Understand the Times!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Witnessing

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

1 Chronicles 12:32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Among the mighty men of David were those of the tribe of Issachar whose special gift was their understanding of the times, a gift of prophetic insight; and this was such a precious gift because included in their discernment was the ability to know how to apply it. In our time prophecy is everywhere. Yeshua (Jesus) warned us that there would be false prophets in the last days, especially approaching His second coming, and He said the prophecy would be so subtle and the false signs so powerful that even the elect might be deceived if that were possible; [Mt. 24:24] While it's clear to many of us that we're living in prophetic days, there are also millions who have no clue of the current times and seasons.

So we're faced with a challenge and a profound, multi-faceted responsibility: to acknowledge the significance of our times, to awaken others to this reality, to rightly discern true from false prophecy, and to know what to do about the things we rightly discern. Wow! Not an easy task. How do we even begin?

I believe that we have a prophetic "anchor"…a fundamental sign, missing throughout all of Church history, until our day. This sign is the rebirth of Israel as a nation. Many of the OT prophets foresaw the ingathering of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland in the latter days. [Jeremiah 30; Isaiah 43:5-6; Amos 9:14-15; and many others]. Isaiah prophesied the nation's rebirth in a single rhetorical question, "Can a nation be born in a day?" [ Isaiah 66:8]. One hundred years ago Israel, (then called "Palestine" by the Romans, as an insult to the Jews), was a barren, sparsely inhabited province in the Ottoman empire, and Jerusalem was hardly ever mentioned in conversation unless someone was reading scripture. Today, Israel is a thriving resurrected nation, reclaimed from desolation, established in one single day, (May 14, 1948), and Jerusalem is in virtually every daily newspaper, the subject of intense controversy throughout the civilized world. This one sign assures me, personally, that we are really and truly living at the end of the age.

I believe we must acknowledge this, share it, WATCH very carefully, and PRAY as the developments in the Middle East conform themselves to the Word of God. The prophetic clock is ticking toward the final hours of this age when the Lord Yeshua will return in power and great glory to judge the entire world of men.

The sons of Issachar understood their times, and knew what to do. Watching and praying, we can too. Preparing ourselves with holy living for the Lord's return, we must also warn those who live in ignorance of these amazing days by showing them the prophetic sign of Israel's resurrection, and warning them to repent, believe the gospel, and be accounted worthy to escape all these things and to stand before the Son of Man!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Witnessing

Watch the Wheelbarrows!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Witnessing

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

2 Corinthians 2:11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev used to tell of a time when there was a wave of petty theft in the Soviet Union. To curtail this, the authorities put guards up around the factories.

At a timber-works in Leningrad, one guard knew the workers in the factory very well. The first evening, out came Pyotr Petrovich with a wheelbarrow containing a great bulky sack with a suspicious-looking object inside. "All right, Petrovich," said the guard, "What have you got there?" "Oh, just sawdust and shavings," Petrovich replied. "Come on," the guard said, "I wasn’t born yesterday. Tip it out."

The worker tipped and nothing came out but sawdust and shavings. So he was allowed to put it all back again and go home. When the same thing happened every night of the week the guard became frustrated. Finally, his curiosity overcame his frustration. "Petrovich," he said, "I know you. Tell me what you’re smuggling out of here, and I’ll let you go."

"Wheelbarrows, my friend, " said Petrovich, "wheelbarrows."

Is your attention being diverted? Think about it. Are you (allowing yourself to be) preoccupied with something that seems innocent, while the real, significant, substantial matter is slipping by every day, unnoticed? The strategies of Satan to divert our eyes onto “sawdust” and miss "wheelbarrows" are many. What is the "sawdust" in your life, in mine? For some of us, it might even be a fascinated preoccupation with Last Days events, which diverts us from the mandate to make disciples…for others it might be neglecting our children for the sake of "ministry". If we take the time to look, each of us really knows how we miss the "wheelbarrows" for the "sawdust". But just like that savvy guard, we ought to wise up quickly and identify the problem. Right?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Witnessing

Don't Let Your Circumstances Dictate You!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Witnessing

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

Ephesians 6:19-20 and pray for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

For over 15 years we've been covering Christian Persecution, and whenever I come across an amazing story of how a saint endured such hardships, it encourages me. I remember reading about Watchman Nee and his imprisonment. The Chinese government would change the guards at his cell daily for fear that Nee would lead them to the Lord. Their fears were justified — many of those guards did come to faith! Apparently Watchman Nee had learned a powerful lesson from the Apostle Paul.

