Prayers for America (6/21/2018)

Jesus was walking with his disciples in Caesarea Philippi, which was twenty-five miles north of Capernaum, Jesus’ hometown during this period. He tossed out a question to the twelve, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

His disciples answered Him by saying, “Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets.”

Jesus zeroed in on their opinions. “But who do you say I am?”

Without hesitation, Peter said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus called Peter blessed and stated that his revelation came from the Father. Then Jesus said —

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

Some have taken Jesus’ words to mean the church is either to be built on Peter or upon his revelation. Actually, I believe it is both.

Thirty years later, the apostle Paul wrote:

[The household of God is] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20)

My prayer today:

Lord, raise up churches in America built on the foundation of apostles and prophets with Jesus as the Cornerstone so these churches can withstand the end-times’ onslaught by Satan and his kingdom of darkness. (Based on Matthew 16:18 and Ephesians 2:20)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.

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Praying for Our Children (Part 2)

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“Lord, did I do something wrong?” I said aloud after hanging up the phone.

Almost instantly, I felt the Holy Spirit say to my heart:  “Don’t ever pray that way again for your son Scott and his girlfriend Liza. Pray for the two to get married and have a great marriage.”

This quick back and forth conversation came about one weekend in the 1990s because a few months earlier I had prayed for my son to break up with his girlfriend.  My prayer was not because Liza wasn’t a great girl because she was all of that and more. But according to my thinking, she didn’t pray or study her Bible or seem sufficiently interested in the Lord to meet my nearsighted standards. So, I figured she had to go.

Did my prayer work?

It seemed to work for a while as the two quit dating almost immediately after my prayer. This continued for a few months until I spoke with Scott on that weekend.

“Just want you to know that Liza and I are dating again,” said Scott.

“Oh…” I replied.

We said our goodbyes and hung up.

When Scott told me about dating Liza again, fear enveloped me. The fear shredded my hardened heart so that I could ask, “Lord, did I do something wrong?”

Upon hearing the Lord’s voice, I repented and began praying for the two to be married, which happened three years later. Liza and Scott now have two sons and a godly marriage.

Does scripture back up my experience?

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand and I will accomplish all My purpose.” (Isaiah 46:10)

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:15-16) 

The above verses reveal God has plans for our children before they are even born. We also know God revealed plans about children and grandchildren to various parents in the Bible:

Hagar about her son Ishmael. (Genesis 16:10-12)

Abraham about his son Isaac. (Genesis 17:19-21)

Rebekah about her twin sons −Esau and Jacob. (Genesis 25:23)

Jacob prophesied over his grandsons. (Genesis 48:15-20)

Jacob prophesied over his sons. (Genesis 49:2-27)

Manoah and his wife about their son Samson. (Judges 13:3-5)

King David about his son Solomon. (1 Chronicles 23:8-10)

All of Judah about Josiah. (1 Kings 13:2)

Zacharias about John the Baptist. (Luke 1:13-17)

Mary and Joseph about Jesus. (Luke 1:30-33; Matthew 1:20-21)

Maybe you’ve raised an eyebrow after reading so far. “Yes, God did this for Israel’s patriarchs, His kings, John the Baptist, and for our Lord Jesus,” you may be muttering to yourself, “but these were people especially chosen by Him to carry out His plans on earth. Why would He do this for me and my children?”

(Excerpt from Praying for the Frozen Chosen: Our Children by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2016, Amazon eBook)

(Continued in Part 3)

 

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Prayers for Israel (6/19/2018)

In 539 B.C., Daniel discovered that Jeremiah’s prophecy about Jerusalem being a desolation for seventy years was about to be fulfilled. What did Daniel then do?

Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. (Daniel 9:3)

Instead of running out and telling everyone about his revelation, Daniel did everything he could to bring the prophecy into its fulfillment through his prayers and fasting.

“God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” (John Wesley)

One of God’s biblical principles is that He longs to partner with believers to bring forth His unfulfilled scriptural prophecies. We pray and fast and then God provides the miraculous power to bring forth the prophecy into its manifestation here on earth.

