The Volcano Waiting to Erupt!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Death

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

1 Timothy 6:6-10 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

As I write, it seems the prevailing concern among people everywhere is -– what's going on with the economy? Europe is on the verge of an economic collapse. Even the kings of wall street are reportedly dumping their shares in U.S. companies. People are watching their wealth dissipating and dwindling away. Reflecting on these material losses reminds me of a story about a lady who perished in Pompeii in the first century.

Pompeii was a flourishing city in Southern Italy until 79 AD. Suddenly, for two days Mt. Vesuvius erupted and completely destroyed Pompeii in all its pomp. The city was covered in meters of ash and pumice for 1700 years until it was accidentally discovered in 1748. When archaeologists began excavations in 1910 they uncovered a petrified woman clutching some of the finest jewelry ever recovered from the ancient world. She was apparently attempting to flee the doomed city, and in her haste, holding desperately onto her valuable possessions –- she lost her life.

During its time Pompeii was a magnificent city, yet it's destiny was destruction by a nearby volcano –- and so it is with our world today. There's so much beauty on our planet earth –- yet its destiny is certain! The day is soon coming when it's elements will be destroyed with fire, the earth and everything in it, laid bare, [2 Peter 3:10] –- and our earthly possessions will not come with us into glory, (only what we have done with them).

As the Apostle Paul said, we came into this world with nothing – and when we leave this world, we take nothing with us. We can make the mistake of holding too dearly onto our earthly possessions, making them our "treasure", (rather than storing treasure where moth and rust do not corrode etc.) – but this is a costly error, as illustrated by our "petrified lady". Instead, let's remind ourselves that we are stewards of God's possessions, responsible to use them with His interests in mind, to further His Kingdom with the things He has entrusted to us. With so much work to be done, let's never allow our earthly possessions to petrify us with greed or fear thus preventing the eternal work we were preordained for, and stealing our eternal rewards.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Death

Your God Shall Be My God!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Death

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Ruth 1:16-17 But Ruth said: "Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me."

As we continue our study in Ruth, this Shavuot season, I want to suggest a prophetic mystery hidden in this book.

We have seen that names have significant meanings, and as discussed earlier, Elimelech, whose name means "My God is King", left Bethlehem with Naomi his wife and their two sons. The birth of these two boys must have brought joy and happiness, yet, having perished in Moab actually caused their very names to lose their original meanings. The firstborn, Mahlon, which meant "ornament", over the years came to mean "sickly". Their second son, Chilion, derived his name from the Hebrew root for "joy", but his name came to mean, "pining" and "whining". Naomi, whose name means "pleasant", changed her name to Mara, which means "bitterness", saying, "the Lord has dealt very bitterly with me."

Now Ruth, whose name means "friend", remained persistent, despite Naomi's exhorting her to separate and return to Moab. Instead, true to her name and character, Ruth invokes one of the strongest, most beautiful expressions of faith and faithfulness in all of scripture: "For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me." Thus Ruth forsakes her native land and joins herself irrevocably to the nation, people and God of Israel…a truly faithful friend, even to the point of death.

I would like to draw out from the story of Ruth, a possible contemporary meaning and application for us to ponder. I would suggest that Naomi and her two sons can be viewed as a type or picture of the people of Israel, and that Elimilech's decision to leave the Land of Promise with them became a picture of Israel in the diaspora. This present exile of the Jewish people since 70 AD culminating in the holocaust, has often rendered them both "sickly" and "pining" for home, and Naomi's experience outside the land of Israel brought death and desolation upon her.

The modern nation of Israel, birthed after centuries from the ashes of the Holocaust, and a long painful exile, has been suddenly restored to her ancient homeland, yet, in much bitterness, just as Naomi had returned to her homeland from Moab. Yet Ruth's love and faithfulness must have been a profound comfort to her mother-in-law. So, Ruth can be seen as a picture or type of Gentile (Christian) believers, whose faithful love, friendship and comfort bring deep solace to the people of Israel, who are still experiencing the bitterness of the exile and even now, the misunderstanding and opposition of the nations of the world. Many Israelis already know that their truest and most faithful friends in the world today are Bible believing Christians whose love for them is unconditional, and beautifully reflects the devotion of Ruth to Naomi.

