Australia Kneels: Week 6 – Day 7

Sabbath – a Time of Worshipping the Father and our Lord Jesus through His Spirit of Truth, Leading us to a Place of Resting in His Presence.

The Garden Catalogue For Today

HOLD ON TO YOU

I hold on to You my God
Hold on to all Your promises
Only You can I trust
You keep me in Your arms of love
Enfolded in Your love
Love, pure love
There’s nothing that remains but love

I listen to You my Lord
Listen to every word You say
I hide it deep in my heart
I know you are the Truth, the Way
There’s only just One Way
Perfect Way
My Jesus Christ, my Life, my Way

(c) Sharon Jane, 2015 www.livingstream.net

 Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

There are so many pressures this world tries to push on us. And so many temptations to become discouraged. The god of this world (the devil) tries to steal our identity as children of God. He wants us to believe we are less, that we don’t have a future. But these are all lies.

We are spiritual beings, made in God’s image. And not only that, Jesus Christ’s death in our place has given us His life. So now we have become children of God with the power and life of God living in us by His Holy Spirit to those of us who receive Him.

We now have the Way through this life – Jesus is our Way. We now have purpose – Jesus is our Life. And we now make sense of everything – Jesus is the Truth.

So we can say no to the devil’s lies, turn our backs on this world’s confusion and say yes to Jesus Christ! As we continually receive His Spirit we find confusion and discouragement lift. And more… We are filled with thanksgiving and His praises make us feel that we were born for this.

Because we were!

 

Sharon Jane

www.livingstream.net

We Raise Our Voice

Now, that the time’s drawing near
For You to come again
It’s closer everyday
We bow our hearts
And surrender every care
You’re the Ruler of our lives
The Master of our prayer

We raise our voice
And we sing Your praise forever
Raise our hands
As we lift Your precious Name
Jesus Christ, Yesterday, Today, Forever
You’re the same everyday
And You will be evermore

God, come and search me again
Come and cleanse me from within
Holy Spirit come and stay
Let not a word, or a thought, or a sin
Be a barrier again
You’re the Truth, the Life, the Way

We raise our voice
And we sing Your praise forever
Raise our hands
As we lift Your precious Name
Jesus Christ, Yesterday, Today, Forever
You’re the same everyday
And You will be evermore

© Sharon Jane, 2007 www.livingstream.net

Little One

I’ve just put up a video of a song I wrote as if I was a woman singing to her aborted baby. I’ve sung it at a number of prolife events.

I want this song to reach many broken hearts who cry over the babies they have turned away. So many suffering in silence, hidden away too ashamed to share their story. Some cold and numb from being in survival mode for so long. I pray each one is led to full healing by the Holy Spirit of God. There is a future and a hope for each one of us in Jesus’ life in us.

 

Sharon Jane

www.livingstream.net

Truth is in The Word of the Lord and Life is in the Holy Spirit – Come into Sonship!

John 8:31–36 — New Living Translation (NLT)

31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”

34 Jesus….replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

Galatians 5:1 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again….to a yoke of slavery.

We pray, Stir us Father to be your Worshippers in Spirit and Truth – John 4

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you,‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob?  He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 

24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Life in the Spirit – Romans 8

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.  By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh, cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Heirs with Christ

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Let us give praise to the Lord for His mercy to hear our cries …..Father give me your new Heart that I may walk with you living your life in and through me for the Glory of Your Name. Let us Pray for God’s people Israel to come alive into the fullness of the Spirit of God and His restoration as in:

Ezekiel 36:21-38

21 But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came.

I Will Put My Spirit Within You

22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: yIt is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, wwhich you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 zAnd I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. aAnd the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.  And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. 30 I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.

33 “Thus says the Lord God: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. 34 And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. 35 And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ 36 Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate.  I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.

37 “Thus says the Lord God: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them:  to increase their people like a flock38 Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people.  Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

The Tests of God

by: Janet Aslin, BFP Staff Writer

From Bridges of Peace

Tests are an inescapable and necessary fact of life. Can you imagine allowing anyone who has not proven that they know the rules of safe driving to have access to our roads as a driver? Or perhaps an even more extreme illustration…Who would allow a surgeon who had not mastered the required anatomy classes to operate on their body? Yes, tests are necessary to demonstrate proficiency.

What about matters of faith? Does God test us? Scripture says that He does, both individually, as in the case of Abraham and the binding of Isaac (Gen. 22:2), and corporately, as when He tested the Israelites when they left Egypt and entered the wilderness (Exod. 16:4), to name just two examples.

What feeling does the word “test” evoke when you hear it? For some, it might bring up memories of past failures, of studying to the best of their ability and still not getting a passing mark. Yet others, who found schoolwork easy and never had to study, will have a completely opposite response. Regardless of which group you place yourself in, you can rest assured that tests in God’s world are different. They are not “pass or fail” but rather “pass or retake.” If we do need a “retake,” we can be assured by the words of David the psalmist who testified of God’s mercy when he wrote, “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled down, because the LORD is the One who holds his hand (Ps. 37:23–24 emphasis added).

Two Hebrew Words for Test

There are two distinct Hebrew words translated primarily as the word test. The first is Strong’s number H5254, nasa (נָסָה pronounced naw-saw), and the second is H974, bachan (בָּחַן pronounced baw-khan). The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance uses very similar terms to describe both words: test; try; prove; examine. The words in parenthesis are added under the definition of nasa— to test (usually to prove character or faithfulness).

In his word study of nasa, Chaim Bentorah offers the following clarification. “Bachan has the idea of testing as we immediately think of testing, that is [to make] sure that something works, or you learned your lesson. The word nasa, however, is very close to this but with a subtle important difference. Nasa has more of the idea of a challenge. A weight lifter will nasa (keep adding more weight) until he is maxed out, that is, he keeps adding weights not until he fails, but until he has reached and discovered his limits.” In other words, using the word nasa would indicate you are being tested not so much to see what you know but to determine the depth of your character.

Who Is Testing Who?

Throughout the Bible, we read of times when God tests man, when man tests God and also when man tests man. We’ll just look at the first scenario and explore two instances when God tested man. Although both nasa and bachan appear in Scripture verses that speak of God testing man, the verses I have selected only contain the verb nasa.

In his article, Why Does God Test Us?, Rabbi Gil Student writes, “The notion that the all-knowing God needs to test us to determine whether we will follow His command is absurd. He knows the future and therefore gains nothing from the exercise. Yet the Torah [Gen.–Deut.] discusses in multiple places God’s tests.” We are the ones who need to see how we react when placed in a position that requires us to decide whether we will trust God or try to solve the problem on our own.

Will You Trust Me?

When we get down to bedrock, so to speak, one of the core questions that needs to be answered is, “What do I believe about God’s nature? Is He trustworthy? Can He provide for my needs when circumstances seem to indicate otherwise?” These are legitimate questions if we are going to stand firm in our faith that God is, indeed, faithful and worthy of our trust when the going gets rough. And then there is obedience. Trust and obedience are intertwined, rather like the chicken and the egg—which came first? We’ll look at trust first because we can’t obey unless we first trust.

The book of Exodus tells the story of God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt. Once they left their steady supply of water and food to enter the wilderness, the testing began. How would they eat in this wilderness? Could God truly provide for their physical needs? There are several verses in Exodus that speak of tests of character. In the following passage, the Israelites were concerned about what they would eat, and God proved His faithfulness while testing their trust each day. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, so that I may test [nasa] them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction’” (Exod. 16:4). Unless the Israelites trusted God to provide food on a daily basis (in this case), it is unlikely they would have obeyed Him.

 Will You Obey Me?

