Monthly Archives: September 2014

Tuesday’s Prayers for America (9/30/2014)

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My ballpark guess is that 15-20% of America’s Christians have had a Pentacostal/Charismatic experience according to 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11, which means they may speak in tongues, prophesy, or walk in one of the other spiritual gifts. They may or may not attend a Pentacostal or Charismatic church.

At the other end of the spectrum would be the Christians who consider themselves cessationists. These Christians believe the spiritual gifts, such as speaking in tongues and prophesying, ended with the passing away of the First Century apostles. I’d guess this group of Christians to be approximately 5-10% of the whole.

Okay, that leaves 70-80% of America’s Christians who have not had a personal Pentacostal/Charismatic/spiritual gift experience, but at the same time, they are not totally against the spiritual gifts.

I believe it is important for today’s Christians to prophesy or be around believers who prophesy so that we are prepared for future calamities and terrorist attacks. How else can we be warned except by the Holy Spirit, who will tell us of things to come?

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray for American believers that we will pursue love and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, but especially that we may prophesy. (Based on 1 Corinthians 14:1)

What do you think and did the Lord speak to you today?

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

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Learning How to Pray Effectively in 59 Seconds or Less (Part 13)

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Want to have a big church? Just check around because there are countless seminars to attend, books to read, and mentors to help with your dream. If you follow their advice, I am sure you will have a good chance at having a big church with a beautiful building.

If this is your goal, God bless you in your undertaking.

Now, if you want a powerful church, save your money because I have a plan on how to do this. But I have to warn you ahead of time that you probably will never need a big building for your group. In fact, the majority of your meetings will most likely fit into a small closet or a phone booth.

What’s my suggested plan of action? Make fasting and prayer one of the foundations for your church.

…Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. (Isaiah 58:4)

The above verse is written in the negative, but it still gives us insight into why proper fasting is important: to make our voices to be heard on high. Isn’t this what prayer is all about?

Let’s be honest with each other, okay?

We American Christians are not good at fasting. Yes, we may like the idea of fasting and even believe it’s biblical, but when the rubber meets the road, most of us lack the discipline that it takes to fast.

Why?

I am sure the answers are varied, but the biggest reason is that we are not desperate enough as yet to embrace fasting.

Besides having our voices heard on high, what are some other reasons  that fasting can make our prayers more effective?

(Continued in Part 14…earlier parts can be read by clicking here or above on the header.)

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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 …

Psalm 107“Oh, give thanks to The Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever.  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy and gathered out of the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south.”  1-3 …”For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. 7” 

Greetings brothers and sisters in Yeshua, Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, may HE alone be glorified and blessed and praised and worshipped and adored in the fullness of The Father – Abba God, Adonoi, Elohim through His Holy Spirit.  Blessings to you with love on this beautiful Rosh h’shana.

How good He is!  So many terrorist attacks were planned for last night and this day. So many disasters were predicted and prophesied; for us, none of them have taken place.  This is not boasting, although perhaps it is boasting in God and His faithfulness to keep us humble and not knowing the hour, to keep us dependent upon Him and knowing that He will bring all of His promises to pass, both those of judgment but also of mercy.

To my great surprise, yesterday morning as I was having devotions I came to the end of both the book of Luke and the book that I was meditating in − the book of Micah.  The last words in the book of Micah were:

 Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. 19 He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea. 20 You will give truth to Jacob And mercy to Abraham, Which You have sworn to our fathers From days of old. (Micah 7:18-20)

Now, I will not mince words. Micah was a pretty hard book to meditate through and most mornings left me shaking and begging for mercy. Then, there it was − His mercy, His promise, His Character. “Who is a God like You?”

I turned the page for the next verse to meditate in and guess what? That was the end of the book.  No…He will NOT pass over judgment and we are yet in the midst of Revelation, but to this people in this part of the story (His dealings with Israel) these words are today’s headlines.

