For Zion’s Sake – August 2018

Image result for Isaiah 62 prayer

The first Wednesday of every month is a day of prayer…and this month, if falls on the 1st!  Tomorrow is the day, so let’s begin the month by joining thousands around the world in prayer for Israel, the nations, and for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.  It is their prayer initiative that draws us all together at the foot of the throne.

Isaiah 62 serves as a prayer guide, and we focus on a specific verse each month.  August is the 8th month (on the Gregorian calendar), so verse 8 is where we will anchor today.

PRAISE:  Lord, You are the Mighty One of Israel who makes promises and keeps them.  We praise You for this and marvel over Your amazing track record in fulfilling Your pledges.  Amen.

PROCLAIM: 
The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm,
“I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies;
Nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored.”
~Isaiah 62:8

PONDER:  The Lord is described as making a vow with His right arm.  Symbolically, the right arm represents strength and dexterity.  He promises that Israel will no longer toil to the point of exhaustion, only to hand everything over to the enemy.  He has sworn.  Sworn, in its most literal form means, “to seven oneself,” seven being the number of perfection and completion.  It’s as if the Lord repeats His declaration seven times.  We can count on a time that Israel will be able to keep her food and drink, her bread and wine, for which she labored and not have it stolen by the enemy.  It is for this we pray.

PRAY:  This month’s specific prayer points are found on ICEJ’s Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative page.  Please join others from around the world in lifting these petitions before the Lord.

PS: This prayer event happens every month, and I hope you will join the worldwide movement.  Click here to find out how.

For Zion’s Sake – July 2018

The Bible tells us that those who bless Israel will be blessed.  (Genesis 12:3)  But exactly how do we do that?

There are many ways, but perhaps the most important and most rewarding way is to pray diligently for Israel. Did you know that believers from around the world join together the first Wednesday of every month to pray fervently for Israel?  Why not join the effort!  (Check out the International Christian Embassy’s Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative to engage more fully.)

We follow the guidance provided by ICEJ in using Isaiah 62 as our prayer guide, as we focus on one of the 12 verses each month.  This is July…and verse 7 is perhaps my favorite verse of the chapter.  That’s where we’re headed, though I want to include verse 6 with it so we don’t jump into the middle of a thought.  So, let’s go…

PRAISE:  Lord, we praise You that You receive our incessant requests and Hallelujahs, never having a quiet moment to Yourself.  Thank you that You have commanded us in this.  Amen

PROCLAIM: 
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;
All day and all night they will never keep silent.
You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves;
And give Him no rest until He establishes
And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

PONDER:  “Give Him no rest.”  This may well seem like a command for bad manners, but Jesus had this concept in mind too, when He told His disciples how they should always pray and never give up.  He told them a parable about a judge who did not care about God or people, and who muttered to himself that he would see that the persistent widow would get justice so that he would not become worn out from her incessant badgering.  Then Jesus said this: “Shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?  I tell you that He will avenge them speedily” (Luke 18:7-8).  In both testaments, we’ve been given the green light to “pester” the Lord until He fulfills His promise in making Jerusalem a “Hallelujah.”  So, again.  And, again.  And, again, we go to Him as He teaches us to do.

PRAY:  This month’s prayer points are found here.  Please remain in prayer throughout the month, as the Lord guides you through these things.

Be blessed as you gather in the throne room of the Most High God!

PS: If you are following along with the Bible study, Why Israel Matters, don’t worry…we’ll pick it back up tomorrow.  See you then!

We Stand with Israel

Image result for why israel matters

Today we’re diving into week 2 of the Bible study, Why Israel Matters.  If you are finding this site for the first time, “Welcome!”  Our study is happening live at CalvaryPHX (in Phoenix AZ) at 11:00 am on Sunday mornings.  However, for those outside the Phoenix area, we’re summarizing teachings here.

Week 2’s study is entitled We Stand with Israel.  Having spent last week laying the foundation of why Israel matters, it is only natural to move into the reasons Christians should stand with Israel.  So, let’s get going with today’s mini-study!

