Watch an Israeli Patriot Missile Blow up a Syrian Drone

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An unmanned Syrian drone entered Israeli airspace yesterday afternoon and was allowed to allowed to operate for 15 minutes while Israeli intelligence ruled out Russian involvement.  Following the delay, Israel fired a Patriot missile that intersected and destroyed the drone near the Sea of Galilee.

Want to see what it looks like to destroy a drone in midair?  You will find the story and a very short video of the missile “hit” on The Times of Israel website.  Here is the link to the article:

To Rule Out a Russian Link, IDF Waited 16 Minutes before Downing a Syrian Drone

Action on the Golan is becoming more and more prophetic every day.  Keep your eyes on Damascus Syria and that entire region as you read Isaiah 17:1 and Ezekiel 38.  The proverbial table is set…we’re just awaiting the Guest of Honor!

Faith Brings Salvation!

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What glorious truths are found in Romans 9-11!  It’s like a treasure hunt, and the golden nuggets are invaluable!  I hope you are enjoying this week’s study as we examine the Jewish roots of our Christian faith.  We’re headed into Romans 10 today, but if you missed the previous two posts, I recommend you back up and catch them so that you get the fullness of today’s lesson.

Paul opens Chapter 10 driving home the idea that righteousness and salvation are attained by faith alone, not by works.  Then, he cuts straight to the chase in verses 9-10:

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

That’s as plain and simple as it gets!  In fact, if you are following this study (or you simply stumbled upon this post) and you have tried to gain God’s acceptance through anything but simple faith, it is not a coincident that you are here!  He is speaking to you this very moment!  Our Lord longs for relationship with you and you can do nothing to earn it.  Salvation truly is simple: confess and believe!  (Click here for more guidance about how to be saved.)

Salvation is the same for everyone…Jews or Gentiles.  Paul goes on to explain that in verses 12-13 of Romans:

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

However, verses 14-21 allude to the difficulty of the Jewish people in understanding and trusting in faith alone.  To call upon God, they must believe.  To believe, they must they must hear.  To hear, there must be a preacher. Preachers must be sent.

Well, throughout history, God sent “preachers.”  They were called prophets in the Old Testament!  Men such as Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah and others foretold of Christ the Messiah who would come to the Jews.  The preachers came…and the Jewish people heard.  Yet, they did not simply believe by faith.  Instead, they tried to keep the law of Moses.

Verse 15 talks about the beautiful feet of those who bring good news (the Gospel).  The Gospel is all about faith and nothing more.  I want beautiful feet, how about you?  I want to share the good news with others (including Jews).  May we all yearn for beautiful feet!

Allow me to divert for a moment.  Sadly, there are very large Christian organizations (such as Christians United for Israel [John Hagee, who denies Jesus as Messiah] and International Fellowship of Christians and Jews [Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein]) who wholeheartedly love Israel and care for the Jewish people, but WILL NOT “preach the Gospel” to them.  (I’m not suggesting obnoxious “in your face” evangelism that is unnecessarily offensive, but about intentionally taking the opportunities God gives to share the love of Christ both in word and deed.)  How sad that the very key thing Paul teaches about regarding Jewish-Christian relations is not innocently overlooked, but intentionally set aside.  (You can find out about Jewish-related ministries and their sometimes veiled objectives here.)

Romans 10:19 compels us to be a nation (people group) willing to show the love of Messiah, in order to make the Jewish people jealous.  Let’s practice what God’s Word commands!

We’re headed for Romans 11 tomorrow, and it gets REALLY good at that point!  So, here’s your homework: go read that chapter, then join us here again tomorrow as we launch into that chapter!

UPDATE: Friends, I just watched a video that corresponds so closely with our study this week about Christian-Jewish relations.  Tune into an interview with Eitan Shishkoff, an American-born “hippie Jew,” who now lives and ministers in Israel.  He has incredible insight into Jewish-Christian relations.  Catch the interview at the 1:19:50 mark here:

Christ Revealed – Episode 9

(Christ Revealed is a 9-part documentary, with a single episode released each day.  This was Day 9, and I believe the video is available only until 6:00pm Pacific time today.)

