Monthly Archives: September 2015

“Are We There Yet?” (Part 4)

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:2)

Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) is celebrated on the first two days of Tisri of the Hebrew lunar calendar, which usually falls in September or October according to our Gregorian solar calendar.

After the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, the chief rabbis redefined Judaism via the Mishnah (or Oral Tradition) so that the Feast of Trumpets started the Jewish civil year. Thus, the feast is also known as Rosh Hashanah  (Jewish New Year.)

It is believed that the offering of Isaac occurred on Feast of Trumpets. It is said among the Jews that when God hears the shofar, He is moved to leave His judgment seat and go to His seat of mercy and forgiveness. Every year, the Jews read the story of the binding of Isaac by Abraham and blow shofars to remind God of His mercy.

So, the Feast of Trumpets is likened to a day of Judgment with mercy extended and the Feast of Yom Kippur is a day of mercy while atoning for our sins with Justice. It is a day to remind people to repent of their sins and to remind God of His mercy. (Mark Bilttz)

The Feast of Trumpets is a time of rejoicing for the New Year and a time of repentance, as it is the first day of the Ten Days of Awe or Repentance, leading up to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

Interesting enough, the Feast of Trumpets is also known as the Hidden Day:

The Feast is the only one that falls on a new moon, which can happen on one of two days at the beginning of a lunar month. The new moon must be spotted by two witnesses and since it happens at night when people are sleeping, they just celebrate it as one long day. Thus, it is known as the “Feast that no one knows the day or the hour,” as in Matthew 24:36.(Mark Biltz)

Prophetically, the Feast of Trumpets is probably when Tribulation begins, when the First Resurrection (or Rapture) happens, when Messiah marries His bride, and when the coronation of Messiah as King occurs.

This is just a brief overlay of the Feast of Trumpets. So, if you want to learn more, take the time to watch Mark Biltz’s great video here. You will be blessed for watching it.

Next, we will look at Yom Kippur.

(Continued in Part 5…if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.)

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Tuesday’s Prayers for Prisoners (9/29/2015)

Soon, I had a dream…

I saw myself standing in front of a vast wheat field looking out upon a harvest that was clearly ripe. I stood there for a while overwhelmed at the sheer size of the harvest. What seemed like endless acres continued for as far as my eyes could see.

Watching the golden wheat sway in the breeze, I got this sudden understanding that I was looking upon the fields that Jesus spoke about in John 4 and Matthew 9. It was as though the Lord was telling me this harvest was free for the taking, much like Psalm 2 tells us to ask for the nations and He will give them to us.

Overcome with excitement at seeing such a great harvest ready for reaping and knowing this represented millions of souls being rescued from an eternity in hell, I began to jump up and down in excitement.

I could see it. The harvest was plentiful. It’s ready…

As I raced toward the field with all my might, I was already thinking about printing tracts and missionaries going door-to-door to tell people about the Gospel proclaiming the Good News to everyone in sight! This is what I knew of bringing in the harvest.

But I was wrong!

I suddenly couldn’t go any further. Right in front of me was a river so wide and raging that I dared not step any closer or try to cross it. I had not seen it from where I was standing before.

My heart broke. Was I only going to look at the harvest but not be able to embrace it? I stood there weeping, feeling so helpless and full of despair.

All of a sudden there appeared before me a bridge reaching from one side of the vast river to the other. It was not a narrow bridge, but one that was very broad. It was completely filled with little children from all over Asia — poor, destitute children, like those I’d so often seen on the streets of Calcutta, Kathmandu, and other Asian cities.

Then, it was as though someone spoke to me and said, “If you want to have this harvest, it’s all yours. But this is the bridge you must cross to get it.”

(Excerpt from No Longer A Slumdog by K. P. Yohannan, © 2011 by K. P. Yohannan, GFA Books, pp. 89-90)

I believe the above vision given to K. P. Yohannan is a true prophetic word for all of Asia.

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I ask You to raise up many ministries who believe Yohannan’s vision is the bridge to the 4.4 billion people in Asia. I pray that each ministry interprets the vision as You lead them.

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

Why Asia?

1. 4.4 billion people live in Asia.

2.. 85.4% of world’s unevangelized people live in Asia. (Unevangelized means they may have heard the gospel but have no understanding on how to respond.)

3. The world’s three largest non-Christian religions – Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhists – are based in Asia.

4. Of the 37 countries of the world that are less than 10% Christian, 32 are in Asia. Of the 14 countries, that are less than 2% Christian, 12 are in Asia.

