Bible Prophecy in the News
January 16 Devotional
“If you learn to extract the precious from the worthless, you shall be as my mouth.” Jer: 15:19
There is an ancient Eastern story about two men. One a jealous man, and the other, a wise man. Their houses faced each other. The jealous man coveted the prized black stallion of his neighbor. One day when the jealous man was looking out his window, the prized black stallion jumped his neighbor’s fence and ran off.
Immediately, the jealous man ran over to the wise man and told him what had happened. The wise man simply said, “This could be good, or this could be bad.”
A few days later, again looking out his window, the jealous man was amazed to see the prized black stallion returning home with thirty more stallions following him. Amazed, the jealous man ran over to the wise man and said, “Fortune has shown on you this very day, for your prized stallion has returned with thirty more stallions!”
The wise man simply said, “This could be good, or this could be bad.”
The next day, the number one son of the wise man was trying to tame one of the stallions, when he fell and broke his leg in three places. Again, the jealous man ran across to the wise man and said, “Misfortune has shown on you this very day, for your number one son has broken his leg trying to tame one of your new stallions.”
The wise man, again, with no change in expression, simply said, “This could be good, or this could be bad.”
A few days later, war broke out throughout the Province. The first son of every family was required to go to war. The son of the wise man could not go because of his broken leg. The son of the jealous man was sent. A few days later, the jealous man received word that his son was killed in battle. Sadly, he went back to the wise man and said, “Misfortune has shown on ME this very day. For my son has been killed in battle.”
Again, without a change in expression, the wise old man looked at him and simply said, “This could be good or this could be bad.”
This Eastern parable implies that the jealous man’s son may have grown up and become an unjust ruler, or perhaps just like his father, a jealous and covetous man. This story illustrates that many things are out of our perception for a time or ability to understand when they are happening to us.
There may be things that happen to you today that may turn out to be for the best tomorrow. The Bible tells us to “be anxious for nothing.” (Phil 4:6), but, how many of us can actually live in the peace that this verse provides? It seems to be a struggle for most of us.
Why does God tell us to be anxious for NOTHING? The statement itself answers the question, for it implies that SOMEONE is in control (and it is not us)! God has a plan for everything that passes through the life of His children. Nothing has caught Him off guard. He has a plan for even the most difficult loss. He is a Father that gives “Beauty for ashes” (Isa 61:3). He will not leave you in your time of despair. Sometimes we might perceive things to be of our darkest hour, but dawn is just a few hours away.
Let us remember the lesson from the simple faith of the wise old man in this story, when he answers every event with the profession, “This could be good, or this could be bad.” For we have no true understanding of the good that God has planned for His children. He is working out Eternal things in your struggles and sufferings.
<>—Extracting the Precious From the Worthless—<>
God once told a very young Jeremiah, “If you learn to extract the precious from the worthless, you shall be as my mouth.” (cf. Jer.15:19).
This skill of discernment means three things;
1) Knowing the difference in what’s of value and what is junk.
2) Knowing when to leave the worthless alone.
3) The skill of selecting the valuable.
“Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special regard to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.”
– Saint Augustine of Hippo
Many years ago, a man who had obtained many of this world’s treasures, went on another of his many long journeys. This man had traveled the world over as an adventurer and explorer. He had been to places and collected artifacts that people only dream about.
While he was gone, the Robber came.
The robber had awaited this opportunity. He knew of this man’s reputation as a collector of rare artifacts. This man had accumulated much wealth and priceless artifacts in the Orient, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Now, this collection of world treasures was going to be his.
News travels fast among the curious. People gathered together around the house of the traveler, knowing that he was due home that day by train ride. Many interested people were gathered there to see his reaction to having had the robber steal the valuables he had collected over a lifetime from his home.
The long journey home had worn down the traveler, and he arrived exhausted, yet successful from his new adventure. Tired as was, he didn’t even notice the people gathered around his house. He just walked right past them into the house.
