Thursday, January 23, 2020

“GOD’S CALL”

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 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).

 

A wild donkey (Somali Wild Ass) at a nature reserve in Israel’s Jordan Valley. In Jeremiah 2:24 the people of Jerusalem are likened to this creature at mating time. It is said that the wild donkey cannot under any circumstances be domesticated for service to people as regular donkeys are. Jeremiah uses this animal as an illustration of Jerusalem’s determination to do its own thing in opposition to serving God.

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

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 1:4-5

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;

Before you were born I sanctified you;

I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

 

When Moses was called by God, he believed that he was unequipped to do the job. When Isaiah was called, he felt unworthy. When Jeremiah was called, he felt too young to accomplish God’s purposes (Jeremiah 1:6). When God calls us to do a work for Him, He always equips us to fulfill the assigned tasks. Otherwise, why would He bother calling us? All that is required of us is OBEDIENCE to His call! Jeremiah began his ministry when good king Josiah reigned over Judah. Jeremiah served as an advisor in helping Josiah initiate reforms which were in line with God’s revelations to His people as found in the Scriptures. Reforms? Yes! But the hearts of the people needed to be transformed, and that did not happen. Josiah was succeeded by ungodly kings who rejected Josiah’s message and led their people deeper into sin against God, persecuting Jeremiah for his stand for the truth of God.

Jeremiah’s first recorded sermon is in chapter 2. Jeremiah is called, “The Weeping Prophet.” His heart was broken with those things that break the heart of God!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, it could’ve been so different for Your people if only they had followed Your ways. I pray that I will pay attention to those who have genuinely been called by You to preach Your Word. Please grant me grace to obey Your Word! May I not break Your great heart of love by turning my back on You as did Your people in Jeremiah’s time. I pray this in the Name of the One who always obeyed You, Jesus the Messiah (Christ). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Our message should be one of total support for the Jewish people’s right to have a state, which hopefully will ensure that never again will there be a time of the destruction of Jews, this most persecuted people in all history, as has happened in the past. At the same time, while supporting the Jewish state, we should be pro Arab as well. We are told in Scripture to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). Let’s pray fervently for the leaders of the western world, the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and for President Abbas of Palestine.

Yours for praying for all who are in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2),

David

P.S. Our past Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Crossroads Ministries, Don Simmonds, travelled to Israel in 2014 with our then Canadian Prime Minister, along with several Federal Cabinet Members and other leaders from various segments of Canadian life. Below are some pictures that help tell the story of this significant journey.

In Saint Catherine’s Church in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem. Left to right, a security officer, Dr. David Wells, leader of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, James Lunney, Member of Parliament for Nainaimo, former Prime Minister Harper, David Sweet, Member of Parliament, James Moore and John Baird, former Cabinet Ministers. Perhaps the infectious joy of the birth of Christ which happened right next door has touched their hearts. They look like they are thoroughly enjoying their time and no one had to say “cheese.” Well, maybe someone said, “Say Jesus!”

A happy moment in this church built right next to the cave/stable where Christ was born. Rev. Dr. David Wells, The Honourable Stockwell Day, former Leader of Canada’s Official Opposition Party, Don Simmonds, former Chairman of our Crossroads Board, Don Hutchinson, legal counsel to the Centre for Faith and Public Life, and the Honourable John Baird, Canada’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs. I’d like to know what was said that brought those big smiles to their faces.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

JAMES, THE WORLD’S PASTOR

Today’s Reading: James 3-5

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

 

Here you can see the ruins of what some consider to be the Pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem. This is the southwest corner of the Temple Mount. It may have been to this height which Satan brought Jesus in the time of Jesus’ temptation. Jesus, the Man, did as James said. He submitted to God, resisted the devil, and the devil fled from Him! According to the Jewish historian, Josephus, James was executed by the authority of Ananus, High Priest, by being thrown off of this pinnacle.

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

 

Key Verses: James 4:7, 5:16

Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you…Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

 

James 3 focuses on that “little member that boasts great things,” the tongue. James has a definition of a “perfect man” as “one who does not stumble in word” (the tongue). It’s encouraging to note that James is human as he says, “We [includes himself] all stumble in many things.” James tells us that “No man can tame the tongue.” So-o-o do we just give up? Never!!! Our key verses have the answer as to how not to be “hung by the tongue!” Firstly, “Resist the devil.” Secondly, “Confess.” Thirdly, “Pray!” Fourthly, we should daily present our bodies (that would include our tongues) as living sacrifices, “Holy acceptable to God!” (Romans 12:1).

