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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

First and Foremost-His Name

In the deliverance of the Children of Israel from Egypt, God said that He was going to make Himself a Name among the nations. For forty years He led His rebellious people, except for a few, through the Wilderness. This deliverance is still celebrated today worldwide. He caused the enemy army to be swallowed up by the sea. He fed His children in the wilderness, even when they were in rebellion. Their clothes did not wear out and their shoes were as sound as when they put them on!

He led them by a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day. He sustained them with water from a rock (a hard place) and manna (Angel Food) fell from heaven. It is as if Israel was carried on eagle's wings during their journey.

God came down from heaven and gave the Ten Commandments; laws of society and governance that are still used by civilized nations today.

His Name is who He is. It is first and foremost in all things. By His Name He promised that the seed of Abraham would inherit the Land of Israel. It does not matter that the nations rage and try to divide Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria; in fact it makes His promises all the more exciting!

He is again making for Himself a Name in this last generation. Which side will we fall on? Those who believe what God says, as did Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb, or the millions who had doubt in their heart? The choice is ours. God will not make the decision for us. It is our responsibility to decide.

God has also made precious promises to His Children today. They are listed all throughout His word. He will never leave us or forsake us; He hears every prayer and bottles every tear we shed. When we are in a hard place, and we will be quite often because we live in a world in captivity to sin and rebellion, He is our strong tower and place of refuge from the storms of life.

We can also expect and marvel at His great deliverance on our behalf. He controls all! He created all! As the mighty, powerful armies of the Egyptians roar behind us and we are faced with a sea before us and mountains surrounding us, expect deliverance! It is exciting to see how He does it. Look forward in anticipation for Him to act; no matter how difficult life becomes at times.

On Christ's robe when He returns it is written "Faithful and True". His Name depends upon this.

We are safe and secure in Him. Just like Israel surrounded by wilderness, bitter waters, snakes and scorpions, as we travel through this world for a short season, for we are only pilgrims passing through, He sustains us. Water from hard places, manna from Heaven comes from His written word and promises, and His Spirit indwelling all Believers assuring us that we are in His care and He is always with us.

All who come to God, He will in no wise cast out. The LORD will preserve us where ever we go. By prayer we should commit our self to God with our heart fixed and resting easy in His promise of deliverance.

He has an excellent track record in deliverance! He is not going to stop now! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

International Church - Asher Intrater

International Church

Asher Intrater
There is a progression of the idea of the international church from the beginning of the New Testament to the end, from Matthew to Revelation. Likewise there is a development of the church from the first century until today. Yeshua started the church in Matthew 16:18 when He said to Peter, “On this rock I will build My church.” He was not referring to a building or a denomination, but to a group of people who are defined by the common element of true faith in Yeshua.

The Greek word here is ekklesia, meaning those who are called out. In every nation the majority does not believe in Yeshua; yet there is a minority who do. They are the called and chosen remnant within the nation. The remnants of faith in all the nations together compose the international ekklesia.

In John 17 right before the crucifixion, Yeshua prayed His great prayer for the ekklesia: to have union with God, unity with one another, authority, glory, love, holiness, and ability to evangelize the world. This prayer set the ekklesia in motion, but was only partially understood by the disciples at that time.

In Ephesians 1:20 the apostle Paul described the ekklesia as Yeshua's governing body over the authorities of this world; in Ephesians 2:7 as vessels receiving God's abundant grace and blessing; in Ephesians 2:12 the partnership between Jews and Gentiles, and the joining of the Gentiles into the commonwealth of Israel; in Ephesians 2:20 as the dwelling place of God; in Ephesians 3:10 as instruments to display God's power to angels and demons; in Ephesians 4:16 as the body of Messiah in unity, and in Ephesians 5:27 as His bride in intimacy.

The final description of the international ekklesia is found in Revelation. This fullness of the ekklesia takes place in the end times. The revelation of the church is progressing even unto today. The ekklesia has two parts: a smaller part with the remnant of Israel and the larger part with the remnants of all the other nations.

Revelation 7:4 – the number of those who were sealed, 144,000 from all the tribes of the children of Israel

Revelation 7:9 – a great multitude that no man could count from every nation, tribe, people and tongue

This is the masterpiece artwork of God. He is creating, not a painting or an object, but a group of people. It is like an orchestra with Yeshua as conductor. The harmony of the different types of people gives the beauty. Each people are different in their gifting, culture, and abilities, yet all united in harmony in one spirit. The beauty is found in the diversity with unity. A rainbow would not be beautiful if it were all one color; nor would it be beautiful if all the colors were clashing.