The people took a breath as the man entered his home. A silence came over the crowd. A faint laughter arose from within the house. People thought that the man had gone mad. As they peered into the open door, they called out to the man, “Did the robber take all that you own?”
The man emerged with a smile in his eyes. He said, “Yes, the robber did come. Yes, the robber did take the jade I sought in the Orient, the rare books I collected from Europe, the tribal artifacts I discovered in Africa, and the precious pictures I took in the Holy Land. Yes, the robber did come!”
The people stared in amazement, yet confused about his demeanor when such an apparent tragedy had occurred in this man’s life. The man continued in a booming voice to towards the people gathered around his home, “Yes, the robber did take these things, yet he could never steal the joy I had in finding the jade in the Orient, nor the knowledge from the rare books that I collected, nor the adventure lived in obtaining the tribal artifacts, nor my experience of seeing the Holy Land with my own eyes. Yes, the Robber did come, but he did not take all that I own!”
This powerful story illustrates how we should view our earthly possessions. What would the Robber take from you if he came to your home today?
<>–LET THE WINDS BLOW—-<>
“We cannot be established except by suffering. It is of no use our hoping that we shall be well rooted if no March winds have passed over us.”
– Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“God always fills in all hearts all the room which is left for Him”.
– F. W. Faber
January 19 Devotional
“To obey is better than sacrifice, and to harken than the fat of rams.” – 1 Samuel 15:22
In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made an application to Friar Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative monk and spend the rest of his life in the monastery.
“Your Majesty,” said Friar Richard, “Do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard since you have been a king.”
“I understand.” said king Henry. “The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you.”
“Then I will tell you what to do.” said Friar Richard. “Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you.”
When King Henry died, the statement was written of him, “The King learned to rule by being obedient.”
This story illustrates something people struggle with their whole lives. Always thinking that they must be somewhere else other than where they are now. How many times have we asked God to make us someone else, take us somewhere else, change our circumstances, or change our lives? The Lord wants you to obey and serve where He has put you this very day.
God has given each of us different gifts. It is in our nature to try and look beyond our circumstances for a meaning for the life that we live. God longs to bless us in His work more than we long to be used, but it is God who promotes and anoints us for His service in the place that we are called.
Often times He has us serve in places that seem unimportant to us, but they may actually be a training ground for what is to come. David was told he was to be a King by God’s prophet, and then landed his next job as a shepherd in the fields. But, it was only in fighting lions and bears as a shepherd in the fields did David learn to slay giants like Goliath.
If God is calling you to do something, do it now. He will give you the strength to fulfill what He wants you to do. There is no greater feeling than to experience God stretch us beyond what we feel capable of doing or achieving. God would not give you the burning desire you have in your heart if you were not capable of its fulfillment.
“God doesn’t answer prayer, He answers DESPERATE prayer.”
~ Leonard Ravenhill (Christian Evangelist, Preacher 1907-1994
“In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
– John Bunyan (English Writer Preacher 1832-1905)
“All God’s giants have been weak men, who did great things for God because they believed that God would be with them.“
– Hudson Taylor (Missionary to China 1832-1905)
Aquarius is the great water bearer. Jesus identified Himself as the fulfillment of Aquarius in John 4:14. “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
On the Day of Pentecost the Spirit of God was poured out upon believers. Water is symbolic of the Holy Spirit throughout the Bible.
The prophet Joel described it when he wrote, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28).
The message in the constellation Aquarius is found in its ultimate fulfillment through the Day of Pentecost.
Aquarius the Water Bearer is pictured as man pouring water out of an urn into the mouth of a big fish signifies Yahshua as the Living Water pouring out His Holy Spirit like a river to all of God’s people.
It also signifies Noah’s and his family’s’ deliverance from the Great Flood (Genesis 6:18, 7:7).
