Faith

My reading took me to Amos 5 where Amos speaks to the Israelites for God. Amos communicates God’s sorrow. The Israelites sin has become a stench to the LORD. No repentance comes from Israel so God turns away. Amos speaks God’s thoughts of doom to the people of Israel. God speaks through Amos saying “Seek me and live.” The LORD wants His people to return to Him. But, first God is a jealous God who will not be ignored. But, second God is a loving and compassionate God who gives second chances to all. God has given Israel chance after chance to return but they refuse to turn away from the idols of their heart. Israel has become their idols and it says in the word ‘but their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, they have eyes, but cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.’ (Psalm 115:4-8) The Israelites trusted in their idols so they became their idols to where they couldn’t see or hear danger; their feet couldn’t run from evil. So, when God sent help in the man Amos to speak truth in their lives to turn from their wicked ways they couldn’t hear or see or utter repentance through their mouths; they had become their idols. The LORD is calling “seek me and live”.

Lord is calling ‘seek me and live” but Israel can’t hear; the flow of God’s words just pass them by without understanding.

Israel is not unlike us because we like our material goods as well. We want the best looking car or we need to build a house too. We have the mentality that what is ‘good for my neighbor is good for me, too’. But, God word says for people who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (1Timothy 6:9-11)

Pursue faithfulness in God: Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1Timothy 6:12) Israel did not fight for their relationship in God but we are called to persevere in faith for our relationship in Christ so that we will claim the prize of eternal life with Him. (Philippians 3:14)

The word says I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasures full. (Proverbs 8:17-21) But, God had conditions to His promises and they were to keep God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) and Israel broke their covenant with God. But, Israel didn’t listen to Amos so reconciliation became judgment.

Amos continued to persevere with words from God to “seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you.” If only Israel would hate evil and seek good then God would save a remnant of Joseph.

A sure indication that you are committed follower of Jesus Christ is your hate of sin and your love for righteousness. Jesus Christ showed us His faithfulness to the truth and His righteous hatred for sin while He walked on this earth. The word says in John 3:19-21 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

Reading further into Amos 7:1-7 the Sovereign LORD was showing Amos a vision of locust on the King’s share of the harvest and Amos cries out “Sovereign LORD, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” So the LORD relented. “This will not happen,” the LORD said. This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me. The Sovereign LORD was calling judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land. Then (Amos) I cried out, “Sovereign LORD, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” So the LORD relented. “This will not happen either,” the Sovereign LORD said. This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in His hand. The vision showed that God was measuring Israel with a plumb line. A plumb line is a string with a weight on one end it is used in carpentry to make straight a wall. Israel wall was not straight. Israel walk was not obedient to God’s rules. God’s warning has fallen on deaf ears. God uses a shepherd boy from Judah to be a prophet for Israel. Amos cries out to God for Israel but Israel rejects God’s words and is told to “get out, you seer!” Amos was called to Israel by God to be a light in their presence darkness. Have you been called to a place where there is darkness and you are the only light within its walls? Persevere! The things that mark an apostle⎯signs, wonders and miracles⎯were done among you with great perseverance. (2Corinthians 12:12) Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) We will not see the end result of our perseverance but know this: nothing is every wasted all is used for the glory of God. (Isaiah 55:11; Numbers 23:19)

In Amos 9:1 I saw the Lord standing by the altar, and He said: “Strike the tops of the pillars so that the thresholds shake. Bring them down on the heads of all the people; those who are left I will kill with the sword. Not one will get away, none will escape.

This is what judgment looks like when you are an enemy of God. God is a merciful and Israel was given chances upon chance to return to God but they loved their sins more. Israel couldn’t hear God’s voice and they forgot who He was. They created their own world where they were number one. They were living in a new utopia where life was surrounded by the love of activity and the worship of things. God was forgotten because life was great. Israel was blessed by God and riches abounded, and with all that God receded into the background until He was totally forgotten.

Israel had depended on their own strength and they have done well; with these thoughts they thought we do not need guidance from this god. Israel forgot who had blessed and protected them. Israel had fallen into the mistake that they were god. The Lord says in His word “you shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

Israel needed to repent and believe again on the LORD. But, they refused to return to the LORD. Israel refused to let go. Israel rejected God’s word. When you fashion idols in your heart and you trust them; you become them. (Psalm 115:8) When warnings come from God and Pastors we say that is not me for we can’t hear truth.  Are ears are stopped up by our idol in our heart and we can’t hear the Lord speaking.

Hear Jesus Christ calling out of the wilderness for you. Repent and believe that Jesus Christ died on a cross for your sins (the idols in your heart) and rose on the third day to be seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. We can’t do this life on our own we need help. Ask Jesus Christ into your life.

Persevere! We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12) We do not want you to fall away to idols but to stay steadfast in the Lord. We want you to triumph. But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. (2Corinthians 2:14)

Thank you, Lord for your faithful pursuing of us. Thank you, Lord that you continue to convict our hearts of our sin. Thank you, Lord for your walk to the cross that cancels my sin.

I pray for your people who struggle with idols of their heart. We ask for your will be done your kingdom come in each life. Open their eyes to see the path they have chosen to walk; which leads to judgment. Open their ears to heed the call of repentance and change before it’s too late. We have all fallen short of the glory of God no one’s perfect not one. Not even you. Help us Lord. In Jesus Christ name, I pray. Amen.

 

Are You The Last Gentile?

