Times of refreshing are near!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Endurance

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

1 Kings 19:4-5 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.

In this passage, Elijah had become so weary running from Jezebel that he sat under a Juniper tree and just asked the Lord to take his life. But the Lord knew exactly what Elijah needed and He sent forth a messenger to revive and nourish him. I love it.

In His infinite mercy, God sent an angel to minister to Elijah. And that was just enough to help him get up and continue to do great things for the Lord. We've all been under that tree, haven't we? Some of us are there right now.

Perhaps you know a saint who is growing weary and in need of refreshment. Let's be available for the Lord, to be that messenger and supply his or her needs. Make a meal, give a gift, offer your time, maybe even just bring a word of encouragement — perhaps that's all he or she needs to get up from under the Juniper tree and keep on keeping on for the Lord!

When you supply a need for someone else, you are acting as God's messenger. And proverbs says that he who refreshes others will, himself, be refreshed!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Endurance

Understand the Times!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Endurance

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

1 Chronicles 12:32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Among the mighty men of David were those of the tribe of Issachar whose special gift was their understanding of the times, a gift of prophetic insight; and this was such a precious gift because included in their discernment was the ability to know how to apply it. In our time prophecy is everywhere. Yeshua (Jesus) warned us that there would be false prophets in the last days, especially approaching His second coming, and He said the prophecy would be so subtle and the false signs so powerful that even the elect might be deceived if that were possible; [Mt. 24:24] While it's clear to many of us that we're living in prophetic days, there are also millions who have no clue of the current times and seasons.

So we're faced with a challenge and a profound, multi-faceted responsibility: to acknowledge the significance of our times, to awaken others to this reality, to rightly discern true from false prophecy, and to know what to do about the things we rightly discern. Wow! Not an easy task. How do we even begin?

I believe that we have a prophetic "anchor"…a fundamental sign, missing throughout all of Church history, until our day. This sign is the rebirth of Israel as a nation. Many of the OT prophets foresaw the ingathering of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland in the latter days. [Jeremiah 30; Isaiah 43:5-6; Amos 9:14-15; and many others]. Isaiah prophesied the nation's rebirth in a single rhetorical question, "Can a nation be born in a day?" [ Isaiah 66:8]. One hundred years ago Israel, (then called "Palestine" by the Romans, as an insult to the Jews), was a barren, sparsely inhabited province in the Ottoman empire, and Jerusalem was hardly ever mentioned in conversation unless someone was reading scripture. Today, Israel is a thriving resurrected nation, reclaimed from desolation, established in one single day, (May 14, 1948), and Jerusalem is in virtually every daily newspaper, the subject of intense controversy throughout the civilized world. This one sign assures me, personally, that we are really and truly living at the end of the age.

I believe we must acknowledge this, share it, WATCH very carefully, and PRAY as the developments in the Middle East conform themselves to the Word of God. The prophetic clock is ticking toward the final hours of this age when the Lord Yeshua will return in power and great glory to judge the entire world of men.

The sons of Issachar understood their times, and knew what to do. Watching and praying, we can too. Preparing ourselves with holy living for the Lord's return, we must also warn those who live in ignorance of these amazing days by showing them the prophetic sign of Israel's resurrection, and warning them to repent, believe the gospel, and be accounted worthy to escape all these things and to stand before the Son of Man!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Endurance

From the Pit to Rule!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Endurance

Ephesian 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

When Joseph was thrown into prison, his life was thought to be over. How could anyone escape an Egyptian prison? But then, in one day, according to God's perfect timing, he was instantly promoted to reign over all Egypt with only the Pharoah, ("god on earth") as his Lord. Could there be a transformation more sudden, astounding and dramatic! So it was for Yeshua (Jesus) as He fulfilled the identity of Mashiach ben Yosef, suffering to death for our sins, but then, on one day, supernaturally resurrected and now seated at the right hand of the Father (God in Heaven). Such an amazing parallel!

Now we need to come fully to this realization: that the moment we came to faith in Yeshua, the Father instantly and supernaturally delivered us from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son He loves. In one moment we were regenerated as sons and daughters of the Most High and spiritually seated with Him in heavenly places. Even as we remain in our flesh awaiting our incorruptible bodies, our Spirit has been born into a Holy Family and a Royal Priesthood.

So, we are called to be overcomers; to war and to win, to exercise authority in Yeshua's name…

…but are you still "in the pit"? Then please take this realization to heart: the resurrection life of Yeshua remains within you, enabling you to endure. And that too, is a kind of victory. As you submit to His discipline in faith, your day will come to exercise greater authority in His Name, just as it did for Joseph. He patiently endured his trial of faith, and was raised up; so you also can, through Yeshua's indwelling Presence, arrive at a new day of release and victory…maybe tomorrow, maybe even today! Amen.

