Live your life in Him!

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by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

John 21:14-15, 22 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs."

Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me."

After Yeshua’s (Jesus) resurrection, He showed himself to the apostles several times. Once, they were fishing, and Yeshua met them on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Peter was there, back at his craft, but swirling with inward emotions. The anguish of his recent denial, three times, exactly as Yeshua had predicted, mixed with the amazement and perplexity at the empty tomb, and finally the astounding relief and joy witnessing the risen Lord. Peter was on an emotional roller coaster for days, but the issue of his denial remained unresolved.

The Lord's encounter with Peter on the Sea of Galilee was to fully restore him. Three times Yeshua probes His beloved disciple “Do you love me?” But this is more than just a quantitative restoration. The Lord is penetrating the apostle's heart in this amazing conversation, because He really knows how much Peter loves Him and He wants Peter to know that He trusts him completely even after his awful failure. So Yeshua gives Peter his lifelong commission– “Feed my lambs!”; "Feed my sheep." Yeshua knew that He could entrust Peter with this responsibility, and He told him so. Peter was restored.

Yet Peter still wobbles, even as he receives his restoration, when he asks about his fellow apostle, John. Yeshua's response, “what is that to you, you follow me!” settles the matter. The Lord is saying, "stop the competition, Peter. Those days are over, yet you're still comparing…I have work for you; I have a life for you; live it!"

The enemy would love to dig up your past, thrust it in your face, and leave you comparing yourself with others for the rest of your life – but the Lord has a life for you and He wants you to live it. Your life, not someone else's. He loves you and He trusts you to be who He made you to be. So don't allow your past failures or your present jealousies to prevent you from the life you’re called to live for Him!

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Be a bold voice for Him!

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by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Isaiah 52:7-8 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the Lord brings back Zion.

In the 4th century lived a Christian named Telemachus, in a remote village, tending his garden, and spending much time in prayer. One day, he believed he heard the voice of God telling him to go to Rome, so he obeyed, setting out on foot. Some weeks later, weary from his journey, he arrived in Rome about the time of a great festival.The little man followed the crowd surging through the streets into the Colosseum. He saw the gladiators standing before the Emperor and proclaiming, "We who are about to die salute you." Then Telemachus realized that these men were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the cheering crowd. So he cried out in a loud voice, "In the name of Christ, Stop!" Yet the games began, so he pushed his way through the crowd, climbed over the wall and dropped onto the floor of the arena. The entire Colosseum watched this tiny figure rushing toward the gladiators, crying, "In the name of Christ, STOP !!!" The gladiators thought it was part of the show and began laughing. But in a few moments, they realized it was not part of the show, and then the crowd became angry. Telemachus stood his ground, insistently pleading with the gladiators to stop their bloody show, when one of them plunged a sword into the saint's body. He fell to the sand. As he was dying, his last words were, "In the name of Christ, STOP!!!"

Then a strange thing happened. The gladiators stood there looking at the tiny Christian lying there dead. A hush fell over the Colosseum. Way up in the upper rows, a man stood and made his way to the exit. Others followed. In dead silence, one by one, everyone left the Colosseum. The year was 404; and that day saw the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum. Telemachus' martyrdom initiated an historic ban on gladiator fights by the Roman Emperor Honorius. Never again in the great stadium did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd. One tiny man's bold voice — one voice — reshaped Roman history, and saved thousands of lives, by fearlessly proclaiming the truth in God's name!

You may be a little man, or woman, spending time alone with Yeshua (Jesus). And He may be preparing you in the quiet place, for a moment when you will be called to raise your voice in some public square or stadium, to fearlessly stand for His truth, even if it might cost your life. Remember Telemachus, whose voice changed the world because God's word was behind it. Boldness is not bravado, but is rooted in deep conviction based on deep relationship and unswerving obedience. And it's effects resound through history. So cultivate that intimate relationship with Him, and be ready to be launched into the arena of death-dealing humanity. Your lack of fear and your love for others will reveal the Yeshua whom you love, to many souls.

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Inspect your Temple!

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by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Matthew 21:10-14 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.