As I looked at the Hebrew for these verses I was totally surprised to find the foundation verse for one of the main traditions coming up this week is found right here, particularly in verse 19.  It says: “HE will have compassion on us and that HE will subdue our iniquities and that HE will cast our sins into the depths of the sea.”

The word here in Hebrew for casting (our sins into the depths of the sea) is tashlic.  I will describe the tashlic ceremony later this week, Lord willing.  The problem is that WE (as a people) are still trying to do this ourselves when HE, as our GOD has promised to do it.

Ok…I confess that I am too excited and this letter might get too confusing if I continue to jump ahead of myself.  I am excited because of The Words that I have read over the past few mornings and today. But I am called to be “a faithful witness” so let me share with you more of what I am seeing first.

Levit 23:22 This is the day of the blowing of the shofarim (trumpets) and a ‘holy convocation’ with no 23 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25 You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’”

The weather is beautiful today, with the wind of Jerusalem making the tree leaves and flowers dance as if worshipping before The God Who has brought Jerusalem to this quiet restful state in the face of so many threats.

Last year we heard many shofarim being sounded according to the command written in the above verses, but this year, as my husband’s back is recovering, we are not out walking and not hearing as many, so we blew our own a few times.  How I love the sound, even if we don’t bring forth the clean sound that others who are more proficient are able to do.

I also don’t see the persimmons blowing in the wind as I do on the days when I go to work and pass through many gardened streets.  The word for persimmon in Hebrew is rimon (a pretty word)  [רימון] and it is one of the symbolic fruits of the season.  I love this beautiful fruit whose bud is one of the first to appear.  It is an almost florescent pink orange crown that comes shooting forth, commanding the eyes to look.  The top half of the bud begins to swell and the bottom half (the crown) blossoms out.

Daily as I walk to work I watch the fruit develop and the small green immature fruit turning into regal red bursting globes.  The shuk (market) is full of them as well as the trees during these holidays and each table displays them.  They give us much to think about. The royal globes with a crown on top have an opening that exposes hundreds (200 to 1600 so I understand) juicy, healthy, yummy seeds to add to salads or eat by the handful or to squeeze into juice.  I always think of the fruit of The Spirit as I look at these − some producing 100 fold.

I now hear more shofarim sounding through the street in front of our apartment as the sun begins to go down.  It has been a delightful day after having wonderful, beloved sisters and brothers in The Lord around our table last night.  How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity together. 

Just think of it: the faithfulness of God.  How the body of Messiah continues to grow in number and strength, an indigenous body after 2,000 years of being only a tiny remnant along with the rest of the people of Israel. We are here again.

May we all be one AS HE IS ONE.  I now have 3 more days off from work so I hope to write again.  May I be a faithful witness…may we each be faithful to all that He has called us to.  God bless you.  Lovingly, your sis in Jerusalem

 

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Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (9/26/2014)

Each Friday I am praying and fasting for the nations where Christians suffer the worst persecution around the world, as of 2014. This week I pray and fast for:

Iraq. 25.9 million people with 330,000 Christians.

There was an increase in attacks and threats against Christians in 2013. Islamist terrorist groups, influenced by the conflict in Syria, are increasing in number. One of their aims is to empty the country of Christians, and this situation is aggravated by the government’s total authority. According to a local source, every two or three days a Christian is killed, kidnapped or abused. As a minority, Christians are an easy target for kidnappers. Even in the relatively unrestricted, semi-autonomous Kurdish region, the security situation for Christians is deteriorating. (Open Doors, World Watch List)

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray for the Iraqi Christians that their love is genuine, they abhor what is evil, and hold on to what is good; that they are not slothful in zeal, but are fervent in Spirit to serve You; that they rejoice in hope, are patient in tribulation and constant in prayer; that they bless those who are persecuting them; and that they are not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Based on Romans 12:8-21)

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 (9/23/214)

dolly 17

 

“Run for your lives. There are too many Philistines! We’ll all be slaughtered,” yelled the Israelites.

