How do we achieve peace?

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Psalms 29:11 The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

Colossians 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

As we enter into day 16 of Operation Protective Shield, we read how a "ceasefire" is proposed by different countries in order to settle the conflict. However, it's not a 'true' peace they want to achieve, but just a pause in the violence. A ceasefire in the eyes of Islam is called a 'hudna', which is understood as a time to regroup and rearm before rising to its ultimate victory. So how does one truly achieve peace?

The solution is hidden inside the deeper understanding of the Hebrew word, Shalom, and in ancient Hebrew provides the solution for true peace — one that applies not only in the real world, but in our personal lives.

The Hebrew word "shalom" has meaning that is deep and rich. Peace, completeness, prosperity, safety, contentment, health, blessing, and rest are all apportioned to the meaning of this remarkable word.. The ancient Hebrew spelling of "shalom" is interesting because it speaks only indirectly about these multiple meanings, but reveals something very profound about apprehending "shalom".

The composition of Shalom at approximately 1000 B.C.

"Shalom" is comprised of four Hebrew letters: "Sheen", "Lamed", "Vav" and "Mem". The letter "Sheen", represented as teeth, illustrates destruction. "Lamed" portrays a staff and illustrates authority. "Vav", illustrated as a nail or a tent peg, carries the ideas of fastening, securing, or establishing. And finally, "Mem" is displayed as water, and illustrates chaos. So the Hebrew word picture for "shalom" communicates this message – "destroying the authority that establishes chaos"!

While the world calls on Israel to cease on attacking Hamas, in reality, it brings more chaos because the authority is not destroyed. While we mourn for the lost lives of innocents, as any believer would, we also realize that the root cause of chaos must be destroyed in order to bring true peace.

Do you want "shalom" in your life? You will need to deal with the roots and causes of chaos. The one and only successful way to do that is through faith in and identity with Yeshua (Jesus) your Sar Shalom – your prince of Peace – because He has already disarmed the authorities which establish chaos and will soon destroy them completely. He said, These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”[John 16:33]

Is our house on the sand?

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

WHAT A STORM! Rain poured all across Israel including the Negev Desert and boy, have we needed it! Sadly, we won't be able to take our guest to some of the sites in the Negev because the roads are closed due to flooding. Yes… I said flooding… in the desert!

There are two rainy seasons that occur in Scripture, "Yoreh" the early rain and "Malkosh", the latter rain.

In the above passage, Yeshua (Jesus) is talking to Israelis, of course, who knew the ramifications of the rainy seasons in this region. Because of the dry enviroment for most of the year, the ground becomes incredibly hard here. So hard in fact, that when the vigorous rains come, the dry ground cannot absorb it fast enough, which can cause massive flash flooding. One thing is for sure — these people realized how important it was to build their houses on the rock!

I believe the Lord is cautioning us today, about building our houses on fallow ground. He knows that stormy season is near and He wants us to be prepared! We don't want to be one of the many whose houses will collapse because they were built on finaces, prestige and other things of this world. We must be careful to build our house only upon Him. Even building our houses upon seemingly innocent things like family, tradition and good works is dangerous. We want to be of those who've established our foundation upon the ROCK of the truth of His Word and who will be able to weather the coming storms because of it!

Are there storms raging about you today? I know we are experiencing them here. Let's be quick to examine whether our lives are completely built upon the Rock!

Haven't you forgotten something?

Psalms 111:4 He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.

A farmer was showing his visiting citydwelling friend around his farm. "Watch this!" he said. He gave a whistle and his little dog came running from the house, herded the cattle into the corral, then latched the gate with her paw. "Wow, that's some dog — what's her name?" The forgetful farmer thought for a minute and then asked, "What do you call that red flower that smells good and has thorns on the stem?" "A rose?" "That's it!" The farmer turned to his wife. "Hey Rose, what do we call this dog?"

Funny how we forget things, isn't it? But I'm not so sure God finds it all that funny! When we read about the children of Israel and their journeys through the wilderness for forty years, we see how God provided wonderful miracles for them, feeding them daily with manna, guiding them by a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day, parting the Red Sea!

How is it, then, that they became so very hard hearted toward Him? Over time, I think those miracles just became commonplace and they began to take them for granted!

But then again when I look back on my life, I can't really blame them. It happens to the best of us! God has done miracles in our lives and I'm sure he's done many in each of yours as well! But we still get anxious when things aren't going quite the way we hoped, don't we?

Recall a miracle of God in your life. Remember the joy you felt? We need to relive that joy today! The miracle of God's new birth in us and the many other miracles God has done are not ones to be quickly forgotten. We need to relive them daily!

We never want to become cold toward God! Let's spend some time remembering the miracles He has done in our lives and strive to trust Him for the trials we face today!

Praise God – You Can't Be Separated!

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

Romans 8:35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

One of His greatest promises to us is that nothing can separate us from the love of God. No tribulation or distress we might ever suffer can obliterate the power of His love to carry us through!

This tells me so clearly that I cannot read God's love for me by my circumstances alone, and that's often my greatest temptation: "How could a loving God allow this to happen to me?" But the Lord never promised we would escape hardship, persecution, poverty or danger — (in fact, He promised the opposite); the promise is that His love for us would be greater than any and all circumstances we might have to endure. Consider the life of Yeshua (Jesus). He went to the cross and died an excruciating death — He didn't escape difficulties — He experienced them more than anyone could ever imagine! So, allow His death to settle any questions you have about the love of God!

Don't ever judge God's love for you based on circumstances alone, but rather evaluate your circumstances from God's point of view: Love. It's His main motive for everything that happens to you.

In the midst of it all…

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

When Daniel was in the midst of the lion's den…God was with him.  When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the midst of the fiery furnace…God was with them.  It would have been perfectly easy for God to immediately transport these saints out of their difficulties, but no, He chose instead to be with them in the midst of their trials.  God chose to reveal His power through the trials instead of exercising His power to remove them.

Trials and difficulties are simply a part of life and quite honestly, the longer I walk with the Lord the bigger these trials become.  But how do we react when our faith is challenged by these adversities? James 1:2 says to count it all joy! What could possibly be joyful about difficult situations? Painful, yes…but joy??

Yet, somehow, I do find joy in knowing, and even sensing that God is with me in the midst of my problems — in the midst of my trials. He did promise never to leave or forsake me; and as I look over my life, I find it to be absolutely true…no matter what crazy situation I'm in, God is with me.

We all have this decision: either to complain because of the trials we're enduring…or to prayerfully lift our souls before him (Psalm 25:1) …and rejoice in the midst of our troubles — knowing, believing, and even feeling, that God is with us, now…always…all the way!