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« Reply #930 on: August 24, 2009, 12:29:50 PM »

Learn well!

Proverbs 18:15 The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.

I’m not sure where I read it, but the idea has always been ingrained in my mind – if you want to be a good teacher, be a good student. When Yeshua (Jesus) lived on the earth, his disciples were called "talmudim". The Hebrew literally means "students". "Talmudim" comes from the verb, "Lilmod", "to learn". In essence, talmudim are learners.

We who know Yeshua as Lord consider Him our Rabbi or Teacher, and ourselves, His talmudim. As such we continue to learn and grow in His wisdom, love, and character.

This learning process involves regular tests from our Lord as He leads us from one level of faith to the next. I recall years ago when I was in school, never being a huge fan of tests – in fact, rather disliking them quite a bit. I’d often find myself attempting to cram mountains knowledge into my poor brain the night before an important exam. Then, after completing the test I would quickly forget most of what I had crammed and scarcely absorbed. Doubtless had I been required to retake the test a week later, I'd almost certainly have failed it.

But in the testing of faith, we cannot cram knowledge or understanding and still hope to pass. If we try this shoddy and superficial approach to learning we will simply find ourselves retaking the test, over and over again. If we are truly His talmudim, we will study, pray and delve deeply into the challenging material at hand, to learn and absorb the lesson well, so that we are educated, transformed, and well equipped to move forward in the Lord. Yeshua wants us to learn today's lesson – because He has a new lesson for us tomorrow!

What lesson is today's important lesson? Be diligent to understand and apprehend it, and even to begin applying it. So doing you'll be thoroughly equipped and prepared for the one your Rabbi will send next...maybe even, tomorrow!
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« Reply #931 on: August 24, 2009, 12:30:49 PM »

Destroy it before it starts!

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

My wife Rivka is getting ready to take a little trip to the States for a conference in Colorado this weekend – so she’s been taking extra care of herself so that she won't get sick during her travels.

This got me thinking about God's design of the human immune system. It’s designed to be proactive and not passive. Whenever germs, viruses, or bacteria invade our bodies, the immune system seeks to destroy these invaders before they become a problem.

Let’s learn a little something from our immune system. Whenever that invading temptation enters your mind – attack it immediately! Become proactive to destroy sin before it establishes a foothold. If you don’t allow a foothold, then you’ll never have to tear down a stronghold!

Be sure to boost your spiritual immune system today, by spending time in fellowship with the Lord, in His Word and in Prayer. When those “invaders” try to enter in, you’ll be armed and ready to vanquish them before they have a chance to hinder your walk!
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« Reply #932 on: August 24, 2009, 12:31:24 PM »

Allow mourning to be turned to joy!

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

This evening many in Israel will begin fasting in preparation for Tisha B'Av, the ninth day of the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar year. Some of you may know that a lot of horrible things have happened to the Jewish people on this date, the first of which was when the spies returned with an evil report of Israel, written about in Numbers 13 and 14. Both the first and the second Temple were destroyed on this exact day, hundreds of years apart. The Crusades began on this day in 1095. The Jews were expelled out of England on this day in 1290. They were expelled out of Spain and Portugal on this day in 1492. And these are just to name a few!

Although these may be days of mourning, we who know our Messiah shall not mourn for long. Joy awaits us in our Father's arms for eternity. And while we should all be looking forward to that, we need to be crying out for Israel at this time -- especially with war on the horizon -- that her eyes would be opened to the truth and the everlasting joy we can have in Him!
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« Reply #933 on: August 24, 2009, 12:32:15 PM »

Are you glowing?

1 Corinthains 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

This is a true story. When I wanted to 'pop the question', I planned the whole event out very carefully -- the restaurant, the roses delivered to the corner table between two big windows overlooking the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, an especially made heart shaped cheesecake (her favorite) with beautiful orchids atop for decoration. Even with all this preparation, when I actually did the proposing after dinner, on my knee, with ring in hand, my beloved just stared at the ring in disbelief. After a few very long minutes that I awaited her answer on bended knee in the middle of the restaurant and there came none, I thought I'd better get back into my chair. Finally, after another few long minutes, she said 'Well, aren't you going to kneel down and ask me to marry you?'