1. PISCIS AUSTRALIS (The Southern Fish). The blessings bestowed.
2. PEGASUS (The Winged Horse). The blessings quickly coming.
3. CYGNUS (The Swan). The Blesser surely returning.
Years ago, the great art collector, William Randolph Hearst, sat in his study reading about a rare artifact that had eluded his art findings for many years. After reading the article, Hearst called in his best researchers for an information meeting on the priceless object. He described the artifact in detail to the men, and told them to buy it at any price.
The men set out to find the artifact and looked diligently for many months. Then one day, the head of the research team came into Mr. Hearst’s office and declared that they had found it.
“Well, where is it?” inquired Mr. Hearst with great anticipation.
“It is one of your own warehouses sir.” reported the man.
Mr. Hearst already had in his possession the very thing that he had longed for so badly, for so many years.
This story reminds me of the hidden riches that we have in Christ: Memorize them for there may be a time coming when you will need these verses to strengthen you.
Ephesians 3:16 tells us about the riches of His glory.
Ephesians 2:7 tells us about the riches of His grace.
Romans 2:4 tells us about the riches of His goodness.
Romans 11:33 tells us of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God.
Col 1:27 tells us of the riches of the mystery of Christ in us, the hope of glory.
Ephesians 1:18 tells us of the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.
Ephesians 3:8 tells us that these riches in Christ are “unsearchable.” Strong’s Concordance explains the word “unsearchable” as follows; “That cannot be searched out, that cannot be comprehended.” God’s riches are beyond our understanding; we cannot “search” them out and somehow capture them. This is contrary to the things of this world, as we see in the example of Mr. Hearst’s quest in which his men were able to search the world and find his desired riches. God’s riches are Eternal in value, unlike the riches of the world that will eventually fade away in time and be forgotten in someone’s warehouse collection of riches.
It is so easy to get caught up in our own struggles to make your way through this life. Yet, God explains in His word, that His children need only to ask and receive God’s riches that were already planted in our hearts by His Spirit. We have what we have been searching for! It is within us. God asks merely for us to seek Him out, and therein, we will discover the forgotten riches we have in Christ.
<>–IT DEPENDS ON HOW YOU LOOK AT THINGS—-<>
When a mother saw a thunderstorm forming in mid-afternoon, she worried about her seven-year-old daughter who would be walking home alone from school. Deciding to go and meet her, the mother saw her child walking nonchalantly along the road. The girl looked up and smiled whenever the lightning flashed. Seeing her mother, she ran to her, explaining happily, “All the way home, God has been taking my picture.”
The word “Witness” is a translation of the Greek word “Martus,” from which we get our English work “Martyr”– one who witnesses with his or her life.
“We tend by secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.” – A.W. Tozer.
January 23 Devotional
January 26 Devotional
"OH! look not after great things: small breathings, small desires after the Lord, if true and pure, are sweet beginnings of life. Take heed of despising "the day of small things" by looking after some great visitation, proportionable to they distress, according to thy eye. Nay, thou must become a child; thou must loses they own will quite by degrees. Thou must wait for life to be measured out by the Father, and be content with what proportion, and at what time, He shall please to measure."
Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust” – Psalm 40:4
There was once a king who ruled his small country with justice and love. Unknown to his subjects, the king would put on a disguise in the evenings and roam the streets of his the towns in order to understand life from the perspective of his people.
One night, as he walked in disguise, the king was drawn to simple cottage. The doors and windows were thrown wide open, and inside a rather robust man was eating and singing with great volume. Knocking on the door, the king inquired, “Is a guest welcome here?”
“A guest is a gift from God!” the man shouted. “Please, enter and eat with me.”
The king sat down and began to eat the very simple but substantial food that rested on the table. The two men talked freely, immediately feeling a bond between them. Finally, the king asked, “What is your trade my friend?”
“I am a cobbler,” came the enthusiastic reply. “Each day I take my tool kit and wander about town fixing people’s shoes. They give me some pennies, and I spend it all to buy my evening meal.”
