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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brazen Walls

Few of us have come up against such resistance in our daily lives as the Prophet Jeremiah. He met resistance at every turn. He was ridiculed, mocked, jailed and thrown in a pit.



What gave this man, a person no different than we are, such zeal and fortitude in his speaking and actions? Where did he get the confidence that he was protected, no matter the opposition he met; and it was great opposition. Not only from the people but from the kings, priests and other officials. As Jeremiah stood in the gates of the city proclaiming the judgments and admonitions of God Almighty, he did so with an assurance rare among the people of God today. Here is the answer for his lifelong calling ~


God made this man into a brazen wall. Just as Ezekiel, who was told that he was going among a people with a forehead of iron, God would make his forehead just as hard. In Jeremiah 15 God said, " And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall; and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD. "



God is no respecter of persons, He treats us all with the same grace, strength and mercy. No matter the battles we face on a daily basis, we have the same shelter, the same strength, the same God as Jeremiah and Ezekiel.


Run to Him in our hour of trial, need and temptation. He is our strong tower, our brazen wall; the One who can harden our foreheads also! Rest in Him. Depend upon Him. Live for Him!!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Sovereignty Of God-John Piper

10 Reasons Why Believing in the Sovereignty of God Matters - JOHN PIPER

What do we mean by the sovereignty of God? We believe that God upholds and governs all things — from galaxies to subatomic particles, from the forces of nature to the movements of nations, and from the public plans of politicians to the secret acts of solitary persons — all in accord with his eternal, all-wise purposes to glorify himself, yet in such a way that he never sins, nor ever condemns a person unjustly; but that his ordaining and governing all things is compatible with the moral accountability of all persons created in his image.Why does it matter whether we believe this?




Ten reasons.


1. The good news of God’s substituting his Son for us on the cross depends on it.'Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.' (Acts 4:27­28)



2. The perseverance of the saints in the fear of God depends on it.'I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.' (Jer. 32:40)



3. Progress in holiness now, and the final perfecting of the saints in the end, depends on it.'Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.' (Phil. 2:12–13)'But you have come to Mount Zion . . . and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.' (Heb. 12:22–23)



4. The assurance of God’s final triumph over all natural and supernatural evil depends on it.'I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, "My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose."' (Isa. 46:9­–10)



5. The comfort that there is a wise and loving purpose in all our calamities and losses, and that God will work all things together for our good, depends on it.'Though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love . . . Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?' (Lam. 3:32–38)'And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.' (Rom. 8:28)'As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.' (Gen. 50:20)



6. The hope that God will give life to the spiritually dead depends on it.'But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved.' (Eph. 2:4–5)'The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.' (John 3:8)



7. Well-grounded expectation of answered prayer depends on it.'Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.' (Rom. 10:1)'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins . . . For the promise is for . . . everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.' (Acts 2:38–39)



8. Boldness in the face of seeming hopeless defeat depends on it.'Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.' (2 Sam. 10:12)'Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him.' (2 Chron. 32:7)



9. Seeing and savouring the revelation of the fullness of God’s glory depends on it.'But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is moulded say to its moulder, "Why have you made me like this?" . . . What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power . . . [acted] in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy?' (Rom. 9:20–23)10. Praise that matches the fullness of God’s power, wisdom, and grace depends on it.'Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases . . . We will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.' (Psa. 115:3, 18)'Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.' (Psa. 96:4)



The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is an anchor for the troubled soul, a hope for the praying heart, a stability for fragile faith, a confidence in pursuing the lost, a guarantee of Christ’s atonement, a high mystery to keep us humble, and a solid ground for all praise. And oh so much more. O Lord, turn this truth for the triumph of your saving and sanctifying grace.

Our Cross

David Wilkerson Today
MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2010


YOU CANNOT CARRY YOUR OWN CROSS


Jesus said to his disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). However, Jesus could not carry his cross and neither can you! As Jesus bore his own cross to Golgotha, led by his tormentors, he was too weak and frail to carry it for long. When he had reached the end of his endurance, his cross was laid on another's shoulder. The Bible doesn't tell us how far Jesus carried his cross but we do know Simon, the Cyrene, was compelled to pick it up and carry it to the place of crucifixion (see Matthew 27:32).



What does this mean to us? Would our Lord make us do something he could not do?Did he not say, "...whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27)? A cross is a cross, be it wooden or spiritual.It is not enough to say, "His cross was different—our cross is spiritual."Personally, it gives me great hope to know that Jesus could not take up his own cross. It encourages me to know that I am not the only one burdened down to the ground at times, unable to go on in my own strength. Jesus knew exactly what he was saying when he called us to "take up our cross and follow him."



He remembered his own cross and that another had to carry it for him. Why then would he ask us to shoulder a cross he knows will soon crush us to the ground? He knows all about the agony, the helplessness, and the burden that a cross creates. He knows we can't carry it all the way in our own strength.There is a truth hidden here that we must uncover, a truth so powerful, it could change the way we look at all our troubles and hurts. It may sound almost sacrilegious to suggest Jesus did not carry his own cross, but that is the truth.God knows that not one of his children can carry the cross they take up when following Christ.



We want to be good disciples by denying ourselves and takingup our cross, but we seem to forget that that same cross will one day bring usto the end of our human endurance. Would Jesus purposely ask us to take up across that he knows will sap all our human energies and leave us lyinghelpless, even to the point of giving up? Absolutely yes! Jesus forewarns us,"Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). So he asks us to take up our cross,struggle on with it, until we learn that lesson. Not until our cross pushes us down into the dust do we learn the lesson that it is not by our might or poweror strength, but by his power. That is what the Bible means when it says his strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

ISRAEL AT 62

So many tears
Posted on Tuesday 20 April 2010
Stan Goodenough - Jerusalem Newswire


“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,Because the LORD has anointed MeTo preach good tidings to the poor;He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,To proclaim liberty to the captives,And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,And the day of vengeance of our God;To comfort all who mourn,To console those who mourn in Zion,To give them beauty for ashes,The oil of joy for mourning,The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;That they may be called trees of righteousness,The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)



Almost hidden under waves of red hair, his young eyes smile out from my television screen, bright windows to his irrepressible soul. A brief shadow flickers across his face. Slowly the smile fades, dulling his eyes; straightening his mouth. A questioning look replaces the happiness of a minute before. The camera holds it, holds it, holds it, then gradually fades to grey.