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Are you the Last Gentile?
Romans 11:25: Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
Anytime the Bible speaks of Fullness, it means “completeness” or “finished”. The Church age began with the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus the Messiah. Through the shedding of His blood, ALL mankind is eligible to be forgiven their sins and receive eternal salvation. (Acts 2:21 Romans 10:13). All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. The Church (Christians) has not replaced the Jews, but is grafted in to God’s covenant – if the people accept Jesus as their Savior.
As I have posted before, this has always been God’s plan for us, and it was sealed with Jesus’ sacrifice at calvary. The Israelites (Jews) have been God’s chosen people from the time of Abraham; through his son Isaac; and then through Jacob whose name was changed to “Israel”. This is defined “triumphant with God”; given after he wrestled with the angel. (Genesis 32:28; 35:10)
God has special plans for His chosen people, and He will give His full attention to them after the Church is removed. Please note: The Church is not a building; not a particular religion. It is ALL people who have accepted Jesus and are called Christians.
God knows that the Israelites today have not fully accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah. It is estimated only about 7% have done so and are known as “Messianic Jews”. By the end of the tribulation, the Bible says All His People will believe. (Philippians 2:10-11 and Romans 14:11). Every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord.
Now, the main topic – what happens when the Fullness of the Gentiles comes in? As with every war, there is one final victim. With every sport, one final play and then the end. This is the same with God. He has one final Gentile in mind before sending Jesus to take His Church home. (Rapture)
1 Thessalonians 4:16: For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout with the voice of an archangel and with the sound of the trumpet of God. The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and so will we always be with the Lord.
This refers to the “Church age” people who believe in Jesus – Jews, Gentiles – EVERYONE! However, Romans 11:25 tells us that when the last Gentile God has in mind gives His/Her life to Jesus, the rapture will take place. Just as God gave the world time before closing the door to Noah’s ark, He’s giving us time right now to accept Him through His Son – Jesus. He will not wait much longer. I believe we are at the very threshold of this event.
Are you that Gentile? Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? Do you want to go through the tribulation? All prophecies leading up to the Rapture are done. Now it’s a matter of when the “fullness” is done.
To put off accepting Jesus is to not accept Him; to say maybe is a NO; to say anything but yes is to be lost.
The only unforgivable sin is to not accept Jesus. The door is about to close. Please be onboard and enjoy the trip “up” with the rest of the Christians. Hope to see you there!

Jews Replaced By The Church – Not So!

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Jews Replaced by the Church – Not So!
Genesis 12:2-3: And I will make you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great, and so you shall be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you ALL the families of the earth will be blessed.
Genesis 26:3: Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and your descendants, I will give all these lands and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. (to Isaac)
Genesis 28:13-15: And behold, the Lord stood above it and said I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac: the land on which you lie I will give it to you and your descendants…….Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. (to Jacob/Israel)
2 Samuel 7:16: Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever: your throne shall be established forever. (to David)
Acts 3:25: It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers saying to Abraham “And in your seed, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Peter to Jerusalem Jews)
These verses prove the Jews are God’s chosen people and His covenants with them DO NOT EXPIRE. Irregargdless what anyone says (Including our President), once Israel became a nation again on May 14, 1948 the covenant is still there. Some Evangelicals believe the Jews were replaced by “Christians” after the crucifixion of Jesus. That just isn’t so. Romans 11:25: “I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”
What’s happening in the middle east is as the Bible prophesied. Jerusalem is becoming a focal point. (Luke 21:20 & book of Zechariah) Outsiders who say they’re going to give it to the Palestinians haven’t read God’s Word – the Bible.
Gentiles were always included as long as they put their faith and trust in God. When Jesus gave us the Ultimate Sacrifice, our covenant was sealed by His Blood, and the Church age began. This did not eliminate ANY covenant God made earlier.
It means that once the Church (all Believing Persons) is taken out (Rapture), God will give Special Attention to the remaining Jews. A large percent today do not accept Jesus as Messiah, however by the end of the Tribulation, all will believe in Him.
It would be wonderful if all of Israel and Jews worldwide would accept Jesus NOW before this terrible time. God knows it will have to be proven to them just as He had to prove throughout the Bible He means just what He says. Because of their unbelief, they wandered the wilderness for 40 years instead of an 11-day trip. Because of worshiping other gods, they went into Babylonian captivity for 70 years. They were scattered all over the earth for unfaithfulness for over 2000 years. Even so, the covenant stands. May 14, 1948 the clock started ticking the countdown to the end of this age. God said once they returned, they would NEVER be taken out of their land again. In 1967 by taking Jerusalem it brought the time even closer.
It’s going to seem hopeless for Israel, but God says He will protect them – not for their sake but for His name.
My Hope and Prayer is ALL who see this believe in Jesus and accept Him as their Savior. All who call on the name of the Lord shall/will be saved. (Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13)
That’s the Blood Covenant Jesus gave at Calvary.
The clock is winding down – the alarm may sound any moment. Act Today.