Every nation has its own strengths and weaknesses. When the ekklesia of the nation uses those gifts for the Lord, there is holiness and power. When those same gifts are used for selfish motives, the result is worldliness and sin. In the John 17 prayer, Yeshua called for separation from the “world” more than any other element (John 17:6, 9, 11-13, 14, 15, 16-19).

For example, the Brazilian church has a gift of love, affection, fun, fellowship, music, etc. When the rest of the nation uses those gifts for the world, then the result is the “Carnival” - the world's great celebration of the flesh. The South Korean church has a gift of discipline, zeal, respect for order, prayer, missions, etc. When those gifts are used the wrong way, the result is some of the worst religious cults in the world. Similar examples could be given for every nation.

The international ekklesia in Revelation 7 is described with each nation having its own language and national-ethnic identity, yet worshipping together. For example, when Israeli Messianic Jews and Palestinian Arab Christians share communion together, we are very appreciative of one another's cultural differences, yet celebrate our unity together in the spirit. Since the world is round and rotates, today there is praise and worship rising before the throne of God at every hour of the day, in every location in the world, and in every language and people group.

In the end times, there will be a significant role for the Messianic remnant of Israel, as described in this passage. Not only will this remnant be restored to the way it was in the first century, there will also be a full partnership between the Israeli remnant and the International ekklesia. In Revelation 12:1 the Israeli remnant/International ekklesia is described as a glorified woman, clothed with the sun, with a crown of 12 stars on her head. This prophetic picture is starting to be fulfilled in our day.

Made New

How magnificent is the love of the LORD? Jeremiah 31 gives us insight of the depth of His great compassion's toward us; even after rebellion and running from Him and the life He wants us to live.

" The LORD both appeared of old unto me, saying, 'Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving kindness have I drawn thee..." He has never given up on us; even to our last breath the Holy Spirit draws us to the Presence of the Father. I have seen this over the years. People who lived in total rebellion have been, even on their death bed, drawn to God by His mercy. He is still ready to forgive and pardon. Such mercy and grace! It is beyond my comprehension.

God still says, " I have heard you bemoaning yourself, saying, God has chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bull unaccustomed to the yoke; Turn Thou me and I shall be turned; for Thou art the LORD my God."

It is as if some of us reach a point in our rebellion that we cannot turn ourselves in repentance. A heart cry goes out from our inner most being for God to turn us; for God to force us to come to Him. This is mercy! I feel it may be a remembrance of the prayers of others on our behalf that He shows great mercies.

" Surely, after I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh;" It is as if we are awakened from a spiritual stupor when we realize how rebellious and lost we really were! " I was ashamed, yea, even confounded because I did bear the reproach of my youth."

God seems to cry out, "Are you My dear son? Are you a pleasant child? for since I spoke against you, I do earnestly remember you still: therefore My bowels are troubled for him- I will surely have mercy upon you, saith the LORD."

We finally realize, "For the LORD has redeemed me! He redeemed me from the hand of those who were stronger that me. Therefore I will come and sing in the height of Zion (His Holy Hill), I will flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, for wine, for oil and for the young of the flock of the herd;" (my needs will be satisfied in Him).
"My soul shall be as a watered garden ;and I will not sorrow any more at all."

After we repent and return, Jeremiah 17:18 says, " For we will be like a tree planted by the waters that spread out our roots by the river and we will not see when the heat comes, but our leaf shall be green. We will not worry in the year of drought nor will we ever cease to bear fruit."

Ezekiel also gives an excellent picture, "And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD have brought down the high tree (all who rise up against us), I, the LORD have exalted the low tree, I have dried up the green tree and have made the dry tree to flourish; I the LORD have spoken and done this." (17:24)

"I the LORD will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that you will no more receive the reproach of famine among the heathen (the unbelieving). 

In His great mercies, He will restore, renew and reinvigorate what we thought to be long dead and hopeless. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the grave will renew our mortal bodies to live anew in Him.

What a mighty, forgiving, and renewing God we serve.