Like the now dark screen, the beautiful light in that life has gone out. His father’s weeping, recorded moments before – deep, wracking sobs – throbs in my memory. Also his mother’s empty eyes as she recalls the piercing words: “Ari is no more.” We have been allowed to see the precious family photographs: the new-born infant suckling at the breast, the toddler taking his first steps, the boy with his gaily painted Purim face, the mischievous teen, the serious scholar, the young man in love, the new recruit with his arms around his IDF buddies. Family and friends share their memories, one after the other breaking down as they get to the part where he fell in the war.



Today is a terribly sad day - Memorial Day in Israel. All day long I have watched the photos of the beautiful young men who fell in defense of this small nation. I listen to their parents; their children, their siblings - - tears flow again and again, and mine fall too. So many tears. So much pain for such a small land.



Wailing sirens across the country marked the start of this national day of anguish at eight-o-clock last night.



In Jerusalem’s Old City, the cameras panned across, and zoomed in on, the ranks of Israel’s bereaved families; filling the public stand in the plaza at the Western Wall. A young woman, widow of the latest soldier to fall, put the flame to the Torch of Remembrance.
Scars of irretrievable loss lie in deep grooves across faces, old and young; red eyes swim, and teeth bite down to steady shaking lips.



President Shimon Peres addressed the mourners, telling them nothing could counterweigh the loss of a loved one.“I am aware that nothing can compensate for the sound of the steps of a son you expect to hear in the staircase and that has suddenly turned silent, the son whose uniform you hung on a hanger in the closet and that generates a yearning to smell the smell of his body one last time. “Facing your tormented eyes - there is a loss of words,” Peres continued.



After the speeches a man who lost his son in Gaza read – with heavily accented Hebrew – the Kaddish – song for the dead. Like the parents of many, he had made Aliyah, immigrating with his children to the promised land of the Jewish people – and added the payment of his son’s life to all the others who have made the supreme sacrifice to secure this nation in its land.
All afternoon, and late into the evening, Israel’s television screens have been filled with tales of tragedy. Photographs and home movies of young men, full of life and fun and promise, are followed by the shared memories of those they have left behind – wives, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons.



For every life lost in defense of the Jews’ right and ability to live in their homeland – tens of people mourn. On Memorial Day that mourning – even when subdued by the, sometimes many, years that have passed – returns in force.


It unites the nation in grief.


“Snap out of it,” I try to deal with my own emotions even as I deliberately immerse myself in Israel’s hurting. “You don’t know any of them.”


I don’t. I know none of the soldiers that have fallen in Israel’s seven wars – and in the between war terror campaign; I know none of the civilians that have been murdered in acts of terror; I know none of the families who – so heartrendingly – play back their memories. But I can’t deflect the piercing points of pain.



The words of Psalm 13, put to music by Brian Doerksen, roll in on my mind:
How long, O Lord, will You forget me? How long, O Lord, will You look the other way? How long, O Lord, must I wrestle with my thoughts ? And every day have such sorrow in my heart? Look on me and answer, O God my Father, Bring light to my darkness before they see me fall. But I trust in Your unfailing love. Yes my heart will rejoice, Still I sing of Your unfailing love; You have been good, You will be good to me.



By tonight this weeping, anguished nation – hated by almost everyone, surrounded by enemies who daily prophecy (falsely!) their national destruction – will be wrung out like a sponge; emotionally spent.



Suddenly, almost brutally, we will transition from the day of mourning to the day of rejoicing as Israel celebrates its 62nd year of independence.



Along with tens of thousands, my family will head downtown to join the throngs on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda Street. Cafes will overflow, lively music and dancing will breathe life back into the heart of the capital, fireworks will light up the sky, also over the jewel of Jerusalem, the Old City, whose golden walls have witnessed so much war, so much sadness and, paradoxically, so much joy.



At the Western Wall, in cemeteries, in schools and other public places today, ceremonies of sadness were concluded with the amazingly sanguine national anthem, Hatikvah (The Hope).
Indeed, concerning His chosen, battered people, God’s word holds so many promises for the future, when:


“Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, Neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; But you shall call your walls Salvation, And your gates Praise.The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory. Your sun shall no longer go down, Nor shall your moon withdraw itself; For the LORD will be your everlasting light, And the days of your mourning shall be ended. Also your people shall all be righteous; They shall inherit the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, And a small one a strong nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time.” (Isaiah 60: 18-22)


Amen.

Fragrance Of Christ - Bob Hoekstra

A Fragrance of Christ to God
by Bob Hoekstra


Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge…For we are to God the fragrance of Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:14-15)
In addition to the characteristic of triumphant living, God also wants to develop in our lives the fragrance of Christ. "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge."



Just as there are physical fragrances that can be noticed by our physical senses, there are also spiritual fragrances that can impact us spiritually. If a woman generously applies perfume to herself, others will certainly notice the fragrance of that perfume. If a person consistently presses on to know the Lord, others will definitely be impacted by the "fragrance of His knowledge." This is described as the "fragrance of Christ." This is that spiritual aroma that emanates from the lives of those who are getting to know the Lord. It is a validating reality that the Lord Jesus Christ is dwelling in their lives and is being evidenced through their lives.



As we are getting to know the Lord more and more, this spiritual aroma of Christ blesses even God Himself. "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ." Yes, God is the first one who savors this Christlike fragrance.



Our ministry and testimony is always primarily unto the Lord. We who believe in Jesus Christ are to be "finding out what is acceptable to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:10). We are not here on earth to please ourselves. "Do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10). We are here to please our God. "Brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God" (1 Thessalonians 4:1).



What ultimately pleases our heavenly Father is His beloved Son. When the Father looked down from heaven at the baptism of His Son, He exclaimed, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). When our Father looks down upon our lives today, He wants to enjoy the fragrance of His Son emanating forth from our lives. "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ."



Heavenly Father, I long to bless You by the fragrance of Christ through my life. I am sorry that the stench of selfish flesh is what sometimes emanates from me. Lord, help me to get to know You more and more, so that the knowledge of You can produce the aroma of Christ in and through me, in Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Call Upon Him!

The LORD is righteous in all of His ways, and holy in all His works.
The LORD is near unto all those that call upon Him;
to all that call upon Him in truth.
He also will hear their cry,
and will save them.
(Psalm 145:17 - 19)


Remember this precious promise. He is near, He hears our cries, He will save us!


It does not say He may save us, He might hear us when we cry,
BUT HE DOES HEAR, HE DOES ANSWER AND HE IS NEAR!



Calling upon Him in truth is the key to our prayers. Admit our shortcoming openly, admit our lack of faith or despair in whatever our situation may be. Bathe your bed in tears and be not ashamed if that is necessary. He is nearer to us as we finally realize that He is the only One who can answer our requests in due season.