James 4 exhorts us to “Lament and mourn and weep!” When is the last time we experienced this depth of sorrow over our sins? “Repent” was in the first recorded words of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-2) and Jesus (Matthew 4:17), as well as in Peter’s response to the question he was asked on the birthday of the Church! (Acts 2:37-38). Pastor James teaches, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up!”

James 5 will spill over into my PERSONAL WORDS section below.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I ask for Your free gift of grace so I may learn daily to give over to You all the members of my body, in particular, that unruly member, the tongue. Thank You, Jesus, for the gift of Your brother, James, as a Pastor to the Church of all times and all places. I pray for these mercies from Your most gracious hand, in Your Name, Jesus, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

James 5 – I always look for words which are repeated such as “be patient” (twice). This blog is intended to help “establish” our “hearts” (5:8). May it be so for us all! Now I encourage everyone to read again James 5:13-16. The Pastor gives the protocol for a joyful, clean and healthy life. In my years as a Pastor, I put this into practice constantly. Every Sunday the Elders and I would offer to pray over anyone desiring healing. We would place olive oil on those asking for anointing. Many testified to God’s healing power. When I began travelling as an Evangelist in the 1970s, I would insist that Pastors and Elders be involved in praying for the sick. For a period of five years, from about 1972 to 1977, I would ask who in the congregation had a medically documented healing. If so, I asked people to stay behind to tell me about it. I discovered approximately 40 people who had confirmation from their doctors which attested to a miraculous cure. I asked each one, “Who prayed for you and where were you prayed for?” Of course many said that people everywhere were praying for them. Then I would ask them, “Were you prayed for and anointed with oil by your Pastor and the Elders of your local Church?” In 100% of these cases the answer was, “Yes!” For this reason I discourage people from traveling many miles to be prayed for by an evangelist. The evangelist’s job (like Billy Graham) is to get people to believe in Jesus for the salvation of their never-dying souls. The job of the Church is to do as Pastor James instructs us. Amen! Amen! and Amen!!!

Yours, as an Assistant Pastor to James, Jerusalem’s first Pastor,

David

P.S. I’ve personally experienced God’s power to heal when I was a 19-year-old college student. I was prayed for by fellow students, and as the Doctors would not allow me to be moved from my dorm room, two Pastors/Teachers came into my room. They prayed fervently because the medical doctors had told them that I would be “carried out feet first,” or in other words, they expected me to die. I don’t have room here to give the details, but it’s sufficient to say that as they anointed me and laid their hands on my head, my 105+ fever dissipated. I was delirious, but at the same time it was like a beautiful cooling shower was falling on me. I got up, dressed, got in my ’47 Plymouth car, and drove to the hospital Emergency Department. I announced that I was well and that God had healed me. I did elect for surgery which would make it impossible for the same thing to happen again. I benefited from God’s healing power and from the good works of skilled medical practitioners. James is my very, very Senior Pastor! Amen again!!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

THE ROYAL LAW

Today’s Reading: James 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).

 

Dormition Abbey, a grand German Benedictine building, is located on top of Mount Zion in Jerusalem. It commemorates the Virgin Mary at one of the traditional sites of her death (the name means “Eternal Sleep”). This complex was built in the beginning of the 20th Century over the ruins of a Byzantine church. It is also called Hagia-Maria-Sion Abbey, named after the great Byzantine church in present day Istanbul, Turkey.

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

 

Key Verses: James 1:22

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

 

The book of James is filled with very practical applications of divine principles. The first principle is that of faith! The Jewish Christians in Jerusalem and James, known as the brother of Jesus, were under severe pressure to deny their faith in Jesus. While thousands of Jews were believers, the Roman-appointed Jewish authorities, who instigated the arrest, mock trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, were still in charge of daily life. The Apostles left Jerusalem in order to share the Good News of Jesus with Jewish communities all over the known world. James (not the brother of John) is now Pastor of the Jerusalem Church. Approximately 20 to 30 years have passed since Jesus arose from the grave and His Church was born. Tradition says that Pastor James spent so much time on his knees in prayer that they nicknamed him, “Camel knees.” Camels kneel a lot and develop callouses on their knees.

