Wednesday, March 25, 2020

GOD IS LOVE

Today’s Reading: 1 John 4-5

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

 

Many believe that Jesus was crucified at this location in Jerusalem just outside the city walls. It is known as Golgotha, The Place of the Skull, or Calvary. This rock is the north face of a rock quarry from which the stones were taken for the construction of the various Temples. It is dug into Mt. Moriah, the mountain where Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac when God intervened and provided the sacrifice. God’s provision of a ram was a symbol of the final sacrifice for sin when God would sacrifice His only begotten Son, Jesus, on Moriah or in this quarry. The Temples were built on Moriah just south of this location.

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

 

Key Verses: 1 John 4:8-9

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

 

The words “love,” “loved” or “loves” appear 28 times in today’s reading, and a total of 40 times in the book of 1st John! John quoted Jesus in what is probably the most well-known verse in the entire Bible in John 3:16. We may want to read all of Jesus’ message to Nicodemus, a man who was a Jewish leader (John 3:9-21). In John 20:2, John refers to himself, not by his name, but as the “other disciple whom Jesus loved.” No wonder John is known as “the Apostle of love.”

Because John loved with God’s love, he was compelled to write the most serious warnings about sin and its consequences for all who do not repent and turn from sin. In 1 John 1:8-10, he confirms that we are sinners, including himself. We cannot at any time say, “We have no sin” (present tense), nor can we say, “We have not sinned.” Then in his closing words we read, “Whoever is born of God does not sin.” Is John contradicting himself? No! This is an example of a place where we need to remember Peter’s statement warning us against “private” interpretation of Scripture. Church scholars have consistently interpreted the “does not sin” words with an understanding of the Greek language, in which these words were originally written, to mean, “does not sin deliberately without remorse and confession of sin.” It may be well for us to read again 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” (the word “cleanse” in Greek is in a grammatical tense which means a constant, ongoing cleansing). Amen!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, You have made provision for forgiveness and for an ongoing washing of my life from sin. I pray for a consistent attitude of repentance and trust in Your promise that, as long as I walk in the light of Your Word, I know that the blood of Jesus Christ, Your Son, cleanses me from all sin (1 John 1:7). In the Person of Jesus Christ, and because of His blood, I have confidence that You hear me and that I am righteous in Your sight. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I have struggled over the years with John’s love letter to all believers because of the statement, “There is a sin leading to death” (1 John 5:16). What is this? I’m convinced that the only sin which cannot be forgiven is that of rejecting Jesus right up until and including the moment of death. I’ve met people who think they have committed the “unpardonable sin.” If we have any desire whatsoever for God’s forgiveness, we can be forgiven when we pray the sinner’s prayer, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). I know this because there is no contradiction in Holy Scripture, and Jesus said, “The one who comes to Me I will by NO MEANS cast out” (John 6:37b)! These are the Words of Jesus that led me personally to believe that Jesus received me and saved me when I was a 16 year old. John writes, in the final words of the Bible, these Words, (click here for Revelation 22:17-21) “Whoever desires” may “Come!” The word “COME!” is repeated twice. It is God’s will that all should be saved, but God will not force anyone to believe. He does not turn people into mindless robots or puppets. I decided to believe God’s promise of salvation, and He did not turn me away!!! According to the words of the Apostle Peter, God is “not willing that any should perish but that ‘ALL’ should ‘COME’ to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9b).

Yours with a fervent prayer that anyone reading this who has not “COME,” will do so now and that you might be helped through the Crossroads telephone prayer number 1-866-273-4444 or e-mail address, [email protected] A non-judgmental person, who cares deeply about you as an eternal, precious never-dying person, is waiting for the phone to ring or an e-mail to arrive indicating a desire to COME TO JESUS! YES!!! God answers prayer, but it’s too late after death. Please, please, make the call on God and also call the prayer line number.

David

P.S. If you’ve come to Jesus today, we have some helpful literature to send you, which will help you have complete assurance that you are right with God for time and for eternity. Just ask when you call or write, and May God bless you in a special way!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

LIGHT, LOVE, LIFE

Today’s Reading: 1 John 1-3

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 ancient roads in Ephesus. John, author of today ‘s reading, would have walked this street as the Apostle serving the church of Ephesus and the other churches, as recorded in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Perhaps on this public place he preached the Gospel of Light, Love, and Life in Jesus Christ.

