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!
One of the major themes of Rosh Hashana is called Akedat Yitzchak, which means the Binding of Isaac. According to Jewish tradition, God told Abraham that the ram's horn – otherwise known as a shofar – should be blown on Rosh Hashana to remind people of the sacrifice that God provided Himself when Abraham was about to offer Isaac on Mount Moriah.
A friend writes: "My father did some pretty nasty things to me. But at the end of his life, as I kneeled by his bedside, I told him how thankful I was for every good thing he had done and every way he had blessed me, and there were many. We were good friends when he passed away." One of the greatest regrets you can avoid at the end of your life is the failure to praise others when they deserved it, (and even when they didn't).
The Lord is quoted in this scripture in Matthew. It contains an important principle which believers sometimes tend to overlook. Many believe and even teach that if you're blessed, your life will be filled with material prosperity, and that if you are undergoing extreme trial, it must be because you have sinned or that you lack faith. The Lord says that the sun rises and the rain falls on both the righteous and the unrighteous alike.
During the Great Depression, poverty swept across America like a whirling tornado, ripping up dreams and scattering hopes to the wind. One such poverty twister hit a small part of Texas where a man named Yates ran a sheep ranch. Struggling even to keep food on the table, Yates and his wife did all they could to survive. Finally, they had to accept a government subsidy or lose their home and land to the creditors.
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.
With rockets daily being hailed down from Gaza, this is yet another of Satan's many attempts to annihilate Israel and the Jewish people in any way he can. Satan is actively at work, trying to rob the world of its blessing.
While most read the story of Jonah focusing on Jonah's journey, I want to pause and examine the lives of the pagan sailors. What a journey they were on! We see the hand of God touching them providentially through Jonah's disobedience. Talk about God bringing good from evil.
Pesach (Passover) celebrates Israel's final departure from Egypt – that's why we read about it in "Exodus!" Leaving their former lives of slavery, the Jewish people now pressed forward looking toward the "Promised Land" and a new way of life. Their purpose was not only departure – it was also arrival to a new destination. Now there was a significant 40 year delay in the wilderness….
Long ago, the shepherds of Israel learned to find grass where most people wouldn't think to look. Here, green pastures are created as the breeze from the Mediterranean Sea brings moisture into our arid climate. It is from this moisture that a kind of dew settles upon the sides of certain hills creating little tufts of grass — just enough for one day's feeding for a flock of sheep.
There are times in our lives that we are going through a spiritual valley and we want to get victory — we want to have answers — we want God's power to flow through us again.
Another great preacher whose writings I love to read is John R. Rice. He wrote, "I once imagined I was in Heaven, walking along with the Angel Gabriel. I said, "Gabe, what is that big building over there?"
We tend to focus on the part of that scripture where God does the blessing — but why did He bless Him? The answer lies in the passage! The Lord told Abraham: "I will bless you — and you shall be a blessing." Abraham was blessed so that he could be a blessing!
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?
During his reign, King Frederick William III of Prussia found himself in a bind. Wars had been costly, and in trying to build the nation, he was seriously short of finances. After careful reflection, he decided to ask the women of Prussia if they would bring their jewelry of gold and silver to be melted down for their country. Each piece of jewelry he received, he would exchange for a decoration of bronze or iron as a symbol of his gratitude. These decorations would be inscribed, 'I gave gold for iron, 18l3'.
In the most extreme moment of his life, when his entire household was threatened with annihilation, the Patriarch Jacob wrestled with a Man through an entire sleepless night. Somehow, after this astounding encounter, Jacob came to the realization that he had been wrestling with God, and face to face! Once again, the Lord God of heaven showed Himself as a human being to a man He loved; this time, for the purpose of rescuing, blessing, and preserving the man's destiny.
The Grand Canyon Park bookstore operated by the National Park Service found itself in the midst of some controversy a few years ago when they were selling a book written by creationists much to the ire of the National Center for Science Education.
by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions. James 5:16b The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Ever wonder what someone who's never seen the modern world thinks of us approaching a wall, pressing a few buttons and out comes lot's of money? Cash machines — they're everywhere — and if you've got […]
A survey asked mothers to keep track of how many times they made both negative and positive comments to their children. The surveyed mothers admitted that they criticized at least ten times for every one time they said something favorable. Another survey taken in one city's schools found that the teachers were negative seventy five per cent of the time. This study concluded that it takes four positive statements to a child from a parent or teacher to offset the effects of one negative statement. Wow, when I think about how many times I've said negative things to people in my lifetime, I have some positive paying back to do!