James would approve of our emphasis on reading God’s Word! He writes of “the implanted Word,” and of being “a hearer of the Word.” He declares that “He who looks into the perfect law of liberty (the Scriptures) and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work [yes it is work], this one will be blessed in what he does!” (James 1:25). In 2:8 James writes, “If you really fulfill the Royal Law according to the Scripture, ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself’ (Leviticus 19:18), you will do well.” He sets a pattern here for Pastors everywhere and at all times in his emphasis on God’s Word! In 2:21-26 the Pastor references two Bible characters, Abraham and Rahab. His point is that “The Word produces faith which produces good “works,” not a faith without works, but a faith that works.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, please continue to plant the seed of Your Word in me daily, so that I will produce a harvest of good works consistently. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve often struggled with the word “Religion” (James 1:27a). That word comes from the same root word as “ligament.” It’s what holds my body together. It’s the practice of ministering to the needs of others and of living a holy life. It definitely does not mean my particular denomination. This past Sunday I found myself singing over and over an old chorus which I had not heard for probably 30 years. It goes something like this…”I know the Lord will make a way for me. I know the Lord will make a way for me. As I live a holy life, shun the wrong and do the right, I know the Lord will make a way for me.” James teaches that our profession of faith is only valid when manifested in practiced faith. As a boy I remember conversations that would include the words “he professes.” I drew the conclusion that, while I may claim to be a believer, my life, my works, keeping “unspotted from the world,” and failing to “bridle my tongue” were proof that professing and possessing the real deal were two very different matters.

Yours for “pure and undefiled religion,” which will bond us together in Christ,

David

Monday, January 20, 2020

“HERE I AM” GOD

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 65-66

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

 

The Jordan Valley Habika War Memorial Monument is designed by the artist Yigal Turmakin and constructed from old parts of armoured vehicles, tanks and guns. It serves as a memorial to the soldiers who died in the area, particularly as a result of the period known as the Period of Pursuits. War has been a constant in these areas, but God promises that there will be a time when He “will extend peace like a river” (Isaiah 66:12a).

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

 

Key Verses: Isaiah 65:24

It shall come to pass

That before they call, I will answer;

And while they are still speaking, I will hear.

 

God says, “Here I am, Here I am!” (Isaiah 65:1b). God has not left His human family. He has not isolated Himself from us. Isaiah 65 is God’s answer to the prayer of Isaiah we read in yesterday’s reading. God says through His prophet, “I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people.” The Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah’s words in Romans 10:20-21. We may want to read all of Romans 10 as a commentary on God’s dealings with both Jews and non Jews.

In his final chapter 66, Isaiah repeats twice more words he has written over and over, “Thus says the Lord!” Back in Isaiah 55:6-11 we considered how to get God’s Word, (His thoughts and ways) into our lives and world. Soak in the Word each day! God says, “Where is the house you will build for Me?” The answer is that the Temple in Jerusalem will be destroyed and the entire sacrificial system will be abolished once the final sacrifice is completed by the One John the Baptist called, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Tomorrow, the New Testament book of James!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, as I think back on the past month of readings in Isaiah, I do tremble at Your Word (66:2b). By Your grace I’ve trusted fully in the One Whom Isaiah said was yet to come. I’ve noted dozens of personal pronouns and meditated on the Person whose Name alone could replace those pronouns, the Child Who was born, the Son Who was given! Isaiah 9:6 goes on to state the fact that “His Name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” I pray that every reader of this blog, including myself, will know Him in a deeper and more intimate way than ever as a result of daily absorbing Your thoughts and ways. In His Name! Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve read the Jewish tradition that says that Isaiah died by being sawn in half by the last wicked King of Judah to reign during Isaiah’s time. It’s really hard for me to get my mind around the fact that such a powerful and persuasive prophet would have been rejected by the corrupt political masters and a segment of the people that agreed with them. The political masters of Jesus’ time were appointed by an exceedingly corrupt and evil Roman Emperor. The High Priest and his family members became very, very rich through their absolute control of the income from the 4,000,000 or so pilgrims who would visit Jerusalem each year for the mandatory feasts. Jesus said that the Temple had become a “Den of thieves.” The first Gospels tell of the cleansing of the Temple just before Jesus’ death and resurrection. As Bill O’Reilly points out in his book, “Killing Jesus,” it happened twice, once at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry (John 2:11-21), then later (Matthew 21:12 & 13). I found a clip from the “Gospel of John” movie that I’ve just watched (click here).  I’m well aware that the average Jewish person (Jesus and all His disciples are Jewish) were not implicated in any way in either the execution of Isaiah or Jesus. The crowd in the courtyard who yelled “Crucify Him!” were all paid lackeys of the High Priest. The “Gospel of John” movie is a word-for-word depiction of his Gospel (the full movie can be viewed here).

