Take up your mantle!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Glory

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

2Kings 2:13-15 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;  And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.  And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

When Elijah went up to to heaven, Elisha took up his mantle and walked in the power of Elijah. The Hebrew word for mantle is "aderet". It's root word is "adir", which means excellent, gallant, glorious, mighty, noble and worthy! Elijah was a man with these qualities. The mantle that Elisha received from Elijah meant a calling which was powerful. Elisha had earned it. When the two first met, Elisha had slaughtered the oxen he was plowing with, and burned them on the wood of their yoke as an offering. Then he followed and served the prophet until the day Elijah was taken miraculously to Heaven. An officer of King Jehoshaphat summed up Elisha's life with these simple and beautiful words: “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah. ”

Just before Elijah was taken to Heaven he said to his servant, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?” Elisha answered without hesitation, "“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit”. Having served his mentor so faithfully, Elisha boldly and humbly asked for a double portion of his master's spirit, and received it in full. The sons of the prophets at Jericho did not fail to recognize the anointing which Elisha carried. He carried it because of his excellent and faithful service and devotion to the man of God.

We too are called by the Son of God to excellence, devotion and faithful service. The anointing which we carry from Him will express these qualities. Yeshua (Jesus) is our perfect example, our mentor and master. Following and serving him day by day, faithfully and carefully, we will live under His glorious "mantle".

We are called to excellent and faithful service to exemplify and walk in the anointing of our Lord. God has given us a glorious mantle to wear, His very own Spirit, that we might live excellently, mightily, gloriously, gallantly, nobly and worthily. May we receive the grace daily to wear His mantle as Elisha did Elijah's. Even as Elisha received the "double portion", we too may do "greater things".

Worthy Christian Devotions » Glory

He understands our sufferings more than you know!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Glory

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted (me-u-neh). But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Romans 8:16-18 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

When I studied Isaiah 53 earnestly in the ancient Hebrew, I was taken back by the Hebrew word for "afflicted" (me-u-neh). In modern Hebrew this word means "tortured". When I was young, and first learned what torture actually involved, my soul was shocked that this could happen to people; in fact that it was happening to people. That a person could be kept alive for the purpose of intentionally causing him intense agonizing pain was an astounding enigma for my young soul. It really frightened me; and I think that fear of torture is probably the greatest fear that humans can experience. We read about people who have been tortured, with a kind of horrified awe. And quietly we wonder inside, "How can this be?" And, "Could this ever happen to me?"

Crucifixion was a form of torture which the ancient Romans used frequently. And while I had a concept of the suffering that our Messiah endured for us, for some reason the understanding that He was tortured for our iniquities brought my awareness to a new level. I did not begin to appreciate or fathom the suffering Yeshua went through. His identification with our suffering and our sin was total, and His experience of this torture so fully absorbed Him that He experienced what must have felt like infinite isolation and pain. Somehow, this is a deep comfort; to know that the Son of God understands by experience, torture and suffering unthinkable.

But then, I suddenly realized that I also could not begin to comprehend the glory that awaited Him after His suffering. And that His suffering purchased for me a portion in that glory as well. It was the other side of the story, and somehow, these two extremes complement one another; suffering, and glory. The apostle Paul states his revelation about our sufferings with almost light-hearted conviction; that they are not even “worthy” to be compared with the glory that awaits us. This, to me, could be the most amazing promise in all of scripture.

Suffering is everywhere, a constant part of this life; it may be you, or someone you love, or people you don't even know but are agonizing over and praying for. This world casts suffering in every direction at every level of intensity. But all of it, every flaming ounce of it has been successfully absorbed into the body of Yeshua the Messiah. He was tortured for us – suffered death for us – so that our sufferings are trifles in the light of eternity. It's been said this way: from heaven the most miserable earthly life will look like one bad night in a cheap hotel. Thank the Lord.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Glory

Faces Reflect; Reflect on Faces, and Behold His Beauty!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Glory

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Psalm 27:4 One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.