She was so taken aback by the ring that she didn't realize I had done it already! So there again, in the middle of the restaurant, she made me get back down and do it again! But that was the price I had to pay for such a lovely lady, I guess! Afterward, she glowed (as any girl would if she knew she was loved)!

In the ancient Hebrew marriage tradition, the groom's father would go and find him a bride -- like when Abraham sent his servant to choose a bride for Issac. A pretty price had to be paid for that bride, if you remember.

A price had to be paid for our marriage to the Lord too! And what price was that? It was Yeshua's (Jesus') voluntary death at Calvary.

Let's remember the great price that was paid for us. The price was precious, because we are precious to Him! He has loved us with an eternal love that cannot be changed! We are His treasure! We should be glowing with joy!
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« Reply #934 on: August 24, 2009, 12:32:58 PM »

In the midst of it all...

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

When Daniel was in the midst of the lion's den…God was with him. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the midst of the fiery furnace…God was with them. It would have been perfectly easy for God to immediately transport these saints out of their difficulties, but no, He chose instead to be with them in the midst of their trials. God chose to reveal His power through the trials instead of exercising His power to remove them.

Trials and difficulties are simply a part of life and quite honestly, the longer I walk with the Lord the bigger these trials become. But how do we react when our faith is challenged by these adversities? James 1:2 says to count it all joy! What could possibly be joyful about difficult situations? Painful, yes...but joy??

Yet, somehow, I do find joy in knowing, and even sensing that God is with me in the midst of my problems -- in the midst of my trials. He did promise never to leave or forsake me; and as I look over my life, I find it to be absolutely true...no matter what crazy situation I'm in, God is with me.

We all have this decision: either to complain because of the trials we're enduring...or to prayerfully lift our souls before him (Psalm 25:1) ...and rejoice in the midst of our troubles -- knowing, believing, and even feeling, that God is with us, now...always...all the way!
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« Reply #935 on: August 24, 2009, 12:34:13 PM »

Abide!

John 15:1-5 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

How do we produce much fruit? What is the Lord saying?

In the modern world, the work ethic is, achieve and produce by working longer and harder! The focus is on getting results through human effort -- we've become product oriented and the bottom line is......the bottom line! But God's way runs contrary to this approach -- His way is much more oriented toward process and relationship rather than performance and production. He IS interested in results which He calls "fruit"; but not by pushing or egging us on to work harder or longer.

The Lord's way is to work with and through us so that every result or product comes out of our abiding in Him, since without Him WE CAN DO NOTHING.

This is opposed to of the culture we live in today, and to human nature in general. Think about it -- we're constantly bombarded with self-help books promoting self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-control ?- our society is all about SELF! But God's way of success produces the results which He values; results which are not produced by self-effort, but which grow out of an intimate relationship with Him, in which we seek to constantly abide.

The only way we can become abundantly fruitful is to understand the Lord's fruit-bearing process. As we lay down self-effort, our natural human independence, and seek communion with Him, abiding in the Vine, then His power, His will, and His desires will be realized in our lives, which then, will bear fruit that remains throughout eternity!
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« Reply #936 on: August 24, 2009, 12:35:08 PM »

We have crossed over, now let's hold on!

Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

This amazing passage defines all true believers in Messiah as "Abraham’s seed and heirs according to God’s promise". Abraham was known as the first Hebrew – literally, “one who crosses over!” Before he crossed over into the promised land, we know from the scriptures that Abraham lived in a deeply idolatrous society and that even his own father was an idol worshiper. (Joshua 24:2) But one remarkable day, a call came to Abraham....a call from the Most High God – and he became one who “crossed over” from idolatrous polytheism into a personal knowledge of the one true Creator God. So leaving his past behind, he entered a new life of spiritual truth and holiness and a new land of promise; a profound transformation, and for us, a beautiful picture of our own “crossing over” into the new life of Yeshua the Messiah.

