Be a bold voice for Him!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

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.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Have an Undivided Heart!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

1 Chronicles 12:33 Of Zebulun, there were 50,000 who went out in the army, who could draw up in battle formation with all kinds of weapons of war and helped David with an undivided heart.

Colossians 3:23-25 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

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?

An undivided heart is one of the most powerful things on earth. Singleness of purpose will flow from the life of a person whose heart is undivided. Couples whose hearts are devoted to the Lord this way will preserve their marriages, no matter how difficult their issues and problems become. Intercessors whose hearts are filled with a single purpose will ultimately demolish terrible strongholds. Missionaries with vision and absolute loyalty, will be able to take entire nations for Christ. One woman will pour out ointment worth a year's salary on her savior's head. An undivided heart is one of the most powerful things on earth.

Yeshua (Jesus) inspires and empowers undivided hearts. If you really know him well, you will be very much like the men of Zebulun were in their loyalty toward David.

Check your heart. Is it inspired by the beauty, heroism, and love of the Messiah? If not, you just don't know him well enough.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Spiritual Blacksmiths Arise!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

1 Sam. 13:19-22 Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock. Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads. So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found.

This interesting passage speaks of a time when Israel had no blacksmiths to make weapons and was without any armament to defend themselves. The enemy had succeeded to disarm Israel by removing their weapons, and those who forged them! He's attempting the same tactic today.

A blacksmith is someone who works with raw material and fire, and who knows how to form and shape liquid metal into powerful weapons. Anyone who works skillfully and accurately with the word of God is a spiritual "blacksmith". The enemy, who is constantly attacking the word of God, the sword of the Spirit, also seeks to silence or remove the spiritual blacksmiths of this world. If he can get rid of them – the battle is over.

We need to pray for God’s blacksmiths because the enemy is after them. Together with the fire of the Holy Spirit they forge the raw material of His word into powerful weapons which shape and mold God's people into His image and equip them for spiritual warfare and fruitfulness. But we are all called to be strong in the word, and to take it up as our primary weapon. Every spiritual blacksmith, himself started out as raw material which was shaped and formed by the fire of God to fight in this battle with Satan.

So, as the battle rages, pray for the protection of God's "blacksmiths", even as you submit to His process of shaping you into one, yourself.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

We have crossed over, now let's hold on!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Galatians 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, and heirs according to the promise.

This amazing passage defines all true believers in Messiah as "Abraham's seed and heirs according to God's promise". Abraham was known as the first Hebrew — literally, "one who crosses over!" Before he crossed over into the promised land, we know from the scriptures that Abraham lived in a deeply idolatrous society and that even his own father was an idol worshiper. (Joshua 24:2) But one remarkable day, a call came to Abraham….a call from the Most High God — and he became one who "crossed over" from idolatrous polytheism into a personal knowledge of the one true Creator God. So leaving his past behind, he entered a new life of spiritual truth and holiness and a new land of promise; a profound transformation, and for us, a beautiful picture of our own "crossing over" into the new life of Yeshua the Messiah.

Now looking at Abraham's story, do we see that his life was free of obstacles and troubles once he reached his destination in Caanan? No way! Here are a few major events: he felt forced to go into Egypt to escape a famine, where his wife, Sarah, was held captive in Pharoah's harem for an undisclosed amount of time; after being liberated, Sarah continued barren until old age; then, Abraham was required by his own deep loyalty, to rescue his worldly nephew Lot and his family, risking his own life and the lives of his men; again he was tested when following Sarah's advice, Abraham conceived a son with Hagar, whom he deeply loved but was required to send into the desert with his Egyptian wife/mother. And of course, he probably faced the greatest test of faith when God asked Abraham to sacrifice the son of promise, Isaac, Sarah's only son, for whom they both had waited all their lives!

Isn't it interesting that we know nothing of Abraham's life trials before he crossed over into Caanan? Only after he crossed over do we read of the successive testings of this great man of faith — and in fact, because of those tests Abraham is considered the "father" of faith. (Romans 4:16)

We are called to bear our crosses daily, and also to respond with faith to whatever may come our way. And, praise God that when we do, we also will be known as those who "crossed over" and overcame every obstacle and trial of faith…having held firm to every great promise of God!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Hold the high ground!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Phillipians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

In the midst of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln called Vicksburg "the key to the Confederacy", and told his generals, "We do not yet have the key in our pocket!"

Taking Vicksburg was a daunting task for the Union Army because of its strategic position atop high cliffs overlooking the Mississippi River. But whoever controlled Vicksburg also controlled the shipping traffic up and down the Mississippi. Some of the bloodiest fighting took place as the Northern Army mounted bold attacks on Southern strongholds fixed atop the highest points. When the Yankees couldn't drive the Confederate army from the high ground — they finally laid siege to Vicksburg.  After a few months of being under siege they finally surrendered on July 4, 1863.  This battle, along with Gettysburg, was the turning point in the American Civil War.  While the Southern army controlled the high ground, they controlled the battle and when they couldn't be driven off — they had to be starved off the high ground, and powerfully illustrates how critical the fight for the high ground can be for determining the outcome!

Throughout history, the same principle appears over and over again – he who holds the high ground wins the battle!

This principle of warfare can also be applied to our lives. When we walk in integrity, honesty, purity, holiness, and love – we are maintaining the high ground. However tempting it may be, this is where we must not give in, compromise, or surrender! Because as soon as we begin giving up the high ground of character, losing the battle for holiness…it won't be long before the war overtakes us too.

Fight to hold your high ground — strive to reach the top in your pursuit of God! Whatever the cost — hold that high position, and soon… victory will be yours!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage