavilions in four Expos, at least 100,000 lost souls were found and brought home to our Father God. Names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, were recorded. They signed up for a Bible correspondence course and they were followed up by Scripture Union and churches around the world. I’ve learned that while these great efforts are important, they are not to be considered a substitute for my personal, one-to-one, soul winning.

Yours for finding lost people and bringing them home with us,

David

P.S. For several days now I’ve been writing here about the reliability of the Scriptures. Yesterday I referenced Tacitus, a primary historian of the Roman Empire (Annals 15:44). Today it’s Josephus, the most prominent Jewish historian. Josephus writes of James, whom we know as “the brother of our Lord” and author of the epistle of James. Josephus tells us of a trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin of “a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ” (Antiquities 20:198-202).

“The Pavilion of Hope” at Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany, was shaped like a “great fish.” This design was first sketched out on our dining room table by our Australian architect friend. His skills were evident at three World Expos, as well as in the Crossroads Centre in Burlington, Ontario. The German people voted to keep this as a symbol of Expo 2000 and the icon of the Expo. Today it serves as the offices for World Vision Germany.

 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

O JERUSALEM

Today’s Reading: Luke 13-14

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 is a Somali wild donkey with the signature horizontal black stripes on its legs. This was photographed at Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve in Israel, where you can see a variety of biblically referenced animals. From time to time Jesus used His creatures (today, a hen and her brood) to illustrate His message. James 3:8 says that no man can tame the human “tongue,” and it is said that this wild donkey cannot be tamed. In today’s reading Jesus refers to the tamed variety of “donkey.”

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where Reynold took the photo, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: Luke 13:34

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

 

At the beginning of chapter 13, Jesus repeats for emphasis His call to repentance. Repentance essentially means that we are to turn from our own way and go God’s way. It means a Godly sorrow for sin, sorry enough to quit sinning; sorry enough to ask God’s forgiveness immediately when we sin. God reaches out to us as individuals, and He also reaches out to entire communities. The woman with the spirit of infirmity was ministered to individually. She responded, but Jerusalem, as a whole, did not. The heart of Jesus yearns also for our city, for our country, as well as each precious person. Jesus points out the hypocrisy of many religious leaders in the way they keep the Sabbath. He cares about donkeys and oxen (14:5), and how much more for people? Judgment and justice are inevitable. We need to come to Jesus humbly in repentance.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You’ve invited me over and over to come to You. I do this now in repentance for my sin. Grant me a constant attitude of repentance. I fervently desire to live this life pleasing to You. I pray these mercies in Your Name. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Fall is in the air. I marvel that God, who put stars in place and arranged the seasons, would care for me individually. The story is told of the astronomer who spent his life studying the stars and who came to the conclusion that a God big enough to create the stars could not possibly care for him as an individual. As a retirement gift, he was given a microscope. As he studied that which was too small for the naked eye, he came to believe that a God who would create the molecule was even bigger than he had thought. He concluded that God cared about the little things, as well as the great big universe, and therefore, God cared about him. He opened his heart to the fact that God became Human in Jesus Christ.

Yours, marvelling at God’s great universe and marvelling even more at His care for me,

David

[NOTE: The P.S. below was written by David on September 20, 2016]

P.S. Yesterday was the 58th wedding anniversary for Norma-Jean and me. Some of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren came together to celebrate with us at the hospital (see photos below).  At such times I get to speak what’s on my heart. Yesterday I shared with my family my deep love for Norma-Jean and how blessed I’ve been to have her by my side for these 58 years.  I also shared that in the last few weeks I’ve been meditating a lot on the historical accuracy of Holy Scripture. There is much evidence from historical writers that the Scriptures give us factual information. For example, Jesus was executed by crucifixion (a fact denied by Muslims). The fact that this happened is stated by the Roman historian Tacitus, who was not a believer. He wrote that this happened during the reign of Emperor Tiberius, and that Pilate was the Governor of Judea at the time…confirming what scripture says. Be assured, the writings chosen for inclusion in the Bible are historically accurate!

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