The second core question is, “Will you obey Me?” A kingdom can have just one king. Nations have a single president or prime minister. And man cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). Throughout our lives, we come up against this test: will we obey God or will we allow self to usurp the throne that rightly belongs to Him? This is a serious test. Several places in Scripture the Lord describes Himself as jealous. He is not willing that we have divided loyalties. One such example is found in Exodus 34:14, “For you shall not worship any other god, because the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

The Israelites faced a test of trust leading to obedience (or disobedience) when they were led out of slavery in Egypt into the wilderness. They saw the parting of the Red Sea, crossed on dry ground and then watched as the Egyptian army was swallowed up by that same sea (Exod. 14:13–28). Three days later, after the bitter waters of Marah were miraculously made drinkable, the Lord gave them a statute followed by an amazing promise. “There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested [nasa] them. And He said, ‘If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your GOD, and do what is right in His sight, and listen to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer’” (Exod. 15:25b–26). The Israelites were asking for water, but God promised so much more—perfect health. The only condition was to listen carefully to the Lord’s voice and then do what He asked.

The Torah is God’s instruction manual and is read throughout the year in synagogues and Jewish homes. This focus on God’s Word began millennia ago. In preparation for their entrance into the Promised Land, one of the cautionary reminders the Lord gave to Joshua as he assumed leadership after the death of Moses had to do with that very thing. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success” (Josh. 1:8 emphasis added). In other words, know God’s Word and do (obey) it.

Only a foolish student would take a test without studying the book and learning the material. There are a lot of “grays” in our world today. In order to obey God, we need to spend time in His Word so that we will know without a doubt what the biblical position is on those gray areas. Daily reading and meditation on Scripture will lead to clarity in our understanding. Another helpful habit is that of discussing Scripture passages with a believing friend.

Advanced Tests

Sometimes in Scripture the word “test” is not mentioned at all, and yet, it is a test. Not once, but twice King David faced a test that ultimately revealed his faithfulness and the condition of his heart toward the Lord. Although Saul was Israel’s first king, his disobedience cost him the position when he chose not to wait for Samuel and usurped the role of priest (1 Sam. 13:9). At the Lord’s direction, Samuel went to Bethlehem to secretly anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king (1 Sam. 16:1–12). Clearly, the Lord knew David’s heart as He told Samuel, “God does not see as man sees, since man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:9).

In the years that followed, Saul remained on the throne and David was forced to flee for his life more than once. Surely he must have wondered why the Lord allowed this state of affairs. During that time, there were two occasions when David could easily have killed Saul and taken his rightful place on the throne. Once when Saul entered a cave to relieve himself and David cut off the corner of his robe (1 Sam. 24:1–6) and the second time when Saul and his army slept in the wilderness as they pursued David (1 Sam. 26:1–11). The second time, David and Abishai entered the inner circle of the camp where Saul lay sleeping. Abishai urged David to kill Saul, even offering to do the deed himself if David was unwilling (1 Sam. 26:8).

In both cases, the men with David urged him to kill Saul and be done with it. What seemed like a shortcut to his God-ordained destiny would have met with the full approval of his men had he taken matters into his own hands. Yet David resisted their arguments and chose to trust the Lord. “But David said to Abishai, ‘Do not kill him, for who can reach out with his hand against the LORD’s anointed and remain innocent?’ David also said, ‘As the LORD lives, the LORD certainly will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down in battle and perish. The LORD forbid that I would reach out with my hand against the LORD’s anointed!’” (1 Sam. 26:9–11a). David passed this test.

Must We Be Tested?

Must we be tested? Yes. Not because God doesn’t know what the results will be, but in order that we will discover our true character and grow in our journey of faith like the men and women of the Bible.

David’s life, though he was far from perfect, is a wonderful demonstration of a life lived in trust and obedience. When he was yet a young shepherd, the Lord saw David’s heart and knew his character. Yet David experienced tests. He did not pass each test the first time, but he knew the mercy and grace of God that allowed “retakes.” And David was called “a man after My heart” (Acts 13:22).

