The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is from the LORD and is His doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22,23
Zola Levitt once said in a broadcast: “When God chooses a people, Satan chooses them too.” Dr. Brown has detailed the history of anti-Semitism, pointing out that it has had longer tenure and more depraved manifestations than any other prejudice in the world.
Yeshua invited every one of us to “become one with” Him, which He presented in the parable or paradigm of the ancient Jewish wedding tradition. The beauty of the language He chose slowly dawns on us as we become acquainted with the unique features of this tradition. It is a tradition that is well worth looking into — because throughout the New Testament His most reassuring promises are framed in an analogy to this wedding paradigm.
But Jesus issued to Israel — to His Jewish brethren — a unique opportunity. He told them that only when they invite Him to return will He return! “You [Israel] will not see me again until you say ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”
Rabbi Jonathan Bernis recently mentioned that Satan knows all too well that Jesus’ return will wait for this unique invitation from Israel. Jonathan explained that this is why some of the most vicious recent hate crimes and harassment have been directed toward Messianic Jews. We have seen reports of these incidents — one particularly barbaric, all deeply disturbing. They have occurred in recent months in Israel.
We’ve seen reports of young Messianic Jewish children being tormented about their faith by other children. They’re mockingly called “Christians” — as if this were a deplorable thing to be. But Messianic Jews are certain that they are Jewish. They’ve realized that recognizing the Jewish Messiah doesn’t detract from being Jewish — this recognition completes and fulfills Judaism. This is what the Orthodox don’t want Jews to know.
This is why some among the Orthodox try so desperately to keep other Jews from reading the New Testament — the B’rit Hadashah. Some among the Orthodox will even use listeners’ memories of the Holocaust, pogroms, and other terrible suffering at the hands of people who pretended to be Christians to remind Jewish hearts or minds that are beginning to open that “the New Testament is for Christians.” The Orthodox persuade other Jews that reading it is “disloyal” to all the Jews who suffered and died over the centuries at the hands of people who posed as Christians — “disloyal” to being Jewish.
Scripture is full of such amazing and beautiful “pictures” and reversals. In a picture of Jesus’ return, David refused to return as king of Israel after Saul finally died until David’s (and Yeshua’s!) own tribe — Judah — invited him to return. Ultimately the people of Judah not only invited David to return — they went out “to conduct him over the Jordan.”
Peter was so broken and remorseful after having denied knowing Jesus three times before the crucifixion that he thought he would just go back to fishing — he thought he might be “good enough” to do this. But Jesus restored him to his higher calling by extending a single question to him three times — a question that allowed Peter to affirm three times the very bond that he had three times denied — and to receive his personal commission as well.
Apparently the ultimate “Playwright” wants the same people who, through their “representatives” who were in power at the time, “did not know the time of their visitation” when He lived on earth — to be the very ones to call Him back to all of us. This is the world’s Story; and no person could have written it.
Yeshua said that when Jews at long last look up in recognition to invite Him back He will come. The One who “alone knows the end from the beginning” indicated that this will happen! We can be in prayer to strengthen His beloved Israel — the Jewish people — against all the slings and arrows of Israel’s — and God’s — outrageous enemies. And to strengthen the Jewish people toward “the scales falling from their eyes” and the recognition’s dawning.
Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People Tagged with: David, Jesus, Jewish people, Judah, Peter, return, yeshua
I recall a time in which Benny Hinn came to preach as a guest speaker at an Assemblies of God church in Orlando. The Pastor of the church arose to welcome the people. His choice text was Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” As he read through the Psalm, people nodded their heads as they listened to the passage, which they had undoubtedly heard many times before. It wasn’t long after he finished that Benny Hinn took the pulpit. He opened up his mouth and began to quote Psalm 23 to the congregation. And though the words were so familiar to their ears, and they had just heard the same passage read to them by their Pastor, many people in the congregation began to break down in tears, as their hearts were pierced through with God’s love for His own people.
After the service, the Pastor of the church took Benny Hinn aside and said, “Why, when I read Psalm 23 to the congregation, did they simply hear it, but when you quoted it, they were emotionally moved to tears?” Hinn turned, looked at the Pastor, and in an effort to bring home the vast difference between a relationship with the Bible alone and a relationship with the Spirit that inspired it, lovingly replied, “You know the Psalm, I know the Shepherd.”
