MATURITY UNTO GODLINESS

Godliness is not only about morality, or a moral life.  It has especially to do with the character of God:  like Father, like Son.  God is righteous and meek.  God is love.  God is holy.  Aspects which the Holy Spirit is forming in us to conform us to the image and likeness of God can be found in Yeshua’s teachings of the beatitudes; in the qualities of the fruit of the Holy Spirit; and in the traits characterizing love given in 1Cor 13 

Gen 3:5   for God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil  

Heb 5:12-6:3   For indeed because of the time, you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again what are the first principles of the oracles of God. And you have become in need of milk, and not of solid food.  For everyone partaking of milk is unskillful in the Word of Righteousness, for he is an infant.  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, even those who because of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.  Therefore, having left the discourse of the beginning of Christ, let us go on to full growth, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,  of the baptisms, of doctrine, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  And this we will do, if God permits.  

1Co 3:1-4   And I, brothers, could not speak to you as to spiritual ones, but as to fleshly, as to babes in Christ.  I have fed you with milk and not with solid food, for you were not yet able to bear it; nor are you able even now.  For you are yet carnal. For in that there is among you envyings and strife and divisions, are you not carnal, and do you not walk according to men?  For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal?  

Eph 4:11-16   And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.  And this until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;  so that we no longer may be infants, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, in the dishonesty of men, in cunning craftiness, to the wiles of deceit.  But that you, speaking the truth in love, may in all things grow up to Him who is the Head, even Christfrom whom the whole body, fitted together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of each part, producing the growth of the body to the edifying of itself in love.   

Joh 3:12   If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things 

1Co 6:2-5   Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Do you not know that we shall judge angels, not to mention the things of this life?  If, then, you truly have judgments of the things of this life, set those who are least esteemed in the church to judge.  For I speak to your shame. Is it so that there is not a wise one among you, not even one in your midst who shall be able to judge between his brother?   

Jud 1:14-15   And Enoch, the seventh from Adam, also prophesied to these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with myriads of His saintsto do judgment against all, and to rebuke all the ungodly of them concerning all their ungodly works which they ungodly did, and concerning all the hard things ungodly sinners spoke against Him.

ISRAEL UNDER SIEGE – 26 Aug 2011

Here is an excellent link to a presentation presenting the legitimacy of Israel from a legal and historic perspective.  As you know, the Palestinians are trying to get the UN later in September to nullify previous historic legal agreements regarding Israel.

http://www.ec4i.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=128:give-pe

If a Mormon like Glenn Beck, and other “unsaved” actors and ordinary persons, can take a strong public stand in support of the legitimate and moral right of Israel to not only exist, but also to be supported, how is that so many Jewish people and Bible-believing Christians do not?

Taking some liberty, I ‘quote’ from Romans 2:25-29 :  For ‘baptism’ is indeed profitable is you keep
the ‘integrity of the Law and the Prophets’; but if you are a breaker of the ‘Word of God’, your ‘baptism’ has become ‘un-baptism’.  Therefore, if an ‘un-Christian person’ keeps the ‘truth of God’s promises’ will not his ‘unbaptism’ be counted as ‘baptism’?  And will not the ‘spiritually unbaptized’, if he fulfills the ‘commandments and instruction of God’, judge you who, with your written ‘Scriptures’ and ‘baptism’, are a transgressor of ‘them’?

And almost directly from John 3:10-12 :  Yeshua answered and said to [Nicodemus], ‘Are you the teacher of Israel (‘and of the Church’), and do not know these things?  Most assuredly, I say to you, we speak what we know and testify what we have seen, and you do not receive our witness.  If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?!‘ 

What we are seeing happening before our very eyes in these days and times is bringing us nearer to that Day:
‘ For behold, in those days and that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (in Hebrew, Yehoshaphat means “YHVH judges”); and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations.  They have also divided up My land.” (Joel 3:1-2)

May the fear of God fall upon the peoples and nations!

“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the Throne, and to the Lamb!”

TRUTH, AND THE LYING SPIRIT – 23 Aug 2011

Greetings from the land where the lie is often spoken as truth,

Thanks to the many of you who have written in, and to those who didn’t yet lifted a voice to our Father in Heaven.

