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Post  Admin on Tue 08 Jul 2014, 4:05 pm

Elaine, keep your clothes!

Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

What is this passage talking about -- anyone know?

During the days of the Temple, the Levities were in charge of keeping the Temple holy. So throughout the night, the captain would make his rounds to make sure that those assigned were watching attentively, so that no one would defile the Temple during the night. If a watchman was found sleeping, he was beaten and his garments were set on fire so that he had to return home naked in his shame! 

Elaine, we are today's watchmen! With the turmoil of events surrounding us in these last days, it's imperative that we watch carefully and do not become weary. We need to stay alert and awake to see danger coming from afar and be ready to defend what is what is holy! There's so much work to be done!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Currently in Baltimore, Maryland 

Editor's Note: The Whitten's are contemplating a speaking tour of the U.S. and Canada. We're looking to fill up every day of the week, so if you have a small group, Bible study, Congregation, Fellowship, or Church and you'd like to have the Whitten's come and share, please send an email as soon as possible to george [@] worthyemail.com.
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Post  Admin on Mon 07 Jul 2014, 3:11 pm

Elaine, crisis ahead! 

Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

As we've been watching the news recently, it seems the word of the hour is crisis! It seems everywhere we turn we hear it -- it's a "financial crisis", a "political crisis" -- international, environmental, spiritual crisis!

I came across an interesting fact recently. The Chinese word for crisis is composed of two symbols. They represent two words: danger and opportunity.  Hmm. I like that.

When we're in the midst of all these crises, it's tempting to focus on the danger. While it's important to be aware of the danger, we must be even more keenly aware of the opportunities it brings!

Elaine, God is allowing this world to be shaken a little today. Let's prepare ourselves to be a means of peace and light and strength to those who are afraid. Let's not grow weary in well doing – there's so much work to be done!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: The Whitten's are contemplating a speaking tour of the U.S. and Canada. We're looking to fill up every day of the week, so if you have a small group, Bible study, Congregation, Fellowship, or Church and you'd like to have the Whitten's come and share, please send an email as soon as possible to george [@] worthyemail.com.
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Post  Admin on Fri 04 Jul 2014, 9:56 pm

Elaine, don't forget the price that was paid! 

Amos 8:11-12 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

As the United States celebrates the 4th of July tomorrow – Independence day – we're often reminded of the price that was paid for our freedom. But today, in that spirit, I want to recall a time when a heavy price was paid for a translation of our Bible.

William Tyndale, a 16th century Englishman, translated the Bible into English while living in Germany. Finally in 1525, he was able to publish a New Testament in English. But the church authorities at the time were not pleased and they angrily sought to destroy Tyndale and his translation. Finally, he was caught and brought back to England where he was burned at the stake.

As he was dying, he uttered these words: "Lord open the eyes of the King of England." His prayer became a prophecy, as it was the King of England, King James, who finally did publish the entire Bible in English about a hundred years later.

Our English Bible translations became a reality through William Tyndale's heroic sacrifice and bravery, ultimately at the price of his lifeblood. This Independence day, don't let your Bible sit on the shelf gathering dust. Considering the cost that was paid so you could read it in your native tongue, let's all take full advantage of this precious gift.

Elaine, the freedom that we so enjoy on this day is only a taste of the real freedom we have in Messiah; the promise of eternal forgiveness and freedom from sin. The cost of that freedom was the precious blood of the savior Yeshua (Jesus). William Tyndale offered his life so we could read about this spiritual freedom in our own language. As we celebrate our earthly freedom, let's not forget to also give thanks for our eternal liberty that we find in our Lord.

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: The Whitten's are contemplating a speaking tour of the U.S. and Canada. We're looking to fill up every day of the week, so if you have a small group, Bible study, Congregation, Fellowship, or Church and you'd like to have the Whitten's come and share, please send an email as soon as possible to george [@] worthyemail.com.

Elaine, restoration of a nation! 

Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

Throughout the United States today, everyone will be celebrating the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence -- a document through which leaders of the colonies in the New World broke free from the King of England.

The declaration begins: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

While revisionist historians are working hard to remove any trace of Christian/Biblical ideals from the foundations of America, today's celebration finds its basis in a foundational document which appeals to the authority of a Divine Creator, one whom most of the founding fathers fully believed to have been the author and main subject of the Holy Bible, and who was the guarantor of certain "inalienable rights". So the Fourth of July – more than just a celebration of independence, ought also to be a day which recognizes God's participation in the nation's birth.

I've read and heard all kinds of advice about how America ought to be transformed, while a simple recognition of God's covenant offer to a nation goes ignored. The words found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 could be claimed and applied to any nation, but particularly one whose foundational documents and institutions have drawn their inspiration substantially from Biblical monotheism. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

IF we truly want to see healing brought to any nation, then this conditional covenant is for US and the restoration of our land will require our part in the covenant: humility, prayer and repentance, so that God can forgive our sin and heal our land!

Elaine, true restoration and healing only comes through true repentance and God's grace! With so much work to be done -- may restoration begin with us!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: The Whitten's are contemplating a speaking tour of the U.S. and Canada. We're looking to fill up every day of the week, so if you have a small group, Bible study, Congregation, Fellowship, or Church and you'd like to have the Whitten's come and share, please send an email as soon as possible to george [@] worthyemail.com.
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Post  Admin on Wed 02 Jul 2014, 10:07 pm

Elaine, whose gonna be first! 

Jonah 4:6-11 And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it [so] damaged the plant that it withered. And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah's head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, "[It is] better for me to die than to live." Then God said to Jonah, "[Is it] right for you to be angry about the plant?" And he said, "[It is] right for me to be angry, even to death!" But the LORD said, "You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. "And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left--and much livestock?"

When Jonah left Nineveh and set up his shelter waiting to see what God would do, he was not expecting another object lesson. But he needed one. The Lord caused a plant to grow up under which Jonah could sit in the shade awaiting the “fireworks” he hoped would take place. Perhaps he was thinking, "Wow this is great – a cool plant for shade...the Lord is hearing me now!" But then God sent a worm which destroyed the very plant that He had given for Jonah's comfort. And as the sun rose and the heat of the day bore down on him, Jonah found himself more miserable than ever.

