Find Courage in the Face of Opposition!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

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 Ben Gurion's words carry a certain worldly wisdom to inspire courage, we also can have courage which comes from a special kind of knowledge…the knowledge that we have a God who loves and supports and protects us and carries us through, even the most trying times and circumstances. So let’s not become fearful in these days – but instead become bold as a lion, to accomplish the good works He prepared for us from the foundation of the world. Let’s walk with courage in these days in the knowledge that our God is with us, and with Him we will accomplish great things that seem impossible, because we know that He turns impossibilities into realities!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Don't be Chicken!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

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 day a naturalist passed by the farm and saw the eagle confined in the barnyard with the chickens. When he inquired about this strange sight, the farmer told the man his story. "Unfortunately," said the farmer, "the poor little guy just never learned to fly." "Still," the naturalist sighed, "he has the heart of an eagle and can surely be taught. Will you allow me to work with him?" The farmer agreed, but with much disbelief.

The naturalist picked up the eagle and lifted him toward the sky and said, "You belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth your wings and fly." The eagle, however, was confused. He did not know who he was, and seeing the chickens eating their food, he jumped down to be with them again. The naturalist took the bird to the roof of the house and urged him again, saying, "You are an eagle. Stretch forth your wings and fly." But the eagle was afraid and jumped down once again to be with his chicken friends. Finally the naturalist took the eagle out of the barnyard to a high mountain. There he held the king of the birds high above him and encouraged him again, saying, "You are an eagle. You belong to the sky. Stretch forth your wings and fly!" The eagle looked around, back towards the barnyard and then up to the sky. Slowly, he stretched his wings, and with a triumphant cry, he soared away into the heavens.

Somewhere along the line, we like this poor young eagle, were put in a lowly barn with the chickens of the world around us. We learned to live and eat from the ground and grew up believing that there was not much more to do than sit and cluck all day.

But the reality is that we are eagles! We were created to fly and even soar! God has great purpose for our lives! If we would only realize who we are in Him!

Let's remember who we are today and stop acting like chickens! We are the head and not the tail! We are Kings and Priests! We have great things to do for the Kingdom!

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Have Abundant Faith!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

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.

Imagine the scene at the time of David. The children of Israel were small compared to the Philistines (incidently, they are still small today — there are very few tall people in Israel!). And here they are faced with this enormously frightening giant, Goliath, champion of the Philistines.

All the Israelites shook in their sandals, saying Goliath's too big for us to hit! All but one — young little David. Instead of fearing Goliath's enormity, David saw his size to be an advantage! He said, on the contrary — Goliath is too big to miss! That day, David became a hero for the Israelites and his name would be remembered well –even to this day.

It all depends on our point of view — the way we see our circumstances. We can either walk in doubt, asking "Can God do this thing?" or walk in faith, proclaiming "God surely will!"

We all have some scary Goliaths to face in our lives. You may be facing one right now. Have faith, my friend! In our greatest distresses God wants to show Himself powerful! Let's walk in faith for His victory!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Are you an armor-bearer?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

1 Samuel 14:6-7; 13-15 Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few." So his armor-bearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart." And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armor-bearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armor-bearer killed them. That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land. And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling.

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.

“Nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few”, is Jonathan's faith statement to his absolute conviction that victory is not determined by numbers but by God. But notice that Jonathan didn't fight the battle alone; his trusted companion, his armor-bearer was with him. We don't know his name, we don't have much information about him, except this one sentence, "Go then; and here I am with you!"

Jonathan rose up, a man with divine initiative, a sense of spiritual adventure, and a total conviction that YHVH was with him. He was a leader whose name is forever memorialized by deeds of valor. And then, there was this nameless fellow who accompanied him with deep loyalty doubtless inspired also by the Lord and his knowledge of Jonathan's faith and character. When the judgment of our works is given there will be those who were known and those who were "nameless"; loyal armor-bearers standing alongside their leader/friends whose loyalty, faith and bravery will be honored and recognized in full. Be sure of it!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

Who are you now?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

1 Samuel 17:26-29 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, "What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" And the people answered him in this manner, saying, "So shall it be done for the man who kills him." Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab's anger was aroused against David, and he said, "Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle." And David said, "What have I done now? Is there not a cause?"

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.

The defeat of Goliath had massive implications for Israel and for the Lord. Satan had staked a great deal on Goliath's terrifying power. So wherever the enemy had opportunity in the sinful attitudes of David's friends and family he maximized them, realizing that David truly had the anointing of God to turn the tide of battle. And God allowed David to be tested by his own closest kin.

If there is a true Goliath in your life and you are appointed to slay him be assured you will face similar tests from those close by. When you make decisions to step out and follow God it will put pressure on others to do the same. Their shame and lack of faith will move them to attack, belittle and criticize you. It will come from among those closest to you, especially if your calling sets you apart!

Be careful around those who say, “I knew you when…” in an attempt to label, libel, or limit you – much like David's brother Eliab tried to hinder him. David was empowered by the Lord to slay Goliath – if you have that same Spirit and calling then humbly step aside and say, "What have I done now? Isn't there a real job to be done?" Then go ahead, and do it.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Courage