Staying Peaceful in an Evil World

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have shalom. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world! John 16:33

It is possible to become overwhelmed with all the reports of Islamic terrorists slaughtering so many; while crying out threats against Christians and Jews. Indeed, violence has increased against Believers worldwide. One expert recently called Christian persecution “worldwide human rights disaster of epic proportions.”

The Western world is becoming increasingly secularized in giving over to sin. It is easy to grow discouraged. However, according to Yeshua, discouragement isn’t the correct response. We should maintain our shalom; knowing that Yeshua is our Redeemer. He said, “You may have shalom. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world!”

I personally believe that we, here in the United States, are heading for a time of evil turmoil. We need to remain focused on God and the Messiah! Only through the Holy Spirit can we truly hold onto the “peace that passes understanding.” How often have you heard me say: “it’s all about God and the Messiah?” If you make God your reality, everything else will simply be: everything else! Stay focused and be blessed.

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Living on Purpose

LIVING ON PURPOSE

But He said to them, “I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God cf. Dan. 7:14, 27. to the other towns also. It was for this purpose I was sent.” Luke 4:43

In 2005, the Barna Research Group surveyed Pastors and Christian Leaders about the books that influenced them most during the previous 3 years. Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life was the most cited book (apart from the Bible). Warren’s The Purpose Driven Church was the 2nd most often cited. What does it mean that 2 Bible-based books on “purpose” sold tens of millions of copies around the world? At the very least, it suggests that Christians (and others) are interested in discovering how to live life “on purpose.” When we say we did something “on purpose,” it means we did intentionally; it means our actions were no accidents.

“Meanwhile, the disciples were pressing Him, “Rabbi, eat!”  But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about. So the disciples were saying to each other, “No one brought Him food to eat, did they? Yeshua tells them, “My food is to do the will of the One who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” John 4:31-34

If we model our life after that of the Messiah Yeshua, we would live our lives as purposefully as He did. Yeshua came into this world with a purpose, a mission from God, and refused to let anything distract Him from that purpose.

As God sent his son Yeshua into the world “on purpose,” so Yeshua has sent us “on purpose” as well. “Yeshua said to them again, “Shalom aleichem! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” John 20:21

Live purposefully, not accidentally, for Messiah today!

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Don’t Bare False Witness

“Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16

There are at least 2 ways to be untruthful about another person. One, it is possible to tell a lie: to say that someone did or said something that they didn’t. The other way is not to tell the truth when you know someone is under a false impression. Staying quiet in the presence of a lie can be as wrong as telling the lie.

“So they took Joseph’s tunic, slaughtered a billy goat, and they dipped the tunic into the blood. Then they sent the long-sleeved tunic, and it was brought to their father, and they said, “We found this. Do you recognize whether or not it is your son’s tunic? He did recognize it and said, “My son’s tunic! An evil animal has devoured him! Joseph must be torn to pieces!” Genesis 37:31-33

Ten of Jacob’s sons, who were also brothers of Joseph, the 11th son, were guilty on both counts. First, they misrepresented what happened to Joseph; they pretended they didn’t know how Joseph’s torn, bloodied coat got that way. They even pretended not to know if the coat was Joseph’s. Then, when Jacob reached the wrong conclusion about Joseph’s fate – that he had been killed by a wild animal – the brothers remained silent, knowing they had sold Joseph, alive and well, to Midianite traders.

You must purpose never to traffic in falsehoods yourself. Also, purpose never to remain silent in the presence of a lie. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all ways into Messiah, who is the Head.”  Ephesians 4:15

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Crowd Following Failure is Not Your Calling

2 Chronicles 32:10-17 (TLV)- 10 “Thus says King Sennacherib of Assyria, ‘What are you relying on that you would stay in Jerusalem, under siege?  11 Is not Hezekiah misleading you, to let you die by famine and thirst, saying, “Adonai Eloheinu will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria?”  12 Has not the same Hezekiah removed His high places and His altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem saying, “You shall worship before one altar and upon it you shall burn incense?”  13 Do not you know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the lands?  Were the gods of the nations of the lands ever able to deliver their land out of my hand?  14 Who among all the gods of these nations-which my father’s utterly destroyed-could deliver his people form my hand?  How then is your God able to deliver you from my hand?  15 So now, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like this.  Do not believe him, for no god of any nation or any kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand and from the hand of my fathers.  How much less will your God deliver you from my hand!”  16 His servants spoke further against Adonai Elohim and against His servant Hezekiah.  17 Sennacharib also wrote letters reviling Adonai, the God of Israel, speaking against Him saying, “Just as the gods of the nations of the lands have not delivered their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah shall not deliver His people from my hand.”

