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Know Your Shepherd!

In Israel, we often see goats and sheep roaming the countryside. Driving through rural Israel often involves suddenly stopping to allow a herd of sheep or goats to cross the road. But interestingly, I have never seen “sheep kill” on the side of the road in all the years that I’ve lived in Israel. It’s because sheep don’t roam without a shepherd!

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Turn it upside down!

In the days of Yeshua (Jesus), the cross was an instrument of death, and crucifixion, a horrible method of torture. Over the next 200 years, in light of the Lord’s resurrection, the cross became identified with Christian faith and was transformed into a symbol of life and hope. Yeshua was able to turn it upside down, transforming an instrument of death into a symbol of life.

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Pass the test, run the drill!

When I was growing up, we used to have fire drills in school at least once a year. The fire alarm went off, causing you to shake from the sudden loud bell momentarily, but it was only seconds before you knew…. it was only a drill; you really didn’t expect a fire. Nevertheless, everyone present was expected to rush out the door (in an orderly fashion) to the parking lot. It was a nice break from class, that yearly fire drill.

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Be found worthy!

Our true value was expressed at the cross of Messiah, where God valued us according to the redemptive work of His only Son. In the light of our identity in Christ our value is inestimable. We are worthy in Him. Much of our spiritual battle, however, is about maintaining and expressing our true identity and worth, day by day.

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Prepare to be married!

The last and most intimate metaphor for Messiah’s relationship with us is as Bridegroom to Bride. For some, the Lord’s intention to marry will be the most significant and wondrous purpose in all of Creation. The preparation for the wedding will be the most meticulous and profound of all historical processes, orchestrated by His Holy Spirit in cooperation with every devoted and expectant saint who ever lived.

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Live the Blessed Paradox Life!

Our life, the life of faith, is pervaded by paradox. Life faces us with apparently irreconcilable conditions and realities that we struggle to understand and integrate, sometimes throughout an entire lifetime. The Lord himself exemplifies this reality in his dual identity as the expressed image of God and a fully human male who suffered the worst consequences of sin…without deserving them. We live daily within the paradox of God’s perfect holiness and our fundamental human imperfection, constantly needing to accept His grace as we strive toward His perfection.

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Do not fear!

Throughout the history of the modern state of Israel, there have been accounts of angelic interventions protecting Israeli soldiers in the midst of intense warfare. One instance recounted by an Israeli military historian after the 1973 Yom Kippur war, describes an Israeli soldier in the Sinai taking captive an entire Egyptian column and leading them to where the Israeli troops were. The Egyptian commander was asked why he and his men gave themselves up to the lone Israeli soldier. He responded with surprise, ”One soldier? There were thousands of them.”

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