Have you ever heard how the Karen people of Burma were prepared for the gospel? This unique people's history reveals how the Lord had sovereignly preserved, in their traditions, their yearning for the one true God.
The Lord is quoted in this scripture in Matthew. It contains an important principle which believers sometimes tend to overlook. Many believe and even teach that if you're blessed, your life will be filled with material prosperity, and that if you are undergoing extreme trial, it must be because you have sinned or that you lack faith. The Lord says that the sun rises and the rain falls on both the righteous and the unrighteous alike.
You know how sometimes we get a phone call from someone who didn’t intend to dial us? And what do we usually say? Sorry, you have the wrong number.
With rockets daily being hailed down from Gaza, this is yet another of Satan's many attempts to annihilate Israel and the Jewish people in any way he can. Satan is actively at work, trying to rob the world of its blessing.
I love fishing… but sadly, I haven't been able to fish for quite a while. There's the Mediterranean, but other than that, the few good fishing spots in Israel are not really available to the public. So sad. Nevertheless, fishing gives me a chance to get a break from the world and just relax and meditate — and on a good day, maybe catch a fish or two. But there are different kinds of fishermen, and different ways of fishing…
Years ago, I heard an anointed missionary and personal friend speaking on the consequences of sin. He told a story about a pair of brothers he knew quite well.
"A young man enlisted, and was sent to his regiment. The first night he was in the barracks with about fifteen other young men, who passed the time playing cards and gambling. Before retiring, he fell on his knees and prayed, and they began to curse him and jeer at him and throw boots at him. So it went on the next night and the next, and finally the young man went and told the chaplain what had taken place, and asked what he should do. 'Well,' said the chaplain, 'you are not at home now, and the other men have just as much right to the barracks as you have. It makes them mad to hear you pray, and the Lord will hear you just as well if you say your prayers in bed and don't provoke them.'
While on the road to Damascus, Jesus appeared to Saul, blinded him and directed him to go to Damascus. There, God spoke to Ananias of Saul and told to lay hands on this troubled man. Ananias did as he commanded and Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit, healed of his blindness and immediately baptized.
We tend to focus on the part of that scripture where God does the blessing — but why did He bless Him? The answer lies in the passage! The Lord told Abraham: "I will bless you — and you shall be a blessing." Abraham was blessed so that he could be a blessing!
During his reign, King Frederick William III of Prussia found himself in a bind. Wars had been costly, and in trying to build the nation, he was seriously short of finances. After careful reflection, he decided to ask the women of Prussia if they would bring their jewelry of gold and silver to be melted down for their country. Each piece of jewelry he received, he would exchange for a decoration of bronze or iron as a symbol of his gratitude. These decorations would be inscribed, 'I gave gold for iron, 18l3'.
There once was a girl who hated herself. You see, she had become blind in her early teens from a rare disease. Not only did she hate herself but she hated everyone else too. She was angry at the world, angry at God, angry at everyone.
I came across an old legend about three cowboys crossing the desert on horseback by night. Suddenly, as they reached a rocky spot, a voice came from heaven and commanded them: "Friends, pick up some pebbles, put them in your pockets and do not look at them till morning." The men looked at each other in astonishment and began to do as they were told. The voice went on to promise that if they obeyed, they would be both glad and sad. The perplexed men put a few pebbles each in their pockets and went on their way.
Wiersbes, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, quotes: "Millions of surveys which we have helped to take around the world indicate that approximately 98 percent of the Christians do not regularly introduce others to the Savior."
Last week began the Biblical festival of Rosh Ha Shana. What's interesting about Rosh Ha Shana (the Jewish celebration of the New Year), is that it doesn't fall on the first day of the first month. It actually falls on the first day of the seventh month! It's difficult for outsiders to understand this concept, but if we study how the Jewish year begins and how God is outlining this age according to the Jewish feasts it all makes sense. The first month of the Jewish year begins with Passover. Two thousand years ago, the new age began with the crucifixion of Yeshua (Jesus) on the Cross on Passover! Next, Messiah rose from the dead precisely on day of the celebration of first fruits. Then, fifty days later, the Feast of Shavout (Pentecost) began the celebration of the harvest season. This day marked the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the beginnings of the first harvest right here in Jerusalem as three thousand souls came into the kingdom!
A young couple was visiting a renown jewelry store in New York City. They browsed through cases of magnificent diamonds with their gleaming yellow light along with many other splendid precious stones. Among those beautiful stones, one in particular caught his wife's eye.
When Jim Burke became the head of a new products division at Johnson & Johnson, one of his first projects was the development of a children's chest rub. The product failed miserably, and Burke expected that he would be fired. When he was called in to see the chairman of the board, however, he met a surprising reception. "Are you the one who just cost us all that money?" asked Robert Wood Johnson. "Well I just want to congratulate you. If you are making mistakes, that means you are taking risks, and we won't grow unless you take risks!" Apparently, Mr. Johnson wasn’t joking! Years later, Johnson & Johnson remains one of the largest multi-national manufacturers of pharmaceutical, diagnostic, therapeutic, surgical, personal hygiene, baby and biotechnology products.
Here’s an interesting fact about American church history that you may not know. Years ago, when the first New England churches were designed, they were built with clear windows rather than the stained glass ones we see so often today — and the graveyard was usually built in the churchyard, which would normally be seen from the pulpit. Why?
The LORD bared His holy arm, in a manner of speaking, God rolled up his sleeve(s) and revealed Yeshua, (Jesus) in the eyes of all the nations. A major sign of the end of this age will be the preaching of this gospel of salvation ("yeshua", in Hebrew) to the entire world for a witness to all nations. We are called to participate in this mandate.
A story is told of Peter Miller, a plain Baptist preacher of Pennsylvania, in the days of the Revolutionary War. Near his church, lived a man who maligned the pastor to the last degree. The man became involved in treason and was arrested and sentenced to be hanged.
Matthew 13:34-35 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. […]