We Stand with Israel

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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!

For Zion’s Sake – May 2018

Hi friends!  Did you know there is a worldwide prayer initiative to pray for Israel and her neighbors?  In January 2016, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem launched the Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative, inviting Christians from around the world to join together in praise, proclamation, pondering and prayer.

Isaiah 62 is a fantastic pattern of prayer for Israel, and it happens to have 12 verses.  The first Wednesday of every month is designated as the day of prayer and focus is given to the verse corresponding to the month.  This is May, the fifth month, so we’ll hone in on Isaiah 62:5.

NOTE: Reading the entire chapter in context is very important, so I suggest you start there, then dive into the prayer guidance below.

PRAISE: Most High God, we praise You that You rejoice in taking that which was separate, apart and alone and making it perfect, complete and delightful.  Who is like You, Lord?

PROCLAIM:
For as a young man marries a virgin,
So your sons will marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So your God will rejoice over you.
~Isaiah 62:5

PONDER: Think of the happiest moment in your life and you will have a good idea of how God will rejoice over Zion.  Not only will the Jewish people be “married” to Israel, but God will be married to her as well, and will rejoice over her.  Did you know the Hebrew word for bride comes from a word that means perfect and complete?  Jerusalem will be united with God in response to our unceasing prayers.  For this blessed union we earnestly lift our voices to the Eternal Bridegroom.

PRAY: ICEJ provides specific prayer points each month.  Use them to guide your prayer time.

PRAYER POINTS FOR MAY 2018

PS: There are Isaiah 62 Prayer Groups all over the world.  Why not join one!  If you are in the Phoenix area, please join us at CalvaryPHX, Room 301 this evening at 6:00.  (Directions and more info here.)

What Does North Korea have to do with the Middle East?

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Welcome to May, my friends!  Could this month be one of the most historic ever?  Perhaps it’s a far reach to say it will be, but the potential is certainly there for dramatic history to be made this month.  Here is just a taste of what’s on the world stage as May marchs in:

  • New US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has made the rounds in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Israel and other places, rallying support behind President Trump’s foreign policy.
  • Historic peace plans are happening between North and South Korea…with significant impact on the Middle East.
  • It is believed that Iran is now operating on 19 Russian military bases in Syria.
  • Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary (on the Gregorian calendar), much to the chagrin of the Palestinian Authority who has pledged to breach Israel’s borders on or around that day (May 14).
  • The US Embassy is scheduled to open in Jerusalem on May 14, followed by embassies of at least 4 other countries.
  • May 12 is the deadline for President Trump to decide whether or not to pull the US out of the Iranian nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions.
  • Iranian transport aircraft have been discovered flying into bases all around Syria, thought to be carrying troops, missiles, drone parts, and other equipment intended for Israel’s destruction.  A few days ago two of those bases were attacked.
  • Iran continues to clearly threaten Israel and the US with destruction.  (Just yesterday I shared news of Iran’s threat to sink American naval vessels.)
  • Iranian-backed Houthi rebels continue attacking Saudi Arabia from Yemen.
  • Recently, Russia brought in heavily-loaded military aircraft and sea vessels to bases in Syria, unloading them under cover of smoke screen.  Those loads are thought to contain S-400 missile defense systems to protect Russian and Iranian bases in Syria.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ripped the cover off Iran’s nuclear lies, providing very strong evidence that Iran’s nuclear program is alive and well despite the 2015 nuclear deal.

So, what does it all mean, and should we as followers of Jesus Christ be concerned?  Amir Tsarfati gave a recent update that covers all these bases much better than I can. If you’re wondering what the Korean peace deal as to do with the Middle East, you’ll find the answer.  If you’re wondering about Israel’s preparedness for all that is swirling around her, you’ll find the answer.  More importantly, if you’re wondering how to view these events through the lens of Scripture, you’ll find the answer!

Take some time to understand the times and seasons in which we live.  It is critical if we are to be prepared for our Lord’s return.  Enjoy!

PS: Tomorrow is the first Wednesday of the month, which means the designated day of prayer for those of you involved in the Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative.  Check back tomorrow for specific prayer points.  Also, I’ve invited others to join me in prayer for President Trump and other world leaders leading up to the May 12 decision regarding the Iranian nuclear deal.  There are plenty of opportunities to pray and I urge you to be faithful in that.  The battle is not won in the physical realm, but in the spiritual realm.  Let’s fight the battle!