Sukkot is a festival about rejoicing in the blessings that God has provided, but let’s be sure our focus is on the Lord of blessing – instead of the blessings!
As California enters its third year of an intense drought, with nearly 60 percent of the state now in an "exceptional drought", it reminded me of a story that happened in Israel.
We've been encouraged by numerous phone calls and emails over the past few days, telling us that people are praying and fasting for Israel and believers in the land — and we so appreciate it, more than words could ever express!
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.
As the United States celebrates the 4th of July tomorrow – Independence day – we're often reminded of the price that was paid for our freedom. But today, in that spirit, I want to recall a time when a heavy price was paid for a translation of our Bible.
Jonah now acknowledges that God put him where he is, and he accepts His discipline. "Sheol" is the "grave", the "pit" or the "abode of the dead". Did Jonah die, or was he only nearly dead from three days of fish stomach acid, and little or no air? The text doesn't say; only that if he didn't actually leave his body, he came as close as a man can get to it; three days worth. In this nebulous and miserable place Jonah cried out, probably from the deepest depths of his agonized soul…he cried out to the Lord.
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.
In the Tenach (Old Testament), the Lord commanded Israel to count the Omer (the Barley Harvest) beginning the day after the sabbath during Passover, 50 days to the Biblical Festival of Shavuot (Pentecost). Today is the 29th day of the Omer and Shavuot is just a few weeks away…
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt I'm sure several million people were wondering, "How am I going to be fed? How am I going to survive in this wilderness?" Imagine the logistical nightmare. An incalculable quantity of food and water were needed to survive in the desert. Where would it come from? Yet, in this seemingly impossible situation, God provided!
Missionaries Dick and Margaret Hillis found themselves caught in China during the Japanese invasion. The couple lived with their two children in the inland town of Shenkiu. The village was tense with fear, for every day brought terrifying reports of the Japanese advance. At the worst possible time, Dick developed appendicitis, and he knew his life depended on making the long journey to the hospital. On January 15, 1941, with deep foreboding, Margaret watched him leave.
This is a story relayed by Corrie Ten Boom, "It was Christmas, 1944. My sister, Betsie, had died. I was in a hospital barracks in Ravensbruck, a Nazi prison camp. Dark it was in my heart, and darkness was around me. There were Christmas trees in the street between the barracks. Dead bodies of prisoners had been thrown under the Christmas trees. I tried to talk to the people around me about Christmas, but they mocked and sneered. At last I kept quiet.
The God-ordained Feast of Tabernacles is a prophetic feast, and one which will be kept by all the people of the world in the coming age. In resurrected bodies, we will be celebrating this feast, year to year in Jerusalem during the millennial reign of Yeshua (Jesus)! Can you imagine it — celebrating with the King of Kings! If that's not something to anticipate, I'm not sure what is!
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.
I ran across a profound story that shows what happens when the family structure breaks down — but this didn’t have to do with people — it had to do with elephants.
Sometimes, the more significant, powerful, or influential someone is, the less you know about him or her. There are some people of influence whose names most of us have never heard, and about whom we know almost nothing, yet they make decisions which affect millions of lives.
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.
Since 1927, Time Magazine has announced its "Man of the year award", and this year’s winner is President Barack Obama for the 2nd time. The magazine's tradition of naming a "Man of the year" has occasionally provoked significant controversy. In 1938, just before World War 2, Time named Adolf Hitler, "Man of the Year" just about one year …
When I was growing up in the 1980's we had a rotary dial phone. You put your finger in a numbered spot on a circular dialer which clicked as it returned to its place and registered the 7 or 10 numbers you selected. It took a full 10 to 20 seconds to complete a call and was really annoying if the number had a lot of 8s or 9s! Then came touch-tone phones…
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.
Most people have never heard of the first overseas missionary from America to Burma, Adoniram Judson. Judson was a brilliant man who learned to read when he was only 3. He went to college when he was just 16. He graduated valedictorian of his class at the age of 19. He was the son of a pastor, having been raised with Godly values, however while in college, he met a student named Jacob Eames, a deist who denied the miracles of the Bible. By the time Judson finished college he had turned completely from the Lord. For a short while, he lived a vagabond and reckless life, until a series of God-incidences turned his life inside out.