Monthly Archives: February 2016

“Are We There Yet?” (Part 18)

Have I ordered a kippa, shofar, tallit (prayer shawl), and other Jewish items for the upcoming feasts? No, I’m still a Gentile, learning about the Hebraic roots in Christianity.

Yet one interesting thing did happen this week:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3)

I have read this verse countless times without really seeing it, but three or four days ago, I read it and could not move pass it to the rest of the chapter. After meditating on the verse, I realized that I had no clue how to access our “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”

Shouldn’t we be able to do so if we are in Christ?

I eventually read to the end of the chapter and hit another snag:

And He put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church,which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23)

The fullness of Him — isn’t this what we should be seeking?

You can see I’m faced with a few unanswered questions.

So, this will be the conclusion of my early journey into our Hebraic Roots because I will soon begin a new series about the one new mancombining the Jews and the Gentiles into one body.

(Conclusion…if you’re interested in this Hebraic Roots series, all of it to date can be seen here.)

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Thursday’s Prayers for America (2/18/2016)

The movie, We Were Soldiers, stars Mel Gibson, Sam Elliott, and Greg Kennear. It tells the story about a battle, which took place in November 1965, during the Vietnam War.  Some 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers.

In one specific movie scene, the 1st Battalion had been overrun by the North Vietnamese army. Soldiers were fighting in close-quarters, hand-to-hand, brutal fighting. Yet, in the midst of this battle, Joseph Galloway (Barry Pepper) who was a non-combatant newspaper reporter and neutral observer, lay on the ground, trying to protect himself from being killed.

Sergeant Major Basil Plumley (Sam Elliot) walked through the battle zone with a rifle in his hand and stood over Joseph Galloway. “You can’t take any pictures from down there, sonny,” said Plumley.

Galloway looked up. “I’m a non-combatant,” said Galloway.

Plumley tossed him the rifle and Galloway caught it.  “Ain’t no such thing today,” said Plumley as he turned around and walked away.

Galloway began firing the rifle at the enemy soldiers.

Like Galloway, this is where we Christians are in America right now.

My prayer today:

Lord, open the eyes of us American believers, help us to see that we are not waging a war according to the flesh in our nation and to understand that the spiritual weapons that You have supplied us have divine power to destroy strongholds. But we have to use them now if we want to make a difference! (Based on 2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

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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Tuesday’s Prayers for Prisoners (2/16/2016)

 

Just when I think that I have China’s amazing Christian growth somewhat figured out, God throws a curveball into the mix. Who would have ever guessed that China’s state-controlled Three-Self Churches would undergo revival?

It wasn’t too long ago that I read Brother Andrew’s book, God’s Smuggler, for the first time and learned about the Three-Self Churches. All sermons were vetted by Communist leaders before pastors could preach them. No young people were allowed to attend services. So, only older people attended the services. Christians who met in underground churches, outside of the state-controlled Three-Self Churches, were branded outlaws.

Thus, the explosive Christian growth in China was through the heavily persecuted underground churches.

And now a revival is taking place in Three-Self Churches.

It sort of reminds me of the Charismatic Movement in the Roman Catholic Church which began at Notre Dame University and Duquesne University in 1967. The Pentecostals and other Charismatics were amazed that God’s Spirit could possibly enter Cathedrals and local parishes because they believed the buildings were religious deserts filled with pagans.

Yet, God moved and redeemed Catholics, not paying attention to our close-minded attitudes.

My prayer today:

Lord, forgive me for not believing that all things are possible with You. Therefore, I pray that you move camels through the eyes of needles in China and do other mind-blowing wonders which will cause us to be astonished at the depth of Your love for mankind. (Based on Mark 10:25-27)

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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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 —

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the name of the One who created heaven and earth and Who redeemed us to be a remnant for His Own glory.  May Yeshua h’meshiach − Jesus Christ − be glorified and blessed and may you be blessed and encouraged.

What a world we live in and what a joy to know that we are in His Hands and He is neither early nor late nor taken by surprise by anything.

