Category Archives: Israel

The Good Shepherd Will Reign

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This is a Blogged Bible Study entry for John 10:

Before the Babylonian Captivity was complete (581 BC), Jeremiah spoke to the leaders of God’s chosen people:

The Lord says, The leaders of my people are sure to be judged. They were supposed to watch over my people like shepherds watch over their sheep. But they are causing my people to be destroyed and scattered.  So the Lord God of Israel has this to say about the leaders who are ruling over His people: “You have caused my people to be dispersed and driven into exile. You have not taken care of them. So I will punish you for the evil that you have done.  I, the Lord, affirm it!  ~Jeremiah 23:1-2

Eventually, Nebuchadnezzar razed Jerusalem and the temple was destroyed on the Ninth of Av.  After 70 years in captivity, God’s chosen people were allowed to return and began to rebuild the decimated temple.  By the time Jesus walked the earth (≈4BC-30AD), God’s chosen people were under a new ruler: Rome. 

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheepAll who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

I am the Good Shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.  ~John 10:7-16

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, in 70 AD on the Ninth of Av once more, Rome razed Jerusalem and the second temple era came to an end.  By 135 AD the last revolt was quelled and the Final Dispersion began. The Jews were dispersed to every quarter of the known world and remain so to this day.*

Jeremiah’s prophecy was not completely fulfilled.  Some of it has yet to happen.

Then I Myself will regather those of My people who are still alive from all the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their homeland. They will greatly increase in number. I will install rulers over them who will care for them. Then they will no longer need to fear or be terrified. None of them will turn up missing. I, the Lord, promise it!  ~Jeremiah 23:3-4

In 1948, by a UN vote, the world allowed the Jews (God’s chosen people) to return to their homeland.  Many are there, but they are not safe.  He promised they would be.  The Lord keeps all His promises.

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’”  ~Jeremiah 23:5-6

Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd.   ~Ezekiel 34:23 (in this passage the Messiah is described as  David)

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.  ~Isaiah 9:6-7

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.  His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except HimselfHe is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.  From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

The Good Shepherd will come again to fulfill all He has promised.  Our God is a covenant keeping God.

Read the rest of this entry

The Sin of Presumption

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What is that? 

I’ve asked it of myself many times.  Do I presume to speak for God?  How does anyone speak for God?  Sure…in ancient times God raised up prophets in His name to speak His words.  Does He still do that today?

Maybe.

So how do we know when someone is speaking for God, or speaking from his/her own agenda?

Please, hear me.  The Israelites asked this question of Moses. 

The LORD then said to me,
“What they have said is good.  I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites.  I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command.  I will personally hold responsible anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet speaks in My name.

“But if any prophet presumes to speak anything in My name that I have not authorized him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die.  Now if you say to yourselves, ‘How can we tell that a message is not from the Lord?’  Whenever a prophet speaks in My name and the prediction is not fulfilled, then I have not spoken it; the prophet has presumed to speak it, so you need not fear him.”  ~Deuteronomy 18:17-22

Of course, we don’t stone people today who mistakenly declare themselves to have a word from the Lord.  We live under the perfect law of liberty.  But we do have a sure word of prophecy that has been made clear.  We do well to pay attention to it.

If I (Michelle) do not speak God’s word, then do not listen to me.

Do not listen to any man who comes in the name of the Lord and says, “I speak for God,”  only if  that man’s words can be held up to the standard of God’s word are we to listen.  Otherwise, he is being presumptuous.

 

Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;

Let them not rule over me;

Then I will be blameless,

And I shall be acquitted of great transgression. 

~Psalms19:13

Annie has some good thoughts on Truth.  She challenges me.

He Took Your Curse

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A Blogged Bible Study entry.

I love Tex-Mex.  Absolutely LOVE it.  Every date I want Uncle Julio’s.  Most fast food nights I’ll choose Taco Bueno.  And if the kids have their choice, Chili’s, I always order chicken fajita nachos.  Now you’d think I’d get tired of it, but I really haven’t…not yet.  It’s been a good fifteen years since I’ve been able to indulge this obsession, having moved to the mecca of Tex-Mex, back to my home state…TEXAS!!!