What a roller coaster ride for a man who has already been through such extremes! Running away on a ship, thinking he can outsmart God, thrown into a stormy ocean, eaten by a fish, rescued from near death...one day he's ecstatic thinking he's out of God's reach, next, he's fish food...now, because of the plant God provided, thinking that maybe He is hearing him again, then, next day as the plant is destroyed wishing that he was dead! Now the Lord says to Jonah, “Why are you so concerned about the plant?" The Lord so wants Jonah to realize his selfishness. The plant gave Jonah shade. It made him feel better. How can he fail to understand God's concern for an entire city? 

Elaine, what will it take for us to realize our selfishness? How many difficulties will God lovingly put us through to help us stop putting ourselves, our interests, our desires, our comfort...first ??? How and when will we come to care even for our enemies...the way Yeshua (Jesus) did?

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: The Whitten's are contemplating a speaking tour of the U.S. and Canada. We're looking to fill up every day of the week, so if you have a small group, Bible study, Congregation, Fellowship, or Church and you'd like to have the Whitten's come and share, please send an email as soon as possible to george [@] worthyemail.com.
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Post  Admin on Tue 01 Jul 2014, 9:59 pm

Elaine, have mercy on me! 

Jonah 4:1-5 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the LORD, and said, "Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You [are] a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for [it is] better for me to die than to live!" Then the LORD said, "[Is it] right for you to be angry?" So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city.

We continue looking at Jonah, and find him in Chapter 4 displeased with God's mercy toward Nivevah. The Assyrians were arch-enemies of Israel and among the cruelest nations in history. Instead of being elated that God spared 120,000 Ninevites Jonah preferred to see his own pronouncement of judgment executed by the Lord. "Let those Assyrians get what's coming to them – they deserve to go to hell without any mercy for how they've treated Israel!" The Hebrew word "charah", " to be hot, furious, burn, become angry, be kindled" is a very strong expression for Jonah's feelings as he leaves the city of Nineveh and sets up a shelter to watch what will happen – he seems to be hoping that God might change His mind and destroy Nineveh anyway.

Have you ever felt this way? Someone has really hurt you; really done evil to you more than once – you knew from God's point of view he was "begging for a bolt" (of lightening), and you wished judgment would rain upon him. The last thing you want to do is warn him to stop; you want justice, not mercy; maybe even............revenge! Would you have the courage to admit that? To be really honest with God? Tell Him how disappointed you are that your tormentor hasn't been hit by a truck or developed a brain malignancy?

Jonah's honesty is commendable. How many of us would try to hide feelings like that, even from ourselves? "Please take my life." Jonah says. But the Lord understands. Instead of condemning Jonah for his merciless attitude He tries to reason with His prophet. "`Is doing good displeasing to thee?' He asks Jonah. Then Jonah's misery is compounded when the plant God gives him for shade withers and dies. Depressed and angry, Jonah reveals the depth of depravity in human nature. "“It is right for me to be angry, even to death!” he pines. He cannot find joy in the mercy of God. 

Elaine, I shudder to think of what would happen to me if I received God's justice for my sins. I would not want to wish His punishment even on my worst enemies. Perhaps Jonah didn't realize that his own attitude was displeasing to God and also deserved His judgment. I'm so thankful for God's mercy to us. We should bless our enemies and pray for those who despitefully use us; we should overcome evil with good. Mercy triumphs over judgment. The Lord gives us the power to be like Him. He did it by dying on the cross and rising from the dead, after three days. Jonah was a sign of this, remember?

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: The Whitten's are contemplating a speaking tour of the U.S. and Canada. We're looking to fill up every day of the week, so if you have a small group, Bible study, Congregation, Fellowship, or Church and you'd like to have the Whitten's come and share, please send an email as soon as possible to george [@] worthyemail.com.
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Post  Admin on Mon 30 Jun 2014, 12:51 pm

Elaine, hope of the hopeless!

Jonah 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

When the prophet Jonah entered Nineveh, he gave a message of hopelessness -- in 40 days your city will be destroyed! He did not say, Nineveh will be destroyed "unless", but emphatically prophesied destruction to the people of the city -- seeming to say their situation was hopeless. Yet hearing this message Nineveh repented, and because their repentance was genuine God spared the city for a season and many lives were saved. Jonah's prophecy of judgment was averted, and Nineveh's destiny was changed by their response to the deep conviction from a message of doom. That's how it is with God. He is so compassionate, so longing to forgive and restore people to Himself, that He seems to "change His mind" showing how His mercy triumphs over judgment. 

Elaine, is there a "prophecy of doom" over your life? Are your sins piled so high that God's judgment seems irrevocable and imminent? Don't despair ... repent! With our compassionate God there is hope even when it seems all is lost. You may have wandered very far from Him -- but if Nineveh, a pagan city, hardened and ripe for judgment and "hopelessly" heading toward destruction, could be saved -- shouldn't you also have hope if you turn back to the Lord? Don't give up – with Yeshua (Jesus) there is always hope!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: The Whitten's are contemplating a speaking tour of the U.S. and Canada. We're looking to fill up every day of the week, so if you have a small group, Bible study, Congregation, Fellowship, or Church and you'd like to have the Whitten's come and share, please send an email as soon as possible to george [@]
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Post  Admin on Fri 27 Jun 2014, 12:01 pm

Elaine, focus on God's Message!

Jonah 3:2,4,5 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

So Jonah goes and begins to preach in this pagan city. His message is very simple. "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown"(v. 4). That's it. That was his whole message. It's eight words in English; only 4 words in Hebrew.

To be honest, I love short messages, and I love to give short messages, But I've never preached an eight-word message in my life.

And a pretty depressing message if you ask me. None of this "Nineveh, God loves you..." or "Nineveh for Yeshua" or "Say Yes Nineveh." A message of impending judgment and nothing more.

God says to Jonah – PREACH MY MESSAGE; simple, urgent, to the point. These days the message of salvation across the world so often removes a key word –"REPENT!" Whenever Yeshua (Jesus) preached – or John the Baptist – or any of the saints preached – it started with the word – REPENT! 

This is a critical point. There's apologetics, and witnessing of all kinds, according to wisdom and opportunity, but if we're going to preach, we MUST understand that we MUST preach HIS MESSAGE! And His Message begins with the word – REPENT!