Redeem The Time

This has been an interesting week from a spiritual perspective. I spent some time with the elderly (91) former Pastor. He was standing on his front porch when I arrived reading the local newspaper and wondering why his wife of 65 years was not in the obituary column. She died over 4 years ago. I tried to explain the the dear Brother that he performed the services for his wife; yet, he did not comprehend what I was saying. He has been calling his neighbors to see if his wife was at their house.

He is in and out of reality. He can pray effectively, very effectively concerning matters of the heart; both his and my heart. It is difficult to understand this turn of events in the natural mind but I am getting a sense of what is going on from a spiritual perspective. Christ instructed us to work while it is yet day; for the nighttime comes when no one can work. This dear Pastor has entered into, or is on the verge of the nighttime from a natural perspective. What he has done in his life up to this point is written in the heavens; awaiting the day of accounting each of us will face.

What am I doing with the remaining days of light I am enjoying? This dear Brother is secure in his salvation; this is not an issue with him. He has been, and still is strong soldier of the cross of Christ. It is as if I am being taught as an observer to be vigilant in my walk with God; right now. The works this Pastor did, and they were good works with good fruit, in reality were not of him; God gives the increase of everything we do. Whether the work we did yields good fruit or dry fruit is whether it was done in the Name of Christ or for our own benefit.

In this context, at work this week, I met a substitute custodian who was filling in for the evening for a regular employee that was on sick leave. This poor fellow had a down cast spirit about him, has long hair and needs serious dental work. From what I have seen and heard he is avoided by most of the other crew. I have seen him before but was so busy that I never took the time to speak with him, other that a "hello". This evening was to be different.

We started to talk to one another in our office and I was dumbfounded by what he was saying. He is pushing 60 years of age and was fired as a heavy equipment operator for a major company in our area. The owner's son had just taken over the business and fired all of the elder employees. After 27 years of faithful employment he was out of a job. He drew as much unemployment as he could and is now working as a part time Custodian.

We started to talk about our family members. He is survived by one sibling. All others have passed away. I told him that I am a sole survivor of a family of six. I mentioned that life is uncertain, we do not know how much time we have left, and that it is where we spend eternity that really matters. He agreed and mentioned that he is a son of a retired minister. It was amazing because I am a former minister's son. 

He mentioned that he moved to Vermont for a brief period after he was fired and that he volunteered for a church here in the area and liked the Pastor here. After he called a few times and the Pastor told him that he needed to find another minister to call; he did not have time to talk. He then found another church to attend in Vermont and the minister harangued him into giving his last 20 dollars to a building fund at the church. He stopped going.

This fellow could not believe that I would take the time to listen to his story; he is avoided by most and has the look of a man that is in distress, rejected and despised by others. I felt like crying while we talked; and I did as I took him to prayer later that night. 

It is said of Christ in the book of Isaiah that "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief..." and that "we hid our faces from Him because He made us feel ashamed..." I have a new understanding of this passage of Scripture. Christ can identify readily with my coworker that evening. He can identify with every situation.

We wrapped up our conversation when our shift ended by a new appreciation of both being former minister's sons. I told him that he did not need some preacher to keep in touch with God; I talk to Him everyday sitting at my own dining room table or pushing my mop at work. He said that "where two or three are gathered together, Jesus said that He was there....He was there that night.

This dear man stopped as we walked out of the school door to go home. He stopped and looked at me, stuck out his hand and thanked me for talking with him. I told this coworker to never, ever give up on God; talk to Him always, and that although we were minister's sons with serious issues about
"church" as we have known it at times, God says that all who call upon Him shall be saved. I said "KEEP CALLING" "HE HEARS!"

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our Personal Psalms!

2 Samuel 3:1 " Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker."

When we go through what seem to be irretractable battles that never seem to end, remember King David. Annointed as a young man, probably in his early teens, it is arrainged by the Holy Spirit that he would slay a bear, a lion and a giant. We face spiritual and even physical bears, lions and giants. After these great victories brought about by the Spirit of the Living God, one would think that David had finally arrived.

This was not to be. After years of running from the self-willed King Saul and after Saul was finally brought down by his own sword, one would that that now, finally, David's great battle was over. This, again, was not to be.

The Kingdom was still divided; most supporting Saul's successor, appointed by Israel, warring against Judah who had recognized and finally annointed David as king.

Consider the background of the great Psalms of David. From where did they originate? Was David just a great word smith, gifted with phrases and concepts, or did he write of what he experienced firsthand? David was also a prophet; quoted by Christ Himself many hundeds of years later.  He wrote about what he experienced; that is why the words, concepts and phrases are still so relevent for us today.

