Australia Kneels : Week 7 – Day 5

Enter In And Receive God’s Presence & Healing More Deeply In And Through Intercessory Prayer ?

The Garden Catalogue For Today

Prayer for Jewish People to be saved.

Lazarus ‘Come Out’ is  Jesus’ declaration: “I AM the RESURRECTION & THE LIFE” – Now!

Let us explore Jesus’ passion and eager hearts’ desire for His Jewish people’s hearts to turn to Him. …….Let us join with believers across the globe for the new birth of the hearts of the Jewish people globally, that will be as ‘Life from the dead’ Rom 11:15

Let’s join with Jonathan Fritz and the 110cities.com initiative as he states his objective in his concluding paragraph below to:
 ‘ask God to give us an apostolic, broken heart in prayer for the Jewish people. Let’s strengthen and encourage Jewish believers, especially those in the land of Israel. And let’s ask the Lord to remove the hardening from the hearts of the Jewish people…after all, “what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”

Praying for Israel and the Jewish People- (Holy Spirit New Life encounters)

A Letter by Jonathan Friz – 10 Days of Prayer

This year, on Pentecost Sunday (May 19th), millions of believers around the world will be joining in a Global Day of Prayer for the Jewish World. During 10 Days Pentecost (May 9-19), hundreds of locations are joining in 10 Days of Prayer for the Middle East and Israel.

On this occasion, I wanted to share both why we should pray for Israel and the Jewish people, and how to have our hearts transformed so we can pray effectively. I’ll be drawing out three principles from Romans chapters 9-11.

God’s Heart Longs for the Jewish People to be Saved

There’s something special about your firstborn child. While parents love all their children, the firstborn holds a special, enduring place in their hearts. God the Father calls the nation of Israel His firstborn son. So, we can imagine His anguish of heart over their rejection of Him.

Think about it from God’s perspective. After thousands of years of preparation and prophecy, He sent His only begotten Son to be the Messianic King and Saviour of the nation of Israel, and through them, to bless all the nations of the earth. And yet, in their moment of visitation, the majority of the nation rejected the very Messiah they were longing to see. Thousands of years of preparation were seemingly squandered. Tragically, most missed their hour of visitation.

In Romans 9:1-5, the Apostle Paul shares his heart for unbelieving Jews, which reflects the heart of God

“…I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites…and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.”

Paul’s love for his unbelieving countrymen is so intense, His heart is so broken that he would willingly be separated from Christ for all eternity if it would allow them to come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. When I consider my own heart on this matter, it is evident to me that I’m falling short of what the apostle describes. And yet, I have no doubt that Paul’s heart more clearly represents the heart of Father God for Israel.

If we want to pray effectively for unbelieving Jews, we need God to give u hearts that are broken because of their separation from God and rejection of their Messiah. The apostolic heart of Paul for unbelieving Israel is an accurate reflection of God’s heart for them.

Let’s ask God to give us the broken heart of Paul for unbelieving Jews.

Not All Israel: Praying for the Remnant of Jewish Believers

In Romans 11:1-5 Paul makes it clear that while Israel as a whole has rejected their Messiah, there is a remnant from the nation, including Paul himself, who have been chosen by grace. 

It is striking how little the situation has changed in almost 2,000 years. Today as well, the majority of Jewish people reject the gospel, and yet there is a remnant of believers who are Jewish. I have Jewish friends who are part of the Messianic movement, believers in Yeshua who express their faith in a distinctively Jewish way. I know other Jewish believers who are part of church communities that are not distinctively Jewish. The point is this—God continues to maintain a remnant from the Jewish people as His own possession. And this remnant is special to God because it represents a first-fruits of His firstborn nation.

As we consider God’s unfolding plan, let’s take special care to thank God for contemporary Jewish disciples and to pray especially for movements of Jewish believers in the land of Israel to be strengthened, stay faithful, grow, and flourish.

