Thank God for Independence!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Phillipians 2:6-8 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Tonight we'll participate in the Independence Day celebration in Israel — and what a party! — shows, fireworks, music, dancing, everything under the sun!

But interestingly, today is a very solemn one; Israel's Memorial Day, commemmorating all the soldiers who died protecting the nation's birth and continued existence. All the major television stations stopped airing their programs for twenty-four hours in honor of these men and women. At different times during the day, long loud sirens wailed all throughout the Land. Wherever anyone was as the sirens sounded, the entire population stopped whatever they were doing — even standing still on the highways, to give honor to the fallen soldiers. The dedication and camaraderie among Israelis is just amazing to witness and take part in. I have traveled many places and I've never seen anything like it.

This juxtaposition of two of Israel's national holidays speaks powerfully of the gospel. Messiah's death purchased our freedom from sin and eternal damnation. We've often heard and been reminded of the cost paid for our independence by soldiers who gave their lives defending our nation. It is a beautiful and precious thing to remember, when you think of the value of human life and the blessing of individual freedom. Yet our Lord willingly laid down His life for our eternal freedom and joy in a New Creation. How much more should we give honor to His sacrificial death and then…celebrate the astounding destiny He has bestowed on us!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Be Quick to Obey!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Genesis 26:1-2 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:

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.

When we moved to Israel twelve years ago, there were quite a few people saying, “Aren’t you concerned about all the terrorist attacks? What if there’s war? What about your children (Rivka was seven months pregnant with our first at the time)?” The only thing we could reply was that “It’s far more dangerous to live out of the will of God than to live to Israel!”

It was probably hard for Issac to trust that God was truly speaking to him, but he did it. He obeyed the Word of God and stayed put where God told him. And what happened because of his obedience in the midst of a famine? He was blessed a hundredfold! (Genesis 26:10)

Let's prepare ourselves to obey the Lord, even if it's difficult! There are blessings to be received — but it all begins with obedience!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Wake up – the eruptions are here!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Zephaniah 2:2-3 Before the decree is issued, Or the day passes like chaff, Before the Lord's fierce anger comes upon you, Before the day of the Lord's anger comes upon you! Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the Lord's anger.

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. Captain Sampson wrote in the ship's log: "I am writing this blind in pitch darkness. We are under continual rain of pumice-stone and dust. So violent are the explosions that the ear-drums of over half my crew have been shattered … I am convinced that the Day of Judgment has come."

These men witnessed something extraordinary, and it caused them to ponder the inevitable question — Is this the end? What was the crew thinking and feeling as they were deafened by the massive explosions, and blinded by the clouds of smoke and ash? To them it must have been as if the sun had become like sackcloth! Did this experience change their lives? Were they now powerfully aware of how fragile life is? Did they suddenly begin to examine what their lives had consisted of up to that moment?

Imagine yourself in that boat as these events are taking place. Now picture yourself at the present moment … are you thinking about what your life has been about, or what it is now? Are you thinking about what it could be??

Wake up. Recognize that eruptions are already taking place, and these are the Lord's warnings to this sleeping world; warnings that His return is NEAR! We are privileged to be witnesses and participants in the most extraordinary times as the end of the age draws near. But God is looking for people who are awake, who are wise, who understand the signs of the times, and who know Him … so they can do exploits and can shine like stars in a darkening world– will you be one of them?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Can We Be Trusted?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

"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, two more. "This is your last chance. Either turn against your faith in Christ," he ordered, "or stay and suffer the consequences." Two more slipped out into the night. No one else moved. Parents with children trembling beside them looked down reassuringly, fully expecting to be gunned down or imprisoned. The other soldier closed the door, looked back at those who stood against the wall and said, "Keep your hands up–but this time in praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. We, too, are Christians. We were sent to another house church several weeks ago to arrest a group of believers." The other soldier interrupted, "But, instead, we were converted! We have learned by experience, however, that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted." (From "Living Above the Level of Mediocrity," by Chuck Swindoll).

Wow. Can you imagine being faced with a decision to run or die for our faith? We are living in a day where this could very well become reality! But how many of us would be willing to stand?

Let's start deepening our relationship with the Lord today so that our minds may be focused on heavenly things and not consumed with the weight of all the worldly ones. That it would be easy for us to make a stand for Him should that day ever come. There's so much work to be done!

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Time to Step Up!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Esther 4:14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

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?"

This is a challenge for all of us! As each generation is raised up, God appoints men and women to rise up to the challenge of that age. We are alive in this day and in this hour (an amazing day and hour, at that) and God is saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" He is awaiting those who will come forward and say "Hineni" here am I, in Hebrew! And if we fall short of this challenge, "deliverance may arise from another place!"

Let's not let that happen — God wants to use us! Let's rise to the occasion! God has great things ahead!

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage