Monthly Archives: February 2017

Prayers for Healing and Deliverance (2/28/2017)

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Over the last 31 years, I’ve listened to hundreds of believers praying for the sick and the ailing. The prayers have generally been sincere and filled with faith, but with the exception of maybe two or three instances, I have noticed one thing lacking: prayers for deliverance from demons.

If we study the four Gospels, we will learn that Jesus sometimes prayed for the sick or used a gift of miracles or spoke a healing word, but about a third of the time, our Lord cast out a demon, which had caused the person’s infirmity.

So, why is it that we believers don’t follow our Lord’s example by casting out more demons to heal sick people?

Is it fear on our parts? Or are we so spiritually blind that we can no longer discern the work of demons in sick people?

My prayer today:

Lord, deliver us from bad teachings and remove the spiritual blinders from our eyes so we can see with Your eyes when we pray for the sick.

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for new revelations on healing and deliverance for Americans NOW.

 

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Inside Israel

SHUK

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 dear brothers and sisters,

May The Lord be glorified and blessed, and may you who are His be blessed and encouraged.

Two weeks in February feel longer somehow then two weeks at other times, but it has actually been three difficult months, months of challenges. I have learned that every challenge brings the choice: will I stand in HIS way or will I look for a different way out.  This time I learned that SOMETIMES I can THINK that I am taking HIS way, but am really standing in the flesh.

I’m am SO THANKFUL TO OUR FAITHFUL AND MERCIFUL LORD Who is willing to bring us into a corner where we are forced to see our flesh yet again and cry out for His overcoming grace.

Hard times are not synonymous with bad times, IF they produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

I made some notes over these past few weeks, things that I wanted to share.  Now I stare at them and try to remember the point.

First I wrote Romans 12. What a challenging chapter to walk through after drinking in His Word.  This is a wonderful chapter as they all are.

I stopped in a shop at the shuk for a new tablecloth.  When I was a kid in kindergarten in NYC we used to have oilcloths.  Do any of you remember them?  I loved them for some reason because they felt good.  Maybe they just felt like a big girl going to kindergarten, but I loved oilcloth.  It MAY be available again in the States now, but for many years, it was an item in the recesses of my memory until we came here.  Oilcloth is still not only popular, but a standard, and it still makes me smile to get a new one for a few shekels every change of season.

The rolls of oilcloth stood on the street like soldiers in front of the dry goods store and I saw one that I liked.  I peeped into the store, which is run by Haradi (religious) twins. “Geveret!  Efo at?”  This literally means: “Maam, where ARE you?” But it is an affectionate way of saying, “Where have you been?”

It makes me smile. “I haven’t needed anything for awhile.  Thank you for missing me.”

We smile affectionately at one another.  It is a warm feeling to know that in Jerusalem a shopkeeper missed seeing me.

It may have been still very cold but there is no doubt that the seasons are changing. The birds changed. The cats howl. The days are longer, and even though we still have citrus fruit, the tomatoes and cucumbers are looking heartier and the red peppers are back.

I decided to take my daughter on a trip that I have dreamed about – back to the mishtala or plant nursery, where she worked before leaving the country 5 years ago.  She had loved working there.  It is a huge, lively nursery across from the Botanical Gardens. The plants for the Botanical Gardens as well as personal gardens, are cultivated there.  It’s a delightful place and was so good for her to work there.

Now that they are home, I wanted to help her to get things growing, working a bit in the earth, putting down roots, and watching things blossom into new life.  She was pleased and even more so when we walked in and the manager shouted out her name. Others came running, hugging her and oohing and aahing over the children.  When she left here 5 years ago, she was still single. Now she was a sprouting tribe and they were all happy to see how she was doing.  Eventually we began picking out starts and seeds and of course some small gardening tools for 3 year old Maya.  I started talking to an older worker who was thrilled to see our daughter thriving.  “Nothing like Grandchildren,” he grinned and we both nodded enthusiastically.

“How many do you have?”  I asked.

“Twenty seven and we all live in the same village.”

I gulped.  How wonderful it sounded as he described all of their homes being around his on the same moshav.  “We aren’t really in each other’s houses all the time but come summer we are always outside together.”

Covetousness reared its ugly head!

And had to be dealt with QUICKLY!

There is no other way to put it: it’s hard for immigrants.

It takes a full generation to plant ourselves into the land, learn the language and the more subtle things of a culture. The generation of the “in between” has raw roots.