We fight the many of the same spiritual battles David fought. We encounter discouragement, lust, unbelief and great turmoil. David had to run from his own son who had risen up in rebellion against him. His best friend, Johnathan died in battle. He had to run for years away from and trying to avoid an angry King Saul who would have killed him if he would have caught him. And this was after the Prophet Samuel had annointed him King! Just the opposite happened of what one would expect. These events were arrainged by God; He does not react to events in our lives; He initiates events.

We learn in the processes. Our faith grows stronger, we expeience great deliverance that we can be witness of when we need to help others. We are drawn closer and closer to Him when the battle is stonger than we can handle. We learn more of God's ways in the process; and it is sometimes a protracted process. We will never fully arrive to our fullest potential until we enter into His Presence for eternity; still time without end.

Another great example in addtion to King David is Joshua. He replaced Moses and in great victory led the Children of Israel, finally, into the Promise Land. Five distinct heathen kings were left in the land so Israel would learn how to fight. How many obsticles do we face, just so we do not get spiritually lazy and forget how to war?

Consider Gideon when he came to the river Jordan in Judges 8:4. The word says, "Gideon came to the Jordan (river), crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted, yet pursuing."

This is our lot also. Chased, persued, perplexed, yet pursuing. Our pursute is to constantly be changed into the image of Christ. It is not a plesant battle most times. But be assured; the victory is already ours!

We are given the great honor and much grace by God to be changed in the battles. Our psalms, our prayers, our thoughts are being recorded in the heavenlies also. We are the victor's through Christ! It is time to remember, rejoice and grow and mature in our battle's. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hope In Dark Times - Dr. Juergen Buehler

Dr. Juergen Buehler is Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy In Jerusalem (ICEJ). He wrote an article in their monthly newsletter entitled Hope In Dark Times. Here is an excerpt of what he had to say. It gives great hope in the day in which we live ~

" The Prophet Joel foresaw how the nations will one day be gathered together in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (the Kidron in Jerusalem) to be judged by God concerning their mistreatment of Israel and the Jewish people. But this same prophet could also see God pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh "before the great and terrible day of the Lord."

" While he understood the seriousness of God's end-time judgments, Joel also spoke of revival and proclaimed a message of hope that "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

"The Prophet Daniel describes in chapter 11 the rise of an evil and frightening Antichrist system which will even "make war" with the saints. Yet in the midst of this dark time are people who "know their God and they are strong and carry out great exploits." While he saw the redeemed under great persecution, he also saw them as victorious overcomers."

" In Chapter 12 the same prophet sees terrible times such as never before. And in exactly that setting, Daniel sees the saints not as weak and defeated but shining as bright stars on a dark firmament, leading many to righteousness. We should never forget that even in the darkest times ahead, the Word of God forsees a body of believers having an incredible impact-doing "great " exploits and leading "many" to righteousness."

Words of hope in deed!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Different Mindset

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the LORD (not our glory, His). In this process we are changed into the same image (a period of transition) we are changed from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD. (from 2 Corinthians 3:18)

Therefore if any person be in Christ, they are a new creature; old things are passed away, behold! all things are become new. It does not say that some things become new; but all things become new! It is a process; do not grow weary as we go through the transition.(from 2 Corinthians 5:17) 

We do not look at things which are seen, but at things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

A different and exciting lifestyle; with eternal rewards!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Boldly Asking Forgiveness

There is a  profound prayer in the Book of Nehemiah; a prayer, or prayers asking forgiveness of many sins committed over many years. Do not let the enemy ever lie to you, saying you have gone too far this time. Whether it is condemnation for unbelief, outright sin, or years of doubt; we now have an Advocate sitting at the right hand of the Father on High.

This is a brief description of the basics of the prayer given by Israel during the time of Nehemiah, also during the days of Ezra. A small remnant had just returned to Jerusalem from captivity. When they considered the way things used to be in this beautiful city, the depth to which they had fallen, and the seeming hopelessness of their situation, after their petitions to God, the repentance ended up being so joyful that God Himself made them rejoice with great joy; both the adults and the children. The joy of Jerusalem was heaerd afar off! Nehemiah 12:43) After repentance, great joy!

Here was the process, what was said, the recognition and honesty of their sin, and the end result. It starts in Nehemiah 9.