“Life from the Dead”: The importance of natural Israel in God’s Plan

We’ve considered what heart attitude we ought to have for unbelieving Jews and the remnant of Jewish believers. However, unless we understand God’s continuing purpose for the Jewish people, we will be limited in our prayers for them.

Many believers throughout history have believed that God’s purposes with the Jewish people and the nation of Israel are finished. In fact, from 70 AD to 1948, there was no physical nation of Israel. Somehow, without a national government for nearly 1900 years, Israel somehow maintained a cultural, religious, and national identity. This itself is a miracle.

Romans 11:25 is very clear that God still has a plan for natural Israel. This plan is a mystery—a hidden thing of God, something that would be easy to overlook!

I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the [other nations] has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved.” 

And again in Romans 11:15 –  If [Israel’s] rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean – but life from the dead?

Israel has experienced a partial hardening for the past 1,991 years. And yet, the plan of God is to show mercy to them and to save them as a nation once the full measure of the other nations of the earth have come to know the Jewish Messiah. As we look at the progress of the gospel in the earth, we can see that we are getting very close to the “full measure of the nations” as modern technology and transportation open doors for the gospel into the most remote corners of the earth.

The drama is incredibly intense. After almost 2,000 years, Jesus is beloved and worshipped by more than 2 billion people from the nations. Jewish prophecies that Israel’s God would be worshipped by people in every nation are fulfilled before our eyes. And yet, of his own countrymen, his own flesh and blood, only a tiny remnant knows Him, loves Him, and serves Him. The rest remain blind to their own Messianic King!

God is calling on those two-billion followers of the Jewish Messiah from the nations to agree with His plan for the salvation of Israel in prayer. 

Let’s ask God to give us an apostolic, broken heart in prayer for the Jewish people. Let’s strengthen and encourage Jewish believers, especially those in the land of Israel. And let’s ask the Lord to remove the hardening from the hearts of the Jewish people…after all, “what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”

A Prayerful Meditation with Olivia Helmore

New Wine and Oil Meditation

Receiving the Lord’s Encouragement and Endurance

Let’s prepare our hearts to receive the Lord’s encouragement and His endurance. It is so important that you and I expect to receive good things from our Father in heaven. You and I may find it very difficult to trust and yet, we can start by asking him to help us believe we can trust Him. Lord, help us believe we can trust You. We can trust You to teach us how to trust You more. Help us to trust You with the seemingly small things, the seemingly small movements of our heart.

Some of us are weighed down with disappointments. The disappointment that comes from hoping you will receive something good and our hope in a good thing not being fulfilled. Some of our hearts are stuck with invisible layers of unprocessed grief. Some of us struggle with self-condemnation.

We need His eyes to see the importance of our hearts to Him, and how dearly He has desired that we should grow and mature in Him and enter the fulness of our inheritance in Him.

The Lord needs us to know who we are in Him. He longs and yearns for us to know the fulness of His love. He stands at the door of everyone of our hearts and knocks so we might answer Him and welcome Him in.

He wants you and me to receive the good things He has for us, receive them freely from His hand, most especially His truth, His love, His Word, His Spirit. As we receive freely from Him the good things He has for us, He grants us to freely minister His love and truth to others.

Sometimes we’re running on empty, and the Lord sees our heartache, when we feel lonely, tired, and discouraged.

I have found that the hardest things the Lord has asked me to bear have enabled Him to enlarge my heart, so I have more compassion on others in their weakness and even in their struggle to admit having weakness.

If you have invited the Lord to help you with the matters of your heart, He is faithful to answer and He will do it in such a way that you know it is He that sees the finest detail in the workings of your heart. When we encounter Him from the inside out as the One who sees, knows, understands, and loves us, absolutely beyond measure, He brings a refreshment so deep it reaches beyond the hardness of present circumstance.

This is faith: that we hope in what we do not see but God has given us this hope and expectation as a deposit deep in our spirits and we hope in the resurrection of our bodies, the new creation, the union of our spirits with Him forever.