Pray without ceasing. We have a Father who has said that the Kingdom of God is within you! Acknowledge this, live it, speak it and thank Him for it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ISRAEL'S BIRTHDAY


Jerusalem Watchman


So many tears


Posted on Tuesday 20 April 2010


“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,Because the LORD has anointed MeTo preach good tidings to the poor;He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,To proclaim liberty to the captives,And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,And the day of vengeance of our God;To comfort all who mourn,To console those who mourn in Zion,To give them beauty for ashes,The oil of joy for mourning,The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;That they may be called trees of righteousness,The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)


Almost hidden under waves of red hair, his young eyes smile out from my television screen, bright windows to his irrepressible soul. A brief shadow flickers across his face. Slowly the smile fades, dulling his eyes; straightening his mouth. A questioning look replaces the happiness of a minute before. The camera holds it, holds it, holds it, then gradually fades to grey.



Like the now dark screen, the beautiful light in that life has gone out. His father’s weeping, recorded moments before – deep, wracking sobs – throbs in my memory. Also his mother’s empty eyes as she recalls the piercing words: “Ari is no more.” We have been allowed to see the precious family photographs: the new-born infant suckling at the breast, the toddler taking his first steps, the boy with his gaily painted Purim face, the mischievous teen, the serious scholar, the young man in love, the new recruit with his arms around his IDF buddies. Family and friends share their memories, one after the other breaking down as they get to the part where he fell in the war.



Today is a terribly sad day - Memorial Day in Israel. All day long I have watched the photos of the beautiful young men who fell in defense of this small nation. I listen to their parents; their children, their siblings - - tears flow again and again, and mine fall too. So many tears. So much pain for such a small land.
Wailing sirens across the country marked the start of this national day of anguish at eight-o-clock last night.



In Jerusalem’s Old City, the cameras panned across, and zoomed in on, the ranks of Israel’s bereaved families; filling the public stand in the plaza at the Western Wall. A young woman, widow of the latest soldier to fall, put the flame to the Torch of Remembrance.



Scars of irretrievable loss lie in deep grooves across faces, old and young; red eyes swim, and teeth bite down to steady shaking lips.



President Shimon Peres addressed the mourners, telling them nothing could counterweigh the loss of a loved one.“I am aware that nothing can compensate for the sound of the steps of a son you expect to hear in the staircase and that has suddenly turned silent, the son whose uniform you hung on a hanger in the closet and that generates a yearning to smell the smell of his body one last time.
“Facing your tormented eyes - there is a loss of words,” Peres continued.
After the speeches a man who lost his son in Gaza read – with heavily accented Hebrew – the Kaddish – song for the dead. Like the parents of many, he had made Aliyah, immigrating with his children to the promised land of the Jewish people – and added the payment of his son’s life to all the others who have made the supreme sacrifice to secure this nation in its land.



All afternoon, and late into the evening, Israel’s television screens have been filled with tales of tragedy. Photographs and home movies of young men, full of life and fun and promise, are followed by the shared memories of those they have left behind – wives, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons.
For every life lost in defense of the Jews’ right and ability to live in their homeland – tens of people mourn. On Memorial Day that mourning – even when subdued by the, sometimes many, years that have passed – returns in force.



It unites the nation in grief.



“Snap out of it,” I try to deal with my own emotions even as I deliberately immerse myself in Israel’s hurting. “You don’t know any of them.”



I don’t. I know none of the soldiers that have fallen in Israel’s seven wars – and in the between war terror campaign; I know none of the civilians that have been murdered in acts of terror; I know none of the families who – so heartrendingly – play back their memories. But I can’t deflect the piercing points of pain.



The words of Psalm 13, put to music by Brian Doerksen, roll in on my mind:
How long, O Lord, will You forget me? How long, O Lord, will You look the other way? How long, O Lord, must I wrestle with my thoughts ? And every day have such sorrow in my heart? Look on me and answer, O God my Father, Bring light to my darkness before they see me fall. But I trust in Your unfailing love. Yes my heart will rejoice, Still I sing of Your unfailing love; You have been good, You will be good to me.



By tonight this weeping, anguished nation – hated by almost everyone, surrounded by enemies who daily prophecy (falsely!) their national destruction – will be wrung out like a sponge; emotionally spent.



Suddenly, almost brutally, we will transition from the day of mourning to the day of rejoicing as Israel celebrates its 62nd year of independence.



Along with tens of thousands, my family will head downtown to join the throngs on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda Street. Cafes will overflow, lively music and dancing will breathe life back into the heart of the capital, fireworks will light up the sky, also over the jewel of Jerusalem, the Old City, whose golden walls have witnessed so much war, so much sadness and, paradoxically, so much joy.



At the Western Wall, in cemeteries, in schools and other public places today, ceremonies of sadness were concluded with the amazingly sanguine national anthem, Hatikvah (The Hope).



Indeed, concerning His chosen, battered people, God’s word holds so many promises for the future, when:



“Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, Neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; But you shall call your walls Salvation, And your gates Praise.The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory. Your sun shall no longer go down, Nor shall your moon withdraw itself; For the LORD will be your everlasting light, And the days of your mourning shall be ended. Also your people shall all be righteous; They shall inherit the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, And a small one a strong nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time.” (Isaiah 60: 18-22)



Amen.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Being Enlarged?

There is a spiritual principle I have missed out on in the past. When I pray and request that I know more of God, that I be blessed with more faith and confidence, do I recognize how God is answering this request?


Psalm 4 gives a snapshot, just one little verse hidden in the 66 books of the Bible. I am sure there are many other verses that deal with this concept of the workings of God in the lives of those who love Him and desire to grow and be strengthened in the pursuit of a life of holiness, but this one verse hit me like a 4 x 4 this morning.


Psalm 4:1 ~
" Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness:
Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress;
have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer."


This infers that when we are in distress we are enlarged. When we are in distress, we grow. When a seed is planted in the ground and we have visions of a beautiful flower or fresh fruit in our garden we tend to forget that that seed has to lay there and the outer shell has to decay over a period of time before the life that is in the seed can germinate and finally grow. Is our life similar? I think so.


In our hard places, as we cry out for deliverance, wisdom and godliness, we are dying to the natural man and its natural desires. The life of the Spirit is becoming more prevalent in the process. As we allow the natural part of our being to die away His life springs forth. Our place in the course of life is enlarged in the spiritual man; as Scripture says, enlarge your tents; stretch out your dwellings.


