Monday, November 18, 2013

Our Unity Depends on Changed Perspectives

True unity is in diversity, not in conformity.
— Rick Joyner
I love what Rick Joyner is saying here because for sure diversity sure puts unity to the test.

Another thing that Rick has taught over the years is how in order to cut off something evil you have to put the axe to the root of it. I believe that division in the international Church, at the root is the division as the Gentile church departed from the root of the faith - removing contact with the Messianic Jewish believers. Until this breach is dealt with as the root of divisions in the Body, the international Church will remain divided amongst themselves, not just divided from the Messianic part of the Body.

In fact, I think that in Romans 9-11 the apostle Paul was directly addressing what he knew prophetically would begin to unfold as more and more Gentiles came into the faith. It was inevitable that Gentiles would outnumber the Jewish believers, Paul was well aware of that prophetically because he is the one who is addressing what God's plan is in setting aside the nation of Israel in order to include all nations in salvation. This is the major theme of Romans 9-11 and Paul also backs this up elsewhere, like in his Ephesians 2 discussion of the one new man (Jew and Gentile) in Messiah.

As overjoyed as Paul was that the nations were coming to the knowledge of Messiah Yeshua, he was also devastated knowing that the Jews - according to the purposes of God - were in part blinded to that knowledge and could not come to Messiah until a much later season when they would return in numbers so great it would be seen as as a corporate return.

So Romans 9-11 was Paul laying out to the Gentile believers how they must care for and stay connected to the root of the faith which God planted in the Jews who followed Messiah Yeshua. He was laying out a way of looking at the situation which the international Church must adopt towards the Messianic Body of believers acknowledging them as true brothers in the Lord - not unsaved Israel, but those who are in the faith of Yeshua/Jesus. And seeing Israel through the eye of faith as Paul did - saying that the season would come when the Gentiles in Christ would reach a fulness (which I believe is a state of quality, not quantity; maturity not just numbers) where they are able to discern the plan of God regarding the setting aside of Israel, and God's return at long last to save Israel for eternal life in Messiah.

Pro-Israel Christians often fall desperately short of perceiving what God is up to with Israel. If they really understood, they would be rushing to befriend their Messianic Jewish brethren instead of pretending like they do not exist or have some kind of heresy attached to them as the unsaved Jews accuse them of. (The stumbling stone is Jesus, pro-Israel Christians. Wake up!)

Perhaps if the pro-Israel Christians would get it right, and understand how they are to relate to Israel as the apostle Paul laid out, then all the so-called cutting edge prophetic people who think Israel is nothing would also be able to see it.

There is a Remnant in the international Church that sees what God's plan is as the apostle Paul laid out in Romans 9-11. These are the ones who have come alongside Messianic ministries, and have reached out to the Body of Messiah in Israel.

Messianic ministries also have a part to play in how they orient the Christians who come into their midst. The Christians are not supposed to be coming to be made into Jewish wannabes. You may want to preserve the Jewishness of your congregation, but you will have to do it in a way that does not encourage Gentile Christians to adopt a Jewish facade! The apostles ruled on that in Acts 15 although many are violating that today. It is okay for Jews to be Jews and Gentile Christians to be Gentiles Christians.

These are some of the issues that are out of whack in the unity of the Body. When we begin to get our way of looking at Israel adjusted to what Paul said was exactly the case in Romans 9-11, then we will see the axe put to the root of divisions that exist in the Church. In the Ten Commandments, the first four commandments deal with our personal relationship with God and the final six have to do with our relationships with each other. If we will have unity with diversity, then we must deal with our viewpoint on Israel and especially the Jewish part of the Body of Christ.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


I'm reflecting on rejection this morning. You know, God is able to use everything in our experience - even the stuff we thought was nothing but heartache - to give us spiritual insight into larger situations than our personal experience. Francis Frangipane has a saying that whatever bad happens to you in your life will either make you bitter or better. It is all in how you process the bad stuff that happens.

Many times the bad stuff happens to us before we come to faith in Yeshua/Jesus. In that case, we may process rejection reasonably well but it is highly unlikely that we will process it the God-way if we do not really know God.  God's way is to maintain a rule of walking in peace with all persons as much as it is within our power, and to forgive from the heart even as we have been forgiven by Him.  To do that, we not only have to have a profession of faith in Jesus, we really need to get hold of what He is saving us from!