Right now, we know Him by His Holy Spirit guiding us into the truth of all His words. His Holy Spirit enabling us to apply His Word in our lives. His Holy Spirit enabling us to produce good fruit, more and more abundantly: peace, love, joy, patience, gentleness, goodness, self-control, faithfulness, and kindness.

When Jesus gathers His people to Himself and we are resurrected, we will know Him face to face. This hope is so real that the whole of creation testifies. All of creation groans for the time when all things are manifestly renewed in His resurrection life.

All we need on a personal level and as His family, are His love and His truth, by His Word and by His Spirit. Nothing else gives us the encouragement we need and nothing else gives us the endurance we need.

Paul continually reminded the churches about the importance of holding to sound doctrine. We don’t need all the answers of what is going to happen when. But when we hold fast to what is written in the Word and allow His Spirit to teach us all things, He causes us to enter into a peace that passes understanding.

We need to allow the sound doctrine of the Word and the Spirit to reach down and grow deep roots in our hearts. As we allow the Lord to finish the good work He started in you and me, He is building in us a kingdom that cannot be shaken.

As we yield our bodies to Him as vessels for His service, He is building the house of our lives on the Rock that is Himself so when the winds and the rains – when challenges and turbulence arrive – the assurance we have is His Presence; the certainty we have is His goodness; the deposit we have is faith in what we do not yet see. And yet, knowing in our hearts that He is makes all the difference.

Though we do not see Him, we believe in Him and know we are blessed because He sees us and knows us completely right now. It is only a matter of time before we see Him face to face and know Him as He knows us. He knows us already in the way that we will know Him soon.

He relates to us already, and responds to our hearts, with perfect knowledge, perfect understanding of how we process things, what we need from Him, what we want to say but do not yet feel ready to, the things we long to ask for but don’t know how.

As we receive more from Him on a personal level, expecting to receive good things from our Heavenly Father, He equips us to offer the care and attention we have received from Him to those around us. It’s in the messy process of relationships we discover there is more to us than we realise. There are wounds we carry we don’t know how to manage. There are discomforts we hide from and longings we don’t know how to express.

Let’s allow the Lord to form His character in our hearts in the process of messy relationship with those around us. He’ll give us wisdom, if we ask, to do the thing that is needed, to grow into being a peacemaker instead of a peacekeeper.

The peace that comes from the Lord is His Presence. Let’s allow Him to use our relationships with those around us as the training ground where He gets to teach us about His goodness in relationship – the goodness of His ways in relationship.

Let’s not withhold our relationships from Him. Let’s not withhold our conversations or our bodies from His service. As we make room for His Presence and the peace that only He can bring by His Presence, let’s make peace with the way He has told us we must go.

We must humble ourselves before Him. No student is greater than his teacher. We must allow Him to form His character in our hearts. And we must allow Him to reform how we see others, so we see them through His light and not through the lens of our natural self-interest.

You and I were created to receive good things from our Heavenly Father and to multiply those good things through walking in His way of life, through walking in His Presence, through walking in His peace.

The Lord has walked so patiently with every single one of us. He knows it is possible for you and me to do likewise because He has provided us His Spirit which shows us the way to walk in and reveals to us the places our heart is still hard and finds it difficult to receive.

Praise God there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts. His Word over us is more powerful than the words of condemnation we may sometimes speak over ourselves. And because His Word is more powerful, we must yield the ways of our heart, the thoughts of our heart, the words of our heart, to Him.

If there are ways we self-abuse, if there are ways we abuse our own hearts, there is a time He will reveal to us we must no longer agree with the accuser’s words over us. There is a time for all of us to walk in maturity of faith together.

The fear of torment, which has kept us in modes of self-preservation or self-seeking, cannot stand the fire of His pure and jealous love for our hearts. Let’s bring Him the fear in our hearts, of not being worthy, of not being faithful enough, of not being good or strong enough. Let’s ask the Lord to remove the fear and shame from our hearts.

Lord, please help us to receive Your help. Help us to receive Your good gifts. Help us to freely receive the good things You have for us. Help us to trust that You are forming Your character in our hearts. Help us to allow You to form Your character in our hearts.

Help us to yield our relationships to You, and allow You to show us the way of life You have for us to walk in. Help us to accept that relationships are messy, yet they are the training ground You have for us to learn the ways of Your heart and learn how to steward the love, truth and peace of Your Presence, Your Word, Your Spirit.

Lord, we praise You because as we seek Your face, Your Spirit freely imparts Your life to us, Your very Presence, Your wisdom, and Your love. Enlarge our hearts to receive Your encouragement and Your endurance, both on a personal level and as Your family.

Help us to grow into the maturity of faith You have longed for us to walk in. Form in us the unshakeable expectation and hope of the resurrection life we will someday partake in with You and with the family of God.

Thank You for the words of encouragement You have for us to give one another. Please use us to speak Your words of encouragement into one another’s hearts. Help us to take due care with one another. Help us to walk in Your Presence and remind one another of our reason for patiently enduring troubles in this life.

You are the reason we endure Lord Jesus. Your love and Your truth have given us, are giving us, everything we need. The refreshment of Your Spirit watering the garden of our hearts is beyond compare. Enlarge our hearts to receive how You love us, to believe in what our hearts mean to You.

Please soften the stony ground in our hearts and allow the mustard seed of Your faith, Your encouragement and endurance, to sink down deep into the soil of our hearts, take root and multiply and grow into a mature tree that shelters other creatures too, not just our own hearts.

Thank You for the multiplication You bring through Your faithful tending as the Gardener of our hearts. You bring the increase. We release to You all those dear ones You have placed on our hearts. Help us believe that You bring the increase of faith in others’ hearts. You bring the increase of encouragement and endurance in others’ hearts.

Thank You for the good works You have prepared for us to walk in. Thank You for the part You have for us. Help us to hold fast to Your love and Your truth for ourselves and trust You will bring the increase in others’ lives as we entrust them to You and allow You to form Your character in our hearts first.

Thank You that the peace of Your Presence is unmistakeable. You are forming Yourself in us and the light of Your kingdom is a light on a hill that cannot be hidden. The light of Your Presence is our foundation and the part You have given us in the resurrection with You is becoming our steady, unshakeable hope.

Lord, help us to keep and hold fast to sound doctrine, relying on Your Word and Your Spirit before the testimony of any person or any organisation. Help us to encourage one another. Help us to receive Your encouragement. Help us to endure the things You are asking us to, and to prepare to endure all things that are yet to come.

Thank You for the testimony of Your Word and Your Spirit, comforting us in our distress and discouragement. Thank You for the freedom we have in sharing Your Word, Your truth, Your love, the peace of Your Presence, knowing all things that come from You are good things, You want us to receive them, and You want all of humankind to know Your goodness from the inside out.

Thank You for the goodness of Your love and truth. Thank You for the life that is in You and that You have granted us to partake in Your life, the life You knew with the Father before the foundations of the world. We bless ourselves in Your Name Jesus Yeshua Amen.

 

Pray for Faith & Revelation of Jesus’ Resurrection Life and Power that Heals us:

Rom 8:11  

11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[a] his Spirit who lives in you.

See the following Article:

OUR WOUNDED HEALER

By Bill Muehlenberg

…..  I did reflect on our Lord, the wounded healer. “By his stripes we are healed” we are told in the same portion of Scripture that calls him the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). Consider verses 4-5 (ESV):

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.