Now looking at Abraham's story, do we see that his life was free of obstacles and troubles once he reached his destination in Caanan? No way! Here are a few major events: he felt forced to go into Egypt to escape a famine, where his wife, Sarah, was held captive in Pharoah's harem for an undisclosed amount of time; after being liberated, Sarah continued barren until old age; then, Abraham was required by his own deep loyalty, to rescue his worldly nephew Lot and his family, risking his own life and the lives of his men; again he was tested when following Sarah's advice, Abraham conceived a son with Hagar, whom he deeply loved but was required to send into the desert with his Egyptian wife/mother. And of course, he probably faced the greatest test of faith when God asked Abraham to sacrifice the son of promise, Isaac, Sarah's only son, for whom they both had waited all their lives!

Isn't it interesting that we know nothing of Abraham's life trials before he crossed over into Caanan? Only after he crossed over do we read of the successive testings of this great man of faith – and in fact, because of those tests Abraham is considered the “father” of faith. (Romans 4:16)

We are called to bear our crosses daily, and also to respond with faith to whatever may come our way. And, praise God that when we do, we also will be known as those who "crossed over" and overcame every obstacle and trial of faith...having held firm to every great promise of God!
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« Reply #937 on: August 24, 2009, 12:36:57 PM »

Get the real thing!

1 Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

Perhaps you've seen pictures or have even visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem, what many believe to be the last standing Wall of the Second Temple. But people come from all over the world to pray there and put their prayer notes into the cracks between its stones. Last week, it was announced that people could even put in their Twitter Tweets into the Wall. A few years ago, I actually came across a few websites which advertise their desire to receive your faxed prayer requests -- and for a low, low fee of 29.99, will take and put them into the cracks of the wall for you!

This is a very nice gesture and all ---- but who needs it? God is ALIVE! He hears us whenever and wherever we call!

When Solomon set out to build the first temple, the Lord told Him that He cannot be contained in a manmade structure. He is infinite and all-encompassing! He's not in a wall or any other man-made object! And amazingly, infinite as He is, He promises to draw near to us as we draw near to Him!

God wants to have a deep and intimate relationship with us. He wants us to experience the life-changing power of His healing and deliverance in our lives.

Let's not get distracted by the man-made ways people try to connect with God -- let's cry out for intimacy with Him right here and right now. And let's also not forget pray for revelation for all who seek Him -- that they would see the truth of the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus).
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« Reply #938 on: August 24, 2009, 12:37:40 PM »

Spread the good news in power!

Acts 2:38-39 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

One of the greatest moves of God took place in 1727 on the estate of Count Zinzendorf. Count Zinzendorf was a strong believer who was deeply influenced by the faith of his grandmother and aunt. At the tender age of 22, he opened a portion of his estate to refugees seeking asylum from the religious persecution throughout Europe.

After five years, this fledgling settlement of three hundred was growing; but in the midst of their growth, divisions were arising among the brethren over doctrinal issues. Then on May 22, 1727, the Moravians made a covenant with Zinzendorf whereby they committed themselves to the Lord, confessed the sin of religious quarreling, and "sincerely renounced self-love, self-will, and disobedience…deciding, each one, to be led by the Holy Spirit in all things."

Later that same year, on August 13th, after a week of fasting and prayer, the Moravians whose average age was around 30, were gathered, when an outpouring of the Holy Spirit took place. Count Zinzendorf called it the Moravian Pentecost. This led to over one hundred years of continuous prayer, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which supplied spiritual power to one of the longest sustained outreaches the world has ever known. The revivals led by the Wesley brothers that took place in the United States and England was a direct result of the Moravians. In 1867, one of the earliest missions established in the Modern State of Israel was also fruit of this move of God.