It’s not the way we would do it. If we were going to put together a "Nineveh for Yeshua" campaign, we would hire an advance team, get a PR man, put together an ad campaign, buy billboards, do a social media blitz, start a Facebook page, get our Twitter team going, make some "Nineveh for Yeshua" t-shirts, do some training, set up the buses, train the counselors, rent a stadium, buy some TV time, recruit the counselors, print the follow-up materials, set up home prayer meetings, arrange for simultaneous translations, rehearse the choir, and organize Operation Nivevah. We'd have to raise $3 million just to get started.

Nah, Jonah skipped all of that.

He just went to Nineveh looking half dead and gave his entirely negative 8-word sermon. And the people repented!

Elaine, Jonah was a "dead man." When God does that to you and me we won't have to say much either, "Repent, and believe the gospel"... 5 words will probably do it! But the message will almost certainly begin with the word -- "Repent"!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: The Whitten's are contemplating a speaking tour of the U.S. and Canada. We're looking to fill up every day of the week, so if you have a small group, Bible study, Congregation, Fellowship, or Church and you'd like to have the Whitten's come and share, please send an email as soon as possible to george [@] worthyemail.com.
Elaine, be God's messenger!

Jonah 3:5-9 So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.9Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?

Jonah preached his 8 word sermon and the Ninevites were struck with the fear of the Lord and moved to complete repentance. 

The king stood up (a sign of his serious intent), removed his royal robes (a sign of humility), covered himself with sackcloth (a sign of mourning), and sat in the dust (a sign of repentance). Then, according to the King's edict, every soul in Nineveh responded with desperate fasting. It's hard to imagine that level of conviction coming upon an entire metropolis of over 600,000 people. But what followed was the greatest revival in history. Every one in the city got saved! This seems so impossible at every level. The whole story of Jonah is utterly fantastic from beginning to end...almost like a fairytale.

But we know it isn't a fairytale.The Lord Himself clearly refers to Jonah's ministry as a historical fact; [Luke 11:29-30].

Through it, God is inspiring us for the days we live in. Look around, isn't the whole world going the way of ancient Nineveh? Isn't the wickedness and moral erosion around us just as horrifying as the evil deeds of the Assyrians? Can God’s judgment be far away?

And what were the chances of Nineveh's revival taking place? If Jonah, who knew God's mercy and grace as a prophet, was against it, who would give the Ninevites a ghost of a chance for salvation? Many of us undoubtedly feel the same way about most of our modern cities. We've stopped believing that God can reach the unreachable or do the impossible. Instead, we say, "It's Nineveh. It's hopeless?" What can we honestly expect in these "Days of Noah and Lot"?

The prophet Daniel, I believe, has an answer for us in these End Times: "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever; [Daniel 12:3]. It took Jonah a while to get there, but he finally did shine the righteousness of God into a wicked city; and he led many to righteousness. 

Elaine, our God still has some plans with "fairytale" dimensions. If we can get over our cynicism, apathy, judgmental attitude, and unbelief, there are still a few Nineveh's in our future, I believe. I have no illusions about the strength of those negative qualities in us, or the desperate evil in our modern cities. But there are some whose identification with the Lord in His death, just like Jonah, who will lead many to righteousness, just as he did.

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: The Whitten's are contemplating a speaking tour of the U.S. and Canada. We're looking to fill up every day of the week, so if you have a small group, Bible study, Congregation, Fellowship, or Church and you'd like to have the Whitten's come and share, please send an email as soon as possible to george [@] worthyemail.com.
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Post  Admin on Wed 25 Jun 2014, 8:14 pm


Elaine, God cares....for everyone!

Jonah 3:1-2 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you."
1 Corinthians 13:1-2 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
When the Lord gave Jonah a second chance, He didn't change His mind about the prophet's destination. He didn't lighten the load or change the burden Jonah was destined to carry. There was no negotiation with Jonah where the Lord expressed understanding about his reluctance to go to Nineveh. God didn't concede to send him to Tarshish just because he'd been heading in that direction anyway. Jonah's disobedience and repentance produced a clear and simple result: a second chance to do what he should have done the first time.
But it was not just for Nineveh's sake. God cared for Jonah, just as He cared for Nineveh. If His concern was only about Nineveh, the Lord could have sent someone else for the task. But He definitely wanted Jonah to go, because He wanted to change and to soften the prophet's heart; to make him more like Himself...
Jonah's identity and calling as a prophet by no means meant that God was finished shaping him. You may have a significant calling on your life; a "prophetic" or "pastoral" role, known as a leader, a man or woman of God. You may know His will, and His word. You may even have some level of intimacy with Him....but all this could also be a basis for presumption, self-righteousness, pride, distance from those less holy than you, and maybe even an unsuspected level of disobedience bordering on rebellion. Something profoundly important can be missing from your character... 
Elaine, Jonah's experience is an excellent example of the Lord's desire to transform His faithful saints. The apostle Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 13 of a "more excellent way". The preceding chapter, 1 Corinthians 12, is all about spiritual gifts; and Jonah was certainly gifted as a prophet. But what he lacked was of such great concern to God that He was willing to put Jonah into the most dire circumstances imaginable; because what Jonah lacked was a most essential characteristic of God's nature, the love we call "agape"..... the "love" which God Himself is.
Your family in the Lord with much agape love,
George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: The Whitten's are contemplating a speaking tour of the U.S. and Canada. We're looking to fill up every day of the week, so if you have a small group, Bible study, Congregation, Fellowship, or Church and you'd like to have the Whitten's come and share, please send an email as soon as possible to george [@] worthyemail.com.
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Post  Admin on Tue 24 Jun 2014, 8:28 pm

Elaine, take your second chance!

Jonah 2:1-2 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you."

A "second time." Jonah's repentance gave him a second chance to obey the Lord and to fulfill his ministry. And he did it successfully. The apostle Paul tells us that "the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable" [Romans 11:29]. Jonah's disobedience did not take away his calling as a prophet. The discipline of the Lord was fruitful in his life. But compare King Saul. He also got a second chance after failing to wait for Samuel [1 Samuel 13] and he disobeyed again, and lost his kingship [1 Samuel 15]. But even that took many years to transpire after David was anointed.

We are often taught, "Our God is a God of second chances." And He is. Our failures in ministry do not automatically disqualify us, for the Lord is patient with us and He knows our weaknesses and predilection to sin, and He knows we are always on a learning curve. But He does expect us to learn from our mistakes, and honestly repent from our failures.