He certainly is our wounded healer. And think further about his life on earth. He was born to die. He came to earth on a mission, and he knew what he was going to have to go through. Two passages are worth noting here. One is John 13:1-5:

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Even though he knew he was shortly to suffer a horrible death, yet he spent his time serving and loving the disciples. What would we do in such a situation? The second passage is related. In Matthew 27:46 we read these words of Jesus: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

This was not pretend suffering – this was utterly and painfully real. Yet he endured it for you and me. Talk about someone who knows fully about everything we are going through. He is no aloof, uncaring God. He knows our suffering inside out. And he does something about it.

To read the full article – please CLICK HERE

Prayer for those suffering Persecution and Healing through power of the Holy Spirit’ Resurrection Life

Is Jesus our Resurrected Lord? Is Holy Spirit convicting us of our unbelieving Mindsets? Bring these thoughts to Jesus.

When Jesus confronted His disciples’ unbelief as He presented Himself to them as their Resurrected Wounded Healer and Lord, this was at their first encounter after the cross. We all need to be honest with Jesus where our initial passion and faith at our moment of salvation has often times been thwarted or deeply disappointed in our suffering.

Ask Jesus to expose our distrust about the miraculous power of His death and resurrection. Do we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is the Messiah and suffering servant who fulfilled Isa 53 and 61, yet also the all powerful, Healing physician of All our physical and emotional dis- ease according to the Promises in His word, also Forgiving us of All our sins, as in Ps 103 and the New Covenant in Hebrews 8:8-12?

Are we like His disciples who He rebuked for their unbelief in Luke 24:36-43. He said – touch and hold me, – give me some fish to eat as evidence I’m alive no. We need a Paradigm shift to the Kingdom of God perspective trusting that Jesus’ Body is His New Creation Life.

Speaking at the beginning of His ministry in Nazareth, Jesus read the scriptures of His call to healing up the broken hearted. The Pharisees opposition rose up against Jesus.  Luke 4:18-19

Jesus our Healer, Redeemer, Restorer – He took all our sickness grief and pain, He sent forth His word & Healed us- He revealed Himself to Thomas & His disciples as their Wounded Healer – put your fingers in my wounds, see they are real & Believe – issue of faith – if Martha would believe, then Jesus could come into agreement with her, so He stated – Lazarus will arise and live.

Jesus is challenging all of our Faith to believe to see His Glory, Healing, deliverance and miraculous manifested, and that it will be sustainable. The early church was birthed in the midst of Roman brutality and persecution – the crucifixion of Jesus Christ our Lord needs to stay central in all our focus and study. Jesus and Paul spoke about Persecution that followed the outpouring of the holy Spirit and the movement of the power and miracles of God.

Scriptures related to Persecution – an Inspiration of How to Prayer into this challenging area of peoples loss and pain.

Matthew 10:16-26

Persecutions Are Coming

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! 26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

John 15:18-25

The World’s Hatred

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

2 Cor 4:7-14

Cast Down but Unconquered

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.

13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.

Eph 6:14-22

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

A Gracious Greeting

21 But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; 22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts.

Ps 25

A Plea for Deliverance and Forgiveness

A Psalm of David.

25 To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
Indeed, let no one who [a]waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.

Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11 For Your name’s sake, O Lord,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

12 Who is the man that fears the Lord?
Him shall [b]He teach in the way He chooses.
13 He himself shall dwell in [c]prosperity,
And his descendants shall inherit the earth.
14 The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.
15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
For He shall [d]pluck my feet out of the net.

16 Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me,
For I am [e]desolate and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart have enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses!
18 Look on my affliction and my pain,
And forgive all my sins.
19 Consider my enemies, for they are many;
And they hate me with [f]cruel hatred.
20 Keep my soul, and deliver me;
Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.

22 Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all their troubles!

Ps 103

Praise for the Lord’s Mercies

A Psalm of David.