It is one thing to know the word of God and another thing to know the God of the word. As Leonard Ravenhill would point out, “it is not written that, those that know their Bible shall be strong and do exploits, but rather, they that know their God…” It is commonly taught, “you must know your Bible.” It is not God’s heart for you to merely, “know your Bible.” It is God’s plan that you, “know Him.” He didn’t save us to be scholars. He didn’t save us from not knowing about Him so we could know about Him. He saved us that we would know Him. Really. Eternal life is to KNOW GOD (John 17.2-3).
Though none of us are perfect nor will we ever be, we can know Him.
Michael Molinos said, “You cannot be perfect nor understand everything, but you can love Him.”
We are to be led, not by things about Him, but by Him. The Lord Himself wants to be the leader. He doesn’t want you to distantly follow the things that you can find out about Him or what has been recorded about Him, He wants you to be led by Him. He is the guide, He is the protector, He is the comfort, He is the Shepherd. Not His book. The Scriptures are meant to illuminate Him to us. Knowing Him is everything. If we don’t know Him, all of our degrees may as well collect dust or shine away in a glossy frame, for it all amounts to nothing. We need to KNOW GOD.
I want Him to hear me and me hear Him. The enjoyment of Him is everything. I believe that the enjoyment of God is the only true opening of the heart to hear or follow Him. Any following that isn’t issuing out of enjoyment of His presence above all things is tainted.
There is an inseparable connection of Lord and Shepherd. To actually know Him is to be under Him. Their is no knowing of God, in any way, apart from submission to His Lordship. If God were to allow us to go on forgiven only, rather than leading us also into submission to His Kingdom, would the root issue displayed in Eden truly have been dealt with?
We must never forget that the “Shepherdship” of Christ is only a reality in the lives that have subjected themselves to His “Lordship.” For the Scriptures say, “THE LORD is my Shepherd…” The benefits and guidance of the Lord in one’s life are real only to those whose hearts are subjected to the rule and reign of Christ the Lord.
Notice the word, “IS.” The wonder of the Shepherd leading and guiding, protecting and providing is current. Just because He “was” your Shepherd doesn’t mean He “is.” Just because you have plans for Him “to be” your Shepherd doesn’t mean His “is” now. Just because you gave your life to Him, doesn’t mean it is given now. If we leave the Lordship of Christ and decide to guide and lead ourselves, we no longer are able to claim that, “the Lord is [our] Shepherd.” We have become our own Shepherd.
I believe many have fallen into this trap. They cling to their lives and control their own destiny and religiously proclaim, “the Lord is my Shepherd.” This Intimate reality with God is too precious to reduce to a “positional” state. Some people believe that He is our Shepherd because we believed at one time. Listen, if we choose to rule our lives, He is not ruling. If we choose to Shepherd ourselves, He is not Shepherd.
I submit to all of us a question…is HE HIMSELF experienced in and clearly leading our lives as we have laid our lives at His feet? There are many wonderful evidences and promises in Psalm 23 of His wonderful Shepherding if He is in fact our Lord. “THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD.” Or, to rephrase, “The One that I have given my existence to, and that I know and experience, is, right now, this very day, my very own guiding, providing, lover, and leader of my life.”
Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism.
Posted in Featured Articles, Revival & Prayer Tagged with: assemblies of god, benny hinn, bible, David, psalm 23, shepherd
The UN Security Council last week was one vote short of “rendering” all Israeli settlements illegal. The US stood in the way and vetoed the resolution, opting however to agree to the settlement’s “illegitimacy.” Ynet news stated:
US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told council members that the veto “should not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity.” She added that the US view is that Israeli settlements lack legitimacy.
The Ambassador continued on to indicate that settlements and other issues ought to be resolved through negotiations. The Jerusalem Post added that:
The resolution risks “undermining US-led efforts to pursue a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.” Rice said that the settlements have, for “four decades” undermined Israel’s security situation and hindered the peace process in the Middle East.
At the same time the Palestinian official said this veto actually threatens the peace process. Again from Ynet:
The Americans have very clearly demonstrated to Palestinians, to Arab public opinion, and to world public opinion that they are biased to the point of destruction.
