When Jim Burke became the head of a new products division at Johnson & Johnson, one of his first projects was the development of a children's chest rub. The product failed miserably, and Burke expected that he would be fired. When he was called in to see the chairman of the board, however, he met a surprising reception. "Are you the one who just cost us all that money?" asked Robert Wood Johnson. "Well I just want to congratulate you. If you are making mistakes, that means you are taking risks, and we won't grow unless you take risks!" Apparently, Mr. Johnson wasn’t joking! Years later, Johnson & Johnson remains one of the largest multi-national manufacturers of pharmaceutical, diagnostic, therapeutic, surgical, personal hygiene, baby and biotechnology products.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.