Have some chutzpah!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Prayer

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Luke 11:5-8 And He said to them, "Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and he will answer from within and say, 'Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you'? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

Since moving to Israel we've been thrust into a Middle Eastern culture of "extreme hospitality". The above parable from Luke takes place in a similar cultural context, and it powerfully illustrates how God wants us to approach Him.

The word persistance in Greek is the word anaideia which can also be translated in more detail as "bold persistence" or "tenacity". Look at the raw nerve this man has disturbing his sleeping neighbor in the middle of the night. He's calling out to him, expecting him to understand his need to provide food and hospitality for his unexpected guest, and even when his friend tries to turn him away…he is relentless! Here in Israel, we call that "chutzpah"!

Chutzpah is a difficult word to translate into English, but this is definitely an example of it – brazen boldness to continue knocking no matter the late hour or the stubborn selfish neighbor!

Now there are some of us who pray with this attitude, like God was a stubborn uncooperative friend who doesn't really care, or as though we're somehow bothering him as if we're waking him up in the middle of the night. But Yeshua (Jesus) is using this stubborn neighbor as a NEGATIVE illustration. He's saying the Father is NOT like that, but is a true and loving friend, one to whom we can bring all our needs, our troubles, and our problems because He will listen, and He will care! But God also wants us to be persistent, not to browbeat or pester Him for an answer, but rather, because we so believe in Him, and we want to express to Him just how much we really trust Him even when the answer doesn't come immediately. It's an expression of relentless faith which so pleases Him.

If this uncooperative neighbor finally gives a loaf to his friend, how much more will our Heavenly Father give to us, His children, if we come to Him with believing chutzpah? As long as we ask according to His will [1 John 5:14], we can confidently bring our requests, and even if we need to dig in and wait for His answers, it's because we know that our trust in His love and generosity will make him so happy. So… with so much work to be done, let's show some Holy chutzpah!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Prayer

Be a bold voice for Him!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Prayer

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Isaiah 52:7-8 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the Lord brings back Zion.

In the 4th century lived a Christian named Telemachus, in a remote village, tending his garden, and spending much time in prayer. One day, he believed he heard the voice of God telling him to go to Rome, so he obeyed, setting out on foot. Some weeks later, weary from his journey, he arrived in Rome about the time of a great festival.The little man followed the crowd surging through the streets into the Colosseum. He saw the gladiators standing before the Emperor and proclaiming, "We who are about to die salute you." Then Telemachus realized that these men were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the cheering crowd. So he cried out in a loud voice, "In the name of Christ, Stop!" Yet the games began, so he pushed his way through the crowd, climbed over the wall and dropped onto the floor of the arena. The entire Colosseum watched this tiny figure rushing toward the gladiators, crying, "In the name of Christ, STOP !!!" The gladiators thought it was part of the show and began laughing. But in a few moments, they realized it was not part of the show, and then the crowd became angry. Telemachus stood his ground, insistently pleading with the gladiators to stop their bloody show, when one of them plunged a sword into the saint's body. He fell to the sand. As he was dying, his last words were, "In the name of Christ, STOP!!!"

Then a strange thing happened. The gladiators stood there looking at the tiny Christian lying there dead. A hush fell over the Colosseum. Way up in the upper rows, a man stood and made his way to the exit. Others followed. In dead silence, one by one, everyone left the Colosseum. The year was 404; and that day saw the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum. Telemachus' martyrdom initiated an historic ban on gladiator fights by the Roman Emperor Honorius. Never again in the great stadium did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd. One tiny man's bold voice — one voice — reshaped Roman history, and saved thousands of lives, by fearlessly proclaiming the truth in God's name!

You may be a little man, or woman, spending time alone with Yeshua (Jesus). And He may be preparing you in the quiet place, for a moment when you will be called to raise your voice in some public square or stadium, to fearlessly stand for His truth, even if it might cost your life. Remember Telemachus, whose voice changed the world because God's word was behind it. Boldness is not bravado, but is rooted in deep conviction based on deep relationship and unswerving obedience. And it's effects resound through history. So cultivate that intimate relationship with Him, and be ready to be launched into the arena of death-dealing humanity. Your lack of fear and your love for others will reveal the Yeshua whom you love, to many souls.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Prayer

Learn to Lead!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Prayer

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Revelation 5:10 And have made us kings and priests to our God: and we shall reign on the earth.

We came across this interesting story, written by Steve Brown of Key Biscayne Florida.

In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery. "Your Majesty," said Prior Richard, "do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king." "I understand," said Henry. "The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you." "Then I will tell you what to do," said Prior Richard. "Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you." When King Henry died, a statement was written: "The King learned to rule by being obedient."

We are kings and priests! Furthermore, the Bible says that one day we will rule with Him! We need to get ourselves ready!

Are you weary of parenting, ministering, praying or whatever other assignments the Lord has given you for this season of your life? Please, be encouraged! God expects us to be faithful where he puts us, even in the small things. Stay strong in the Lord! God is preparing us for great things — and our efforts for Him will not go unnoticed!

 

Worthy Christian Devotions » Prayer

Revealer of Secrets!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Prayer

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Gen 41:45a And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah (“Decipherer of Secrets”);

Joseph interpreted dreams and revealed their meaning to those around him, and so Pharaoh gave him the name, Tsofnat Paneach (Zaphnathpaaneah) which means the "Decipherer or Revealer of Secrets". Yeshua, (Jesus) at his first advent coming as the suffering servant or otherwise known as "Mashiach ben Yosef" also came revealing secrets; not as an interpreter of dreams, but as one who disclosed the secrets of men.

Yeshua's teaching consistently exposed the innermost thoughts of the heart, forcing them into the light. As the living Word of God His words like a sword, cut through deception and went straight to the motives of men. Exposing sin through deep conviction, He presents the opportunity for real and sincere confession. He can then remove those sins through His atoning death.

Yeshua's insight and the conviction of His word are a gift. If He probes you in the secret places it's only because He loves you so much, and because He wants to reveal His grace and power to cleanse you. When you read His Word or seek Him in prayer, don't be surprised if you discover some of your own secrets, things you may have even hidden from yourself. He will reveal what He wants you to see, what He wants you to confess, and what He wants to help you change. And then, you will also discover a "secret" love He was waiting to show you.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Prayer

Fill up!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Prayer

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Jeremiah 31:31-33 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

This Saturday evening begins the celebration of Shavuot. Most Christians might recognize this as the celebration of Pentecost in Acts 2. However, the very first Shavuot actually took place fifty days after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea about 1500 years before Acts was even written. It was on this day that the law was given on tablets of stone.

Interestingly, it was also fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus that Shavuot was celebrated again. But this time, the law of God was written upon the hearts of men, just as God promised through the prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah.

Shavuot is both a celebration of the God's faithfulness in the early harvest and an anticipation of the abundance of the harvest yet to come. This day, a couple of thousand years ago, 3000 Jewish people came to faith in Messiah. The day will soon come when those for whom we've been weeping and petitioning God in prayer will come to know the Lord and all of Israel shall be saved!

Let's pray for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit today, and let's anticipate great things! Be praying for revelation for those we love who haven't yet seen the truth of the Lord. And please also be praying for the salvation of Israel!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Prayer