I went down town to the local “outreach book store” where my dear friend works. While I was walking there on Jaffa Road (Rehov Yaffo), the main thoroughfare along which our train now runs, I was struck by a strange mixture of tension and relaxation.  Blue lights flashing from police vehicles that precede and follow the trains, keeping watch for suspicious people and objects, rush up and down the tracks every minute or two.  The trains are constantly a target of stone throwers and there have been various incidents on the train as well. You can almost see the sinews on the necks of the police/soldiers standing out as they strain with tension, searching the crowd and the tracks.

It seems almost odd that the sidewalks along the tracks are dotted with cafés filled with umbrellas and tables full of people sipping coffee and eating, messing with their cell phones and just visiting.  Now it is true that this is an Israeli strategy.  The national stance is that “where one is killed, two will stand and are planted; we will live life as normal, even if the times aren’t normal.”

Having been given more than ample opportunity to practice this, we are good at it.  Nonetheless a mixture of emotions hit me:

1) This is sad…

2) This is resilient…

3) Does anyone else notice this or am I the strange one here?

Frankly, I don’t know, BUT what an example of the believer’s stance was on display before me.  Surrounded by enemies sworn to destroy us, we are protected and guarded by His host to stand in the gap and praise and worship Him with peace and joy while taking no thought for tomorrow.

This suddenly seemed to me to be a glowing example of faith.

And perhaps faith IS the issue here. Although granted, maybe not all of those people seated along the tracks were standing in the faith of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, BUT SOME ARE!

As I rode the train home I was surprised to see long banners of the Israeli flag being carried along with calls for repentance. We are called here to be priests unto God!

Because I believe His Word, I believe that in the end, we will see it come to pass, just as He said, not necessarily as our limited personalities interpret it.  To quote just one of many promises:

Jeremiah 33:16-16 and 25, 26

14 ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah:  ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.  In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’  (yes…we who are blessed to know His Name know that He has been here once…these wait for Him with anticipation not knowing that He has already come once and will return!)

 

25 “Thus says the Lord: ‘If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will cause their captives to return, and will have mercy on them.’”

 

It’s amazing – but not really – how up to date His Word is because it is eternal and TRUE.  Several mornings ago I was engaged in my regular reading, part of which currently is in Genesis when I read:

The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.”  Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.”  And the Angel of the Lord said to her:

“Behold, you are with child,

And you shall bear a son.

You shall call his name Ishmael,

Because the Lord has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man;

His hand shall be against every man,

And every man’s hand against him.

And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”  (Genesis 16:9-11)

” Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.  And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.  But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” (Genesis 17:19-21)

 

The wind was blowing just right this morning so that I heard the piercing sound of the Muslim call to prayer. I usually don’t hear it because I live on the western side of town. I thought, this is the age-old wrestling match between Jacob and Esau. The two wrestled in the womb before they continued to wrestle on earth. Yes, they’re still wrestling today.

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob −Elohim − is NOT the god of Ishmael and Esau: Allah.  Their nature and character is as different as is their expression of who they are.  Elohim calls to life while Allah to death.  The inscription around the top of the Alaksa Mosque is “allah is one…and HE HAS NO SON.” (Yes, this is inscribed in Arabic).

And yet: “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only begotten Son…”

It is so very evident as I walk through the streets that the ancient battle is still being fought today.

After leaving the bookstore, I noticed a different tension as I waited for the train. Then I heard it: the dreaded word ‘pe’goo’ah‘ (attack).  I listened awhile and it was obvious that someone was badly injured. It turned out to be two young boarder police/soldiers. Both women. The 19 year old later died of her wounds.

Did you hear about this? Or about the many others?

I began to ask those around me for more details, which were still sketchy.  The attack was just 2 stops away, at ‘Sha’ar Schem’, often called Damascus Gate in English.  It seemed that there were 3 attackers with knives, guns and explosives.

Many of my fellow passengers on the train were young soldiers. I could see their emotions. They wanted to scream but that they didn’t know how to express themselves. They needed to care.  They needed to DO SOMETHING and so there I was… the first available little old lady they could do something for. I became their object of attention.

