Monthly Archives: April 2014

Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (4/18/2014)

 

 

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I have been rereading No Longer a Slumdog by K. P. Yohannan this week:

One of the hardest things to witness is the large number of little boys and girls looking into our Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope Centers wanting to be involved, but unable to join.

…The hardest part is turning down child after child and seeing them suffer without firsthand contact with the love of the Lord. Honestly, there are so many children out there who need our help. One of the biggest requests from our leaders is, “Can we please open up more centers?”

As we have more resources, we proceed with opening more centers. But there are so many times, I have to tell our leaders, “Not yet.” (No Longer a Slumdog, K. P. Yohannan, © 2011 by K. P. Yohannan, GFA Books, pages 145)

Each morning my heart is blessed when I pray for the six children on the bulletin board over the computer that Carol and I sponsor for Bridge of Hope. But then, my heart is broken when I consider the millions we are not able to sponsor. I always pray, “Lord, don’t let them slip through the cracks of eternity without hearing about You.”

Today, I prayed:

Lord, enrich us Americans in every way to be generous in every way so that we produce many thanksgivings to You. (Based on 2 Corinthians 9:11)

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

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

No Longer a Slumdog is now free at Gospel for Asia. You can check it out here.

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Jim’s Testimony

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My name is Jim.

My beautiful wife and I have been sponsoring children since we first found out about Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope program. We had always wanted to have a large family, perhaps a dozen children, but our hearts were changed as we saw the incredible need of the poor children throughout Asia.

Instead of a dozen, we have had two children. Then, we got four more through GFA Bridge of Hope. They were our little hearts, children whose letters we read over and over again. Their pictures were mounted on our wall, and every day the four of us prayed for them. I considered them to be my children and loved them as my own, although I was sure we would never meet this side of eternity.

But God blew my socks off and sent me to India on a business venture about a year ago. My wife reminded me about Gospel for Asia and said I should give them a call to see if I could visit a GFA Bridge of Hope center while I was there. Amazingly, I could!

My heart was not ready for the sights of India. Still, the images of people, I can only assume they were Dalits, sitting on the  roadside without any life in their eyes…everything looked so hopeless! I felt incredibly burdened for these people. It almost brought me to tears to see them and still does to this day.

But when I went to the center, I was simply astonished. The joy! The laughter! The sight of these children, dozens of them, beautiful, laughing, singing! It was so different from everything I saw around them. They were so vibrant and full of life.

This group of over a hundred kids was laughing, studying, and learning about the Lord all at once. It was amazing. But all of this did not prepare me for what was about to happen.

There was one little face in the crowd that I recognized. When I saw him, my little Manu, I just froze. The teacher told him who I was, and he locked eyes with me and he smiled the largest smile I have ever seen. He ran up to me and latched onto me like I was a life raft in the middle of the ocean.

This little 8-year old boy stepped back and looked me straight in the eyes. “Dad,” he said, “thank you for loving me.”

I burst into tears.

After that day, I have never been the same. I left India with a new perspective on life. Anything we could do to help these children, we must do.

Now, my wife and I sponsor two dozen children − twice as many as we ever thought we would have on our own. They are scattered all throughout India and Nepal. I cannot imagine doing anything more worthwhile with my life. This is it. My family and I are dedicated to saving as many people as we can. And Gospel for Asia enables us to do that.

(No Longer a Slumdog, K. P. Yohannan, © 2011 by K. P. Yohannan, GFA Books, pages 131-133)

No Longer a Slumdog is now free at Gospel for Asia. You can check it out here.

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Tuesday’s Prayers for America (4/15/2014)

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When Jesus walked in His ministry, Israel was a powder keg, waiting for a spark to set it off. The Jews were searching for a warrior, like King David, to lead and rid the nation of Rome’s iron rule over it. They desperately desired their freedom.

Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone. (John 6:14-15)

Jesus understood that Israel’s problem was not Rome, but rather, its sin. He knew that every human, from the worst to the best, needed a Savior to set  him loose from the kingdom of darkness.

So, Jesus walked in His calling and became the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world.

This week tempers raged in America as the Bureau of Land Management attempted to remove cattle from a ranch in Nevada. Guns were drawn by both sides, but eventually the government forces retreated from the scene.

Sadly, we can expect more confrontations like this, between government forces and citizens or citizens versus citizens, because sin is increasing more and more in America.

