Monthly Archives: March 2016

Thursday’s Prayers for America (3/31/2016)

The 2016 Presidential race has brought one ugly behavior to the surface in us Americans: anger.

William DeFoore, an anger-management writer, described anger as a pressure cooker: we can only apply pressure against our anger for a certain amount of time until it explodes. (Wikipedia)

Sadly, I believe DeFoore is correct and that America has a pressure cooker atmosphere right now, just waiting to explode.

My prayer today:

Lord, help us American believers to put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, malice, and instead, help us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave us. (Based on Ephesians 4:31-32)

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 (3/29/20160

Iran: 77.5 million people (98.7% Islam and .8% Christianity) Persecution Level: Extreme

Islamic clerics assumed power under the ayatollah in 1979. The nation became an Islamic republic under Shia Islam. Today, the country is divided between moderates and hardliners.
Iran remains one of the most difficult nations in the world in which to be a Christian. Since President Hassan Rouhani took office in August 2013, the number of individuals in prison because of their beliefs has increased, and Christians are especially targeted. Over the past year, Iranian authorities have raided church services, threatened church members and arrested and imprisoned worshipers and church leaders, particularly Christian converts from Islam. Currently, there are approximately 90 Christians either in prison or awaiting trial. (The Voice of the Martyrs)

My prayer today — basically taken from the above two minute video:

Lord, I pray to You, the Lord of the Harvest, to raise up thousands of laborers for Your harvest fields in Iran. (Based on Luke 10:2 and Luke 1:37)

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. 600 million people live in abject poverty in the slums of Asia.

6. 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 —

INDEED!  HE IS RISEN INDEED!

You all likely recognize by now the Resurrection morning greeting used by our Russian brethren throughout the years, to which we can all say, “AMEN!”

And thus I greet you all this morning, a morning that the Resurrection is recognized in much of the world even today [“right day” or not is irrelevant as some may take notice and turn to Him somewhere] though the world grows darker.  May the light of the Resurrected Messiah grow ever lighter in us and lead us through, baring much fruit, to a triumphant morning in the near future.  May His peace be deep in each of us today.

Often during the years we have lived here, my husband and I have gone to the sunrise service at the garden tomb, the place most likely the tomb where Yeshua’s flesh was placed but He didn’t stay for very long.  It is an international event as the garden, normally a peaceful and contemplative place, is jammed with tourists, representing 60-70 countries.

For many of them, this moment is a spiritual mountaintop and the service is a gift to them.  For me, it’s a time to be with my husband who doesn’t usually choose to be in fellowship at this point, but it is also a blessing and a privilege. Although at times a bit surreal, as we move out into our normal day, riding the train filled with workers for 15 minutes to the next neighborhood and then entering a place of wonder, surrounded by flashing cameras and ipads held high above heads to film it all. (It is available on the web here.)

Then it’s back out into the hustle and bustle of the tension filled streets.

I wasn’t going to mention this journey as over the years it has joined many holidays in becoming sadly divisive, but something happened last night that riveted my attention in a sort of parable.

 

It got me thinking about this journey that I’ve been on for the past 70 years now, 41 with Him.

As I thought about what I was going to write and how to write it today, I looked back and found myself chuckling.  I thought about my most memorable sunrise services:

Back in 1975 when I met Him and the FACT that His rising from the dead meant total deliverance for me and “whosoever will”, broke my chains and released me from painful bondage, and even conquered death…why…who could take it all in.  I found that the date I had avoided as a kid. The date that “they” (the gentiles) had painted eggs and celebrated rabbits (I figured), the date that gentiles wore hats and new outfits and had parades was REALLY supposed to be a day to remember the greatest moment in history. The rending of the veil between life and death, the conquering of death, sin and the grave and the setting of the captives free.  Oh what GLORY!  AND [on top of that] there was this thing called a “sunrise service” where we could go and worship together. I thought that I might be translated I was so joyful!

I found an announcement of a Sunrise Service at a Sacramento Drive-in Church, to be held at a drive-in movie theater. I couldn’t sleep because of my excitement and stayed awake, praying all night, preparing myself. At about 3 a.m. this newly born again now ex-hippie piled my 3-legged border collie into my pickup truck and headed out to the fields looking for this place.  I arrived early and was handed a drive-in movie speaker to put on my window and told to honk when appropriate.  Well, nothing moved me because I was going to worship.

Being early, my dog and I ran out into the field and worshipped The Lord barefooted in the dew until the sun began to rise and the people came.  Happily I piled back into my truck and dutifully honked when told.  Then we were invited into the projection tower for coffee.  Everyone stared at me when I arrived. I guess I DID loo’ a bit ‘different, but it was MY turn to stare – and yes – run out in fear when they offered me a HOT CROSS BUN!  I was SHOCKED!  What kind of cult was this mocking the cross?  I guess you could say it was a clash of cultures!