Following the crowd is easy to do.  There is extreme pressure to be like everybody else, to have all the same problems that everyone associates with.  One of the things that are common to all man is failure.  In 2 Chronicles 32 it is the officers who are representing Sennacherib King of Assyria (in other words, the world) who are putting pressure on the people God in Jerusalem and King Hezekiah to be like everyone else and just fail.

“On what are you basing your confidence?”  … “Were the gods of those nations ever able to deliver their land from my hand?” … “…no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or the hand of my predecessors…”

Indeed, Sennacherib’s men succeeded in terrorizing the people and if it were not for the intercession of King Hezekiah King of Judah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz the city may have failed, fallen and been captured.

Terror, fear and thereby failure are easy to accept for us because they come to us so naturally.  It does not take any faith, any effort or any action to fail, to fear or be in terror.  In the world, terror and fear is dished out in order to intimidate and win the day.  This worldly approach often works because there is either no real strength and no real power to resist it or those with power and strength to resist decide to remain inactive.  In Messiah Yeshua, we do not need to accept terror or fear because with His presence indwelling us, we are the ones with a super-natural strength and a super-natural power to resist and overcome and it is given to all who believe, obey and abide.

Acts 5:32 (TLV) 32 And we are witnesses of these events-as is the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit), whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

John 15:5 (TLV) 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches.  The one who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for apart from Me, you can do nothing.

We get to decide to enact the power and strength that comes through our faith.  The difference between the faith of the world and those who’s faith is in Yeshua is that faith in Yeshua is not inert. It is not powerless or feckless.  The faith of the world follows the faith of the world into failure albeit eventual sometimes, however faith in God (through Messiah Yeshua) always follows Yeshua into life and God’s success.

2 Chronicles 32:20-21 (TLV) 20 Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz prayed about this and cried out to heaven.  21 Then Adonai sent an angel who annihilated every mighty warrior, commander and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria.  So he withdrew in disgrace to his own land.  When he entered the house of his god some of his own children struck him down with the sword.

2 Chronicles 32 tells of a story of two men who refused to be just like everyone else.  They refused to accept terror, fear and failure and petitioned God, the source of real power and strength to work on their behalf.  How much more will God work on our and your behalf now that we are the dwelling place of the Ruach ha-Kodesh?   Oh yes!  In this life there will be trouble (John 16:33) and we are not always on the “right” side of our issues as we need to refuse to step into our pain and our passions that lead to willful sin and error.  But corporately, and I believe individually as well, we do have the super-natural gifting’s of power and strength through Messiah Yeshua.

Next time you are pressured to follow the crowd into failure and be intimidated by people, events or situations/circumstances, remember you were given super-natural gifting’s when you accepted the gift and responsibility of Yeshua, your salvation.

Romans 8:15 (TLV) 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall again into fear; rather, you received the Ruach of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

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Be Still and Wait Patiently

Be still before ADONAI and wait patiently for Him. Do not fret over one prospering in his way, over one carrying out wicked schemes.   Psalms: 37:7

If life is a journey, most of us are racing down the interstate, hitting the brakes in the congestion, overheating our engines, and running out of gas.  Think of this verse (Psalms 37:7) as a winding mountain road with relaxed speeds, glorious overlooks and scant traffic. Now consider this detour is the quickest way to the destination. We can accomplish so much more when we’re relaxed as we trust in the Messiah and wait patiently for Him.

Waiting patiently and being still before Messiah recognizes He is in control; if we let Him be. Your problems are His concern, and His promises are your inheritance. You may have reasons to worry, but you have better reasons not to. The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms, the Messiah Who knows your needs before you even ask. He is willing to take care of you.

