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.
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.
We've been encouraged by numerous phone calls and emails over the past few days, telling us that people are praying and fasting for Israel and believers in the land — and we so appreciate it, more than words could ever express!
Many of you know that we've been in Israel a little over ten years now. I am still trying to adjust to the spiritual atmosphere, culture and language. Those few things, in and of themselves, are enough to become overwhelmed. But if that's not enough, we are pioneering a new ministry here, trusting totally in God for His provision, trying to raise two young children in a way that is pleasing to Him and all the while, going through our own personal trials.
Have you ever heard about how the Eskimos kill wolves? You're not gonna believe this one!
The Biblical feast of Pesach (Passover) has ended, as once again, those who celebrated recalled the deliverance of the Jewish people from the land of Egypt where they had served as slaves. The word for slaves in Hebrew is "avadim", which, interestingly, is also the same word for "servants."
Looking at the relationship between “love and affection” ("chiba" in Hebrew) and “obligation” ("chova" in Hebrew), we find another closely related word, “chaver”, one of the Hebrew words for “friend”. Friends are people with whom we share love and affection and also a sense of obligation. Our God and Father wants us to be His friends, to share love and affection with Him and to carry the sense of responsibility and obligation which friendship requires.
The Hebrew word for "face" is "panim", (the Hebrew letters, peh-nun-yud-mem), literally "faces", a plural word. Normally, when we think about God, we focus only upon one of His "faces” at a time. God is "love" – or He is "holy"– or He is "just"— or He's a God of "wrath". Yet, of course, ALL these "faces" are His at once; and so the word "panim" accurately reflects the truth of God's multifaceted being. As we get to know Him better we begin to appreciate the complexity of His nature and the fact that our focus on one "face" is a very limited view, since there's so much more going on in His amazing "Personality".
New Testament genealogies of Yeshua Ha Mashiach (Jesus the Christ) all identify Him as the son of king David. It was universally understood from the Tenach (OT) that the messiah would be descended from David and that he would restore the Davidic monarchy to its ultimate and most universal expression, even that this king would reign and sit on the throne forever.
In Israel, Shabbat (the Sabbath) is an extraordinary day. People spend much effort to get everything perfectly prepared for this special season that lasts from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. For those of you who have ever visited Israel, you'd know that Friday morning is the time that everyone here is rushing around doing errands before everything closes.
In the modern world, the work ethic is, achieve and produce by working longer and harder! The focus is on getting results through human effort — we've become product oriented and the bottom line is……the bottom line! But God's way runs contrary to this approach — His way is much more oriented toward process and relationship rather than performance and production.
"If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer….. but our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior."
There are many who are not aware of the very deep significance of Bethlehem,Yeshua's (Jesus') birthplace. Everyone knows that Bethlehem was a place where shepherds grazed their sheep, and where the Messiah was to be born, but do not realize that it was a town designated as the birthing place for lambs which were used for the Passover sacrifice. The Scriptures give significant details about this little town lying slightly south of Jerusalem.
Life can get so hectic sometimes — we often try to do too many things at once. But when our schedule gets that hectic, we need to start investing in some quality time with the Lord. The operating word here is "investing".
I heard a story once, of a chaplain who was speaking to a loyal soldier in the hospital. "Bless you son, you saved a fellow soldier’s life — and lost an arm in the great cause doing it," the chaplain said. "No," said the soldier with a smile. "I didn't lose it … I gave it.
Patience is one of those things… so hard to learn it… so hard to practice it faithfully in our daily walk. It’s one of of those things I truly wish we didn’t have to learn — but God requires it of us! As I was reading through this passage again in Exodus, it dawned on me that Moses sat on the mountain for six entire days before the Lord spoke to him. He had to patiently wait for the Lord for six days!
Most people reading this passage tend to focus in on the fruit that is produced. Okay…But a closer look will reveal that the Lord is really focusing on the tree. The fruit merely demonstrates the quality of the tree. We have all encountered this: there are trees whose fruit is healthy and delicious, and there are trees whose fruit is scarcely edible, or even useless.
Hebrews 10:19-22 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart […]
The Lord is quoted in this scripture in Matthew and it contains an important principle which I think we sometimes tend to overlook. Many believe and even teach that if someone acquires much material prosperity, then God has surely given them favor, and that if someone is undergoing extreme trial, it must be because they have sinned or that they lack faith. But the Lord says that the sun rises and the rain falls on both the righteous and the unrighteous alike. A life of good circumstances does not necessarily mean that God is with us. And likewise, a life of trial and suffering does not mean that God is not with us!
A disgruntled church-goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained: "I've gone to church for thirty years now, and in that time I have heard something like three-thousand sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. I think I'm wasting my time and the Pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."