In Paul's letter to the Church in Ephesus, observe how he describes himself — an ambassador in chains. Locked away in a prison, Paul adamantly refuses to allow his circumstances to dictate or alter his identity. He may be in chains, but he remains the Lord's ambassador.

Can you imagine Paul chained up in that dungeon, throwing up his hands saying, "That's it; it's over; I'm finished!?

Not on your life! Instead the apostle grows bolder as an ambassador; not intimidated or ashamed, because Paul isn't chained in his Spirit, he's only bound in the flesh. Remember how he concludes his letter to the Philippian Church declaring, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Don't allow yourself to be defined by your past, or "chained" by your current circumstances. God has also called you to be an ambassador for Him. With so much work to be done, we ought to be growing even bolder, right in the midst of our trials and tribulations!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Witnessing

Sow into the Lives of People!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Witnessing

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Mark 9:34-35 But they kept silent: for by the way they had disputed with one another, which one of them was the greatest. And He sat down, and called the twelve, and said to them, "If any man desires to be first, he shall be the last of all and servant of all."

Once there was a king who decided to set aside a special day to honor his greatest subject. When the big day arrived, a large gathering took place in the palace courtyard and our finalists were brought forward.

The first person was a wealthy philanthropist. This man was deserving of the king's honor because of his great humanitarian efforts. He had given much of his wealth to the poor, building orphanages, schools and hospitals throughout the land. The second was a celebrated physician. This outstanding doctor was deserving of honor for rendering his faithful and dedicated service to the sick for many years and discovering medicines that saved many lives. The third was a distinguished judge. He was noted for his wisdom, his fairness and his many a brilliant decision.

The last person presented before the king was an elderly woman. Her manner was quite humble, as was her dress. She hardly looked the part of someone who would be honored as the greatest subject in the kingdom. What chance could she possibly have, when compared to the other three, who had accomplished so very much?

The king was intrigued, to say the least and was somewhat puzzled by her presence. He asked who she was. Then the answer came: "Well, my king, do you see the philanthropist, the doctor, and the judge over here? She was their teacher!"

This woman had no wealth, no fortune, and no title, but countless lives were helped, healed and changed through her giving.

We never know whose lives we're touching. I'm sure someone prayed — someone gave — someone shared the Gospel with some of the greatest evangelists, preachers and givers we know.

Let's serve the Lord by sowing unselfishly into the lives of the people he's put in our path — so that they may become great in God's Kingdom!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Witnessing

Be a glimmer of hope!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Witnessing

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Most people have never heard of the first overseas missionary from America to Burma, Adoniram Judson. Judson was a brilliant man who learned to read when he was only 3. He went to college when he was just 16. He graduated valedictorian of his class at the age of 19. He was the son of a pastor, having been raised with Godly values, however while in college, he met a student named Jacob Eames, a deist who denied the miracles of the Bible. By the time Judson finished college he had turned completely from the Lord. For a short while, he lived a vagabond and reckless life, until a series of God-incidences turned his life inside out.

During this time, he left to visit his uncle, but instead, unexpectedly encountered a pious young man who amazed him by his strong Christian convictions, yet without being austere or dictatorial. The Lord placed this young man in the path of Judson to recapture the heart of the prodigal.

The very next night, he stayed at a small village inn where he had never been before. The innkeeper apologized that his sleep might be interrupted because a critically ill man was staying in the next room. The following day, as Judson was leaving, he asked the innkeeper about the sick man, and was informed that the man had passed during the night. Judson then asked the innkeeper, “Do you know who he was?” The man replied, “Oh yes. Young man from the college in Providence. Name was Eames, Jacob Eames.”

Upon hearing it was his old friend that just passed, Judson could hardly move. He stayed there for hours pondering death and eternity. He thought, if Jacob Eames was right, then his death was just a meaningless event. Judson could not believe it, and said, “That hell should open in that country inn and snatch Jacob Eames, his dearest friend and guide, from the next bed-this could not, simply could not, be pure coincidence.”

From that moment forward, Judson knew God was real. He rededicated his life and became a missionary in Burma for nearly 40 years. Before he died, he translated the Bible into Burmese, and planted over 100 churches.

Perhaps God will place someone in your path today because He wants you to be a light so that his or her life might be turned around! With the greatest harvest fast approaching, each of us is called to the mission field – the one right outside our door!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Witnessing