103 Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He [a]knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is [b]gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

19 The Lord has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You [c]ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
22 Bless the Lord, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Footnotes Psalm 103:14 Understands our constitution   Psalm 103:16 no Psalm 103:21 servants

The God Who Speaks

by: Rev. Peter Fast, National Director, Bridges for Peace Canada

For many Christians, the events which culminated in the Israelite Exodus from Egypt and the thunder of Sinai may bring images to mind of Charlton Heston as Moses or inspire awe at the magnitude of the impressive display of thunder, rushing wind and fire enveloping the mountain. Or perhaps what captures our focus is how Moses’s face shone, the inscribing of the commandments or God’s voice quaking from the mountain (Exod. 20:18–21). The events at Sinai highlight God’s holiness and power, and move us deeply.

At Sinai, we see God’s character of covenantal relationship and His promises to the patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Ps. 105:7–11)—on full display as the tribes became a nation (Exod. 19:6; Deut. 7:6). However, something profoundly significant occurs behind the scenes of the Exodus and Sinai account that Christians in the 21st century rarely understand. This profound significance would have deeply impacted the Hebrews as they stood at the base of the mountain. They didn’t just see erupting fire and wind or hear a voice. Recall that they had already experienced the outpouring of God’s wrath upon Egypt in ten plagues and had miraculously passed through the Red Sea. This significance was something far deeper than simply being awestruck by supernatural wonders. What they experienced ran contrary to everything represented within the pagan world.

The Ultimate Voice
The Hebrews did not just hear a voice from the mountain. They heard and saw the ultimate voice! The source of the voice was the LORD God of their forefathers who shared no power with any other god (Exod. 20:1–6; Deut. 6:4–5). His revelation to the Hebrews delivered another earth-shattering reality. The God of Israel was a relational God, full of steadfast love and mercy (chesed), as described in the magnum opus of God’s name (Exod. 34:6–7). So, what exactly did it mean for the people of Israel to actually hear the voice of God and learn His name (YHVH, the unspeakable name of God)? Contrast this against the entire paradigm of the pagan world from which they had just emerged after living as slaves for generations.

The ancient pagan world was shrouded in darkness. It was believed that all of creation, including mankind, had been created as slaves to the deities, to exist in a perpetual state of servitude. With this belief, mankind saw deity in everything, and the magnificence of nature drew them into worshiping creation and electing gods and goddesses who supposedly held power, influence and control over the forces of nature. Dennis Prager’s commentary on Exodus states:

“It is thoroughly understandable that human beings would worship nature. In this world, nature, after all, is everything. But nature, unlike the God of Torah [Gen.–Deut.], is amoral, and therefore unworthy of worship. Whereas God is preoccupied with good and evil and with justice, nature has no interest in any of them.”

Pagan Understanding
The pagans, in an attempt to make sense of their world and confront the unpredictable power of nature, created mythologies of the polytheism they were immersed in. These mythologies represented actual life for them, not fairy tales, and were taught and believed as answers to how the cosmos and the world operated. The deities even reflected and behaved as humanity behaved—sometimes worse. Ancient Near Eastern scholar John Walton states, “The mythology of both Mesopotamia and Egypt makes clear that the gods had origins. They exist[ed] in familial relationships, and there are generations of gods.” Walton continues:

It would be difficult to discuss with ancients the concept of divine intervention because in their worldview, deity was too integrated into the cosmos to intervene in it. For the most part, deity is on the inside, not the outside. The world was suffused with the divine. All experience was religious experience; all law was spiritual in nature; all duties were duties to the gods; all events had deity as their cause.”

However, these deities were distant, indifferent to the needs of humanity, and did not convey their minds, wills or desires to humanity, let alone show love to humans. Instead, what was required was for humans to divine the will of the gods in order to placate them. For if the gods held absolute power over nature and human affairs, then how was one to discern the will of the gods from prosperous times of plenty juxtaposed to violent natural events such as earthquakes, flooding or famine? Thus, oracles, priests, diviners and magicians took center stage in order to discern the will of the gods so the nation could survive (Exod. 7:11; 1 Sam. 28:7–20; Dan. 2:1–3).