If they keep trying to manipulate and water down a resolution to become a statement, and they start selling us used goods again it’s not going to work
Israel’s position on this is that settlements and for that matter the entire peace process is to be through negotiations and not via UN resolutions. A statement from Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office reads:
“We seek a solution that will integrate the legitimate Palestinian aspirations with Israeli requirement of security and recognition,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The US decision makes it clear that the only way to peace is through negotiations. We are ready to vigorously advance negotiations and are interested in beginning the process of achieving secure peace and hope that the Palestinians will join the process.”
Was the US Administration trying to play both sides of the aisle? The settlements were always part of the peace negotiations going all the way back to President Carter’s Camp David Accord. For some reason, a non-issue became an ISSUE. I am not willing to speculate here on why this seems to be the case, but the settlements are not only legitimate, they are in fact legal. This can be traced all the way back to the League of Nations’ partitioning of Palestine and the British Mandate. To make the settlements illegal, one would have to make the judgments of The League of Nations in 1922 and the UN in 1947 in establishing a home land for Jews void. For a primer on the settlement issue please see Jewish Virtual Library, Myths and Facts, Settlements.
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.
Posted in Israel & The Jewish People, News Tagged with: ambassador to the united nations, America, David, Jerusalem, jerusalem post, Middle East, Netanyahu, palestinians, President Carter, public opinion, un security council, ynet news
“Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow
And my years with sighing;
My strength has failed because of my iniquity,
And my body has wasted away.
Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach,
Especially to my neighbors,
And an object of dread to my acquaintances;
Those who see me in the street flee from me.
I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.” -Ps. 31.9-12
The element of human weakness in the Psalms is a great provision for the Church, for the moment we come onto the grounds of flowery religious cliche, we at once come to unreality, and God will not work with us along those lines. It is noteworthy for us to consider that the sweet-singer and priestly King of Israel, David himself, had seasons where his soul was overcome with grief and confusion, paranoia and weariness, fear and hopelessness. This does not make him an insignificant figure in the history of the faith, but is rather a testament to the faithfulness of God, Who is able to save “to the uttermost” all who call upon His name.
The Psalms are filled with David’s inner turmoils and wrestlings, and he was not afraid to sing of them in the Tabernacle of old. He did not think of his spiritual image before men, for he was pre-eminently concerned for the presence of the heavenly King. He knew that the One Who had formed the world and knit him together in his mother’s womb, was well acquainted with the actual condition of his life. He felt no need to perform spiritually, but to come to God on the grounds of truth, bringing to the Lord the whole of who he was, “warts and all.”
This is a great call for our nip-and-tuck, fashion-obsessed, image-dominated society. We unfortunately bring the unreality of worldly thought into our experience of religion, and most of us can be found putting up the self-image of our choosing; that which looks most presentable to men. But God has ever and always been eager for the reality and truth of our condition, for it is only on those grounds that we meet with His mercy and transforming power.
We would be quick to accuse, and even quote a verse at David if he were to pour out his soul to us as he did in Psalm 31. His pleas with the Lord were often antithetical to the boisterous, Dominionist views of many modern souls in the Church. We might think of his song as a bad witness, a complaining rant, or a sign of his weak spirituality. But how was it that David became such a precious figure with such favor from God? How is it that when Jesus comes He will restore the “tabernacle of David,” that He will sit on “David’s throne,” and that He did not wince when He was called “the Son of David” by the blind man?
God is not ashamed to be identified with David because David cried out to Him from the ground of reality. And it is David’s pursuit of God from the ground of weakness, in grief, in sorrow, even in iniquity, that made him a “broken vessel” who is still “blessing the families of the earth” today. His weakness is the condition of all humanity, but out of that low place, he continued to cry out to the One who is “high and lifted up,” and we are still feeling the reverberations of his life in God in our generation. Am I pursuing Him from the ground of reality, or have I got some image to uphold before men?
When I come to Him from the ground of my own brokenness, at once I am touched by the only One who has the power to cleanse, heal, and restore my soul, and to bring me into alignment with the reality of Himself. And to live in the reality of God Himself, walking circumspectly before Him in all His glorious light, is to be “free indeed.”
“For I have heard the slander of many,
Terror is on every side;
While they took counsel together against me,
They schemed to take away my life.
But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD,
I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.
