Happy Todanukah!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Thankfulness

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

John 10:22-23 At that time the Feast of Dedication (Chanukah) took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.

John 10:28-31 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.

For the first time in over a 100 years, Thanksgiving and Chanukah will fall on the same day, November 28th, 2013. Some have termed it "Thanksgivukkah", however my wife calls it, "Todanukah". (The Hebrew word for "thanks", is "toda".) According to one calculation, the next time that Thanksgiving and Chanukah will align perfectly will be 79,043 years from now! I expect we will all have gone to our reward by then.

Many people don't realize that Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated Chanukah. In the gospel of John, it was during the feast of Chanukah that He was questioned as to whether He was the Messiah or not, and His amazing responses provoked His questioners to threaten to stone Him. But one of His statements contains a promise which ought to motivate us to the deepest dedication, and most profound gratitude:

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."

What an amazing assurance we have there!

As this "Todanukah" holiday combines the themes of dedication and gratitude, remember these precious words of Yeshua, and rededicate your life with thanksgiving. You've been given eternal life that no one can take from you. The Lord Himself said it on Chanukah. That is certainly something to be thankful for!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Thankfulness

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

Worthy Christian Devotions » Thankfulness

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 » Thankfulness

God only knows!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Thankfulness

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Est 4:14b who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

This is a story relayed by Corrie Ten Boom, "It was Christmas, 1944. My sister, Betsie, had died. I was in a hospital barracks in Ravensbruck, a Nazi prison camp. Dark it was in my heart, and darkness was around me. There were Christmas trees in the street between the barracks. Dead bodies of prisoners had been thrown under the Christmas trees. I tried to talk to the people around me about Christmas, but they mocked and sneered. At last I kept quiet.

In the middle of the night I suddenly heard a child crying and calling, "Mommy! Come to Oelie. Oelie feels so alone." I went to her and saw a child not so young, but feebleminded. "Oelie, Mommy cannot come, but do you know who is willing to come to you? Jesus will come." Oelie was lying on a bed next to the window, not far from lack of food, she had a sweet face and beautiful eyes. A bandage of toilet paper covered an incision from surgery on her back. That night I told this poor child about Jesus. How He came into the world as a little baby how He came to save us from our sins. "The Lord Jesus loves Oelie and has borne her punishment on the cross…. Jesus is … [in heaven] right now. He is getting a little house ready for Oelie." Later I asked her what she remembered of what I had told her. "What is the little house like?" I asked. "It is very beautiful. There are no wicked people as in Ravensbruck only good people and angels. And Oelie will see Jesus there." The child added, "I will ask Jesus to make me brave when I have a pain. I will think of the pain that Jesus suffered to show Oelie the way to heaven." Oelie folded her hands; together we gave thanks. Then I knew why I had to spend this Christmas in Ravensbruck."

Often we find ourself in difficult situations or places and we can't for the life of us understand for what possible reason we're here — but be encouraged! We may not understand but God does! And who knows whether you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Thankfulness

Feeling Itchy?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Thankfulness

1 Thes. 5:16-18 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

In her book “The Hiding Place” Corrie ten Boom relates an incident that taught her always to be thankful. She and her sister Betsy had just been transferred to the worst German prison camp they had seen yet, called Ravensbruck. The barracks were extremely overcrowded and horribly flea-infested.

After their scripture reading in 1st Thessalonians that morning, where the Lord reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances,

Betsy suggested they stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. At first, Corrie was appalled by the idea. She flatly refused to give thanks for that smelly, dirty, flea-ridden place. But Betsy persisted — and Corrie finally succumbed to her pleadings.

It was by a miracle of God that Corrie and Betsy were able to smuggle their Bible into the camp. If the guards found out that the women were holding nightly Bible studies in their barracks, they surely would have been punished harshly, maybe even killed. During the months they spent at that camp, however, no guard ever said one word.

It was not until several months later that they learned the reason why the guards would hardly ever come into their barracks. They wouldn't enter the barracks because of the fleas!!

Perhaps you're dealing with some difficult circumstances today. But who knows? There may be a purpose beyond our understanding! Let's choose trust the Lord and maintain an attitude of thankfulness in every situation.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Thankfulness

Come on in!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Thankfulness

Hebrews 10:19-22 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Not long ago, we went to see a life-size replica of the tabernacle in the Negev desert, a couple hours from where we live. It was really fascinating. As we went into the Holy of Holies, the guide shared something I never heard before.

According to Jewish tradition, even to this day, when a son dies, his father tears his shirt as a sign of his agony and mourning. You can see this at traditional Jewish funerals worldwide.

Years ago, right when His Son Yeshua (Jesus) died, His Father tore His veil. It is because of His great mercy toward us, that He allowed His Son to die for our redemption. And the tearing of that veil allows us to enter the Holy of Holies and fellowship with Him.

Today, we can come to the throne boldly — not because of anything we've done –but because of God's wonderful compassion. Let's enter the Holy place with the Lord today — worship Him and thank Him, boldly make our requests known and expect Him to do great and mighty things!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Thankfulness