1. they assembled as a group with sackcloth, fasting and casting earth upon themselves; a representation of their deep sorrow and acknowledgement of the need for forgiveness from God.

2. The seperated themselves from strangers (unbelievers) and stood and confessed their sins and even confessed the sins of their fathers, the previous generation. They acknowledged their history of rebellion.

3. Before they listed their sins they acknowleged Who God was; what He had done for them in the past and His goodness, exalted p[osition, and the Creator of both the heavens and the earth. The Creator of all things. The hosts of heaven, even the heaven of heavens, the earth and all things that are in it, the sea and all things that are in it and His ability to preserve all of them.

Before repentance we need to recognize the vastness of our Creator. His power, sovereinty, grace and ability to do all things.

4. They reminded God of His great works for them from the beginning; the calling of Abraham; whose heart was found faithful to God. The many peoples God allowed Abraham to subdue and conquer, the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and the Girgashites.

5. It was because of God's faithfulness and covenant promises they even existed. His word was true, even though they had fallen into great rebellion.

6. God saw the affliction of the Children of Israel in Egypt and delivered them with great and mighty works through His servant Moses.

7. He removed the proud and arrogant Egyptians who were dealing proudly against Israel. He made a great Name for Himself and His people. The nations of the area knew of their great deliverance. (Likewise, our friends, neighbors and relatives also know of our great deliverance from a life of selfishness, rebellion, pride and sin).

8. He led Israel by a cloudly pillar by day and a pillar of fire by night; never leaving them, even while they were rebelling.

9. They came to Mount Sinai and God spoke to them and gave them the Law, Statutes and Commandments by which to conduct themselves.

10. He brought water out of a rock for them to drink and dropped food from the heavens when they were hungry; actual bread from Heaven.

11. Still, Israel acted with arrogance, pride and rebellion. They even denied that it was God who had delivered them!

12. They made a golden calf of gold and worshipped this idol. It is not unlike the Western world worshipping possessions, position and money.

13. Yet, in His manifold mercies, God forgave them. Amazing! He continued to send His good Spirit to instruct them and guide them.

14. They continued to rebel, even killing the very Prophets God set among them to bring them back to repentance.

15. They inherited homes they did not build, vineyards they did not plant, oliveyards and fruit trees in abundance and everything imaginable that is needed to live a good, fruitful life; still, Israel rebelled.

16. The only time they repented was when they were faced with great trouble and war. Then, after God saved them, again they turned against the Almighty! Inimaginable! Or is it?

How many times has the Spirit of God reminded us of His great blessings upon us? He even sent His Son to die for us. The Children of Israel never had this revelation; this ultimate sacrifice made on their behalf. And still we rebel, do not believe and act as if God has grown hard of hearing.

Yet, and Yet, He is still a God full of mercies and great compassions; this is His character, He never changes. He is the same God that led Israel through their ordeals. He also leads us. That self-same Spirit now resides in us. We do not need a Prophet, we have His Spirit.

Never think that you have sinned past the day of repentance. The callings of God are unchangeable; if you are called, you are sealed.
are sealed according to His promise.

Never refuse to repent when you have sinned; He will not shun you if you are sincere in your sorrow. He moves in with a freshness, satisfaction, and joy like nothing else can. This joy of the Lord is our very strength. Since Christ tore the veil of seperation between the Holy of Holies and the outer courts we can now boldly enter into the very Presence of the Father; and we now have an Advocate sitting on His right hand.

Run to repentance when you have sinned; do not run away, run to! God will make us rejoice and our joy will echo throughout every area of our life, like it echoed through Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah!

How many times has the Spirit of God reminded us of His great blessings upon us? He even sent His Son to die for us. The Children of Israel never had this revelation; this ultimate sacrifice made by God on our behalf. Yet still we rebel, do not believe and act as if God has grown hard of hearing.

Yet, and yet forever, He is and will forever be a God full of mercies and great compassions; ready and eager to forgive. That is His character, He never changes. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked or the corrective punishment of His children. He is the same God that led Israel through their ordeals. He also leads us. That self-same Spirit now resides in us. We do not need a Prophet, we have His Spirit.

Never think that you have sinned past the day of repentance. The callings of God are unchangeable; if you are called, you are sealed.
are sealed according to His promise.