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Worthy Christian Devotions » Endurance

Stay in Faith, No Matter What!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Endurance

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord — that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

During the Biblical festival of Shavuot, the book of Ruth is read. It's a powerful story of faith, restoration and redemption. The book opens with a famine in all the land surrounding Bethlehem, forcing a difficult decision upon Naomi's husband, Elimelech. Now, Bethlehem (beth: "house", lechem: "bread") literally means “house of bread”, so the irony of Elimelech's departure from his home, "house of bread", during a famine, is lost on English speaking readers, but reveals that every detail in the word of God can be meaningful, especially the meanings of names.

Now the name "Elimelech" literally means, “My God is King” — so immediately, another irony appears: a man whose name expresses the personal testimony of God's authority over every circumstance and His complete trustworthiness, decides to leave the Promised Land, and settle in Moab, across the Jordan — a land that had become alien territory for the Israelites because of the Moabites' inhospitable treatment of Israel during the sojourn from Egypt. Elimelech either forgot or ignored the example of the patriarch, Isaac and failed to apply the same faith as his forefather had, and to remain true to his own name!

Genesis 26 recounts how that Issac had thought of leaving Gerar (modern day Gaza) to go to Egypt in hope of finding food in the midst of a famine, but instead, he stood firm in faith and remained in the Promised Land. The Lord's response was to bless Issac a hundred fold that same year! [Genesis 26:12] However, we also read in Genesis 12 how Abraham had left the land during a famine and had encountered problems in Egypt that were as frightening or worse than the famine. So Elimelech had these two illustrations, one positive, one negative, both of which might have moved him to choose to persevere through this difficult time, and remain in the place of his inheritance.

Whatever the immediate cause, it seems that Elimelech's departure from the Promised Land was not to be reversed. He died in Moab, leaving a discouraged widow, and eventually, two widowed daughters-in-law. We might ask, what would have been Elimelech's legacy had he stayed and prayed through this extremely difficult and frightening trial in Caanan? What might have been his "hundred-fold" blessing?

Our world today is experiencing famine in various places, and there are recent predictions of the increase of food shortages even in the prosperous West. Yet famine has many faces, and the various trials and afflictions in our lives can have the same frightening effect to test the metal of our faith. Many of us are being severely tested these days with trials that are shaking us to the core. There are examples of the faithful who have persevered through to victory and received tremendous blessings from the Lord for their stand of unswerving faith. Yet there are also examples of those who somehow did not live up to their own testimony, for failure to stick it out through tough situations. We have these two paths before us.

Yeshua (Jesus) asked this question; "Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"? And in another place He spoke directly to Satan these timeless words; "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word from the mouth of God." If there was ever a time to believe these words, it is now, even as the world stands on the brink, and the earth groans in the travail of childbirth. Some of us have the opportunity of a lifetime to get through our particular trial, in faith. The Lord Yeshua will be faithful to us, and He will abundantly reward our faith in Him. Let's stay the course.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Endurance

Do you ever feel like you're listening to a broken record?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Endurance

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Romans 13:11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

While I was in the States, I read several stories about Ronald Reagan that made me appreciate him as a person and as a leader. But one amusing story really caught my attention and made me smile. When he was a young man, Reagan worked at a radio station and sometimes played records of sermons. His shift at the station was a one-man operation and so, on occasion, Ron would set the record playing and then sneak out for a cup of coffee. One day he got a call while he was at the coffee shop from the station's owner, ordering him back to the station, and then … he received his termination notice. He'd returned to the station finding the record skipping at a particular point in the sermon;

"Go to Hell, go to Hell, go to Hell, go to…"

There are probably several messages we could draw from this funny little sequence, but what spoke to me most was this, that in recent years we've heard the message repeated over and over again like a broken record, "The end is near, the end is near, the end is near, the end… and, "The Lord's return is at the door…";

Yet, the fact is that we are very near to the Lord's return and there are many signs of His soon coming. So if the message sounds repetetive perhaps it's because the Lord's return is much nearer now than when we first believed — even at the very door. And the whole point of thinking about and dwelling upon Yeshua's return is that we want to be ready, keeping close accounts with Him, living holy and fruitful lives…spotless, blameless, at His coming. Our bridal love for Him will keep us looking up and listening for the cry; "Behold, the bridegroom cometh!"

Worthy Christian Devotions » Endurance