“You spend all of your money each day?” the king asked incredulously. “Don’t you save for the future? What about tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow is in the hands of God, my friend,” laughed the cobbler. “He will provide, and I will praise him day by day.”
Before the king left that evening, he asked if he might return the next night. “You are always welcome, my friend,” the cobbler replied warmly.
On the way home the king developed a plan to test the simple cobbler. The next morning he issued a proclamation prohibiting the repair of shoes without a permit. When he returned the next evening he found the cobbler eating and drinking and making merry.
“What have you done today, dear friend.” The king asked, hiding his surprise.
“When I heard that our gracious king had issued a proclamation prohibiting the repair of shoes without a permit, I went to the well, drew water, and carried it to homes of people. They gave me some pennies, I put them in my pocket, and went out and spent it all this food,” the cobbler sang. “Come, eat, there is plenty for both of us.”
“You spent it all?” the king asked. “What if you cannot draw water tomorrow? Then what will you do?”
“Tomorrow is in the hands of God!” the cobbler shouted. “He will provide, and I, his simple servant, will praise Him day by day.”
The next morning the king decided to test his new friend again. He sent heralds throughout the land announcing that it was illegal for one person to draw water for another. That evening when he returned to visit the cobbler, he found him eating drinking and enjoying life as before. “I worried about you this morning when I heard the king’s proclamation. “What did you do?”
“When I heard our good king’s new edict, I went out to chop wood. When I had a bundle, I brought it to town and sold it. People gave me some pennies, I put them in my pocket, and when the workday was over, I spent it all on food. Come, let us eat.”
“You worry me,” the king said. “What if you cannot chop wood tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow, good friend is in the hands of God. He will provide.”
Early the next morning the king’s heralds announced that all woodchoppers should report immediately to the palace for service in the king’s army. The cobbler-turned woodcutter obediently reported and was trained all day. When evening came, he was given no wages but allowed to take his sword home. On the way home, he stopped at a pawnshop where he sold the blade. Then he bought his food, as usual. Returning to his house, he took a piece of wood and carved a wooden blade, attached it to the sword’s hilt, and placed it in his sheath.
When the king arrived that evening, the cobbler told him the entire story. “What happens tomorrow if there is a sword inspection?” the kings asked.
“Tomorrow is in the hands of God,” answered the cobbler calmly. “He will provide.”
In the morning the officer in charge of the palace guard took the cobbler by the arm. “You are to act as executioner today. This man has been sentenced to death. Cut off his head.”
“I am a gentle man,” the cobbler protested. “I have never hurt another man in my life.”
“You will do as you are commanded!” the officer shouted.
As they walked to the place of execution, the cobbler’s mind was exploding. As the prisoner knelt before him, the cobbler took the hilt of his sword in one hand, raised his other palm to the heavens and prayed in a loud voice. “Almighty God, you alone can judge the innocent and the guilty. If this prisoner is guilty let my sword be sharp and my arm be strong. If, however, he is innocent, let this sword be made of wood.”
Dramatically, the cobbler pulled his sword from the sheath. The people were amazed to see that the sword was made of wood. The king, who had watched the events from a distance, ran to his friend and revealed his true identity. “From this day forward you will come and live with me. You will eat from my table. I will be the host and you will be the guest. What do you say about that?”
The cobbler smiled from ear to ear. “What I say is, the Lord has provided, and you and I together will praise Him day by day.” (As told by William R. White).
The Bible tells us, “Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust” (Psalm 40:4). You want to be Blessed? This means that you can take the most intimate struggle that you face today, and give it over to the One who has laid a plan for your life. He hasn’t forgotten you in this present day struggle you find yourself in today. Nothing is too big for Him. Yet, we fight to hold on to the worry and control of our lives with both hands. God uses the word “Blessed” here, which can literally be translated, “Oh how happy is the man that maketh the Lord his trust.”
