Friday, August 19, 2011

A Worthy Word from Israeli Messianic Jew, Arni Klien

This word was sent out in the prayer letter of Arni and Yonit Klien, who have a prayer and worship ministry in the Judean Hills, called Emmaus Way. There are so many many good words in this writing that I asked permission to share it more publicly than just to my subscribers. Be blessed as you read.

Three lies were planted in the Garden of Eden.
They sit at the root of every spiritual struggle of faith we face in life.

by Arni Klein
July 2011

Receiving Our Gift

From time to time we read about breakthrough discoveries in science or technology that end up making a real difference in people’s lives. Sometimes researchers work for years and years in search of such keys. Other times we seem to just stumble onto great things…by the providence and promise of God. Israel continues to be a light and a blessing to the nations in so many ways.

You would think that with all the contributions and discoveries made by Jews that have dramatically affected the quality of life of so many, the people of the nations would be grateful, and we (Jews) would have a deep sense of accomplishment. Well, at the moment this is not our present reality.

While thinking about this, it occurred to me that many of us don’t recognize the gift we have to give, or perhaps to say, the gift we have been made to be. The system of this world conditions us to think so competitively and comparatively that unless we are the greatest something or other, we often tend to think we have nothing to offer.

This thought come out of a personal moment I find myself in concerning the seminars I have been presenting over the past year in Germany. I am amazed and blessed by how deeply people are being touched by the Lord.

As some of you know, I have been working on these teachings and sharing them in bits and pieces for a long time – about twenty-five years. In one part of me I am convinced that the insights that make up these messages are from God. But another part of me has had a struggle to accept having something that is not common to all and is really a blessing to others.

Can you relate to this? Having the feeling I am not alone in this, I felt to share this bit of my process.

A Piece of the Puzzle

On my last trip (to Germany), a new piece of the puzzle concerning the teaching came into view.

Three lies were planted in the Garden of Eden. They sit at the root of every spiritual struggle of faith we face in life.

In speaking out against God so openly and freely, the serpent insidiously came against God’s omnipotence. (Let us not forget that the serpent was more subtle or cunning than any beast of the field). By the fact that God did nothing to stop the serpent from implying such a negative thing about Him, Adam and Eve were subtly given the sense that God is not over the serpent and therefore not all-powerful.

Next came the not-so-subtle implication about God’s word. The serpent said, “He said you would die, but you won’t.” In other words He is not to be believed.

Lastly, in that He won’t let you eat from that one special tree, He is withholding from you the best part.

The three lies are: God is not all-powerful, He is a liar, and He doesn’t love or really care about you.

Here comes the new part: Each module of the seminar rests on the revelation Name God gave along with each of the three covenants He made with Israel. These names, and the characteristic demonstrated through each, are His answer to satan’s three attacks against His character and nature.

El Shaddai is almighty, all-powerful, all Abraham would ever need.
• Moses received the Torah from Yahweh – I Am That I Am – the unchanging One Whose word never fails.
• The new covenant reveals Yeshua, the savior, who held nothing back, proved God’s love, in Whom we have the Kingdom.

When we come to know God in each of these three dimensions, there is nothing satan can do to shake us from our foundation. The seminars are designed to help us see - in the light of God’s ways - where He is and where we are, so that we can become all He has called us to be, unto the revelation of His glory in Israel and the nations.

I don’t know if this adequately conveys to you our amazement at the completeness of this picture we are looking at.

While the process remains a lifelong endeavor and there are still no short cuts outside of embracing the Cross, the simplicity and clarity of it all blows our mind. The fullness of life is to be found in knowing God according to these three covenant Names.

The Going Forth

Seven years ago we began writing and speaking about the special calling on the third/fourth generation (after the Holocaust).

Since then we have been waiting for the Lord to release His heart cry to the youth of Germany. We sense the time has come to gather together the different groups and individuals from around Germany with whom we have been in touch, for a time of fellowship, exchange, and impartation.

To that end, our friends at TOS Ministries in Tubingen will be hosting a gathering on February 4th-5th of next year (2012). We will be writing more about this in the days to come, but wanted to alert all who might be interested to mark these dates on their calendars.