Waiting patiently and being still is the exact opposite of the spirit of our age. But who wants the spirit of this age anyway? Let the Spirit of God fill you with all joy and peace as you wait patiently and be still before the Messiah.

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Live Carefully!

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.” Jacob’s Letter 1:22

Everyone knows that it’s important to read legal documents before signing. If signed blindly, you may be affected in unforeseen ways. The additional fees and required actions are difficult to get out of once you have signed the agreement. Your signature equals your commitment and approval.

Our actions are the signature to our beliefs. Actions tell us more about our beliefs than our words do. We know the danger of signing blindly. But, do we know the danger of living blindly?

It’s easy to say we believe in being on time, but if we are continually late, our actions prove otherwise. Our actions bind us to our beliefs in the same way that our signature binds us to a legal document. We expect integrity from our leaders; and while you may not see yourself as a leader, each of us has influence. Our actions are witnessed by friends, coworkers, family, and even strangers. Impressions are left. Our influence is either positive or negative. We affect the lives of others through our words, and even more so through our actions. Live carefully.

God has given each of us a sphere of influence. We can either ignore or intentionally use it. What beliefs are your actions undersigning?

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Priorities

Priorities

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Yeshua the Messiah, the One You sent.” John 17:3

We hear a lot about priorities in life and there are many. Every area of our life: family, work, personal situations – has its own set of priorities. But is there one that stands above all others? It could be said that attaining eternal life is more important than any other goal in life. After all, eternal life was the gift of God “in the beginning”, and it is what was lost to sin. So re-establishing that status could be seen as priority one in our life.

But whatever things were gain to me, these I have considered as loss for the sake of the Messiah. More than that, I consider all things to be loss in comparison to the surpassing value of the knowledge of Messiah Yeshua my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things; and I consider them garbage in order that I might gain Messiah and be found in Him not having my righteousness derived from Torah, but one that is through trusting in Messiah—the righteousness from God based on trust. My aim is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death— if somehow I might arrive at the resurrection from among the dead.”  Philippians 3:7-11

Knowing Yeshua as Messiah is where eternal life begins; but by its very definition it never ends. All of our earthly, temporal life should be lived in light of the eternity we possess and the presence of God we anticipate. We should be living now the same way we would live in heaven forever. Is your life taking on more and more of Messiah -like quality every day – becoming less earthly, more eternal?

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Using your Natural Gifts

Using your natural gifts

Mishlei (Proverbs) 3:5-6  5 Trust in ADONAI with all your heart; do not rely on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him; then he will level your paths.

When we acknowledge God in all our ways we come to understand that our lives and all our resources are all about Him.  As a matter of fact it is this attitude that should prevent us from indulging in our own self interests and lead to a more satisfied life filled with joy.  To help us and to help us help others in this life, God gives us good gifts, and when used in connection with trust and reliance on Him, produces level paths and Kingdom stability.

Y’akov (James) 1:17  17 Every good act of giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father who made the heavenly lights; with him there is neither variation nor darkness caused by turning.

When it comes to blessings and gifts from God, we need look no further than our God given abilities.  When we are born, many of us have the gifts of (eye) sight, hearing, movement and (audible) communication or some combination thereof.  Most of us have at least one of these and many of us have all of these.  No matter, they are gifts from our heavenly father.

If you have been given eyesight, rejoice and give thanks that you can see.  What a blessing it is!  Of the many things you could look at today, use your eyesight to notice all the wonderful things that your heavenly father created just for you.  Use your eyes to read God’s words (another gift you have), use your gift of sight to see all the other gifts surrounding you.  Use your eyesight to notice others and others needs.  Do not condemn others based on what you see but use your sight to discover, what of God’s gifts you posses that could help your fellow human beings.  Do not waste God’s gift by looking at evil, this gift is given to you to bless you and enable you to do His work.

If you have been given hearing, rejoice and give thanks that you can hear.  What a blessing it is!  Every sound you hear is a precise vibration that is transformed by the mechanism of the parts of your ear.  Use your gift of hearing to listen to the sounds of God’s words, whether they be from your lips or the lips of others.  If someone quotes a scripture to you, be thankful that you are able to hear those precious words.  Use your ability to hear and to listen to peoples needs.  Listen to the meanings of people’s words so you may provide comfort and physical and emotional blessings to your fellow man.  Do not use your hearing to listen to evil.  Remove yourself from Lashan Harrah (evil speech), the tearing down of someone or foolish talk.  Draw near to God and listen to the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and invite others to join you.