Yours in recognition of the One Who said, “Here I am,” with prayer that all would turn to Him without delay asking for mercy and grace,

David

[Note: This blog posting was originally written January 20th, 2016]

P.S. As you may know, we are on the second time around for this two-year journey through the Bible with this blog. It was four years ago this morning when I awoke out of a sound sleep and the digital clock showed 4:00 a.m. Jesus said, “My sheep know My voice,” and I know I heard His voice, still and small outwardly but loud and big inside my spirit. He said, “David, shortly I will be awakening you every morning at this time. I want you to rise, read My Word, pray, and write a daily blog leading my people on a two-year journey through the Bible. Start in segments…Matthew, then move to Genesis, alternating back and forth between the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures.” I hardly knew what a “blog” was, so over the next four months I experimented, asked my son David Reynold to use his Biblical knowledge skills as a professional photographer to take photos in all the Bible lands which matched as closely as possible the reading for each day. My son, Ronald, agreed to format the blog for me each day so all I have to do is fill in the brief Bible commentary, my prayer, and my personal words. Ann, Ron’s wife, checks each blog to make sure my spelling, punctuation, etc. is right. Thanks to family members and to Crossroads for taking this on as an official outreach of the ministry. Four years ago my Florida Pastor, Rev. Wayne Blackburn, concluded two weeks of prayer and fasting on Sunday evening. I went forward to the altar for prayer after the evening service, not having any idea what would happen at 4:00 a.m. the next morning. Thanks to the Pastor and people of Victory Church, Lakeland, Florida. Check this Church out here. Thanks Victory Church of the Assemblies of God!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

“FATHER”

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 63-64

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

 

A several hundred year-old wine vat the size of a van can still be seen in Meteora, Greece, at the Varlaam monastery. In Isaiah 63:3 we read, “I have trodden the winepress alone,” and “I have stained all my robes.” God’s mercy and judgment could only be accomplished by Jesus alone. Like the one who walks barefoot in the winepress has his clothes stained red, so Jesus’ garments were stained with blood.

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

 

Key Verse: Isaiah 64:4

For since the beginning of the world

Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,

Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,

Who acts for the one who waits for Him.

 

Today’s reading begins with a word picture of the judgment of God as a winepress. Jesus prayed just before His arrest and crucifixion, “O my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). What was in that cup? “The wine of the wrath of God which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation” (Revelation 14:10). As the wine vat pictured above provided storage, so the wrath of God was stored up since the sin of our first parents. Jesus drank all the wrath of God against sin for all who believe in Him. And because of this, all who call on Him, believing in Him in this age of God’s mercy are saved from the end-time judgment! Not so with God’s judgment on the ungodly world of the antichrist (Read Revelation 14:9-11).

Chapter 64 is the great prayer of Isaiah. He states the case that we are all sinners (64:6) who need to be saved. Then Isaiah writes, “But now O Lord, You are our Father.” This would be a good time to say the prayer Jesus taught, “Our Father…” (Matthew 6:9-13 or Luke 11:1-4). Jesus taught essentially the same prayer on two different occasions.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Father, I am praying the words You taught Your followers to pray. You are my Father God! I hallow (honour as holy) Your Name! To make sure I’m covering all the points in that prayer, I’m praying both Matthew’s words and Luke’s words. I believe that this is one prayer which You will always answer with a “Yes!” as long as it is prayed with repentance and faith, and not just a recitation in the mindless way of a religious exercise. In the Name of the One Who taught us TO PRAY (actually do it…not just talk about it), Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As a boy I had a friend who could rattle off the “Our Father” five times in one minute. He was simply getting through what he was told to do as he confessed his sins to his priest. About 15 years later, a wonderful move of God came to his church. It was known as the “Charismatic Renewal.” Many began to confess that they were born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. I heard them pray as Paul wrote, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding” (read 1 Corinthians 14:14-19).