We are excited about this being in Tubingen for several reasons. Firstly, we have been bonded with TOS since our first days in Germany and deeply admire the depth and sincerity of heart they walk in. They have invested heavily in the relationship between Israel, the Jewish people, and Germany and have been true pioneers in the quest to bring reconciliation and healing to those affected by the Holocaust in Israel, Germany, Europe and the rest of the world as well.

The university in Tubingen was the womb for the marriage between religion and secular humanism and was consequently foundational to the formation of Nazi ideology. Please pray for this generation to take their place in God’s plans and purposes.

Calling to the Men

We have recently come in contact with a group of men that are regularly gathering throughout Germany to spend hours and sometimes days simply adoring the Lord with no agenda. (We trust you realize how uncharacteristic this is of the German soul structure, and especially among men).

In May, while they were with us in Nes Harim, I had a dream. In it I had been ministering in another land (which I understood to be Germany) and was on my way to return home to Israel when I was approached by a multitude of men wanting to relate about the word I had just shared. Their number was simply astounding. It reminded me of the hidden seven thousand in Elijah’s day.

The Lord impressed me that there are many men in Germany ready to walk in a new come before the Lord with no agenda… to wait on Him and relate with one another in a new way. Please pray for the call of the Spirit to be heard that men no longer walk according to the spirit of the sons of Greece but become true sons of Zion.

Grass Roots

More and more we are convinced that the change we long for – the release of the Spirit – the abiding manifestation of the Lord's Presence – will be the result of a grassroots movement of simple people committed to laying their hearts and lives before the Lord and one another.

For decades the western church has looked to big ministries and large conferences for the long-awaited breakthrough. Since we moved to Israel nearly twenty years ago, our perceptions, expectations, and understandings have been dramatically altered. Coming from a thriving congregation of over two thousand in the US, it took awhile for us to understand that bigger was not better, and that as nice as gifts were, they were not what drew God close.

As we wrote above, our minds are being blown by the simplicity of the Lord’s ways. It is hard to grasp how little we need to do to fulfill the desires of His heart.

In the face of ever-encroaching darkness, many are desperately searching for an answer. Are we in fact searching for something that is right in front of us? Could it be we know it so well that we no longer see it? Might we speak it so often that we no longer hear it? It was there when Moses lifted his hands in the midst of the battle. It was there when Jehoshaphat turned his face away from the enemy. It was always before King David. It cannot be learned, it cannot be taught or given from one to another. It’s not a purpose to be accomplished. It’s not a system to be replaced or a structure to be renewed. It’s not new. We talk about it, write about it, and sing about it. When we really find it we lose all our questions. The 'it' of course, is Him.

There’s an infinite difference between looking for something to do and being the dwelling place of God.

Do we know? Do we really know what it means to enter and abide in His How long can we wait? How long can we be still?

The answer to these last questions might be a good measure of how well we know Him.

Arni & Yonit Klein, Emmaus Way in Nes Harim in the Judean Hills
Kleinfax prayer letter
For information on making a contribution

Friday, August 12, 2011

When the love of many waxes cold

I wrote this on a Facebook NOTE this morning but for some reason it has been blocked so no one can see it but me. Must be something worth reading.

I was arrested by the words quoted by Messianic Evan Thomas this week in his prayer perspective from Netanya, Israel.

Referencing the current Israeli housing demonstrations, Etgar Keret, one of Israel's leading journalists recently wrote in HaAretz,

"The fight will be 100-percent Israeli, blue and white. And it, as many of the signs at the demonstration noted, is the battle over the home – not just in the sense of the mortgages and housing prices, but also in the deeper sense of the word, "home," as the place where you feel wanted and valued and to which you feel connected. Our country has long since lost all sense of solidarity and mutual responsibility, replacing them with the only common denominator that remains – the primordial fear of all that is different, the other. And each time a few lazy days of steamy summer go by without missiles, flotillas and any other existential angst-provoking events, we are forced to look at each other and rediscover that we forgot long ago what it is to be one people."

Kachol lavan - blue and white.

