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.
As some of you may know, a bomb exploded in a bus within blocks of our Jerusalem apartment when we first moved to Israel. That morning, my wife and I, along with our newborn baby, were heading to the city center to run a few errands when suddenly we heard the explosion. Within minutes, the sirens were screaming from every part of the city as officials quickly made their way to the scene. Later that month, the bus I was supposed to be on drove away as I watched it carry away the 50 or so people who would be critically injured and the 8 who would be dead seconds later, when that bus exploded before my very eyes. So, to put it mildly, we have seen firsthand how terrorism works and how it affects people.
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.
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.
As we are entering Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, I want to share a touching story about a an exceptional woman who assisted 2,500 young Jewish children out of the ghettos during World War II.
The writer of Ecclesiastes was aware of cycles in nature, how they repeat themselves. Some have noticed another interesting historical cycle which awakens our awareness at this time of year. The dates April 19th-20th contain an interesting pattern. This is a time frame which has seen the birth of much havoc in the world.
The word for builder in Hebrew is "bo-neh". It is also translated repairer. When our Messiah came 2000 years ago, He came to repair lives — to do a complete restoration of all that is broken in this world. Interestingly, the Hebrew words for son, "ben" and daughter, "baht" both also come from the word "bo-neh".
On Monday, two volcanoes erupted in Indonesia which forced air flights to be rerouted. It reminded me of another volcano that erupted in 1991.
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 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.
This is one of my favorite promises in the Bible — that God turns mourning into dancing! He takes away the anguish of being clothed in sadness and replaces it with gladness. However, notice what God doesn't do — simply stop your mourning and make it disappear. No, He transforms it…into joy!
On December 25, 1908, a newspaper in Messina, Silicy dared God to make Himself known by sending an earthquake. Three days later, the city was destroyed by an earthquake that killed over 84,000 people.
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.
We have seen that names have significant meanings, and as discussed earlier, Elimelech, whose name means "My God is King", left Bethlehem with Naomi his wife and their two sons. The birth of these two boys must have brought joy and happiness, yet, having perished in Moab actually caused their very names to lose their original meanings.
Luke 18:27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. True story! In 1940, a large and wonderful Christian family, the Rudolph's, announced the birth of their 20th baby! Though the baby was not expected to live, having been born prematurely and with polio, she defied all odds. She […]
Today marks Holocaust Memorial day here in Israel. At ten o'clock in the morning on this day, war sirens sound calling the entire Land to remembrance of the 6,000,000 Jews who died and many more who suffered under the Nazi regime during WW2. People in their homes and workplaces rise in silence; cars come to a halt, even on the highways; pedestrians stop where they are and pause… for one minute as the sirens wail, we remember.
At first glance, it would seem that God allowed this earthquake to take place in order that Paul and Silas would be set free. The earthquake came and their bands were loosed. There was nothing holding them back. They could have fled immediately — wouldn't have you?
Yesterday, I wrote about building your house upon the rock — because of the violent nature of "flash floods" and "flash rivers" that can quickly form in Israel.
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 …
As I write, it seems the prevailing concern among people everywhere is -– what's going on with the economy? Europe is on the verge of an economic collapse. Even the kings of wall street are suffering huge losses with JP Morgan reporting losing over $2 billion yesterday. People are watching their wealth dissipating and dwindling away. Reflecting on these material losses reminds me of a story about a lady who perished in Pompeii in the first century.