These “intercessors” employed incantations, laid offerings before idols, administered sacred spaces with temples, held festivals, sacrificed animals and took notice of natural signs. Priests would go into drug-induced trances to hear from the gods, believed that certain prophets could be possessed by deities, and inspected animal livers, hearts and intestines for divine signs. They would sometimes harm themselves (1 Kings 18:28) or make music and dance in an effort to gain the deities’ attention. It was believed that deities did not speak with people. The only possible way to know the mind of the gods was through supernatural signs, which could only be deciphered by a professional “intercessor.”

This left people in a state of constant underlying fear, disconnect, hopelessness and vulnerability. The gods could bless an individual one moment, and then torment him the next. Take, for example, the Neo-Assyrian prayer, “A Prayer to Every God.” Walton explains:

The worshiper is seeking to appease a deity from anger over an offense that the worshiper presumably committed. There are only two problems: He does not know which god is angry, and he does not know of anything he has done wrong. He therefore addresses each confession he makes to ‘the god I know or do not know, the goddess I know or do not know.’”

The worshiper’s frustration, so clearly evident in the prayer, should appeal to our sympathy. “I would constantly seek (for help) but no one would help me. I cried but they did not approach me…I am distressed; I am alone; I cannot see” (cf. Acts 17:23). Walton continues:

“This is the plight of those who live in a world without revelation. In the end, for all of their conscientious ritual, they did not know what [the] deity wanted—they could only adhere to tradition and ride out the storm.”

The Power in a Name
Names in the ancient world were associated and tied to role, function and identity. We see this throughout Scripture and certainly with the God of Israel (Exod. 34:6–7). For Christians, it’s wonderful to know that even the name Jesus (Yeshua) means “the Lord is Salvation.” Yet in the ancient pagan world, many of the names of the deities were only pseudonyms, for the gods kept their distance and refused to give their true names for fear that mankind would be able to control or manipulate them.

Again, the problem with the pagans was that their gods did not speak to them. There was no relational voice, comfort, love, hope, justice or salvation to be heard, just empty silence in a wild world as diviners channelled the gods and brought back abstract messages. The God of the Bible, however, presents the complete opposite reality. The God of Israel reveals Himself (cf. Gen. 12:1–3) and literally gives His word through men who are led by His Spirit (2 Peter 1:19–21).

For the Hebrews, after four centuries in Egypt, immersed in a pagan world where gods controlled everything from the Nile River, the sun, moon and crops, as well as existed in everything such as frogs, cats, crocodiles, cattle—the events leading up to Sinai were titanic. Naturally, the Hebrews could recall the God of their forefathers. Even Joshua, much later at the renewal of the covenant at Shechem, reminded the Israelites of this fact prior to entering the Promised Land (Joshua 24).

God’s Faithfulness Revealed
Had God still cared for His people whilst they served the Egyptians as slaves? Would He rescue them? Would He speak to them? Or had He become like the gods of Egypt, silent and indifferent to their pain and suffering? The pagans believed gods were ranked strongest to weakest. Pharoah, after all, was a “son of Ra,” so maybe the God of the Hebrews was not as powerful as He had come across to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? All of this would be answered at Sinai.

At Sinai God thundered and revealed His faithfulness. He had saved them from Egypt, and through Moses’s leadership, He gathered them at the base of the mountain. God called to Moses from the mountain, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself” (Exod. 19:3b–4). God’s love is abounding. He shows His faithfulness to the nation, His covenant people, whom He describes as a “special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine” (Exod. 19:5; cf. 1 Chron. 17:21).

The entire Hebrew nation witnessed the power and majesty of the God they served. They saw His mighty acts and heard His voice. They learned His Name (Exod. 3:14) and were given His commandments (Exod. 20) in which to know the will of their beloved and that they served a Holy God. He reflects justice and love. He is absolute holiness and perfection. He is Father! He shares no power with other “deities,” as revealed clearly in the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exod. 20:3).