Blood Moons / 9th. of Av Part 2

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Blood Moons / 9th. of Av – Part 2
We continue with the significance of a Jewish special day called 9th. of Av orTish B’Av. This is known as a “day of judgments by Yahweh” (God). Many Israelites say 9th of Av is a day cursed by God.
Adding the 9th. Of Av into the current Blood Moon mix: August 4-5, 2014, and you’ve got a real combination. By the way, this year, the 9th. of Av falls on the birthday of Barak Obama. Don’t know the significance, but God does. He knows who honors Israel, and who doesn’t.
The 9th of AV started 1313 BC when the Israelites were in the middle of their Exodus from Egypt. They were about to enter the Promised Land, but did not trust God to help them against the people of that land, and God punished them by making them wander for 40 years until that generation had died out. Only two people from that group were allowed in the Promised Land – Joshua and Caleb. From this time forward, the 9th. Of AV has been a date of mourning for the Jewish people.
Next event: First temple (Solomon’s) was destroyed 423 BC, and the second Temple was destroyed 70 AD on the 9th. Of AV.
In 133 AD, Jewish rebels were brutally butchered in the final battle at Betar by the Romans.
Jews were expelled from England 1290, and From Spain 1492.
All these dates were on the 9th. of AV.
World War I, Germany declared war on Russia in 1914 – 9th. Of AV. Even though WWI ended, the events continued from that day through the Holocaust and Hitler’s final solution was issued on a 9th. of Av.
The Blood Moon Tetrads with total Solar Eclipses and 9th. of Av’s in the past have been some disturbing times for the Jews. As we are at the time of all prophesy being fulfilled except for two events (Rapture and Tribulation), the question is what is God planning for this period of time?
No one knows for sure, but what if this is the Time of the Rapture? God has used these times through the ages as a statement mainly to the Jews that He is in control. When they disobey Him, He disciplines them. The major discipline left is the Tribulation period just before the 2nd. Coming of Jesus where He will actually set foot on this earth.
This should also give warning signals for Gentiles – anyone not Jewish. First, Gentiles have always been in God’s plan to be saved, however this by no means says He has rejected His chosen people – the Jews. They are just in a holding pattern for now. Romans 11:25 says He will take care of them after the “fullness of the Gentiles comes to pass.” That could be any moment.
As a Gentile, I have been given the “gift” of eternal life because of the “gift” of our Lord and Savior on the cross at Calvary. His death, burial and Resurrection guaranteed that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord SHALL be saved. (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13) I am not ashamed that I have accepted Jesus as my Savior as I believe the Bible is God’s inspired word, and is true in every way. He promises if we accept His Son Jesus that He will accept us. If not, He will reject us. 1 John 5:10-12 is about the best and most direct reference to this.
He leaves the choice totally up to you. Please consider having Jesus send the Holy Spirit to dwell within you today.

Hope – God’s promise to all Believers

The Lamb of God Hope – God’s Promise
Today’s news reads like doomsday is upon us. Fires, volcanoes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods just to name a few. The world seems to be going crazy. There is more violence than ever before.
In the middle of the Arab countries sits Israel. It is surrounded by people who absolute hate them just because they are Jews. Arabs don’t just want to conquer them; they want them exterminated. Nations that used to be allies with Israel are turning their backs on God’s chosen people. We have even seen our leaders in America try to give away lands that belong to the Jews, when God says it is theirs forever.
God made a covenant with Abraham, then Isaac then Jacob (also known as Israel) and later with King David. The covenant found in Genesis 12:3 states that those who bless the descendants of Abraham will be blessed. Those who curse his descendants will be cursed. This covenant is being forgotten or ignored by the world, however God’s promise then is still in force today. In May, 1948, Israel again became a nation after being scattered everywhere for over 2500 years. This has never happened with any other country.
There were times in history when there appeared no Hope for God’s people. Two examples in the Old Testament are Joseph and Daniel.
Joseph was sold by his brothers to be a slave in Egypt when he was 17 years old. Even though this was devastating for him, Joseph never lost his faith in the Lord. God saw to it that he found favor with those he came in contact with. Joseph experienced hardships but after about 13 years, he became the second highest person in Egypt. Because of a major famine in the land, he was able to save his people from extinction, and from 70 people the Israelites became a major influence on the earth just as God said they would.
Daniel was a teenager when taken to Babylon during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. He displayed his faith in God even though a captive, and, like Joseph, rose to a high position there. In fact, Daniel prayed to God thanking Him for giving him the interpretation to the king’s dream. You can read this prayer in Daniel 2:20-23. Without their faith in God, we would not be able to read their stories. They kept Hope because they believed the Father would protect them through their trials.
Because of the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we as Gentiles have Hope. Romans 5:8 tells that God saved us even though we were yet sinners. Verse 9 tells we will be kept from the “Wrath” if we accept the sacrifice as a gift. This is also in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9. God has not forgotten us nor is He slow in sending Jesus to take His Church (Christians) home. He is patient and waiting for as many as will come to Him. There will be a day though when He will say, “Son, bring the Christians Home!”
I can tell you with certainty there is at least 7 years left for this earth. The final 7 years will be known as the Tribulation or Wrath. Those who have accepted Jesus will be spared from this horrible time by the Rapture. It is unknown when that period will start, but it could be any time now.
To keep from having to go through that time, all one has to do is accept Jesus as their Savior.
Please keep in mind: Know Jesus – Know Hope; no Jesus – no Hope. He leaves the choice entirely up to you. Only 2 choices – Heaven or Hell. There is no other option. Call on Him today

For He is good; His love endures forever

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. ∽Psalm 106:1

Matt Redman sings this song “Lord, let your glory fall”. Lord, let your glory fall| as on that ancient day| Songs of enduring love| and then Your glory came| And as a sign to You| That we would love the same| Our hearts will sing that song| God, let Your glory come| Then the chorus would play: You are good, you are good| and your love endures| you are good, you are good| and your love endures| Today

