Sunday, July 31, 2011


Temptation!  What image comes to mind when you hear that word?  Indulging in some decadent dessert?  A pornographic image you saw somewhere?
            Paul had four specific areas in his mind when he wrote about temptation in I Cor. 10.  Notice that Paul’s teaching about temptation uses examples from the lives of the Israelis as they came out of slavery in Egypt and before they took possession of their Promised Land.  He specifically says that their experiences are examples to us on how to stand up to temptation (v. 6).         
            Idolatry was the first sin Paul warns us about in v. 7.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any golden calves hidden under a blanket in my back yard.  Check.  No problem with sin #1.
            Immorality is sin #2 in v. 8.  Now Paul is hitting a little closer home.  Immoral behaviors and life styles are certainly an issue today.  If you are having a problem in this area, listen up.  Paul has some specific instruction for you. 
            Verse 9 is a bit nebulous.  “Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents.”  What happened is recorded in Numbers 21:5.  The people began questioning Moses (and God) about why he brought them into the desert—there were no McDonalds or Starbucks out there.  What are we going to eat?  And we’re thirsty!!!!  As a result many of them died of snake bite.  The plague of snakes was only stopped when Moses placing a bronze snake on a pole—whoever looked in faith at the bronze snake lived, whoever did not, died.
            Verse 10 gets real close to where many of us live.  Grumbling about situations we find ourselves in is an easy habit to get into.  If you study Ex. 17 you will learn about the sin of Massah and Meribah.  The Israelis found themselves in the hot desert with no water.  The sin was not that they cried out about their desperate situation—the sin was that they questioned whether God was among them or not! 
            In all four scenarios Paul’s solution against falling into temptation is the same:  Be careful that you don’t walk in pride, thinking that you would never fall into that sin.  But when you are confronted with the temptation to act immorally or grumble about life situations and question whether God is still with you or not—stop and look for the exit.  When you find yourself in any temptation, there is a way of escape.  Look for it.  God is faithful.  By depending on Him, you will be able to endure it and overcome it.
            Ps. 56:9b:  “…this I know, God is for me.”  Never question whether God is with you.  Jesus promised to be with us to the very end.  Hallelujah!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Praying for Israel

            About 24 years ago God did a deep work in me and in my wife.  We were introduced to a Jewish lady who had recently immigrated to Israel.  After listening to her love for Israel, and wanting to go there ourselves, she prayed for us that God would give us a heart for Israel.  WOW!  Did He ever answer that prayer!  Since that time we have been to Israel eight times and were blessed with a six month stay in Israel in 1993.
            While we were living there, the first Oslo accord was signed on the White House lawn between Yasser Arafat and Yitsak Rabin.  That began a downward spiral for Israel in which the hoped for peace was replaced by increased violence of Intifadas, terrorist bombings, and growing international pressure to give up more and more land.
            Meanwhile, we noticed a huge upswing in support for Israel among people of faith around the world.  We began hearing about groups in Korea, New Zeeland, Australia, South America, Europe, and across the United States that were praying passionately for Israel.  Our own hearts grew in support for Israel as we began praying for her on a regular basis.  The more we have prayed for Israel, the more we have noticed the intensity of spiritual warfare increasing.
            This past week our church held around-the-clock prayer and one of the emphases was Israel.  One six year old boy told his mother that he was going to pray that Israel would be protected from her enemies.  We also just returned from an evening of prayer with other churches in our city—and the whole two hours was prayer for Israel.  God is stirring up His Body to intercede for Israel.  What an awesome privilege to partner with Holy Spirit and voice His heart for His people and His Land.  Join us.  Pray as Holy Spirit prompts you. 
            If you want more information on why to pray and how to pray for Israel, I urge you to read Don Finto’s book Your People Shall Be My People. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