When my missionary father arrived home from a six-year absence (forced on him by WW2), I have such powerful memories as an 8 year old. Three times a day, after our meals, we would kneel around the table at our chairs and Dad would often pray parts of the Isaiah 64 prayer. He would lift his voice and sometimes weep as he prayed, “Oh, that You would rend the Heavens! That You would come down!” One time he explained to me that the church of Egypt (where he served as a missionary) was alive and growing in the things of God and in numbers too. He wanted me to know that in comparison, the Church in Canada was in need of a great revival, and I was not to judge the whole Church by its lack of fire and growth as we saw here. I’ve lived to see God come down in mighty power on the Canadian Church as He has consistently done in other parts of the world.

Yours for strong prayer such as Isaiah and my Dad prayed,

David

Saturday, January 18, 2020

LIBERTY

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 61-62

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

 

An actor at Nazareth Village in Nazareth talks to a group of men and boys in the synagogue. This amazing effort by Nazareth believers in Jesus is worth the trip to Israel all by itself. God willing our children will be hosting tours of Israel this Fall. The group often sits together in this very replica of a first century synagogue to read the words of Jesus’ sermon to the people of His hometown (from today’s key verse).

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

 

Key Verses: Isaiah 61:1-2a

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,

Because the Lord has anointed Me

To preach good tidings to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives,

And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,

 

Yes, that’s a comma after our key verses, not a period. When Jesus read this prophecy in His hometown synagogue, He stopped in the middle of a sentence and closed the Book; then He proclaimed, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Obviously He deliberately left out reading the rest of verse 2 which speaks of “the day of vengeance,” since the “Day of the Lord” would not take place until His second coming. He made it clear in this way that we are now in the day of grace, not vengeance! (2 Peter 3:8-10). Consider the statements of Jesus recorded in Luke 17:20-37. The judgement day is coming, but in this age the operative words are “the poor,” “healing the broken-hearted,” “deliverance to the captives,” “recovery of sight,” and “set at liberty those who are oppressed.” Jesus identifies Himself as the One who is fulfilling this prophecy. There is no guess work here! This verse powerfully confirms the Trinity…Father God, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, thank you for revealing to Your prophet the text on which Jesus would preach in His first recorded public message. I pray that I will be more like Jesus in ways that I, as His follower, can be and do. In His Name I ask for grace to share His love more and more. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

One of my heroes in christian ministry is Rev. Homer Cantelon. It was in 2014 that he departed this life and went to stand before his Lord and Saviour in person. He was a World War II veteran who fought in the liberation of Holland. I remember seeing pictures of this big man as he walked down the streets of the town he had helped liberate on the 50th anniversary of the surrender of the Nazis. The people were cheering the Canadians loudly. I write about Homer on pages 129 &130 of my book, This Far by Faith. In my opinion, there is no one I know that exemplified the ministry of Jesus, as stated in our key verses, more than Homer Cantelon. He literally participated in bringing “Liberty to the Captives” in Holland, and throughout his life of Christian ministry he has brought eternal “Liberty” to many, many more (Homer was interviewed on the 100 Huntley Street telecast a few years ago by his son Jim. Click here for part one of the interview…and click here for part two).

Yours for carrying on the ministry of Jesus,

David

Friday, January 17, 2020

ARISE! SHINE!

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 59-60

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

 

Here is a panorama of the southern wall of the Old City of Jerusalem. In the distance you can see the Mount of Olives. Jerusalem seems to be the focal point of the war between God and all the forces who oppose Him. Isaiah writes of a time when they “Shall call your walls Salvation and your gates praise!” (Isaiah 60:18).

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

 

Key Verses: Isaiah 59:1-2, 60:5a

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,

That it cannot save;

Nor His ear heavy,

That it cannot hear.