Psalm 106 starts out Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. Why is God good; because His love endures forever. God’s people Israel saw God’s love first hand when they left Egypt. God worked through Moses and Aaron to do multiple miracles so that Israel could go into the wilderness to worship their God, Yeshua. God’s love was shown through each plague that the Egyptians endured for holding onto the Israelites. God said ‘let my people go’ but Pharaoh continue to hold the Israelites. The Psalmist knows these miracles first hand and is giving God honor in his Praise the Lord. Let us all ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.’ We also have stories we can tell of God’s love for us. Recently, the Lord has blessed me with furniture but it was somewhere else and I needed to pick it up. So, I call my church and arranged the getting rid of one couch and picking up another couch. We have a plan and then the Lord has a plan; well, I like the Lord’s plan better. My plan wasn’t going anywhere and it was snowing each of my plan days so I gave up and God came through and I just opened doors for two guys. Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. ∽Psalm 106:1

God’s love endures forever. God’s love endures, withstands, suffers, stands, bears, perseveres, remains, carry on these are some of the adjectives for endure. God love is not short live for when I am good but forever. Israelites had a history of forgetting what God had done and did not wait for his counsel. ᶦ⁴In the desert they gave in to their cravings; in the wasteland they put God to the test. ᶦ⁵So He gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them. (Psalm 106:14-15) Sometimes the Lord’s love will give us what we most want but it will be a cost to our freedom or life. For example eating too much caffeine for some of us could cause debilitating illness now or later on in our life; giving us a man or woman that is not right for us because we want them could cause misery for years on end; the job of a lifetime that is within reach but still unavailable we want it and in the end it’s not what you thought and it destroys your family life; and finances are in the red and you don’t want to give up that house even though the Lord says too and you want it. Sometimes, we need to go through the valley so that we can have the mountain views with the Lord. We think we know better than the Lord and we fall like the Israelites because we want control at any cost; the cost of your spouse, children, finances, health, and relationship to God.

When you become blind and deaf you have made an idol for your selves like the Israelites. At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. ²⁰They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass. We also exchange our Glory (God’s visible presence) for designer clothes, sports teams- TV programs (when we arrange our day around our TV), money, credit cards, electronics, toys, and etc…They become our gods and we exchange them for God. God says bulls eat grass. In Romans 1:22-25 says: Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools ²³and exchanged the glory of the immoral God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. ²⁴Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. ²⁵They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator ⎯ who is forever praised. Amen. God is forever praised but gods are not.

We forget God and the miracles He did at the Red Sea where He parted the water and let Israel walk on dry land. So He said He would destroy them ⎯ had not Moses, His chosen one, stood in the breach before Him to keep His wrath from destroying them. Moses stood in the breach to take the wrath on behalf of the Israelites and saved them. Who is standing in your breach before God?

But the people continue to complain and despise the pleasant land. God’s wrath burned again…²⁶He swore to them with uplifted hand that He would make them fall in the desert, ²⁷make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands. ²⁸They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods; they provoked the Lord to anger by their wicked deeds, and a plague broke out among them. ³⁰But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked (stopped). ³ᶦThis was credited to him righteousness for endless generations to come. (Psalm 106:26-31) Who is standing in to intervene for you?

One of the commandments that Moses brought down from Mount Horeb was “You shall not have no other gods before me.”  (Exodus 20:3) Israel was to serve God only and we are commanded to obey the same command. We are to worship God alone…There will be no seeking, praying, worshiping any spirits, the dead or ‘other gods’ but worshiping the true God. (Lev.17:7; Duet. 6:4; 32:17; Ps. 106:37; 1Cor. 10:19-20)

Israelites mingled with their neighbors and adopted their ways. ³⁶They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. ³⁷They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. ³⁸They shred innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. ³⁹They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. (Psalm 106:35-39)

We also mingle with our neighbors (world) and want what they have. We buy the best homes and cars and go on better vacations. We marry our children off to pagan spouses and fellowship with pagan friends. We adapt to their pagan holidays and begin to worship their gods of fun. We forget that God is a jealous God and that He desires a relationship with you and that church is not enough to breach the gap in your relationship. Who will stand and intervene for you?

God became angry because His chosen people were out of control and He had to bring them back so He handed them over to the nations to be oppressed. Many times the Lord wanted to deliver them but they were bent on rebellion. Does that sound familiar to you? We are like the Israelites that we want our way. The Lord will hand us over to our self and we will destroy ourselves. Or like the Israelites we will call out “Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 106:47-48)

Who will intervene for you? Are you calling out to God to save me?

God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Believe on Jesus Christ for He carried our sins and pay the price on the cross…Repent of your idols…surrender your control and ask Jesus Christ to come live inside you so you can reflect God’s glory.

Thank you, Jesus that you stand in the gap so that the wrath of God is extinguished. Thank you, Father that your grace is efficient for us.

Lord Jesus you who carried our infirmities and carried our sorrows to the cross let us laid our burdens down and pick them up no more. I pray that you will be our all and all that we will not have other gods before you but cling to the desires of your heart. Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord. In Jesus Christ name I pray. Amen.

What does the future hold for Syria, Israel, and the Palestinians, amid all the protests and turmoil in the Middle East?

With many tanks and soldiers marching into different cities in Syria, the clash between Sunni and Shiite groups intensifies and threatens to add to the tension. There will be planned protests, too, on May 15 which could add even more fuel tot he fire. A Palestinian state could be declared by September. Why is there so much feuding, and what will result from all of this?