I began to thank The Lord for bringing us home and thought of Psalm 90:1 “LORD THOU hast been our dwelling place in all generations…”

My heart was immediately comforted and brought back into His perspective.  HE is our dwelling place…a sure Home and everlasting Abode.  But it’s good to remind those of you who so lovingly and faithfully pray for aliyah, which IS God’s plan, to also pray for the rooting and sustaining of those who come here because of the culture shock. So then a good root system can be formed.

 

On the train the next day I saw a lovely thing.  Two young men, religious boys by their dress, got on the train and without embarrassment called to everyone, “Greetings!  We are collecting money for a young immigrant couple that are getting married and have nothing.  Please share with them?”  They produced water bottles with the tops cut off and began to go along the aisle.  Nearly everyone generously poured change into the bottles.

The woman next to me said, “What?  What did he say?  I didn’t hear him.”  She cupped her hand to her ear.

“It’s for the wedding of a young immigrant couple who have nothing.”

She nodded her head.  She understood.  No one asked to see proof.  I was touched both by their open gesture and by the quick sharing of the people.  It was lovely.  It was Jerusalem.

I recalled the story a volunteer told me recently. It is common here for people to go door to door collecting money for various needs.  This volunteer shared that they had gone to the door of an elderly man and said, “We are here to help with home repairs for those who need help…”

Before they could finish the sentence, the man went to his change bag and pulled out several small coins and gave it to them saying, “Yes.  Please help them.”

They were touched because it was HIM whose apartment they had come to repair.

It’s time for bed.  Thank you for your prayers.  The Lord is faithful!  We are heading toward the beginning of the Spring feasts and the forerunner is Purim: the celebration of the book of Esther.  I will share more next time, but thank you for praying.

God bless you dear family,

Sister J

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Geezer Up (Part 13)

 

Every part of me trembled from a fear so overpowering that my teeth chattered aloud. All I could think about was Kyle’s death grip on my neck and how the next time, he would finish the task. I didn’t know what else to do so I climbed into the top bunk and curled up in a ball, resigning myself to the fate soon awaiting me in Cell 27 at County Jail #4.

My exhaustion and fears struggled with each other for a few minutes, before exhaustion won out. I fell into a deep sleep.

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his memoir, Stride Toward Freedom, about his receiving forty or more death threats per day during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956. One particular phone call late at night pushed him over the edge. He walked into the kitchen, made a pot of coffee, and sat down in a chair at the kitchen table. He tried to think of a way to quit his leadership position without appearing to be a coward. Finally, he prayed and asked God to help him because he was too afraid to continue. The presence of the Lord cloaked King, assuring him that He would always be with him in the days ahead and forever. King never again doubted or feared for his life again.

What the Lord did for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the kitchen table, he did for me in that top bunk.

Was it a dream? Was it a vision? Or did I really ascend into the second heaven? I don’t know for sure, but you can judge it for yourself.

In my sleep, I heard my voice echoing the earlier prayer: “Lord, thanks for giving a seventy-three year old geezer, like me, a second chance to be a part of the action and not allowing me to retire from Your kingdom work. And Lord, use me even more in the days ahead.”

My words came out of an intense darkness without shadows. Yet, peace, love, and joy filled the same darkness. A spotlight then came on, shining on Reverend Morgan Churchill, the most godly man I had ever met and father of one of our closest friends, Faye Strawmeier. He was the founding pastor of Jedidiah Smith Community Church, which Jane and I attended for thirty years.

“Dylan, give me your hand,” said Reverend Churchill.

I sat up and offered my right hand to him. He grabbed it and we took off, up through the ceiling of Cell 27, through the roof of the Hall of Justice Building, and up into the heavenly realms. Even though I figured we were traveling at the speed of light, my eyes had no problem adjusting to the speed. I could focus on images as we zoomed past them.

We stopped thousands of miles above San Francisco.

“Today, you are going to begin learning about your enemy and how to battle him in the days ahead,” Reverend Churchill. “Pay close attention to what you see, okay?”

I nodded my head, but my mouth itched to blurt out questions.

Reverend Churchill had been an easy-going leader with an infectious sense of humor when he pastored. His blue eyes always looked ready to smile and enjoy a good time with people around him. But on this day, his manner mirrored the solemnity of the occasion, as did his dark suit, starched white shirt, and red-stripped tie. His chronic back problems seemed no longer an issue for him because he stood tall and erect before me.

“Look over there,” he pointed toward a radiant being sitting on what appeared to be a golden throne covered with jewels located in the realm next to us. “What do you see?”

