Be a bold voice for Him!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Faith

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Isaiah 52:7-8 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the Lord brings back Zion.

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.The little man followed the crowd surging through the streets into the Colosseum. He saw the gladiators standing before the Emperor and proclaiming, "We who are about to die salute you." Then Telemachus realized that these men were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the cheering crowd. So he cried out in a loud voice, "In the name of Christ, Stop!" Yet the games began, so he pushed his way through the crowd, climbed over the wall and dropped onto the floor of the arena. The entire Colosseum watched this tiny figure rushing toward the gladiators, crying, "In the name of Christ, STOP !!!" The gladiators thought it was part of the show and began laughing. But in a few moments, they realized it was not part of the show, and then the crowd became angry. Telemachus stood his ground, insistently pleading with the gladiators to stop their bloody show, when one of them plunged a sword into the saint's body. He fell to the sand. As he was dying, his last words were, "In the name of Christ, STOP!!!"

Then a strange thing happened. The gladiators stood there looking at the tiny Christian lying there dead. A hush fell over the Colosseum. Way up in the upper rows, a man stood and made his way to the exit. Others followed. In dead silence, one by one, everyone left the Colosseum. The year was 404; and that day saw the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum. Telemachus' martyrdom initiated an historic ban on gladiator fights by the Roman Emperor Honorius. Never again in the great stadium did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd. One tiny man's bold voice — one voice — reshaped Roman history, and saved thousands of lives, by fearlessly proclaiming the truth in God's name!

You may be a little man, or woman, spending time alone with Yeshua (Jesus). And He may be preparing you in the quiet place, for a moment when you will be called to raise your voice in some public square or stadium, to fearlessly stand for His truth, even if it might cost your life. Remember Telemachus, whose voice changed the world because God's word was behind it. Boldness is not bravado, but is rooted in deep conviction based on deep relationship and unswerving obedience. And it's effects resound through history. So cultivate that intimate relationship with Him, and be ready to be launched into the arena of death-dealing humanity. Your lack of fear and your love for others will reveal the Yeshua whom you love, to many souls.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Faith

Stand in Faith, Receive your Inheritance!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Faith

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Numbers 14:6-11 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: "The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.' Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them." And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. Then the Lord said to Moses: "How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?

26-30 And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, "How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. 28 Say to them, 'As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upwards, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.

As we concluded Tisha B'Av last night, let's consider a lesson from this historic day. When the twelve spies returned from spying out the promised land, Joshua and Caleb alone gave a good report, saying the land is full of milk and honey. They believed the promise of God so emphatically that they tore their clothes and implored the children of Israel saying, "the Lord is with us, do not fear them!" Israel's reaction was unbelievably severe. They were ready to STONE the faithful spies!

It is unquestionable that the report of the other 10 spies was terrifying, and that it had spread fear throughout the camp. Would the faith of two witnesses stand against the overwhelming majority? How often has the voice of the majority with all of its "common sense" stood as a consensus against your "crazy" faith? What kinds of attacks and threats have you received for standing on the Lord's word or promise, or simply for believing in His salvation? In these days as the darkness deepens, our light will shine more brightly, but it may also seem that our stand of faith makes less common sense than ever, and will bring severe opposition against us!

Joshua and Caleb stood firm, and it's wonderful to see how even the most vicious threats could not affect their position of trust. And we know how the Lord rewarded them. These two men became the only ones from their generation to enter the promised land.

Test the word that God has given you; be as sure as you can that He has spoken it, just as Joshua and Caleb were concerning the Lord's promise of Canaan. When the opposition arises, and it will; when the threats are severe, and they may be, remember that the majority against you with all its fear and "common sense" will not receive the reward of faith, but will lose its inheritance… while you will please the Lord and receive yours in full.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Faith

Break Forth!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Faith

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Micah 2:13 The breaker is goes up before them: they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it. So their king shall pass before them, with the LORD at their head.

An ancient Hebrew commentator wrote of this verse, "In the words of our teachers of blessed memory and in the Midrash [ancient Hebrew commentaries of the O.T.], it is taught that the 'breaker' is Elijah and 'their King' is the branch of the son of David."

As I read this commentary, I was blown away by the interpretation of this scripture by ancient Hebrew scholars! The Jewish people were clearly expecting a prophet like Elijah who would call the people back to repentance, and, afterward, the branch, the son of David, who would bring peace and freedom to his people. The fulfillment of these expectations began 2000 years ago with John the Baptist, whose prophetic ministry prepared the entire nation through repentance for the coming Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus), whose death and resurrection brought peace with God and freedom from sin, which laid the spiritual foundation for His coming Kingdom.

While the physical reign of the Messiah/King on Earth is yet future, and will begin when He returns, for the past 2000 years the Kingdom of heaven has been breaking forth in the hearts of men, and every true believer is breaking out with it. This wonderful message, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand", hasn't changed since the Lord first proclaimed it in Galilee [Mark 1:14]!

The word "repent", is "metanoia" in Greek, which means to "change one's mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins."

The message of repentance remains central to the breaking forth of God's Kingdom! Through it Yeshua brought peace and freedom – and without it there can be no true faith or spiritual life; so let's stay focused, always remembering that this gospel of the Kingdom always begins with repentance from sin, continues in faith toward God, and results in freedom and peace. With so many who have still not heard it, let's proclaim it because there's so much work to be done!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Faith

Are you shining?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Faith

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Matthew 25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

It was a stormy night in Birmingham, England, and Hudson Taylor was to speak at a meeting at the Severn Street schoolroom. His hostess assured him that nobody would attend on such a stormy night, but Taylor insisted on going. "I must go even if there is no one but the doorkeeper." Less than a dozen people showed up, but the meeting was marked with unusual spiritual power. Half of those present either became missionaries or gave their children as missionaries; and the rest were faithful supporters of the China Inland Mission for years to come. Hudson Taylor was going to be faithful to speak even if it was to only one person. Today, God may be calling you to speak to that one person.

D.L. Moody once said: “God has called us to shine, just as much as Daniel was sent into Babylon to shine. Let no one say that he cannot shine because he has not so much influence as some others may have. What God wants you to do is to use the influence you have. Daniel probably did not have much influence down in Babylon at first, but God soon gave him more because he was faithful and used what he had."

God is looking for those who are willing to be faithful! He wants to use us in ways we could never or would never have imagined – but in order for that to transpire we need to be faithful in the little things and we need to be available when He calls!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Faith

Persecution is coming? Are you ready?!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Faith

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Genesis 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
John 15:25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Being hated without cause is an aspect of Messianic prophecy that applies to both Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David. Just as Joseph was hated by his brothers, and David was hated by Saul without cause, is it any wonder that Yeshua (Jesus) was hated by the world without cause — thus fulfilling a Messianic Psalm. [Psalm 69:4 ]. And should it surprise us that He is still hated? And if Yeshua was hated without a cause, should we expect our lives be to any different?

As thousands of saints suffered intense persecution in ages past, and thousands are still being persecuted today (126,000 martyrs last year alone), they prepare(d) the way for the salvation of millions of others. Since Yeshua said "Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends", the love expressed by the martyrs is a tremendous source of inspiration to all of us.

As we are rapidly approaching the end of the age, we can expect persecution to be on the rise. We're sent out as sheep among wolves – so lift your head high when suffering persecution for the Lord. Your response of faith and love could well lead to the salvation of the ones persecuting you!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Faith