May we, like David, recognize the opportunities to trust in God when circumstances look hopeless and those around us clamor for us to take matters into our own hands. May we decide each morning that we will choose to see God’s hand in everything that comes our way that day. May we rejoice when we pass a test and be encouraged when we need a retake because our Father will not be satisfied to see us remain infants and immature. May we grow into maturity, being “diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Our God is for us! 

Light Will Overcome the Darkness

From Bridges of Peace

What is light? Essentially, light is the absence of darkness. Light is a thing, a source, but it becomes noticeable due to the action of pushing back darkness. In classic literature, light is often associated with truth, wisdom, correctness, morality, justice and ethics. Darkness, on the other hand, is equated to evil, wickedness, lewdness, corruption, death and judgement. Good versus evil; order versus chaos. The Bible has much to say about light and darkness. Simply put, God is compared to light. Fire is also a strong biblical motif, both for God’s presence and nature, but also for His judgement.

God appeared to Abraham as a smoking oven and burning torch (Gen. 15) to cement His unconditional covenant with the father of the Jews and his descendants – based on God’s very character – by passing between the animal parts. Centuries later, God lead the Children of Israel in the wilderness as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exod. 13:21). He then descended with fire upon Mount Sinai (Exod. 19:18) in an act of steadfast love (chesed) and grace to confirm His covenant with Israel by giving His Torah (instructions, contained in Gen.–Deut.) to the nation.

God also used fire to show that He alone is God and cannot be taken lightly. Recall the fire of God which consumed Nadab and Abihu when they offered strange fire (Lev. 10:1–2) or the Mount Carmel showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:38–40). God sent fire from heaven and ended the competition with judgement and the execution of the 400 Baal prophets. Then there is Revelation 11:5, a prominent passage from the New Testament, which provides an end-times image of the two witnesses sent by God to preach repentance, who destroy their enemies with fire from their mouths.

From Genesis to Revelation

Genesis 1 opens with God creating the world and pushing back darkness (choshech) “over the surface of the deep” (v. 2), which covered a formless, void world. Breaking apart this chaos, God then called forth light (or) to appear. The imagery is pregnant with meaning. This was light from the source of God, as the sun had not yet been created. Or is special in that it points to linear time where God placed His moedim (appointed times or feasts) for His people to gather and meet with Him.

The pattern of light continues in the Bible and Jewish history. There’s the menorah (seven-branched candelabra), which lit the Temple, or the story of Hanukkah (Festival of Light) with the lampstand burning miraculously for eight days until more sacred oil could be provided. In both instances, light and flame are interwoven with themes such as God who illuminates our world or good triumphing over evil. Fire represented the presence of God, the eternal flame and His dwelling among His people. “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deut. 4:24). For Christians, thinking of light stirs up the words of Jesus (Yeshua) in John 8:12b, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.

The Psalms are full of light imagery. We can take great comfort in God and His Word being a light in our lives, especially during these dark days as evil swirls about, seemingly unchecked. Psalm 18:28 states, “For You light my lamp; the LORD my God illumines my darkness.” Psalm 27:1 says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?” Psalm 112:4 declares, “Light arises in the darkness for the upright; He is gracious and compassionate and righteous.” God’s Word is also seen as a torch, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105).

Psalm 139:11–12 reveals an interesting twist. “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.”

Although we may at times feel overwhelmed by darkness and the toils it brings, God is not confined to the effects of darkness. If fact, His nature penetrates it. He cannot be overwhelmed or conquered by darkness. On the contrary, His supremacy and sovereignty essentially counter any form of darkness so that it has absolutely no effect.

In the New Testament, the theme of light and darkness is a constant pattern. From Matthew to Revelation, the symbolism of light is driven home with the truth that we serve an eternal God and that in Him is perfection, holiness and purity, which carries forward the Hebraic understanding of light and fire from the Tanakh (Gen.–Mal.).

Matthew 6:22–23 states, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then, if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Read together with the following verse, the analogy is that one cannot serve two masters. In this context, it is either God (light) or wealth (darkness). 1 Peter 2:9b declares that believers have been called “out of darkness into His [God’s] marvelous light.” 1 John 1:5b states, “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” John also warns, “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now” (1 John 2:9).

