There is a process going on in us believers. Since the day the Holy Spirit came to dwell in us He has been at work with perfect wisdom and supernatural power to renew and transform our character, to some extent, our personality, and even our physical body. Our outward man, this mortal body with it's natural weakness and sinful ways was doomed to death and is "wasting away" even now.
"Break up your fallow ground." "Fallow" means "hard". A hard heart cannot love; and often cannot even receive it. A hard heart will block relationship with God and with others. Whatever the cause; anger, woundedness, bitterness, unforgiveness, the result will be a superficiality in relationship, an inability to empathize, and a corruption of your motivations.
The Lord is quoted in this scripture in Matthew. It contains an important principle which believers sometimes tend to overlook. Many believe and even teach that if you're blessed, your life will be filled with material prosperity, and that if you are undergoing extreme trial, it must be because you have sinned or that you lack faith. The Lord says that the sun rises and the rain falls on both the righteous and the unrighteous alike.
Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian Jewish Believer and an amazing man of God, spent 14 years in communist prisons where he was tortured brutally for his faith, then lived to tell about it. In his book, The Oracles of God, he writes about acquiring inner peace and tells the following powerful story.
The Jewish leaders of His time rejected Yeshua (Jesus) when He first came. He didn't meet their expectations. They were expecting a Messiah who would bring relief from the Romans, restore the Kingdom of David, and usher in an era of tranquility throughout the world. It is probable that their intense jealousy of Yeshua blinded them to the numerous passages in the Tenach (OT) which describe Messiah as a suffering servant, since they were certainly aware of those passages.
Early in his life David was forced to flee from his king and father-in-law, Saul — to flee for his life. During this long season of exile and hiding David began to find himself surrounded by loyal friends who joined themselves to him. But these were friends of an unusual kind: they were men who had all been unhappy, distressed, helpless, or in debt — by and large, the outcasts of the world. But an amazing thing happened to these formerly hapless human beings when they joined with David; they were empowered and became his "mighty men." When David finally became King of Israel, these men were ennobled and raised to be princes and officers in his Kingdom.
The central fact of the gospel message is the resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus), declared in Psalm 2, the begotten Son of God. In 1952, Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in Cave 4 called the "Messianic Apocalypse". The Messiah's ministry of resurrection is reiterated in these ancient documents with an obvious reference to Isaiah 61:1-3. The scroll identifies someone who "… will heal the wounded, and revive the dead and bring good news to the poor." It is clear that at least some of the authors of these documents clearly understood the central nature and ministry of the coming Messiah, most certainly based on their intimate knowledge of the prophetic writings in the Tenach (OT)…that ministry, resurrection of the dead.
When I studied Isaiah 53 earnestly in the ancient Hebrew, I was taken back by the Hebrew word for "afflicted" (me-u-neh). In modern Hebrew this word means "tortured". When I was young, and first learned what torture actually involved, my soul was shocked that this could happen to people; in fact that it was happening to people. That a person could be kept alive for the purpose of intentionally causing him intense agonizing pain was an astounding enigma for my young soul. It really frightened me; and I think that fear of torture is probably the greatest fear that humans can experience. We read about people who have been tortured, with a kind of horrified awe. And quietly we wonder inside, "How can this be?" And, "Could this ever happen to me?"
When Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on water – he literally stepped out of the boat! Imagine that! But was Peter going overboard? No, I don't believe so — he was literally taking a step of faith with his eyes fixed on the Lord!
In this world we will face all kinds of obstacles, trials and tribulations and we should be wary of any doctrines or teachings that say we shouldn’t have to face these things. Why? Because the Lord said we will have tribulations. So the encouragement He is giving is simply this: You’re going to face trials, but GOD is greater than any problem you will face in this world!
During the Great Depression, poverty swept across America like a whirling tornado, ripping up dreams and scattering hopes to the wind. One such poverty twister hit a small part of Texas where a man named Yates ran a sheep ranch. Struggling even to keep food on the table, Yates and his wife did all they could to survive. Finally, they had to accept a government subsidy or lose their home and land to the creditors.
During the American Civil War in the 1860's, a fierce battle took place at Altoona Pass. It was a key supply point for the Union Army, so the Confederate Army led by General Hood sought to take Altoona Pass which held over a million and a half rations. When Union General Sherman realized Hood's plans, he dispatched General Corse along with 1,500 men to hold the city.
You know how sometimes we get a phone call from someone who didn’t intend to dial us? And what do we usually say? Sorry, you have the wrong number.
As California enters its third year of an intense drought, with nearly 60 percent of the state now in an "exceptional drought", it reminded me of a story that happened in Israel.
Last night began Tisha B'Av, the ninth day of the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar year. Some of you may know that a lot of bad things have happened to the Jewish people on this date, the first of which was when the spies returned with an evil report of Canaan, the Promised Land, recounted in Numbers 13 and 14. Both the first and the second Temple were destroyed on this exact date, hundreds of years apart. The Crusades began on this day in 1095. The Jews were expelled out of England on this day in 1290, and again were expelled from Spain and Portugal on Tisha B'Av in 1492. And there are many more examples of this infamous day in Jewish history!
As the Operation Protective Edge enters its 25th day, a ceasefire is 'supposed to go into effect' for 72 hours. Over the past few weeks, we've received numerous phone calls and emails expressing their concerns — and understandably so!
A foreign soldier was brought before his commanding officer and accused of communicating with the enemy. He had been seen emerging from an area where their troops were known to patrol. The poor man summed up his defense in a few words, stating that he had slipped away to spend an hour alone in prayer. "Have you been in the habit of spending an hour in private prayer?" demanded the officer. "Yes, Sir," he replied. "Well" said his commander, "never in your life have you been in more need of prayer than right now. Kneel down and pray aloud so that we all may hear you."
From the moment we were conceived we began aging, growing older by the day. We may slow down the physical aging process by exercising, eating right and other natural techniques – but we cannot ultimately stop it. This mortal flesh, our outer man, is "wasting away" and moving toward decay as we await the immortal bodies promised us in the Resurrection.
Here in Israel, cell phones are all the rage. You wouldn't believe it but parents even buy cell phones for their kids and send them to school with them in their schoolbags. I'm talking about six and seven year old kids! While it is true that part of the reason for this cell phone craze stems from the fact that violence goes on here daily and people want to be able to contact one another in the event of an emergency, I would still say that it's somewhat excessive.
With rockets daily being hailed down from Gaza, this is yet another of Satan's many attempts to annihilate Israel and the Jewish people in any way he can. Satan is actively at work, trying to rob the world of its blessing.