Here in Israel we have an interesting geographical phenomenon – there are two landlocked seas. One is alive and one is dead. The sea full of life is the Kinneret, better known as the Sea of Galilee. The dead sea is…….you guessed it, the Dead Sea. Now the Kinneret is constantly emptying as it flows through the Jordan River valley…. into the Dead Sea. But the Dead Sea does not empty its water at all. Instead, the Dead Sea is continually shrinking, because the intense heat at this lowest place on Earth actually evaporates more water than is flowing in. Do you see a parable here?
During World War I, in the winter of 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, one of the most unusual events in history took place. The Germans had been in a fierce battle with the British and French. Both sides were dug in, safe in muddy man-made trenches six to eight feet deep that seemed to stretch forever… but it was Christmas, and what happened next was astonishing, writes Stanley Weintraub, author of the book, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce.
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.
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.
A young reporter approached an old man on his 100th birthday. "Happy birthday, kind Sir! Can I bother you to answer one question? In all your years, of what are you most proud?" he asked.
"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.
These first two scriptures are speaking of the same "Stone", the prophesied Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), the "head of the corner" or "rosh pina", in Hebrew. This stone is laid in Zion, a common synonym for Jerusalem, where mount Zion rests. The stone is "tried", that is, tested in every way that a stone can be; the stone is precious and excellent to be set as a sure, reliable, accurate, even everlasting foundation, and a stone which is prepared and set in place by God, Himself. Can you think of a "Stone" more perfect or beautiful than our Messiah?
One of my favorite heroes of the faith is Hudson Taylor. For those who are unfamiliar with him, Hudson Taylor led a great awakening in China which continues to this day.
Yeshua (Jesus) is the Prince of Peace (Sar Shalom, in Hebrew). You may have already known that the word "shalom" means peace. But actually, it has several meanings in the Hebrew. Shalom means peace, completeness, prosperity, safety, contentment, health, blessing, and rest — and not only that. Shalom is the common word for hello and goodbye.
The Hebrew word "shalom" has meaning that is deep and rich. Peace, completeness, prosperity, safety, contentment, health, blessing, and rest are all apportioned to the meaning of this remarkable word.. The ancient Hebrew spelling of "shalom" is interesting because it speaks only indirectly about these multiple meanings, but reveals something very profound about apprehending "shalom".
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.
As we've been watching the news recently, it seems the word of the hour is crisis! It seems everywhere we turn we hear it — it's a "financial crisis", a "political crisis" — international, environmental, spiritual crisis!
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.
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 […]
Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Being involved in ministry, my wife and I have experienced a few hairy situations in which we were called upon, either directly or indirectly, to mediate in an unresolved conflict. Have you ever been a mediator? I'm sure you have […]
Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. The king of the birds was looking in the mirror one day and was disappointed to see that his feathers were not as bright as they were once. "I […]