Why the Calm? Why the Storm?

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What faithful students you are!  Welcome back!

Today we’ll finish the summary of the live class I’m teaching at 11:00 am each Sunday morning at Calvary PHX in Phoenix AZ.  If you like what you’re reading and are in the Phoenix area, come join the live class.  We’re in Room 209 at the Central campus and there is a seat ready for you!

We are living in the calm before the storm.  Indeed, Israel is as calm and peaceful as she has ever been since rebirth in 1948.  (If you are wondering how I can say that when rockets fired from Gaza recently, see yesterday’s post.)  We know, also, that there is a huge storm on the horizon.  Ezekiel 38 describes that storm and we’ll spend some more time talking about it in the next live lesson.

So, why the calm…and why the storm?  Does God really have a purpose in all this?  Absolutely!

First, let’s talk about what happened in America.  Understand, though, that America is NOT God’s timepiece.  Israel is.  But something significant happened in America over the past few years.  From a spiritual perspective, many believe we were teetering on the brink of the abyss.  For years, our country has been spiraling out of control morally.  We have thrown God out of schools, government buildings and city parks.  Abortions are killing over 600,000 babies a year.  Religious freedom has been trampled while gay rights have sky rocketed to levels unimaginable.  Marriage has taken on new definitions and the dignity of aging adults has been striped away.

But someone (LOTS of someones!) took 2 Chronicles 7:14 to heart:

…[if] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Christians began to pray and began to stand up for what is right…and miracles happened.  (If you prayed, you had a part in the miracles!)  One miracle (there were many) was the election of Donald Trump as President.  Many (including myself) were skeptical that a man with such a sordid background would actually stand for things such as the sanctity of life, religious freedom…and Israel.  Furthermore, he was not supposed to win!  Behind in all the polls and lambasted by the liberal media, it took a miracle of God (despite skepticism!) to put Donald Trump in the White House.  Praise God for that!

Our nation is far from perfect and still has the same issues it had before.  But I truly believe God heard the faithful, effective prayers of the righteous (James 5:16), He honored them, and He gave America a short reprieve.  American friends, this is our season!  Time is short and the reprieve won’t last forever.  We must NOT be complacent.

Now the whys.

Why the calm?

  1. God honored the prayers of the righteous!
  2. God is preparing the region for what comes next.  Ezekiel 38 says Israel MUST be living in safety, security and prosperity.  Meanwhile, Russia, Iran and Turkey are all struggling economically.  That will bring about motivation for attack.
  3. God is establishing Jerusalem’s status.  Jerusalem is to be the heavy stone that others will try to lift, only to be injured.  Establishing Jerusalem as the capital, moving embassies there and destroying Iran’s presence on the Israeli border helps establish Jerusalem’s status!

Those things are happening right before our very eyes, and this is the calm before the storm!  Also, as a side note: talk among Jews in Israel is turning to “days of Messiah!”  They are looking for that someone who will bring lasting peace and allow them to rebuild the third temple!  Interesting!

Why the coming storm?

  1. To expose the intentions of man’s heart, and that of the nations.  Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that our hearts are desperately wicked, and 2 Timothy 3:1-5 provides a laundry list of wickedness that will characterize the last days.  Joel 3:2 warns the nations that God will judge them according to how they treat Israel!
  2. To glorify God and destroy Satan’s plans.  (Read Ezekiel 38.  That’s your homework for next week!)
  3. Set the stage for the hour of trial.  Though believers will be saved from it (Revelation 3:10 and many places in 1 Thessalonians), the Jews will face the hour of trial after God defeats the enemies of Ezekiel 38-39.  They will look for their Messiah, only to find he is the Antichrist.

Despite their own blindness, Israel is the flagship that leads the world to salvation.  So, why does Israel matter?  Because Israel is our insurance policy!  If God is not faithful to the Jewish people, why would we expect Him to be faithful to us?

As we close out this week, why not pray for the eyes of Jewish people to be open to see and recognize the One True Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Some are seeing…let’s pray for a larger harvest!

Thanks for following this week, and I look forward to sharing more in Week 2, as we get into Signs of the Times: Storm Clouds Rising.

The Calm Before the Storm

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So good to see you back, my friends!  We’re studying Why Israel Matters and are finishing up week 1.  This is simply a summary of the live class being taught at CalvayPHX in Phoenix AZ.  We gather together at Central campus, Room 209 each Sunday morning at 11:00 am and you are welcome to join us!  For those of you outside the Phoenix area, pull up a chair at the virtual study table and join us here online.

We established that God chose Israel for a specific REASON and for a specific SEASON.  The reason is that God chose to reveal Himself to Gentiles through the Jewish people.  As for the season, we are living in an unprecedented time when God is making preparations to reveal Himself to the Jewish people!  Once Jerusalem is prepared and God’s plan is in place, Jesus will return to Jerusalem and, ultimately, all Israel will be saved!  (Romans 11:26)

Much will happen before that day, and a mighty storm is on the horizon!  However, we are living in the calm before the storm!  Even this time of calm is for a REASON and a SEASON.  Israel has never been as calm and peaceful as now.

“But what about the recent rocket attacks from Gaza?”

Ahhhh…..great question…and it didn’t take you long to fire that one out there!  Let me explain.  I know many people in Israel: ministry leaders (some Jew, some Gentile), citizens, military, etc and they all confirm the same thing: while rockets from Gaza are a nuisance and a definite danger to a few (not to be trivialized), there is no huge threat from Gaza.  If they wanted, Israel could wipe out all of Gaza literally in a matter of minutes.  Israel knows that…and the Palestinians know that.  Hamas, the ruling party, knows that, but also knows that Israel will not do that.  Thus, they “rattle sabers” in attempts to attract the world’s attention to their “plight.”