I just learned that Israeli motto-to-live-by recently, although I have seen the effects of it in operation for many years. Kachol lavan means Jews depending upon themselves alone. As one author explained it, it was a lesson learned from the Holocaust when the world stood by and saw Jews marched into the fire and did nothing. So instead of ever trusting anyone again to help them, many Israelis operate under the "kachol lavan" way of thinking: Israel can depend on no one to help but Israelis.

It is not so different from the thinking of any other person that has been abused in life. The capacity to love and trust others shrinks more and more as the years go by hardening into bitterness and unfulfilled revenge. No one - no matter how they might try to help is allowed to penetrate the hard shell that forms the encased heart of a wounded soul.

That is one reason that circumcision is a sign of the covenant - not just the circumcision of the foreskin, but the circumcision of the heart which is a sign of our spiritual covenant. In order to become a spiritual people of God, we have to allow the circumcision of our hearts. It is a process where the old, hardened encasing that we have wrongly believed will protect us from further hurts and wounds, is cut away so we can become human beings again - created in the image and likeness of God.

Most of the world is in a state of uncircumcised heart, and most of us who believe have parts of our hearts that still are in need of the hardness being cut away. Where there is no circumcised heart, there are people full of wounds and bitterness who believe they can't trust anyone to look out for them and it's every man for himself. Dog eat dog.

This is the lawlessness of the streets - and I don't condone it in the least, but I am saying that if we could allow a little compassion to creep into what we are seeing in the world today, as spiritual people we could begin to speak to those hardened hearts with new hope. They need salvation. They need Yeshua and the promise of a new heart whereby we are transformed from glory to glory.

I began this note talking about how Evan Thomas' prayer perspective this week was like a critical piece of a puzzle that was working in my spirit already. What Thomas saw in the journalist's statement he deeply identified with. As he wrote to me in a follow up, the journalist "had 'captured' something very important if we want to truly be able to intercede for this nation's peoples right now. I actually believe that there is something very similar going on in the hearts of people all over the Middle East at the moment." Evan was urging us in our intercession over Israel to consider how in the terrible rioting of the Arab nations surrounding Israel, many people are suffering greatly. He wrote:

"The third area of national focus of course is steadily rising tensions leading up to the unilateral declaration in the United Nations General Assembly of an independent Palestinian State. This is supposedly about to take place next month in September. The implications of this of course are huge. The nation is divided in its political position as is the Body of Messiah. ...
"Many voices in the Messianic Jewish community are deeply concerned about the theological implications of dividing the Land. Notwithstanding, Evan is concerned about the social implications of an independent State. Is it economically sustainable? What will it look like? Will it have its own armed security forces and will they represent a realistic threat to Israel's security? Will the Fatah party be strong enough to maintain a political balance or will the new State move towards radical Islam and Sh'ria law?

"How then shall we pray? Firstly, of course, as the Spirit of God leads. Nevertheless, please take into account that amongst our neighbors in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt there are many people suffering extreme hardship. Pray for the children, grieving the loss of fathers (and all-too-often mothers). Pray for families that have lost homes and fields and are struggling to put food on their tables. Pray for the general populations of these countries who are suffering from the sense of betrayal from their own governments.

"Remember that what happens across our borders affects Israel also. Destabilization can quickly lead to rapidly spreading conflict and in the Middle East we are all highly militarized nations with very little love for one another."

Whether we are speaking of embattled nations or spiritually embattled individuals, it is true that so much of the anger manifesting itself around us is simply because people are hopeless and without a saviour. They have given up on love in a very real sense and decided that whatever they get in this world they are going to have to take it for themselves. No one else can be counted on.

What the Israeli journalist Keret wrote about the Israeli housing demonstrations is as true applied to the chaotic streets of Arab nations and London even as it is also true of a troubled young relative of mine locked up in a hardness of heart from the wounds of a lifetime. Not that a lot of bad personal choices haven't been made along the way contributing to the state of such a person, but sometimes in order to catch a glimmer of compassion for those who are creating chaos, we need to consider those much closer to our hearts. We need to think in terms of someone we love who is also fighting futilely to depend only on themselves to survive in a harsh world.