As Christians, we are not called to stand on the sidelines and watch the action from afar. We are called to rush onto the battlefield and pray for both sides, hoping God’s grace will cover all disputes.

Today I prayed:

Lord, I pray and intercede for all people and for our government leaders, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in America, godly and dignified in every way, so that all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth. (Based on 1 Timothy 2: 1-2, 4)

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

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

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Lord, Help Me Love Democrats (Part 12)

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Dad and I rarely talked about politics, but I remember one conversation as a senior in college.

“How do you choose which political candidate to vote for?” I asked.

“I always vote for the best person,” Dad said, puffing on his pipe.

“Really? Have you ever voted for a Democrat or even looked into their positions on issues?

“No, I’ve never once voted for a Democrat or even bothered to check them out. They never measure up well against Republicans.”

“So, you always vote for the best person as long as he’s a Republican, right?”

“Yeah, that pretty well sums up my political philosophy.”

As you can guess from this exchange, my parents voted conservative and raised me to think the same way, which I did until attending college. There I discovered being a conservative because my parents, Roy Rogers, and John Wayne voted like that were not winning arguments with my classmates, seventy percent of whom came from the Chicago area. I soon followed the lemming herd, becoming a liberal like most of the University of Illinois students.

I remained a dedicated liberal until my salvation in 1985 at which time I changed my voting status to Independent. I did this not for any political reasons, but because I no longer cared or read about politics. It seemed like such a waste of time when compared to seeking the Lord.

A few weeks after the 1992 presidential election, I happened to watch a TBN television program, featuring Pentecostal preacher Carlton Pearson. He read a copy of a letter, which was written by Paul Cain and addressed to Rick Joyner. The letter related the dream Paul Cain had the night before the presidential election about the reasons why the Lord was placing Bill Clinton into the office of President of the United States. As a sign that this dream was from the Lord, Paul Cain received the headlines for five major newspapers on the day following the election on the morning of November 4, 1992. The letter was postmarked and time stamped: 10:30 a.m., November 3, 1992. The five headlines proved to be accurate.

I had read the book, Some Said It Thundered, by David Pytches and knew a little about Paul Cain and his prophetic ministry. Cain’s accuracy and words still shocked me. To be honest, I figured Satan elected President Clinton into office, but the letter blew my thoughts about the election out of the water. The letter also opened my eyes to the possibilities of God revealing ahead of time who would win a political election.

Cain’s prophecies directed believers to pray for Bill Clinton and his administration in order for God’s divine plans to become realities in America.

(The above is an excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who, Amazon eBook, © 2014 by Larry Nevenhoven)

(Continued in Part 13)

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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 …

Greetings with love in The Name of Yeshua h’Meshiach, The Lord, Who overcame both death AND life, sin AND our own self righteousness and Who through His great love and mercy has called us – unworthy as we are – to catch a glimpse and be a part of such an intricate and WONDERful plan. May HE be blessed and glorified, and may you be blessed.

I ache over this letter…Passover (Pesach) #2…because I have been writing to you daily in my head and have so much to share on so many levels and yet time constraints will not allow it to happen.  May The Lord grant great grace to share something that will add to each of us.

Passover is the biggest time of Jewish year.  According to Exodus 12 and 13 it is to be the BEGINNING of the year for us [Exodus 12:2], and how that changed I do not know, but however many of us still say to one another, “shana toga” (a good new year) anyway.  Passover is usually considered the beginning of the nation and the people of Israel, and we are told all through the Bible to look back to the deliverance from Egypt and not to return to captivity there in.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood and I have given it to you upon the alter to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11)

And:

“And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22)

Blood is a mystery.  We recoil from it.  Many of Yeshua’s followers turned their backs on Him when He told them that in order to live we must eat His flesh and drink His blood [Jn. 6:53] – a mystery way beyond the understanding in the flesh as it can only be spiritually discerned.

On the 10th day of the month (of Nissan), the pure male unblemished lamb was to be taken into the home. One lamb for each house. It was to be examined closely for defects.  Today is the 10th day of Nissan and I awoke this morning thinking about what it was like to take the little pure, innocent lamb into the family and live with it until the 14th day. Then to shed it’s blood.  I have thought of it over the years as the cost of sin and the price of freedom. MY sin. MY freedom. WHAT A PRICE!  BLOOD. With the life in it.  And how many of Yeshua’s followers and even DISCIPLES participated in His death?  What of Judas, who lived with Him?