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

 

Key Verse: 1 John 3:2

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

 

Eight times in the first two chapters, John gives reasons as to his purpose in writing this letter to all of us. (1) Joy (2) Stop sinning (3) Love one another (4) Children (5) Fathers (6) Young men (7) God’s will (8) Truth vs. lies. These are all practical instructions so that “We may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28b). John describes the essence or nature of God’s Being in three ways. Firstly, LIGHT – No darkness in Him (1:5). Secondly, LOVE – “He who does not love does not know God” (4:8). And thirdly, LIFE – “He who has the Son has life” (5:12a).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, thank You for the promise that I “shall be like Him” when I “see Him as He is!” I pray that as I move toward that blessed time, I will grow more and more into Your likeness as I “walk in the light” of Your Word daily! I ask this in the Name of the One Who declared, “I am the Light of the world,” Jesus Christ Himself! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Last evening Norma-Jean and I attended a prayer meeting. We went forward to the altar so that we could pray for others. God only knows what He accomplished in people’s lives. One thing I do know, Jesus was very present! He promised that “Where two or three are gathered in My Name, there I am in the midst of them.” John’s Gospel and his three letters we have in our Bibles are all about Jesus!!!

Yours with our hearts and minds on the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ!

David

Monday, March 23, 2020

TRAVEL AND KNOWLEDGE

Today’s Reading: Daniel 11-12

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 panorama of the entrance to the Acropolis in Greece. This temple for the worship of the goddess Athena was in full use during the period described in Daniel 11, when Alexander the Great’s successors, especially Antiochus Ephiphanes IV, were creating havoc throughout the North, East and South of Israel. He desecrated the Temple with the sacrifice of a pig on the altar, which had been built by Ezra some 300 years earlier, and to which the Babylonian exiles returned.

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

 

Key Verses: Daniel 12:3-4

Those who are wise shall shine

Like the brightness of the firmament,

And those who turn many to righteousness

Like the stars forever and ever.

But you, Daniel, shut up the words,

and seal the book until the time of the end;

many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.

 

Daniel 11 is a prophecy detailing the events which follow the end of the Persian (Iran) empire. Following the death of the Greek conqueror, Alexander the Great, the Empire of Greece is divided up between Alexander’s generals who war against each other for domination.

Daniel 12 leaps ahead centuries of human history to “the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4). How will we know that “the time of the end” is upon us? (1) “Many shall run to and fro” (here and there). It is a fact that more people have travelled more miles over the earth in the last 20 years than in 5,000 years of recorded human history. (2) “Knowledge shall increase.” We are using a computer to write and read this blog. Any of the search engines available to us can connect us at the speed of light to more information than all the libraries of the world combined. If anything, the statements about travel and access to information which Daniel wrote are an understatement. We are living now in “the time of the end!” These developments have never happened before now!

Our key verses should give us joy and confidence in God’s promises. The last sentence Daniel pens is a personal promise he received from the Lord regarding his own resurrection “at the end of days” (12:13).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that I will make wise decisions as Daniel and his friends did, as recorded at the beginning of Daniel’s book. Then, with Your blessing throughout my life, I too can end my days full of confidence and wisdom. May I shine for You! Grant that I will help “turn many to righteousness!” In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

With websites available worldwide like 100huntley.com, we are helping to fulfil the prophecy that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). What is “the glory of the Lord”? John answers this question: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). I put the words “knowledge of the glory of the Lord” into just one search engine…”Google.” Up on my screen, came the number of results…35,000,000 in 0.40 seconds. In just this search alone, the whole earth is covered with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord!!!

Back to Daniel and the ruler of the principality of Persia, who was able to hold off Gabriel until Michael arrived to defeat this “Prince of Persia.” Paul teaches us that we fight “against principalities” (Ephesians 6:12). The story is told of a prayer meeting in a home in Los Angeles. They were praying for the first ever major Billy Graham meetings in their city. They reported a loud persistent knock at the door. A woman answered the door to find a huge figure decked with jewels who said, “I am the prince of Los Angeles. You shall not defeat me.” The woman just up from her knees said with authority, “You are defeated by the blood, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” She shut the door in his face, told the prayer warriors inside, and they began to rejoice in the victory Jesus was about to give in Los Angeles. The proof is in the history of the worldwide impact of Billy’s evangelistic crusades, which began right there in L.A.

