Sometimes, the more significant, powerful, or influential someone is, the less you know about him or her. There are some people of influence whose names most of us have never heard, and about whom we know almost nothing, yet they make decisions which affect millions of lives.
"Blessed are the peacemakers"…when the term "peacemaker" is used the initial thought is of someone who keeps the peace between two opposing parties. A "peacemaker" solves dilemmas often without the force of violence, although the threat of violence is sometimes present and to be used if necessary.
I've known my wife for almost thirteen years and it would seem that I know her pretty well. But every once in a while, she says or does something that surprises me — and I think to myself "Wow, I guess I didn't know her as well as I thought!" The more time I spend with her, the more I get to know her — her heart, her character — the more we become intimate.
When the apostle Paul compared our lives to clay pots, he focused not on the earthen vessels, but rather the contents of those vessels. Jars of clay deteriorate over time, become chipped, cracked, and eventually broken. However, the real value of those ancient pots was not in the clay containers themselves, but in what they contained.
When I was younger I used to take an ax and cut up firewood from the woods behind our house. The one thing I always did was sharpen my axe! A dull axe meant harder work chopping through fallen trees. The sharper the ax the less effort and energy required for the task. So I learned early on to sharpen my ax before venturing into the woods, and I saved myself a lot of time and energy. (Besides I was a small kid, growing up, so I needed all the help I could get! ;) )
The word "verily", in this verse, is the Hebrew word “emunah” (em-oo-nah). It also means "faith" or "faithfully". When we trust in the Lord, and our trust is demonstrated by doing good, He declares that He will faithfully feed us. How will we be fed?
June might also be called "marriage" month, and my wife and I have several weddings to attend this month. In Israel, couples are married beneath a "huppah", which is a beautiful canopy under which the ceremony takes place. The word "huppah" means "covering" but also, a "chamber" or "marriage room". So the canopy is a reminder that the marriage chamber is the most important room in the house for a husband and wife because it's the most intimate room. The huppah emphasizes marital intimacy and reminds us that even if we have the most luxurious mansion in the world, neglecting the place of intimacy spells deep trouble for our marriage.
Perhaps you’ve seen pictures or have even visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem, what many believe to be the last standing Wall of the Second Temple. But people come from all over the world to pray there and put their prayer notes into the cracks between its stones. Believe it or not, I’ve actually come across a few websites which advertise their desire to receive your faxed prayer requests — and for a low, low fee of 29.99, will take and put them into the cracks of the wall for you!
In the most extreme moment of his life, when his entire household was threatened with annihilation, the Patriarch Jacob wrestled with a Man through an entire sleepless night. Somehow, after this astounding encounter, Jacob came to the realization that he had been wrestling with God, and face to face! Once again, the Lord God of heaven showed Himself as a human being to a man He loved; this time, for the purpose of rescuing, blessing, and preserving the man's destiny.
In Israel, we often see goats and sheep roaming the countryside. Driving through rural Israel often involves suddenly stopping to allow a herd of sheep or goats to cross the road. But interestingly, I have never seen “sheep kill" on the side of the road in all the years that I’ve lived in Israel. It’s because sheep don’t roam without a shepherd!
Every time we go to the States it seems I gain about 20 pounds! It’s really not that difficult – being a guest, and receiving the generous hospitality of American Christians for 3 months — which means being fed like a king. Feasting like this is really fun…until you get on the scale 3 months later! So now I’m back in Israel, eating right and knocking off what I call speaking weight. Those (women) who have experienced pregnancy weight, know just what I'm talking about.
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.
D.L. Moody has been influential in my personal life as I study and read about his life and ministry in the 1800's. I remember reading a story about how D.L. Moody was preparing to lead a revival throughout England to which an elderly pastor protested and said, "Why do we need this 'Mr. Moody'? He's uneducated, inexperienced, etc. Who does he think he is anyway? Does he think he has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?"
In the modern world, the work ethic is, achieve and produce by working longer and harder! The focus is on getting results through human effort — we've become product oriented and the bottom line is……the bottom line! But God's way runs contrary to this approach — His way is much more oriented toward process and relationship rather than performance and production.
En Gedi is a nature reserve about 40 minutes from our home. Surrounded by dry, barren, rocky ground, except to the east where the Dead Sea lies, it is an oasis, fed year round by springs of fresh water, and home to some of the most unique wild and botanical life in the world.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Don't you love New Year's resolutions? Every year this time, I start [...]
Psalms 73:24-28 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they [...]
Phillipians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. As the war continues in Israel, I'm finding believers throughout the land filled [...]
Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to [...]