Never refuse to repent when you have sinned; He will not shun you if you are sincere in your sorrow. He moves in with a freshness, satisfaction, and joy like nothing else can. This joy of the Lord is our very strength. Since Christ tore the veil of seperation between the Holy of Holies and the outer courts we can now boldly enter into the very Presence of the Father. We now have an Advocate sitting on His right hand.

Run to repentance when you have sinned; do not run away, run to! God will make us rejoice and our joy will echo throughout every area of our life, like it echoed through Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our Deliverance Is At Hand! D. Wilkerson

FEBRUARY 14, 2012
by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]
God had given Moses and Israel ironclad promises of deliverance, so Moses went to the people with the good news. He performed signs for them and Scripture says they believed: “Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses. Then he did signs in the sight of the people. So the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped” (Exodus 4:29-31).

It was a time of hope and rejoicing. Everyone cried, “Hallelujah! We are finally free! God has heard our cry and our bondage is over. Praise to Him!”

Yet, what happened next? Things only got worse. Israel’s bondage became absolutely unbearable. They were given no straw for making bricks and they endured heavy beatings from their taskmasters. Pharaoh raged at Israel’s leaders, “Get out of my sight. Back to work!”

Moses could not believe this terrible turn of events. He cried out, “God, why are You treating Your people this way? You haven’t delivered us at all; in fact, things are worse than ever. You haven’t kept Your Word and nothing You promised is happening.”

You must understand, the devil knew Israel’s deliverance was right at the door, so do you think he was going to sit by and not make one last attempt to wear out God’s people? The worsening of Israel’s condition wasn’t God’s doing. Rather, it was Satan rushing about madly—hurrying his work before the hour of deliverance came. Likewise, whenever the devil sees you driven to your knees, he knows your deliverance is at hand and he is not going to sit by in those final moments before victory comes! Instead, he will intensify your temptations. He will enflame people against you and send lying spirits to falsely accuse you. He will lie to you that God has taken His Holy Spirit from you, that you are paying for past sins. He will try to flood you with all kinds of guilt and condemnation.

If you are praying, but things are only getting worse, start rejoicing because your deliverance is at hand!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Keep The Fire Burning-Ariel Blumenthal

Good article from Ariel Blumenthal of Revive Israel, in Israel rpeacher

Keep the Fire Burning

by Ariel Blumenthal
Our Revive Israel team places great emphasis on daily “PPP” (Praise, Prayer, and Prophecy) sessions: staff prayer on Sunday, open meetings on Monday through Thursday, and congregational intercession on Friday. Here is an encouragement (based on Leviticus 6:12-13) for all who seek to build some kind of regular prayer/worship watches:

  1. The altar: a designated place for offering sacrifices and establishing communion with God. Under the New Covenant, animal sacrifices are not necessary. But the Lord is building our hearts like an altar. From our hearts through our mouths, we “smoke up” to God all kinds of praises and prayers, thus keeping the fire of the Spirit fresh in our lives.

The wood: the priest is to “burn wood” on the altar every morning. Who chopped the wood, stacked it, kept it away from termites and brought it to the temple? We want the fun part of praising, dancing, proclaiming, intimacy with God, etc. But someone has to maintain the sound system, replace the guitar strings, clean the worship room; make sure the toilets are working, etc. Running a prayer room means a lot of behind the scenes work, keeping the wood ready so that a high quality fire can burn on the altar.

Morning: the Hebrew phrase, “in the morning,” occurs twice in a row. The Scripture emphasizes the importance of stoking the fires of worship and intercession first thing in the morning! Of course, we can worship and pray 24 hours a day, but there is something very special about giving God our best time, before the busy-ness of the rest of the day sets in.

Burnt offering: is the foundation for all other worship; it was to be offered continuously, even through the night (thus called by the Rabbis the tamid, or “continuous” offering.) The Burnt Offering is entirely for God: consumed wholly unto Him, as a pleasing aroma. Even the ashes must be brought to a sanctified place outside the camp. We come as a Kingdom of Priests to offer the worship that He deserves, without concern whether we will get anything out of it.

Fellowship offering: in this “peace” offering, there is some tasty meat for us! God is good, and loves to fellowship with His children and give them good things (Luke 11:13), but the experience of His goodness should not be confused with our motivation to worship Him. The repeated message from the glimpses of heavenly worship in the Book of Revelation is: He is Worthy!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Forget It!

Nehemiah 8:9-12 gives an excellent picture of falling short in the past of the ways of God, and of God's reponse as we try to repair the damage we have done because of our shortcomings.