As we enlarge our spiritual authority matures and we grow more confident in the ways of God in our life. We run to Him for deliverance and comfort. Our spiritual muscle expands and develops for the larger battles we may face. King David says that " God has enlarged us..." he also, most importantly acknowledges that our righteousness is from Him! He hears our prayers. He is faithful in the process. He has mercy upon us as we go through this process.


Verse 4 says to " Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with your own heart upon you bed, and be still. "



Be still in this most important time of growing in the graces and knowledge of God. Be still and know that HE IS GOD~

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Doorkeeper

While at work last evening as I was getting ready to move my truck from the parking lot to the front of the school, an elderly gentleman approached me. I found out that he knew quite a few of the people I remember from my childhood living in Shepherdstown, WV.


He said he was raised Catholic and went to St. Joseph's school in our area. I told him my father was an Assembly of God pastor when I was a child. He said that during his life he had worked for the Atomic Energy Commission and now owned a farm of 180 acres outside of Shepherdstown.


He spoke of the various civic and private organizations to which he belonged and I did the same. He was Knights Of Columbus and I was a 32 degree Mason while living in Maryland around 200 years ago, it seems!! He belonged to the Moose, as did I in my younger years and contributed to charities in the area, as have I.


I felt the Spirit lead me to watch this elderly gentleman in the large side mirror as he seemed to wonder off into years gone by with a far away look in his eyes. He smelled slightly of alcohol, needed a shave, his hair was messed up and he seemed to get confused in conversation.


My break time had long passed but I continued to listen to him talk. He spoke of buying log cabins as a younger man, tearing them down and reselling them at a huge profit to people coming up from the Metro area. A 2,000 dollar cabin sold for 18,000 dollars. Another one traded for two lots on the ocean on a North Carolina barrier island, on which he built an A-Frame home and sold it for over 1 million dollars.


I also, as did he, owned a lot on a barrier island in North Carolina years ago. The lot I purchased for 12,000 dollars were selling for 80 to 100 thousand dollars several years ago.


What was so profound about the encounter with this gentleman were the similarities in our lives. There stood a man that represented what I used to think was a total success in this life. He knew the right people, was at the right spot at the right time, caught all of the right breaks and made bundles of money. His children went to ivy league schools and as far as looking at things from a Capitalist's point of view he had finally reached the American Dream.


But, looking deep into his eyes as he talked I saw a hopelessness, a lostness that all of these things, all of the memberships, all of these friends had not given him. The Holy Spirit brought this man across my path to show me that, after all, I had made the right decisions, because God was with me all of the way.


I thank God that I have had to struggle most of the time even though I had a fantastic income with the US Government. My climb to the top of the ladder cost several marriages and years of travel, stress and tension. I thank God that He has always given me, even when living in rebellion, just what I needed all of the time. I never had much excess to invest or waste. God did not give me what I wanted, and I now thank Him that He did not do that, but He gave me what I needed; always. Even several knocks upside the head from time to time!


The contrast the other evening was profound. Here was a man who was exactly what I had been striving to be; membership in organizations populated with politicians, doctors and lawyers, several millions of dollars once was in my mind, a large farm in a prosperous area of the nation, and time to kill. But here I was now, just a little younger than this man, taking a break from work talking to him for so long that I should have been fired. Here I was, counting the weeks and depending upon my main source of income the first of each month, working as a custodian at a local school.


But! I had the peace of God all during the conversation with this fellow. He needed alcohol, memories and someone, just anyone to talk to. The chance to speak of Christ did not arise. I was waiting for the chance. I know that this encounter was a lesson, a reminder from the LORD that I have made the right decisions in life by coming back to Him and seeking Him. That He has been with me all of the way. That my being at the top of the ladder of success in the past, and now working with the overworked, underpaid and underemployed is also a very important lesson I need to learn in this life.


No matter the encounter, no matter the issues we face, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, whether good or bad, we can know that we know that He is in total control. Like King David said, I would rather be a door keeper in the house of God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.


And as David also said after he had lived most of his life and was looking back at the trials, tribulations, successes and failures, "it has been good for me!"


Have a wonderful Sabbath thinking upon Him!

Friday, April 16, 2010

REDEEMED!

Redeemed ~ to reclaim, to recover, to repossess, to repurchase.


A Redeemer ~ One who redeems!


We are the redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!


Something has been settled before the worlds were ever created. From the endless ages of eternity, God foreordained that there would be a people set apart that were His and His alone. We are those people!


I was reading in the Book of Isaiah chapter 63 that gives a beautiful picture of this process, and it has been a process. In a scene from the heavens and the mind of God, the Prophet sees One that has trodden the wine press alone; there were no people, not one with Him. The nations are trodden in His anger and He tramples them in His fury. All on behalf of His redeemed.


One day soon the nations and all in rebellion against God, even the enemy of our souls who torments us day and night will have their blood sprinkled upon His garments and His raiment will be stained. What Christ says is very important ~


" For the Day of Vengeance is in My heart,
and the year of My Redeemed has come. "


He said He looked and there was none to help in His treading of the wine press. He wondered that there was none to uphold. I feel this is a picture of His hour in the Garden when His followers were saddened in heart and fell asleep in their hour of His great trial. This is also a picture of our day when we are berated from all sides; as the Apostle said, we are cast down but not defeated, persecuted but not giving up...


Our Redeemer is well able to tread His wine press. The Angel's who reap the harvest are even now sharpening their sickles. One day soon, so very soon, the harvest will be taken. Christ will bring down the strength of the earth, the strongholds and principalities and powers that resist His Redeemed.


During this process our spiritual muscles are being worked, developed and our faith grows ever stronger in His ability to do what He said He is going to do. Do not lose heart! He is in total control, especially when things seem to be spinning out of control. For we are the:


REDEEMED
Redeemed how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
redeemed thro' His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.


Redeemed and so happy in Jesus,
No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell.


I think of my blessed Redeemer,
I think of Him all the day long;
I sing, for I cannot be silent;
His love is the theme of my song.


I know I shall see in His beauty
The King in whose law I delight;
Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps,
And giveth me songs in the night.


REDEEMED, REDEEMED,
REDEEMED BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB;
REDEEMED, REDEEMED,
HIS CHILD AND FOREVER , I AM.
( Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915) ( William J. Kirkpatrick, 1838-1921)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Listening To Who?

Something has been going through my mind for several days in regard to unanswered prayers. I have been taking several issues to God asking for His grace and deliverance and nothing "seems" to be happening. But something is happening. Here is where I am thus far on this very important issue.


The enemy says that "God does not hear you... or " He is tired of hearing you" on these matters. I stop myself and think of His promises that He gives all Believers; the promise that He knows what we have need of before we even realize we need it. Before we can voice a request, He knows. I know that I know that delayed prayers are not unanswered prayers.