This is the reason, we need to fast and pray for Israel and Jerusalem now because the days are ticking off God’s calendar before Jesus’ return.

Lord, raise up American believers who are willing to partner with You and Your Word so that Your end-time prophecies for Jerusalem and Israel are fulfilled according to Your plans.

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for Israel and Jerusalem.

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What’re Your Plans for 300 Years From Now? (Part 2)

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If we take a step in obedience, God will reward us with a mile of blessings. (Mike Bickel)

Jesus spoke a parable about a nobleman who was traveling to a far country. Before leaving, the nobleman called ten of his servants into his office. There he gave each a bag of silver worth about a hundred days of wages for a common laborer.

He told the ten men, “Do business with this money until I return.”

After a period of time, the nobleman returned. The man called for his ten servants to give an accounting of their business transactions.

The first servant had earned ten more bags of money for a 1000% return.

The nobleman said to the man, “Well done, good servant. Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.” (Luke 19:17)

Yes, Luke 19:11-27 is a parable, but Jesus used it to explain a truth, one that I overlooked for years.

In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus told a similar parable about three servants who were given various amounts of money by a master while he went on a trip. One was given five 75-lb. bags of silver, another two 75-lb. bags of silver, and a third received one 75-lb. bag of silver.

Upon returning, the master settled accounts with the three men. The first man doubled the master’s investment by earning five more 75-lb. bags of silver for the master.

The master said to the servant, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. (Matthew 25:21)

Once again, this is a parable, which Jesus used to explain a truth to us.

In the Book of Revelation, we read two interesting verses in the King James or the New King James translations that tie into the above parables:

And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5-6 NKJ)

How can we be kings and rulers, right?

(Continued in Part 3)

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Inside Israel

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The Shuk in Jerusalem

Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is —

Blessings Dear Sisters and Brothers in The Name of The Lord, Yeshua h’meshiach, Jesus Christ.  May He be blessed and glorified and may you be blessed and edified.
Our four-year old Granddaughter surprised us at lunch the other day by quoting verses in Hebrew before we ate.  “She learned it in gan,” (pre-school) our daughter told us.

I was blown away.  I am still trying to say the whole portion in Hebrew, and she had learned it in a government secular pre-school. Wow!

Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and [a]be careful to observe it,that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’

“Hear, O Israel: [b]The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lordyour God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.(Deuteronomy 6:1-9)

This portion of scripture – the Shma– is the main prayer of Judaism.  Shma is the command: Hear. However I was surprised to hear our 4 year old repeat it fully.

Israeli state radio begins the 6 a.m. broadcast with the Shma every morning, as do most observant Jews and many traditional Jews. SHMA YISROEL, ADONAI ELOHENU, ADONAI AHAD!  HEAR OH ISRAEL, THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE.

This scripture (verses 4-9) along with Deut. 11:13-21, is contained in the mezuzah (the little box affixed to the door frame of Jewish homes).  The tefillin box that I described to you recently, also contains these verses along with Exodus 13:1-16.  Of course, like my 4 year old Granddaughter, we can put the scriptures in our heads, write them on our doorposts and wrap them around our bodies, but they only change us and glorify The Lord if they are in our hearts and life breathed into action by The Holy Spirit.

None the less, we plant The Word in our hearts and in the hearts of our children knowing that one sows, and another reaps, but only GOD gives the increase.        

 And here I walk the streets in “the land of The Book” surrounded by and part of the people of The Book. I pray: “LORD! Breathe Your Spirit of LIFE into us all that we would become the testimony that You want us to be, the display of Who You Are”

   I asked for prayer for Kinneret in my last letter and many of you responded that The Lord had put her on your heart.  So you need to know that the very next day after I sent out the prayer request she told me, “It is really a miracle!  My son got an appointment to be interviewed for intensive day treatment at Hadassah Hospital. (One of the best mental health facilities) It is a miracle that he got the appointment so quickly!”

Happily I told her that I had shared some of her story and needs with my praying friends outside of the country by mail.  She was amazed and couldn’t imagine such a thing that people would pray for her family.  So I do have a further request to tack on, for those of you who are praying for her. Their daughter – Shir – is having her Bat Mitzvah this coming Sunday and her twin brother (the one who is hidden in his room) will not be coming. That is breaking his mother’s heart. She has asked if I would please come to the Bat Mitzvah to be there like a Mother for her.

