The Midianites invaded Israel like a swarm of grasshoppers. God let them oppress His backslidden people for seven years and chastise them for their chronic idolatry. The Israelites survived by hiding in caves during the invasion. The enemy swooped in at harvest time and destroyed their crops causing a dire food shortage. On the brink of starvation, Israel desperately cried out to God in repentance. Mercifully, He raised up an unlikely hero to deliver them—Gideon, God’s reluctant general. Hungry and scared, Gideon was hiding behind a wine press threshing wheat to gather enough grain to make bread. Suddenly, an angelic encounter rocked his world and launched him into spiritual leadership.Read More
Albert Einstein believed, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Some discount the book of Esther because none of God’s names appear in it. While His name is absent, His hand is present and clearly seen protecting His people. Esther shows how God sovereignly orchestrates events to serve His purpose. Imagine God as a master maestro conducting the orchestra of nations, world leaders and global events. Like pawns on His chessboard, He maneuvers them at will to fulfill His bidding. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord . . . He turns it wherever He wishes” (Pr. 21:1, NKJV).
How great was King Solomon? So great that Jesus spoke of his glory and wisdom nearly a thousand years after his death (Mt. 6:29; 12:42). Solomon, by his own admission, had it all, saw it all and did it all—but it all left him empty (Ec. 1:12-18; 2:1-11). This proves that earthly possessions and pursuits do not produce true happiness. Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes, which means “teacher or preacher,” as an aged man reflecting on his life experiences. The tone is rather pessimistic and depressing because he realized and regretted the folly of pursuing selfish goals. He was like the man who spent his whole life climbing the corporate ladder only to find out it was leaning against the wrong wall.Read More
The Gospel of John is unique from the “synoptic Gospels” (Matthew, Mark and Luke), so called due to their similar content. The synoptics cover many of the same miracles, parables and events of Jesus’ life and ministry. There is a lot of overlap, repetition and even some parallel passages that are nearly identical. Generally speaking, the synoptics tell us what Jesus said and did; John tells us who Jesus is. The synoptics focus on the signs and sayings of Christ; John emphasizes the identity of Christ. Early church father Clement of Alexandria called John “the spiritual Gospel” because of its deep insight into Jesus’ divinity. Notice these unique features of John’s Gospel:
As a teenager, I worked part-time in my dad’s company, Builder’s Hardware, in Tampa, Florida. Fascinated by the forklift, I watched with envy as my older brothers and other employees unloaded pallets of hardware from trucks and hoisted them up on shelves in the warehouse. Sadly, I was never legally old enough to operate the machine. Instead, I moved freight around the floor manually with a pallet jack. I always dreamed of one day driving the forklift. Well, two days after graduating from high school, I began traveling with an evangelist in full-time ministry, so I never got the chance. However, God gave me what I call a “forklift ministry”—lifting people up with singing, preaching, praying and writing.