But your iniquities have separated you from your God;

And your sins have hidden His face from you,

So that He will not hear.

…Then you shall see and become radiant,

And your heart shall swell with joy…

 

Sin is a wall which keeps God out and destroys us from within. When the people of Jerusalem were without hope, except for Isaiah and a remnant who cried out to God for Salvation, God Himself took the initiative. The great “Intercessor,” the One to whom Isaiah refers in dozens of personal pronouns throughout his book, appears. “His own arm brought Salvation for Him” (59:16). The Lord signed into the law of the universe a covenant (He cannot break His covenant!). What Hope! Isaiah 59:21 is one of incurable optimism. God has put His Spirit upon His people and put His Word in their mouths from generation to generation, and this promise includes us almost 3,000 years later, “from this time and forevermore!!!”

Chapter 60 begins with a direct command from God! “Arise, Shine; for your light has come!” Jesus, the Messiah (Christ), has dispelled the darkness and has come as “The Light of the world.” Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the Light of life” (John 8:12). What makes us “Shine!” is, as the moon reflects the sun, spending time in Jesus’ Presence, in His Word and in prayer, and we cannot help but “Shine!” Most of us are “Gentiles.” Isaiah 60:3 is an encouragement to us all. Isaiah 60:5 is the result, “Then you shall see and become radiant, and your hearts will swell with joy!”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Swell my heart with Your joy, Lord, I pray! Make my heart big enough for people everywhere. May Your Spirit be upon me in a greater and greater way, and may Your Words not depart from my mouth. I ask these mercies in the Name of “the Light of the world,” Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve read ahead into Isaiah 61. I simply couldn’t resist reading again the very words which Jesus read in His introduction of His Light, as it burst forth in His public ministry (Luke 4:16-21). But I’m getting ahead of myself. The key verse says, “Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save!” I’m reminded of a TV series I hosted back in the early 1970s which was sponsored by approximately 15,000 “Assemblies of God” churches in the USA. The communications director suggested that the average person watching would not understand the word “saved.” However, after the first show where I interviewed a medical doctor whose life had been in absolute shambles, and for whom the Lord had done an amazing transformation, I used the word “saved.” Everyone understood what this great word meant. A lifeguard understands exactly what it means when someone is going under and cries out “Save me!” Our readings in Isaiah show a world going under for perhaps the last time, but God’s long, long arm reaches out to humanity and we are saved! The Scripture says, “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved” (Read Romans 10:8-15). I ask every reader, “Have you been saved?” If not, or if you are not sure, read carefully those words from God through the Apostle Paul and call out to the Lord, “Save me, O Lord!” Then call the 100 Huntley Street prayer line toll free at 1-866-273-4444, and ask them for help in understanding how we can know we are saved.

Yours with determination to “ARISE” and to “SHINE” during this new day and every day,

David

Thursday, January 16, 2020

“HERE I AM!” GOD

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 57-58

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

 

An Acacia tree grows in the rocky wilderness of Timna Park in the Jordan Valley. In the most desolate places on earth, life has a way of springing up from the barren ground. Today’s reading describes moral and spiritual death, but even in the worst of circumstances we have a promise of a glorious future. God says through Isaiah, “I will cause you to ride on the high hills of earth!”

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

 

Key Verses: Isaiah 58:6-7

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:

To loose the bonds of wickedness,

To undo the heavy burdens,

To let the oppressed go free,

And that you break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,

And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;

When you see the naked, that you cover him,

And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

 

Chapter 57 draws our attention to the depths of moral and spiritual depravity to which we as humans can sink. The most unthinkable evils were confronted by Isaiah. For example, during the latter part of Isaiah’s ministry, under the rule of King Manasseh, the children were offered as a sacrifice in idol worship (read 2 Kings 21:6-9). But in the midst of such horror, God offers to “Revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (57:15b).