I told you that her mother has been committed to mental hospital since Kinneret was 5 and it broke my heart.  It will be difficult for me to go as it begins at 7:30 p.m. and I work on Monday. But I feel that it is important.  If it is The Lord’s open door, will you pray with me that I am able to go?

I cannot tell you how encouraged she is to know that you are praying for them.  And the fact that she is glad, encourages me.

I went to the shuk and prayed which way to go. With things so tense in the country these days it is wise to take nothing for granted, but that is always wisdom for each of us anywhere, eh?

I went to an Arab vendor whom I like and asked him how he was.  He mumbled “b’seder” (ok, fine) under his breath and continued looking down.

Once again I spoke strongly, my boldness surprising me. “No you are not.  What’s wrong?” I demanded.

He looked up at me startled and recognized me. A smile spread across his face. “Ah mah me.” (‘mah’me’ sounds just like mommy and is an affectionate Hebrew term that DOESN’T mean mommy but is a warm sign of friendship.’It’s this FAST!  (Ramadan) I’m hungry and tired. I work all day and party all night and then comes the 2 a.m. call to prayer, just as I get to sleep, and then it is 4 a.m. and I have to get up to go to work. It’s hot and I’m HUNGRY!  Not sleeping and not eating makes us crazy,” he laughed and I groaned.

“Oy!  I understand,”I said.

“It’s almost over,” he continued.

So, when I stopped by his stand today I asked, “Are you less tired and grouchy now,” figuring that Ramadan was over.

“No!” he barked. “Eid-al-Fitr! Just as bad! Two more days!”  He shook his head.

Along came an old religious Jew and they began talking happily about a rabbi that they both knew had said and I had to chuckle.

WHAT A MIXTURE!

Burning kites sent by the hundreds across the border from Gaza to set afire the ripening fields of the south of Israel. So what do we do? Kite making camps are held on the Israeli side of the border to teach the kids the beauty of kites so that they won’t be afraid of them. They float beautifully designed back across to Palestinian Gaza.

Meanwhile, as we seek a solution, so much of the land in the south has burned, so many crops and food destroyed. The farmers are dismayed. So many questions and so shockingly much MIS-information on international news.

Israel demolishes 15 homes in our own Gush Etzion village of Netiv HaAvot.  One of the homes was the loving home of a friend of mine – a family of six, a secretary whom I used to work with.  I heard her speak on the evening news as she can speak English.  The land had a claim filed against it and although it is still disputed, the law ruled to destroy the houses. We are a people with a law.

And then there is suddenly rain in June. But it is our dry season and the rains have passed. Yet the desert is closed to trips because of flash flooding.  Whereas May was 2 degrees warmer than normal, June so far is 2 degrees cooler.

Over the noise…no, the ROAR, of the world being shaken from its foundation…may the cry go up from our hearts:  I WILL LOVE THE LORD MY GOD WITH ALL OF MY HEART AND SOUL AND STRENGTH AND MIGHT!  May we each do it, believe it, walk it and share it for His glory.

I am more and more convinced that there is no other way.

Sincerely,

J

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Do We Still Need Prophecy and the Spiritual Gifts?

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A commenter on Dr. Michael Brown’s recent column, Charismatic Movement Needs Some Self-Policing: “The fruit of the Charismatic Movement has not been good.”

Like many critics, this person could only see the thorns of the Charismatic Movement and not the beautiful rose blossoms that have blessed numerous lives, including mine.

On May 20, 1985, I decided to commit suicide. This decision was based on my failure to put together a farm publishing company. All of my financial sources were maxed out, with the only untouched asset being a $125,000 life insurance policy on my life.

Suicide was not a problem because I was an agnostic. My not believing in God relieved me of worrying about Hell and God’s eternal punishment for my unbelief. It seemed like a good business decision on my part.

For some reason, I stopped at an insurance agent’s office that afternoon. Bill wasn’t my insurance agent nor was he a close intimate friend. Our relationship was built on my coaching his son for a teen baseball team the year before.

