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.
So the captain came to Jonah, and said to him, "What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish." At this point the captain (who probably worshiped Baal and Yamm, god of the sea) has more faith than Jonah.
It must have been a bad storm. These men were experienced, hardened sailors who had seen it all at sea. If they were scared, this could have been the first "perfect storm" since Noah's flood. So they started the first interfaith prayer meeting in the Bible, each man crying out to his own god. As the ship groaned and creaked in howling wind and massive waves, and the men threw cargo overboard in a desperate attempt to save it, where was Jonah? On deck helping them? Confidently praying to His own God? Shaking with fear and paralyzed with deep conviction? No, he’s taking a nap down below…
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!
Just over six years ago, our second, Obadiah was born and he's grown so much! It's amazing to me how fast these kids grow. He has long since outgrown his newborn clothes and is now fitting into kids clothes, sheesh! Weighing in originally at just over 8.1 lbs, he's already pushing 50! He likes to eat — the kid can't get enough!
The world loves the extraordinary, the spectacular. It relishes on the big, bright, grand and expensive. I remember when we traveled through Las Vegas years ago, to speak at a church in Carson City. Uyy! The lights, the size of everything — crazy! But all I could think as we rolled down Sunset Strip was how sad it is that this is what the world finds extraordinary. The bigger, the brighter, the more expensive — the more the world worships it.
I love fishing… but sadly, I haven't been able to fish for quite a while. There's the Mediterranean, but other than that, the few good fishing spots in Israel are not really available to the public. So sad. Nevertheless, fishing gives me a chance to get a break from the world and just relax and meditate — and on a good day, maybe catch a fish or two. But there are different kinds of fishermen, and different ways of fishing…
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.
The king of the birds was looking in the mirror one day and was disappointed to see that his feathers were not as bright as they were once. "I am getting old," he said, "I think it will soon be time to choose a new king". He decided to announce that on a certain day, all the birds will gather and present themselves before him so that he would be able choose from among them the most beautiful of all to be their next king. The crow got wind of the king's plans and began to fret. "There are so many beautiful birds in the kingdom and I am only a colorless crow. I don't have a chance at becoming king." Suddenly, he had a terrific idea. He began to search through the woods and fields for colorful feathers fallen from the wings of his companions, and stuck them in amongst his own.
Here's another interesting Hebrew word parallel. The Hebrew word for "love" or "affection", "chiba", is formed by the same root letters as the word, "chova", "obligation", "debt", or "duty". In Hebrew, the only difference between these two words is a few vowel points. But you say, "Isn't love the very opposite of obligation !?" Well, yes and no. The Hebrew language has a wonderful way of relating concepts which seem incompatible.
There’s nothing we can do to earn God’s love, however if we want to experience His blessings we need to observe the qualifications that He’s given us in His Word. Psalm 112 details a whole list of blessings, but the key to receiving them is verse 1.
Here in Israel we have an interesting geographical phenomenon – there are two landlocked seas. One is alive and one is dead. The sea full of life is the Kinneret, better known as the Sea of Galilee. The dead sea is…….you guessed it, the Dead Sea. Now the Kinneret is constantly emptying as it flows through the Jordan River valley…. into the Dead Sea. But the Dead Sea does not empty its water at all. Instead, the Dead Sea is continually shrinking, because the intense heat at this lowest place on Earth actually evaporates more water than is flowing in. Do you see a parable here?
Biblical Hebrew uses a grammatical form called "s'michut". This form joins two words together to form a single word form. We have this in English: for example, a door and a knob are two nouns, which are used to form the word "doorknob", a compound noun. This form of joining nouns is found in Judges 6:12. The expression, "Angel of the Lord" is rendered, "angel-YHVH"; (Yud-Hay-Vav-Hay); in modern English — "angel-Yehovah". Then, suddenly, the narrative changes from "angel-Yehovah" to simply, "Yehovah". Here we see another appearance of YHVH in human form in the Old Testament. The God-Man, Yeshua in a "pre-incarnate" appearance.
One of the most fascinating sites to visit in Washington D.C. is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. For 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, a platoon of 30 honor guards protects the tomb through rain, snow and even hurricanes! It's been guarded every minute of every day since 1937.
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!
When Ruth pledged her alligence to Naomi and to the God of Israel, it wasn't based on, "What ifs?" or circumstances. It was a faith rooted in her devotion to Naomi and God even to the point of death!
In Biblical Hebrew, the verb tenses are not like our "past", "present", and "future" – there are only two: "perfect" and "imperfect". The "imperfect" tense is that which is not yet, not done, or not completed. The "perfect" is that which is done, complete and finished.
50,000 soldiers from the tribe of Zebulun served in David's army with UNDIVIDED (some translations: "not double-hearted") hearts. Can you imagine a skilled army with this level of loyalty and devotion?
When Peter and John had gone up to the Temple for prayer [Acts 3], they saw a man who was lame from birth, and were moved to heal him in the name of Yeshua (Jesus). Immediately the religious leaders laid hands on them [Acts 4:3] and kept them imprisoned for a day. The following day, with boldness, they declared this miracle was done in the name of Yeshua. I love what the "religious" leaders said next — "they perceived that they were unlearned men and they marveled at their boldness!" Why were they bold? They had been with Yeshua, and the leaders took note of that!
One constant pitfall we must watch for is taking credit for something that God does in or through us, or using the gifts and callings of God for self-exaltation. In that light it may be easier to handle poverty, weakness, or insignificance, than wealth, ability, power or authority, since poverty and frailty are not normally things we boast about, and they cause us to recognize our need for God. Prosperity, gifting, and anointing, on the other hand can be powerful temptations, leading to pride, covetousness, and self-sufficiency.