Times of refreshing are near!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Mercy

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

1 Kings 19:4-5 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.

In this passage, Elijah had become so weary running from Jezebel that he sat under a Juniper tree and just asked the Lord to take his life. But the Lord knew exactly what Elijah needed and He sent forth a messenger to revive and nourish him. I love it.

In His infinite mercy, God sent an angel to minister to Elijah. And that was just enough to help him get up and continue to do great things for the Lord. We've all been under that tree, haven't we? Some of us are there right now.

Perhaps you know a saint who is growing weary and in need of refreshment. Let's be available for the Lord, to be that messenger and supply his or her needs. Make a meal, give a gift, offer your time, maybe even just bring a word of encouragement — perhaps that's all he or she needs to get up from under the Juniper tree and keep on keeping on for the Lord!

When you supply a need for someone else, you are acting as God's messenger. And proverbs says that he who refreshes others will, himself, be refreshed!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Mercy

Have Mercy on Me!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Mercy

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Jonah 4:1-5 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the LORD, and said, "Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You [are] a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for [it is] better for me to die than to live!" Then the LORD said, "[Is it] right for you to be angry?" So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city.

We continue looking at Jonah, and find him in Chapter 4 displeased with God's mercy toward Nineveh. The Assyrians were arch-enemies of Israel and among the cruelest nations in history. Instead of being elated that God spared 120,000 Ninevites Jonah preferred to see his own pronouncement of judgment executed by the Lord. "Let those Assyrians get what's coming to them – they deserve to go to hell without any mercy for how they've treated Israel!" The Hebrew word "charah", " to be hot, furious, burn, become angry, be kindled" is a very strong expression for Jonah's feelings as he leaves the city of Nineveh and sets up a shelter to watch what will happen – he seems to be hoping that God might change His mind and destroy Nineveh anyway.

Have you ever felt this way? Someone has really hurt you; really done evil to you more than once – you knew from God's point of view he was "begging for a bolt" (of lightening), and you wished judgment would rain upon him. The last thing you want to do is warn him to stop; you want justice, not mercy; maybe even … revenge! Would you have the courage to admit that? To be really honest with God? Tell Him how disappointed you are that your tormentor hasn't been hit by a truck or developed a brain malignancy?

Jonah's honesty is commendable. How many of us would try to hide feelings like that, even from ourselves? "Please take my life." Jonah says. But the Lord understands. Instead of condemning Jonah for his merciless attitude He tries to reason with His prophet. "`Is doing good displeasing to thee?' He asks Jonah. Then Jonah's misery is compounded when the plant God gives him for shade withers and dies. Depressed and angry, Jonah reveals the depth of depravity in human nature. "“It is right for me to be angry, even to death!” he pines. He cannot find joy in the mercy of God.

I shudder to think of what would happen to me if I received God's justice for my sins. I would not want to wish His punishment even on my worst enemies. Perhaps Jonah didn't realize that his own attitude was displeasing to God and also deserved His judgment. I'm so thankful for God's mercy to us. We should bless our enemies and pray for those who despitefully use us; we should overcome evil with good. Mercy triumphs over judgment. The Lord gives us the power to be like Him. He did it by dying on the cross and rising from the dead, after three days. Jonah was a sign of this, remember?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Mercy

Be God's Messenger!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Mercy

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Jonah 3:5-9 So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.9Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?

Jonah preached his 8 word sermon and the Ninevites were struck with the fear of the Lord and moved to complete repentance.

The king stood up (a sign of his serious intent), removed his royal robes (a sign of humility), covered himself with sackcloth (a sign of mourning), and sat in the dust (a sign of repentance). Then, according to the King's edict, every soul in Nineveh responded with desperate fasting. It's hard to imagine that level of conviction coming upon an entire metropolis of over 120,000 people. But what followed was the greatest revival in history. Every one in the city got saved! This seems so impossible at every level. The whole story of Jonah is utterly fantastic from beginning to end…almost like a fairytale.

But we know it isn't a fairytale.The Lord Himself clearly refers to Jonah's ministry as a historical fact; [Luke 11:29-30].

Through it, God is inspiring us for the days we live in. Look around, isn't the whole world going the way of ancient Nineveh? Isn't the wickedness and moral erosion around us just as horrifying as the evil deeds of the Assyrians? Can God’s judgment be far away?

And what were the chances of Nineveh's revival taking place? If Jonah, who knew God's mercy and grace as a prophet, was against it, who would give the Ninevites a ghost of a chance for salvation? Many of us undoubtedly feel the same way about most of our modern cities. We've stopped believing that God can reach the unreachable or do the impossible. Instead, we say, "It's Nineveh. It's hopeless?" What can we honestly expect in these "Days of Noah and Lot"?

The prophet Daniel, I believe, has an answer for us in these End Times: "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever; [Daniel 12:3]. It took Jonah a while to get there, but he finally did shine the righteousness of God into a wicked city; and he led many to righteousness.

Our God still has some plans with "fairytale" dimensions. If we can get over our cynicism, apathy, judgmental attitude, and unbelief, there are still a few Nineveh's in our future, I believe. I have no illusions about the strength of those negative qualities in us, or the desperate evil in our modern cities. But there are some whose identification with the Lord in His death, just like Jonah, who will lead many to righteousness, just as he did.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Mercy

The fields are white in the world!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Mercy

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Matthew 9:37-38 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Since we returned to our home in the Negev Desert in Israel, we've noticed that the usual "desert scene" we are so accustomed to, has completely blossomed with grass and flowers — what an amazing difference! It suddenly occured to me, as we were delighting in the beauty of it all, that the seed was already there! No one planted it. All the hills, now rolling endlessly with green — they are not owned by anyone. Miles and miles of grass and wild flowers suddenly shoot forth where there was nothing but brown before! It was just waiting for someone to water it! And God brought the rains.

Be encouraged today!! The desert is blooming! This is a sign to us! Pray for the rains to come! God has planted seed from the beginning of time! In each of us — even those who seem furthest from the Lord — God has planted seed! And we will see salvation and revival because of His great mercy and love!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Mercy

Come on in!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Mercy

Hebrews 10:19-22 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Not long ago, we went to see a life-size replica of the tabernacle in the Negev desert, a couple hours from where we live. It was really fascinating. As we went into the Holy of Holies, the guide shared something I never heard before.

According to Jewish tradition, even to this day, when a son dies, his father tears his shirt as a sign of his agony and mourning. You can see this at traditional Jewish funerals worldwide.

Years ago, right when His Son Yeshua (Jesus) died, His Father tore His veil. It is because of His great mercy toward us, that He allowed His Son to die for our redemption. And the tearing of that veil allows us to enter the Holy of Holies and fellowship with Him.

Today, we can come to the throne boldly — not because of anything we've done –but because of God's wonderful compassion. Let's enter the Holy place with the Lord today — worship Him and thank Him, boldly make our requests known and expect Him to do great and mighty things!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Mercy