I am at a special stage in my personal spiritual development, after praying that God increase my faith, I want to be a man of faith. We know that faith comes by hearing and that hearing is from the words and promises of God; who He is, how He works, and what HIS desires are for His children. I feel His main desire is to have a pure and clean Bride for His Son when He returns. And that we be changed, ever so slowly, it seems to us, into the very image of Christ. It is a long, drawn out process.


As the Apostle Paul advises us, there are many voices in the world we live in; there are none without significance. All mean and come from somewhere; some are our own thoughts, some from the enemy of our souls, some from friends and some from the Holy Spirit as He deals with us to show us the way.


For the past several days this thought has been reoccurring in my mind ~
I have no trouble believing that if I were cursing God or berating Him for unanswered prayers that He would hear me immediately. If I were to become totally desperate and unbelieving, I would have no problem at all condemning myself and I would be assured that God heard me.


Why am I so confident on the negative aspects of life and faith? Is it just the nature of the natural man having control? Where is the man of great faith I wish to become? What I think the Spirit is trying to teach me is that just as I have no trouble at all believing that God hears the negative, and He does, I can have just as much confidence that He especially hears my requests, my praises, my glorifying Him in the midst of the fires, tests and trials.


He hears ALL! Keep praising Him! Keep asking Him! Never give us; no matter how things look in the natural, He hears, He answers, He is working on each and every one of us both as a Body and as individuals.



Sunday, April 11, 2010

TIME TO PREPARE

'CORRIE TEN BOOM AND THE RAPTURE'.- (This is from a letter Corrie wrote in 1974)


"The world is deathly ill. It is dying. The Great Physician has already signed the death certificate. Yet there is still a great work for Christians to do. They are to be streams of living water, channels of mercy to those who are still in the world. It is possible for them to do this because they are overcomers.



Christians are ambassadors for Christ. They are representatives from Heaven to this dying world. And because of our presence here, things will change.



My sister, Betsy, and I were in the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck because we committed the crime of loving Jews. Seven hundred of us from Holland, France, Russia, Poland and Belgium were herded into a room built for two hundred. As far as I knew, Betsy and I were the only two representatives of Heaven in that room.
We may have been the Lord's only representatives in that place of hatred, yet because of our presence there, things changed. Jesus said, "In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." We too, are to be overcomers – bringing the light of Jesus into a world filled with darkness and hate.



Sometimes I get frightened as I read the Bible, and as I look in this world and see all of the tribulation and persecution promised by the Bible coming true. Now I can tell you, though, if you too are afraid, that I have just read the last pages. I can now come to shouting "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" for I have found where it is written that Jesus said,



"He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be His God, and he shall be My son." This is the future and hope of this world. Not that the world will survive – but that we shall be overcomers in the midst of a dying world.



Betsy and I, in the concentration camp, prayed that God would heal Betsy who was so weak and sick."Yes, the Lord will heal me,", Betsy said with confidence. She died the next day and I could not understand it. They laid her thin body on the concrete floor along with all the other corpses of the women who died that day.



It was hard for me to understand, to believe that God had a purpose for all that. Yet because of Betsy's death, today I am traveling all over the world telling people about Jesus.



There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution.



In China, the Christians were told, "Don't worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured." Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly,
"We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution, rather than telling them Jesus would come first.Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes, – to stand and not faint." I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it.We are next.



Since I have already gone through prison for Jesus' sake, and since I met the Bishop in China, now every time I read a good Bible text I think, "Hey, I can use that in the time of tribulation." Then I write it down and learn it by heart.



When I was in the concentration camp, a camp where only twenty percent of the women came out alive, we tried to cheer each other up by saying, "Nothing could be any worse than today." But we would find the next day was even worse. During this time a Bible verse that I had committed to memory gave me great hope and joy.
"If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you;on their part evil is spoken of,but on your part He is glorified." (I Peter 3:14) I found myself saying, "Hallelujah! Because I am suffering, Jesus is glorified!"



In America, the churches sing, "Let the congregation escape tribulation", but in China and Africa the tribulation has already arrived. This last year alone more than two hundred thousand Christians were martyred in Africa. Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations. But I know. I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners. Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation.



Several years ago I was in Africa in a nation where a new government had come into power. The first night I was there some of the Christians were commanded to come to the police station to register. When they arrived they were arrested and that same night they were executed. The next day the same thing happened with other Christians. The third day it was the same. All the Christians in the district were being systematically murdered.



The fourth day I was to speak in a little church. The people came, but they were filled with fear and tension. All during the service they were looking at each other, their eyes asking, "Will this one I am sitting beside be the next one killed? Will I be the next one?"



The room was hot and stuffy with insects that came through the screenless windows and swirled around the naked bulbs over the bare wooden benches. I told them a story out of my childhood.



"When I was a little girl, " I said, "I went to my father and said, "Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ." "Tell me," said Father, "When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?"



"No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train."
"That is right," my father said, "and so it is with God's strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need – just in time…"



My African friends were nodding and smiling. Suddenly a spirit of joy descended upon that church and the people began singing,

" In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore." Later that week, half the congregation of that church was executed. I heard later that the other half was killed some months ago.



But I must tell you something. I was so happy that the Lord used me to encourage these people, for unlike many of their leaders, I had the word of God. I had been to the Bible and discovered that Jesus said He had not only overcome the world, but to all those who remained faithful to the end, He would give a crown of life.
How can we get ready for the persecution?



First we need to feed on the Word of God, digest it, make it a part of our being. This will mean disciplined Bible study each day as we not only memorize long passages of scripture, but put the principles to work in our lives.



Next we need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not just the Jesus of yesterday, the Jesus of History, but the life-changing Jesus of today who is still alive and sitting at the right hand of God.



We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is no optional command of the Bible, it is absolutely necessary. Those earthly disciples could never have stood up under the persecution of the Jews and Romans had they not waited for Pentecost. Each of us needs our own personal Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We will never be able to stand in the tribulation without it.



In the coming persecution we must be ready to help each other and encourage each other. But we must not wait until the tribulation comes before starting. The fruit of the Spirit should be the dominant force of every Christian's life.



Many are fearful of the coming tribulation, they want to run. I, too, am a little bit afraid when I think that after all my eighty years, including the horrible Nazi concentration camp, that I might have to go through the tribulation also. But then I read the Bible and I am glad.



When I am weak, then I shall be strong, the Bible says. Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord, we were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us. That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through. No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes. Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you. For seventy-six years I have known the Lord Jesus and not once has He ever left me, or let me down.
"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him", (Job 13:15) for I know that to all who overcome, He shall give the crown of life. Hallelujah!"