Bill invited me into his office. I sat down on a chair in front of his desk while he sat on the opposite side.  We talked about baseball, but in the middle of our conversation, he paused and stared at me. “You’re thinking about committing suicide, aren’t you?” he said.

His words hit me like a sledgehammer. How did he know? It was my secret $125,000 payday. I was speechless. As I sat there, a vision played across my mind about my car ramming into a viaduct and killing me.

I wept. “How did you know?” I asked.

“Oh,” said Bill, “the Lord told me while we were talking to each other.”

His words shattered my unbelief. God was alive and He cared about me.

We continued talking for a while longer. He gave me a book to read: Power in Praise by Merlin Carothers. Bill stated how the small book had changed his life a few years earlier.

When I arrived home, I began reading the book. After finishing the first eighteen pages, I walked into the bathroom, closed the door, looked into the mirror and said, “Jesus, I’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked. I guess I’ll give You a try.”

Instantly, I was changed. I bowed down on the tile floor and worshipped my new Lord and King.

How a reader views my salvation testimony probably depends on which camp of Christianity the person presently sits in.

Eight to ten percent of American Christians might pooh-pooh my salvation testimony because they’re cessationists who believe that prophecy and the spiritual gifts ceased at the end of the apostolic age.

Another fifteen to twenty percent of Christians might jump up and down, saying, “Amen, brother.” These are the Pentecostals, Charismatics and others who wholeheartedly endorse prophecy and the spiritual gifts.

That leaves a balance of seventy to seventy-five percent of American Christians who are not in either of the first two camps. They have heard about prophecy but have not seen the spiritual gifts functioning in their own churches. For the most part, they do not hold any opinions one way or another on prophecy or the spiritual gifts.

What does the Bible say about prophecy and the spiritual gifts?

Pursue love, and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:1)

The Apostle Paul wrote the above verse in his first letter to the Corinthian Church around 55 AD. It explained the spiritual gifts and their proper usage.

The historian Eusebius pointed out the importance of prophecy in an event that occurred only ten or eleven years after Paul’s letter. A Messianic believer in Jerusalem prophesied that everyone should flee the Holy City to save their lives. The prophecy also reminded the believers of Jesus’ prophecy on the first Palm Sunday.

By early 69 AD, every Messianic believer had fled Jerusalem. Most went to a city in Jordan, named Pella, which was about sixty miles from Jerusalem.

In 70 AD, the Roman army led by General Titus sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple, slaughtering nearly a million Jews. This calamity fulfilled the prophecy spoken by Jesus on that first Palm Sunday.

The number of Messianic believers who fled Jerusalem were about sixty thousand in total. Those believers loved Jerusalem and their Jewish neighbors. They would have told everyone about the prophecy, but sadly, the Jewish army had won some battles against Rome when the prophecy was first spoken. Therefore, most Jews ignored the words of those Messianic believers and remained in Jerusalem. The majority of them died.

What if someone today prophesied that we should evacuate San Francisco or Chicago or New York City or Washington D. C. or wherever because the city was about to be destroyed?

Maybe you’re thinking something like this could never happen, right?

The Book of Revelation tells us about the horrific destruction which will occur in our world sometime in the near future. Half of the earth’s population will die during the seal and trumpet judgments. Most of the cities will be destroyed. If believers don’t take the mark of the beast, we won’t be able to buy or sell anything, including food and medicine.

So, how will believers survive without prophecy and the spiritual gifts?

Maybe our American-held belief of a pre-tribulation Rapture will be accurate. Maybe believers will be out of here before the bad stuff happens.

But just in case, it might be a good idea to develop an ear for prophecy and learn about the spiritual gifts now.

(The above post appeared as a column for WND.com on April 13, 2018 which can be seen here.)

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Prayers for America (6/14/2018)

 

When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

My prayer today:

Lord, do whatever it takes in American believers’ lives to build our faith to a level sufficient enough to fight the good fight in these last days before Your return, to finish our races, and to keep the faith according to Your satisfaction. (Based on 2 Timothy 4:7)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.

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