Now there are examples in scripture where sin and failure to obey brought immediate irrevocable judgment with no second chance: witness Ananias and Sapphira, or Lot's wife. So we ought to take notice that there are critical moments, decisions, and situations when our disobedience won't be tolerated with patience. Thank God they are probably rare, for He is amazingly patient. 

Elaine, you may have failed the Lord in your service to Him through some character flaw or hidden sinful attitude which has been brought to light. Repent, and get back in fellowship with Him. And watch that you don't make the same mistake or worse. He will restore your ministry because He loves you and has called you; and will probably use your failure to make you even more effective. Our God is so wonderful. 

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: The Whitten's are contemplating a speaking tour of the U.S. and Canada. We're looking to fill up every day of the week, so if you have a small group, Bible study, Congregation, Fellowship, or Church and you'd like to have the Whitten's come and share, please send an email as soon as possible to george [@] worthyemail.com.
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Post  Admin on Mon 23 Jun 2014, 10:15 pm

Elaine, salvation is of the Lord!

Jonah 2:2 And he said: "I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, And He answered me. "Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. 
3 For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. 
7 "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple. 
9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord."

Jonah now acknowledges that God put him where he is, and he accepts His discipline. "Sheol" is the "grave", the "pit" or the "abode of the dead". Did Jonah die, or was he only nearly dead from three days of fish stomach acid, and little or no air? The text doesn't say; only that if he didn't actually leave his body, he came as close as a man can get to it; three days worth. In this nebulous and miserable place Jonah cried out, probably from the deepest depths of his agonized soul...he cried out to the Lord.

First, he gave thanks; quite amazing, but very plausible for a true man of God who has come to his senses. Anyone who truly loves the Lord is grateful for His discipline, painful as it may be. And finally, Jonah repented and consented to "pay what he had vowed". What this vow was we can only speculate. It may have something to do with a promise of devoted service in connection with his calling as a prophet of the Most High; or it may have been a promise he decided to make right there in the fish's belly. In any case, he was coming into agreement with the will of God once again. It must have been a great relief.

Jonah then prophesied once again; "Salvation is of the Lord!" Hallelujah! Jonah knew this now in a way and depth unprecedented until this moment of "resurrection". His near-death experience gave him a depth of revelation of God's power to save that few of us will ever experience. It will prove to be tremendously effective for the prophet's future ministry. 

Elaine, “Salvation is of the Lord." It starts and ends with God. How well do we know this? How often do we relearn it? Jonah's experience in the belly of a great fish cleared and focused his mind toward what matters most in all this world. In the terrifying darkness he realized the folly of resisting God's reality and will. What might we need to sacrifice or endure to reach that level of conviction? Can we honestly pray that the Lord would have His way with us in the midst of all the little ways we "run away" from Him? Jonah's "quiet place" was forced upon him. But up to now, for most of us, drawing near to the Lord for deeper revelation is still a choice we can make.

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
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Post  Admin on Fri 20 Jun 2014, 9:41 pm

Elaine, God is reaching all people – and you are part of His plan!

Jonah 1:14, 16 Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, "We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man's life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You."

16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.

While most read the story of Jonah focusing on Jonah's journey, I want to pause and examine the lives of the pagan sailors. What a journey they were on! We see the hand of God touching them providentially through Jonah's disobedience. Talk about God bringing good from evil. Here He draws them into a desperate sea voyage and almost incidentally reveals to them the impotence of their gods, who have no power whatsoever to stop the deadly storm. In their total helplessness the God of Heaven then introduces Himself through his runaway prophet. And suddenly, the sailors are crying out to YHVH (Jehovah).

They are not crying out to their gods any longer – but now are crying to the true God of Israel.

And God performs a miracle for them, when Jonah is tossed into the sea, the storm suddenly calmed ... and the amazing miracle evokes what sounds like prophesying, as they offer sacrifices and vows in worship to YHVH. "For You, O Lord, have done as you pleased!" The whole crew is converted. So, while Jonah is fish food – there's a revival happening on board.

And now these wonder struck sailors have quite a fish story to tell in all their subsequent travels concerning the wayward prophet who disappeared beneath the waves as his God stilled the perfect storm. And the Lord has a boat full of newborn missionaries heading to Tarshish... 

Elaine, our God desires all people throughout the world to hear His message. His providence is such that anywhere His servants find themselves becomes a place and a moment of opportunity for Him. The apostle Paul writes to Timothy "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season;" [2 Timothy 4:2] Even Jonah's gross disobedience didn't stop the Lord from using him as a testimony. We need to be aware of who we are and what we carry for Yeshua (Jesus). His love and faithfulness to us is such that even our discipline can become a vehicle for expressing His love to the world. 

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel
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Post  Admin on Fri 20 Jun 2014, 1:40 pm

Elaine, wake up!

Jonah 1:4,5 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.

It must have been a bad storm. These men were experienced, hardened sailors who had seen it all at sea. If they were scared, this could have been the first "perfect storm" since Noah's flood. So they started the first interfaith prayer meeting in the Bible, each man crying out to his own god.* As the ship groaned and creaked in howling wind and massive waves, and the men threw cargo overboard in a desperate attempt to save it, where was Jonah? On deck helping them? Confidently praying to His own God? Shaking with fear and paralyzed with deep conviction? No, he’s taking a nap down below...

How could anyone sleep through a storm like this -- especially a prophet of the Most High? I see a few possibilities: one, Jonah was a prophet whose relationship with the Lord was so close he was used to trusting Him through all kinds of difficulties, so he was just abiding in his usual trust. Remember Yeshua (Jesus) also slept during a very bad storm on the Sea of Galilee. Or, maybe the hold of the ship was so deep and Jonah was so tired that he wasn't aware of the grave danger up above; a perfectly natural explanation. But there's another possibility: Jonah's disobedience made him vulnerable to a demonically induced sleep. That gets my vote.

We know for sure the enemy wants us to sleep while the world falls apart around us. His interests are served when we relax in our own eternal security while others are dying in the storms of this world. But Jonah's apathy toward Nineveh morphed into one which actually threatened his own life, without his even being aware of it. He had the authority and capacity to save the others, but the enemy may have poured out on him such a spirit of apathy and deadening slumber that it required the desperate pagans, far more aware of the danger, to rouse the prophet back to his true calling. 