Chapter 58 contains the word “delight” four times. The first two are in verse two. The people took delight in their religious exercises. This chapter can teach us the difference between outward observance of certain practices such as daily prayers, even fasting, and a true (daily also) experience described in 58:14, “Then you shall DELIGHT yourself IN THE LORD!” This “delight” is not in religiosity but in a personal relationship with God, following repentance (changing our ways). Setting aside a full day for God, “Sabbath,” becomes a “delight” also, because it is not a compulsory religious act, but a day with minimum distractions in which we can have close communion with the Lord. We can, as Isaiah describes his experience with God, “Ride on the high hills of the earth.” How great is that!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Great and mighty God, I have knelt before You once again. I pray for grace to grow in my delight in You, rather than in outward religious practices only. I desire to have a contrite and humble spirit. I pray for revival in my heart and in Your Church! Amen!!! (Isaiah 57:15)

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In four more days here on 100words.ca we’ll move into the book of James. James says that “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). Serving God by serving others rises out of a “Delight in the Lord!” A personal relationship with God cannot help but produce loving acts because “God is love!” I’ve just read 1 John 4:7-21, and I’m convinced more than ever that this is the only way that people will come to know God around the world in much greater numbers. For many years Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. has sought to provide a means whereby the hearts of God’s people here at home can connect with those who are most needy of tender loving care. Click here for some of the ways in which Crossroads has provided an opportunity for many to reach out to others, partnering with followers of Jesus on the ground in various places around the world, who then are able to share the good news of Jesus’ love!

Yours for, as God says in our key verse, “…the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke… to share your bread with the hungry…”,

David

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

THIRSTY?

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 55-56

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

 

David and his men, fleeing from the death threats of King Saul, stayed here in Ein Gedi and certainly enjoyed the fresh water falling from the desert plateau above. The water courses over several waterfalls of differing sizes before it flows into the Dead Sea. Today’s reading starts with an invitation to thirsty people to “come to the waters.” Imagine the physical refreshment found here. Then meditate on the spiritual refreshment which is ours as we respond to God’s call to come to Him, drinking deeply from “the Water of the Word!” In both Psalms and Ephesians, water is a symbol of God’s Word!

 

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

 

Key Verses: Isaiah 55:7-11

Let the wicked forsake his way,

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

Let him return to the Lord,

And He will have mercy on him;

And to our God,

For He will abundantly pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,

And do not return there,

But water the earth,

And make it bring forth and bud,

That it may give seed to the sower

And bread to the eater,

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;

It shall not return to Me void,

But it shall accomplish what I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it…”

 

This is the longest emphasis on key verses for this daily blog. We often hear Isaiah 55:8-9 along with a statement such as, “We can’t understand the ‘thoughts’ of God, nor can we keep His ‘ways,’ because His thoughts and ways are up there in Heaven and ours are down here on earth.” This takes these words out of context. Isaiah is not telling us that the separation between God and us cannot be overcome. Verses 10 & 11 tell us how we learn to think the “THOUGHTS” of God, and how we learn to walk in the “WAYS” of God!!! Let us ask ourselves this simple question, “How would we get wet when it is raining?” It’s obvious; go out in the rain and get wet. Take down the umbrella! How does one get covered in snow? Lie down in it. Roll around in it. The result of being soaked in the rain of God’s “THOUGHTS” (our daily readings), and covered in the snow of His “WAYS,” will be life, spiritual growth, a healthy daily diet, and God’s Word accomplishing all He desires in us!!! Go ahead! Get drenched in His Word and His Ways. It’s guaranteed by God’s promise that we will experience “JOY” and “PEACE.” As illustrated in the Sound of Music movie, “The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing” (Isaiah 55:12). Listen! He’s communicating His thoughts and giving grace to walk in His ways. Don’t leave His “THOUGHTS” and “WAYS” up there in the heavens. Make them ours!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, my thirst is quenched in the waters of Your Word. I pray that You will give me the grace and the consistency to be in Your Word daily, without fail! Thank You for Your promise to “abundantly pardon” me as I ask forgiveness with repentance, forsaking my sinful ways and thoughts. I receive Your mercy! In the Name of the Jesus, Who said from the Cross, “Father forgive them!” Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As I consider Isaiah 56, I cannot miss the fact that Jeremiah identified some people in places of leadership by words such as blind, dumb, asleep, lazy, greedy, self-seeking, ignorant and gluttonous drunkards. No doubt this was true and no doubt this was a part of the reason that Jeremiah was put in prison by these people. I’ve heard it said that we define a fanatic as someone who is more passionate about their cause than we are about what we believe and practice. Recently at church there was a man sitting behind me who insisted on shouting with a loud voice words such as “Hallelujah!” and “Glory!” and sometimes he sounded as if he just wanted to make a noise. It bothered me, and I know why…he was more fervent than I was! Actually, I was shouting inside. In fact, when I’m alone, and no one but God can hear me, I have often shouted His praises very loudly indeed! As I read back over what I’ve just written, I don’t know where my musings are going here. I do know that I want to serve God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength, and also I want to love my neighbour as myself. Therefore, I may tone it down while standing right behind my neighbour in church. Maybe? It occurs to me that all of us should experience a church service where people shout for God! Check it out! After all, on the birthday of the Church, Peter had to explain the actions of Spirit-filled believers by saying, “These are not drunk as you suppose!” (Acts 2:1-21).