First, a brief explanation of why all the feuding. When Abraham sojourned into the land of Canaan, God told him he would be a great nation. He promised, “I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee.” (Genesis 12:3)

Abraham ran ahead of God, though. Instead of trusting in God’s time for his wife Sarah to bear him a son, he had a child with Sarah’s maid, Hagar. (Genesis 16) This child, Ishmael, was also blessed, but not with the same blessing God gave Isaac, Abraham’s son through Sarah. Instead, the children of Ishmael would often be at war with each other, for, “His hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.” (Genesis 16:12) This same verse says he will “dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

In other words, the Arabs would end up living in the presence of the Jews. However, the conflict would not just be between these groups. Instead, God merely prophesizes that they will dwell together. There have been times when there was relative peace throughout history.

Instead, the prophecy is that there would be great civil strife among Ishmael’s seed. That strife exists in the Sunni and Shiite Muslims, as the clearest example. This conflict is what the protests in Syria are about.

As for the Palestinians, first, it should be noted that not all Palestinians are Muslims. About three-quarters are, with 17% being Jews. They are, instead, a people group which has been trying to get a homeland.

Some claim that Palestinians only want to claim part of Jerusalem. But, some really want to eliminate Israel, as a few maps show. They also have refused to accept Israel’s right to exist, something Germany and Britain, among others, have insisted must happen before a state is granted.
To make a long and convoluted story short, the Palestinians are supported by Syria in part, opposed in part, and it can change by the minute at times.

Several things come into play here.

First, the Bible says God promised this land to Abraham. In fact, the Biblical patricarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are buried here, with their wives, according to Jewish tradition - a tradition which Muslims recognize. They simply believe that God promised the land to Ishmael.

Not only do Muslims believe that Abraham – whom they call Ibrahim – is buried there, which would give the Jewish people just as much right to inhabit the land, there is also ample archaeological evidence for the Bible and that the Jewish people were there many centuries before the Palestinians, unless the Palestinians claim that they descended from the Canaanites (which some, perhaps, might). So, their right to a homeland based on being there before the Jewish people is fallacious. They were given a home by the United Nations in 1948; and yet they are not accepting the right to exist of the other nation given a home in that same mandate.

Of course, that brings up all sorts of complex International Law questions, So, instead of debating whether they should claim this, let’s instead look at what will happen? And, how does this tie in with Syria? Can the Bible, which makes so many other correct prophecies, also tell us what will happen here?

Yes, it can!

This doesn’t mean we can know everything with pinpoint precision, like, “At 8:32 PM on this day this will happen.” Prophecy isn’t like reading a precise history, though some of it gets quite specific. For instance, as I noted in another blog on this site, it is specific to the point that it’s easily understandable afterward. Take the judgment against Tyre, a very rich ancient trading city which was prophesized several centuries before it happened to be destroyed, not be rebuilt, and to have its ruins literally scraped down to the rock.(5) In 332 B.C., after many other nations had fought against it, Alexander the Great’s armies did just that – they scraped the ruins into the sea to make a way to the island part of it was on, and destroyed it entirely.

Instead, prophecy gives us knowledge such as Isaiah 17. This chapter of Isaiah tells us that Damascus will be a “ruinous heap,” and that it will become so very quickly. Once this happens, it will on longer be inhabited. Now, that city has been lived in for thousands of years. This has not come true yet. This doesn’t mean it will happen as a result of the tension in Syria right now. However, it will happen, whether by meteor strike, weapon explosion, or natural gas explosion perhaps triggering weapons, if there are a lot stored somewhere.

We also don’t know when it will be. It could be during the final Battle of Armageddon, or during a war which comes before that. It could also be from a natural disaster.

The Bible tells us that Jerusalem will be given over to the Gentiles (non-Jews) till the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. This means the time the Gentiles control Jerusalem.

This may or may not have begun to be “phased out,” as Hal Lindsey has said, when Israel took the land in 1967 – Israel is still a secular state, after all, though a miraculously reborn one after 2500 years and one with definite similarites to the Biblical/historical one. However, regardless of whether Israel’s rebirth or taking of Jerusalem started a heavenly clock ticking, it is clearly a sign that God is gathering the Jewish people together in the last days as He promised in many places in the Bible.

What is important for this discussion is, how does the dispute with the Palestinians relte to prophecy? It seems like just another war. And, in a sense, that’s true. God’s Word says in James 4:1-2 that wars come from our own lusts, instead of trusting God to open the doors to allow things to happen which are for our best interests. He knows the future and what will result from each action better than we do, and therefore it is His perfect knowledge of a situation that allows us to succeed.

So, thsi desire for land comes from a human desire, a lusting after something which will one day pass away.

However, it is more than just another confrontation. This is apparent because jesus said that the wars, rumors of wars, and many other problems would be like birth pangs.

When a woman is in labor, the contractions start out slow – sharp, yes, but not nearly as close together or as sharp as later. They increase slowly till the baby comes out, at which point they come one right after the other, with no stops.

It might seem like this war has gone on for 2,000 years. It’s true. But, these wars are one of the labor pains, and the unrest has increased since 1948 alone. From wars every decade to skirmishes every few years to almost constant rocket attacks into the northern part of Israel from Lebanon, the stride has increased. So, too, has pressure on Jerusalem, which the Bible says will be a cup of trembling and a burdensome stone which will crush all who try to lift it. (Zechariah 12:1-3) Many world leaders have tried to solve the problem, and all have failed so far.