Elaine, two tornados just ripped through a small town in Nebraska. More storms are brewing of every kind; social, economic, political, military. Houses are "burning"; ships are "sinking". Many lives are falling apart. We might be weighed down and paralyzed by it all, or just deeply apathetic because they all deserve judgment while we await the "rapture". But I don't think the Lord wants us to sleep through these storms. At least, not with Jonah's attitude. 

* We witnessed a modern example of this recently, for the first time in history at the Vatican, when a Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim” prayed together in a desperate attempt to save the Middle East peace process. It was the first time that the Quran, and Islamic prayers were ever uttered at the Vatican.

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Elaine, call upon Your God!

Jonah 1:6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, "What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish."

At this point the captain (who probably worshiped Baal and Yamm, god of the sea) has more faith than Jonah. 

Frantic in the midst of impending catastrophe, he jolts Jonah back to life and intercession. They say there are no "foxhole atheists"; when great danger comes God somehow bursts into existence. But these sailors were polytheists, and desperation led them to implore the local god of every man in the boat for mercy and salvation. Even these idol worshipers knew that prayer is the only recourse in the hour of desperation.

It's something to remember and apply in our day to day encounters with people. So many these days are dealing with serious and even desperate situations, while they're waiting there at the checkout counter...and while they don't much care to hear a sermon, they might really appreciate our prayers.

We've been in situations, with hardly a clue whom we were speaking with, and simply said, "Do you mind if I pray for you?" Suddenly eyes light up, "Yes, please do!" Prayer brings people back into direct relationship with God and reminds them of their dependance on Him, and whether we're on a ship in a storm, or facing some other potential catastrophe, we all desperately need His grace and favor. And connecting with people this way is actually easier than you might think.

Elaine, the times are coming, and are already here, when more and more people facing desperation may turn and cry to us, "Call on Your God to save us!" They may even wake us up from our spiritual slumber to do it. Rather than rubbing our eyes and groaning, "Duh, what?" we ought to be already awake, looking for them now.

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Elaine, God is reaching all people – and you are part of His plan!

Jonah 1:14, 16 Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, "We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man's life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You."

16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.

While most read the story of Jonah focusing on Jonah's journey, I want to pause and examine the lives of the pagan sailors. What a journey they were on! We see the hand of God touching them providentially through Jonah's disobedience. Talk about God bringing good from evil. Here He draws them into a desperate sea voyage and almost incidentally reveals to them the impotence of their gods, who have no power whatsoever to stop the deadly storm. In their total helplessness the God of Heaven then introduces Himself through his runaway prophet. And suddenly, the sailors are crying out to YHVH (Jehovah).

They are not crying out to their gods any longer – but now are crying to the true God of Israel.

And God performs a miracle for them, when Jonah is tossed into the sea, the storm suddenly calmed ... and the amazing miracle evokes what sounds like prophesying, as they offer sacrifices and vows in worship to YHVH. "For You, O Lord, have done as you pleased!" The whole crew is converted. So, while Jonah is fish food – there's a revival happening on board.

And now these wonder struck sailors have quite a fish story to tell in all their subsequent travels concerning the wayward prophet who disappeared beneath the waves as his God stilled the perfect storm. And the Lord has a boat full of newborn missionaries heading to Tarshish... 

Elaine, our God desires all people throughout the world to hear His message. His providence is such that anywhere His servants find themselves becomes a place and a moment of opportunity for Him. The apostle Paul writes to Timothy "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season;" [2 Timothy 4:2] Even Jonah's gross disobedience didn't stop the Lord from using him as a testimony. We need to be aware of who we are and what we carry for Yeshua (Jesus). His love and faithfulness to us is such that even our discipline can become a vehicle for expressing His love to the world. 

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel
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Post  Admin on Tue 17 Jun 2014, 10:29 am

Elaine, have the heart of God!

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

For the next week or so we'll be looking closely at the life of Jonah the prophet. Jonah was told to "preach against the city of Nineveh", that was in the ancient kingdom of Assyria. 

Nineveh was a major city on the banks of the Tigris River about 500 miles north and east of where Jonah was; located on a contemporary map in modern Iraq, about 300 miles north of Baghdad. Archeologists have found the ruins of ancient Nineveh right outside the Iraqi city of Mosul. Yes, the same Mosul that was taken last week by jihadists!

When God said Nineveh was wicked, he wasn’t kidding. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, the most powerful empire in the world in that day. The Assyrians had a reputation for cruelty that is hard for us to fathom. Their specialty was brutality of a gross and disgusting kind. When their armies captured a city or country, unspeakable atrocities would occur. Things like skinning people alive, decapitation, mutilation, ripping out the tongues, making a pyramid of human heads, piercing the chin with a rope and forcing prisoners to live in kennels like dogs. Ancient records from Assyria boast of this kind of cruelty as a badge of courage and power.

Sad to say, the saying – "History repeats itself", truly fits in this case!

So we ought to remember this context when we consider God's command to Jonah, and the prophet's response. Suppose God spoke to you today, "Go and preach against the city of Mosul!" Think you might respond, "Ahem God – they're terrorists! Let's nuke 'em; send 'em right where they belong!" 

But the heart of God is merciful. He wants to bring people to repentance so He can forgive, rather than bring judgment. He desires to save...even the most wicked and hardened individuals!

So here's what I think: There’s a little Jonah in all of us and a whole lot of Jonah in most of us. We're praying for the Christians fleeing Iraq – but what about the wicked terrorists who are killing, torturing, and persecuting them? 

Elaine, do you have an "Assyrian" in your life? Someone truly worthy of your hatred? Rather than pray for him, you'd be glad for him to meet God face to face today? Our Heavenly Father rebuked Jonah the prophet for his own hardness of heart and lack of compassion. So the story of Jonah is about the heart of God, who desires all men to be saved. He wants us to have the same heart.

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Elaine, down ... or up?

Jonah 1:3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

After hearing the call to go to Nineveh, Jonah goes down to Joppa, heading for Tarshish, which is Westward, the opposite direction from Ninevah. The scholars debate it, but some believe Tarshish could be as far away as modern day Spain...nearly 2000 miles West from Joppa! So God says – “Go East!” and Jonah responds by going "West" – not just West, but as West as he can go!