Yeshua made it clear that He did not come into the world to save only the good, whole and righteous people who 'deserved' the blessings of His salvation. He said He came for the distressed, the abused, those whose hearts were sick with the hardness of life's wounds. Doesn't that sound like anyone you know, or maybe have read about or heard about in news reports?

One of the In Christ's Image Training teachings of Francis Frangipane is an interpretation of Matthew 24:12, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." His reading of the verse is that it is possible for Christians to allow their hearts to grow cold because of exposure to so much wickedness and iniquity in the world. Isn't it so? Can't you think of several people in your life that you feel cold toward? Be honest with yourself.

We are certainly living in days where love has waxed cold in our world. This is cause and effect of iniquity, or lawlessness, that is abounding. It is a viscous circle. Not only does the abused become an abuser, but as people of God just being exposed to so much rampant lawlessness is able to rob us of our greatest defense - a warm, open and loving heart.

We have to guard our spiritually circumcised hearts from growing cold in love. How does a heart grow cold? It begins to harden. It may not harden against everyone, but begins to shut down warmth toward others. It begins to qualify who deserves our warm heart and who deserves only a serving of icy coldness. To keep our hearts circumcised with warm, living love these days, we have to have Yeshua's vision of people, not our own.

I am not saying we are suckers and that we do not take a realistic view of people. I'm not proposing that we excuse lawlessness, or the abused one that is abusing - but spiritually, we have to find the compassion to appeal to Heaven on their account. We have to become the good Samaritan who cannot just walk around the wretched, beaten up lives we encounter on the road.

I will also confess that I am saying this every bit as much to myself as I am to anyone who reads this note. The truth is that we are all being battered by the harshness of life. If it is not touching you, then it is likely touching someone that at one time you had a very warm heart for. The continual 'seduction' of harsh living conditions is the temptation to harden our hearts is always there.

The seduction is that when we harden our hearts toward someone that it will protect us from further receiving any further hurt from them. That's not the way it really works, but in fact that is the simple process of how an abused person becomes an abuser. Little by little the whole heart is taken over by hardness and the lack of love, that it morphs the person from being a victim into being a predator.

What is the answer then? Only Yeshua, only Jesus can cut away the hardness of our hearts, giving us a new heart. This was a major theme of the prophet Ezekiel:

Eze 18:31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Eze 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Eze 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

If Yeshua's mission is our mission, then we too are in the world to seek that which is lost - that which is beaten down, hard-hearted and helpless to change anything in their rotten lives. Clearly our spiritual challenge is to make sure that we have not allowed hard heartedness to creep back in. Talk is cheap. It is easy to repeat all the Christianese love mottos; it is another thing to guard your heart with all diligence to keep a vision for the salvation of the world.

It is like the Ha'Aretz reporter said, "the battle over the home – not just in the sense of the mortgages and housing prices, but also in the deeper sense of the word, "home," as the place where you feel wanted and valued and to which you feel connected."That's the yearning every every human heart - whether they find it or not - to feel wanted and valued and connected in love.

One final thing keeps springing to memory in relation to these things and I think it is an great example of how we can let our hearts grow cold again even after Yeshua has given us a new heart.

Several years ago a prophecy was circulated that made its way to me. It was more pathetic than prophetic, but the prophet had many who defended this word.

The 'prophecy' was based on the biblical story of Abigail who was at first married to the rogue Nabal, who was struck down with a heart turned to stone. Abigail was then legally free of him and then married to David who was to become King. (1 Samuel 25) The prophecy was a word to encourage many women (and some men) that God was about to answer their desire for a godly spouse by striking down their own Nabal - a name that means "fool" or "folly" - so they could move on to a godly spouse worthy of them.

It is such a perfect example of cold love in a believer to me. Good grief - just get a divorce already! Do you honestly think that God is any more pleased with you sitting around fantasizing that your spouse is going to die so you can move on to a worthy, godly mate? That is a heaping helping of cold love - and the people who defended the prophecy could not discern the cold heartedness of it. I'm sure you can think of examples from your own experience. We know what cold love is, even though we don't want to recognize it in ourselves. It is much safer for us to get real about the cold love we still harbor in our heats because cold love is a real enemy to us in these days. Let's keep it real, but let's keep our hearts warm, too.