After much opposition, lies, battles, death threats and sin among the Congregation, some 42,000 strong, plus servants and singers, the Children of Israel returning to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity were confronted with their situation.

They gathered together in one accord and heard the Law read to them. They were full of shame and sorrow. Even as they were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem they still felt unworthy as they heard the words that Moses had written hundreds of years before. They knew they had fallen short, so very short of the instruction God had given them over the years.

But the mercies and great compassions required more of them than sorrow. The great compassions of our God demanded that they be joyful! Be glad! This is a new day!
Forget the past!

This also applies to us as we look over our past failures, shortcomings and doubts. No matter our shortfalls every time we enter into the Presence of God in prayer it is a holy occasion. He is glad, full of compassion and love for us.
Always bring to mind; our shorfalls do not endure forever; His mercies endure forever!

Here is the Nehemiah story that is as real today as it was the day it occured, because God does not change~

" And Nehemiah and Ezra the Priest, the Scribe, and the Levites that taught the people said unto all the people,
'This day is holy unto the LORD your God: mourn not nor weep; for all the people wept when they heard the words of the Law."

"Then he said unto them, 'Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry: for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

" So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, 'Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.' And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send protions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them."

We have words declared unto us; everytime we enter the Presence of God it is a holy occasion. We can, we must have, great joy in the realization that we are entering into the Presence of One who understands that we are but dust. His Spirit dwells in our mortal being and we are already seated with Christ in Heavenly places. It does not say that we will be seated with Him; it says that we are already seated with Him!

Enter into His presence with joy and thanksgiving; we have an audience with the Creator of all things. What a great priviledge! Our past is just that, past! Our future is to spend eternity with Him.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Seeing God

The following are excerpts from a book I am reading called HEAVEN, by Randy Alcorn. He covers the concept and misconceptions many in the church have about Heaven and seeing God.

" Every day we should see God in His creation: the food we eat, the air we breathe, the friendships we enjoy, and the pleasures of family, work, and hobbies. Yes, we must sometimes forgo secondary pleasures, and we should never let them eclipse God. And we should avoid opulence and waste when others are needy. But we should thank God for all of life's joys, large and small, and allow them to draw us to Him. That is exactly what we will do in why not start now?"

" Psalm 36:8-9 - They feast on the abundance of Your house; You give them drink from Your river of delights. For with You is the fountain of life."

" Theologian Sam Storms writes, " We will constantly be more amazed with God, more in love with God, and thus ever more relishing His presence and our relationship with Him. Our experience of God will never reach its consummation. We will never finally arrive, as if upon reaching a peak we discover there is nothing beyond. Our experience of God will never become stale. It will deepen and develop, intensivy and amplify, unfold and increase, broaden and balloon."

" Beholding and knowing God, we will spend eternity worshiping, exploring, and serving Him, seeing His magnificent beauty in everything and everyone around us. Augustine wrote in The City of God  " We shall in the future world see the material forms of the new heavens and the new earth in such a way that we shall most distinctly recognize God everywhere present and governing all things, material as well as spiritual. In the new universe, as we study nature, as we pursue science and mathematics and every realm of knowledge, we'll see God in everything, for He is behind it all."

 " It might be better, then, if we think of the location of the present Heaven as not in another universe but simply as a part of ours that we are unable to see, due to our spiritual blindness. It that's true, when we die we don't go to a different universe but to a place within our universe that we're currently unable to see. "

"Just as blind people cannot see the world, even though it exists all around them, we are unable to see Heaven in our fallen condition. Is it possible that before sin and the Curse, Adam and Eve saw clearly what is now invisible to us? Does death restore a visual acuity we once had? Willard says, 'When we pass through what we call death, we do not lose the world. Indeed, we see it for the first time as it really is."

"Consider this statement: "God Himself will be with them" (Revelation 21:3) Why does it emphatically say God Himself? Because God won't merely send us a delegate. He will actually come to live among us on the New Earth. As Steven J. Lawson explains, " God's glory will fill and permeate the entire new Heaven, not just on centralized place. Thus, wherever we go in Heaven, we will be in the immediate presence of the full glory of God. Wherever we go, we will enjoy the complete manifestation of God's presence. Throughout all eternity, we will never be separated from direct, unhindered fellowship with God."