“It looks like a god. I almost feel like worshipping it.”

“What you’re viewing with your eyes is the ruling principality over San Francisco −”

“But he’s beautiful!”

“The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, ‘For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.’ That is the spirit of depravity and how you’re seeing it right now is how most San Franciscans − believers and unbelievers alike − view this principality, as something good, and not evil.”

Reverend Churchill reached over with his right hand and covered my eyes. He then removed his hand.

“Now look again at the creature now that your spiritual eyes are opened up two levels.”

The being changed in one nano-second into a grotesque creature, much like a King Kong-sized gargoyle. His body parts appeared to be a surreal mixture of wolf, reptile, and goat parts with a stubby tail, talons for feet, scale-covered wings, paw-like hands, and misshapen goat-like face with two outlandish ram’s horns covering his wolf-shaped ears. His open mouth was filled with hideous teeth. There was nothing beautiful about him at all.

On closer inspection, the principlity’s throne was not made of gold, but rather out of worthless pyritic minerals or fool’s gold. The jewels decorating the throne were nothing more than worthless colored glass.

“In the days ahead, you will expose the spirit of depravity to the people of San Francsisco,” said Reverend Churchill.

“How?”

“By revealing God’s goodness to the city because it is through His goodness that people’s eyes will be opened to repentance.”

Before I could say another word, he held up his hand in a stop sign manner.

“Your first teaching on spiritual warfare is over for today, but from now on, you will walk in His peace. Nothing will faze or upset you in the days ahead because His presence within your heart will be a roaring fire, burning all doubts and fears that may confront you.”

Seconds later, I returned to my bunk a changed man.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 14…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Prayers for America (2/23/2017)

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Paul never glamorized the gospel! It is not success, but sacrifice! It’s not a glamour gospel, but a bloody gospel, a gory gospel, and a sacrificial gospel! 5 minutes inside eternity and we will wish that we had sacrificed more! Wept more, bled more, grieved more, loved more, prayed more, given more! (Leonard Ravenhill)

My prayer today:

Lord, help us American believers to not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, trusting that it truly is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. (Based on Romans 1:16)

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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Mountains Melt at the Presence of God (Part 1)

I was upset with God on that winter day in 1995. Things were not panning out quite the way I expected them to happen, not even close. I was thousands of dollars in debt, my friends had for the most part deserted me, and the woman who I thought would marry me didn’t even want to see me.

I sat by myself in that small upstairs apartment, near Iowa State University, reading a biography on John Lake’s life. As I turned the pages of the book, I decided to tell God exactly how I felt at that moment.

Standing up, I pointed my finger toward heaven. “Lord, I’m fed up with the way You’re running my life,” I said with foolish boldness. “In fact, I’m sick of it. If You’re the Creator of the Universe, why can’t You get me out of my problems in one day? Don’t You have enough power to do it by tomorrow? Or is Your arm too short? ”

I sat back down, quite satisfied with how I let God know my real feelings, and picked up the book again.

Much like it says in Acts 2:2 — And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind — God came into the room. His presence filled every part of the room with His holiness.

I dropped the book, fell to my knees on the floor, and wept. “O Lord, don’t kill me. Don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me,” I muttered over and over again.

You see, I knew I couldn’t live in that level of holiness for very long because of the sin in my life.

Then, the Lord spoke to my heart. “If I wanted to, I could deliver you out of your problems by tomorrow.”

“Yes, Lord, I believe that You could do that. Just don’t kill me.”

His heavy presence lifted off the room and eventually I stood up a changed man, much smaller in my own eyes than before that time.

This was an extreme example of God’s presence in my life, but interesting enough, it was God’s presence which came upon me as a young believer that drew me to love Him and desire to be with Him. And to be honest, if there is one thing that I hope I could somehow teach every believer: it would be to seek His presence.

The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. (Psalm 97:5)

(Continued in Part 2)

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Prayers for Healing and Deliverance (2/21/2017)

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If we go to a doctor and learn we have a terminal illness, what would we do next? Call City of Hope? Call Mayo Clinic? Book a flight to a Benny Hinn Crusade? Drive to the closest healing room? Call for a prayer meeting? What?

No one wants to consider these questions, but the odds are that many of us will face such situations during our lifetimes. Shouldn’t we at least prepare ourselves ahead of time?

Just so you know: I’m not against doctors, nurses, and hospitals. I’m not against Benny Hinn nor am I against the healing room ministries nor am I against prayer meetings.