So what can we learn from this amazing revival? First, it began when the brethren laid down their differences and came together in prayer, determined also, to lay down their lives for the Gospel's sake. Secondly, the outpouring of the Spirit is always connected to spreading the Gospel in power, which leads to widespread radical change in the world of that generation.

Let's be stirred with a sense of urgency, also....to lay down our differences as believers, and then lay down our lives for the Gospel, so we can be eagerly expecting to be renewed with the power of God -- not only for our own spiritual quickening, but for all the souls who have yet to receive this awesome gift! With so much work to be done -- let's do it in His Power!
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« Reply #939 on: August 24, 2009, 12:38:50 PM »

Are you burdened and heavy laden?

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

We have a Christian friend who constantly talks about her problems. Every single time we talk to her she tells us how bad things are going in her life and how much she is lacking. Interestingly, in all the years we've known her and prayed for her, things have only gotten worse. Though she has come to believe in the God of victory, she is not living a victorious life. How many of us are in this boat?

We have another friend who has experienced many hard things in her life. But ever since this friend gave her life to the Lord some years ago, her attitude has changed completely. She is grateful, so very grateful for God's salvation and goodness toward her. Though she began her walk with the Lord with nothing, she has been excited at what God has in store for her life and has often spoken in great faith for her future. This girl has come so far. We have watched her blossom as God has done amazing things in her life. She is now part of a thriving ministry and the Lord is using her mightily. He has blessed her with a home, a car and finances and she reaches out to many with all that she has. It's beautiful.

It seems clear, yet took us some time to realize that the thoughts we think and the things we say are so much more powerful than we can imagine. They are life or death to our ministry, our relationships, our finances and everything else.

Are you struggling something today? It's time to start looking up! Stop complaining! Start speaking in faith! Watch how the Lord turns things around!
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« Reply #940 on: August 24, 2009, 12:39:44 PM »

He’s got you and me, brother, in His hands!

Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Lately we’ve been receiving more and more calls and emails asking us what we think might happen in the near future and how they should prepare. I love what John Calvin had to say about the matter.

"When the light of divine providence has once shone upon a godly man, he is then relieved and set free not only from the extreme anxiety and fear that were pressing him before, but from every care … Ignorance of providence is the ultimate misery; the highest blessedness lies in knowing it… It gives incredible freedom from worry about the future."

It’s great to be wise and prepare for the days ahead -- saving, storing, wisely investing. But I think there is a much more important preparation we often forget -- it is to make certain that the Lord FIRST in our life and make sure we are trusting in Him alone. So that when these trials and tribulations come upon us, we’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we rest securely in His hands!
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« Reply #941 on: August 24, 2009, 12:41:24 PM »

Multiply your talents!

Matthew 25:26-29 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

Reading this parable, we are struck by the serious consequences of failing to produce Kingdom fruit. But there's something I want to particularly point out. Many of the great heroes of the faith – people like Moses and David, were not given great responsibilities immediately. Each of these men first served as a lowly shepherd, tending sheep. Having tested them first in this humble vocation, God then felt confident to elevate them to positions of greatness – but it all started with a small step!

God is testing his saints in the little things – as we pass our early tests, the Lord will promote us to greater things. Don’t despise the day of small things – a single talent invested wisely can produce a bountiful harvest! And remember that it begins with faithful stewardship of whatever gift or talent that God has allocated to you.

Let's be wise stewards in these last days, using our divinely given abilities for His glory and purposes so that we can produce an abundant return on the Lord's investment in our lives. Let’s heed the warning and the encouragement that Yeshua (Jesus) gives us in this parable, multiplying, rather than hiding our talent. Amen!
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« Reply #942 on: August 24, 2009, 12:43:07 PM »

Repentance is a lifestyle; be ready.

Luke 12:39-40 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Recently, I’ve been studying the Jewish roots of many of Yeshua's (Jesus') parables, and I came across an interesting saying from a Jewish Rabbi that I believe has something to teach us.

