This is an interesting passage of Scripture which details how Josiah, a young and Godly king, went forth to cleanse the land, and in doing so, finds that he was fulfilling a prophecy given years before. Josiah went forth doing what was right — and in doing so, was walking out the works that God preordained for him — he was fulfilling the calling that God had set into motion years before!
Missionaries Dick and Margaret Hillis found themselves caught in China during the Japanese invasion. The couple lived with their two children in the inland town of Shenkiu. The village was tense with fear, for every day brought terrifying reports of the Japanese advance. At the worst possible time, Dick developed appendicitis, and he knew his life depended on making the long journey to the hospital. On January 15, 1941, with deep foreboding, Margaret watched him leave.
As Joshua led the children of Israel into the promised land it seemed that God had given them an impossible assignment — to conquer a foreign and hostile land with fortified cities and armies greater than their own. They had to go forth only on the basis of God's promise. They had to walk by faith and not by sight!
I heard a story once, of a chaplain who was speaking to a loyal soldier in the hospital. "Bless you son, you saved a fellow soldier’s life — and lost an arm in the great cause doing it," the chaplain said. "No," said the soldier with a smile. "I didn't lose it … I gave it.
Among those in the court of Alexander the Great was a philosopher of outstanding ability but little money. He asked Alexander for financial help and was told to draw whatever he needed from the imperial treasury.
Junk mail — those annoying letters that fill your mail box. Along with the junk comes the delightful bills, and renewal notices. Of course the junk, we can just throw away, the bills, unfortunately can't be ignored, but the renewal notices, those we're thankful to see. Without them, we'd likely forget that we need to renew our licenses, our credit cards, membership cards, whatever else.
Throughout the Bible, the faith of the saints was never something passive — but rather a faith of action.
Last Friday night and Saturday, Jews throughout the world solemnly “afflicted” their souls during Yom Kippur. However, most kids in Israel look at Yom Kippur as “ride your bikes in the streets day!” You see, Yom Kippur in Israel is the one day when TV and radio stations are completely shut down and the streets are almost completely void of vehicles of any kind. Ironically, some of the only fully operational locations in Israel on Yom Kippur are the hospital emergency rooms – since kids who finally have no restraints on their bikes, skateboards, and roller skates tend to take risks they wouldn't normally take – it's Yom Kippur – they have the streets to themselves!
The great pyramids of Egypt have become objects of fascination for many involved in the New Age teching. Some think they were built by aliens from outer space. Others say they are containers of cosmic power. All of them are trying to find the great "secret" of the pyramids. What they are, really, are structures of death, exaggerated tombstones, coffins. The pyramids were made for death. They were built to house a dead body, along with the useless riches of it's rotting corpse.
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.
Knowing He was about to depart, Yeshua (Jesus) left His disciples with a final command: stay in Jerusalem, and wait…for the promise. Of the thousands who had witnessed His miraculous ministry and heard His amazing teaching, and the hundreds that had actually seen Him after the resurrection, we read in Acts that only 120 stayed and tarried until the promise arrived. But these 120 were steadfast. They waited the full term…
For over 10 years we’ve been covering Christian Persecution, and whenever I come across an amazing story of how a saint endured such hardships, it encourages me. I remember reading about Watchman Nee and his imprisonment. The Chinese government would change the guards at his cell daily for fear that Nee would lead them to the Lord. Their fears were justified — many of those guards did come to faith! Apparently Watchman Nee had learned a powerful lesson from the Apostle Paul.
This scripture makes an astounding promise — God ALWAYS leads us to triumph or victory! But can we ALWAYS count on this amazing word to be true?
With war drums beating even more intensely in Iran and Syria, we've received numerous phone calls and emails expressing their concerns — and understandably so! Nevertheless, even in this climate of anxiety, we are preparing to enter into Shabbat (the Hebrew word for Sabbath) this afternoon. And as we do, we are remembering again, the deep lesson of God's entering into His rest following the six creation days.
When Peter and John had gone up to the Temple for prayer [Acts 3], they saw a man who was lame from birth, and were moved to heal him in the name of Yeshua (Jesus). Immediately the religious leaders laid hands on them [Acts 4:3] and kept them imprisoned for a day. The following day, with boldness, they declared this miracle was done in the name of Yeshua. I love what the "religious" leaders said next — "they perceived that they were unlearned men and they marveled at their boldness!" Why were they bold? They had been with Yeshua, and the leaders took note of that!
Numerous modern critics of the Bible say the resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus) is simply a myth based on pagan stories of "resurrected gods" from around the world, and that the authors of the New Testament borrowed from these myths and incorporated them into the Bible. But the similarity of two stories proves nothing about their origin or truth content. The Jews of Yeshua's time were steeped in Old Testament monotheism which had a well developed tradition of resurrection believed and taught by the Pharisees. Polytheistic pagan ideas would have been abhorrent to men who understood and practiced the Judaism of the apostles and New Testament writers.
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.
As we spoke across the United States these past months, it seems we were continually met with a spirit of apathy and a lack of understanding about the times in which we live. Despite all the things going on in the world today, the sense of urgency about the hour seemed lost among many.
One of the paradoxes of our walk is that God’s gifts often require work on our part. After He delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, the Lord led them to the Promised land and told them He was going to "give" it to them. It wasn't long before they realized, however, that they were going to have to fight battles and overcome fortified cities in order to inhabit the land. God did promise that they would not have to fight the battles on their own, but even with this divine advantage the Israelites themselves would be required to destroy their enemies – they would still need to fight.