Monthly Archives: January 2014

Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (1/31/2014)

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C. S. Lewis, that great British defender of the faith, wrote, “There is no doctrine which I would willingly remove from Christianity than that of hell. I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully, ‘All will be saved.'” (Revolution in World Missions by K. P. Yohannan)

How many people in the above photo would you estimate to be saved?

I would guess only 20 to 25.

What do I base my guess on? Approximately 5% of the people in India, the world’s largest democracy, are Christians.

How heartbreaking, huh?

Today I prayed:

Lord, You told us the harvest was plentiful and the laborers were few. Therefore, I pray to the Lord of the harvest, to send out thousands and thousands of laborers into India. (Based on Luke 10:2)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you about prisoners?

Join with me on Fridays to fast and pray for prisoners, according to Hebrews 13:3

If you are interested in helping to send laborers into the harvest fields of India, consider sponsoring a national missionary for Gospel For Asia. See more info here.

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Lord, Help me Love Democrats (Part 1)

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What national leader do you trust? President Obama? Vice President Biden? Senate Majority Leader Reid? Senate Minority Leader McConnell? Speaker of the House Boehner? House Majority Leader Cantor? House Minority Leader Pelosi? Any senator? Any congressional representative? Or even the Republican Party or Democratic Party? Can you believe much of anything these leaders ever say?

If you have the common sense of an amoeba, your answer has to be “NO.”

But maybe you think your favorite politicians and favorite political parties are better than the opposition because your favorites lie less than the other political side. Okay, maybe you are correct with your assumptions, but a liar who prevaricates fewer times than another politician is still what? That’s right! That politician is still a liar.

Good golly Miss Molly!

How did America end up with shameless liars for leaders who have not an ounce of remorse in them, even when they are caught in their lies?

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” (Pogo Comic Strip poster, Walt Kelly, Earth Day, 1970)

Most of us Christians are quick to point our fingers at politicians, judges, attorneys, the media, talk show hosts, or whoever and blame them for America’s downfall. But that is foolish because we believers are the ones who should be wearing sackcloth and ashes, bowing down before everyone in our shame for allowing America to undergo such a horrendous transformation on our watch. We are the blame! Repeat: we are the blame!

It won’t be long before both political parties will be labeling the 2014 Midterm Elections as “the most important elections” in the history of America. So to be ahead of the curve, let’s look at what I consider some bad choices we believers have made over the last sixty years which need to be handled now.

(Continued in Part 2)

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Tuesday’s Prayers for America (1/28/2014)

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In the book of Jeremiah, there are two prophets who prophesied to Jerusalem and its people. One, of course,  was named Jeremiah who as a twenty year old man, the Lord spoke to him:

“Do not be afraid of them [the king, the leaders, the people, etc.], for I am with you to deliver you…” (Jeremiah 1:7-8)

Jeremiah proclaimed God’s words for twenty years, but during the middle of King Jehoikim’s reign, Jeremiah forgot the promise made to him by God. He felt alone, feared for his life, and cried out:

“Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will You [God] be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail?” (Jeremiah 15:18)

No doubt Jeremiah’s anguish was real because it was during Jehoikim’s reign when the prophet was banned from speaking in the temple. He sent his scribe, Baruch, in his place to speak his prophetic words.

But even though the persecution was real, God expected Jeremiah to trust Him and His words. God eventually spoke to Jeremiah:

“If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before Me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as My mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them. And I will make you to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you.” (Jeremiah 15:19-20)

From this moment forward, Jeremiah never wavered again. He faithfully spoke God’s words to Judah and Jerusalem for another twenty years.

The other prophet?

His name was Uriah who spoke the same words as Jeremiah. We don’t know much about this prophet because fear destroyed his ministry.

My prayer for America today:

“Lord, I pray for men and women, like Jeremiah, who have stood in Your counsel to come forth and speak Your prophetic words so that we Americans turn from our evil ways and follow You once again.” (Based on Jeremiah 23:22)

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

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

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Shanti Doesn’t Understand

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I just received a letter from Shanti, the little ten-year old girl we sponsor through Gospel For Asia’s Bridge of Hope. Her letters are treasures to read over and over, but one sentence in her recent letter grabbed my heart:

“Thank God He has created such beautiful success for you…”

In my eyes, I am not a success. Almost everything I’ve ever attempted has fallen short of the finish line, ending up in failure.

But maybe, I’m looking through the wrong eyes. Maybe I should view my life through her eyes.