5. 85-90% of unreached people live in Asia. (Unreached means that they have never heard the name of Jesus.) (Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation)

 

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Inside Israel

The Shuk in Jerusalem

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

Greetings, to you who have the joy of knowing that you are purchased by The Precious Blood of The Lamb and that your names are written in the book of life.

   “The fear of The Lord is His treasure”!  Isaiah 33:6b

The fear of God. Do I really have it or do I weigh actions and appearances of others in my decisions?

Twenty-one years ago, on Yom Kippur, I hand wrote my very first letter to several friends that has blossomed into this letter. I had never seen or witnessed anything like this before: Yom Kippur in Jerusalem.

I grew up in New York City where we observed Yom Kippur as a family along with the other Jewish families.  We children were quietly excused from school, which was not closed, but we were not penalized for our absence. The same happened for Catholic students who were given “free release” for weekly catechism classes. I remember first fasting on Yom Kippur when I was eight years old. But before that I remember being given a new coloring book and we KNEW that we were to be quiet and holy on this most solemn of days.

My sister and I would play quietly on the floor, ignoring the yells of the kids outside playing near our home.  We knew not to envy them. It was who we were: Jewish. This day was our solemn separation.  Our father would be either resting or would don his prayer shawl and be reading his Machzor (prayer book), which contains mostly scriptures and beseeching prayers from those scriptures. He was crippled and even though he was not orthodox, he would not drive on that day.  Nonetheless, the city noisily buzzed around us, and we were a silent island within the city.

That is why I was AMAZED on my first Yom Kippur in Jerusalem!

Between 12-2 p.m. on the day before (called ‘erev Yom Kippur), everything was closing down as people rushed home for a light dinner and to clean up.  The city and country ground to a COMPLETE halt before sundown. Soon, figures dressed in white began to fill the streets, walking with the Machzor in hand.  NO vehicles…NO motors or engines…a totally silent city is an awesome thing to experience!  The shabat horn wails throughout the city to announce that the Yom Kippur day of Atonement (our day begins at sundown) is here and has settled upon us.  The time is NOW.

But then, to my great surprise, just as the flowing white clad figures entered the synagogues to cry out for repentance and cleansing, another phenomena appeared.  In stark contrast to my own childhood, the streets began to FILL with loud unruly children (and some adults) on bicycles.  The streets empty of vehicles were now full of clanging and laughter in total contrast to the mournful sobs in the synagogues.  This was something I had never expected. It didn’t seem to fit.  Late into the night the children and then the teenagers filled the free airspace with raucous noise.

I find this hard.  It bothers me greatly.  Where we live now, we are above a store in a very noisy square and last night’s din was worse than anything that I have ever remembered here or in NYC.  It went on until 4am.  I wept.  But in the midst I have to ask God to search my own heart:  Am I judging or is this a holy anger?  IS it truly that children are not learning a fear of God or is it that I want to apply law’ to their behavior?  Search MY heart, Lord, for I do not know my own heart and certainly Your ways and thoughts really ARE higher than mine.

I can think I’m so smart and really know nothing as You do. ONLY BY YOUR SPIRIT DO WE KNOW ANYTHING after all.   I remember the illustration of a little boy being made to sit down quietly and saying, “I am sitting on the outside but standing on the inside.”

I, personally, was a firm disciplinarian, believing with all of my heart that when one learns to submit into RIGHT discipline, then we learn the great key of disciplining ourselves.

Hebrews 5:8-9 says:

“…though He was a Son yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”

But God views a judgmental heart as a grave sin. Search my heart, o Lord, and conform me to Your heart.

Noise bothers my flesh greatly. “Lord!  Grace!”

I went out on to my merepesset and found that with the loud roar of the voices, I was free to raise mine in prayer for the people to be open to His Spirit and that He might come to them and reveal Himself.

What a gift we have in the peace of a cleansed heart.

I think back to the first time that I experienced the feeling of being FREE from the weight of sin and its penalty. Sometimes I take that for granted now.

Late Monday afternoon I stopped at the shuk for several things. Then as I ran to the train, a strong odor stopped me.  I looked up and there it was: the shuk h’kaparah the sacrifice market that I mentioned in the last letter.  Crates of live chickens were stacked beside me but the table on which they were being killed was not visible as it used to be.

In front of me I watched, an orthodox  father was entering with his 3 young children.  He was explaining to them what would take place as they would all go in to receive this symbolic cleansing.  They were completely attentive to their father, nervous before the weight of the ceremony.  These children would NOT be out riding their bikes I am certain, as in the religious neighborhoods this does not happen.