Yours for the foreknowledge of God revealed through His prophets, whose words are preserved for us in the Bible,

David

Here you can see a spectacular racing track in ancient Delphi Greece. The “Oracle at Delphi” was a person who claimed to speak for the many Greek gods. The Apostle Peter called the religions of that day, “cunningly devised fables” (2 Peter 1:16a).

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

Sunday, March 22, 2020

70 YEARS

Today’s Reading: Daniel 9-10

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

 

On display in the Pella Archaeological Museum in Central Greece is a sleeping baby angel. The imagination of the sculptor here is a long way from Daniel’s description of the Angel who came to him. Read Daniel 10:5-7.

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

 

Key Verses: Daniel 9:2-3

In the first year of his [Cyrus’] reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of years specified by the word of the Lord, given through Jeremiah, the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolation of Jerusalem. Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

 

Daniel’s prayers were not just the “Now I lay me down to sleep” variety. The content of his prayer was directly from his reading of his Bible. When we understand God’s will “by the Book” and pray God’s Word, we can expect God’s action. Even so, here in this blog, we read from “The Book” and then we pray accordingly. We may be sure that two of the “Books” which Daniel read and understood were Jeremiah and 2 Chronicles (read Jeremiah 25:11-12 and 2 Chronicles 36:18-23). Now we can understand why Daniel prayed as he did. Let us pray the prayer of Daniel as if we were reading from a prayer book. Scripture has one true interpretation but many applications. Let’s apply this prayer to the nations where we live, in my case Canada, and part-time in the United States.

In the space allotted to this blog, we cannot possibly comment thoroughly on the amazing prophecy of the 70 weeks (literally “heptads” or weeks of years – 490 years).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, today I pray with fervency the prayer of Daniel. Thank You for the Son of man, the Lord Jesus Christ (Messiah), Who touches me and strengthens me as the one “having the likeness of a man” did for Daniel. (Daniel 10:19) In His Name I pray, Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Two stories – the first I know personally. Dr. John Wesley White, associate evangelist with Billy Graham, on the live 100 Huntley Street telecast, held up a copy of the Toronto star and pointed out “prophecies” for the new year by psychic Jean Dixon. John said, “If even one of these comes true, I’ll shred this paper one year from now, put it in a bowl, put some milk and sugar on it, and eat it right here on live TV.” One year later I prepared that shredded paper, poured milk on it and added sugar, but when reviewing the year’s events, not one of Ms. Dixon’s predictions had come to pass. John did not have to eat even one spoonful! We had a great laugh, but the deceit practiced by psychics is not funny. God’s true prophets are 100% accurate, no fuzzy generalizations in order to weasel out when it does not happen, as is the case particularly of the practise of astrology.

Tomorrow, God willing, I’ll tell the second story of a prayer meeting where a menacing person who introduced himself as “The Prince of Los Angeles” showed up. Today’s reading tells us of several princes who serve the evil one (remember Ephesians 6:12-13).

Yours for “understanding” and “praying” accordingly,

David

P.S. It’s my understanding that many of those who pray at the retaining wall of the original Temple platform in Jerusalem (known as the Western Wall or Wailing Wall) often pray the prayer of Daniel 9. Below is a recent photo taken at that wall.

The Western Wall or Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Men pray on the left and women in the crowded area on the right. The land behind the wall, the area where the Temple once stood, is under the control of the Muslims. On the horizon is the Mount of Olives. The steeple seen about 3/4 of the way across the top of the picture is the place where tradition says that Jesus ascended into Heaven.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

THE ANCIENT OF DAYS

Today’s Reading: Daniel 7-8

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

 

Today’s reading mentions “a ram” and a “male goat.” Here’s one of God’s creatures from Haiti. Reynold has been there several times to initiate Crosssroads missions projects, particularly after the great natural disasters. The painted horns indicate to all the villagers that this goat is owned by a particular person.

 

Key Verses: Daniel 7:13-14

I was watching in the night visions,

And behold, One like the Son of Man,

Coming with the clouds of heaven!

He came to the Ancient of Days,

And they brought Him near before Him.

Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,

That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion,

Which shall not pass away,

And His kingdom the one

Which shall not be destroyed.