Notice the text also says that Jonah went "down" to Joppa. Throughout the first chapter of Jonah, the prophet always seems to be going "down". He goes "down" into the hold of the Ship (Jonah 1:4), He went "down" into the sea (1:15), He went "down" into the belly of a great fish (1:17). You've got to hand it to him for consistency. But this "down" in relation to God is not the prophet's humility; it's a clear expression of his disobedience, and lack of respect for the Lord.

Jonah didn't want to go to Nineveh, he didn't care about the city, and he didn't think God should care about it either. He didn't want the Ninevites to repent, or God to forgive them. And he definitely didn't want God to love a people like that! Jonah had a problem with Nineveh, for sure – but he actually had a much bigger problem---his problem with God!

Did you ever consider that your problem with people may be concealing a deeper issue? An issue between you and the Lord? All that righteous anger and self-justifying criticism toward those "evil sinners" might just find you in a big controversy with their Creator, the one who loves them a lot more than you ever could.

So Elaine, be careful if you find yourself going "down" in judgment and criticism, when you ought to be looking up for grace and Divine love ... up toward the most gracious Being anywhere, the same One who forgave all your sins.

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
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Post  Admin on Sat 14 Jun 2014, 3:24 pm

Elaine, how are your clothes fitting? 

Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Just over six years ago, our second, Obadiah was born and he's grown so much! It's amazing to me how fast these kids grow. He has long since outgrown his newborn clothes and is now fitting into kids clothes, sheesh! Weighing in originally at just over 8.1 lbs, he's already pushing 50! He likes to eat -- the kid can't get enough!

In this way, as we seek to serve the Lord, we need to love to eat His word. We need to be in a place where we can't get enough time with the Lord, worshipping Him, studying, praying fervently! We want to outgrow our spiritual clothes!

We have been given a calling by the Lord which seems all too huge -- clothes too big! We are called to be part of a royal priesthood, set a good example to the world around us, love our neighbor as ourselves, share the good news of Messiah, and later to sit at the Lord's right hand and rule with Him! I would say that those are big clothes to fit, but this is the Lord just showing us that we need to grow into our calling -- we need to grow into our royal positions! These tasks may seem too large for us but the Lord wants us to grow into the ministry He is calling us to! 

Elaine, don't worry if your clothes seem to large now. Spend time in prayer and worship -- leave sin and the power of sin over your life behind you -- be filled in His power to live out your calling. You will soon fill the clothes that He has prepared for you!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

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Post  Admin on Thu 12 Jun 2014, 11:34 am

Elaine, it's not about us! 

Psalms 138:8 The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

Many of you know that we've been in Israel a little over ten years now. I am still trying to adjust to the spiritual atmosphere, culture and language. Those few things, in and of themselves, are enough to become overwhelmed. But if that's not enough, we are pioneering a new ministry here, trusting totally in God for His provision, trying to raise two young children in a way that is pleasing to Him and all the while, going through our own personal trials.

When we face difficult trials, often we get to feeling sorry for ourselves -- we wallow in our self pity, thinking things like "I'm not worthy enough, not strong enough, not able enough, not adequate enough to get through these things -- I just can't do it!"

But hear the truth of God's word today! HE will perfect that which concerns us! It is not us -- it is HE who perfects us! It is HIS great strength and mercy that works through us, that allows us to be worthy, strong, able and adequate! 

Elaine, let's start giving to the Lord all those things which concern us. God will have the victory!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
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Post  Admin on Wed 11 Jun 2014, 9:29 am

Elaine, take a "worthy" risk!

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

At a time when thousands of people were dying each year of rabies, Louis Pasteur, pioneer of immunology, was working on a vaccine. Just as he was about to begin experimenting on himself, a 9-year-old boy, Joseph Meister, was bitten by a rabid dog. The boy's mother begged Pasteur to experiment on her son. Pasteur injected Joseph for ten days-- and he lived. Decades later, of all the things Pasteur could have had etched on his headstone, he asked for three words: "JOSEPH MEISTER LIVED". 

Elaine, we are also called to save lives....and yes, even to takes risks to do so. Our greatest legacy will be those who live eternally because of our efforts. Thousands of people die each year never having heard the name of Yeshua (Jesus). Yet there are so many ways to reach them. We ought to risk a little time, money, or effort in that direction for their sake.

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Post  Admin on Wed 11 Jun 2014, 9:16 am

Elaine, don't forget your passport! 

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Here in Israel, I have to carry my passport everywhere. It's always in my pocket where ever I go. It's my source of American identity here in the Land, should anyone ever question it. 

There have been times when it's been through the washer a few times -- at one point all the stamps in it were dulled and faded. As a matter of fact, this a few years ago when I was entering Israel, the airport clerk alerted me that they would not accept my passport in this condition – and that I had better replace it before I travel again. Gulp!

E.M. Bounds wrote in his book, Purpose in Prayer: "Christ taught us... to approach the Father in His name. That is our passport! It is in His name that we are to make our petitions known... There is no limit to the power of that name. "Whatsoever ye shall ask." That is the divine declaration, and it opens up to every praying child a vista of infinite resource and possibility ... and that is our heritage. All that Christ has may become ours if we obey the conditions."

We need our prayers to reach the throne of God! And in order for them to travel, they need a good passport! 

Elaine, when we pray in the mighty Name of Jesus (Yeshua, in Hebrew) today, our requests are transported right to God's holy throne room! Let's petition the Father according to His will and expect GREAT things to happen! 

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
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Post  Admin on Mon 09 Jun 2014, 8:10 pm

Elaine, Lights! Camera! Action! 

Mark 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

The world loves the extraordinary, the spectacular. It relishes on the big, bright, grand and expensive. I remember when we traveled through Las Vegas years ago, to speak at a church in Carson City. Uyy! The lights, the size of everything -- crazy! But all I could think as we rolled down Sunset Strip was how sad it is that this is what the world finds extraordinary. The bigger, the brighter, the more expensive -- the more the world worships it.

I don't think God is very impressed though. I think He Has a slightly different take on the spectacular. One of many examples in the Word is when Gideon defeated the Midianites. It wasn't with a grand army of thousands -- it was with an army of a measly 300! You see, God took a few ordinary men and created out of them an "extraordinary" victory!

We may think to ourselves "I'm just an ordinary person. I don't have much to offer." But when we are born again, God takes our ordinary and makes it "extraordinary!"