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

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!

“How Did this Happen?”

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So, I left you hanging yesterday, didn’t I?  We’re studying God’s love story and I set up today’s discussion by asking you what the first question is when you see two people in love.  What’s the question?

“How did you meet?”

We want to hear about how the love story began!  In God’s love story, how did this happen?

Well, God made His move at a time we were dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2).  In fact, when we go all the way back to Genesis 3, we find that, because of original sin, we (the human race) were doomed and without hope unless there was major intervention!  Faithfully, God intervened!

We were not looking for Him.  Do you know of anyone living in sin, wandering around with all intent and purpose to find God?  No!  God pursues us!  But God used very special means, and here’s a “golden nugget” for today:

The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.
~Galatians 3:8

First, we need to understand we are justified by faith!  Not by becoming Jews.  (Which is what some of the early believers thought.)  Not by works.  (Which is what most Jews thought…and what many people thing today.)  Not by any other means than faith.  Secondly, read that verse again and look for something very peculiar.  Do you see it?

God preached the gospel to Abraham!  What is the gospel, if not Christ’s death, burial and resurrection!?!  God preached the gospel to Abraham!  The gospel is not a New Testament thing, and my dear Christian friends, it is not a “Christian” thing!  (We love to commandeer that theological tidbit, don’t we!)

When God preached the gospel to Abraham, He reminded him that all the nations will be blessed in him.  Hmmm….sounds like God just made Abraham and his descendants the vehicle of world redemption….the conduit through which the gospel was to be shared!

But let’s consider Abraham for a moment.  There were no Jews on the earth.  God was about to do what He does best…create!  (Well, He actually does a LOT of things best, but creation was a pretty grand thing!)  He was about to create the Jewish people from nothing.

Abraham’s family lived in Ur, a pagan land in what we know today as Iraq.  They were idol manufacturers by trade and likely worshiped them!  But somehow Abraham knew that God was speaking to him when He called him out of Ur, and he followed.  Acts 4:9-12 tell us of the transformation of Abraham from a pagan idol-worshiper to a father of many.  (“Circumcised” refers to the Jews, “uncircumcised” refers to non-Jews.)

Read the passage for yourself, and you will find that God made Abraham the father of both the circumcised and the uncircumcised!

“Hmmmm!  I thought he was only the father of the Jews!”

Good catch, dear friend!  Though, indeed, Abraham became father of the Jews, it seems to me that God was opening the door to reveal a plan for us Gentiles to enjoy a gift He was giving to the Jewish people.  We’ll talk more about that in a moment, but just know that God has not “locked us (Gentiles) out” of the blessing that He promised through the Abrahamic Covenant!

So, Abraham was God’s man!  He brought him into a special relationship that was passed down through his descendants.  This became a worldwide, eternal covenant, given to the Jews, but the benefits were not exclusively theirs!

Here is your second “golden nugget” of the day.  Take a look at Galatians 3:29.  After spending a chapter talking about righteousness being attained by faith, and that the law wouldn’t cut it, Paul ends the chapter with this:

And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

Christian believers, we are Abraham’s descendants!  Not physically.  (We will never become Jews.)  But spiritually, we are heirs according to the promise given to Abraham!

To illustrate: do you benefit by things given to your family or friends?  Of course you do!  I love to go camping.  I have a tent, but with each passing year it becomes harder and harder to crawl in and out and sleep on a cot!  By God’s grace, I have friends with extra space in their trailer, and I’m invited in!  Grace upon grace…I benefit by what is not mine!

Likewise, Christians benefit by the promises God made to the Jewish people.  As Paul states in Romans 9 (which we will get to tomorrow), the promises still belong to Israel, but we benefit from them!

Glory to God!

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
~Isaiah 55:8-9

Come back tomorrow when we examine God’s call upon Abraham!