As Scotland was declaring its independence from England in the 1300's, the English were hunting for Robert Bruce of Scotland in an attempt to prevent his accession to the Scottish throne. In the search, the English put Bruce's own bloodhounds on his trail. As they grew closer to apprehending him, Robert the Bruce found a small river, and he said to his foster-brother who was with him, "Let us wade down this stream for a great way, instead of going straight across, and so these unhappy hounds will lose the scent; for if we were once clear of them, I should not be afraid of getting away from the pursuers."
Tonight we'll participate in the Independence Day celebration in Israel — and what a party! — shows, fireworks, music, dancing, everything under the sun!
When the Torah was given on Shavuot in the days of Moses, the sin of the golden calf resulted in the death of 3,000 men. Some 1500 years later at the same season the Holy Spirit descended causing 3,000 men to be saved! The Lord has never changed; His mercy and His holiness are the same throughout all ages. But the contrast of these two historical events during the same Holy Day may be seen as a powerful illustration of this principle: “the letter [of the Law] kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Corinthians 3:6)
In the days of Isaac, there was famine in the land of Israel. It appeared then, that the right thing to do was to go to Egypt where there was plenty. But the Lord instructed Issac not to go, and instead cling to the promise that He made with His father, Abraham.
In the 1883, Captain Sampson of the British navy witnessed one of the greatest volcanic eruptions in history which took place in Indonesia. The eruption was so powerful that its shock waves traveled around the world seven times. The volcano shot miles of debris into the atmosphere which fell to earth as far away as Madagascar – over 2000 miles distance. Captain Sampson wrote in the ship's log: "I am writing this blind in pitch darkness. We are under continual rain of pumice-stone and dust. So violent are the explosions that the ear-drums of over half my crew have been shattered … I am convinced that the Day of Judgment has come."
Patience is one of those attributes that you cannot learn by reading about it. It's a quality that can only be acquired by persistent, enduring, practice– and for me it's a drill that I go over, and over, and over again!
This season of the Resurrection also occurs during a significant Old Testament feast day, the feast of “Firstfruits” (Hebrew, “bikoreem”). When Yeshua (Jesus) rose from the dead he was the firstfruit of the resurrection. On that day the keys of Hell and Death were obtained by our Lord. The apostle Paul connected the resurrection with the feast of Firstfruits in his letter to the congregation at Corinith. "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep."
There is a long standing tradition of cleaning one's house in the springtime – hence the term "spring cleaning". One source for this tradition is certainly the Jewish Passover (Pesach). Each spring as the holiday approaches observant householders in Israel and around the world perform a meticulous cleaning of their homes, especially to be sure there is no leaven in the house before Pesach begins. Leaven, in scripture, is often a metaphor for sin and impurity; and this season of the year is often a time for emphasizing "spiritual housecleaning".
Pesach (Passover) celebrates Israel's final departure from Egypt – that's why we read about it in "Exodus!" Leaving their former lives of slavery, the Jewish people now pressed forward looking toward the "Promised Land" and a new way of life. Their purpose was not only departure – it was also arrival to a new destination. Now there was a significant 40 year delay in the wilderness….
The New Testament records that when Yeshua (Jesus) died; there was a great earthquake and the veil of the Temple was torn in two. The size of this gigantic veil is not recorded in the NT…but we read from other sources that it was roughly 60 feet long and 30 feet wide with multiple woven layers the thickness of a man's hand! It was hung on a crossbeam stone – a lintel – which was over 30 feet long and weighed more than 30 tons! It was not an easy cloth to tear…
In today's world of Smart Phones, tablets and instant Internet access, there are many things that we can "know." "How long is the Golden Gate Bridge?" Pop out your iPhone, ask "Siri", the golden-voiced digital encyclopedic genius, and you'll have the factual answer in seconds.
As I traveled across the U.S., I occasionally came across individuals who didn't believe that Israel and the Jewish people were relevant to God's redemptive plan. Amazed, I would show them this passage in Jeremiah foretelling how God would make a 'New Covenant' with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah!
While I was in the States, I read several stories about Ronald Reagan that made me appreciate him as a person and as a leader. But one amusing story really caught my attention and made me smile. When he was a young man, Reagan worked at a radio station and sometimes played records of sermons. His shift at the station was a one-man operation and so, on occasion, Ron would set the record playing and then sneak out for a cup of coffee. One day he got a call while he was at the coffee shop from the station's owner, ordering him back to the station, and then … he received his termination notice. He'd returned to the station finding the record skipping at a particular point in the sermon…
We’re back in Israel and still dealiing with jetlag. After completing a six-month tour of over 30,000 miles of driving across the United States, we can honestly say – we’re happy to be home — phew!
After spending three months on the road, with an incredible wife and two kids — it's great to be home! As you can imagine, living out of a suitcase with an 11-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son who is barely 6 months old now, it was quite a trip as we traveled and spoke through 37 States and drove over 34,000 miles!
Isn't it interesting that of the multitudes thronging and pressing toward Yeshua (Jesus), only one really touched Him? What made Yeshua notice her among all the rest?
Psalm 1:2-3 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. […]
It was recently during Hurricane Sandy that I read how teenagers for the first time ever had to live without any electricity, and (can you even imagine) – without a cell phone! For the first time in their lives they enjoyed the privilege of experiencing what life was like decades ago. Forced to slow down, unable to text or "Facebook", everyone who lost power entered a "moment" of technological communication silence, and they waited anxiously for the powers that be to restore their normal life patterns.
Another aspect of Mashiach ben Yosef, is that the world would resist his authority…
An elderly teacher, with a pupil by his side, took a walk through a forest. Suddenly he stopped and pointed to four plants close at hand. The first was just beginning to peep above the ground, the second had rooted itself pretty well into the earth, the third was a small shrub, while the fourth was a full-sized tree. The tutor said to his young companion, 'Pull up the first plant.' The boy did so eagerly, using only his fingers…