Picture this — you come home from a long day of work — you walk into your living room — plop down on your couch in exhaustion — and there in the corner of the room — your eyes are drawn to something moving — it's a rattlesnake! Do you say to yourself, "Oh, I'm too tired to worry about that now, I'll deal with it later?" Of course not! You jump up right away, find a bat or something, alert your family, call the neighbors, 911, the fire department, the national guard, and start praying with all your might! It's a life-threatening situation!
Every time I turn on the news it seems the new buzzword is – CHANGE! So how can we just shift gears and change? Let's learn a lesson about basic automotive mechanics. Generally a car has between 4 and 5 gears. The first gear maximizes power in exchange for speed. As you move through the gears, you can continue to go faster, yet without using any more power, and before you know it – you have to look at the speedometer – cause nobody wants a speeding ticket!
Writing to the Corinthian Church, Paul illustrates his exhortation using the metaphors of running a race and fighting a boxing match. Victory is achieved by bringing your body into submission to the will of God.
The Bible speaks of a great falling away in the last days (2 Thessalonians 2) before the end of the age arrives, and it seems that we’re seeing it on a grand scale all around us. Virtually everywhere we look we're watching the decline of morality and ethics — in government, entertainment, and social culture. It seems hard to deny…
Just a few weeks prior to this incident, the disciples were trembling for their lives as their Lord was arrested and then crucified. They had all fled in the Garden of Gethsemane and then Peter, whose boldness was legendary, had denied him three times. The fact that they had been serving with Yeshua (Jesus) for three years, witnessing many miracles, including Peter's amazing walk on the water…
As we are entering some of the most turbulent times in history, we've been receiving an unbelievable amount of email expressing concern about the future. But I want to tell you a little something – the future is VICTORY!
The prophet Elijah, through his dramatic demonstration of the LORD's authority and power, inspired repentance in the people of Israel, calling them to exercise His judgment on idolaters by slaying 450 prophets of Ba'al and 400 prophets of Asherah on Mount Carmel. Yet this spiritual victory was followed by a severe demonic reprisal through the woman Jezebel.
Continuing our study of First (Old) Testament appearances of the "preincarnate" Yeshua (Jesus), we find ourselves in the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three men refused to bow and worship another God besides the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.
Abraham was sitting in front of his tent on the plains of Mamre, when the LORD (Yehovah — Yud Hay Vav Hay) came to him and declared the fulfillment of a promise He had made to him many years before, saying that through Abraham's seed the world would be blessed! (Genesis 12:7; 13:15-16, 15:18, 17:7-9)
Biblical Hebrew uses a grammatical form called "s'michut". This form joins two words together to form a single word form. We have this in English: for example, a door and a knob are two nouns, which are used to form the word "doorknob", a compound noun. This form of joining nouns is found in Judges 6:12. The expression, "Angel of the Lord" is rendered, "angel-YHVH"; (Yud-Hay-Vav-Hay); in modern English — "angel-Yehovah". Then, suddenly, the narrative changes from "angel-Yehovah" to simply, "Yehovah". Here we see another appearance of YHVH in human form in the Old Testament. The God-Man, Yeshua in a "pre-incarnate" appearance.
In the most extreme moment of his life, when his entire household was threatened with annihilation, the Patriarch Jacob wrestled with a Man through an entire sleepless night. Somehow, after this astounding encounter, Jacob came to the realization that he had been wrestling with God, and face to face! Once again, the Lord God of heaven showed Himself as a human being to a man He loved; this time, for the purpose of rescuing, blessing, and preserving the man's destiny.
This is an interesting passage of Scripture which details how Josiah, a young and Godly king, went forth to cleanse the land, and in doing so, finds that he was fulfilling a prophecy given years before. Josiah went forth doing what was right — and in doing so, was walking out the works that God preordained for him — he was fulfilling the calling that God had set into motion years before!
Over the past few weeks, rockets have been landing roughly 30 miles from where we live in southern Israel, and we've been overwhelmed with the number of emails from people who are praying for us– which we so appreciate!… more than you could imagine! We're living in a unique time in history, as once again Israel finds herself surrounded by enemies with few friends willing to stand with her. So often we are asked, and we wonder, how things will turn out here…we've found it's usually foolish to try and predict; but one thing is absolutely certain; the God of Israel is watching over this tiny nation!
One of His greatest promises to us is that nothing can separate us from the love of God. No tribulation or distress we might ever suffer can obliterate the power of His love to carry us through!
I suppose one of the hardest questions to answer is: "Why do I have to deal with so much adversity?!"
1 Chron. 20:4-8 And it came to pass after this, that there arose war at Gezer with the Philistines; at which time Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Sippai, that was of the children of the giant: and they were subdued. And there was war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi […]
When the twelve spies were sent into Canaan to spy out the land, ten returned with a bad report. Their assessment was that it was impossible to conquer the land that God had promised them. Forgetting how God had led them with a pillar of fire by night, and fed them manna from heaven during the day, brought forth water out of a rock, and parted the Red Sea, they saw the situation with only their natural eyes, failed to walk by faith, and succumbed to fear.
As the threat of war looms on the horizon in Israel, I'm all the more reminded that we in the Body of Messiah are already at war spiritually. Constantly contending in our minds, we battle over thoughts and emotions which flow through them. The enemy often attacks by bringing up issues from our past. Failures, regrets, wounds, and traumas all have the potential to drag us down into doubt, darkness and despair. Our tremendous challenge is not to respond to these memories with old destructive thought patterns. Our victory lies in responding to these thoughts and feelings with the mind of Messiah as new creations in Him.
Epraphras is not a name you hear much of. He was a member of the church in Colosse, and obviously a dear saint in the Lord. We know that he suffered imprisonment with Paul at one time. But the thing that really impresses me about this saint is what Paul wrote about him– he always labored fervently in prayer!
When Ruth pledged her alligence to Naomi and to the God of Israel, it wasn't based on, "What ifs?" or circumstances. It was a faith rooted in her devotion to Naomi and God even to the point of death!