The parable of Matthew 18 about the servant and the Master who forgave his debt, only to see the servant NOT forgive the debts others owed him, has become a pivotal understanding in my life because it speaks to what happens to us when we know the LORD, but we continue to hold onto the"debts" that people owe us. These debts are assignments of blame against others - sometimes true,sometimes not - for bad things in our lives.

The point of the parable is that after we have been forgiven by God through Yeshua/Jesus, our "deal" with God is that we cannot harbor unforgiveness toward others anymore or we will bring all manner of torments into our lives.  Most believers do not believe this, yet that is exactly the point of the Matthew 18 parable.Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.

So we can look at this from an individual standpoint and we can also look at it from a corporate standpoint.  Since my ministry is concerned with the Body of Messiah in Israel, I see that REJECTION is a major wedge issue between Jews and Christians – even between Messianic Jews and the Church.

First, the Jews who are not saved have little hope of processing well the rejection of Christianity over the past 2,000 years.  People who suffer major rejection in their lives because of real traumas done to them but without a relationship to God in Yeshua/Jesus, may be able to operate in a survival mode that makes them look externally like they are handling everything well.  The inner reality is a different optic altogether!  Just like the individual who is going through their lives with unresolved bitterness and unforgiveness stored up in their hearts, there are parts of their lives where that ‘bleeds through’ with negative effects on their lives, relationships, even health and mental state.

People who have a relationship with God through Messiah/Jesus are at different stages of knowing God as He truly is.  Even believers who seem to know God well, do not realize how significant it is to Him that we rid ourselves of unforgiveness.  To many of us, Matthew 18 is just another story in the Bible. The servant being imprisoned by tormentors is a mystery we have not internalized fully.  This is exactly where many in the Messianic Jewish community and many in the Christian community live in reality regarding each other.

 There is a mutual forgiveness we are required to walk in toward each other. The first reaction to that from those who have harbored bitter unforgivness is, “What do they have to forgive me for? They are ones who did evil to me!” 

Bitter unforgiveness becomes vicious cycle in human relationships. Most of us have an internal radar for bad feelings being beamed at us whether strongly or subtly.  We usually respond in kind. That’s why God wants us to give up the “debts” we believe others owe us – so we are not continually beaming bad feelings toward the other person.
It is often difficult to forgive people but the number one thing to remember is that it is a choice we make with conscience toward God.  It is a choice we may have to make daily, or even several times a days. 

One thing it is not: it is not a feeling. The encouraging thing here is that when you make the choice with conscience toward God enough times, the feeling of forgiveness will catch up.  Oh! Especially if you pray for your enemies:  That is the spiritual act that seems to speed up the process of actually feeling forgiveness in your heart.

This works corporately too.  Now for much of the past 2,000 years Christianity has conducted itself pretty nastily towards the Jewish people.  Many Christians do not understand that God is working a plan of salvation by setting aside the Jews for a season in order to extend salvation to the Gentiles.  Paul wrote about it most extensively in Romans 9-11 (I may never understand how so many Christians can read those simple chapters and not see anything whatsoever about God’s plan to restore the Jews in it.)

Many Christians have harbored bitter unforgiveness toward Jews for “being Christ-killers” over the past 2,000 years and done terrible things to the Jewish people because of their failure to understand the mystery of God’s plan of salvation for the whole world. Obviously, Jews have not taken that well.  Who could without knowing the forgiveness of personal debts through Messiah Yeshua, and understanding that we are now required to walk free of unforgiveness in our relationships with other men?

Some people think that once you are saved that everything is erased and set aright in your life.  The potential for that is now there, but it is a process that we must walk out.  God does not erase everything we have stored from our life experience in our hearts.  We have to give those dark spots up voluntarily– sometimes over a lifetime.  The unforgiveness we have bound up there does not automatically get evicted when we are granted the revelation of Jesus as our Salvation.  Our salvation is walked out “with fear and trembling” – in other words with conscience toward God.

What this means corporately is that many in the Messianic community are still walking around with bitter unforgiveness of what Christianity has done to Jews – and also the ongoing rejection of the Messianic Jews by the Church which is evident in so many quarters of Christianity. 

It also means there are vast swatches of Christianity that still have not understood the history of Jesus, how God brought Him through a distinct line within Israel to be the salvation of mankind, purposely setting aside Israel so the nations could receive His salvation before God restored Israel to salvation in the consummation of all things in Messiah.  Those Christians who have not understood this mystery continue to reject the significance of Israel and reject validity of the Messianic Jewish movement.