Israel faces nothing compared to wars brought to their borders in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, etc.  Those foes are now either enjoying peace treaties with Israel (Egypt and Jordan), working hand-in-hand with Israel (Saudi Arabia, UAE) or are defeated foes (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, etc)  Israel is living in peace and prosperity…just as the Bible says she MUST prior to the Ezekiel 38 storm on the horizon.  Ultimately, Israel will be attacked by a superpower (Russia, along with Iran, Turkey and others), and America will NOT be there for Israel.

“But haven’t you implied that this is the most pro-Israel administration in Israel’s history?”

Wow, you ask great questions!  Yes, this administration is, without a doubt, the most pro-Israel administration in Israel’s history.  Yet, it is for only a season!

Come back tomorrow and we’ll discuss what happened in America to make it the most pro-Israel administration in Israel’s history, and we’ll talk about why the calm is taking place.

Meanwhile, check into Isaiah 62 and pray for Israel!

I Agree with the Ayatollah!!!

Before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, stick with me here!

In a recent tweet (June 3), the Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said:

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Did you catch that?  The Ayatollah clearly stated the “Palestinian cause” is an “issue of beliefs…the heart…of faith.”  I agree!  There is spiritual battle being waged in and around Israel today.  Even Israel’s greatest enemy at the moment says so.

However, there is more intrigue. Just days ago (May 31), Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied Iranian military presence in Syria.  We know that’s a lie because Israel was attacked by an armed Iranian drone, flown from an Iranian-controlled base in Syria!  In fact, the Israeli Air Force took care of business days later when they sent military jets into Syria to wipe out confirmed Iranian bases!  Ultimately, Russia and Israel agreed to keep Iranian forces away from the southern border of Syria.

But wait…there’s more!

Now, Iranian Brigadier General Massoud Jazayer is denying reports that Iranian forces will leave their positions Syria!

Wait a second, if there are no Iranian forces in Syria (as claimed by Assad), who did Israel attack?  Furthermore, why would an Iranian General deny reports that they are leaving, if they aren’t there!?!

Amazing!

For good measure, the Ayatollah also had this to say on Twitter:

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The facts are simple:

  • Israel’s enemies will lie incessantly if it serves their purpose (which is allowed by Islamic theology).
  • Iran’s ultimate goal is the same it has always been: to wipe Israel off the map.  (Somehow, most nations think this is okay!)
  • This is a spiritual battle, more so than a political or military one.

We are living in a calm before the storm and it is time for believers to take up battle stations!  As watchmen on the wall, we must spread the truth and reveal the lies.  As prayer warriors, we must be on our knees seeking God’s heart for Israel.  As the Bride of Christ, we look up, for our redemption draws near!  (Luke 21:28)

Iranian Forces Booted from Syrian Air Bases

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Iranian bases in Syria (Damascus is less than 60 miles from Israel’s border.)

In what some consider a surprising move, the Syrian air force has suddenly banned Iranian and Shi’ite forces from operating on Syrian air bases.  After many blistering attacks by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Iranian positions, Syria has apparently decided they have had enough.  Despite constant bombings by the Syrian regime (at the command of President Bashar al-Assad) on its own people, fear of additional Israeli precision strikes have caused Syria to re-think the partnership with Iran on its military bases.

Other reports are claiming that Russia is also active in efforts to remove Iranian forces from the southern part of Syria.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to deny even having military activity in Syria, claiming that only military advisers are deployed there.  In fact, on Sunday an Iranian official even stated that recent strikes did not hit Iranian targets:

“Zionist regime’s claims that it ‎hit Iranian assets in Syria are false because ‎Iran only sent military advisers to Syria. It does ‎not take an active part in the fighting.”

Not sure where reality comes into play for the Iranians!

Meanwhile, Israel has drawn new “red lines” regarding Iran’s aggression and the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah, warning Russia that Syrian military bases are subject to attack if Iranian or Hezbollah forces threaten Israel.

So, what does all this mean?  We have established from Scripture that Ezekiel 38 prophesies a coming invasion of Israel, led by a Russian czar and accompanied by Iran, Turkey, Libya and Sudan.  Those parties are in alliance like never before, yet Russia seems to be pushing back against Iran’s aggression at this point.

Image result for why israel mattersHow do we make sense of it all in light of Scripture?  Well, that will be part of the subject I discuss this coming Sunday at 11:00 at CalvaryPHX, Central campus, Room 209!  It’s the first class of a study called Why Israel Matters, and we’ll spend 12 weeks trying to address the issue of why Israel matters.  Info and directions are found here.

I know of some who are “on the fence” about coming.  Perhaps you live in Phoenix, but you have never attended an event or service at CalvaryPHX.  (“It’s too far! I don’t know anyone there! I’m not really a church-goer!”)  Or, maybe the time slot overlaps with something else and you are trying to decide between the two.  Perhaps a friend has told you about the class, but you’re not really sure why a class about Israel is so important.

May I encourage you?  I have never been more excited and passionate about what the Lord has in store.  The nuggets He is bringing to the surface are rich and satisfying!  I just don’t want you to miss what He is putting before us!  If you are a Christian, understanding why Israel matters is critical to understanding your salvation, and how we should live out our remaining days on earth.  If you are not a Christian, you are WELCOME…please come!  This is a safe environment to learn about current events taking place in our world, and why they are important to everyone.

Finally, this class is “family-friendly!”  If you have students 12 and older, please bring them with you!  There will be specially prepared materials that will appropriately draw your students into the class without “ruining it” for the adults!  Children’s Ministry is available for children under 12, and there is no cost for either the class or Children’s Ministry.

See you Sunday!