 

Daniel 7 picks up Daniel’s life where chapter 4 leaves us. Nebuchadnezzar is dead and this time it is Daniel who has a dream, which he interprets as a further amplification of the four kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream: (1) Babylon (2) Persia (3) Greece (4) Rome. Daniel’s greatest concern is “the fourth beast” (7:19 & 7:23). Daniel saw 10 horns on its head and then a little horn that comes to dominate the others. Scholars who have written on prophecy are almost unanimous in identifying this horn that rises with the Antichrist.

In Daniel 8 the ram and the male goat meet in fierce battle, and the male goat is the victor (Rome defeats Greece about 300 years after Daniel writes this prophecy). The experience was so powerful that this strong man, Daniel, fainted and had to take several days off work.

Jesus took Daniel’s prophecy so seriously that when He stood before the Jewish High Priest and Ruling Council, He quoted Daniel 7:13. Read Matthew 26:62-68! It was obvious to all the rulers that condemned Jesus for blasphemy that Jesus claimed to be the One Daniel called, “The Ancient of Days!” (Daniel 7:9 and 7:13). Daniel prophesied in these chapters of the coming of the One whose “dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away!” This could not possibly be anyone other that the Eternal Almighty God showing Himself in human flesh as the Son of Man and Son of God!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Ancient of Days, Most High, Ruler over the Everlasting Kingdom, I bow before You as one whom You created from the dust of the earth. I’m humbled and, like Daniel, astonished at the greatness of Your Person. I can ask for only one thing in my prayer, “Have Dominion over my life!” I make You my Lord in my surrender to Your dominion. I worship You Father, Son and Holy Spirit! I do this in the Name of Jesus, the One whom we will see “coming in the clouds of Heaven!” Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’m aware from the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus of the unspeakable evil of the Greeks, particularly under Antiochus Epiphanes IV, who desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem with what the prophets call “The Abomination of Desolation” (sacrificing a pig on the altar in the Holy of Holies – 175 years before Christ). We are much more aware of the Roman brutalities because of the record of the Gospels. But these horrors will be surpassed by the coming one whom the Scriptures call “the man of sin” or “the Beast” who sets up an image of himself in the Holy of Holies of a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, gives it the power to speak (perhaps a hologram image), and anyone who does not worship the image is put to death (Revelation 13:1-9).

Yours to help us understand the one-third of the Bible which is broadly called “Prophecy,”

David

Friday, March 20, 2020

DANIEL PROSPERED

Today’s Reading: Daniel 5-6

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

 

On display in the Archaeological Museum in Pella Greece is a floor mosaic of Hunting a Lion. Today’s reading takes us into a lion’s den with Daniel.

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

 

Key Verse: Daniel 6:10

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his CUSTOM since early days.

 

To what are we accustomed, and do we maintain a consistent “CUSTOM” as Daniel did? A “CUSTOM” is an unwritten rule or routine, something one does habitually. Something one does over and over as an act of willpower becomes a habit in about two weeks. Let’s follow Daniel’s example!!!

Daniel 5 moves us to the next generation past Nebuchadnezzar. Belshazzar has set Daniel aside, but the Queen Mother remembers Daniel. He’s available when needed to represent the true and only God. The saying, “Like father, like son” is true here. In 5:22 Daniel says to Belshazzar, who was using the sacred vessels of the Jerusalem Temple to worship the idols, “But you, his [Nebuchadnezzar’s] son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this.” There’s a lesson here for us all. Every generation must learn truth for themselves. Like the Queen Mother, we must reach into our memories and tell the stories that pass on the truth! Belshazzar is killed. Darius overthrows the Babylonian Empire, and the Empire of the Medes and Persians begins.

Daniel 6 shows Daniel once again placed by the new ruler into a key position of leadership. All the emperors have received a revelation of the true God. Darius learned through the miracle of Daniel’s safety from the lions. Cyrus, the Persian king, who may have been the son of Queen Esther, the Jewess, steps into place when Daniel is an old man in his eighties. Imagine a man serving during the reigns of four kings with integrity, consistency, and most of all, godliness…an example of what a person can be!!!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I’m challenged by Daniel’s life! I pray for grace to be consistent in my prayer life and faithful to read and learn from Your Holy Word! I ask this in the Name of the One Who is the greatest Example of consistency, Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I continue to look for new opportunities for the Lord to use me in ministry. Is that crazy at almost 80! Daniel served in a leadership role well past his eightieth year. He must have been almost 90 when, as the last verse of today’s reading says, “He prospered.” Well, if Cyrus was the son of Esther, the Jewess, then he had a soft spot in his heart for this Jewish man named Daniel. I’m speculating here, but then the Scripture does say, “Your old men dream dreams!”

