Most people overlook a very significant part of the parable of the prodigal son, which is – the elder son received his inheritance as well! (Luke 15:12b) According to the custom of the times, the older son's inheritance would have been twice that of the younger son. In that light, his response to his younger brother's initiative, a response of silence…speaks volumes.
As parents trying to raise kids in this world, we're constantly reminded by the Lord of Proverbs 22:6, 'Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.' The Hebrew word 'train', in this passage is, 'Chanak' which can be translated, 'train up' or 'dedicate.' It's the root word from which we get the word, Chanukah.
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.
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 the days of Isaac, there was famine in the land of Israel. It appeared then, that the right thing to do was to go to Egypt where there was plenty. But the Lord instructed Issac not to go, and instead cling to the promise that He made with His father, Abraham.
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.”
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 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 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!"
"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?"
D. L. Moody told the story of a man who was crossing the Atlantic by ship. He was terribly seasick and confined to his cabin. One night he heard the cry "Man overboard!" But he felt that there was nothing he could do to help. Then he said to himself, "I can at least put my lantern in the porthole." He struggled to his feet and hung the light so it would shine out into the darkness.
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!
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!"
Many of you know that we've been in Israel a little over six 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.
Psalms 91:1-2 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. In a documentary mini series called "Against All Odds" a remarkable story is told […]
Deut. 33:27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them. Yesterday, as I was getting my daughter Elianna (5 years old) ready for school, our increasingly spunky son Obi decided to climb the ladder on the […]
Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 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 […]
Deut. 3:22 Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you. Today is a big day for the Negev. There will be a huge celebration marking the 90th anniversary of a great victory in Beersheva. On October 31st, 1917, six hundred soldiers of the Australian 4th and 12th Light […]