Persecution is coming? Are you ready?!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Passion

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Genesis 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
John 15:25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Being hated without cause is an aspect of Messianic prophecy that applies to both Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David. Just as Joseph was hated by his brothers, and David was hated by Saul without cause, is it any wonder that Yeshua (Jesus) was hated by the world without cause — thus fulfilling a Messianic Psalm. [Psalm 69:4 ]. And should it surprise us that He is still hated? And if Yeshua was hated without a cause, should we expect our lives be to any different?

As thousands of saints suffered intense persecution in ages past, and thousands are still being persecuted today (126,000 martyrs last year alone), they prepare(d) the way for the salvation of millions of others. Since Yeshua said "Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends", the love expressed by the martyrs is a tremendous source of inspiration to all of us.

As we are rapidly approaching the end of the age, we can expect persecution to be on the rise. We're sent out as sheep among wolves – so lift your head high when suffering persecution for the Lord. Your response of faith and love could well lead to the salvation of the ones persecuting you!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Passion

The Veil Was Torn!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Passion

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Hebrews 10:19-23 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a 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. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

The New Testament records that when Yeshua (Jesus) died; there was a great earthquake and the veil of the Temple was torn in two. The size of this gigantic veil is not recorded in the NT…but we read from other sources that it was roughly 60 feet long and 30 feet wide with multiple woven layers the thickness of a man's hand! It was hung on a crossbeam stone – a lintel – which was over 30 feet long and weighed more than 30 tons! It was not an easy cloth to tear…

Jerome, a fourth century Church Father, writes concerning the tearing of the veil, that not only was the veil torn, but the great earthquake had also caused the lintel of the Temple to be broken in two. In fact, it seems that the breaking of the lintel was what caused the veil to be torn in half from top to bottom, since the veil hung down from the lintel.

In the culture of the Jewish people, a father will commonly mourn the loss of his son by rending or tearing his garment…

Can we suggest that the rending of the Temple's veil likewise, dramatically expressed our Heavenly Father's agony over the death of Yeshua, His only begotten Son?

The way was prepared through the death of the Son of God for us to have access to the Holy of Holies, that place on earth which was prepared for the abiding Presence of God's Spirit, and, in earlier Temple times, actually contained His Glory. In the death of the Messiah Yeshua, every barrier and obstacle, even a 30 ton stone that needed to be broken – was removed, to make a way for us to have an intimate relationship with the Father!

The sound of ripping cloth, the rending of a massive veil, echoes throughout history to this very day. The agony of that sound of mourning opened for us "a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh" [Hebrews 10:20]…so that now, at any time, we can approach our Heavenly Father with boldness and confidence in His love and acceptance. As we embrace the sacrifice of Yeshua, come with a clean heart in His righteousness, we may fully expect His constant intervention and blessing in our everyday lives— because the way has been permanently opened to us!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Passion

Know Him and the Power of the Resurrection!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Passion

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Philippians 3:8-11 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

In today's world of Smart Phones, tablets and instant Internet access, there are many things that we can "know." "How long is the Golden Gate Bridge?" Pop out your iPhone, ask "Siri", the golden-voiced digital encyclopedic genius, and you'll have the factual answer in seconds.

But there's more to the Golden Gate than just length; truly another "dimension" of knowledge and understanding of the bridge over San Francisco Bay, which might be acquired from the 95-year-old retired construction worker who spent 2 years of his life building it. The knowledge you'll glean from his salt-parched lips will hold you spell bound as he describes wrestling with massive cables in stormy bay weather, or nearly losing his balance leaning over to paint an inaccessible bolt.

There are facts — head knowledge, and there is the knowing of and from experience. We all know this, and it's why we prefer the mechanic who has been fixing cars for 35 years over the novice who just graduated from vocational training school.

The apostle Paul wanted experiential knowledge of the Lord Jesus. He wanted fellowship with His sufferings, experiential resurrection power, even, if it were possible, the absolute death of his sin nature. Paul wanted the actual reality of the living Messiah manifested in his life, and he knew and believed this to be his inheritance in the death and resurrection of the Lord. Paul wanted to know Yeshua intimately and personally and share in the Lord's own experiences. This Passover Resurrection Day season as we celebrate and meditate on the factual reality of what happened in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, we might also join the apostle Paul in his own sincere passion; "that I may know Him…."

Worthy Christian Devotions » Passion

Stay Warm!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Passion

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Matthew 24:12-14 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

I'm not sure how much I enjoy the freezing weather here as we're traveling across the United States, but I certainly can't wait till Spring comes! On the Hebrew calendar Nisan is the month that transitions from winter to Spring. The ice finally starts melting and new life springs forth during this month. Doesn't it make sense that Yeshua (Jesus) died and rose again from the dead during this month; the month of the transition from that which is frozen to that which is alive?!

The power of God melts through thick ice, and infuses life into all things! Is your love growing cold and frigid? Then allow the Lord to thaw you out! The world is cold to the things of God — but as Saints, we need to be sure that we're not allowing the world to numb us with its coldness; rather, we ought to be melting the frozen world around us!

Let's not get iced over with the snow, and freezing winter weather, (for those of us who are shivering through it just now), or even worse, the cold hard world around us. The Lord our God is a sun and shield. His warmth will fill us and will radiate out into the lives of others, if we will abide in His loving Presence.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Passion

Act now!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Passion

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Romans 12:17-18,21 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

One minister tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. "I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even! Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has hurt me!"

The minister suggested an ingenious plan "Why don't you go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him. Make him believe you love him. Then — after you've convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, drop the bomb. Tell him you want a divorce. That will really hurt him.

"With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, "Beautiful, beautiful! Boy, will he ever be devastated!" And she did it with enthusiasm. For two months she showed love and kindness, she listened, served and reinforced. When she didn't return to his office, the minister called. "So.are you ready now to go through with the divorce?" "Divorce?" she exclaimed. "Never! I discovered that I really do love him."

This woman's actions changed her feelings. Whether it's a tough relationship, a long-time fear, or a task that seems too big for us to accomplish, sometimes we need to act in faith in order to see it conquered for the Kingdom!

Whatever it may be, let's give it to the Lord today and ask Him to motivate us to go forth with strength and passion — for His sake!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Passion