Now, if I had to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner I might get tired of it quicker.  If I could only have one choice, let’s say…tacos…I’m pretty sure I would begin to complain, after a while.  But that’s just me.  I have a very high tolerance for Tex-Mex.  So…let’s say it was…pancakes…?  A light fluffy pancake which melts in your mouth.  It’s brought to your door every morning and all you have to do is pick it up, enough for the day, and you are good to go.  Maybe for a couple of days or even a week you could tolerate it. But … week after week, month after month, year after year…?  Well.  You get the point.

And you know the story:

And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness, for there is no bread or water, and we detest this worthless food.”

We quickly judge the Israelites for complaining.  But, I must admit, unless it was tacos, I might be right there with them.  But the LORD God was not going to have it.  These people had complained enough (they had been doing it from the start) and it was time for judgment.

So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and they bit the people; many people of Israel died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord that he would take away the snakes from us.”  So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous snake and set it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole, so that if a snake had bitten someone, when he looked at the bronze snake he lived. ~Numbers 21:5-9

The curse was placed upon a pole in the form of a bronze snake. If anyone had been bitten he was to look upon the bronze snake and be healed.

To be sure I’ve not misconstrued this story from the Jewish teaching, let me share with you from a Jewish devotional:

Now the Lord could have healed Israel in fashion. The intent of placing a bronze serpent on a pole was to require acknowledgement of sin first and then acceptance of the healing provided by the Lord second. It was not adequate to think in one’s heart, “I’m sorry for my mistake.” To be healed the second action was required. They had to look up towards the heavens and view the bronze serpent to live.

This wilderness story was not lost to the people of Jesus’ time. The bronze serpent had been kept. Centuries later it was destroyed during Hezekiah’s reign for it had become an idol of worship. (2 Kings 18:1-6) It may not be known to us Gentiles, but then we don’t study the Law and the Prophets like the Jews. That was the only scripture they had and they knew it well.

Jesus is having a conversation with Nicodemus.  He is explaining to Nic about the meaning of being born again and He ends the conversation with this seemingly obscure bit of information.  But it’s not obscure to Nic.  He is a Jewish teacher of the Law, a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin.  He knows this story.  He knows his history.  He understands the context.  Then Jesus says this is the sign of the Son of Man:

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.” 

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. ~John 3:14-18

Have you looked to the One who can bring you healing? 
Did you know that everyone is cursed who hangs upon a tree? 

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”   ~Galatians 3:13

He took the curse for you.  He bore it on the cross.  He has redeemed us from the Law of sin and death.  You have only to look upon Him and believe.

My Prayer This Day

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Psalm 25

By King David:

O Lord, I come before you in prayer.

My God, I trust in You. Please do not let me be humiliated;
do not let my enemies triumphantly rejoice over me!

Certainly none who rely on You will be humiliated.
Those who deal in treachery will be thwarted and humiliated.

Make me understand Your ways, O Lord! Teach me Your paths!

Guide me into Your truth and teach me.
For You are the God who delivers me; on You I rely all day long.

Remember Your compassionate and faithful deeds, O Lord,
for You have always acted in this manner.

Do not hold against me the sins of my youth or my rebellious acts!
Because You are faithful to me, extend to me Your favor, O Lord!

The Lord is both kind and fair;
that is why He teaches sinners the right way to live.

May He show the humble what is right!
May He teach the humble His way!

The Lord always proves faithful and reliable
to those who follow the demands of His covenant.

For the sake of Your reputation, O Lord,
forgive my sin, because it is great.

The Lord shows His faithful followers the way they should live.

They experience His favor; their descendants inherit the land.

The Lord’s loyal followers receive His guidance,
and He reveals His covenantal demands to them.

I continually look to the Lord for help,
for He will free my feet from the enemy’s net.

Turn toward me and have mercy on me,
for I am alone and oppressed!

Deliver me from my distress;
rescue me from my suffering!

See my pain and suffering!
Forgive all my sins!

Watch my enemies, for they outnumber me;
they hate me and want to harm me.

Protect me and deliver me!
Please do not let me be humiliated,
for I have taken shelter in You!

May integrity and godliness protect me, for I rely on You.

O God, rescue Israel from all their distress!