Yours for living all our days to the full and for serving the Lord through serving others,

David

Thursday, March 19, 2020

NOW I KNOW

Today’s Reading: Daniel 3-4

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

 

The Jewish historian Josephus called this a “most magnificent palace” that Herod the Great built on a promontory jutting out into the water. The pool in the centre was nearly Olympic in size and was filled with fresh water. A statue once stood in the centre. Paul may have been imprisoned on the grounds of this palace (Acts 23:35). Caesarea Maritima is a national park on Israel’s coastline. These ruins are a monument to the fourth empire in Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Rome (Daniel 2:40). The two young Israelis in the picture have probably heard of Daniel’s prophecies in Hebrew Bible studies, which continue throughout all the years of formal education in Israel.

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

 

Key Verses: Daniel 3:17-18

If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.

 

King Nebuchadnezzar, in today’s reading, is progressing toward an understanding that there is only One true God. In chapter two he confesses, “Truly your God is the God of gods” (Daniel 2:47). All four emperors in Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream thought they were gods to be worshipped. Today’s reading (Daniel 3), describing the image of Nebuchadnezzar made of gold and his command to worship his idol, shows that he was probably the most proud one of them all. After the miracle of the preservation of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the fiery furnace, the king moved another step closer to the truth. This time he confesses, “There is no other god who can deliver like this” (Daniel 3:29b). Nevertheless, he still believes there are other gods.

In Daniel 4 we read of another dream and another interpretation by Daniel. Babylonian records have a seven-year blank in the history of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. He lost his mind for that period of time, and then he recorded his return to sanity with these words, “My understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honoured Him who lives forever!” (Daniel 4:34). He reassumed his throne and confessed, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the God of Heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. Those who walk in pride He is able to abase” (Daniel 4:37).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, You are the One and only God! I pray that You will reveal to me more and more of Who You are. As the book of Hebrews tells me, the one “who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6b). So I come to You and ask for the reward of knowing You with greater understanding (my mind) and deeper experience (my heart). I pray this in the Name of the One who is in Himself, “the Image of the invisible God!” Jesus Christ (Messiah). Amen!!! (read Colossians 1:15-22).

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I grew up listening to Bible stories. In grade seven I did a huge mural on the wall of our classroom featuring the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of those wonders. In my imagination I saw Nebuchadnezzar proudly strutting along the parapets of the gardens saying, “Is not this great Babylon I have built…” (Daniel 4:30a) and then humbled for the seven years of mental collapse, roaming around those gardens eating grass. I’ve since discovered that while much of Babylon has been excavated by archeologists, there is no evidence that such a garden ever existed. Of course, it’s in the writings of the later Greek authors, not in the Bible. In this blog I’ve quoted the words of King Nebuchadnezzar, recorded in the Bible, about his understanding of the true God. I want to invite you to consider the words of a prayer by a present-day ruler, President Museveni of Uganda. Many Ugandan leaders believe that the “Unity” message of the “World Embrace” ministry featured in this blog yesterday is an answer to their leader’s prayer (click here for his prayer, the audio is indistinct, but the words are written so we can read his prayer). The former dictator, Idi Amin, who murdered huge numbers of his own people, was Muslim, and today Uganda is holding back the tide of Islam that threatens to engulf the rest of Africa. Let us pray fervently for the Ugandan people and its President.

Yours with the prayer that more and more world leaders will acknowledge the true God!!!

David

P.S. Please don’t think of Uganda as a collection of mud and grass huts. Its cities are modern and its government apparatus very sophisticated. Below is a photo taken in the capital city of Kampala, population 1.2 million.

 

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

FOUR GOOD MEN

Today’s Reading: Daniel 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).

 

Among the ruins of Ephesus is one of the largest ancient amphitheatres in existence today. The four great empires of today’s reading, including the one that built this gigantic structure, have come and gone. The Kingdom established by God through His Son, Jesus Christ (Messiah), remains forever!

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

 

Key Verses: Daniel 2:19-20

Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His.”