- Corrie Ten Boom - 1974

Why The Holocaust? Asher Intrater

Why the Holocaust?
©April11, 2010 Asher Intrater


This Monday (April 12) marks Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. When sharing the gospel with our people, we often encounter the objection: "I can't believe in God because of the Holocaust."


Here is a brief survey of the biblical answers to this question:


Universal Sin – God created the world perfect. Evil in the world began and continues because of mankind's sin and refusal to obey (Genesis 3). It is not God who is to blame for suffering in the world but human beings. Yeshua gave the example that the people who were murdered by Pilate were not greater sinners than others, but that all people need to repent (Luke 13:1-5). People are not primarily "good" and progressively evolving into a better moral state. All people have sinned. The Holocaust is a great proof of the biblical view that mankind are sinners in need of repentance and grace.



Jewish Sin – Amazingly, the events of the Holocaust were predicted as far back as the Law of Moses. Leviticus 26:33, 38 and Deuteronomy 28:63-64 speak of the exile and horrible suffering of the Jewish people as a punishment of our sin.



Gentile Sin – While the exile and suffering of the Jews are seen as a punishment from God, much of what happened in the Holocaust and many other cases of anti-Semitism were NOT what God decreed. God dispersed us into the Gentile nations because of our sin; but how the Gentiles treated us was their sin. Zechariah 1:15 – I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry, and they helped – but with evil intent. God is angrier with the Gentile nations for their anti-Semitism than He was with the Jewish people for their sins that caused the exile in the first place.



Replacement Theology – Romans 11 states that there is a continuing destiny for the Jews as the chosen people. This was denied both by the Catholic church in the Middle Ages and by Luther in the Reformation. The denial of the chosenness of the Jewish people in Christian theology allowed for anti-Semitism to be justified in Christian nations. Although most true Christians reject anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism today, the errors of replacement theology allowed for many Christians to remain silent during the Holocaust and some even to be active in Nazism.



Rejecting Messiah – The coming of Messiah was meant to be a blessing for Israel and the nations. Our rejection of Yeshua turned much of that blessing into a curse. Luke 19:44 – Your enemies will level you to the ground and destroy your children within you… because you did not know the time of your visitation. We in effect cursed ourselves (Matthew 27:25).



Rejecting Zionism by Rabbis – The first Aliyah (immigration wave) of modern Zionism began in 1881, almost 60 years before the Holocaust. I believe God was calling Jewish people to leave areas of danger in Europe to travel either to America or to Israel. Those who listened were saved. Tragically, the rabbinic leadership in Eastern Europe radically opposed Zionism as false messianism, and told the people not to follow them. As a result, multitudes of religious were left to be slaughtered.



Rejecting Zionism by Humanists – Theodore Herzl began his preaching for a Jewish State in 1897 after witnessing anti-Semitism in the case of Captain Alfred Dreyfus. Many liberal Jews in Western Europe could have been saved from the horrors of the Holocaust had they also moved to America or Israel. They stayed because of the illusion of affluence and the lies of liberal secular humanism, which denied the danger at hand. Today as well, "political correctness" stands in opposition to the basic defense of the Jewish state from the threat of a modern day Holocaust at the hands of Islamic Jihad.



Suffering of the Righteous – In all generations the righteous suffer. To the degree that a society has values of integrity, the righteous will be rewarded. To the degree that a society has lost its moral values, the righteous suffer. II Timothy 3:12 – All who desire to live godly in Messiah Yeshua will suffer persecution. The righteous have suffered from the time of Cain and Abel, to the prophets and patriarchs of Israel, to Christians in the Muslim world today. Communist China under Mao massacred many more people than the Nazis. The Turks murdered multitudes in the Armenian "Holocaust."



Suffering of the Chosen People – There is a mysterious parallel between the crucifixion of Yeshua as Messiah and the suffering of the Jews as the chosen people. Although our people rejected Yeshua because of sin, the revelation was also partially "hidden from your eyes" – Luke 19:42. The exile was not only a punishment; there was a divine purpose to allow "salvation to come to the Gentiles" – Romans 11:11. The exile and suffering of the Jewish people has redemptive aspects for the Gentiles. This is parallel to the suffering of missionaries and evangelists as they present the gospel (Colossians 1:24).



Satan against the Second Coming – After the sin of Adam and Eve, God promised to bring a "seed" who would destroy Satan (Genesis 3:15). That seed was Yeshua. He was to come through Abraham's descendants (Genesis 22:18). Therefore satanic forces (like Pharaoh, Haman, and Herod) have always tried to kill the Jewish people. These attacks against the Jewish people might have ended when Yeshua was born.



However Yeshua extended the promise to include the Second Coming as well as the First. Matthew 23:39 – You will see Me no more until you say, "Blessed is He who comes…" The Holocaust and Islamic Jihad are satanic attempts to prevent the Jewish people from fulfilling their end time destiny of bringing the Messiah back into the world (at which time the devil will be incarcerated [Revelation 20:2]).

David's Prayer Life

I would like to pass along a few thoughts from Matthew Henry regarding the prayer life of King David; a man who is described as being after God's own heart ~


* Neither the crown on David's head nor the grace in his heart would exempt David from trouble (the same for us)


* Even the greatest men and women must be much in prayer.


* David, though a man of business, a man of war, was constant to his devotions.


* Though David had prophets and priests and many good people among his subjects to pray for him, he did not think that excused him from praying for himself.


* The Name of the LORD is a strong tower,
into which the righteous run (by faith) and are safe. ( Proverbs 18:10)


* David enabled to shelter himself in that strong tower many times in his life.


AND SO MUST WE!

Have a great week thinking upon Him.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Israel's Enemies

The United States is treading on dangerous ground. We have no idea what awaits us if we keep pressuring Israel to give back land God has given to the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. No matter the reason, there is no excuse for the actions of our once great nation. We will fall into the dust bin of history as have all nations who have opposed God's preordained purpose for Israel.


Those who resist Him will be cut to pieces. There is no way to sugar coat the issue. There is no gray area in that regard. Only black and white, good and evil, success or utter failure.


Psalm 21 says that the hand of God will find all of His enemies. His right hand will expose all who hate Him. How much more can you exhibit hate than to go against someones expressed will. That is exactly what the United States of America is doing.


If we do not change course quickly, God will make us as a fiery oven in the time of His anger; and it is very close. He will swallow us up, in total, in His wrath and His fire will devour us.