Finally, it seems significant that Ruth's loving and faithful character became inspiration for drawing out the redemptive grace of Boaz toward Elimelech's widow, Naomi, so that her family line and inheritance were restored and preserved. As their Kinsman Redeemer, Boaz was deeply moved by the humility and faithfulness of Ruth to her mother-in-law, and as such, she can be seen as a type of intercessor between Boaz and Naomi. For if Boaz is pictured as a type of Yeshua (Jesus) our "Kinsman-Redeemer", then Ruth, lying down "at his feet" can be a picture of believers' humble prayers and intercession for the Jewish people entreating the Lamb of God for the mercy which restores us all to the inheritance which belongs to Him.

If in fact, Ruth can be seen as a "type" for Gentile believers, and Naomi, a picture of Israel, restored to her land, but still in bitterness, then Ruth can be an inspiration and a pattern for Christians who love Israel and who recognize her irrevocable calling as a nation. If the faithfulness of Ruth through love and intercession helped to restore Naomi to her true Kinsman-Redeemer, can it also be that the faithfulness and intercession of Gentile believers will be a powerful influence for the restoration of the Jewish people to their "Kinsman-Redeemer, the Messiah Yeshua Himself? Our friendship with Israel in word and in deed, and our prayers, in the midst of global opposition [Zechariah 14:2] will be a powerful testimony for Yeshua, and will help to remove the veil from Jewish eyes concerning His true identity. As we support the restoration of their Land (a Biblical promise), we also help to open the way for the far greater blessing of eternal life. Doing so, we also will be blessed according to these timeless words; "I will bless them that bless thee, and I will curse them that curse thee!"

Worthy Christian Devotions » Death

Wake up – the eruptions are here!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Death

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 » Death

Remember!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Death

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

Today marks Holocaust Memorial day here in Israel. At ten o'clock in the morning on this day, war sirens sound calling the entire Land to remembrance of the 6,000,000 Jews who died and many more who suffered under the Nazi regime during WW2. People in their homes and workplaces rise in silence; cars come to a halt, even on the highways; pedestrians stop where they are and pause… for one minute as the sirens wail, we remember.

You may know that these atrocities and many more through the centuries were done in the name of Christianity. Hitler himself said he was a Christian, and deeply sympathized with Martin Luther's antisemitism, as he murdered millions. Systematic torture, abuse and murder have taken a toll on the Jewish people. The few remaining survivors of the Holocaust carry the scars of history's most recent attempt to annihilate them. The "DNA" of hatred and persecution has passed to children and grandchildren, such that the nation of Israel, partly restored to the Land, partly yet in dispersion, is deeply traumatized and constantly recovering. Yet the Lord's love and His faithfulness to Israel remains sure, as Paul said, "for the sake of the Fathers"; and their suffering also, in some way, points to the suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53.

We need to be praying for the Jewish people. We need to be pouring out much love upon them as we await the complete restoration which God has foreordained. As the Scriptures say, salvation is of the Jews [John 4:22]. They were set aside because of unbelief, bringing God's grace to the Gentiles. But…"if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?" [Romans 11:15].

Worthy Christian Devotions » Death

Another Pearl of Wisdom For You!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Death

Matthew 13:45-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Some time ago, we wrote about pearl harvesting as an illustration of how the Lord takes us into His "shell" like an irritating grain of sand, and over time, covers us with His beautiful covering, forming us into polished and precious gems for his glory and delight. This image of sanctification takes the metaphor in one direction: but here is another interesting thought. The beautiful pearl inside the oyster cannot be seen or enjoyed without a great price being paid. The oyster must die. It must be torn open in order to find the treasure within. This speaks to me of the original foundation and source of our beauty. Yeshua (Jesus) our Messiah had to be bruised, afflicted, torn and killed so that the beautiful treasures God intended us to be from the beginning, could be discovered and released from the darkness of sin.

Each one of us is a treasure in the Lord's sight. We are His pearls of great value for which He paid the highest price! What a great honor — even the greatest honor — to be called sons and daughters of the Living God! Through His sacrifice, we become holy, and obtain the beauty and glory of eternal life.

We so bless the Lord when we radiate the polished beauty He alone can give us. Our works shine forth before men, glorifying our Father in Heaven and preparing the way for his coming Kingdom. Let's remember who we are and walk with this beautiful radiance. There are so many people who need to see, and know Him.

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Worthy Christian Devotions » Death