From the time that the serpent got Eve and Adam to listen to him over the clear Word of God, we have inherited the tendency to believe lies over truth.  And when the lie is repeated enough and taught and passed on as being true, it takes a rude awakening sometimes to open our eyes and ears to reality.  I was always brought up to believe that the truth of Jesus was not true — at least not for Jewish people.  If something is true, it is true for everyone.  Today Israel and Jewish people curses — although not always knowingly — both Jesus and those who believe in Him.  And Israel herself finds the nations delegitimizing and cursing the truth of her existence, and her witness to the one true God — even in her unbelief.  We reap what we sow; as we judge, we shall be judged.

In the present state of war preparations, Israelis were attacked and murdered.  Israel responded by killing the terrorists, and also some Egyptians, who may or may not have been complicit in the attacks near Eilat last week; and the news media, including some of Israel’s own, give a picture that Israel is the aggressor against Gazans and Hamas.  I heard a BBC newscast just two days ago, with the story stating that Israel had killed 15 Palestinians, including civilians, in response to a militant raid which killed  eight Israelis.  NOTHING about the civilians that the terrorists killed, including the injury of two children.  NOTHING about all the rocket attacks which had already begun on southern Israel towns and cities.  And with all this, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations involved who started the latest salvo during Ramadan, threatened Israel should Israel retaliate during Ramadan! 

The terrorists who chose to start the killings and attacks then also decided when the “cease-fire” should begin — 9:00 pm on Sunday.  Since Sunday at 9:00 pm (2100), rockets have been fired towards Ashkelon and other Israeli towns near Gaza.  Israel, once again, finds itself in a dilemma that no matter what she does, it is wrong.  Believers in Jesus/Yeshua, whatever we do or say about the truth of who He is, are never right in Judaism thinking. 

Praise the Lord for His righteousness!  His thoughts and ways are just and true, and His wisdom is awe-inspiring, and His judgments past finding out! 

Here is a link to a pretty amazing video about Hamas tactics against their own people and Israel:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUuhw0RpRMY

Here is a very wry response to the U.S. demands for Israel to always apologize:  http://yossibarnegev.wordpress.com/  (I do not know who the author is, as far as I know.)

And here is a video of rocket attacks in Beer Sheva this past Saturday night, with most being intercepted:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n5ICddnSJk

BEER SHEVA UNDER FIRE – 20 Aug 2011

This morning before we left home for our congregational service, the sirens went off, and we went down to our bomb shelter.  The rockets from Gaza this morning, and also on Thursday night, fell not too far from the section of the city in which we live, and on one of the rocket falls, the house shook from the vibrations of the impact.  This evening we have had twice to go into shelters while we were visiting friends from the kehila (congregation) who lived within sight of what we were hearing this morning. 

The missile interceptor system, called Iron Dome, has been brought back to the city after being taken out a couple of years ago.  It has successfully taken out some of the rockets which have been fired these past days.  Hamas has taken responsibility for these attacks, after denying any for what took place in Eilat a few days ago.

Sadly, this evening a grad rocket hit in a neighborhood, destroying a car and seriously damaging the house.  Worse, one person was killed, seven seriously injured, at least one mortally.  All of these remained outside during the attack, rather than get inside under cover.  Very likely, they were curious to see the Iron Dome work to intercept the missiles.  It is interesting to watch, but dangerous:  curiosity killed the cat.  The guidelines the news and the security authorities are stressing is to get into shelters, and remain there for some minutes after the alarm finishes.  We also know that not all neighborhoods have bomb shelters prepared to use, and many complaints are being heard for the city and the state to do something about this, which has been very clear since the Gaza War.

During the war in Gaza in 2009, no one was killed over a month in Beer Sheva.  One young boy was seriously injured.

I do not believe that any believer is exempt from being harmed, either directly or indirectly.  What will distinguish us is our reaction and response in the event of personal suffering, and how we relate to others who do suffer:  the issue is glory to our Father in Heaven, and honor to the name of the Lord Yeshua Messiah/Jesus Christ.  Before the event, it is difficult to ‘plan’ for our reaction, but the Holy Spirit within us wants to steady us as quickly as possible on The Rock of our salvation.