We also have the phenomena of large swatches of the Christian community who have embraced Israel while continuing to reject the significance of the Messianic Jewish movement – or even the existence of an increasing number of Jewish believers in Yeshua/Jesus in Israel and in the nations.  There are now something like a million Jews worldwide and 15,000 of them are Israeli citizens.

Now how do people act when there are deep rivers of rejection and unforgiveness running in their hearts?  Mostly they keep it internal and just try to live their lives with as little interaction as possible with the one who rejects them, or the one they harbor unforgiveness for.  This is not the life of abundance no matter how we present to the world externally. 

Resolution only comes by doing things God’s way.  That is why the whole Body of the LORD in the earth has to discover the truth about the parable of Matthew 18, to see what unforgiveness is costing them.

The scripture tells us that as much as lies within our power, we are to be a peace with all men. When you have people that reject you, they often want to take swipes at you as it is within their power.  There is not anything you can do about their choices except to commit them to God, praying for your enemies that God will grant them deliverance.  You have to keep making the choice to forgive. 

God will hold your feet to the fire about this issue.  Let Him have His way about what you store up in your heart. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Word Provoked by Special Gifts & Art

You know it is pretty bad that ministries have to incentivize donations with special gifts in order to encourage contributions. I have long wondered if many Christians in the USA would just stop supporting ministries if ever the tax deduction for their giving was cut off. But I do notice is it is even Biblical that ministries DO have to encourage contributions.

Over many years of studying what was going on with the apostle Paul between Acts 12 and 21, I have discovered that the apostle Paul also had to stay after the churches to keep their collection for the believers in Israel going. Paul had to write them not to be slack about it because it would ultimately turn to their benefit to bestow this gift upon the persecuted believers in Israel - to keep them going in their ministry to the people of Israel.

I believe this is a revelation hidden in nuggets of accounts in Acts and comments made by Paul in his letters to the churches. It is a hidden truth that is reserved for God to reveal in the times that Israel is being saved.

I also believe that this season of the salvation of the Jews is upon us, and even as progressively God is revealing the identity of the Messiah to more and more Jews, on a parallel level He is revealing to individual Christians that we are called to support the Israeli Jewish ministries laboring in Yeshua's harvest.

Probably not many on this mailing list, but many Christians would stop reading right there. Like every other significant revelation of God, there is great resistance to this understanding with long standing excuses why Christians don't accept the significance of the Israeli Body of Messiah in this hour. There are the excuses of those who say God no longer has special purposes within the modern nation of Israel and on the polar opposite side there are those who believe the modern nation of Israel is key to the last days but deny the significance of the fledgling Body of Messiah that exists within it.

Both are wrong, of course, regardless of how well built up the wall of denial is.

The 15,000-something Jewish believers in Israel are THE MOST significant sign that plan of God is nearing completion that there is in the world today.

Until the Church starts picking up all the "bread crumbs" that the apostle Paul dropped between the time frame of Acts 12 and 21, we are actually delaying the unfolding of powerful harvest blessings that will also be released on the Church by the fulfillment of blessing the Israeli Body of Messiah.

Paul set his face like flint to model this as the way the Gentile Church should relate to Body of Messiah in Israel.  He was prophetically modeling it and perhaps more than he realized it was more for our day than even for his own day. 

Paul's last trip to Israel to carry the donations that were made over a several years period to the BELIEVERS in Israel, was accompanied by ambassadors from each of the regional churches well as prophetic warnings that Paul would lose his freedom by fulfilling his mission. He did it anyway.

It was that important. It was important for our day because this is season when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled and the re-grafting of Israel into their own olive tree has commenced.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dysfunctional Family

Can you imagine marrying into a family where for decades the groom's family rejects you? At different times, different family members rise up with something struck in their craw about you, with lots of murmuring, resentment and stirring up other family members against you. Then it dies down and someone else takes the lead of offense against you....just a never ending parade of family rejection?

 Yeah, I think that pretty much describes how Messianic Jews feel often times about their relationship with about half the Church, too. Some handle that pain of it better than others, but the ones who handle it like Yeshua - giving mercy and forgiveness - keep the hope for peace despite the rejection.

 Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it.
If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned.


Are Messianic Jews a cult like your Jewish friend said?!

If you are a Christian, you ought to know that your traditional Jewish friends will try to keep you from being interested in Messianic Jews (Jews who believe in Jesus) by telling you they are a religious cult.

You know what makes them a religious cult in the eyes of traditional Jews? The fact they believe in Jesus.