The soldiers dropped their weapons en masse and fled the battlefield for the hills surrounding the area. Clouds of dust marked their scrambling footsteps, all heading to safety.

Four Israelites remained in the middle of the battlefield. They formed a small square with their backs to each other and their swords pointing out at the advancing Philistine army.

“What’s the plan, my king?” shouted Eleazar over his shoulder.

King David nodded his head. “Our God is for us,” proclaimed the king. “Let’s continue fighting until all of these uncircumcised Philistines are either dead or retreat from the battlefield.” (Fictionalized version of 2 Samuel 23:9-10 and 1 Chronicles 11:12-14)

…but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. (Daniel 11:32)

We Americans are very fortunate because we are not fighting ISIS and other Islamic Jihadists in our nation right now, but we will! In fact, you’d have to be blind as the…as the…average Christian not to see this war heading toward our malls, our streets, and our neighborhoods.

Yet, like I said, we’re fortunate because we have the time right now to build our faith and trust in God so we can pray and believe in our prayers.

Remember: it’s one thing to pray, but an entirely different matter to believe our prayers and then be willing to walk in them.

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray that You will give us American believers the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him so that the eyes of our hearts are enlightened to know what is the hope, the riches of His glorious inheritance, and the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe. (Based on Ephesians 1:17-19)

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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Learning How to Pray Effectively in 59 Seconds or Less (Part 12)

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The female pastor walked to the pulpit and began the eulogy for my deceased friend, Brad. I have no idea what she said because the Lord chose this moment to speak to me once more.

I felt Him whisper to my heart: “My church is a bunch of nice losers. They lay their hands on the sick and pray for them, but when they die, they aren’t mad at all. They don’t check themselves out to see what happened or what they may have done wrong with their prayers and actions. They accept defeats and don’t think anymore about them.

“Now, Major League baseball teams are all filled with good players. Each player has to be one of the best in the world to make it to the Major Leagues. Losing teams have good players on their rosters, too. But after a while, losing teams’ players don’t mind losing because after all, they still receive their Major League paychecks and bonuses.

“But winning Major League baseball teams are different. They hate losing and will do anything and whatever it takes to win. They hate losing.

“I want My church to hate losing!”

This time the grief, which hit me, measured a ten on the Richter Scale. It was so bad my sister leaned toward me.

“Don’t you think you should go outside and get a hold of yourself,” she whispered.

If I had attempted to move, I would have fallen on the floor. Everything would have erupted out of me, making a bad situation much worse than it was. The grief lifted after a few minutes, but I sat on pins and needles for the rest of the funeral service.

(Excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who, an Amazon eBook.)

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

If our prayers aren’t working, let’s check ourselves out and not accept defeats just because we’re struggling through tough situations.

(Continued in Part 13…earlier parts can be read by clicking here or above on the header.)

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Click on to see MyGFA site.

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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 …

Shalom Dear brothers and sisters,

May The Lord be glorified and blessed and may you be blessed and encouraged in Him.  I am thankful for you.

Apples and Honey.  As big things, humongous things, swirl all around us: Scotland, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Ebola, ISIS (or ISIL depending upon who is speaking), wars and rumors of war, life changing decisions and world shaking events mixed with people-shaking fears. We here in Israel sweep away the dust of war and enter the “frenzy mode” of cooking and shopping and preparing to feast before The Lord, because HE said to do it. It has often made me laugh to see all of the crisis events put on the back burner while the focus among my people turns to fulfilling the commandment.

Tradition plays a big part in every Jewish holiday, and certainly there are as many traditions as there are families (much like our Christian traditions), but all of them seem to place family, friends and food just under God.

There is little actually written in the scripture about this feast, the first of the three fall feasts. So, much of Rosh H’ashana is actually characterized by traditions. Finally, I’m beginning to understand the why of traditions.  They seem to me to be focus tools, implemented to help us focus on something that God commanded and then to establish it as important in our lives.