Elaine, let's dare to let God in on the things we find weak and uninteresting about our lives today and watch as He turns it to spectacular! Be encouraged! God has great things planned!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

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Post  Admin on Sat 07 Jun 2014, 11:02 pm

Elaine, as brothers who are blinded - open their eyes!

Genesis 42:8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

When Joseph became ruler over Egypt, his name was changed, and his identity was altered so that he no longer appeared or lived as a shepherd son of Israel from the land of Canaan, but as an Egyptian Prime Minister. The transformation was so thorough that when his ten brothers arrived in Egypt he was totally unrecognizable to them. This true story beautifully illustrates Mashiach ben Yosef (Yeshua/Jesus at His first coming), and contains a prophetic picture pointing to Yeshua and His Jewish people living today as we approach the Second Coming.

Several details elaborate this amazing parallel. After Joseph was rejected by his brothers and sent to Egypt, his life naturally began to develop in the nation of his exile, including the learning of its language and culture. Constantly proving his capacity, responsibility and leadership, Joseph was ultimately embraced by the Egyptians, exalted, and given an Egyptian bride (Asenath, daughter of the priest of On). In like manner the rejection of Yeshua by the Jews of His day resulted in His becoming a light to the Gentiles, who rightly accepted and exalted Him, so that in many ways He seemed to take on a Gentile identity and characteristics. As He betrothed Himself to this predominantly Gentile "Church" (with its Jewish roots), He ironically became virtually unrecognizable to His own Jewish people.

To illustrate further, Yeshua and His disciples had lived and worshiped according to the Biblical Jewish calendar: Shabbat, Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot, Feast of Dedication (Chanukah). The later Christian (largely Gentile) church instead adapted and transformed pagan festivals and used them in their worship calendar, changing the cultural expression of the Jewish Messiah and His original followers to a Gentile expression, and even proscribing the use of Jewish festivals in "Christian" worship. All the while, Yeshua's true nature and identity remained, even as Joseph's did.

But through these parallels we can begin to understand the portent of Joseph's experience with his brothers; weeping bitterly when he first recognized them; then, carefully arranging the circumstances which would bring them to repentance, and finally, removing the Egyptians, for the dramatic revelation of his true identity to his brothers, the sons of Jacob. Likewise, Yeshua, weeping over His Jewish brothers, finally gathers them back into the Promised Land, begins to arrange the circumstances which will bring them to repentance, so that finally at some final private revelation,"they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and mourn for Him" in amazed gratitude. [Zechariah 12:10].

God, Himself, working behind the scenes, has allowed Satan to do his blinding work on Israel, for a season, while gathering the Gentiles into His fold. But this season is ending. The mystery of Israel's blindness is being broadly revealed, prompting the prayers of millions of Gentile believers, and their love for Yeshua and His Jewish brethren is making Israel jealous; so the veil is being removed from Jewish eyes, just as it was from Joseph's brothers.

And what is our part? To understand the times and seasons in which we live, to pray and labor for both the fullness of the Gentiles and the spiritual revival of Israel which will usher in the coming of Messiah and life from the dead! Through the story of Joseph and the prophetic revelation of both Testaments we know that all Israel will be saved, with the fullness of the Gentiles. Since much of the world is still blinded to Messiah, we need to make the most of every opportunity to open blind eyes, Jewish or Gentile. 

Elaine, let us reveal Yeshua to the entire world, especially reaching those whom the Lord has placed in our lives. Every time Yeshua is truly revealed, another one of "Joseph's brothers" can weep with joy, gratitude and amazement, that a humble Suffering Servant is also a great and glorious King!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel
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Post  Admin on Thu 05 Jun 2014, 8:55 pm

Elaine, be His beachhead!

Psalm 37:37-40 Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; For the future of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The future of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.

A "beachhead" is the first objective, the primary location for a military force landing on an enemy shore, which, when secured can be used to gain further advancement.

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces landed on the beach at Normandy during the height of World War 2. It was an extremely dangerous mission. Failing to secure the beachhead at Normandy would have led to a major defeat on that day. While the allies did succeed in securing the beachhead the cost was very high as many soldiers lost their lives.

The enemy knows the significance of the beachhead, that it is a place of breaking through with great potential for further losses on his part, and he defends it with great intensity. At Normandy, brave, committed and valiant soldiers stormed the beach and opened the way for far greater victory for the allies.

The "beachhead" is a powerful metaphor for us believers in Yeshua (Jesus), who are involved in a spiritual war. Each one of us is called to be a "beachhead" for the Lord's love and truth, His influence, the breaking through of His light into this dark world. 

Yet to be effective, our own lives must be increasingly secured by the Lord. For those of us who are serious and involved in the battle, the Lord will be shining His light into our own dark places and gaining ground and influence in our lives, characters, and actions. We ourselves will be His "beachhead" for breakthrough into the lives of others. But realize, it won't be easy or without cost! 

Elaine, is God taking more and more control of your life? Is the battle for your heart and soul raging and seeming to become more and more costly? Remember D-Day and the lives laid down there for the sake of freedom; and remember both the cost and the incredible significance of the allied victory. Your sacrifices will reap eternal rewards, when Yeshua, Himself will say to you – "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" -- "for you were 'my beachhead!'"

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel
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Post  Admin on Tue 03 Jun 2014, 8:45 pm

Elaine, how hungry are you?!

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

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...

I recently saw a fishing cartoon that spoke to me and illustrated something about expectations. Pictured were two Eskimos fishing through holes in the ice. One of them had his line in a normal size hole maybe two or three feet across. But the guy sitting next to him had his line in an enormous hole, in the shape of a whale! This guy was hungry! He didn't want some dinky little fish! He was fishing for whales!

What I like about this illustration is how appetite creates expectation. What is our appetite for affecting the world around us for the Lord's sake? How much do we hunger to change things in peoples' lives through the gospel and through the ministry in Messiah? And how does that affect our expectations? He said "Blessed are those who HUNGER AND THIRST for righteousness."

Elaine, how would you compare your hunger to your expectation? If your hunger is great and genuine then it's likely that God will move you to carve out a "whale-sized" hole in this icy world and expect a corresponding catch! 

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: We've revamped Worthy News to include crucial videos which could not be embeded into the Worthy Briefs. Be sure to visit Worthy News online.
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Post  Admin on Mon 02 Jun 2014, 8:04 pm

Elaine, let it go!

Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

My wife has had an interesting life. Here, she shares a small portion of her past:

I was born in Israel. My parents divorced when I was a toddler and my mother met and married a hippie American tourist who was searching his roots in Israel at the time. Later, we went back to the States with him. Little did we realize that he was heavily addicted to drugs and this among other things made for a very unhappy family and little on which to live.

Every once in a while my father in Israel would send money for my mother to buy an airline ticket for me to visit him and the rest of my family. One particular year when I about eleven or twelve, he gave me a nice chunk of spending money for the duration of my trip, the equivalence of two hundred and fifty dollars or so. When my time in Israel that summer was coming to an end and I realized I had hardly touched that money, I decided keep it and not tell him or anyone else. I mean, my dad had assumed I'd spent it, right? No one would have to know, "I reasoned." I'd take it back with me and have lots of money to spend when I returned to Israel the next time.

When I got back to America, I put that stash away in a little jewelry box on my dresser. No matter how poor we were, I always secretly felt rich knowing that stash was there. The next summer, my father sent for me again. Before I left, I was sure not to forget to put my saved shekels deep in my pocket, as not to lose them. I was the richest girl in the world!

But when I reached Israel this time, my father gave me money unlike the kind I had in my pocket. It looked funny -- not at all like my long-awaited spending stash. It was different in color and had a different design. "That's strange," I thought, "How could this be?"

To my great dismay, the currency had changed to the New Israeli Shekel while I was away. The money I had was absolutely worthless now. I was sick to my stomach.

What a waste! And worse, I couldn't even tell my dad.

A wise man once said, "Greed is the logical result of the belief that there is no life after death. We grab what we can while we can however we can and then hold on to it hard."

Elaine, our Father has given us some spending money, hasn't He? And sadly, it is our tendency as human beings to want to keep it to ourselves. Let's not hoard what He has freely given us. Let's freely bless people around us in need, whether it is with our finances, our possessions, our time and energy or comfort. There is a lot more where those came from. And we can't take it with us anyway -- the currency is different in heaven!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: We've revamped Worthy News to include crucial videos which could not be embeded into the Worthy Briefs. Be sure to visit Worthy News online.
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Post  Admin on Fri 30 May 2014, 2:39 pm

Elaine, adorn yourself in true treasures!

Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

The king of the birds was looking in the mirror one day and was disappointed to see that his feathers were not as bright as they were once. "I am getting old," he said, "I think it will soon be time to choose a new king". He decided to announce that on a certain day, all the birds will gather and present themselves before him so that he would be able choose from among them the most beautiful of all to be their next king. The crow got wind of the king's plans and began to fret. "There are so many beautiful birds in the kingdom and I am only a colorless crow. I don't have a chance at becoming king." Suddenly, he had a terrific idea. He began to search through the woods and fields for colorful feathers fallen from the wings of his companions, and stuck them in amongst his own.

When the appointed day arrived and all the birds had assembled before the king, the crow also made his appearance in his array of fine found feathers. When the aging king spotted the crow and all the beauty of his plumage, he immediately chose him to be king. As the crow pranced down the isle with pride to accept his crown, the birds began angrily plucking out their feathers from between his, leaving the crow nothing but an old black crow.

Too often, we try to "improve our worth" by adorning our selves in "pretty" things. Fine clothes, cosmetics, jewelry, friends, money, power, fame among others, top the list. But there is really only one way to improve our appearance. Putting our faith in the Lord and walking wholeheartedly with Him. Despite what the world around us thinks, only He can improve our fallen condition and our search for happiness.

Elaine, those feathers we find aren't going to fool anyone -- especially our King. Let's come to God as we are today and ask Him to adorn us with the treasures he desires, peace, patience, love, joy and all the fruits of the Spirit.

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: We've revamped Worthy News to include crucial videos which could not be embeded into the Worthy Briefs. Be sure to visit Worthy News online.
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Post  Admin on Thu 29 May 2014, 7:27 pm

Elaine, go with God's flow! 

Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Some time ago, two university students in Moorhead, Minnesota painted a mural on the wall outside their dorm room. It was of a school of fish all swimming in the same direction except for a single fish heading the opposite way. That one fish going the other direction was meant to be Jesus. Included in the mural were the words, "Go against the flow." Sadly, university officials argued that the mural might offend non-Christians, and told the students to paint over it.

God has called us, as believers, to do things that sometimes go against the flow of the flow of the world around us. It's not always easy, either.

Noah built an enormous ark at God's command. Abraham took his only son to be sacrificed. Gideon went to war against thousands of enemies with only three hundred soldiers on his side. The disciples left all their possessions and followed the Lord. And there are countless other examples we have to follow! 

Elaine, let's choose to start swimming in the other direction today! Do that thing that God has been putting on your heart! Hug that person who’s been on your last nerve! Give away something you have to someone who needs it more! There are many mighty and miraculous victories that God desires to demonstrate in our lives, if we would only be willing to go against the flow!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: We've revamped Worthy News to include crucial videos which could not be embeded into the Worthy Briefs. Be sure to visit Worthy News online.
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Post  Admin on Thu 29 May 2014, 5:56 pm

Elaine, stop looking back -- look ahead!

Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Some time ago, I wrote a devotional about not worrying for tomorrow because tomorrow holds its own worries. But it occurred to me recently, that just about as often as we worry for tomorrow, we fret about yesterday. How many times do we find ourselves saying, "I wish things could be the way they were, I wish I was younger, I wish I could fit into those jeans again, I wish I didn't make that terrible mistake ... you fill in the blank"?

The Lord doesn't want us constantly looking back at what once was. Our enemy does -- he wants us to feel discouraged and helpless and ruminate over and over on what we can never change. Sure, if we need to repent or make something right, we ought to go ahead and do it. But God doesn't want us drowning in self-pity or regret about past mistakes, or hopelessly longing for what can never be again . He wants us to look ahead. He wants us to say, "Forget what was – the future is where my destiny lies and I will meet the Lord there in His purposes for me." That's faith. And it's well based in everything Yeshua (Jesus) has done for us, promised us, and called us to.

So, Elaine, let's stop looking back in fear or bondage to the past – it's long gone already. Let's move ahead and press toward the new things that the Lord has for us in our lives. Our God is always making things new, and redeeming what was before.

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

Editor's Note: We've revamped Worthy News to include crucial videos which could not be embeded into the Worthy Briefs. Be sure to visit Worthy News online.
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