When God called Gideon to lead Israel against their enemies, He wanted to show that a small army empowered by God was more effective than the largest armies. But notice how they fought – without weapons that an army would normally use. They fought with shofars and lamps! They fought with weapons that the world would consider ineffective, yet triumphed mightily over their enemies. They shouted as loud as they could, sounded the shofar, and broke the vessels that held the fire so that their lamps burst through with brightness.
Chanukah, a time of celebration and rededication, began last night here in the Land and for Jewish people all over the globe. Those of us who are grafted in through the atoning work of Messiah, we who know God, have an opportunity to see the deeper significance in the Jewish holidays and are not only welcome but encouraged to celebrate as well!
There is an important lesson here and in other places of God's Word, namely that humility and gladness go together. What do the humble and the joyous have in common? They both look up. The humble are those who don't look down on anyone. The truly humble look up all the time. They have to look up, because their eyes are on God, and He's above them. The joyous are always looking up as well, otherwise they wouldn't be rejoicing. The joyous are believing the Good News, so they rejoice!
Back in the third century Cyprian the Bishop of Carthage wrote to his friend Donatus: "It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered, in the midst of it, a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret.
A farmer was showing his visiting citydwelling friend around his farm. "Watch this!" he said. He gave a whistle and his little dog came running from the house, herded the cattle into the corral, then latched the gate with her paw. "Wow, that's some dog — what's her name?" The forgetful farmer thought for a minute and then asked, "What do you call that red flower that smells good and has thorns on the stem?" "A rose?" "That's it!" The farmer turned to his wife. "Hey Rose, what do we call this dog?"
When Daniel was in the midst of the lion's den…God was with him. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the midst of the fiery furnace…God was with them. It would have been perfectly easy for God to immediately transport these saints out of their difficulties, but no, He chose instead to be with them in the midst of their trials. God chose to reveal His power through the trials instead of exercising His power to remove them.
Once upon a time, there was a prince who received a very rare and beautiful bird. He named her Goldie and placed her in a lovely, 14K gold cage. But the poor creature was not impressed by the gold at all. She pleaded for her freedom but the prince loved her much too much to part with her. Still, she continued to beg. In final desperation, she asked that he at least allow her go to her relatives and tell them that, though captive, she was still alive.
Tonight begins the Biblical feast of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) throughout the world! Roughly 2500 years ago, there was a special Sukkot celebration in Jerusalem. The people of Israel were exiled and dispersed all across the Babylonian empire. Later, they were given the right to return and start construction on the 2nd temple of Israel. Nehemiah 8 speaks of the special celebration that happened at that time. We read how Ezra taught the people out of the book of the law and how they responded in weeping and repentance before the God of Israel.
This is one of my favorite promises in the Bible — that God turns mourning into dancing! He takes away the anguish of being clothed in sadness and replaces it with gladness. However, notice what God doesn't do — simply stop your mourning and make it disappear. No, He transforms it…into joy!
An official of a mission board, who knew it takes more than just desire to make a missionary, was appointed to examine a candidate for the mission field. He told the young man to be at his house at six o'clock in the morning. The young man complied and arrived a six o'clock sharp. The examiner kept him sitting alone in the room until ten…
One day a passerby saw a homeless man on the roadside. He stopped for a moment to hand him some loose change and casually said "God bless you, my friend".
Solomon wrote, "a merry heart has a continual feast!" But why does it seem like so many of us are not feasting? How do we maintain a merry heart?
Our sojourn in America has been a series of divine appointments. When we were in Nashville, we were introduced to the ancient Hebrew alphabet; letters which were originally written much like ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics in the time of Moses. In this written language it was often possible to derive the meaning of a word, because each letter was a symbol, which had its own particular meaning and significance.
Tonight begins Tisha B'Av, the ninth day of the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar year. Some of you may know that a lot of bad things have happened to the Jewish people on this date, the first of which was when the spies returned with an evil report of Israel, written about in Numbers 13 and 14. Both the first and the second Temple were destroyed on this exact day, hundreds of years apart. The Crusades began on this day in 1095. The Jews were expelled out of England on this day in 1290. They were expelled out of Spain and Portugal on this day in 1492. And these are just to name a few!
There is a fable about a stork on the bank of an Indian river. One day he was busily hunting for slugs and snails when an exquisitely beautiful swan dropped down beside him. The stork was taken aback by her beauty. "Where did you come from?" he asked. "From heaven, far above the mountains," said the swan…
Sukkot is known as "The Feast" in which God commands us to rejoice. As we conclude this feast of rejoicing today, I think it is only fitting that we commit ourselves to a life of joy. "But how?" you say. We need to make a choice — a choice to rejoice! Wow, I’m a poet and didn’t know it, lol! Let's reflect on what the Lord has done for us this year and commit to live above our current circumstances and look ahead toward what He is going to do for us in the future!
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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Sukkot is known as "The Feast" in which God commands us to rejoice. As we […]