Make Your face to shine upon Your servant;
Save me in Your lovingkindness.” (vv. 13-16)
Posted in Featured Articles, The Kingdom of God Tagged with: David, davidic, Jesus, light, presence, psalms, religion, spirituality, The Earth
Psalms 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
David was one man personally and intimately aware of the deep darkness that lurks within the human heart. He had, himself, sunk to depths of depravity he would have never thought possible as a harp playing, shepherd boy. But situations, opportunities and regal power had brought to the surface the gruesome reality of the human heart condition.
When Jeremiah said, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9) he spoke like an insurance adjuster who writes off a damaged vehicle as a total loss. There seemed to be no hope for salvaging some good thing in it. Paul declared, “I know that nothing good lives in me”. And in Psalms reads, “All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one”.
I used to think that when David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God…” he was asking God to clean his heart. Suddenly I realized that I had been reading it all wrong! David is not asking God to clean his heart, but rather to create a new clean heart…one that will replace the hopeless, desperate, unmitigated disaster he was born with. David wastes no time asking God to heal his old diseased heart. Instead he asks for a new one…a clean one. Such a thing, only God could create.
Spurgeon said, “Human nature is too far gone ever to be mended. It is not a house that is a little out of repair, with here and there a slate blown from the roof, and here and there a piece of plaster broken down from the ceiling. No, it is rotten throughout, the very foundations have been sapped; there is not a single timber in it which has not been eaten by the worm, from its uppermost roof to its lowest foundation; there is no soundness in it; it is all rottenness and ready to fall. God doth not attempt to mend, he does not shore up the walls, and re-paint the door; he does not garnish and beautify, but he determines that the old house shall be entirely swept away, and that he will build a new one.”
David’s words, “Create in me…” conjure eerie images of the pre-adamic earth. A bottomless soup of boiling bedlam reigning unchallenged for untold eons. The thick darkness and horrifying chaos seemed impenetrable. “The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep…” Then God spoke and His word created order out of disorder, light out of darkness, beauty out of chaos and life out of extinction.
David, like the primordial earth, needed more than a good washing. He cried out to God to give him a heart transplant; to vanquish the old peutrifying horror and create in its place a new heart, as fresh as Eden’s first morning. Unfortunately for David, this was impossible in his day. In fact it is as though you can hear his perpetual frustration in his writings as he struggled throughout his life with that old troublesome heart.
But what a privilege is ours! Today, through Christ, a new heart is available to whosoever will. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17) It is a wonderful mystery; the greatest “creative miracle” possible.
As a college student I had a job working for Wal-Mart. For those of you who live outside the USA, it is a chain of massive discount department retailers. It is the largest private employer in America and the largest corporation in the world…and for good reason. Whatever may be said of their imperialist business model, Wal-Mart knows how to treat its customers. While I was working there, someone walked up to the customer service counter with an old garden hose, weathered and worn, apparently years old. They claimed to have purchased it at Wal-Mart but had no receipt and now wanted a new one. At any other store this would be utterly unthinkable, but at Wal-Mart the customer got a replacement, because his satisfaction was more valuable than the price of a hose. He walked in with an arm-full of worthless rubber and walked out with a brand new garden hose.
Wal-Mart may be generous, but there is someone more generous still. When we come before God with our worthless, hopeless, helpless hearts, He is willing to accept them. He doesn’t patch up that old rubber hose of our hearts. Instead he offers us a brand new one; fresh and clean. Now that’s a great exchange.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”—Ezekiel 36:26.
Posted in Scripture Tagged with: David, heart, holiness, psalms, purity, sin
Victory In Jesus! A Call to Practical & Spirit-Filled Purity
After being personally challenged and blessed by the recent article on a call to ‘Cleanse Our Eyes!’ by VOR writer Bryan Purtle, I felt led to write a short follow up with some practical principles and suggestions for dealing ruthlessly with sin, and the enemy’s enticements.
Jesus gives this instruction in Matthew 5: 27 – 30:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”
What does it mean to ‘gouge’ out your eye, and ‘throw it away…’? Or what does Jesus teach in ‘cutting off…’ your hand and ‘throwing it away…’? Isn’t the Lord being a little too radical? Doesn’t this kind of Christianity sound a little weird or extreme? In response to this I would say, ‘Absolutely!’ He is teaching us how to view sin, and He is instructing us on how to radically deal with it! Only God ultimately knows the darkness, power and destruction sin brings, and thus has sent Jesus into the world to not only deal with its power and effects through the Cross, but also to instruct us in the Spirit filled life of holiness.