One won’t, of course – the Antichrist. When he is on the scene, just before Jesus’ Second Coming, most experts agree that Jerusalem will be divided again. Half of the people will be taken captive at this time. (An earlier reference to this, in Zechariah 1, is referring to the past, when Babylon had done this.) God will then fight against all those nations that try to make war against Him, and He will prevail. This will usher in the Millennial Kingdom, during which he will reign 1000 years and the world will be perfect. (Revelation 20)

We see, then, that the Palestinian cause, just as with all those who try to rely on worldly treasures, will not succeed in the end. The answer for them, as for Syria and everyone, is to seek heavenly treasure. This is what Jesus warns us in Matthew 6:19-21. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

So, whether or not their cause is right, the words of Matthew 6:33 are most prudent and important to follow. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Jesus has just finished speaking of housing, food, clothing, and other necessities here. But God – who knows all of our needs – knows what things we have need of and will provide them for us if we don’t go and try to act like we can do it all ourselves. When, in reality, we can only accoml;ish what God allows us to with the skills, chances, and so on which He has lovingly given us.

How is that Kingdom of God sought? It can’t be sought through works, but only by faith. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) He wants us to come to Him by faith. For we are saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

God wants peple to have freedom, of course, And, in His timing, He may give some protesters their wish and allow them to win and find great freedom in their lands. But, if he does, it is to serve a greater purpose.

That purpose is to show His love, power, holiness, etc.. He is not willing – it’s not His desire – that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) He constantly works in our hearts to show us His love and goodness. He has lovingly promised that the Jewish people will keep their everlasting covenant with Him; it is just that the Gentiles are grafted in. And, He has warned us of the coming wars and rumors of wars, and the time of the end.

Isaish 17, along with Ezekiel 38:39 and other wars, may not come tomorrow, but they are rapidly approaching. The death of bin Laden and public celebrations following it – celebrations which would never have come to such an extent years ago – show the mindset that is growing which will cause people to celebrate the death of God’s two witnesses as mentioned in Revelation 11. Things are moving closer every day – to the point Jesus is even now at the door.

The way to be prepared when that happens is to know Him personally. Because, He doesn’t want anyone to perish – He doesn’t want anyone to suffer everlasting punishment away from the face of God. However, He lets people have free choice. He wants each of us to choose eternal life.

It’s not just a head knowledge like some have. I ahd that myself till I was in my late teens. Then, I realized I needed heart knowledge – I need a personal relationship with Him. I received jesus Christ to save me from my sins by faith, because I knew I tried really hard and was usually pretty good, but I still wasn’t perfec, which is God’s standard for goodness. Once I trusted Him to forgive me, He did. He’s been a faithful guide, helper, comforter, friend, and so on every since.

Any of us can have Him as a friend, guiding here and protecting from the wrath to come. All it takes is a single, sincere step of faith, calling on Jesus Christ, believing He is God in flesh, and trusting Him to save you from your sin, through what He did on the cross, when he took the punishment for your sin by dying for you; then, He rose from the dead. He has the victory over all the evil in this world, but He continues to allow people to make bad choices and sin. One day, though, when the age of grace is over, he will judge it, though.

The battles in the Middle East are over things that will pass away. It’s possible that Syria will have much more freedom soon. However, no matter which side wins, that victory will be short-lived. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Romans 14:11) Even if the Lord would give the Palestinians victory, the important thing is not the treasures we get on Earth. The important thing is that we gain treasures in Heaven by serving Jesus, showing the love and compassion that he has for us. It’s not because we have to; it’s because we want to after what He has done for us.

Study of Ezekiel 38 part 1 – The War of Gog

I write a blog that studies the relation between current events and prophetic scripture.  With rumors of war (or peace)  in the Middle East becoming increasingly alarming,  a study of the War of Gog is prudent I believe.  The following is the first of two parts:

In the Vision concerning Gog, God reveals the the prophet Ezekiel that in the ‘latter-days’ Isreal will be invaded by a massive army lead by Gog, or the ‘chief prince’ of the next modern day Persia.  In the vision, it appears that the attack has already taken place, Isreal is occupied, and God is telling Gog that God’s will has been set against Gog, and He is going to pull them out of Isreal.  Ezekiel Chapter 39 gives account of the actual battle, and will be discussed in a later study.

Ezekiel 38 1-3 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him 3 and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal

Who exactly is Gog, this mighty king who will attack Israel with a mighty army in the ‘latter days’?  Gog is first mentioned in I Chronicles 5:4 as a descendant of Joel, son of Shemaiah.  We know that Gog is also the ‘chief prince’ of Meshech and Tubal.  Meshech and Tubal describe the people of ancient Anatolia which now is modern day Turkey.

The word given for ‘chief prince’ is ro’sh or ‘head’ and is used as an adjective (chief) in the passage. Some however relate the word ‘ro’sh’ as a reference to a country known as Rashu (or Reshu) which was an ancient land along the Tigris river.  Other’s have identified ro’sh as a people known as the Rus who lived in the region of the Taurus Mountains in present-day Turkey.  The reference to Russia comes only through resemblance in spelling or sound.

In verses 1-3 of Ezekiel’s vision, God reveals that he is against Gog.

Ezekiel 38:4-7 4 I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. 5 Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, 6 also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you.7 ” ‘Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them.

Here in verse 4, God tells Gog that he is going to turn him around as a horse is lead with a bit in it’s mouth and pull him out of Isreal.

The Ally’s of Gog:

Ezekiel 38:88 After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety.

‘In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war’, God reveals the state of Isreal before the attack. First Gog will invade a land that has recovered from war, which means that the attack will come when Isreal as settled and at peace.

‘whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety.’ The attack will come after Israeli has been restored.  It is believed that a mass pilgrimage to Israel will take place sometime before or immediately after the Rapture.  I believe it may occur once the Israeli/Arab peace treaty is signed.  At no point in History have the Jews lived in relative safety as they do now.

