Will We Learn From History?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Rededication

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

This Saturday night, Jewish people around the world will mourn Tisha B'Av, the ninth day of the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar year. Some of you may know that a lot of bad things have happened to the Jewish people on this date, the first of which was when the spies returned with an evil report of Canaan, the Promised Land, recounted in Numbers 13 and 14. Both the first and the second Temple were destroyed on this exact date, hundreds of years apart. The Crusades began on this day in 1095. The Jews were expelled out of England on this day in 1290, and again were expelled from Spain and Portugal on Tisha B'Av in 1492. And there are many more examples of this infamous day in Jewish history!

The number "nine" is sometimes associated with "judgment" or "fruit" in scripture. Not taking this too far, yet we may still see repeated expressions of the Lord's judgment through this recurring historical pattern. Moses warned, especially in Deuteronomy, of the terrible things which would happen to the Jewish people throughout history were they to abandon the Lord, worship false gods, and forsake His covenants. And He often used idolatrous nations who hated or were jealous of Israel, to bring judgment upon their disobedience, though they often went way too far and angered the Lord bringing His judgment against them as well.

But God's judgments are almost always tempered with His mercy and grace, for one constant purpose — and that is to bring people back to Himself! We see this in our own lives and in the history of nations throughout the world. But as the saying goes, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". And we have a powerful example of this in Tisha B'Av. Israel's idolatry brought God's judgment upon her. And as the Jewish people around the world are fasting in preparation for the observance of this "day of judgment", we may remind ourselves of our own past failures which we don't want to repeat!

Will we remember and learn from these past failures? We are not doomed to a fate of failure. If repentance is sincere and deep, we can avoid the judgments and consequences of past sins, and learn from history. If we seek the Lord to expose the roots of failure in our lives, and pray with faith for healing and deep repentance, trusting Him for the power to overcome the sinful nature…we really can avoid a pattern of judgment. Let's spend the time with Him now… so we don't need to return to Him through the terrible shame and sorrow of "Tisha B'Av."

Worthy Christian Devotions » Rededication

Choose the better part!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Rededication

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

So often in ministry, the Lord deals with my own spirit, saying – "You need to step back and get refocused!" And we all know how hard it is at times when we get so busy with the normal every day stresses of life tugging at our limited time.

This morning I was re-reading the story of Mary and Martha, and how Mary chose the better part, while Martha was doing the housework. Now let's not deny the real importance of housework and practical matters; let's face it, with nobody doing that stuff, what would get done? Life would be a mess! But according to Jesus, something was wrong, and Martha had her priorities out of line. And He made it very clear, Mary had chosen the better part! Mary preferred and chose relationship and intimacy with the Lord over the physical preparations and housework associated with His visit. And Jesus blessed and protected her choice.

And so the Lord has had to remind me, over and again of the importance of intimacy with Him…before getting down to the work!

It's a constant temptation to slip into an emphasis on DOING the work at hand; and even in our own personal prayer time, to be mainly focused on those "urgent ministry needs"…and completely forgetting the most important thing, the "better part"- intimacy, personal communication, just BEING with Him.

Let's resolve to choose intimacy with Jesus! Let's choose the better part! Let's resolve to spend time with the Lord and develop that intimate relationship He so wants with us. That way we will constantly experience how deep and awesome His love for us is. And it will make the work we're called to do — so much easier!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Rededication

Let's Go Deeper!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Rededication

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

James 4:7-10 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Why is it that some believers seem to go much deeper in their walk with God than others? I believe it has to do with a desire to pursue God and not to stop until they feel His very presence in their lives. These believers decide not to settle for anything less than a growing, vibrant relationship with God, and God honors that desire for those who seek it.

Much of our walk is determined by how we desire Him. In James, the Lord promises that if you draw near to Him — He will draw near to you. Our enemy, Satan, uses everything in his power to prevent that vibrant relationship from forming – but press through – press on – because God wants this relationship very much.

I want more! God's heart and mind are infinitely deep and there's nothing more precious than knowing Him better and better. So I'm pushing through every obstacle to really show Him how much he means to me. Let's do it together.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Rededication

Season with Salt!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Rededication

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Leviticus 2:13 And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.

For years, when I visited my father-in-law's home in Jerusalem on the Sabbath, we would break bread and bless the bread with the traditional blessing – "Baruch Ata Adonai Eleheynu Melech HaOlam Ha-Motzi Lechem Min Ha'aretz" – which translated means,"Blessed are You Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has given us bread from the earth". After the blessing, my father-in-law would take salt and sprinkle the challah bread as he broke and passed it to everyone at the table.

I began to understand this blessing only a few years ago, when I stumbled across this verse in Leviticus about adding salt to every grain offering. Mentioned only three times in Scripture, yet this covenant carries deep significance and harmonizes perfectly with our New Covenant understanding of the gospel and its eternal blessing in our lives.

Historically, the salt covenant was used in ancient times as an expression of commitment and loyalty – affirming friendships that would last forever. It was also used in marriage ceremonies demonstrating the pact of enduring loyalty between a man and a woman.

So, the next time you break bread – salt it – reminding yourself not only of the Lord's body that was broken for you – but also of your eternal friendship with Yeshua and your soon coming marriage to Him – all resting soundly on His loyal covenant of love.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Rededication

Crush, Mutilate, Destroy!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Rededication

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

According to ancient Jewish legend, one day Abraham was shown his father, Terah's room of many idols. Young Abraham, thinking that perhaps he could discover intimacy with them, made some desirable delicacies and placed them before the idols. When nothing happened, he realized that these idols were nothing more than clay — they could do nothing for him or anyone else for that matter. So he proceeded to destroy all the idols, except for one.

When Terah received word of this, he went to Abraham and said, "Son, what did you do to my idols?!" "I brought them delicacies," Abraham replied, "and then the biggest idol became envious of the others, and destroyed them all." Terah, furious with Abraham, said, "You're lying to me! How can idols made by my own hands do such things?" "You're right father." Replied Abraham, "Now tell me, then, why do we worship idols that can not eat, drink or even move?"

This kind of idol worship may sound far removed from us, but we too, have our idols. They may not be made of clay but they are very real! The love of money, possessions, success, leisure, food, sensuality, security and outward beauty — the love of tradition and even our friends and family — the pursuit of our goals and dreams are among some just off the top of my head. Most of these are not bad things in and of themselves, don't get me wrong. But if we are not careful, they can all easily become idols in our lives!

What is the object of our affections today? What takes up the majority of our time, effort, and resources? These are our idols. Anything that we allow to run our life becomes our god.

There is only One God we ought to be worshiping — and He will not have any other god's before Him! Let's crush our idols today. We need to get right with the Lord so that we may be used mightily for His Kingdom!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Rededication