Do you have the ability to move?   If you do, rejoice and be glad that you can move.  What a blessing it is!  Today you can use your ability to pick up the book of God’s words, to turn its pages.  You can raise your hands and move your legs in un-abandoned worship to the creator and sustainer of the universe.  You can use your God given ability to help others in need, to relieve someone’s physical burdens.  Your ability to move is not for yourself, it is to be used in service to God and to others.  Use your ability to protect others from evil but do not use your ability to perform acts of evil.  Run from evil, it is your ability to do so and your God given way out of evil situations.   Acknowledge God in your movements and He will direct your paths.

Has God gifted you with speech?  Rejoice and be glad that you can speak.  What a blessing it is!  Use your speech to sing praise to God, use your speech to speak praise to God.  Use your speech to build others up.  Mishlei (Proverbs) 25:11 says:  11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word appropriately spoken.  God has not given you the ability to speak so that you may satisfy yourself with your opinions.  Rather, He has given you the ability so that you may speak out His words to illuminate the darkness that has come into the world.  Speak His words to others, speak His words to Him in prayer.  Use your gift to be silent when you do not know what to say.  Let Him fill your mouth with wisdom and speak only words of life.  Mishlei (Proverbs) 18:21  21 The tongue has power over life and death; those who indulge it must eat its fruit.

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Israel

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How can we argue why Israel has the right to exist without using the Bible?

Let’s look at Israel’s right to exist outside of scripture.

The first declaration by a nation supporting a Jewish national home in the land then known as Palestine came in 1917 when British foreign secretary James Balfour wrote what would become known as the “Balfour Declaration”

This declaration committed Britain to a solemn pledge to help the Jewish people establish a national homeland.

This declaration just didn’t happen out of the blue, but is the result of 20 years of effort on the part of the Jewish people lead by Theodore Herzl, author of “The Jewish State” in 1896, leading to the Basel Conference in 1897 unifying the global Jewish movement of its day and thus establishing what we know today as Zionism.

Zionism = The dream of the Jewish people to return to what was then their former homeland.

After Herzl’s death, the mantle was passed on to Chaim Weizmann who would champion the Zionist cause and helped lobby Great Britain, resulting in the “Balfour Declaration”

The “Balfour Declaration” was introduced in 1917, during World War 1, which not only involved Europe but also the Middle East.

When the war ended the victorious nations convened in Paris in 1919 for the Peace Conference. The allied powers who met were:

·         United Kingdom (Great Britain)

·         France

·         Italy

·         Japan

·         United States

During this conference, Weizmann presented the following political claims, like a statement in a court of law…

1.      Recognition of the Jewish people as a people by international law

2.      Recognition of their historical connection to the land known as Palestine.

3.      The right to reconstitute what they used to have.

Reconstitution refers to Israel’s prior connection to the land…to where Winston Churchill not only endorsed the “Balfour Declaration” but agreed history had attached the Jewish people to the land.

“It is manifestly right that the Jews who are scattered all over the world should have a national centre and a national home where some of them may be reunited. And where else could that be but in the land of Palestine, with which for more than 3000 years they have been intimately and profoundly associated”

Also at this conference, the Arabs through Faisal Hussein presented their claims.

·         They were seeking legal standing as well.

·         Asking for their right to establish an independent Arab state

Each presented their political claims to the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers.

These five nations had the legal power of disposition after the war. They were the key victorious nations who had legal title by way of peace treaties. Because of their authority, they were able to transfer that authority to others, thus being able to establish the right of territorial sovereignty for which the Jews and Arabs each made their claims.

One of the cornerstones associated with deciding the transfer of sovereignty was found in the Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations…

Since the war had destroyed what was the Ottoman Empire, the League adopted a mandate system that would put them (Ottoman) under the tutelage of more advanced nations. What they called big brother helping little brother

By the end of the Paris conference in 1919 the claims made by the Jews and Arabs had not been addressed. Those claims would wait until the following year in Italy at San Remo.

