Yes, Integrity Matters!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Character

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.

Please forgive us for the length of this particular devotion, but it was sent in from some friends of the ministry in Nigeria — please take the time to read this powerful message.

An aging king woke up one day to the realization that should he drop dead, there would be no male in the royal family to take his place. He was the last male in the royal family in a culture where only a male could succeed to the throne – and he was aging. He decided that if he could not give birth to a male, he would adopt a son who then could take his place but he insisted that such an adopted son must be extraordinary in every sense of the word. So he launched a competition in his kingdom, open to all boys, no matter what their background. Ten boys made it to the very top.

There was little to separate these boys in terms of intelligence and physical attributes and capabilities. The king said to them, 'I have one last test and whoever comes top will become my adopted son and heir to my throne.'

Then he said, 'This kingdom depends solely on agriculture. So the king must know how to cultivate plants. So here is a seed of corn for each of you.Take it home and plant and nurture it for three weeks. At the end of three weeks, we shall see who has done the best job of cultivating the seed. That person will be my heir-apparent.' The boys took their seeds and hurried home. They each got a flower pot and planted the seed as soon as they got home. There was much excitement in the kingdom as the people waited with bated breath to see who was destined to be their next king.

In one home, the boy and his parents were almost heartbroken when after days of intense care, the seed failed to sprout. He did not know what had gone wrong with his. He had selected the soil carefully, he had applied the right quantity and type of fertilizer, he had been very dutiful in watering it at the right intervals, he had even prayed over it day and night and yet his seed had turned out to be unproductive.

Some of his friends advised him to go and buy a seed from the market and plant that. 'After all,' they said, 'how can anyone tell one seed of corn from another?' But his parents who had always taught him the value of integrity reminded him that if the king wanted them to plant any corn, he would have asked them to go for their own seed. 'If you take anything different from what the king gave you that would be dishonesty.'

'Maybe we are not destined for the throne. If so, let it be, but don't be found to have deceived the king,' they told him. The d-day came and the boys returned to the palace each of them proudly exhibiting a very fine corn seedling. It was obvious that the other nine boys had had great success with their seeds. The king began making his way down the line of eager boys and asked each of them, 'Is this what came out of the seed I gave you?'

And each boy responded, 'Yes, your majesty.' And the king would nod and move down the line.

The king finally got to the last boy in the line-up. The boy was shaking with fear. He knew that the king was going to have him thrown into prison for wasting his seed. 'What did you do with the seed I gave you?' the king asked. 'I planted it and cared for it diligently, your majesty, but alas it failed to sprout.' the boy said tearfully as the crowd booed him.

But the king raised his hands and signaled for silence. Then he said, 'My people behold your next king.' The people were confused. 'Why that one?' many asked. 'How can he be the right choice?' The king took his place on his throne with the boy by his side and said, 'I gave these boys boiled seeds. This test was not for cultivating corn. It was the test of character; a test of integrity. It was the ultimate test.'

If a king must have one quality, it must be that he should be above dishonesty. Only this boy passed the test. A boiled seed cannot sprout.' Never!!

We live in a society that has become obsessed with success and many show success at any cost. We say the end justifies the means. It is the tragedy of life. You see, failure often is an invitation to God to show that he is all powerful and does not need help to make us great or to bless us.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Character

You're Chosen for a Task!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Character

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Hebrews 1:8,9 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

As we continue our study of Mashiach ben Yosef, we observe that both Joseph and Yeshua (Jesus) were chosen or "anointed" for a special task. When Jacob gifted his son Joseph with a coat of many colors, lifting him up above his brothers, he reflected Joseph's calling by the Lord for a life work as a leader.

The preparation for this role was grueling. Joseph endured the fires of testing, sold into slavery, thrown into prison, and seemingly abandoned by God he must have wondered to himself, “Why is this happening?” It seems clear from hindsight that Joseph was learning the deep humility required for God's kind of leadership. We also see the humility of the Son of God in His Incarnation and crucifixion. ("My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?") So as Joseph saved the whole world from physical death by starvation, Yeshua saved the whole world from spiritual death, the judgment of sin

If you have seen signs of your own anointing for a specific task, and find yourself in the midst of painful "unexplainable" trials and tribulations, you're in good company. God gives responsibility to people of character. Both Joseph and Yeshua are beautiful examples of the kind of leader God loves–a humble one.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Character

Inspect your Temple!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Character

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.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Character

Be Courageous!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Character

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it: for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid nor be dismayed: for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Some of you may be celebrating the holiday of Chanukah with us — this will be the fourth night of this beautiful Festival of Lights.

While Chanukah is not a Biblical feast, it is an important one. Chanukah commemorates the story of small group of men with much courage — enough courage to defeat even the greatest of the world’s empires.

The Greek-Syrian Emperor Anticochus Epiphanes defiled the Temple by erecting an idol within it, and commanded all of Israel to worship it. If that wasn’t enough, he made it illegal to follow God's laws and anyone caught observing them would be put to death. Yeshua (Jesus) pointed out in Matthew 24 — when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel — flee! This was a foreshadow of a future event which He was referring to.

So what happened? A few men, the Macabees, decided to fight an entire empire on their own! They had a miraculous victory, restoring and rededicating the Temple, and relighting the menorah — a victory which we celebrate tonight.

In these dark days approaching, we're going to be called to a deeper walk with the Lord, to stand up for His truth and be a light to the dying world around us! Let's get restored, rededicated and rekindled so that we can be strong for Him! There's so much to be done!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Character

Are you an armor-bearer?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Character

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

1 Samuel 14:6-7; 13-15 Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few." So his armor-bearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart." And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armor-bearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armor-bearer killed them. That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land. And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling.

The setting in 1 Samuel 14 is war between the Israelites and the Philistines; and while King Saul relaxed under a pomegranate tree [1 Samuel 14:2], his son Jonathan along with his armor-bearer left the camp quietly to see if the Lord would fight the battle on their behalf. Jonathan had no idea what he would face out there, how many Philistines he would encounter, their battle skills or strategies. He only knew that if God delivered the enemy into his hands he would be victorious. And he was.

“Nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few”, is Jonathan's faith statement to his absolute conviction that victory is not determined by numbers but by God. But notice that Jonathan didn't fight the battle alone; his trusted companion, his armor-bearer was with him. We don't know his name, we don't have much information about him, except this one sentence, "Go then; and here I am with you!"

Jonathan rose up, a man with divine initiative, a sense of spiritual adventure, and a total conviction that YHVH was with him. He was a leader whose name is forever memorialized by deeds of valor. And then, there was this nameless fellow who accompanied him with deep loyalty doubtless inspired also by the Lord and his knowledge of Jonathan's faith and character. When the judgment of our works is given there will be those who were known and those who were "nameless"; loyal armor-bearers standing alongside their leader/friends whose loyalty, faith and bravery will be honored and recognized in full. Be sure of it!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Character