And so, you know the story well. The Israelites were told to kill the lamb and place it’s blood on the lintel of the door posts. Only those who stayed INSIDE, protected by the blood, would be spared as the death angel passed over, as he went through the land of Egypt killing every first born, from the animals to people. In the homes of slaves even to the house of Pharaoh.

We can only marvel as we remember Yeshua – the perfect, innocent Lamb of God, the only begotten Son of The King, being lead as a Lamb to the slaughter on Passover. I can not begin to touch the intricacies of the first and last Passover and how perfectly they are intertwined.

But I was surprised at how many of you asked after the first email that I elaborate on some of the customs of the Passover itself.  I thought you would be tired of them by now.  So much is available on the internet for you to read, but do keep in mind that there are great variations in traditions concerning the Seder (that word means order as in the order of the service) and even the food that is considered kosher for Passover.

When I was a child growing up in New York there were not many foods available that were kosher for Passover where we lived.  There was matzo (the unleavened bread, striped and pierced), matzo meal (or matzo flour) and a special Passover cookie (macaroons).  Aside from that there was not much.  We ate a lot of eggs, fish and chicken.  The matzo was covered with chicken fat (schmaltz) and salt (TERRIBLY unhealthy…it was poor people’s butter).

We would store our every day dishes and silverware in a remote back storage area and out would come the special best Passover dishes and silverware reserved only for Passover.  The ancient haggadot (traditional book read at the Seder) passed down from my Grandparents, appeared with their curious woodcuts and drawings. Our family would gather for the very special meal with my father leaning on a pillow in a comfortable chair while sitting at the head of the table. He looked so deserving of respect.  We children admired him.  Our mother sat at the other head of the table beaming.  She would light the Shabat candles and we would all wash our hands in a basin and wipe one another’s hands.  I think of Yeshua washing His disciples feet at that last Seder.

The law of the Passover is laid out in Exodus 12 and 13 and basically tells us that no LEAVEN is to be found in any of our homes. No leavened bread is to be eaten but only unleavened bread for 7 days.  I have always understood leaven to be an agent that is added to something to make it rise (ferment), ie: yeast, baking powder, baking soda.  Many of our people extend that to anything that CAN rise or puff up, such as flour, corn, beans, rice, peas (legumes). The list is L-O-N-G.  HOWEVER, here in Israel we have ABUNDANCE of creative foods that LOOK risen or leavened to me (puffed up with air, filled with beaten egg whites or other things). So we lack for NOTHING.

As I have shared in previous letters, Jews are divided into two distinct ethnic groups according to the areas that they resided in during the 2,000 year dispersion.  The Jews that settled toward the Orient (and Arab) or Spanish and North African areas are called Sephardic. The Jews that settled in the Western European areas are called Ashkenazi.  The traditions are quite different in these two groups. THEN there are also major differences inside of each group. For example: Yemenite Jews have different traditions from Persian Jews although both are Sephardic. Plus, there are differences from family to family.

Of course, each is sure that theirs is right and best.

Certain things are pretty standard.  The Seder dinner begins at sundown on the 14th of the month of Nissan. This year it will be on this coming Monday.

Special prayers have been continuing for a month already and people have been searching their hearts for leaven.  At the same time people have been cleansing their homes of leaven.  In simpler times when people had very few possessions, families would just throw everything out and break dishes and replace them least there be some hidden crumbs.  Still, the streets are currently full of household items that people put out and replace.

In certain areas huge outdoor cauldrons bubble away over an open fire to immerse pots and pans to be koshered for the holiday for those who can’t just replace them.  The extent of the cleaning hit a crisis several years back when a number of women killed themselves or lost their minds, fearful that there might be a crumb left in an inevitable crack in the stone floor or old window casing. So the rabbis began to teach moderation in ridding of all hometz (leaven), but MOSTLY in our hearts.

There has been a concerted attempt to moderate the intensity with which the task is taken on.  Nonetheless, most people scrub as much as possible to obey the command that was given – and confirmed again and again – unto ALL generations.

“It is a night of solemn observances to the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Egypt.  This is that night of the Lord, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations.” (Exodus 12:42)

So!