Paul cautioned the believers in Corinth, “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God” (1 Cor. 4:5). In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminded them to beware of “false apostles” and “deceitful workers” whose disguise and deception came from evil often masquerading as light. “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14).

To spot and discern evil can sometimes be complicated, but for someone grounded in God’s Word, light will expose the darkness. “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Josh. 1:8).

Seekers of the Light

To love and follow God mean we should be seekers of the light. We do not compromise and give a foothold to the darkness. We do not base our faith on what’s popular but on God’s Word and His holy nature and character of faithfully keeping covenant with Israel and with us.

One of the most sobering experiences of darkness and evil I’ve ever witnessed occurred on October 7, 2023. On that day, all hell was unleashed as Hamas, the terrorist organisation ruling the Gaza Strip, attacked Israel on Simchat Torah (Rejoicing in God’s Word). On that day – while my family huddled in a bomb shelter along with the rest of Israel as thousands of rockets rained down on communities, towns and cities – over 1,200 people in Israel were brutally murdered in the most demonic, torturous and bloodthirsty way. Moreover, 240 people, including infants, toddlers, children and the elderly, were kidnapped and dragged into Gaza as captives.

October 7 sparked a war against Hamas that is ongoing as I’m writing this teaching letter. However, the brutal attack also set off a chain reaction of deplorable hatred for Jews and Israel around the world. Although anti-Semitism has existed ever since God established His covenant with Abraham and his descendants, this time it felt different.

Hatred of the Jewish people is pulsating at a level I’ve never experienced. One could argue that the brazen animosity and hostility on social media and college campuses have been growing worse in recent years, but now things seem to be boiling over. Jew hatred is rife on the streets of New York, Paris, London, Toronto and other major cities across the world in a frightening way. The darkness is trying to swallow these cities whole. People shouted, “Gas the Jews!” in Sydney, Australia, and at the University of New York, Jewish students were forced to barricade themselves in a library in terror from seething mobs baying for their blood. In Los Angeles, a pro-Palestinian rioter beat an elderly Jewish man over the head with a megaphone at an Israel rally. The man later succumbed to his wounds. Israeli flags are burned or torn down at the UN headquarters, while Hamas and Hezbollah flags are flown proudly. Over 300,000 people recently marched in London, swarming over the Thames and surrounding the palace of West Minster, carrying hideous anti-Semitic signs and chanting, “From the river (the Jordan River) to the sea (the Mediterranean Sea), Palestine will be free!” This is a war cry to murder all Jews and destroy the State of Israel.

I have spent my life repeatedly hearing, “How could so many Christians remain silent during the Holocaust?” or “Why didn’t the Church do more to help the Jews during the 1930s and 40s?” For decades, people have declared in solidarity with the Jewish people, “Never Again!” Yet now, I have watched in real-time as much of the Western Church has chosen to embrace self-censorship, indifference and the excuse, “We must remain neutral!” The grim reality of the “neutrality” excuse is that when confronted by evil, it reduces the neutral party to being insignificant and unable to change anything. Choosing neutrality when we are called to take a stand, squelches the light. It is the enemy of the call for just action and paves way for darkness to grow. The “silent majority” did nothing to stop or slow down the rise of Nazi Germany and it will do nothing to reduce the fomenting hatred of the anti-Israel mob and the barbarism of Hamas. Neutrality only beckons to Hamas to commit more October 7 attacks, which it has already proudly stated to be its future goal. An attributed, yet disputed quote of Edmund Burke rings true: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!

We cannot be neutral in the face of evil. Is God neutral? No! He opposes evil and vows to destroy it. We must oppose it, fight it and stand against it. This is not a call for anarchy or to stoop to the level of the enemies of God (Ps. 83). We must seek truth and justice – by God’s standards – and live it.