The Christian life is not an easy one, but it is a fulfilling one. God has given us many examples in His word about people struggling to learn how to trust Him. We fail time and again, yet He petitions us to try again. To trust in the Lord with all of your heart involves an effort on our part. It is a choice of your will. As the old preacher used to say, “Trust and obey, or rust and decay.”
The Cobbler chose to rely on God, despite his unfortunate circumstances. Learn from the lesson of the cobbler and realize that tomorrow is truly in the hands of God…. He will provide.
“When Jesus takes your hand, He keeps you tight. When Jesus keeps you tight, He leads you through your whole life. When Jesus you through your life, He brings you safely home.”
– Corrie ten Boom
<>—SOMEONE ONCE ASKED D.L.MOODY —<>
Someone once asked evangelist D.L. Moody how he managed to remain so intimate in his relationship with Christ. He replied,
“I have come to Him as the best friend I have ever found, and I can trust Him in that relationship. I have believed He is Savior; I have believed he is God; I have believed His atonement on the cross is mine, and I have come to Him, and submitted myself on my knees, surrendered everything to Him, and gotten up and stood by His as my friend, and there isn’t any problem in my life, there isn’t any uncertainty in my work but I turn and speak to Him as naturally as to someone in the same room, and I have done it these years because I can trust in Jesus.”
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24
There was a monk in the 4th century after Christ, who lived in a Cloister. One day while he was all by himself intensely studying, he believed God said for him to go to Rome. “Rome?” he thought, “I don’t want to go to Rome, I’m studying in this cloister.” But he felt the irresistible call of God to go Rome, and so he packed everything he had into a little satchel, threw it over his shoulder, put on his habit, and started westward over the dusty roads.
When he got to Rome, he discovered tremendous excitement going on and people rushing about. He said, “What’s going here?”
The people answered, “This is the day of the games!” This is when the gladiators come in to fight the animals, gladiators fight the gladiators, and people die for the glory of Caesar.” The monk wondered if this was the reason why God had sent him here.
The little monk, Telemacus, went down and looked into the arena and saw a crowd of 80,000 cheering as huge gladiators were coming out shouting, “Hail, we who will die to the glory of Caesar!”
Telemacus saw all this and said, “This is not right! Four centuries after Christ, this is not right!” He went rushing down, jumped up unto the parapet, and down into the middle of the arena, and started to shout in a squeaky voice, (for he been cloistered for years), “In the Name of Christ, Fore Bare!”
The crowd began to laugh and chant, “Get that little man off the field!” A big gladiator came over and took the back of his sword and hit Telemacus in the stomach, sending him spinning off into the dust. The little monk got up and dusted himself off and ran back in between two gladiators. Again he shouted, “In the name of Christ, Fore Bare!”
Now the crowd began to chant, “Run him through, Run him through! Run him through!” and a big gladiator came over and took his sword and ran it through the stomach of Telemacus.
The little monk fell into the sand, and as the ground began to redden around him, he spoke with his last breath of air. One last time with the last ounce of breathe in him, he squeaked out, “In the name of Christ, Fore Bare!”
Silence came over that amphitheater. In the upper tier, a man stood up and walked to the exit. Within a matter of minutes the amphitheater was empty.
It was the last known gladiatorial contest in the history of Rome.
(by Chuck Colson, Radical Faith: Answers to Mess We’re In.-audio tape)
This is being a witness. Telemacus announced the Gospel with his life. He was a witness. Someone once said, “If Christianity were against the law, would there be enough to convict you? ” Your greatest legacy will be those who live Eternally because of your efforts to share Christ to those that are perishing.
Be strong to stand in the gap when you see an injustice. Your actions just might change a whole generation for many years to come.
“Courage is simply not just one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.“
- C. S. Lewis
“Forgiveness is the balm of healing that soothes and heals the wounds of error. Joy is the fresh new path, stretching out before the forgiver and the forgiven.”