 

Daniel, an outstanding man of God, served as a leader over the entire 70 year period of Babylonian/Persian captivity. He represented the true God so well that the emperors acknowledged the God of Israel as GOD as a result of Daniel’s ministry. This Old Testament book can only be compared with the New Testament book of Revelation for its prophetic content. God is “forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His!” (2:20).

Daniel chapter one singles out four young Hebrew men for their excellence of character. The king’s assessment, as a result of his interview with them, was that they were 10 times more qualified than the others. This provides a challenge for us to be people of excellence!

Chapter two moves us directly into the recognition that God alone knows the secrets of the human heart, and He alone can reveal that which people on their own can never know. Daniel pulls back the curtain and writes of four great empires. The current Babylonian one, and the Persian, Greek, and Roman empires yet to come. The confession of King Nebuchadnezzar in 2:47 is astonishing. This proud Emperor fell prostrate on his face and declared to Daniel, “Truly your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings!” From Daniel we learn to bring our witness for God into the culture, into government and into everyday life. This is happening today in the country called by Winston Churchill “the Pearl of Africa,” Uganda (more details tomorrow).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I bow before You in recognition that You are my King! Rule and reign in my life, I pray. Reveal Yourself to me as I read Your Word and pray each day. Grant me, I ask, understanding and the wisdom to apply Your Word to my life in practical ways that will bless, not only me, but all those with whom I come into contact. I pray this in the Name of the One who did this at all times, Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I want to thank my sons with all my heart for their participation in this blog. I’ve mentioned before that Ron helps me (I’m semi-illiterate in computers) by formatting and posting the blog each day, every day. The amazing blog experience of Ron’s wife Ann from yesterday’s blog is well worth reading again and sending to others. Tomorrow, God willing, I’ll try to connect readers with a prayer from Uganda’s President. This illustrates, as did Nebuchadnezzar’s experience, that, as a result of strong prayers and faith, God gets through to heads of state.

Yours for the fulfillment of God’s purposes in our time as demonstrated in their time by those four young men in today’s reading,

David

 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

PETER

Today’s Reading: 2 Peter 1-3

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

 

Along with many Christian symbols, statues and art, Rome also displays many gods. Here is a statue of Neptune (and a disrespectful seagull!). We may contrast the myth of “the sea god” with the One whom Peter calls “Our God and Saviour Jesus Christ!” Peter writes these words, “We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

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

 

Key Verses: 2 Peter 1:15-16

And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

 

Peter sets out his intentions in writing this letter in the very first verse. He writes to “those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ [Messiah].” He makes it totally clear that he believes Jesus Christ is fully God! He continues throughout all three chapters by referring to Jesus as “Lord” eleven times! This is the Name for God used hundreds of times in Peter’s Bible, our Old Testament.

In 2 Peter 1, the Apostle states his total confidence in “the prophetic Word.” We’ve just completed Ezekiel, and tomorrow we’ll begin in Daniel (prophetic words). I’m sure we would have Peter’s approval for our Bible reading discipline.

In 2 Peter 2, Peter is very strong in his warnings about false teachers who prey on Christians. He uses the example of the false prophets that we’ve encountered over and over in our Old Testament readings to alert us to these dangers to our never-dying souls.

In 2 Peter 3, this first-hand witness to the glory of God in the Lord Jesus (he was present at the transfiguration – Matthew 17:1-8) now states the fact that “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (3:10a). He writes of our “beloved brother Paul” whose writings the “untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (3:16).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus Christ, my God and Saviour, I pray that as I read the Scriptures, the “precious faith” (first verse) of which Peter writes will grow in me as the last statement Peter writes encourages me. Grant the grace, the gift of daily discipline in studying Your Word, so that I will consistently “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (3:18). In His strong Name I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

The Bible College from which I graduated, Eastern Pentecostal Bible College (now known as Masters College and Seminary), had a theme chorus which we students would often sing, including these words: “The Word of God! We’ll stand upon the Word of God! Though the foes of the Lord will scorn His Word, WE’LL STAND UPON THE WORD OF GOD!!!” My heart thrills as I sing it (under my breath because it’s still very early in the morning). In fact, after 6 a.m. I’ll go for a walk, find a place where I can raise my voice, and sing loudly!