The Hebrew word for "face" is "panim", (the Hebrew letters, peh-nun-yud-mem), literally "faces", a plural word. Normally, when we think about God, we focus only upon one of His "faces” at a time. God is "love" – or He is "holy"– or He is "just"— or He's a God of "wrath". Yet, of course, ALL these "faces" are His at once; and so the word "panim" accurately reflects the truth of God's multifaceted being. As we get to know Him better we begin to appreciate the complexity of His nature and the fact that our focus on one "face" is a very limited view, since there's so much more going on in His amazing "Personality".

Now the same four Hebrew letters which form the word "face", (peh-nun-yud-mem), also form the Hebrew word for "inside" or "interior". * This would seem to contradict the first meaning, "face", since "face" is the external part of a person or thing, not the inside. Yet here, as with many Hebrew words and concepts lies a deep truth, a paradox which expresses two sides of reality. The "face" is intimately connected with the "interior", and may accurately reveal the true "interior" of someone. There's even a science (or perhaps you might call it an art) of reading peoples' true attitudes and character by looking carefully at their facial expressions. So while we don't "judge a book by it's cover", we may begin to know a person better by carefully looking at her face…because it is true that the face often says something real about the inside of a person. Yeshua (Jesus) said, "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light." Inside and out, we're connected.

And this is something God wants us to do with Him; to meditate, or gaze upon His "panim", His "faces", and so to receive from His interior depths. Someday, we will see Him "face to face", and begin to know Him in ways which are unimaginable. Yet it is possible, by His Spirit within us, to begin now.

God desires us to look deeper into who He is, even as we only look or meditate on one of His "faces". King David expressed his own unique desire in these words: "One thing I have asked from YHVH, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of YHVH all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the YHVH and to meditate in His temple." God's faces and His "interior" are one continuous eternal wonder. Let us spend time simply beholding Him!

* In Israel, the Ministry of the "Interior" is the first "face" you meet when interacting with the State on visa issues which determine your internal status in the Land. In Hebrew it's called the "Misrad HaPanim" (Office of the INTERIOR), literally, "Office of the Faces"!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Glory

Do you want to see the Glory of God?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Glory

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

2 Chronicles 5:6,13,14 Also King Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him before the ark, were sacrificing sheep and oxen that could not be counted or numbered for multitude. 13 indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever," that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.

Three thousand years ago, when Solomon dedicated the Temple to God, the priests offered up thousands of sacrifices. After the sacrifices were offered up — then the glory of God fell! The glory of God was so thick and heavy that the priests could no longer minister! Do you see the connection? First the offerings — THEN the glory fell!

But this reality is not found only in the Old Covenant; it's also in the New Covenant. After Messiah was sacrificed as the offering for the sins of the world at Calvary — came the resurrection, the Son of God, risen and glorified! So clearly, there’s an integral relationship between sacrifice and glory!

Can we see this relationship still operating even today? I believe we can. When we offer our bodies as living sacrifices; our future, our plans, our possessions and our lives, to the Lord–His glory begins to be revealed as His Spirit works in and through us. Called by Him to be more and more like Yeshua (Jesus), the people of God should be a people of sacrifice. Do you want to see the glory of God filling every aspect of your life? Then lay your life upon the altar in surrender to His perfect will–you will watch in amazement as He takes your offering and turns it to a beautiful testimony of His glory!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Glory

Which Report Will We Give?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Glory

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

When the twelve spies were sent into Canaan to spy out the land, ten returned with a bad report. Their assessment was that it was impossible to conquer the land that God had promised them. Forgetting how God had led them with a pillar of fire by night, and fed them manna from heaven during the day, brought forth water out of a rock, and parted the Red Sea, they saw the situation with only their natural eyes, failed to walk by faith, and succumbed to fear.

Joshua and Caleb however, returned with a good report. Refusing to be discouraged by what they saw, they fully trusted that their supernatural God was not going to break His promise to His people, Israel.

We are living in days where the world looks bleak, and the evils seem to grow more threatening and dangerous. How will we react? Will we be devastated and terrorized like the 10 spies with a bad report? Or will we do something extraordinary — will we walk by faith like Joshua and Caleb, trust in the love and power of our God, and seize the opportunities that are at hand?

Let's walk by faith and stand firm in it, facing every challenge, and laying hold of every opportunity that awaits us. May Joshua and Caleb be our examples of faith and courage in these days. With our God going before us, we also, can take the land, glorifying Him in every battle.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Glory