Our fruit will He destroy from the earth and our seed from among the children of men. We have intended evil against Him and Israel and are imagining mischievous devices which in the end we will not be able to perform.


He will turn our back as His arrows go against our face.



But for those who believe in our God and His words, we must be steadfast in our knowledge and it must become a part of our very DNA that He is exalted. He is awesome. He is strong and we will forever sing and praise His power on behalf of those who acknowledge Who He is, how He works and His ability to protect and love those who are His.

Waxing Long

In the last chapter of Jeremiah it speaks of Judah's king Jehoiachin who was in bondage as a captive of Nebuchadrezzar. This heathen king had a son who replaced him on the throne after his death. The new heathen king Evil-merodach, king of Babylon must have grown fond of the captive King of Judah during his childhood.


Upon his rise to power after his father's death, he immediately replaced the captivity of Judah's King Jehoiachin with robes and he became again familiar with the sweetness of liberty. He was also given a position above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon. He continually ate bread before the king of Babylon; every day a portion until the day of his own death.


This is a picture of the relationship between King Saul's son Johnathan and David in the book of Kings. Although David was hated by Saul, the son of the king was closer to David than a brother. It broke David's heart when Johnathan died.


No matter how long we have been in captivity in an area of our life, whether it be sickness, doubts that assail us from time to time, fear, debt or wondering if God even hears our prayers; rest assured, everything, like the captivity of the king of Judah, lasts only for a season. Sometimes the seasons wax long, but do not lose heart, on one special day, joy will come in the morning.


Always, where there is life, there is hope. Let those of us whose afflictions have been lengthened encourage ourselves with this fact; the vision will at long last speak comfortably. So we must be ever patient and sure of our standing as children of the living God.


He has not, nor will He ever forget us. He holds us in the palm of His hands. Our names are engraved in the palm of His hands.


Like this king of the days of old, those who treated us unkindly will suddenly without explanation change course. What has imprisoned us will suddenly set us free. Our times are in God's hands. Let us continue to learn from our experiences. Those who follow us will need the wisdom of those who have traveled life's road. It is not in vain that we await the salvation of the LORD.


Our great confidence is in CHRIST!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Word From Jerusalem-Asher Instrater

Chechnyan Terror
©April 4, 2010 Asher Intrater

Last Monday at 7:55 AM, a female suicide bomber blew herself up in the Lubyanka station of the Moscow metro. At 8:30 another suicide bomber blew herself up in the Culture Park station. In all 39 were murdered, and 100 hospitalized.

Most media reports described the terrorists as Chechnyan rebels. That is true, yet not true. In the 1990's the Chechnyan nationalist movement was taken over by Muslim extremists. The "politically correct" journalists are trying to downplay the fact that this terrorist attack was less "nationalist" and more "jihadist" and "Islamic."
Dimitri Prokopev (reporting for Maariv) wrote that the Chechnyan Jihadists have become exporters of terror throughout central Asia. Ninety percent of Chechnyan terror is being directed not to Moscow, but to Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkariah, and within Chechnya itself. Their goal is to set up an Islamic Emirate.
Doko Omarov, the leader of this terror ring and known as the Bin Laden of Chechnya, published a video clip the day after the bombing, stating, "On March 29 two special operations were performed in order to wipe out the infidels." Another of their leaders, Sayid Maburiatiah, wrote recently, "The days have passed in which we are fighting for the word, 'freedom.' Now we are fighting for Allah."

Russian President Medyevdev declared that Russia will "wage all out war against the terrorists until every last one is destroyed." Prime Minister Putin was less polite. (Note: Comparing the international pressure on Israel, perhaps we should propose to Russia to stop building homes in the Moscow suburbs, and to make peace by "painful" concessions to terrorist demands.)
Passover in Jerusalem

On the Sabbath before Passover, we preach on the crucifixion of Yeshua (Jesus), and on the Sabbath right after Passover we preach on the resurrection. I feel the joy in the heart of God to know that after 2,000 years, Messiah is again being proclaimed in Jerusalem, in Hebrew, in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, from Jews to fellow Jews.
Acts 2:14

Peter stood up with the eleven, raised his voice and spoke to them: "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, know this and listen to my words."

Acts 4:33
The apostles gave witness in great power about the resurrection of the Lord Yeshua, and great grace was on all the people.

Our people are more open to the good news of eternal life than ever before. The witness of Yeshua's death and resurrection is being shared throughout Israel with love and truth.

Resurrection Service
On Saturday afternoon, we gathered for the joint Resurrection service at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. Several hundred were in attendance, including international guests, Arab Christians, and Messianic Jews. The service was led by Arab Christians
from the Jerusalem area.

We celebrated the resurrection of Yeshua while standing in front of the open tomb. (We don't know for sure if this is the exact location, but it is the most probable one according to research. The ancient stone tomb with the open door is strikingly similar to the description in the New Covenant scriptures.)

Most of the worship and sharing was in Arabic. Chaim W. led us in a praise song in Hebrew and Oded S. taught some scriptures in Hebrew. The fellowship was real, honest, and loving. Even though Palestinian Arab Christians and Israeli Messianic Jews often have opposing opinions on political issues, we put those differences aside to celebrate our unity in Spirit and faith.

Passover and the Song of Solomon


Rabbinic tradition holds that Solomon wrote the Song of Songs during Passover. Because of that, the Song of Songs is read aloud in synagogues in Israel throughout the Passover season.

Medieval Bible expositor, Rashi, quotes the predominant Jewish view that the Song of Solomon is referring to the love between God and the people of Israel. This view is parallel to the historic Christian interpretation that the Song of Solomon refers to the love between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32). So who is correct?

The Hebraic concept of "Kehilah" would include both the Jewish idea of Israel and the Christian idea of the Church. The international Church and the remnant of Israel are two "overlapping" camps. They are parallel and united, but distinctive.
The Body of Messiah can be seen as two camps, or as a double camp.

Song of Songs 6:13
What do you see in the Shulamite? She is like the dance of the double camp.
Yeshua loves both Israel and the Church. He has great desire for both. When we put those two together, His love is so passionate, that it can only be compared to the passionate love of a man for his bride. Can you feel it?

Song of Songs 7:10
I am my beloved's and His desire is for me.
Today a true spiritual bride is in love and purity. We have love for Yeshua in worship and adoration. It is a spiritual version of a bride's love for her groom. There is beauty and pleasure in our submission to His Lordship

Isaiah 33:17 – Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will see the land that is far off.

Another theme of the Song of Solomon is the Land. The love of the bride and groom; and the love of Messiah, the Church, and Israel are both compared to natural aspects of Israeli landscape and wildlife. While foreign to most Christians, the passionate love for the land of Israel is well-known in both Jewish and Zionist thought.

