Break Forth!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Freedom

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 » Freedom

Which would you choose?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Freedom

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

We came across this story, about a man who was slowly losing his memory. After a lengthy examination, the doctor said that a risky operation on his brain might reverse his condition and restore his memory. However, the surgery would be so delicate that a nerve could be severed, causing total blindness.

The surgeon asked, "So, which would you rather have, your sight or your memory?" The man pondered the question for a while and replied, "My sight, because I would rather see where I am going than remember where I have been."

Our enemy is always trying to dig up the past and keep us all bound up in our failures. But be encouraged! Today is a new day! Today and every day we have a choice to make! Like Paul, we must choose to press forward and put aside our past. We must purpose to keep our eyes on the Lord, not on our successes or failures, but upon on what can we do for Him today!

Be free from the shackles of the past! Keep your eyes on the prize!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Freedom

You are beloved!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Freedom

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Another interesting correlation we draw from Mashiach Ben Joseph is how Joseph was the object of his father’s (Jacob) love, just as Yeshua (Jesus) was loved of our Heavenly Father. This preference Jacob had for Joseph was unequivocal, and it was also pretty controversial among his brothers. Competition among siblings seemed to infect the family just as it can in many of our own families. But the beauty of Joseph's place in his father's heart emerges when we realize that, as a type of Yeshua (Jesus), Joseph powerfully illustrates the love our Heavenly Father has for all of us, equally and intensely, so there's no need or cause for competition among us.

Now Jacob's love for Joseph was connected with his love for Rachel and the long wait for a son by his beloved wife. Joseph didn't have to do anything to earn Jacob's love. It was not based on his performance, even though it turned out that his character was pretty sterling. Likewise, our Father's love for us is totally based in His love for Yeshua, not on our performance. Our HIGHS do not exalt us, and our LOWS do not depress us in the sight of the Father. Our acceptance is not dependent on us, but rather on Him who sits on the throne, Who never changes!

Rejoice, for your are accepted in the “beloved!” You may say to yourself, "There's nothing good here!" But remember that God the Father is seeing His Son when He looks at you. Your struggle against temptation and sin only proves that you have been lovingly adopted into His family, fully identified with His beloved Son. Realizing this is a source of tremendous freedom, prompting deep gratitude and a growing desire for relationship with God.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Freedom

Understand the Lord's Part in the Salt Covenant!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Freedom

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

2 Cor 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Yesterday's devotional revealed the salt covenant as a covenant of loyalty; today I want to share an understanding of the Lord's part in this covenant.

Yeshua (Jesus) said He is the "bread of life". It was His body that was broken on our behalf as the substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. Notice that He never once called us to be the "bread of life"! He is the ONLY "Bread of Life" – the true bread who came down from Heaven which anyone may eat and not die. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is His flesh, given for the life of the world.

We must realize that we can ADD NOTHING to His sacrifice. If we begin to believe that any good works can add to His sacrifice then we have nullified the perfection of the Messiah's work which provides our justification by faith alone, not of works lest any man should boast. [Ephesians 2:8-9]

Understanding that you cannot save yourself by any good deeds, and falling wholeheartedly upon the sacrifice of Yeshua to save you, will remove spiritual pride, as you understand that He has provided you with the righteousness and goodness which you possess as a generous gift of His Spirit.

In gratitude you will walk in His freedom, serving the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength!

Just as Adam and Eve put on fig leaves to cover their nakedness, we can try to cover our deeply corrupted sinful nature with good deeds or religious activity. None of this is of any use or value if we have not truly eaten the "Bread of Life", Yeshua the Messiah. His free gift of righteousness is the only way we can become good. Once He has provided that, we can begin to do works that are truly pleasing and of great value to our Lord.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Freedom

Our Goel Lives!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Freedom

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

Job 19:25 For I know that my Redeemer (Goel) lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;

As we continue our study in Ruth during this Shavout season, the theme of redemption is prevalent. We read that Boaz became Naomi and Ruth's "kinsman redeemer", or "goel" – from the Hebrew, "lig'ol", to redeem, receive or buy back. In the Torah, a provision had been made for the poor person who was forced to sell part of his property or even himself (into slavery). This man's nearest of kin could step in and "buy back" or "redeem" what his relative had been forced to sell. [Leviticus 25:25] A slave could be redeemed from his bondage by his "goel" who literally purchased his relative's freedom.

In the story of Ruth, we read that Boaz became Naomi and Ruth's "goel", their kinsman "redeemer". First, Boaz was qualified as kin to Naomi's deceased husband Elimelech [Ruth 2:1]. Secondly, he needed to be able to redeem by paying the price of redemption. [Ruth 4:2-3]. And finally, he was willing to redeem the land which had belonged to Elimelech.[Ruth 4:4].

Naomi's losses had been devastating in Moab. Her husband and two sons had passed away and she had returned to her ancestral homeland a desolate woman, with no inheritance. Her only solace was Ruth, whose love and loyalty were legendary. But Ruth's character of devotion apparently inspired Boaz to love her, and even to ignore her Moabite ancestry; for when Boaz decided to redeem Elimelech's property, he also agreed to marry Ruth. Naomi's life, her inheritance and her destiny were also redeemed in this sweeping transaction. She had returned to Israel in deep bitterness, yet through this beautiful and unexpected redemption her friends exclaim "Blessed be the LORD, which has not left thee this day without a 'goel'. [Ruth 4:14]

The marriage of Ruth and Boaz produced a son named Obed, and a grandson named Jesse, who was the father of King David; four generations of the lineage of Yeshua the Messiah. And through his redemption of Ruth and Naomi, Boaz became a picture of Yeshua (Jesus) our Kinsman-Redeemer, who redeemed us for Himself, out of desolation and slavery to sin, and made us His own beloved bride!

Isn't it amazing how a tiny slice of human history can be filled with such significance and typological meaning? Only God could invest a beautiful human love story with an eternal redemptive purpose. Can we do any less than to fall-or rather rise-hopelessly in love with such a Redeemer?!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Freedom