Again the Representatives listened to each one’s claims.

The final answer – they said yes to both sets of claims.

They agreed with the claims of the Jewish people as well as the Arab people.

Prior to San Remo, the “Balfour Declaration” carried political weight, but did not have international legal authority. Now in 1920 it obtained both.

Weizmann stated: “This is the most momentous political event in the whole history of our Zionist movement.

What the San Remo resolution did was enact the “Balfour Declaration” as part of the law of the nations of the world.

Great Britain and France would undertake the mandates that Article 22 stipulated. There were a total of three:

1.      France would oversee the Syrian mandate (which would include what is today Lebanon)

2.      Great Britain would oversee the mandates of Iraq and Palestine

The initial mandate for Palestine included territory on both sides of the Jordan River. However, to settle a dispute between the French and British, Churchill at the Cairo Conference in 1921 gave Trans-Jordan to Faisal Hussein.

This decision eliminated more than 3/4 of the territory originally given to the Jewish homeland and ended up creating an additional Arab state in the region.

Under Article 6, the following was stated…keep this in mind regarding today’s climate:

“The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage in co-operation with the Jewish agency…

Article 6 encourages settlements. Quite a contrast to the views being expressed today. Today, settlements are viewed as illegal, because of the view that Israel’s right to exist and develop the land for its people is not real and legitimate.

Article 6 further conveys – “not only do the Jews have the right to establish settlements, but that the world has the obligation to help them settle.

The “San Remo Resolution” was internationally ratified on July 24, 1922 by the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations. A total of 51 nations would ratify the resolution that included the following:

“Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”

Six days later, the United States House of Congress unanimously endorsed the “Mandate for Palestine”

What did the Arabs receive?

Basically they received the rest of the Middle East as we know it today…

·         Syria that would include Lebanon

·         All of Mesopotamia

·         All of Arabia

Yet, James Balfour makes this statement:

“Why are you complaining? You are getting all these lands and we are granting a niche.

What is interesting, in the Resolution, there were no national or political rights granted to the local Arabs or the Arabs who resided in Palestine. Those rights were granted to the Jewish people exclusively.

Then there is the question of Articles 181 and 242 dealing with the partition plan of 1947 and redefined borders of 1967. Under Article 80 of the UN Charter, it states that all previous obligations enacted by the League of Nations would be preserved.

All this proves the right of Israel, without mentioning the Bible!

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Merely lumps of clay

MERELY LUMPS OF CLAY

“House of Isra’el, can’t I deal with you as the potter deals with his clay? – says ADONAI. Look! You, house of Isra’el, are the same in my hand as the clay in the potter’s hand.”

Jeremiah 18:6

Imagine a clay pot complaining about the potter who created it! The lump of clay is nothing. In fact, it’s completely worthless until the potter skillfully molds it into whatever he desires.

In Biblical imagery the potter usually refers to God, and the clay to mankind. Yet people always complain about God. In fact, many denied He even exists. Here’s what the prophet Isaiah had to say on the subject: “Woe to anyone who argues with his maker, like potsherds lying on the ground! Does the clay ask the potter, “What are you doing?” or, “What’s this you’re making, that has no hands?” Isaiah 45:9

How strange that people today tell the potter what he should do or how he should think. More ridiculous still is the “Clay” denying the potter even has hands. Yet the world is filled with people who claim God does not exist.

“Woe” to them, Isaiah says of such folly, “How you turn things upside down! – Is the potter not better than the clay, Does something made say of its maker, “He didn’t make me”? Does the product say of its producer, “He has no discernment”?” Isaiah 29:16. People who presume to dictate to God or deny His existence don’t know their true standing in life. They have foolishly tried to put themselves in God’s place.

A potter shapes soft clay with his hands into any shape he desires. As Isaiah declared, “But now, ADONAI, you are our father; we are the clay, you are our potter; and we are all the work of your hands.” Isaiah 64:8. God is sovereign He does as He wishes; He creates and shapes each individual for His own purposes. It is up to us to do His will – not the other way around.

“Who are you, a mere human being, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me this way?” Or has the potter no right to make from a given lump of clay this pot for honorable use and that one for dishonorable?” Romans 9:20-21

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