Rabbi Eliezer said, “Repent one day before your death. His disciples asked him, “Does then one know what day he will die?” "Then all the more reason to repent today", he replied, "lest he die tomorrow, and thus his whole life is spent in repentance."

When I first became a believer, I thought by simply dealing with my outward sins that I could live a state of sinlessness. But it wasn't long before the Lord began revealing and dealing with my inward sins and attitudes. Now, and the longer I walk with Him, I understand more and more the meaning of daily repentance!

If we truly want to be free and walk in His liberty, we cannot avoid this crucial requirement for freedom. Because we cannot receive His forgiveness without it, repentance must be a way of life for us [1 John 1:9].

Staying close to the Lord is His heart's desire for us...but one of the main conditions for it is walking in regular repentance. When we walk in humility and truthfulness about our sin -- we are walking in the light, and the blood of Jesus keeps cleansing us from sin. In that condition we are so much more able to love the Lord and those around us -- with Him, touching one life at a time. So, let's lay down our pride and turn to Him every day....with genuine repentance!
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« Reply #943 on: August 24, 2009, 12:43:55 PM »

Don't dilute the Word!

2 Peter 2:8-9 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

When Yeshua (Jesus) was attacked by Satan during His temptation in the wilderness, He countered every attack with the Word of God. But notice in Satan’s second attack – the enemy himself quoted the Scriptures, saying, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written, 'He shall give his angels charge over thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.'” (Matthew 4:6 was a quote from Psalm 91:11, but the phrase, “to keep thee in all thy ways” was absent from Satan's quote).

If we learn anything from this, we will realize that Satan has knowledge and some understanding of Scripture, and that he will use the Word attempting to deceive us with it into wrong actions. This tactic goes back even as far as the Garden of Eden where the adversary twisted God’s word saying, "Did God really say you shall not eat from every tree in the garden?"

So it is today, that all around us we are hearing constant abuses, questions and attacks against the truth and reliability of God’s Word. Did God really create the world...in six days? Did God really say that marriage consists of a union between a man and a woman? Is God really going to judge the world and destroy it with fire? Has God really defined absolute moral truth? Is Jesus the only son of God?

The enemy is constantly attempting to erode and destroy the foundational truths of God's word using distortions, corruptions, half-truths, and modern "interpretations", for he knows that “if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

Let’s not be deceived by these subtle ploys of Satan. If we agree to alter or dilute the Word of God to accommodate our circumstances or natural inclinations, we will end up exactly where that serpent wants us; in disobedience, sin, and sorrow. You know, Satan has been using religious language to tempt the saints since the beginning of time, even to the point of trying to persuade people that he doesn't even exist. We must be discerning. If we want to live and walk in the truth -- we will believe God’s Word undiluted without compromise or private interpretation, seeking to understand it with the help of His Holy Spirit, Who is the only perfect interpreter. If we do, the enemy's deceptions will fail, and we will be delivered from every temptation!
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« Reply #944 on: August 24, 2009, 12:45:07 PM »

Victory awaits!

2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

This scripture makes an astounding promise – God ALWAYS leads us to triumph or victory! But can we ALWAYS count on this amazing word to be true?

We often receive emails from believers who are waiting or hoping for a victory of some kind in their lives. Many seem to be wondering, "Where is this this 'always victory' in my life?" Now think about it... wouldn't it be impossible to gain victory over a thing if we already experienced victory each and every moment? It may sound obvious, but the fact is that in order to gain any victory, you must find yourself in a situation that is questionable, stressful ,and may even appear hopeless for a time. The promise is not that we will walk in a constant state of "victoriousness" (my term  Smiley ...but rather that in every situation God will lead us in triumph. We can't even say we will always know what that will look like, but victory is the Lord's irrevocable promise.

Victory is a promise of God, but never forget that it requires a battle...sometimes a very long one. True faith will stand on this promise in the face of every trial, challenge, or opposition...remembering that the greatest purpose of every victory is for manifesting the fragrance of our knowledge of Him...in every place!
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