God’s Power, Holiness And Love
The Hebrews were reminded that the LORD is holy (kadosh), and the people must treat His holiness seriously and be clean before Him (Lev. 11:44–45). God even instructed Moses to set boundaries around the mountain while His presence came down, lest the people “break through to gaze at the LORD, and many of them perish” (Exod. 19:21). When God spoke, it completely eclipsed anything they had ever experienced in pagan Egypt. The Hebrews were overwhelmed and terrified at the display as they cried out for Moses to intercede (Exod. 20:18–21).

At Sinai, God upheld the promise He gave to Abraham and the covenant He cut (see Genesis 15). He forbade a graven image (Exod. 20:4–5). He spoke to the entire nation of Israel through Moses, and they beheld His presence and power. Then God literally led them to the Promised Land by cloud and fire. The echo of the Torah (Gen.–Deut.) and prophets right through to the Writings of the Apostles (NT) is that the God of Israel will defeat evil, restore the world, redeem Israel and the nations, be worshipped by the nations and eradicate all ungodly worship of other deities. However, at Sinai, amidst His faithful covenant-keeping nature, God revealed His unchanging, everlasting, steadfast love for His people Israel. “And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth’” (Exod. 34:6).

Bibliography

Arnold, Bill T. and Brent A. Strawn ed. The World Around the Old Testament: The People and Places of the Ancient Near East. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016.

Block, Daniel I. Covenant: The Framework of God’s Grand Plan of Redemption. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2021.

Brown, Francis, S. R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs. The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1979.

Green, Jay P. ed. The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English. USA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1984.

Hawkins, Ralph K. Discovering Exodus: Content, Interpretation, Reception. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2021.

Keel, Othmar. The Symbolism of the Biblical World: Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Book of Psalms. Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1997.

Prager, Dennis. The Rational Bible: Exodus: God, Slavery, and Freedom. USA:Regnery Faith, 2018.

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson and Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz. The Stone Edition Tanach: Artscroll. Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, 2010.

Walton, John H. Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2018.

Walton, John H. The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. USA: IVP Academic, 2009.

Sermon: Being a Peacemaker – Matthew 5

By Lifeway.com

“Unfortunately, when we read the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” we smile blandly and say, “Oh, that’s nice.” But peacemaking is not nice. Peacemaking is messy and wrenching work. It takes time and a lot of emotional energy. It is like crossing a fast moving creek on slippery rocks. The journey is needed. The work is risky. And, sometimes you fall. You get bruised. And, sometimes you don’t make it across the stream.
And, let me be honest, sometimes, peacemaking doesn’t work. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he exhorted, “If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18). We are to live at peace with everyone. That is a pretty clear command. But Paul adds that all important phrase, “If it is possible.” Sometimes peace isn’t possible.
……..
The radicalness of Christ’s call to peacemaking demands a radical remaking of human personality. One must first have a profound experience of the shalom of God. No one can become a peacemaker until he has found peace himself. We cannot give what is not real to us. Peacemaking begins with an experience of peace in our own hearts.”

To read the full article on the Peacemaking – CLICK HERE

Ima Odutola  from:  Light and Grace Ministries 

The Lord has arisen with Heaing in His Wings

Anchor Scripture:

Malachi 4:2

But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth and gambol like calves [released] from the stall and leap for joy.

Ps Jeff’s Special Today: “Presenting your own agenda” 

Today’s issue is presenting our own agenda instead of listening, and loving othersPride is at the root of her old sin pattern. Proverbs 6:17 tells us that that a proud look is an abomination to the Lord. Until one repents, returns to God instead of being self-focused, pride rises up and presents its own “agenda” instead of listening and loving others. Philippians 2:2-4 sets the Truth” …fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Being candid with yourself and the Holy Spirit, is there any remnant of your old pattern, pursuing your own agenda instead of connecting with and loving 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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But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.