You are beloved!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Appreciation

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Another interesting correlation we draw from Mashiach Ben Joseph is how Joseph was the object of his father’s (Jacob) love, just as Yeshua (Jesus) was loved of our Heavenly Father. This preference Jacob had for Joseph was unequivocal, and it was also pretty controversial among his brothers. Competition among siblings seemed to infect the family just as it can in many of our own families. But the beauty of Joseph's place in his father's heart emerges when we realize that, as a type of Yeshua (Jesus), Joseph powerfully illustrates the love our Heavenly Father has for all of us, equally and intensely, so there's no need or cause for competition among us.

Now Jacob's love for Joseph was connected with his love for Rachel and the long wait for a son by his beloved wife. Joseph didn't have to do anything to earn Jacob's love. It was not based on his performance, even though it turned out that his character was pretty sterling. Likewise, our Father's love for us is totally based in His love for Yeshua, not on our performance. Our HIGHS do not exalt us, and our LOWS do not depress us in the sight of the Father. Our acceptance is not dependent on us, but rather on Him who sits on the throne, Who never changes!

Rejoice, for your are accepted in the “beloved!” You may say to yourself, "There's nothing good here!" But remember that God the Father is seeing His Son when He looks at you. Your struggle against temptation and sin only proves that you have been lovingly adopted into His family, fully identified with His beloved Son. Realizing this is a source of tremendous freedom, prompting deep gratitude and a growing desire for relationship with God.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Appreciation

Take shelter in Him!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Appreciation

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Psalm 143:8-9 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; In You I take shelter.

During World War II, a US marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific Island. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire he had lost touch with his comrades. Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction. Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to several small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves.

Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly search all the caves and he would be killed. As he waited, he prayed, "Lord, if it be your will, please protect me. Whatever your will though, I love you and trust you. Amen."

After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw close. He thought, "Well, I guess the Lord isn't going to help me out of this one.."

Then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave. As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the while, the spider layered strand after strand of web across the opening of the cave. "Ha," he thought. "What I need is a brick wall and what the Lord has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor."

As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to his, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however, after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on.

Suddenly, he realized that with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as if no one had entered for quite a while. "Lord, forgive me," prayed the young man. "I had forgotten that in you a spider's web are stronger than a brick wall."

God's resources to protect you are vast. When you pray for protection, believe that He hears you and is able to manage it with great skill, and even perhaps a stroke of humor.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Appreciation

Your Reward is Before You!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Appreciation

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, And His arm (z’roah in Hebrew) shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.

Revelation 22:12 "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work."

Isaiah tells us that the LORD'S Arm shall rule for Him and that He is coming with reward — and a similar passage in Revelation declares that the Lord Yeshua (Jesus) is coming to reward His saints.

We live this earthly life recognizing that we are “strangers and pilgrims” [Hebrews 11:13] in this world — but are working now in full expectation of a heavenly future. C.S. Lewis once wrote, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world!"

We know we were made for another world, where the treasure we have stored while working here will neither rust nor corrode, nor be stolen. If you're looking for a pat on the back now [not that praises shouldn't be given or received], you've missed the point of ministry.

This reminds me of a story. There was a husband and wife who served many years in the ministry as missionaries in a far away land. As they returned to the States, the arriving ship was greeted by a brass band. Their initial thought was that this was an arranged greeting to honor them — but soon discovered that a dignitary was also on the ship. They collected their luggage and booked a cheap motel room. While sitting on the bed, the husband started to cry and said, "We've served God for many years. We've got no money, no house, and when we've returned home, there's not even anyone to meet us!" His wife looked at him and said, "Hon, we're not home yet!"

We're not home yet! Don't believe for a minute that your work in this world is going unseen in Heaven. "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love which ye showed toward his name, in that ye ministered unto the saints, and still do minister." [Hebrews 6:10] Let's be earnestly seeking His praise that when we see Him face to face, He may say to all of us, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!" A true homecoming…and a true reward!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Appreciation

Our Goel Lives!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Appreciation

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

Job 19:25 For I know that my Redeemer (Goel) lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;

As we continue our study in Ruth during this Shavout season, the theme of redemption is prevalent. We read that Boaz became Naomi and Ruth's "kinsman redeemer", or "goel" – from the Hebrew, "lig'ol", to redeem, receive or buy back. In the Torah, a provision had been made for the poor person who was forced to sell part of his property or even himself (into slavery). This man's nearest of kin could step in and "buy back" or "redeem" what his relative had been forced to sell. [Leviticus 25:25] A slave could be redeemed from his bondage by his "goel" who literally purchased his relative's freedom.

In the story of Ruth, we read that Boaz became Naomi and Ruth's "goel", their kinsman "redeemer". First, Boaz was qualified as kin to Naomi's deceased husband Elimelech [Ruth 2:1]. Secondly, he needed to be able to redeem by paying the price of redemption. [Ruth 4:2-3]. And finally, he was willing to redeem the land which had belonged to Elimelech.[Ruth 4:4].

Naomi's losses had been devastating in Moab. Her husband and two sons had passed away and she had returned to her ancestral homeland a desolate woman, with no inheritance. Her only solace was Ruth, whose love and loyalty were legendary. But Ruth's character of devotion apparently inspired Boaz to love her, and even to ignore her Moabite ancestry; for when Boaz decided to redeem Elimelech's property, he also agreed to marry Ruth. Naomi's life, her inheritance and her destiny were also redeemed in this sweeping transaction. She had returned to Israel in deep bitterness, yet through this beautiful and unexpected redemption her friends exclaim "Blessed be the LORD, which has not left thee this day without a 'goel'. [Ruth 4:14]

The marriage of Ruth and Boaz produced a son named Obed, and a grandson named Jesse, who was the father of King David; four generations of the lineage of Yeshua the Messiah. And through his redemption of Ruth and Naomi, Boaz became a picture of Yeshua (Jesus) our Kinsman-Redeemer, who redeemed us for Himself, out of desolation and slavery to sin, and made us His own beloved bride!

Isn't it amazing how a tiny slice of human history can be filled with such significance and typological meaning? Only God could invest a beautiful human love story with an eternal redemptive purpose. Can we do any less than to fall-or rather rise-hopelessly in love with such a Redeemer?!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Appreciation

Thank God for Independence!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Appreciation

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Phillipians 2:6-8 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Tonight we'll participate in the Independence Day celebration in Israel — and what a party! — shows, fireworks, music, dancing, everything under the sun!

But interestingly, today is a very solemn one; Israel's Memorial Day, commemmorating all the soldiers who died protecting the nation's birth and continued existence. All the major television stations stopped airing their programs for twenty-four hours in honor of these men and women. At different times during the day, long loud sirens wailed all throughout the Land. Wherever anyone was as the sirens sounded, the entire population stopped whatever they were doing — even standing still on the highways, to give honor to the fallen soldiers. The dedication and camaraderie among Israelis is just amazing to witness and take part in. I have traveled many places and I've never seen anything like it.

This juxtaposition of two of Israel's national holidays speaks powerfully of the gospel. Messiah's death purchased our freedom from sin and eternal damnation. We've often heard and been reminded of the cost paid for our independence by soldiers who gave their lives defending our nation. It is a beautiful and precious thing to remember, when you think of the value of human life and the blessing of individual freedom. Yet our Lord willingly laid down His life for our eternal freedom and joy in a New Creation. How much more should we give honor to His sacrificial death and then…celebrate the astounding destiny He has bestowed on us!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Appreciation