Our homes are scrubbed and purged of leaven. Our markets either close or seal off with shrink wrap or other prohibiting materials entire sections that contain food forbidden for Passover. By LAW these may not be tampered with. More and more older people simply seal their homes and move to a hotel for the week as the task has become too difficult. The hearts have been prepared with much prayer and that special hush that I have tried to describe so often descends as people dressed in their very finest holiday garb gather together – often very large groups – to partake together in the rituals surrounding the Seder itself.

The Seder is a time to tell the story and to pass it along to the children and to the generation to come.

This will be written for the generation to come That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.” (Psalm 102:18)

The meal, which lasts for many hours, begins as mine did when I was a child.  Although there are traditional haggadot, handed down since the middle ages, more and more people are re-writing them to be more meaningful as the old ones can be terribly cryptic.

As believers there are many haggadot written to show to our children the wonderfully woven covenants, the faithfulness of God and how He NEVER changes and His way is revealed to us all.  There is wonderful singing and rejoicing at these special meals, which last until midnight or later.

To walk in the streets of Jerusalem anytime during the night is an absolute wonder and joy to hear the streets ringing with song rising first from one apartment and then another.  There are jobs for the children. The 4 questions are asked – the story is re-told.  There is a wonderful tradition that points to Yeshua. It brings me chills each year as I realize that our people don’t see yet what it means.

At the beginning of the Seder, 3 pieces of matzo are placed in a special holder. The leader of the Seder takes the center one…the striped and pierced bread without leaven and breaks it.  He replaces one half in the holder and the other half will be HIDDEN AWAY until the end of the feast.  The children must search for it and whoever finds it gets a prize.  No one knows where this tradition came from but it so points to Yeshua.

To my great regret, I must close this email now.  I told you that I was grieved that this letter would not be sufficient.  There is just no more time left to write and yet so much more to share.  I likely won’t get to write again until after the Seder.  In the mean time, our nation stands at a critical brink again.  The world pulls one way and God commands another – sound familiar?  And yet, with no more time to write, I bid you goodnight (laila tov!). I covet your prayers and stand in prayer with you: Thy kingdom come…THY will be done…on earth as it is in heaven.  God bless and encourage you as we give thanks for The Blood of The Lamb and our freedom in Him.

Lovingly,

your sis J

 

 

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Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (4/11/2014)

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There are 2.3 million people held in America’s prisons and jails. Our national incarceration rate is the highest in the world.

Within three years of being released, 67% of ex-prisoners re-offend and 52% are re-incarcerated, according to a study published in 1994. The rate of recidivism is so high in the United States that most inmates who enter the system are likely to reenter within a year of their release. (Confronting Confinement by John J. Gibbons and Nicolas de B. Katzenbach)

There are numerous theories for America’s high prison population. Most revolve around racism, poverty, lack of education, drugs, and so forth. And no doubt these are contributing factors, but the basic problem is sin, which is the root cause of all human suffering.

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray that Your Spirit will fall upon prisoners in America’s prisons and jails causing godly grief to produce a repentance that leads to salvation without regret. (Based on 2 Corinthians 7:10)

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

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

 

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Tuesday’s Prayers for America (4/8/2014)

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The Old Testament ends with a promise that Elijah the prophet would come before an extreme judgment hit Judah and Jerusalem. This prophet would proclaim a message that was meant to turn the hearts of people back to God and His ways. Yet, if the message was not accepted by the Jews, Jerusalem and Judah would be utterly destroyed. 

Jesus stated that John the Baptist was the Elijah prophet as mentioned in Malachi for Judah and Jerusalem, but John was not recognized and accepted as such by the Jews. He was ignored by many and killed.

What happened to Jerusalem and Judah?

In 70 AD, the Roman Army led by General Titus totally destroyed Jerusalem, slaughtering 1.1 million Jews. The Temple was so demolished that only the Wailing Wall remains today. Jesus prophesied this disaster almost forty years before it happened on the first Palm Sunday.

Paul stated that these things took place in the Old Testament as warnings and examples for us.

Today, I prayed for America:

Lord, I pray that You send Elijah-like prophets to prepare us Americans for what is soon coming to our nation and that these prophets will turn our hearts back to You and prepare us for Your soon return. (Based on Luke 1:17)

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

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

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