We watched the movie "Pilgrim's Progress" and I have to say, it's remarkably close to the book, which often is not the case when a movie is based upon a book. In his book, Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan has written one of the most beautiful allegories about the journey we all travel as a believers. The book describes the hero, Christian, and his journey from the City of Destruction to his heavenly destination, the Celestial City. Now there's one part of Pilgrim's Progress that I want to focus on today — walking through the Swamp of Despondency!
Every time I turn on the news it seems the new buzzword is – CHANGE! So how can we just shift gears and change? Let's learn a lesson about basic automotive mechanics. Generally a car has between 4 and 5 gears. The first gear maximizes power in exchange for speed. As you move through the gears, you can continue to go faster, yet without using any more power, and before you know it – you have to look at the speedometer – cause nobody wants a speeding ticket!
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.
Historian Shelby Foote tells of a soldier who was wounded at the battle of Shiloh during the American Civil War and was ordered to go to the rear. The fighting was fierce and within minutes he returned to his commanding officer. "Captain, give me a gun!" he shouted. "This fight ain't got any rear!"
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.
When Gideon was called by God, a mighty man of valor, his first task was to tear down the idolatrous altars of Baal and Asherah at his father’s house. Though he was ready to obey this command, his obedience was mixed with fear, so he destroyed the idols at night [Judges 6:27]. When the men of the city realized it was Gideon who destroyed their idols, their allegiance to Baal and Asherah drove them to demand Gideon's life.
As the United States celebrates the 4th of July today – 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.
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?
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!"
Doesn't it seem like just when we get that much needed breakthrough, suddenly the enemy comes to attack? In this passage we read how the Philistines heard that David was anointed King and quickly assembled together to seek and destroy him. And what does David do? Does he become fearful? No. Does he hide? No! David goes out to meet them!
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!"
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.
"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…
In the 1883, Captain Sampson of the British navy witnessed one of the greatest volcanic eruptions in history which took place in Indonesia. The eruption was so powerful that its shock waves traveled around the world seven times. The volcano shot miles of debris into the atmosphere which fell to earth as far away as Madagascar – over 2000 miles distance.
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 [...]
Ezekiel 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. When we see the word trumpet [...]
2 Corinthians 4:5-6 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Charles [...]