THE LORD’S BURDEN FOR ISRAEL – 18 Aug 2011

To fulfill Israel’s sovereign and redemptive election God is working to:

–return the heart of His people to Jerusalem and His Word, offering as many who will repent and believe today for salvation through Messiah Yeshua the blessedness of the first resurrection;

–tread down Jerusalem so that the Jews’ heart-cry and hope is only in Him who comes in the name of YEHOVAH;

–convict of national and generational transgression, sin, and iniquity against the LORD and His covenant so that He can forgive, cleanse, heal each and all of His  people when the full remnant from every tribe looks upon Yeshua whom they have  pierced.

HUMBLING OURSELVES – 7 Aug 2011

A call for a national fast by the believers in Israel has gone out for this week, Aug 8-9, coinciding with the Jewish day of mourning over the destruction of the two temples, and for other calamitous events which have occured on or near the same Hebrew calendar date of the 9th day of the 5th month.

The Body of Messiah, as a priesthood representing our peoples before God, is called to intercede for our nation in the face of all the existential threats she faces.  For us to have any authority before God on behalf of our unbelieving people, the believers must face squarely our own sins as God’s people under the blood of the New Covenant at this time.

Not only are there external enemies and threats to seek to destroy Israel from being a nation anymore, but there are both external and internal agents seeking to prevent Israel and the Jewish people from being what God has created and redeemed her for.  We still, even as born-again Spirit-baptized and -filled believers in the truth of who Jesus Christ is, too often show a likeness to Israel who did/do not want to have the living God be her King, but wanted/want a king like the Gentiles have.  We want to be like the Gentiles, rather than a holy people serving the Holy One, and being a servant nation as a royal priesthood to bless other nations and peoples for the glory of our Father in Heaven and the Lord Yeshua Messiah/Jesus Christ.  Too many Christians — or by any other name that clearly identifies any and all believers with Yeshua/Jesus — want a Jesus that is like the ‘holy’ men of other religions, and not the unique and only-begotten Son of God who alone is the Mediator between God and men.

As we humble ourselves and seek God’s face, let us acknowledge our own sins first — as is required of the priests serving YHVH God — according to the calling and ministries we have in Messiah/Christ, so that there might be healing and deliverance and revival within the household of faith.  Then, perhaps those outside will come and see what the Holy Spirit is doing that brings lasting hope in the God of hope.  All their sins are a consequence of not believing in the name of the Son of God; all our own sins are for not believing what He says.

THE PLENTY OF UNREST – 1 Aug 2011

While the Arabs are uprising and suffering around the Middle East and North Africa, the Jewish people in Israel are staging their own social protests.  One major difference is that in Israel there has been no violence or military intervention against her own people.  Until now the government of Israel has always been “of the people” and not some separated class of people.  In Israel we are family.

A visiting Zambian pastor has been very impressed with the abundance of food and commodities in Israel, as well as with the excellent road and highway system.  The people —  both Jewish and Arab — he sees living together and sharing the life together.  Yet Israel has forgotten YHVH her God, who has made it possible for all this plenty, and has taken much of the credit herself for the successes.  Even in this unbelief and rebellion, the God of covenant is showing HIS faithfulness, even to a stubborn and stiff-necked people, as He continues to show Himself faithful.  His desire is for His people to return back to Him, and for those who are enemies of His people to also repent and come under His good and gracious covering in the Commonwealth of Israel.

Socially, Israel has a growing gap between the relatively few rich, and the increasing poorer and poor.  The cost of living in Israel is very high, with high prices and low wages.  As of this writing, there are public and private sector strikes and demonstrations against government policies.  Doctors have been on strike for more than four months; parents are protesting the cost of high child-care; students are protesting the high cost of higher education and of housing costs; young married couples are protesting the near impossibility to purchase a modest apartment for a reasonable price; fuel prices are very costly, and the price of new cars are taxed at a rate to bring the cost to double the price.

While we stand on God’s promises regarding the Promised Land to the descendants of Jacob, He also has given commandments regarding the social welfare, and promises of righteous judgments against those who oppress the poor, the needy, the widow, the orphan, the weak of society.  May the Israeli government show itself sensitive to the real and felt needs of the general populace.  May the Church in Israel show itself a willing vessel to help in whatever ways it can; may Jerusalem/Israel/Zion turn to and bless Him who comes in the name of YHVH.