First, one of the key tenets of the study is development of the habit of praying for Israel.  I hope you are doing that!  ICEJ’s Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative is a great aid in guiding you through regular prayer.

Approximately the size of New Jersey (or my home county, Maricopa County AZ) and population less than New York City, Israel’s presence confirms God’s Word.  Her rebirth is a testament of His faithfulness, and today, Israel is prosperous and the only true democracy in the Middle East.

The Abrahamic Covenant (which we will study in a few weeks) is foundational to Israel’s existence and God’s plan.  Thus, if we are to understand God’s plan, Israel is important!  Indeed, Israel matters!  God gave the land of Canaan to the Jewish people, then told us in Genesis 12:3 that those who bless Israel will be blessed.  Israel has a special role in God’s plan!

So, why should Christians support Israel?

  1. It is a spiritual assignment!  We are told to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 1226-9), to be watchmen on the wall (Isaiah 62:6-7, principle in Ezekiel 33:1-6), and to honor, bless and stand with the Jewish people (Genesis 12:3, Isaiah 40:1, 41:11-12, 60:10-12).
  2. We share common values.  Freedom, democracy, human rights and coming to the aid of those in need are equally important to Christians and Israel.
  3. Israel is the protector of Christians in the Middle East.  In fact, Israel is virtually the only safe place for Christians in the Middle East.

Furthermore, America as a nation should support Israel as well!  Not only do we share common democratic values, but we work together militarily.  Most of us are aware of the military hardware, including the new F-35 fighter jets, sold to Israel.  But did you know Israel shares their technological advances (such as specialized helmets, targeting technology and more) with the US?  That cooperation helps make the US and Israeli military capabilities the best in the world!

For these reasons and more, we stand with Israel!  We’ll examine other reasons as we progress through the study this week.  Be sure to stay tuned.

Meanwhile, open your Bible to Isaiah 62 and consider verse 2 your key prayer verse this week!

See you tomorrow!

For Zion’s Sake – June 2018

How excited I was to see the key verse (above) for this month’s Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative!  You see, God is indeed gathering His people from all the countries and bringing them back into their own land.  We are seeing prophecy fulfilled right before our very eyes!

But, lest you think witnessing fulfillment of prophecy is a spectator sport, let me remind you that God has invited us to be part of His grand plan!  In fact, He yearns for us to participate in what He is doing!  How do we do that?  In many ways, but the most important way is to pray!

That’s what the Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative is all about!  We pray for Zion’s sake, as Isaiah 62:1 indicates, in unison with believers everywhere on the first Wednesday of every month.  Using that chapter of Scripture, we focus on one verse each month to guide us into unified prayer with believers literally around the globe!  So, please take time right now (or later today) to join the mighty host of prayer warriors lifting up Israel, the nations, and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem today.

Here’s how:

PRAISE: Lord, we are Your appointed ‘rememberers.’  You have made us mindful of You, from sunrise to sunset, in seasons of darkness as well as light.  Thank You that this is so.  Amen.

PROCLAIM:
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;
All day and all night they will never keep silent.
You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves;
And give Him no rest until He establishes
And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
~Isaiah 62:6-7

PONDER: Isaiah suggests here that Jerusalem is twice-walled: a literal wall of crenelated limestone protects the city, but there is another wall too, a spiritual wall that her watchmen provide.  In the ancient world, a watchman was a protector, one who “hedged about,” preserved and attended that which he guarded.  Watchmen were alert, even when the inhabitants of the city slept or went about their daily chores.  Men may have built the quarried walls to protect Jerusalem, but today, God musters watchmen from every time zone on the globe to continually, perpetually and always speak to Him, forming a holy hedge of defense around the city.  So we add our voices to this supernatural force-field with our prayers.

PRAY: Current and very specific prayer points are found here.  Use these prayer points today and throughout the month of June.  Pray on!

PS: For the really observant readers, you probably noticed that I said we use one verse of Isaiah 62 per month as a prayer focus, but quoted verses 6-7 in the “PROCLAIM” section.  That’s because the two verses happen to be my favorite…and to split them breaks up the full thought.  So, look for the same verses (but with different emphasis) next month as well!