When God Disappoints

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I dream of God’s beauty and His goodness. I see the wonders of His creation and feel the extravagance of His grace. I know He is sovereign and I rest in that knowledge.

So, what happened?

Some would say I didn’t claim His promises. Others will lay the blame at a lack of faith. A few might actually believe in the bogus “law of attraction” and say I was too negative so, I received back from the cosmos what I sent out. Hogwash!

God is Sovereign.

His name is El ElyonGod Most High.

He is above all and everything is under His feet.

His name is El Shaddai God All-Sufficient.

His strength is sufficient in our weakness.

His name is El OlaminGod Everlasting.

He will never end.  His mercies endure forever.

His name is El RoiGod Who Sees.

He sees everything; no detail misses His gaze.

His name is JehovahSelf-Existent One.

All exists because He has declared it to be.

His name is Jehovah-RaphaHealing Lord.

He wounds and He heals. I will trust Him for our healing in His time.

His name is Jehovah-Shammah My Lord is There.

He will never leave us nor forsake.

His name is Jehovah-JirehLord Provider.

He supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory.

His name is Jehovah-RaahLord, My Shepherd.

Though we walk through the dark valley of death, the Good Shepherd leads us.

His name is Jesus Joshua.

Choose this day whom you will serve.  As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

I will run to the strong tower of His Name and be safe.
For His Name’s sake He has promised.
I will put my trust in Him and rest in His ways.

Am I disappointed?

Yes.

My ways are not His ways.

Do I know what’s best?

No.

Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD. ~Psalm 144:15

Zechariah “Yahweh Remembers”

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Sam Writes 2 tagged me with a meme I can get into! The original meme came from Subversive Influence. I don’t really like memes – I have an aversion to them. Ignorance is bliss…sometimes.

But this tag is about the Bible – my FAVORITE book EVER! To narrow it down to one book of the Bible is very difficult. I tend to spend most of my time in Psalms and the Epistles. I need to keep my mind on praising God and knowing how to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel.

However, over the past few years I have come to LOVE the book of Zechariah. Some of you know that politically, I back Israel. Honestly, I feel God has more to say about that country and definitely the city of Jerusalem, where He has established His memorial name forever, than any other geographical region on earth. I don’t see the promises as only spiritual – I also see them as literal. So, with that in mind, I LOVE the book of Zechariah.

I came across these three statements that help to clarify the purpose of the book of Zechariah:

1) The transcendent God is working out His eternal purpose for Judah and Jerusalem, equipping His covenant people to fullfill the role for which He chose them.

2) God’s kingdom will be established thru struggle and tension.

3) A Deliverer will bring a time of ultimate blessing.

~the NET bible at bible.org

So now I will tag five more people: NorEaster, God’s Gal, Overcomer, Serendipity, Lovewillbringustogether. Give your favorite book and tell why. Can’t wait to read what y’all have to say.

Praying for You

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Asking…seeking…pleading…praising…meditating…begging…knocking…persevering…relying…trusting.

He must answer. I know He will answer. I won’t make it without His answer….

Desperation leads me to running in search of a safe place. People aren’t always safe. If you’ve lived very long you know people will disappoint. We have a tendency to run to the place where we have had the most success getting help. That place, for me, is God.

My husband is an amazing man…my parents are wonderful people…my siblings will stick by me to the end…my friends have shown me much love and patience…but God is my source of strength, my answer in the time of need, the Rock on which I stand. He never disappoints. He is the faithful One who is always ready to hear my heart’s yearnings.

My heart is yearning today…for my children…for my family…for my friends…for my world.

I’m running to Him…

He is faithful.

Can I pray for you too?

The Secret of Contentment

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We’ve been looking at houses with land online.  From acres of woods with a small clearing and a barn, to the formal drive and majestic oaks leading to the house of our dreams, we’ve been looking…again.

We get this itch every few months.  We desire to move away from the city and enjoy the great outdoors.  When we visit my inlaws’ place – a dream to us – we imagine what it would be like to own something so perfect.  We make the plans, start the search, crunch the numbers, build the dream…then…we go to church.