In those days, King Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'” (2 Kings 20:2)

King Hezekiah was thirty-nine years old at the time, had been king of Judah for fourteen years, and according to scripture “had done what was right in the sight of the Lord.” So, what did Hezekiah do after he heard the bad news?

Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Remember now, O Lord, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (2 Kings 20:3)

Hezekiah turned away from Isaiah and the other people in his room at the time and sought the Lord. He knew he had standing before the Lord because to the best of his ability he had walked in faithfulness to Him.

The result: the Lord added fifteen years to King Hezekiah’s life.

My prayer today:

O Lord, help us American believers to trust in You with all of our hearts, to not trust in our own understanding, to acknowledge You in all of our journeys, to not be wise in our own eyes, to fear You, and depart from evil so that we will have healing for our bodies and strength for our bones. (Based on Proverbs 3:5-8)

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for new revelations on healing and deliverance for Americans NOW.

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Geezer Up (Part 12)

 

One moment, I felt ten feet tall, full of faith, defying the judge, announcing my fast, and the next moment, which happened as soon as I stepped out of the courtroom, I was weak old Dylan again. A seventy-three year old, bald, fifteen pounds over weight geezer who needed afternoon naps to stay awake until 9:30 at night. Not only that, I craved blueberry pie, ice cream, chocolate covered peanuts, pizza, and would have robbed a bank to get them if I had a gun or a knife. What’s my problem, I thought.

The young guard marched me up to the seventh floor to County Jail #4, a maximum-security facility for murderers, rapists, drug dealers, gang leaders, and now, a geezer with a big mouth.

After signing in, I went to a room where a soft-spoken guard ordered me to strip off my clothing so he could thoroughly search me. He then handed me my orange county jail outfit, white t-shirt, white underwear, white socks, pair of black slide sandals, and a bag containing toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, and a locker key.

I finally arrived at my cell just before lunchtime. My cellmate sat at the small built-in desk, reading a thick book and taking notes on a legal pad. He looked up and shook his head.

“I was hoping for a cute young guy, but instead, I get an old, worn-out coot like you. What are the odds?” he said with a smile. Then, he stood up and offered his hand. “My name is Kyle Bogart. I’m the gay terminator on this wing.”

Even though he wore an orange uniform like mine, Kyle looked like he had stepped out of GQ Magazine with his stylish cut blond hair, blue eyes, chiseled good looks, and muscular six-foot frame.

I shook his firm hand. “My name’s Dylan Matthews. I’m a retired cute guy.”

Kyle laughed. “Okay, that’s funny, but because seniority has its benefits in here, you get the top bunk, and the little locker on the right.”

“That works for me.”

I pointed at his thick book. “What are you studying?”

“Law.”

“That sounds boring to me.”

“Yeah, it is, but I’m accused of murder and thought it would be a good idea to understand what the lawyers are talking about.”

“Murder? You look like a successful businessman.”

“Good guess! I am a part owner of a successful restaurant, but my partner was recently bludgeoned to death.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“Well, things happen. Plus, he was my husband and cheated on me. By the way, what are you in here for? Robbing a bank or something exciting like that?”

It’s funny how at that moment I remembered his words “gay terminator” and how he didn’t elaborate on that title. My imagination kicked into gear with all kinds of hypothetical possibilities.

I blew out a deep breath and plunged into the deep end. “I spoke a short message to some men watching the parade down in the Castro District. All I said was, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.’ My words caused a small riot and ended up with me being arrested for a hate crime.”

His facial expression changed from normal to deranged in a San Francisco second. His blue eyes glazed over and the vein on the side his neck popped out, looking like it was ready to explode. He hurdled the distance between us and grabbed my neck with his huge hands and began choking me. I tried to protect myself, but he was too strong. His hate-filled eyes slashed my heart as I stared into them. I figured his face would be the last one I’d see before meeting Jesus in heaven.

The lunch chime sounded.

He released his chokehold on me, much like the dogs had responded to ringing bells in Pavlov’s experiments. He looked at me and then down at his hands, flexing both of them.

“My mom preached this crap to me until I finally left home. So, don’t ever mention Jesus or God to me again because I don’t know if I can contain myself from ripping you apart!” he proclaimed. Then, he lowered his voice. “Let’s go eat lunch now, okay?”

I struggled for breath and shook my head. “No! Go ahead without me. I’m going to rest a little bit.”

“Suit yourself, but today’s lunch is pastrami on rye with lentil soup. It’s really good.”

And just like that, the gay terminator left.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 13…the full series to date can be read here.)

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