Shanti lives in West Bengal, India. This state is on the east side of India, bordering with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and the Bay of Bengal. She is a Dalit, which means she is a part of the Untouchable Caste, the least of the least and the lowest of the lowest, almost subhuman to other Hindus.  Her dad is an agricultural worker and probably earns a dollar per day for twelve hours of backbreaking work. The dollar per day has to clothe, feed, and shelter Shanti, her mother, a brother, sister, and, of course, the dad.

So, even though I am unsuccessful compared to my neighbors and friends, I am a wealthy man in Shanti’s eyes. You see, I can afford to live in a house, drive a car, and pay $35 per month to sponsor her at a Bridge of Hope School.

Maybe Shanti is right. Maybe I am a beautiful success, not because of anything I’ve done, but because I just happened to be born in America. That may seem unfair, but it is the truth.

If you are interested in learning about sponsoring a child in Gospel For Asia’s Bridge of Hope, click here.

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Inside Israel

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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 …

In this New Year, according to the Gregorian calendar, I greet you in the Love of Yeshua.  I pray that this will be the year each of us is changed into His image for His glory.  May HE be blessed and glorified, and may you be blessed, beloved friends.

There has been a letter literally burning in my heart. Sorry to sound so dramatic, but that is exactly how it feels. It developed through a moment of standing before Him and asking, “What does it mean to be a witness of the things that You have called me to be a witness to?”

I was shocked at how quickly the answer came, but it came on so many levels at one time that I pray I can translate it into an understandable communication.  And on top of that, I will start with the end, or at least the part, which is working itself out today.

Today, here in Israel, in the Fertile Crescent, in the Middle East, I am a witness to change that is occurring so rapidly there is no time to catch my breath.  There is no room here to be a frog, slowly boiled to death as the heat rises. Why? Because the flame is on high. No history lessons now, no TIME for them, but here’s a witness’ view of today.

I heard the sirens a short time ago as US Sec of State Kerry headed out of Jerusalem toward Ramala, ending the second talk with our Prime Minister of this 10th round of secret peace discussions.  And they ARE secret.  Although different ones claim to have a leak or a source, anyone familiar with the history, area, and people taking part in the discussions knows these are just guesses or smoke screens, and not accurate reports.

And, brothers and sisters, it is scary.  Not for God, of course because He KNOWS the outcome, and to an extent, so do we. Many in the body are saying we are at “this moment now” or “that one,” but even we DON’T know what the path we are taking LOOKS like.  It is NOT a path that we have been down before and HIS WORD − “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path” − shines just far enough ahead so we can see the next step.  Just as HE said, “NO man knows the time or the hour,” so it is, there are many things that NO man knows.

We do know this:  We know that the Syrian war HAS spilled into Lebanon.  We know that ALL of the countries, which experienced Western intervention for overthrowing their rulers, are in bloody chaos and instability.  We know that when Egypt wrested itself from the brink of becoming another Gaza after the Moslem Brotherhood took power, that the upside down world condemned them.  We know that our ex-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who has been in a deep coma since 2006 after suffering a massive stroke following his disastrous removal of Israelis from Gaza is right now at the door of death, the last of the early heroes of our modern state.

We know that as a result of the unusual massive snow storm that impacted our entire nation, food prices have skyrocketed – particularly the vegetables (an Israeli staple), but almost everything you look at – pushing many over the edge into poverty and hunger. We know that daily terrorist attacks are increasing again.  We know that men are shaking in their shoes at the changes happening here. And we KNOW that men have no answers.  Not for the weather extremes nor for the political extremes, nor for the despair that grips the souls of men.

And in the midst of all of this, I asked,  “To WHAT exactly am I a witness?” The answer came: “To ME and to the FAITHFULNESS OF MY WORD!”

Scripture after scripture poured into my poor brain, and I understood what He meant.  HE chose Israel to be an inheritance (Jer. 51:19), HE established the plan (Levit. 20:24), set the boundaries and borders (Deut. 32:8), judged and chastened a disobedient son, (the book of Jeremiah), BECAUSE HE IS FAITHFUL. HE is still going to carry out HIS plan and purposes in, for, and to this country/nation/people, IN SPITE of our stiff necks, IN SPITE of the world’s opinions and rules, and IN SPITE of our own interpretations of what HE said.