We must be a light wherever we go. However, light also goes on the offensive to dispel darkness. A neutral person is a stunted, dwindling light that in the delusional effort of not rocking the boat, buries his or her head in the sand while the world burns around them.

I am proud to stand with Bridges for Peace in our practical expression of seeking the light, pouring love into the shattered lives of Israelis and bringing healing. I am proud to count myself among the millions of Christians all over the world who stand with Israel because they want to love what God loves. I am proud to stand with Christians who recognise evil and speak up with a loud voice to counter Jew hatred. I am proud to stand with Christians who count the cost and live out every aspect of their faith instead of deluding themselves with the lie, “It will all blow over” or “It isn’t my fight.” I am proud to stand with Christians who link arms with their Jewish brothers and sisters in the face of people who spit on them and curse them. We need to push back the darkness. We must understand and join in God’s plans and purposes for Israel, for they are intertwined with His calling on our lives. Let’s continue to be seekers of the light!

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20).

Our Worship Song for the Week:

Goodness of God   Song by Bethel Music and Jenn Johnson

I love You, LordOh, your mercy never failed meAll my days, I’ve been held in your handsFrom the moment that i wake upUntil i lay my headOh, i will sing of the goodness of God
 
And all my life you have been faithfulAnd all my life you have been so, so goodWith every breath that i am ableOh, i will sing of the goodness of God
 
I love your voiceYou have led me through the fireAnd in darkest night you are close like no otherI’ve known you as a FatherI’ve known you as a Friend
And I have lived in the goodness of God, yeah
 
And all my life you have been faithful, oh-oh-ohAnd all my life you have been so, so goodWith every breath that i am ableOh, i will sing of the goodness of God, yeah
 
‘Cause your goodness is running after, it’s running after meYour goodness is running after, it’s running after meWith my life laid down, i’m surrendered nowI give you everything‘Cause your goodness is running after, it’s running after me, oh-oh‘Cause your goodness is running after, it’s running after meYour goodness is running after, it’s running after meWith my life laid down, i’m surrendered nowI give you everything‘Cause your goodness is running after, it keeps running after me
 
And all my life you have been faithfulAnd all my life you have been so, so goodWith every breath that i am ableOh, i’m gonna sing of the goodness of GodI’m gonna sing, i’m gonna sing
 
‘Cause all my life you have been faithfulAnd all my life you have been so, so goodWith every breath that i am ableOh, i’m gonna sing of the goodness of GodOh, i’m gonna sing of the goodness of God
 
 
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Jason David Ingram / Brian Johnson / Edmond Martin Cash / Benjamin David Fielding / Jenn Johnson
Goodness of God lyrics © So Essential Tunes, Capitol Cmg Paragon, Bethel Music Publishing, Shout! Music Publishing Australia

Ps Jeff’s Special Today:  “Unable to forgive” 

Today’s issue is unable to forgive. Matthew 6:12 is a key part of the the Lord’s Model Prayer: And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” It is followed by verses 14 and 15For you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.“. Also see Matthew 18:15-35, and Mark 11:25-26

For we have all received our Forgivenss from JEsus while He was on the cross, in Luk 23:34a – when He said ” Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

This was even repeated by the Risen Christ as He breathed the Holy Spirit on the first disciples in John 20:22-23 and now gives the Holy Spirit to us, when we’ve repented to join His Kingdom: ” Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

So it’s VITAL to forgive, not just for you to receive forgiveness by the Father, but also that you forgive yourself, and for that other person(s) who have caused you hurt or pain of any kind to also be forgiven by yourself and the Father !

Being candid with yourself and the Holy Spirit, is there any remnant of your old critical spirit, unable to forgive others? Is there any old vow you made in this area that now needs to be removed? Do you think this is only applicable to the disciples 2,000 or 3,000 years ago? Do you have any residue of a residue of this issue for such a time as this? Was it connected to your upbringing as a child? Was it a family pattern in any way?

God bless you as you seek His Holy Spirit Wisdom and Comfort on this issue. May you go forward on His path, “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

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Bible Verse of the Day

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.