Give a Good Word!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Praise

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

A friend writes: "My father did some pretty nasty things to me. But at the end of his life, as I kneeled by his bedside, I told him how thankful I was for every good thing he had done and every way he had blessed me, and there were many. We were good friends when he passed away." One of the greatest regrets you can avoid at the end of your life is the failure to praise others when they deserved it, (and even when they didn't).

But why is it that affirming words are so pitifully rare in our conversations, especially when so many many people are anxious, discouraged, and depressed by all the negativity in this life? We're living in a world that's constantly knocking us down, from cradle to grave. Is it any wonder that anxiety and depression are rampant at every age level?

But notice the advice that Solomon gives — a good word makes the heart glad. We should take this to heart. A compliment or blessing can be one of the greatest motivators, and can be truly life changing. And every one of us needs this kind of encouragement to run the race of this life.

Let's be people of encouragement, looking for the word which will lift another person up and bring healing and hope to her soul. A good word will also do wonders for our own hearts.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Praise

Learn to deploy a victorious battle strategy!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Praise

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

2 Ch 20:17,21-22  You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you."  And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: "Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever." Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.

We've been encouraged by numerous phone calls and emails over the past few days, telling us that people are praying and fasting for Israel and believers in the land — and we so appreciate it, more than words could ever express!

For the past few days the conflict in Gaza has been front page news. In this conflict some of the most sophisticated weapons ever developed are being deployed, and yet the amazing truth is that we, as believers, have a weapon far more powerful and effective than any man-made weapon ever created — Worship!

Most of us worship God when things are going well. And while worship can and should be a daily joyful exercise, and also an expression of praise for the Lord's victories, remember that worship has also been commissioned by God's people as one of the weapons in our spiritual arsenal.

So we can learn something from Jehoshaphat. He assigned worshipers to lead the armies into battle — and Israel crushed her enemies! Worship brought forth the victory in the midst of battle!

In the midst of your spiritual battle, learn the power of praise and the weaponry of worship, to disarm principalities and powers in heavenly places. When fears, doubt, discouragement, and despair threaten to overwhelm you — try warring with worship. Learn to praise Him in the midst of the battle…and soon enough you'll be praising Him even more, for the victory!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Praise

Counting the Omer — and Your blessings!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Praise

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Leviticus 23:15-17 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.

In the Tenach (Old Testament), the Lord commanded Israel to count the Omer (the Barley Harvest) beginning the day after the sabbath during Passover, 50 days to the Biblical Festival of Shavuot (Pentecost).

A remarkable fact is that for nearly 2000 years the Jewish people had no homeland, and no harvest to count – yet they continued to count the Omer, counting a harvest that did not exist. Then, about 130 years ago a historical miracle began as the Lord drew the Jewish people back to their ancient homeland, the land of Israel. The land was revived from dusty desert, and the barley harvest was restored, (as well a multitude of other crops), so that now, the Omer is counted as it was in ancient times, with an actual harvest!

Now, if the Jews in diaspora (dispersion) could count the days of a non-existent harvest, in expectation of a divine blessing which they earnestly hoped for, then they set an excellent example for us who trust in the Messiah they gave to the world. Since faith is the conviction of things NOT seen, we, also, can begin to give thanks for blessings we're praying for, but have yet to receive. Our unsaved loved-one, chronic illness, broken relationship, financial disaster, loss of vision…..all these are trials which are testing and maturing our faith.

We can rejoice in them, even as we give thanks in the expectation of victory, restoration, and a harvest of righteousness which is on the way. And may these come to many of us by Shavuot, this year (June 3rd).

Thank the Lord for the blessings you're about to receive — they're on the way!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Praise

Enter into His rest!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Praise

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Hebrews 4:9-11 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.

In Israel, Shabbat (the Sabbath) is an extraordinary day. People spend much effort to get everything perfectly prepared for this special season that lasts from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. For those of you who have ever visited Israel, you'd know that Friday morning is the time that everyone here is rushing around doing errands before everything closes. The shook (outdoor market) is packed, the buses are full, everyone is doing last minute shopping, cleaning, cooking and preparing for sundown, when all will be closed, the streets will be empty, the shops will be shut down and there is nothing to do for the next 24 hours but rest.

There is a Shabbat for the people of God and we must be diligent to enter into it. We do not labor to be justified, for our justification is only in Yeshua (Jesus) and in Him all the work for our salvation has already been accomplished. But it does take some labor to enter in. We must spend time preparing ourselves in worship and prayer and meditation on His word! But praise God! He has given us the ability to enter into His Shabbat rest, peace, joy and all the fullness of His blessings every day of the week if we will only prepare ourselves to receive it!

Let's prepare to enter into His perfect peace today. Shabbat Shalom!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Praise

Be thankful — in the end God will work it out!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Praise

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Psalm 100:4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Most of you know the story an Indian named Squanto and his first thanksgiving celebration with the Pilgrims. However, you might not know that over a decade before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, English traders were trading with the Indians throughout the region. Squanto’s amazing story really originated then.

An Englishman named Captain Hunter had kidnapped several Indians and sold them into slavery, one of whom was Squanto, sold into slavery in Malaga, Spain. There, Squanto was bought by a Spanish monk, who treated him well, freed him from slavery, and taught him about Christianity. Eventually, Squanto made it back to England, and worked in the stables of a man named John Slaney. It was there that Squanto learned English.

Upon Squanto’s return home in 1618, he learned that his tribe had been wiped out from an epidemic, probably smallpox brought by early English colonists. As you might imagine, he was devastated and couldn’t understand how God could allow this to happen.

Shortly afterward, a friend named Samoset introduced him to the Pilgrims. Because of Squanto’s history and understanding of English, Squanto was able to communicate with them. He also taught them how to survive there, how to fish, hunt, and how to plant corn. As a result, Governor William Bradford asked him to serve as his ambassador to the Indian tribes. Bradford accredited Squanto for the survival of the Pilgrim colony and saw that without God's providential hand in providing Squanto — the colony would not have survived.

When I first heard the story of Squanto, it reminded me of the story of Joseph and the providence of God, even in the worst of situations. Joseph was sold into slavery, thrown into prison, accused and abused…. but all of these things were worked out for the purpose of saving the Jewish people. The story of the survival of the Plymouth colony rested on an Indian who was kidnapped, sold into slavery, returned home to see his tribe wiped out, and yet through these events was used by God to preserve the Pilgrims who came to America with this purpose, "for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith". (Mayflower Compact, November 11, 1620)

We have so much to be thankful for this thanksgiving season – even despite the tough times in which we live. In Israel, we’re thankful there’s a lull so that we can celebrate thanksgiving without the noise of sirens sounding. While times are hard, we’re thankful to be alive for such a time as this! So we’re entering His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise today, knowing that our God is providentially in control of everything that is going on around us. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends in the States — we’re celebrating with you in the Negev!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Praise