There is a long standing tradition of cleaning one's house in the springtime – hence the term "spring cleaning". One source for this tradition is certainly the Jewish Passover (Pesach). Each spring as the holiday approaches observant householders in Israel and around the world perform a meticulous cleaning of their homes, especially to be sure there is no leaven in the house before Pesach begins. Leaven, in scripture, is often a metaphor for sin and impurity; and this season of the year is often a time for emphasizing "spiritual housecleaning".

When Yeshua (Jesus) entered Jerusalem for the last time in His earthly life, before the Passover, and just before He was sacrificed, He went to the Temple and "cleansed" it by driving out the money changers and religious merchandisers. Apparently, these were "religious" people with impure motives, and the Lord considered them to be "leaven" in his Father's house. Immediately after this, the Lord miraculously healed the blind and lame.

We can also be "religious" people with impure motives; seeking financial gain, or prestige, from "spiritual" activity, when the Lord desires a devoted heart of worship and prayer in His "house". Perhaps this is why we see so few miracles in our lives and "ministries". Let us also do a "housecleaning" for impure motivations. The Lord may then be freer to work His miracles through us.

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It only gets better in God!

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by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

As the world celebrates the end of 2014 and enters into 2015, it looks toward the conclusion of yet another year. However, God has not been working his plan according to the Gregorian calendar — but rather according to His own calendar. For example, when Yeshua (Jesus) was crucified, and became the Lamb of God slain for the world, it was on the Biblical feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew). When He rose again from the dead, His resurrection was precisely on the feast of first fruits. Fifty days later, the Holy Spirit was poured out during the Hebrew Feast of Shevuot or better known as Pentecost. This marked the beginning of the harvest season and we've been in the midst of the great harvest for the past 2000 years. The fall feasts have yet to be fulfilled prophetically, however we as believers are groaning for the world's redemption!

While the world focuses on life now — on youth, beauty, health and ability — these things fade away and according to the world, in the autumn of life — life goes downhill. However, we as believers realize that it's completely the opposite in God. The best is yet to come for those of us who are believers!

In the Chronicles of Narnia, famed Christian author C.S. Lewis so poetically concluded his novel by writing these truths.

"And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."

God is saving the best for last! While things of the world get worse, become old and fade away. The things of God only get better! Rejoice and look toward the day when there is no more death, no more sorrow, and no more pain because in Him all these things will pass away. Make 2015 your best year yet in the Lord! Throw away all the worldly pursuits and pursue God like you've never done before — because the greatest celebration awaits us!

With another year under our belts as we close out 2014 — let's go into 2015 remembering that the best is yet to come — soon enough we'll enter a time where "every chapter is better than the one before!"

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Don't dry out!

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by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

1 Corinthians 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

Revelation 21:6 And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

The first man was called "Ah-dom", we know him as "Adam". The word used for "man", as in "mankind", in Genesis 1, is also the same word – "Ah-dom". "Ah-dom" is rooted in the three Hebrew letters, aleph-dalet-mem, and one of the Hebrew words for earth is "Adamah", which contains the same three letters, however it ends with the Hebrew letter "hay". "Adamah" means "red earth", or "red clay", and this word points to the natural earth elements, the "earth dust" that composed Adam’s body, and the body of every human being since. "Man" is "ah-dom", in a very real sense, "clay".

If a piece of clay is to become anything, it has to be molded – and to be moldable it must become wet. Clay has a tendency to dry out quickly and become hardened, and once that happens, there's not much you can do with it. Since we are "ah-dom", made of clay, we are in constant need of water. This is true both physically, and also spiritually. Our bodies need a constant resupply of water to stay alive and function well. Our spirits also need "water", the "water" of the Word [Ephesians 5:26]. If we are constantly drinking this water of the word, our faith, which comes by hearing [Romans 10:17] will result in a magnificent promise from Yeshua: "He that believes in me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water!"

This water of His Word welling up through His Spirit will prevent us from becoming dry and hardened, and will enable us to "water" others, even to be, ourselves, a spring of living water.

Drink from the water of life. You don't want to become a hardened vessel, easily cracked or broken. Soak yourself in Him and in His word, so that God will keep you moldable, useful, and "drinkable" by others. Water is necessary, but it is also deeply refreshing, and Yeshua's living water springs up, even to eternal life!

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