Food at the shuk has been less varied for the past week or so and WAY more expensive since our intense heat and sand storm did damage the crops.  But there was no lack of vendors to help you buy your repentance from one end of the shuk to the other.  Sacrifice is a word that we know as a people, but it is just that we MISSED THE Atoning Sacrifice.  We didn’t recognize Him. So we continue to look and search and weep. (Those who have not as yet seen Him.) For they look for the way to atone through sacrifice, and … well… it has to be expensive…it has to be paid for…perhaps we can buy it as well.

Many religious men line the shuk offering kaparah – atonement, for sale. The money goes to charity as do the chickens.  Some let you confess your sins, and most record your name and pray for you and promise to keep your name in prayer. There are many different formulas.  Desperate people. Desperate to enter THE PEACE that we have been so FREELY GIVEN. They will try anything.

Will this be the year that they have their eyes open to THE SACRIFICED ATONEMENT?  That is what we believers fast and pray for today with our people − that they too might KNOW HIS GREAT FREEDOM AND PEACE.  OH WHAT A GIFT WE HAVE RECEIVED SO FREELY!  Do we recognize how precious it is daily?  Oh Lord, help me to be daily sharpened by Your Spirit.

As is the custom here, on the news broadcasts leading up to holidays, an assortment of local rabbis are given some time to share a meditation.  On this morning’s news, one was talking about the scapegoat.  He spoke of the High Priest taking two identical goats and casting lots for the one to be released into the wilderness while the other was to be sacrificed. It’s blood was then brought into the Holy of Holies, along with the blood of a bull, just once a year. (SEE LEVIT 16) He spoke about the lots being cast. One would be killed and one would be set free, through no fault or action of his or her own.  He said it was just chance by a lot.

I thought about my own salvation.  I often look at Jesus’ parable of the fishing net.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind,  which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.” (Mat. 13:47-48)

For YEARS I was concerned that He might decide to throw me away because I was so aware that His great mercy had found me in His dragnet, maybe by chance.  But slowly, slowly He gave me the assurance that He was well able to complete that which He had begun in me. I began to know a deeper peace and rest in my faith. It is ALL His work and none of ours, although He does call us to obedience. ONLY BY HIS SPIRIT CAN ANY OF US DO IT AND ONLY BY HIS SPIRIT CAN ANY OF US FIND HIM…EVEN MY PEOPLE, ISRAEL.  HE MUST DO IT!  And ccording to scripture, HE WILL!

THANK YOU FOR HAVING A HEART TO PRAY FOR ISRAEL.  MAY WE EACH SEE HIM MORE CLEARLY AS WE GATHER DAYS…AND MAY WE BE SEEN AS MORE OF HIM AND LESS OF US FOR HIS GLORY ALONE.

God bless you.

Lovingly,

your sister J

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If We Just Ignore Gays, They’ll Go Away, Right? (Part 1)

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It had been a hot September Saturday at the Oldsmobile-Cadillac dealership with heavy traffic from our advertisements. I worked late because of a used car delivery for a last-minute customer. The other salesmen had long since gone home, leaving just the sales manager and me to close up the place.

As I walked into the sales manager’s office to hand him the keys, a car with what appeared to be a middle-aged couple pulled onto the sales lot to look at used vehicles. Both stepped out of their car to check out one particular auto. They then looked toward the sales manager’s office as if to see whether sales people were still available for helping them.

That’s just dandy, I thought, now the sales manager is going to make me wait on those two people. I’m tired, hungry, and want to leave now.

“Larry,” said the sales manager, “if we just ignore them, they’ll go away.”

He turned off the lights and we left. His words ended up proving to be accurate because the couple drove off.

This is how most of us Christians have handled the American gay rights movement so far. 

And our results mirror our attitudes, in that, we almost always end up losing.

Admittedly, the gay rights movement’s ranks are not filled with a bunch of wimps. They are tough adversaries who understand how to pressure governments, politicians, corporations, major media outlets, churches, and whomever to win battles. They wield fear and threats like swords to cut down their foes.

Sadly, we Christians are not prepared for this type of warfare. We enjoy “nice” fights with scriptures lobbed back and forth like nerf ball grenades in a church sanctuary. The declared winner is the one with the most scriptures to justify his stance. Cake and coffee served afterward in the church basement.

Well, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news because this ain’t ever happening.