The people of Israel are described in the Bible as being "married" to the land of Israel. (Isaiah 62:4 – Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you will be called Desirable and your land Married; For the Lord delights in you and your land shall be married.) The Song of Solomon speaks of the love of a man and woman, of Christ and the Church, and compares both to the land of Israel.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Shadow At Noonday

There is a beautiful picture painted in the Book of Isaiah that speaks of a shadow. In Chapter 16:3, as Moab is falling under severe judgment because of sin, Isaiah pleads with the Moabites (descendants of Lot) to go to Judah for comfort in their hour of great trial. He pleads with Moab to say to Judah ~


" ...make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday..."


When the heat of the day is at its zenith, the fire of the sun burns brightest, like a shadow of the night, we can also seek protection and shade. The Psalmist says in chapter 36 verse 7 " Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings."


I remember when I worked for Parks and Recreation in Currituck County in North Carolina. It is a coastal county and their was very little, if any grass; just white sand. In the summer when it was in the mid 90's the sand would reflect the intense sunshine, around midday and it was so unbearable that I would seek the shelter, the shadow of a small wooded area adjacent to the park. The difference of the temperature had to be 20 degrees. Very bearable and comfortable.


It was still as hot as blazes in the park, the reflection of the heat of the sun made the sand look like the sun itself in places; but under the shadow of the pine trees and bushes, I was isolated, comfortable and protected from the heat.


As Believers living in a world that is racing toward the severe judgments of God, we, like the Psalmist of old have a shadow under which to hide. The shadow of the wings of the Most High God. There is safety, protection and coolness in His presence. The world is falling under the intense heat from the heavens, for our God is a consuming fire, but His wings offer shelter for those who love and know Him.


We can pray daily, " Keep me as the apple of the eye,
hide me under the shadow of Thy wings,
From the wicked that oppress me,
from my deadly enemies who encompass me about." (Psalm 17:8,9)



We have a hiding place.
Run to Him when he heat is to intense.
He is our hiding place;
in Him there is peace and safety.

Passover & Crucifiction-Asher Instrater

Passover and the Crucifixion - ©March 28, 2010 Asher Intrater


Over 3,000 years ago God first created a people for Himself at the exodus from Egypt. The number of people who crossed the Red Sea was over 3 million, and included Jews and Egyptians, believers and unbelievers. Until that time, God had a family and a group of tribes, but not a full people group.


What gave them the right to be delivered was the sacrifice of the Passover lamb. They actually passed through the blood on the lintel and door posts as they exited (Exodus 12:22-23). When they began their travels in the wilderness, they were told to do sacrifices over and over again. Their whole existence centered around the idea of blood sacrifice, although they were not given the full meaning as to why.


For us as Messianic believers, the importance of the blood sacrifice is central to our existence to the same degree that it was for our people delivered from Egypt. The difference is that we have the meaning of the sacrifice: not blind obedience to slaughter animal sacrifices, but the fact that God so loves us that He would sacrifice His son, the Messiah, for us. The truth of God's sacrificial love is what sets us free forever (John 8:32).


It is not a coincidence that Yeshua (Jesus) was crucified during Passover. The Passover was pre-planned and pre-determined by God with the sacrifice of Messiah in mind. The Passover set the stage for the great act of Messiah's death and resurrection. Yeshua came into the world for just that purpose (John 12:27). The Passover and the Crucifixion are the same pre-destined event.


The blood on the doorposts and lintel formed the sign of a cross. The door is a cross, and the cross is a door. We pass through Yeshua's crucifixion the same way our forefathers passed through the door with the blood. Through the cross of Messiah, God again created a people for Himself, just as He did at the exodus. We go out into freedom from sin and satan, from death and destruction.


Please pray for the many Messianic Jews in Israel who will be with their families during the Passover seder. May our people see not only the tradition of Matsoh and bitter herbs, but the truth of Messiah and His suffering! Please pray for the joint Messianic Jewish/Arab Christian celebration of the resurrection, this Saturday, at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem.
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Congressional Support for Israel


This week in Washington, 327 Congressmen (3/4's of the entire House) signed a letter expressing their support of Israel. Here is a major part of the letter:


The United States and Israel are close allies whose people share a deep and abiding friendship based on a shared commitment to core values including democracy, human rights and freedom of the press and religion. Our two countries are partners in the fight against terrorism and share an important strategic relationship.


A strong Israel is an asset to the national security of the United States and brings stability to the Middle East. We are concerned that the highly publicized tensions in the relationship will not advance the interests the U.S. and Israel share.


It is the very strength of this relationship that has, in fact, made Arab-Israeli peace agreements possible, both because it convinced those who sought Israel's destruction to abandon any such hope and because it gave successive Israeli governments the confidence to take calculated risks for peace.


In its declaration of independence 62 years ago, Israel declared: "We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land."


In the decades since, despite constantly having to defend itself from attack, Israel has repeatedly made good on that pledge by offering to undertake painful risks to reach peace with its neighbors.


As the Vice-President said during his recent visit to Israel: "Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the U.S. and Israel when it comes to security, none. No space."


We recognize that, despite the extraordinary closeness between our country and Israel, there will be differences over issues both large and small. Our view is that such differences are best resolved quietly, in trust and confidence, as befits longstanding strategic allies.


We believe, as President Obama said, that "Israel's security is paramount" in our Middle East policy and that "it is in U.S. national security interests to assure that Israel's security as an independent Jewish state is maintained."


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Messiah in Tel Aviv


In the last few weeks there have been a series of full-page advertisements in Israeli newspapers by a self-proclaimed "Mashiach" in Tel Aviv. The writer not only refers to himself as Messiah, but speaks on behalf of God in the first person. He claims that the Netanyahu government will be the last; and that the next government will be his – that is, the government of the Messiah.


He claims that the war of Gog and Magog is imminent and that all the nations are already organizing for a massive attack against Israel. He quotes many scriptures, particularly of the Hebrew prophets. He also claims that the only way to escape destruction is to obey all the rabbinic tradition and to believe that he is the Messiah.

Matthew 24:24

For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and do great signs and wonders in order to deceive, if possible, even the elect.


While this man has no apparent following, his prophecies of wrath appear at a time when we do see many nations uniting to condemn Israel, and even tensions between the Obama administration and Israel. In the years to come there will be a growing phenomenon of self-proclaimed messiahs appearing in Israel. As we see end times' prophecies being fulfilled, the expectation of a coming messiah will grow to a fervor.