The NIV (New International Version Bible) has ‘In future years’ and the KJV (King James Version) has ‘in the latter years’. The prophecy concerning Gog was written sometime during 593 B.C and history shows that Gog, sometime between 670 and 570  B.C,  was an ally of the people of Gomer (Cimmerians) and warred in Northwest Asia during this period.

In the next part, we will study verses 9-17 and see what happens during the battle.

Will there ever be peace in the Middle East? Or will there be a MidEast war? Why is there such hatred in the Middle East?

Ever since the crisis over the flotilla trying to get through Israel’s blockade, tensions have been very high.  It appeared at times recently that there could be peace in the Middle East. However, real peace seems very far away at times, too.

Why is there such violence?

Four thousand years ago, the Bible says God told Abraham he would make him a great nation. (Gen. 12:1-3, Gen. 15, and others) Abraham “ran ahead” of God’s plan, you might say. God planned to bless his son through his wife, Sarah.  Abraham got impatient though, and he and Sarah’s servant, Hagar, produced a son, named Ishmael. (Gen. 16-17) Abraham later had a son through Sarah, though, named Isaac. (Gen. 21-22) When God blessed Abraham’s son, Isaac – the one he had with Sarah – it started 4,000 years of violence in the Middle East.

God said that Ishmael, too, would be a great nation, though, and live in the presence of his brethren. (Gen. 16:10-12) Obviously, as with Abraham, this means founder of a great people. God still blessed Ishmael’s descendants – but He prophesied correctly that they would not accept living in the presence of Isaac’s seed. “His hand wil be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.” (Gen. 16:12) God is saying here that He knows there will be violence in that region – and there has been for thousands of years.

The Bible predicts correctly things will get more intense

That long ago writing predicting continued violence is helpful in understanding it, you say. But, it seems like things are getting more and more out of control

Yes, they are. I wrote in this blog about a lot of different prophesies dealing with the end times. But, here are just a few things which show how close we are to something major. Look at the following, which was only a few years ago, and compare it with prophecy:

Here are just a few signs – think about the world a couple years ago versus today

* Turkey was still alligned with the Western Nations, and was friendly to Israel
* Iran and Russia weren’t alligned as allies

Today: Turkey ajnd Israel are very hostile. The Bible predicts various nations which occupy modern Turkey (among others) will war against Irsrael. (Ezek. 38-39) Iran and likely Russia are also among those who attack Israel in this war.

* The U.S. was supporting Israel, selling them arms, standing up to Israel’s enemies, etc.

Today, there is great tension between the two. The Bible predicts in varous places that all nations would turn against Israel in the end times. And, that Jerusalem would be a “cup of trembling” which would crush all who tried to deal with the problem. (Zech. 12:2-3)

* Little to none of the One World Government stuff was being discussed in the open

The Bible tells of one final world empire with a world leader at the head (Daniel 7-11, Rev. 13, 17-18, etc.)

* There was no talk of a One-World Currency – now a lot of the world is calling for it
The Bible predicts a world economy will exist. (Rev. 13, 18)

* The RFID chip was in it’s infancy as far as usage in humans – now there are video ads promoting it

The Bible predicted 2000 years ago that technology would exist to put a mark in everyone’s hand or forehand, and nobody could buy or sell without it. (Reve. 13, etc.) While the RFID chip itself may not be the mark, it could still contain the mark later.

* Most countries in the world were financially sound

This isn’t just about a world government. The Bible clearly states (Rev. 6) that there would be great famine, disease, and other things that kill well over a billion people.

All this is not to mention all the earthquakes, volcanoes, and now the oil spill this year. Yes, there have always been natural disasters, but they are increasing in itnensity.

This is not to set a date or anyting. It is, however, stating that things are getting pretty bad. Bad enough that, even if this current crisis dies down, what Jesus terms birth pangs are increasing, and will continue to intensify. The economies of the world will one day get so bad that a one-world government is formed, and a world ruler will take over that will sign a peace treaty with Israel – a new one or strengthening a current one – for 7 years. Then, in the middle of that 7-year stretch, he will break the covenant, and go to war against Israel. (Daniel 9:26-27)

God warns us so we can escape

You know how you watch an action or horror movie, and if you know what’s going to happen, you want to yell “Get out of there!”? You think it at first, then the action gets a little tenser, you get more scared, and finally, if you’re in the theater, someone might actually blurt it out! Well, God knows how this will all end, too. And, He’s warning us the same way. “Get out of there!”

Only, He will be the one to get those out who have called on Him.

See, He gives people free choice, so we’re not mindless robots. He also knows people, because of their sinfulness, will lead this world to destruction, though. He made people perfect, but mankind chose to bring sin into the world, and it’s been getting worse and worse. That sin was like an infection that brought on all kids of natural disasters. And, it’s what causes all the man-made disasters, wars, and so on. Just like the tensions in the Middle east.

But, sin is a problem we all have. We don’t all go out and war against others, or steal, or really bad sins. However, we all sin, and come short of the glory of God.

Think of how awful that sin is. It’s what causes all the greed, corruption, war, hatred, and such in the world today. It will all, one day, be destroyed. Along with all those who practice it. Including us, unless we heed God’s waring to “Get out of there!”

We have to make a choice. A choice to let God cleanse us from our sin.