More Anti-Semitism

          Anti-Semitism is alive and well on planet Earth.  Its expressions are obvious in the lunatic proclamations of Iran’s president Ahmadinejad as he openly declares Israel should be wiped off the map and while denying the holocaust ever happened, promises he will bring about a new holocaust to eliminate all Jews from the Middle East.  Less obvious but just as anti-Semitic are the calls by members of liberal Christian Churches who call Israel an apartheid state guilty of persecuting Palestinians.
            Now comes a call for a third Durban conference on Human Rights.  It is sponsored by the United Nations Human Rights Council and is advertized as an “anti-racism week”.  The first two were touted as conferences to support human rights world-wide, but were simply anti-Israel rallies that called for censure of Israel for its treatment of Palestinians.  This third conference, scheduled for late September, promises to be more of the same rhetoric   
            But there is a movement to support Israel.  Friends in Israel have notified us that a demonstration will be held against the Durban council in front of the UN headquarters on the opening day of the General Assembly. The Demonstration will be held at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, on the 21st of Sept, 2011, at 11 am.  For more details visit the events website at, join the Facebook group “Boycott Durban III.  I urge you to watch a short video on their website that gives a clear history of the anti-Semitism that has characterized the resolutions and attitudes of the United Nations for the last forty years.
            I urge you to be informed and watch for the anti-Israel bias that permeates today’s media.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all of Israel.  She is still the “Apple of God’s eye.”

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Dividing Line

            It never ceases to amaze me that one can be Buddhist, Bahai, or even atheist and still be fully Jewish.  But if you embrace Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah, you are accused of betraying your Jewish heritage, you may be denied citizenship in Israel, and be rejected by family and friends.  There are cases where people who have lived in Israel for many years have been, after being found to be Messianic, threatened with deportation, have lost their jobs and been ostracized on many levels.  A Messianic Pastor in Jerusalem was recently sued along with a couple in their fellowship on a trumped up charge of trying to convert a minor.  They were acquitted, but the anti-missionary group that sued them has now taken it to the next higher court—and so the persecution continues.
            Those who come to faith in Yeshua are not giving up their Jewishness, but in fact are more fulfilled as Jews than ever before.  They continue to celebrate the feasts and find deeper meaning in those feasts as they understand not only the historical significance behind them but also the applications for their spiritual lives today.
            Jesus was a Jew.  Unfortunately, as the number of Gentiles who believed in Jesus for forgiveness of their sins increased, more and more of the roots of Christianity in Judaism were forgotten or abandoned on purpose.  As the Church became dominated by Gentiles, the sense of connectedness to Jewish history and foundations was lost.
            Over the centuries those who call themselves Christians have wrongly persecuted Jews for killing Jesus.  They have changed the true Jewish image of Jesus into a “Christian” Jesus and erased all the Jewish identity he had.  This has further alienated Jews from Christians and set up barriers between them that are very difficult to overcome.  There is a great need for us Believers in Yeshua to humble ourselves and ask forgiveness for the ways our predecessors have treated the Jews in the Name of Jesus. 
            I am not saying Gentile Believers should begin looking like their Jewish cousins by eating Kosher, keeping Sabbath, etc.  Nor should Messianic Believers be expected to look, act and live like Gentiles.  Paul exhorts us to remember that we are saved by faith, not by keeping the law—a spiritual axiom for all Believers, Jew and Gentile alike!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Standing with Israel

            “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.”  God gave Abraham this amazing promise.  If you look at the way this was carried out in the book of Genesis, you see time and again God’s blessing flowing to someone who honored Abraham. 
            Then as you follow the children of Abraham through Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy you see this pattern continue to the succeeding generations. 
            Even down to today, I have seen people who take a stand against Israel pay a heavy price.  President George H. W. Bush refused to guarantee loans for Israel to build much needed housing in Israel and a few days later his own home on the East Coast was hit by a major hurricane.  In a more subtle way, we have seen church denominations take a stand against Israel and the result has been a lifting of God’s blessings on that group.
            That is the background for my concern for the Quakers.  This past week they called for a boycott of companys who stand with Israel.  Their call for this boycott is couched in terms of standing against the violence that Israel has done against the “Palestinian people” in Gaza.
            The Quakers need to go to Israel and see the conditions on the ground as well as review the history of Israel.  They have apparently just accepted the liberal-left agenda and media story line of how the government of Israel has persecuted the Palestinian people.  The closure of the border between Gaza and Israel only happens in response to the firing of rockets from Gaza into population centers in Israel, or because of some other terrorist threat from Hamas or some similar group against Israel.  If Hamas and the Palestinian leaders would stop the violence perpetrated on Israel’s citizens, life would be much easier and more peaceful for everyone.
            In another blog entry, I will delve more fully into the history of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.  It is a complicated situation.  Our prayers and efforts need to be directed to both sides.