"God's glory will be the air we breathe, and we'll always breathe deeper to gain more of it. In the new universe, we'll never be able to travel far enough to leave God's presence. If we could, we'd never want to. However great the wonders of Heaven, God Himself is Heaven's greatest prize. Father Boudreau writes, "The beatitude of Heaven consists essentially in the vision, love, and enjoyment of God Himself."

Jonathan Edwards said in a 1733 sermon, "God is the  highest good  of the reasonable creature, and the enjoyment of Him is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven fully to enjoy God, is infinitly better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows. But the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean."

The New Jerusalem that comes down from Heaven to be placed on planet earth- "We are certain that when the mists of death are cleared away, the whole City will stand visible and proud. Our inheritance is as sure as morning." Calvin Miller

I would add to these profound thoughts that the Bible says that ear has not heard, eye has not seen the things that God has prepared for those who love Him! Our best days are just ahead!!

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Don't Touch the Bride

Asher Intrater
Throughout the Scriptures the people of God are referred to as His bride. This metaphor starts in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2), through all the queens of Israel (especially Esther), the Song of Solomon, the wedding parables of the Gospel, Paul's epistles, the glorified woman (Revelation 12), the bride made ready (Revelation 19:7), and the marriage feast (Revelation 21). It is a great mystery (Ephesians 5:32).

In ancient times, those who took care of the wives of the king were eunuchs. They were given great delegated authority, on the one obvious condition that they could not touch the affections of any of his brides.

We as dedicated believers in Yeshua (Jesus) are members of His spiritual bride. There are those of us who are called also to be "friends of the bridegroom" (John 3:29). They are part of the bride but also have some leadership to help prepare the bride for His coming. These co-leader-friends have special access to the people of God, to the heart of the bride. However, like spiritual eunuchs (Matthew 19:12), they must be sure not to steal the affections, attention, and ownership of the bride.
My wife and I have a wonderful relationship; we are best friends and lovers after 30 years of marriage. Yet I am the number two man in her life; number one is Yeshua.

Those of us called to leadership must be very careful to die to the temptation of "stealing the attention" or "possessing the affections" of the people of God. We have the love and respect of the people but only to a secondary degree. This is true of worship leaders, pastors, preachers, and anyone in a place of authority or influence. When we operate in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, people are drawn to us and to Yeshua in us. That is acceptable. At the Red Sea, the people of Israel believed in both God and Moses (Exodus 14:31). Yet Moses was very conscious not to pull the hearts of the people toward himself. (It took forty years in the desert to die to that tendency.)

The subconscious desire to gain affection and honor is incredibly dangerous and subtle. It lies at the root of the fall of Lucifer. May those of us in leadership enjoy the love and trust of the people of God, but make sure that we never let the subtleties of pride lure us into "touching the bride." She is for Him.
Dream of Second Coming

(Excerpt, night between 20-21 January, 2012)
We were standing in a field near our home in Israel. There was a feeling in the air as if right before a big storm. The wind was blowing and the clouds were racing across the sky. The feeling grew and intensified. Those of us who were believers began to understand that these were signs that the time of the Second Coming had arrived. No one had to tell us, we just knew. In fact, we knew that there were only 13-14 minutes left. This time was also concurrent with a battery of missiles launched at Israel from Iran; they were in the air on the way and would land in the same 13-14 minutes.

We felt the fear of the Lord; there was an intense urgency to tell the people around us what was happening.
The non-believers around us sensed that a great disaster was about to happen, like a war or an earthquake-tsunami. They were crowding into cars in order to flee, but they didn't know where to flee. I turned to one car, with a family of one of the people who threw me out of the synagogue in our neighborhood. I told them they needed to cry out to Yeshua. They frowned at me, but knew that this was right. They cried to the Lord and were saved.

I turned to another family, also from the synagogue, and told them the same thing. They also frowned, but this time, they rejected the message and were lost.

I turned to a close relative getting into another car with friends. I told them to cry out to the Lord. They also frowned, and seemed perplexed; I did not know whether they decided to accept it or not.

The fear of the Lord intensified wildly. We, the believers, were not at all fearful for ourselves. We were totally at peace and secure about our own destiny. However, the concern for those around us grew to almost a panic. Thinking back over our lives - whatever we had done which was not part of spreading the kingdom of God had been a waste of time.
I awoke with that same fear of the Lord, an urgency to preach the good news from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14), and that "before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord, all those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved (escape)" – Acts 2:20-21.