My next sunrise service found me in Placerville, California where I read that there was one at the Diamond Springs Church.  Again I found my way, this time to a small older wooden house built close up to others.  About 10 people were gathered in the back yard with chickens, a pig and a goat. A Baptist Hymnal was handed out each of us.  To my surprise a very chubby boy of maybe 12 came out with a TUBA and began BLASTING “Up from the grave HE arose”…accompanied by the slamming of windows all around and a few nasty words.

So far I was not being the witness of the Resurrection that I wanted to be.  The following year I took a blanket and my new baby (thank You Lord) AND dog and found a beautiful quiet hilltop where we worshipped.  Then I went to the opening market and told everyone, “HE’S ALIVE.”  They stared. Still no fruit.

And there was the year that a schoolteacher and I went to the highest place between Naknek and King Salmon Alaska, which happened to be a graveyard.  It was a perfect place to have a tiny worship service (being He had conquered death), except that a sudden blizzard arose with the sun and we were stranded in a ditch until my husband woke up, found me missing, and came to look for us.

Along the with these anecdotal times were also wonderful ones and all along the way He has led me, even to this hill in Jerusalem.

 

With the moving of the body worldwide to understand and embrace more and more of the Jewish roots, there is an evolution taking place that is beautiful, sometimes hard, sometimes humorous, but always needing grace, like most changes. I realized that many churches celebrated Passover this week, having made the connection between Passover and the Cross.  But the Jewish calendar, which dates from Moses, is different than the Gregorian calendar and so this year Passover (Pesach) isn’t until 22 April.  Oops.

HOWEVER…this brings me to my Parable.

 

I SPILLED THE YEAST!!!

What in the world does this have to do with Resurrection, Passover, walking through 70 years and so forth.

EVERYTHING!

Purim finally ended on Shabat (Saturday evening).  In a Jewish household, particularly a JERUSALEM household, the passing of Purim means one thing – PREPARATIONS FOR PASSOVER MUST BEGIN IN ERNEST.

The center preparation theme of Pesach (Passover) is “GET RID OF THE LEAVEN”  (in your heart and ALSO in your home)

Exodus 12:18-20

 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.  For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land.  You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.’”

I’ve said before, many people simply make plans to go to a hotel for Passover and leave the cleaning to others.  They seal up their houses.  Those who can’t afford it: scrub.

I imagine that a tent was relatively easy to scrub or simply move.

Old apartments full of cracks, upholstered furniture, wooden tables and chairs, refrigerators and stove and TOASTERS are NOT so easy, and depending upon your degree of sensitivity to the commandment, it can be stressful.

“But,” you say, and RIGHTFULLY so, as a Jewish Blood bought redeemed by The Precious Lamb believer, aren’t you under grace and not under the law?  You are FREED from the law of sin and death.”

Yep!  This is true.  And I am NOT saved by the keeping of the law.  I know that and am free in that.  But that Love that bought me and brought me back to my ancient homeland and people, placed a responsibility upon me to walk before Him in a manner pleasing and clean in this land and to rightly divide the Word of Truth.  So, as I love Him and look at these verses I see in Exodus 12:14-17 (and SO many other places)

” ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you.  So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance.”

I do not struggle with this. I embrace it. It has been given in divine Love and I receive it that way as a witness among my own people.

But I’m seventy.  I don’t bend as well or see as well and my scrubbing hands can get stiff and tired, not to mention these knees.  It was with that in mind that I assessed my kitchen earlier in the day and mentally divided up my cleaning.  I keep it to getting rid of anything leavened and cleaning the kitchen well.  I have three weeks to do that, and I was ready to pace myself.

UNTIL I SPILLED MOST OF A BIG SACK OF YEAST LAST NIGHT!

Being a good wife, I had baked some yeast rolls for my husband thinking that this would be my last working with yeast before Passover.  I was pretty careful with my surfaces and had cleaned up well, placing the yeast to the side to get rid of when done.  Those of you who bake bread KNOW that yeast is alive and that it is VERY VERY STICKEY.  Even when it is dry.

Soooo, when the whole bag tipped over, NOT onto a smooth surface mind you, but between two cabinets, I yelped!  Things got worse as I attempted to clean it up.  I stood back and surveyed the mess and prayed.  “HELP, LORD!”

Yes, I did look to Him, and as I stared, I saw the PARABLE.  Here it is: the eve of the day that Resurrection is to be celebrated.  Here it is: the preparation for Pesach.  Here it is: the law and grace.  The WILL to do is there but OH WHERE IS THE WAY?  No matter HOW much I try to scrub out the leaven, I still spill the yeast.

I sat down.

And I laughed.

Oh, I kept trying to gather up the yeast, but I sang as I did.

And I worshipped Him and began to think about those HUMEROUS sunrise services. Oh my, the TUBA in the middle of a tiny town on a Sunday sunrise!  The honk to say Amen and Halleluyah!  The hanging out of our windows to scrub off any leaven that might be sticking to an outside windowsill. All of our attempts to please Him were accomplished on the cross.