So, what can we believers do?

(Continued in Part 2)

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“Are We There Yet?” (Part 3)

I have memorized and meditated on the following verses for weeks at a time, but I missed some major points. Maybe you have too?

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law [Torah] or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law [Torah] until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)

My thoughts have aways focused on the premise that Jesus fulfilled the Law [Torah] and since He lived in me, I no longer had to pay attention to the Law [Torah], right?

By faith and through the finished work of the cross, Jesus has fulfilled the righteous requirements of the Law [Torah] for us believers, but still, have all things been accomplished in the Law [Torah] or the Prophets?

The answer is NO.

Speak to the people of Israel, saying, “On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Tabernacles [Sukkot] to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:34)

The Feast of Tabernacles is one of the seven Jewish feasts, which include the Spring Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost. Jesus fulfilled these Spring Feasts by being crucified as our Passover Lamb, by being our Bread of Life without sin [Unleavened Bread], by being resurrected as our First Fruits, and by giving us the Holy Spirit at the First Pentecost.

Why is the Feast of Tabernacles so important?

Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. (Zechariah 14:16-17)

The above scriptures refer to the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ on earth. Notice how every living person is required to go to Jerusalem and observe the Feast of Tabernacles and if they don’t observe the feast, they are cursed with no rain.

Maybe we should study the Fall Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.

(Continued in Part 4…if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.

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Thursday’s Prayers for America (9/24/2015)

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The prophet Jeremiah had faithfully prophesied his message of God’s judgment on Judah for over thirty years when a prophet named Hananiah stood up and spoke one day in the Temple –

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the LORD’s house…” (Jeremiah 28:2-3)

Jeremiah answered Hananiah by saying, “Hey, I hope you’re right, but my prophecies of judgment on Judah are in line with the words of the prophets who lived many years before us and who also spoke of wars and disasters and pestilence.”

Hananiah then reiterated his prophetic words about peace and prosperity for Judah.

Jeremiah listened to Hananiah and then walked away, but the Lord sent him back to the Temple where he confronted the prophet –

“Listen, Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie…Behold, [the Lord] will remove you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have uttered rebellion against the LORD.” (Jeremiah 28:15-16)

Hananiah died two months later.

Do we see the grace of God in this happening?

You see, when Hananiah died, God revealed to all of Judah which prophet spoke the Lord’s words. Then, the people of Judah had to decide whether they would obey or rebel against the Lord and His words.

Much the same thing is happening in America right now.

There are prophetic voices speaking of God showering our nation with blessings and a great revival while other prophetic voices are speaking of terrible disasters and extreme judgments soon hitting our nation. One of these prophetic groups has to be wrong!

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I ask that You make Yourself clear so that Your people can make decisions on how to prepare themselves for the future. (Based loosely on 1 Corinthians 14:8)

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

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

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Tuesday’s Prayers for Prisoners (9/22/2015)

Don Bosco Slum in Manilla  markpedder.wordpress.com

       Don Bosco Slum in Manilla
       markpedder.wordpress.com

 

Once I spoke in the West and a Christian told me, “I’ve been praying for years that the Communist government in China will collapse, so Christians can live in freedom.” This is not what we pray! We never pray against our government or call down curses on them. Instead, we have learned that God is in control of both our lives and the government we live under…

God has used China’s government for His own purposes, molding and shaping His children as He sees fit. Instead of focusing our prayers against any political system, we pray that regardless of what happens to us, we will be pleasing to God.

Don’t pray for the persecution to stop! We shouldn’t pray for a lighter load to carry, but a stronger back to endure. Then the world will see that God is with us, empowering us to live in a way that reflects His love and power.

(Excerpt from The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway, © 2003 by PiQUANT Editions, pp. 286 – 287)

Today I prayed:

Lord, I pray that Your grace is sufficient for the believers in Asia so that Your power is made perfect in their weakness and that the power of Christ may rest upon them. (Based on 2 Corinthians 12:9)

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

Why Asia?

1. 4.4 billion people live in Asia.

2.. 85.4% of world’s unevangelized people live in Asia. (Unevangelized means they may have heard the gospel but have no understanding on how to respond.)

3. The world’s three largest non-Christian religions – Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhists – are based in Asia.

4. Of the 37 countries of the world that are less than 10% Christian, 32 are in Asia. Of the 14 countries, that are less than 2% Christian, 12 are in Asia.

5. 85-90% of unreached people live in Asia. (Unreached means that they have never heard the name of Jesus.) (Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation)

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