Yours for all that God wants us to be!

David

P.S. In his autobiography, President Bill Clinton said that everyone needs to visit a church service such as the one I described. It occurs to me that he might have avoided impeachment if he had stayed in such a church. The rain of God’s “THOUGHTS” surely will help us overcome some of those thoughts which are sinful and destructive. Amen???

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

THE MAN OF SORROWS

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 53-54

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 casting a shadow of a cross inside the ruins of the ancient Colosseum in Rome. A cross, the instrument used throughout the ancient Roman Empire for the most painful and gruesome form of capital punishment ever devised by man, became the greatest symbol of hope and eternal life.

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

 

Key Verses: Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

 

Chapter 53 should be read two or more times today in a quiet and reflective atmosphere. It would be good to back up to 52:13-15 for today’s reading. When the chapter divisions were chosen to make it easier to find specific Scriptures, they could have started Chapter 53 three sentences earlier with the words about the One Whose “Visage was marred more than any man.” There are 41 personal pronouns, “He” and “Him.” “He” is the subject of our attention. The object of God’s plan of Salvation is “Him.” One might almost think that Isaiah was standing there with Mary, Peter, John and the others at the foot of the cross, but Isaiah’s description of events was written hundreds of years earlier, long before crucifixion was used as a means of prolonged dying and death. Meditate on those pronouns! A pronoun takes the place of a noun. A noun is the name of a person, place or thing. A personal pronoun takes the place of a person. Ask the question: “What person’s name, of all people who ever lived, could be put there in place of those pronouns?” If our answer is “Jesus,” then let us read this powerful prophecy by substituting “Jesus” for each pronoun. For example, 53:5, “Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, Jesus was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Jesus, and by Jesus’ stripes we are healed.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

O Lord Jesus! O my Saviour and Lord Jesus! I give You all of me once again. I am not my own. You have purchased me with the blood of Your suffering! Fill me with as much of Your passion as You know I can bear. May I never be so selfish as to keep this to myself. Please equip me, Lord Jesus, with a greater passion for lost people for whom You “were led as a lamb to the slaughter” and for whom You were “numbered with the transgressors,” bearing all our sins. In Your Name (His name stands for all He is and has done) I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve just read Acts 8:26-39. It was Isaiah 53 that brought this treasurer of the Queen of Ethiopia to Jesus. The “pronouns” of Isaiah brought a Jewish medical doctor to Jesus. He was first violinist in a symphony orchestra. The full story is in my book, This Far By Faith (pages 113-116). I had the privilege of teaching public school as an 18 year old. I would visit the homes of my students and ask if I could read Isaiah 53 and have prayer with them. I was never turned down. I could hardly see the keys of my computer through my tears as I typed the first part of this blog. I’m gaining my composure now, and I realize that I’ve not mentioned our other chapter in today’s reading. Here is the prophecy of the “children of the desolate” (that’s us, the Church). The “married woman” to whom Isaiah refers is Israel (Isaiah 54:1). Both the Church (made up of Jews and Gentiles) and Israel have glorious futures under the rule of Messiah!

Yours for sharing Jesus, the Name to which the personal pronouns of Isaiah refer,

David

P.S. The centrepiece in The Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is Isaiah 53 from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Isaiah was the only book of the Bible found complete in those scrolls, which were stored in clay jars and hidden in caves along the shores of the Dead Sea before the birth of Jesus! They were found by an Arab shepherd boy in 1948. How special is that?! Would you agree that God wants this message communicated to the whole world?