So I want to “re-witness” or perhaps proclaim again, loudly, what I am seeing.  HE drew these borders for this land. HE laid claim to this land and said that NO ONE could divide it because it is HIS.  HE judges this land and its people.  HE has been calling this people from the four corners of the earth to the land that HE gave to them more then 5,000 years ago.  HE sent His Son to fulfill HIS Word, His promise, and His plan. HE sent HIM to this land that is His and He said that He would be coming BACK here again to this land: Israel.

HE blinded the people here and HE will soon  open their eyes.  THIS is what I am witness to. I am a witness of the fact that EVERYTHING HE has said, intended and promised concerning this land and this people is coming to pass before my eyes, and sometimes I feel as if I need to shout it.  NOT to YOU my DEAR friends. To myself!  To the Church! To the world! To Israel!

But I REJOICE with you because you KNOW already, that HE IS FAITHFUL AND HE  WILL FULFILL HIS ENTIRE WORD and we must be careful to walk HIS ways.

I said I would begin at the end, and so I will also bring the end of a great and precious promise we are to stand on, before I close this letter:

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

AMEN!  MAY HE BE BLESSED AND GLORIFIED!  And may we walk humbly before Him and one another!

If you have time, start at the beginning:

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written,

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that would not see
    and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”

9 And David says,

“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
    a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
    and bend their backs forever.”

Gentiles Grafted In

11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation

25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
    he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27 “and this will be my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”

28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they arebeloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
    or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
    that he might be repaid?”

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans Chapter 11, ESV) 

But scripture out of context never gives the whole picture, just as events out of context can never give the full story. We must walk through it all with His Spirit because we can’t possibly see clearly without Him.

I have been happy to hear many have begun the New Year reading through the entire Bible in order, in context, from Genesis 1:1 and Matthew 1:1.  This is my habit, too. I am so thankful He established it in me.  I encourage each of you who have begun, not to be discouraged if you fall behind.  You are not in a race, so if it takes two or even three years, may you persevere, and then begin again.

Your sister in Jerusalem,

J

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Chapter 44: No Longer A Slumdog

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In 1995, Janelle told me about K. P. Yohannan and his ministry, Gospel for Asia. She loaned me a book, Revolution in World Missions by Yohannan, which I quickly forgot about until New Years Day, 1996. Since I had nowhere to go on that holiday and no TV to watch football bowl games, I hunkered down and read the book.

Yohannan wrote in one part how overwhelmed he felt by the size of India and his meager resources. He cried out to the Lord and eventually the Lord spoke the following to his heart:

“I am not in any trouble that I need someone to beg for Me. I made no promises I will not keep to you. It is not the largeness of the work that matters, but only doing what I command. All I ask of you is that you be a servant. For all who join with you in the work, it will be a privilege − a light burden for them.”

The Lord’s response so blessed me I wrote the words in my Bible. Although Carol and I began sponsoring a GFA missionary in 2006, I paid little attention to the ministry, except for a few glances at the words written in my Bible.

Fast forward until 2011 when we received a free copy in the mail of No Longer A Slumdog by K. P. Yohannan. The title caught my attention because of the movie by a similar name. I sat down and began reading it. I wept often and asked forgiveness again and again of the Lord as the book revealed my selfishness to me.

There were stories about Muttu, Asha, Lata, Vichy, Tusli, and other names of poor children I could not pronounce. I read about a mother who sold her baby for ten pounds of rice. I learned about India’s caste system and how the lowest rung, the Dalits, comprise 20% of India’s population or nearly 300 million people. The Dalits are considered subhuman, worthy of being treated like dogs.

Every word acted like a rock thrown against my plastic Western Christianity, creating cracks in it. Yet, it was this specific sentence on Page 31, which penetrated my heart:

“In India alone, there are 11 million children like Asha who have been abandoned, and 90% of them are girls.”

All I could think about were the 9.9 million abandoned little girls. If I closed my eyes, I saw little children, but their faces resembled my daughter, Susan, when she was four years old. I could not ignore my heart this time.

My wife and I now sponsor six children in Gospel For Asia’s Bridge of Hope program. I am a volunteer advocate for Bridge of Hope, a Gospel For Asia blogger, and a member of their prayer team.

In the foreword to No Longer A Slumdog, Francis Chan wrote:

“I am very thankful for the book you are about to read. It has stirred my heart once again. Living in the West with all of its influences, it is easy to forget about others…”

I recommend this book to everyone and who knows? It may change your life, too.

(From soon to be published memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who by Larry Nevenhoven.)

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