Another may say: ‘Surely, grace is available, and He understands our weaknesses, not to mention Christ is our advocate before the Father, and He forgives and cleanses confessed sin’ To which I say in accordance with the Scriptures, ‘absolutely’! (1 John 1: 5 – 2: 2) But also in accordance with the Scriptures I say, that not only has Jesus dealt with our filthy past if we have been truly Born Again, and has made more than adequate provision for our present and future failings as He deals in our lives through our life in the Spirit, but He has also given His glorious Spirit and Word to loose us from the bondage of sin and its dominion! (Romans 6: 14 – 23) As Paul says in Romans 6: 14: ‘For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.’
Grace is there to not only cover but to deliver, empower and bring victory because of His triumphant death and resurrection, through the outpoured Spirit!
Jesus has dealt with sin and the enemy, ‘once for all’, and now we partake in Kingdom life by the Spirit of God. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we then experience His Holy power dwelling within, and also we hear Him taking the Words of Christ and establishing them in our hearts. The affect is purging, refining and establishing. The Word then becomes a living burning Word by the Spirit, and it brings power and grace for a holy life.
So then, we come to the practical issues of Matthew 5. Jesus is using radical terms to cause us to flee from sin, and deal with it ruthlessly in our hearts. In this chapter it is the heart Jesus is primarily concerned about, not just the outward deed (though that too will bring disastrous consequences!) He knows that sin must be dealt with at the root, not just the fruit. This is why He talks of the murderous or adulterous heart. It is the heart of a man which determines his actions.
So below are just some key practical ways of dealing with sin:
· Seek the face of God radically with all your heart through prayer and reading the Word. If the Lord leads, do this with fastings also. Allow in that time the Spirit of God to come in fire and freedom and bring you into the freedom of Christ. Allow Jesus to come to deal thoroughly with the root of the issue in your heart. One man said: “Is sin hounding you; are your old habits re emerging? Do you feel the enemy pulling you back to your old ways? Then the remedy is this: Run to the Risen Christ!”
· Go and find a strong, Godly man or woman of God to be accountable to. Maybe you know of a minister or elder, or a leader of some kind. Ask God about whom, but don’t delay in looking and going to someone. Become accountable to them, and allow them to speak into your life and pray with you through into victory. Confess your failing to them in confidence. Let them ask you frequently how things are going. Trust them, and let God use them to instill discipline, Godliness and humility into you. All sin ultimately is rooted in pride. This is a great Kingdom principle (James 5: 16) and helps bring humility and light into our hearts. Don’t listen to the enemy telling you not to confess and be open. I have proved that there is tremendous liberty and victory in humbling myself to my brothers, under the sight of God!
· Married? Be open with your spouse. It’s amazing to me how often times when I confess my failings to my wife, how much thoroughness, grace and wisdom she has in helping me. This is a gift from God for both men and women. Use it!
· Cut off the offending part. Is the problem TV? Maybe go on a TV fast, or only watch it with someone else, or even get rid of it all together! Is the problem the internet? You can get rid of it or if you must have it for your work, then buy a children’s filter software, and let someone you trust and is Godly, monitor your use. You can never be too final or thorough in these practicalities!
· Don’t isolate yourself or become weary in well doing! One proverb says: He who isolates Himself, seeks His own desire. Remember King David’s falling because He did not go to war with the army of Israel. It is a key thing to plug in to a strong Jesus exalting, Biblical and Spirit filled NT Church, and serve there.
· Read and listen to messages of servants of God who are aflame for God! Holiness is infectious in the Holy Spirit’s presence! Many times I have sensed the flaming arrows of God through another’s ministry, and it sets me aflame even more!
So there are just some of the essential things to be done to gain victory. I’m sure there are many more things some of you may consider worth while, and by all means, please feel free to add some to the comments section below. However, please let’s remember the main thing. Christ has come in the power of the Spirit, and has defeated sin in His body on the Cross! His Blood, His Spirit and His words are the key factors. At the same time don’t let legalistic ‘extras’ come in. Remember, the key issue is always the heart of man. It is there God wants to ultimately work. From there our actions will be righteous, our eyes will be consecrated and our minds free!
May God give you freedom, victory and fullness through His Son, for His glory.
Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: adultery, Bryan Purtle, Christ, David, holiness, liberty, Matthew, prayer