A careful reading through the life of the Apostle Paul will yield insight concerning those who surrounded him. In this brief devotion, I want to focus on two of Paul's friends — Luke and Demas.
David is called a “man after God’s own heart.” Considering that he lusted after his neighbor's wife, committed adultery with her, and had her husband murdered, the Lord's description of him is remarkable. How could a man who was convicted a murderer and an adulterer also be called one after God’s own heart?
"Exhausted but still in pursuit…" Well, now we know why the angel of YHVH addressed Gideon the way he did. With his small three hundred man army he had just decimated the army of Midian — but the victory wasn’t complete, and so the Jewish general and his small, exhausted, hungry, band were determined to cross the Jordan and take care of 15,000 additional Midanite enemies and their leaders, Zebah and Zalmunna.
Returning from their 'mission' trip, the 72 disciples of Yeshua (Jesus) were filled with joy. "Even the devils are subject to us through your name", they exulted. Yeshua responded that He saw Satan fall like lightening from Heaven and that He had given them authority to trample snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy.
William Wilberforce led a campaign against the British Parliament to abolish slavery in the late 1700's and early 1800's. During the course of his intense efforts, Wilberforce came to a desperate place of discouragement, feeling he had absolutely no more strength to continue. In this condition he was about to give up, when his elderly friend, John Wesley, lying on his deathbed, was informed of his friend William's distress.
The Jewish leaders of His time rejected Yeshua (Jesus) when He first came. He didn't meet their expectations. They were expecting a Messiah who would bring relief from the Romans, restore the Kingdom of David, and usher in an era of tranquility throughout the world. It is probable that their intense jealousy of Yeshua blinded them to the numerous passages in the Tenach (OT) which describe Messiah as a suffering servant, since they were certainly aware of those passages.
In this world we will face all kinds of obstacles, trials and tribulations and we should be wary of any doctrines or teachings that say we shouldn’t have to face these things. Why? Because the Lord said we will have tribulations. So the encouragement He is giving is simply this: You’re going to face trials, but GOD is greater than any problem you will face in this world!
During the American Civil War in the 1860's, a fierce battle took place at Altoona Pass. It was a key supply point for the Union Army, so the Confederate Army led by General Hood sought to take Altoona Pass which held over a million and a half rations. When Union General Sherman realized Hood's plans, he dispatched General Corse along with 1,500 men to hold the city.
A foreign soldier was brought before his commanding officer and accused of communicating with the enemy. He had been seen emerging from an area where their troops were known to patrol. The poor man summed up his defense in a few words, stating that he had slipped away to spend an hour alone in prayer. "Have you been in the habit of spending an hour in private prayer?" demanded the officer. "Yes, Sir," he replied. "Well" said his commander, "never in your life have you been in more need of prayer than right now. Kneel down and pray aloud so that we all may hear you."
As we enter into day 16 of Operation Protective Shield, we read how a "ceasefire" is proposed by different countries in order to settle the conflict. However, it's not a 'true' peace they want to achieve, but just a pause in the violence. A ceasefire in the eyes of Islam is called a 'hudna', which is understood as a time to regroup and rearm before rising to its ultimate victory. So how does one truly achieve peace?
The Lord gave us His promise to send us a helper — the Holy Spirit. The word for "helper" in the NT Greek is "paraclete". This word has more meaning then simply "helper" — it was also an ancient term used in warfare. When Greek warriors went onto the battle field, they went out in pairs, so when the enemy attacked they could stand back-to-back, covering each other's blind side. The battle partner in Greek was called a "paraclete" — he was there to watch your back!
Rockets are flying through the skies of Israel and many are landing on the ground. Emails are also flying through cyberspace as people all over the world express support through prayer for us and our nation. Words cannot express our gratitude for your care and concern. In times like these the best and the worst are brought out in people: either the peace, confidence, and strength which come from faith, or the fear and panic which overwhelms the souls of worldly men.
For the next week or so we'll be looking closely at the life of Jonah the prophet. Jonah was told to "preach against the city of Nineveh", that was in the ancient kingdom of Assyria. Nineveh was a major city on the banks of the Tigris River about 500 miles north and east of where Jonah was; located on a contemporary map in modern Iraq, about 300 miles north of Baghdad. Archaeologists have found the ruins of ancient Nineveh right outside the Iraqi city of Mosul. Yes, the same Mosul that was taken last week by jihadists!
A "beachhead" is the first objective, the primary location for a military force landing on an enemy shore, which, when secured can be used to gain further advancement.
My wife has had an interesting life. Here, she shares a small portion of her past: I was born in Israel. My parents divorced when I was a toddler and my mother met and married a hippie American tourist who was searching his roots in Israel at the time. Later, we went back to the States with him. Little did we realize that he was heavily addicted to drugs and this among other things made for a very unhappy family and little on which to live.
Some time ago, two university students in Moorhead, Minnesota painted a mural on the wall outside their dorm room. It was of a school of fish all swimming in the same direction except for a single fish heading the opposite way. That one fish going the other direction was meant to be Jesus. Included in the mural were the words, "Go against the flow." Sadly, university officials argued that the mural might offend non-Christians, and told the students to paint over it.
Picture this — you come home from a long day of work — you walk into your living room — plop down on your couch in exhaustion — and there in the corner of the room — your eyes are drawn to something moving — it's a rattlesnake! Do you say to yourself, "Oh, I'm too tired to worry about that now, I'll deal with it later?" Of course not! You jump up right away, find a bat or something, alert your family, call the neighbors, 911, the fire department, the national guard, and start praying with all your might! It's a life-threatening situation!
Every time I turn on the news it seems the new buzzword is – CHANGE! So how can we just shift gears and change? Let's learn a lesson about basic automotive mechanics. Generally a car has between 4 and 5 gears. The first gear maximizes power in exchange for speed. As you move through the gears, you can continue to go faster, yet without using any more power, and before you know it – you have to look at the speedometer – cause nobody wants a speeding ticket!
Writing to the Corinthian Church, Paul illustrates his exhortation using the metaphors of running a race and fighting a boxing match. Victory is achieved by bringing your body into submission to the will of God.
The Bible speaks of a great falling away in the last days (2 Thessalonians 2) before the end of the age arrives, and it seems that we’re seeing it on a grand scale all around us. Virtually everywhere we look we're watching the decline of morality and ethics — in government, entertainment, and social culture. It seems hard to deny…