Do you know what our pastor had the gall to speak about today?   The secret of contentment (I guess the title gave that one away).  We are at the end of the book of Philippians where Paul states,

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.   I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

I wanted to affirm my agreement by saying “amen!” but could not choke out the word.  Here we go again, thinking through our responsibility of being one of those who have plenty.

I have seen other countries, I have done some traveling, I know how other people live with much less.  When we first came home from England we could not believe the overabundance of America.  We made all kinds of pledges to one another – we don’t need a VCR, there’s no need for a walk-in closet full of clothes, we can make due without eating out two times a week, one car is plenty for a family to own, that’s too much square footage for three people.  We had learned to live with less and had enjoyed our time overseas.  But, even with all our ‘pledges’, it didn’t take long before we had bought the VCR and began looking for a home with a pool.  When is enough, enough?

I want to be satisfied and give my money to missions.  Really!  I do.  Amazing things are happening around the world with the spreading of the gospel.  I want to help pay for some Jewish people to make aliyah.  I want to support more children through World Vision.  I want to sponsor indigenous pastors in Asia, give relief to the martyrs, buy goats and grain for the people in need, help to rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina…and…I want that house with the massive oaks.

The responsibilty…

To whom much is given, much is required.

Lord, take my desires and make them Yours.  Let me see the world through Your eyes.  Forgive my yearning for more.  Help me see others’ needs before my wants.  I am weak, You are strong.  I can do all things through You Who gives me strength.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

A Day of Mourning

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 Thousands Mourn Slain Seminary Students

Enormous crowds gathered this morning in Jerusalem for the funerals of the eight students murdered last night in a terrorist attack at the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva.  The identities of the slain were released late last night:

Doron Mehereta, 26, of Ashdod
Ro’i Rote, 18, of Elkanah in Samaria (Shomron)
Yonadav Haim Hirschfeld, 19, of Kokhav HaShachar (Shomron)
Yochai Lipshitz, 18, of the Old City of Jerusalem
Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar, 16, of Shilo (Shomron)
Neriah Cohen, 15, of Jerusalem
Segev Pniel Avichayil, 15, of N’vei Daniel in Gush Etzion
Avraham David Moses, 16, of Efrat, Gush Etzion

The photo shows the blood-soaked tallit (prayer shawl) of one of the murdered students whose body was found on the floor, still holding to his chest the Bible commentary he had been studying at the moment of his death.Some students remain hospitalized in serious to critical condition and a call has gone out to the general public to pray for the recovery of:

Naftali ben Gila (son of Gila) from Sderot
Yonatan ben Avital
Shimon ben Tirza
Nadav ben Hadas
Reuven ben Naomi
Elchanan ben Zehava

As the ambulances began arriving at the Yeshiva about 10:30 this morning carrying the bodies of the victims, waves of sobbing gripped the crowds as each ambulance made its way with difficulty through the packed streets surrounding the seminary.The first eulogy was delivered by Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, who succeeded his late father, Rabbi Avraham Elkanah Kahana Shapira, as leader of the yeshiva when the latter passed away just a few months ago.  Rabbi Shapira spoke with tears streaming down his face of the “eight sons that we have lost in one day,” and called for a “better and more believing leadership. This slaughter is a continuation of the slaughterous pogrom of 1929 in Hevron [when Arabs murdered with axes 67 Jews in their homes and synagogues]. The Land of Israel, which these eight loved so much and were so devoted for – we have to stop playing with it!  We have to stop dividing it!..  Please pray for us, and for the yeshiva, that it should continue to grow and have influence.”

The news out of Israel today is heart wrenching.  As it came over the wires yesterday, I was frustrated that we could not get a full report on any news stations.  I relied upon the Drudge Report with its list of links to gain information, then clicked on to my sidebar to read from “Schmoozing with Elya Katz,”  he is a great source for all things Jewish.  This report was in my email this morning, it comes from Leah Rafaeli with The Lekarev Report.

I know the picture is hard to bear, but the understanding that children were murdered as they were studying Torah needs to be grasped.  These are God’s chosen people through an everlasting covenant He cut with Abraham.  It is a day of mourning.  Please pray with me:

May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.  May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.  May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.  May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.   We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.  May the Lord grant all your requests.                     

Psalm 20:1-5

Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  Shabbat Shalom.