– V. Gilbert Beers in “Joy Is . . .”
In the book of Genesis, there is an interesting lesson in the life of Abraham that the casual reader may miss. Abraham assumed that he was walking in the center of God’s will for his life, but by taking matters into his own hands, he learned one of the most difficult lessons a child of God can learn.
Abraham was eighty-six years old at the conception of Ishmael, the child of his handmaid and the result of his flesh. The Bible mentions that God didn’t speak again to Abraham for the next 13 years! (Genesis 17:11) Can you imagine not hearing from God for thirteen long years? How many of us give up hope when we don’t hear from God in an hour, day, week or a month?
God was teaching Abraham an important lesson that He wants us all to learn in this life; when a child of God takes things into his or her own hands and attempts to manipulate people, relationships, or circumstances, God will allow us to do it. He may not even say a word at the time, and in Abraham’s case, He may remain silent for 13 years.
This story illustrates that God’s grace is greater than our foolishness and He is able to clean up the messes we make. If you have learned the lesson God has been trying to teach you through delays and detours, you will be more than ready to listen to him the next time He speaks to you. That’s what happened in Abraham’s life, and the next word he received from God was the promise that within a year their long awaited son Isaac would be born.
Delay is not denial in God’s timing. Just because you don’t feel that God is answering your prayer (the way you want him to), doesn’t mean that he is ignoring you, or even that he is necessarily saying “No.” God knows what is best for you in a given season of your life. Often times he asks us to wait for His perfect timing. Sometimes the way that seems most desirable to us, may end in disaster if we don’t allow God to guide us though. Walking in this type of faith is often difficult, because we long to know what God is leading us to do in a given circumstance.
Imagine for a minute in retrospect, if God said “yes” to all of our prayers. Think of who you might be married to or what career change you might have made. Wisdom comes from walking in the ways of His Spirit and listening to God’s perfect leading.
Abraham was given the promise of descendants as numerous as the stars, yet God delayed this event and asked him to wait in faith. The result was a son born of his flesh, or a man-made problem, that Abraham had to deal with the rest of his life. How many things will be born in our flesh that we will have to deal with for the rest of our lives until we yield to God’s wisdom? If today God is silent in your life, wait, be still, for tomorrow He may speak to you and lead you in the way that you should go.
<>—I SOUGHT GOD—<>
In the late 1950s, twenty-three year old Armando Valladares was thrown into a Cuban prison, where he remained for 22 years. Executions were staged each night during his first year in prison. Later, he endured some of the most vile and sadistic tortures imaginable. In his memoirs, Against All Hope, Valladares wrote,
“I sought God…. I never asked Him to get me out of there…. I only prayed for Him to accompany me.”
<>—WORRIED ABOUT THE FUTURE?—<>
“Don’t worry about the future–worry quenches the work of grace within you. The future belongs to God. He is in charge of all things. Never second-guess him.” – Francois Fenelon 17th-century French Bishop
How Can I Be Saved?
You’ve probably seen John 3:16 posted somewhere on a sign, written on a freeway overpass, at a concert, at a sporting event, or even read to you as a little child. This verse is a simple one. There are 20 monosyllables (single words) in the verse. The Gospel is meant to be simple for everyone!
Be sure of your Salvation. Right now, and pray this simple prayer with a sincere heart...
“Lord, forgive me for my sins. I confess that I am a sinner. Come into my heart and make me the person you created me to be. I receive your gift of pardon through Jesus dying for me on the cross to save me. – Amen”
It was once determined in a court of law that a pardon is only a pardon when it is accepted. There is a true story about a man that refused his pardon. A judge ruled that a pardon is only a pardon when it is accepted. When you prayed that prayer and accepted God’s pardon for your sins, you became a new creation in Christ.
The Bible teaches that you are saved by faith through Jesus. Grow in the Grace that was just given to you, seek God in His word (The Bible) and go out tell somebody!