“Here, can I help you?  Why don’t you stand HERE?” one young soldier took my shopping cart and moved it to where he was, regardless of the fact that I had a perfectly good spot.

Another soldier standing nearby and not wanting to be outdone said, “Do you know where you are going? Can I help you find your way?”

This COULD have been offensive if I didn’t understand their need to give, to help, to find some control in the midst of these uncontrollable’ situations. That is what our soldiers are trained to do: to find the solution.

I smiled and said, “Thank you but I just live here.  I’m on my way home from work.’” I thought about how I so often NEED TO DO SOMETHING when The Lord would have me sit still and wait.

How little He asks of us: to trust and obey…and die to self!  Oy!  Yes Lord!

Thank you for your prayers for this nation and our people. We shall see HIS glory and HE WILL BE GLORIFIED!

God bless you.

Lovingly,

your sis J

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“Prayer…Oh no! Has it Come Down to That?” (Part 4)

"Stöwer Titanic" by Willy Stöwer.

“Stöwer Titanic” by Willy Stöwer.

It was a Wednesday morning in late June 1985 when I drove my rusty Vega station wagon to DeLaney’s Restaurant. A friend had invited me to meet her for coffee. My pockets were lined with lint and my billfold was empty. “Lord, I’d really like to be able to buy coffee for Anita. So could you please find a way to provide the money?” I whispered in a quick prayer.

I parked in back of the restaurant, jumped out, and for some reason, I looked down at my rear tire. There tucked neatly under it was a dollar bill.

Now, a dollar bill may not sound like much today, but thirty years ago that purchased two coffees and allowed me to leave a tip on the table for Connie, the waitress.

This small miracle opened my eyes to the reality of God being my Provider.

Okay, have all of my prayers been answered so quickly? No.

Why not?

When this experience happened, I had been saved for one month. I was a baby Christian who threw his hands up in the air toward a Big Daddy. It worked on God, just like it did when my kids held their hands up toward me. I couldn’t resist my children nor could the Father resist helping me that day. You see, God loves His baby Christians.

But the Father requires His kids to grow up and mature, not being baby Christians forever.

So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. (Hebrews 6:1 NLT)

Our walk with the Lord, and especially our prayer lives, require us to keep drawing nearer and nearer to what seems like an impossible and unattainable goal: maturity, with Jesus Christ being our standard for comparison.

How can we possibly do this?

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

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Thursday’s Prayers for America (2/11/2016)

I felt the Lord 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 went 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 by Larry Nevenhoven, ©2014, Amazon eBook)

My prayer today:

Lord, help us American believers to do all things for the sake of the Gospel so we may partake of its blessings. Help us to run the race with purpose in every step and to fight, not as mere shadowboxers who only beat the air. Show us how to win and to hate losing. (Based on 1 Corinthians 9:23-26)

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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O Lord, I’m 70 Years Old Today!

z3

The rootin’ tootin’ square shooting’ young hombre riding his imaginary steed and wearing black KEDS sneakers has turned seventy years old  today. O Lord!

The Searchers, starring John Wayne, Jeff Hunter, Ward Bond, Vera Miles, and Natalie Wood, is one of my favorite western movies. It tells the story of Ethan and Martin tracking down fifteen year-old Debbie, who had been captured in an Indian raid years earlier. But a side story holds my interest today.

Mose Harper, an old Indian scout for the U.S. Calvary, had one hope for his senior years: sitting in a rocking chair on a front porch so he could watch time pass by. Mose eventually got his wish at the end of the movie.

Well, I’m not a Mose Harper.

The passion the Lord placed in my heart almost thirty years ago has not lessened in the least. Oh, it’s been contained and hidden on the back side of the desert for years, but it’s still ready to explode forth for the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

You see, my heroes are not John Wayne and Jeff Hunter, but rather, Paul the Apostle, General William Booth of the Salvation Army, Hudson Taylor, and every believer who has advanced the Kingdom in his generation without regard to his own welfare.

“When the Apostle Paul traveled to a city, a riot or a revival was the end result.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

So, hopefully by my 71st birthday, I will either be stirring up believers or in jail.

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