And for one, brief, fleeting moment: it just seemed THAT EASY!  HE DOES ALL THINGS WELL.

Am I still struggling?

Well, OF COURSE!  But I want to keep the parable of the yeast near at hand.

And so I lovingly close for now.  If any of you have had the grace to read through this, may you be specially blessed!  HE IS RISEN INDEED.

Blessings with love, for His glory,

Your sister J in Jerusalem

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Thursday’s Prayers for America (3/24/2016)

 

 

My heart and prayers go out to the suffering people in Brussels right now. May the Lord comfort them and may something good come out of this horrific calamity.

But at the same time, how many warnings do we American believers need before we take the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14 seriously and follow its directions:

  1. Humble ourselves before God…which usually means to fast.
  2. Pray
  3. Seek God
  4. Turn from our wicked ways…which means to repent.

Then, God will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land.

My prayer today:

Lord, help us American believers to quit deceiving ourselves so that we become doers of Your word and not just hearers of it. (Based on James 1:22)

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 (3/22/2016)

Iraq: 35.8 million people (95.9% Muslim and 1.6% Christian)…Persecution Level: Extreme

Iraq is a complicated mixture of severe persecution and increased freedom for believers and evangelism. Islamic extremists have targeted Christian leaders, churches and businesses. Though Islam is the official religion, the constitution guarantees “full religious rights of all individuals.” Other laws, however, restrict the freedom to change religions. To register, a church must have 500 members and the approval of the Council of Iraqi Churches. Between 2003 and 2014, about half the Christian population fled the country. With the advance of IS into Iraq in 2014, many of the remaining Christians have been displaced or have fled. When the Islamic State (IS) invaded Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, in June 2014, they issued an ultimatum to the estimated 35,000 Christians there, telling them to convert, pay a high tax, leave or be killed. Nearly all fled. (Voice of the Martyrs)

My prayer today:

Lord, I pray to You, the Lord of the Harvest, to raise up thousands of laborers for Your harvest fields in Iraq because nothing is impossible for You. (Based on Luke 10:2 and Luke 1:37)

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. 600 million people live in abject poverty in the slums of Asia.

6. 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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“Prayer…Oh no! Has it Come Down to That?” (Part 7)

"Stöwer Titanic" by Willy Stöwer.

“Stöwer Titanic” by Willy Stöwer.

Here’s a simple one-verse solution on how to get your prayers answered:

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

To understand how to abide in Christ Jesus and have His words do the same, we need to look at how Jewish rabbis discipled their followers in the days of Jesus and His apostles. You see, discipleship was a long established institution within the Jewish culture long before our Lord was born. Jesus even said:

“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40)

 There were no Bible schools or seminaries in Jesus’ day. So, if a man wanted to learn the Torah, he apprenticed himself to a rabbi (revered one or master) and became the rabbi’s servant. The bond between the rabbi and student was often stronger than that of a son and father.

The student left everything behind to follow his master. He slept with the teacher, ate with him, even dressed in the same manner, and tried to absorb every nuance of his behavior. He wanted to be an exact copy of the teacher down to the minutest detail.

As far as teaching and learning, there were no text books. The student had to memorize the rabbi’s words verbatim through constant repetition so the words could be repeated to subsequent generations.

Not only did the student do all this, but he also learned how the teacher followed the commands of God, how he kept the Sabbath, fasted, prayed, gave to charity, and so forth.

Every part of the student’s life was immersed into his rabbi.

The next time you study the four gospels, notice how Jesus followed this same practice with His twelve apostles.

Okay, okay, okay…before we throw our hands in the air, thinking how impossible this abiding might be for us. Remember that Jesus chose and invited us to abide in Him. Our responsibility is to agree with His word and ask, “Lord, teach me how to abide in You?”

It’s His responsibility to teach us.

(Continued in Part 7…if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.)

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Thursday’s Prayers for America (3/17/2016)

“But to truly understand spiritual warfare, you need to remember: Satan was an archangel who understands the government of God. When he rebelled, he became the father of lies and there’s no truth in him. Everything Satan attempts to do is a lying counterfeit of what God does and how God governs.”

The angel glanced at me, making sure I was on the same page with him.

“Satan’s army wears protective armor just like Christians do, but the demonic armor is the exact opposite of God’s armor. Their loins are girded with lies; their breastplates are unrighteousness; their feet are shod with chaos; they have shields of fear; they wear helmets of eternal doom; and their swords are the lying words of Satan. But there is one important similarity common to both God’s army and Satan’s forces. Can you guess what it is?”

I shook my head.

“Unity,” he said. “Both armies’ success depends on unity. God’s army is unified through faith in God and love of God and the brethren. Satan’s forces are unified in their hatred of God and His followers – and – their fear of God, Satan, each other, and bold believers.

(Excerpt from Jonah by Larry Nevenhoven, ©2012, Amazon eBook)

My prayer today:

Lord, help American believers to bear with one another in love and to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Based on Ephesians 4:2-3)

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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