I was greatly blessed when Ron’s wife, Ann, shared with Norma-Jean and me about a wonderful internet exchange (Ron and Ann format this blog for me to fill in the blanks and Ann is an excellent editor). I’ve been waiting for the right time to share her story on my blog (click here to read her short story). I pray that I will be like Ann, sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit every morning. On the TV series, Full Circle, Ann ended almost every episode with these words, “Remember, keep your eyes on Jesus; it’s all about Him!”

Yours for paying close attention to the powerful words written by the Apostle Peter,

David

P.S. I often think of the words of Peter and Jesus as spoken by the actors in the Son of God movie. Peter asks Jesus, “What are we going to do?” Jesus responds with these words, “CHANGE THE WORLD!!!” It’s St. Patrick’s day! He was a simple yet powerful world changer for Jesus who used the shamrock to teach the Trinity.

Monday, March 16, 2020

THE PRINCE

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 46-48

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

 

The view of Jericho from half-way up the Mount of Temptation. Jericho is located at the junction of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea and is 1,200 feet below Sea Level. It is an oasis in an otherwise harsh wilderness, because of fresh water springs which give abundant life. Ezekiel prophesies that this area will flourish during the time of the final Temple (yet future), because of a new river of water which will flow from Jerusalem into the valley of what we now know as the Dead Sea. Imagine a river flowing along the valley seen on the right of Reynold’s photograph (Ezekiel 47:8-9).

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

 

Key Verses: Ezekiel 47:22, 48:35

…you will divide it [the land]…for yourselves and for the strangers who sojourn among you and who bear children among you. They shall be to you as native born…All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE!

 

Ezekiel 46 tells us five times of “The Prince!” Isaiah calls Him “Prince of Peace,” (Isaiah 9:6) and during His reign as Messiah King, there will be total peace. Here and now He brings “peace on earth” (the message to the shepherds at the birth of Jesus), and read about how He brings peace to the troubled soul in the present (Ephesians 2:13-18).

Ezekiel 47 describes the final Temple to be built in Jerusalem, serving the whole world during the final 1,000 years before the new heaven and the new earth, of which Peter writes (we move over to Second Peter in tomorrow’s reading).

Ezekiel 48 describes the distribution of land and includes the “stranger” (non-Jew). The departments of immigration in our various countries could learn God’s plan for caring for everyone whom He cares for equally. Seven times in today’s reading we read of lands that “belong to the Prince.” We have something in Canada called “Crown Land.” In theory it belongs to Queen Elizabeth 2 (translate that as government). We may have temporary title to land, but the real owner of all is “The Prince!”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, You were so concerned with every detail of the Temple construction and use. Surely You are even more concerned with the temple in whom You dwell in this age. Paul taught that I am Your temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). Be in charge of this human temple, I pray! I ask You this in the Name of the One “In Whom dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:8-10), Jesus Christ (Messiah). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My wife, Norma-Jean, has told me several times that she expects Israel to build a wall between the Dome of the Rock (a Muslim shrine on the Temple mount for the last 1,300 years) and the actual location of the Temple Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, so that a new Temple can be built. She has actually paced out the space. She claims there’s room there for a Temple to be built beside the mosque. Maybe? That land is a fuse waiting for someone to ignite it, launching what could be World War III. The Eastern Gate in Jerusalem’s wall, blocked up by the Muslims, leads directly into the core of what once was the Temple.

My sons (who help me with this blog) and I walked from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. Jerusalem is 2,500 feet above Sea Level and the Dead Sea is 1,300 feet below. I imagined the rush of the waters spoken of in Ezekiel 47, coursing down the valleys beside the road (someone captured on video a rush of water down to the Dead Sea after a rain in the Judean hills…click here). My imagination and ability to use words which paint a picture is not nearly as descriptive as those of Ezekiel. Today is the last reading for now in Ezekiel.

Yours for communicating, in as many ways as possible, the Gospel message,

David

P.S. This blocked-up Eastern Gate (below) in the wall of Jerusalem would have opened in a direct line with the entrance to the central area of the Temple at the time of Jesus. The ancient Eastern Gate, through which Jesus passed on Palm Sunday, was discovered by Jim Fleming, a professor at the college in Jerusalem where my daughter, Ellen Shaheen, was a student. It’s just below this section of the wall. Ezekiel said that the Prince would enter through the “gateway of the inner court that faces toward the east” (Ezekiel 46:1-2).