"On Sunday, believers arrived at a house church in the Soviet Union in small groups throughout the day so not to arouse the suspicion of KGB informers. They began by singing a hymn quietly. Suddenly, in walked two soldiers with loaded weapons at the ready. One shouted, "If you wish to renounce your commitment to Jesus Christ, leave now!" Two or three quickly left, then another. After a few more seconds…
Tonight begins the feast of Purim, which celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from one of many of Satan's attempts to purge them from the world. Mordechai gave Esther a great challenge then, "and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
Recently, I've been impressed by the Lord to address the anxieties many are feeling about the future– how to be strong in the face of the intense opposition we’ll be facing as believers. One of the founders of the modern state of Israel, David Ben-Gurion once said, “Courage is a special kind of knowledge, the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared. From this knowledge comes an inner strength that inspires us to push on in the face of great difficulty. What can seem impossible is often possible with courage.”
While walking through the forest one day, a farmer found a young eagle who had apparently fallen out of his nest. He took it home and put it in his barnyard with his chickens and there it stayed for years. It wasn't long before the little eagle learned to eat and behave like the chickens.
One of the greatest stories of the Bible is David and Goliath. It's such a good story, in fact, that the world has come to make common use of it! A prime example of this is when the underdog faces an invincible champion in just about any sport on national television, commentators always seem to make mention of David and Goliath.
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.
David's faith and courage in volunteering to fight Goliath was an embarrassment to his big brother Eliab, an officer in King Saul's army. I imagine his thinking went something like this; “If my little brother wins everybody will ask, 'How come you didn't go out and fight him?'” The Bible records that Eliab “burned with anger at David and asked, 'Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is…'” These are devastating words from an older brother. Before David could defeat Goliath he first had to overcome the attitudes, accusations and words, of those close around him.
As Joshua is about to enter the promised land, God reassures him and affirms the promise that was given to Moses, saying, "Wherever you place your feet – it shall be given to you!" God reveals His will, makes an amazing promise, then gives His servant a practical principle for working the promise out and claiming it, telling Joshua to literally step into His will. This is true for every believer. Our mandate is to know, understand and step out into the will of God. How can we know God's will?"
In the 1940's, the world fought against the greatest evil it had ever seen, Adolf Hitler and his terrible regime. In the midst of this war, Winston Churchill said, "We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."
In this world we will face all kinds of obstacles, trials and tribulations and we should be wary of any doctrines or teachings that say we shouldn’t have to face these things. Why? Because the Lord said we will have tribulations. So the encouragement He is giving is simply this: You’re going to face trials, but GOD is greater than any problem you will face in this world!
You know how sometimes we get a phone call from someone who didn’t intend to dial us? And what do we usually say? Sorry, you have the wrong number.
Abraham's rescue of Lot and his household from the four Mesopotamian Kings in the middle of the night was an act of holy chutzpah! Israel's first patriarch demonstrated great faith, courage, family loyalty, and military strategy during this successful rescue operation.
As the United States celebrates the 4th of July tomorrow – Independence day – we're often reminded of the price that was paid for our freedom. But today, in that spirit, I want to recall a time when a heavy price was paid for a translation of our Bible.
So the captain came to Jonah, and said to him, "What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish." At this point the captain (who probably worshiped Baal and Yamm, god of the sea) has more faith than Jonah.
Many of you know that we've been in Israel a little over ten years now. I am still trying to adjust to the spiritual atmosphere, culture and language. Those few things, in and of themselves, are enough to become overwhelmed. But if that's not enough, we are pioneering a new ministry here, trusting totally in God for His provision, trying to raise two young children in a way that is pleasing to Him and all the while, going through our own personal trials.
At a time when thousands of people were dying each year of rabies, Louis Pasteur, pioneer of immunology, was working on a vaccine. Just as he was about to begin experimenting on himself, a 9-year-old boy, Joseph Meister, was bitten by a rabid dog. The boy's mother begged Pasteur to experiment on her son…
Some time ago, two university students in Moorhead, Minnesota painted a mural on the wall outside their dorm room. It was of a school of fish all swimming in the same direction except for a single fish heading the opposite way. That one fish going the other direction was meant to be Jesus. Included in the mural were the words, "Go against the flow." Sadly, university officials argued that the mural might offend non-Christians, and told the students to paint over it.
Moses was used mightily by the Lord, yet we all know he had his inadequacies and limitations too. Still he was the vessel through which God chose to work through as He carried out the plagues over Egypt, divided the Red Sea and miraculously led and fed the children of Israel for forty years. That's pretty big stuff. Can you imagine having to be Moses' successor after all that? That's exactly what Joshua had to do. I can't even begin to imagine what Joshua was thinking at the time — How can I possibly live up to Moses? But the Lord comforts and reassures Joshua and says, "as I was with Moses, so I will be with you!"
During his first year of graduate study at the University of California at Berkeley, George B. Dantzig arrived late for a statistics class. He saw two problems on the blackboard. Assuming they were homework, he copied them and a few days later turned in his solutions. One Sunday morning six weeks afterward, the professor appeared at Dantzig's door, waving a manuscript. It turned out that the professor had merely written two examples of unsolvable problems on the blackboard. The manuscript was Dantzig's work readied for publication. George Dantzig later became known as the father of linear programming.
Judges 6 begins with an angel talking to Gideon saying, "thou mighty man of valour!" However, in this passage Gideon isn't feeling very valiant — he's consumed with his circumstances — how poor his family is and how he's the least of his fathers' house. He doesn't feel he's done anything worthy of being called valiant, yet the angel still addresses him "mighty man of valour!"