See, God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son – Jesus Christ. Anyone who believes on Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life. (John 3:16) that means they can be sure of it. They won’t perish – they won’t suffer for their sins, because Jesus has already done so. He went to the cross willingly, died for our sins, then rose from the dead, so we could be free from sin.

All anyone has to do is receive His free gift of eternal life. (Rom. 10:13, Eph. 2:8-9, etc.) That is done by simple faith, trusting Jesus to change you on the inside, making you a new creature. (2 Cor. 5:17) We are saved so we can do good works here on Earth, but remember, the only thing we’ll take with us to Heaven are the souls of others. God will make this world new, after the horrible wars and destruction that will be brought about in that final seven-year period.

But before that destructiveness gets too severe, God will not just cry “Get out of there!” (that’s what He calls us to do now, warn others) God will rescue us, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” (1 Cor. 15:51-52, 1 Thess. 4:13-18) as he will come down for us, to rescue us from this world, before His final wrath is poured out on the horrors of sin.

To escape that, you just need to call out to Him to forgive you and save you from your sins, trusting that He bled and died ont he cross for you, then rose from the dead, so you could get to heaven someday.

A Middle East war will come sooner, rather than later. Every prophecy of the Bible has come true, and we can see the signs now. That doesn’t mean it’ll be tomorrow for sure. But, it will come.

Will we be here for it? The Bible doesn’t say for sure.. But, we must be ready, because the Lord will come in an instant. In the meantime, we must bring others to Christ, warning them, in essence, to “Get out of there!” Because true peace in the Middle East won’t come till Jesus reigns over the world. (Rev. 20)

In The Land of Milk and Honey

My friend, Wendy, is president of a Messianic Jewish Club.  She is a teacher of scripture, a Biblical dramatist, accomplished musician and an author.  She studied theology at Hope International University and Drama at Brown University.  Her “Women of the Bible” dramatic presentations have been performed throughout the U.S., Mexico, Israel and specifically Bethlehem.  Her first book: “The King is Born” is filled with beautiful illustrations from well-known Israeli artist, Baruch Ma’ayan and portrays the story of Jesus’ birth as it might have been experienced in ancient Israel.  Although Wendy’s current ministry calls her to work in the U.S., most of her heart remains in and longs for Israel.  The Wish Fulfillment story below was written to encourage her in the ministry she has here and to remind her that she will eventually get there.

In the Land of Milk & Honey…

Consciousness came slowly…lazily…gently.  The bird song somehow sounded different, the air heavier and sweeter.  Wendy opened her eyes slowly and beheld dappled sunlight filtering through a canopy of grape leaves, laden with heavy purple-black grapes.

She turned her head to the side and looked about her “room”.  It was simple and yet beautiful. Pure white blankets glowing with the morning sunshine lay upon her. A wooden table, elegant in its simple beauty held a bowl of fresh fruit, and a pitcher of iced tea and a glass.

With a sudden intake of breath, Wendy sat up and looked through the transparent walls of her sukkot booth.  In the distance were rolling hills of vineyards and orchards and to the other side in the distance, the lake of Galilee. She suddenly knew why the air felt heavier and sweeter…the presence of Yeshua.

How had she come to be in this place; the land where her heart beat like a drum with joy and all her senses were awakened as if from a deep stupor? Yisrael. She stood slowly, hesitantly to her feet noticing at once her white linen frock, glowing as if it possessed a light of its own.  On her feet were hand crafted sandals.  The morning sun was rising higher and with it came a breeze smelling of roses, bay laurel and the fresh scent of the sea.

She stepped outside her sukkot booth into a garden which surrounded it. It was humming with bees and fluttering butterflies, busy collecting nectar from the numerous blossoms. With pounding heart; afraid to wake up from what must surely be a dream, she slowly climbed the nearest hill, breathing deeply in and out as if each breath were nourishment. She stood and faced the holy city, Jerusalem and was stunned. It was not as she remembered it at all. The Dome of the Rock was gone and in its place stood a gleaming temple of gold and alabaster.  The filth of the Arabic section of the old city was gone, replaced by avenues of trees and streets that glistened like gold in the early light.

“Do you like it?” spoke a familiar masculine voice. Wendy closed her eyes and inhaled sharply.  It was the voice of her beloved but it was not in her head but in her ears.

“Yeshua…” she breathed, holding up her arms; tears welling up and spilling down her cheeks from underneath her closed eyes. She fell slowly to her knees. “Yeshua?”

“There is a question in the saying of my name, beloved,” came the response. “You are wanting to know if you may stay here always?”

“Yes,” whispered Wendy, barely able to breath or speak.

“My precious child,” responded the Master, gently enfolding her in His embrace. “There is no such thing as time where I am concerned; for I live outside of it…and you with Me. Where I am there you are also…and my eyes and heart of ever upon this place, so in a sense…you have never left Israel and it has never left you.  The body which you must inhabit within the human time domain is limited but not your heart or your soul. One day time will cease to exist and both body and soul will be reunited with Me in this place that remains the apple of my eye.  Can you endure until that “time” and do the work I have set before you?”

“Lord, you know my heart and soul’s desire…I will always gladly serve you” replied Wendy.

Yeshua smiled upon her and in the instant she beheld that smile she felt the sight, sounds, smells and “feel” of the land implanted indelibly upon her mind and heart.  From that moment on, wherever she placed her feet, Israel and Jerusalem went with her and before her.  A secret to enjoy between her and The Redeemer as well as the hope of the real reward yet to come.

“Now, come…” Jesus said, holding out his warm brown hand to her.  “Let us enjoy this day together and converse to our heart’s content. What would you like to do first?”

THE END