The danger of traditions, as Yeshua constantly taught, was they may take the place of God’s commands and become the focus in and of themselves.  It seems to me as I live among so many traditions that it is a heart issue, often individual. Some people focus on God and some on the tradition.

Never the less, I will describe to you some of the traditions that I witness. Hopefully, its flavor will encourage you toward God and His intent.  And this is my prayer and the prayer of many other local believers that the fulfillment of these traditions may be seen and that hungry hearts may embrace the God Who calls us to His table with His trumpet blast, the sounding of the shofar.

There are definite foods that symbolize Rosh H’shana:  Perhaps most prominent among them are apples (or pomegranates) and honey, almonds, dates, figs, and the head of a fish.  The feast is built around these foods.

THEREFORE, the shuk (market place) just TEAMS with activity and people.  Crowded streets, yummy smells and busy vendors fill the air with one resounding, “Shana tova.  Shalom oo bracha vay bree-oot l col am Yisroel!” (Good new year. Peace and blessing and health to all of Am – the nation, the people, the tribes – Israel.)  Gifts begin to be shared.

Working for a doctor, I am deeply humbled by the sudden blessing of a dish, a jar, some honey, a plant or a tablecloth from often aging patients who will take my hand and thank me for serving them this year. I purchase some lovely nuts from the shuk for two local shop owners who have been constantly kind and I want to thank them.  Other gifts might go to the bus driver or a guard that sits at the market and a generous 20shekels (instead of the usual 1/2shekel) pressed into the hand of a familiar elderly beggar bringing such her surprised joy.

We are thankful for one another.  It is GOOD to stop and remember that all of ‘us dust balls’ are made in God’s image.

And mingled with the sound of the impatient car horns is the high call of the shofar bidding each one to come to the mercy seat, as families and singles gathered with families.  Come to the mercy seat with apples and honey, almonds and dates and remember the sweetness of the land and the promises that God Almighty has given us and be humbled at the thought of His Greatness.

My boss brings his shofar to work and each morning blows it in the 4 directions at the door of the clinic.  An older learned patient who came by at 7 a.m. this morning told us about a time that he was asked to demonstrate and explain the blowing of the shofar to a class of 6 year olds.

He said to them, “Do you know how sometimes you need something very badly…maybe you are scared and you need a hug, or maybe you hurt your knee and you need your Ima or Abba to make it better?  Do you ever run to Ima or Abba and don’t know what to say, so you just cry?  Sometimes there is something inside of you that seems too big and you can’t say it, so you cry, am I right?’”

He said all of the children said, “Yes yes!  That is right!

He continued.  “Well…THAT is the blowing of the shofar.  We are the children of Adonai and we don’t know what we need, but we need Him and we call to Him and we cry to Him and we come to Him. And when we blow the shofar, we are crying to Him and calling each other to come and cry to Him too.  He is our Abba.”

He told us that the children ALL seemed to understand.

I understood and saw how it fit in with our prayers this morning for the hearts of the people to be turned to Him this season of the fall feasts and for them to come to Him and SEE HIM AS HE IS.

So he calls this the Feast of trumpets and commands us to come aside and stop all work and have a holy convocation and to blow the shofarim (ram’s horn trumpets).  KNOWING that exactly 10 days later we are called to afflict our souls and seek repentance. We know that the shofar is calling us to Him at this time, just as it called the children of Israel to the mount when the 10 commandments were given and they feared greatly when they heard the trumpet blast. Tt is a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of The Living God…if you do not know that you are covered by The Blood of The Perfect Lamb!

With tons more to say, I will leave you with ‘AMEN!’ as we turn our hearts to Him to press into the reality of all He is, all He asks, all He calls us to…each one called alone, and yet as one in His body.  God Bless and keep you dear brothers and sisters.

Lovingly,

J

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