Now don't get into all kinds of confusion. Your Jewish friends are nice people - they are just adamantly opposed to any Jew who believes in Jesus. They think that person has become a traitor to the Jewish people, abandoning true faith to align with the Christians who have persecuted Jews for a couple of millennium.

You don't have to get mad at them for thinking that way, you just have to understand why they say the things they do about Messianic Jews and the Christians who affilate with Messianic Jews. And it is important that you do so, and not let yourself be swayed by their strong conviction that Messianics are a religious cult.

It's all about Jesus. If you have no problem with Him, then how could you possibly be persuaded that Jews believing in Jesus equals a cult? Selah!

If you want to know more I can refer you to a couple of books that will help turn on the light.  They are by Tel Aviv Messianic leader, Ron Cantor:

Identity Theft: How Jesus was Robbed of His Jewishness
 Read the first two chapters free at this link

and Leave Me Alone - I'm Jewish!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Four Seasons in Ezekiel’s Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones

Four Seasons in Ezekiel’s Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones

By Donna Diorio
March 7, 2013

Yesterday while writing the Priority Prayer Focus for my Weekly Summary of Prayer Requests for Israeli Ministries and the brief, Arrows from Zion, the Holy Spirit gave me a new way of looking at Ezekiel's vision of the Valley of Dry Bones.  I've picked out these four pictures to correspond with the seasonal concept I saw.

The first drawing is of Israel depicted as Ezekiel first saw them - the horrific sight of a valley piled high with the bones of dead Jews. We often think of the Holocaust but the Jewish people have suffered many purges, many deaths in their almost 2,000 years of exile from the land they were promised. 

In their spiritual exile from God, the Jews have been spiritually dead men walking, alienated from their own Messiah.  By the viewpoint of God, as the apostle Paul explains in Romans 9-11, this spiritual exile was a necessity to open salvation to the rest of the nations, but God's plan would culminate in all Israel being saved.

This could be viewed as the winter season when the foliage is stripped from the branches, the land is barren of fruit and the landscape mostly looks dead. In Ezekiel's vision, God asked the prophet if the bones could even live again.  What he was really asking is, ‘Do YOU believe that I can make these dry bones come to fully life for My purposes?’  Many have heard the LORD ask them the same question as He has called them out to stand with Israel as He is in the process of restoring them to the full life He has for them.

So God called the prophet to prophesy over that valley full of dead men's dry bones that God Himself was breathing life into them calling their bones to reassemble, and then tendons and ligaments uniting muscle to bone, then flesh to cover it all - but there was no breath, prophetically noting that just calling Jews back to Israel does not complete what God is going to do to give them the fullness of life.  There is no fullness of life without the spiritual breath.  In Him – in Yeshua - we live and move and have our being.

The second depiction is the newspaper headline declaring the Modern State of Israel being born in a day.  The long exile of the Jews from their promised land officially ended May 14, 1948.  In Ezekiel's vision this would correlate with the spring season where God stood the dry bones on their feet and began to cover their bones with muscle and flesh - a functioning State of Israel to re-gather the Jews from exile back to the place of their promise.

 Most of the Christians that God has called to stand in the place of Ezekiel prophesying to the Jewish people remain stalled in the first season and the second season. For Israel to truly become ‘Israel of God’ Christians will have to move into the summer and fall season where the seeds of the gospel are being harvested.

In different seasons there are different things to pray and prophesy, and there are different practical things to do in expressing our faith related to our prayers and prophecy. 

 In the winter and spring seasons of the raising up of the Dry Bones, Christians played essential roles in helping the Jewish people to accomplish the incredible and even the unprecedented re-birth of a state by a people in exile nearly 2,000.  Any Jewish history tells the stories of critical Christians who came to the side of the Jews to establish its statehood, its army, the declarations in the nations that paved the way for the birth of Israel.

Then at the re-capture of the Jerusalem, Israel entered into the summer season of Ezekiel's vision as depicted well in the third painting of a man beginning to rise up with flesh and blood, lifting his hand toward Heaven. 

June 7, 1967, the date Israel regained control over the capital city Jerusalem, is the official date that Ezekiel's vision entered into a new season.  Many Christians have not noted the season change and are still operate under the prophesy, the intercession and the practical functioning of aid that was called for in the spring season.

Any gardener will tell you that there are things to do year round, in all four seasons, in order to keep the land prepared - but the duties change from season to season.  This is also true spiritually.  The season changed when Jerusalem again came under the control of Israel - those dry bones that were standing reassembled with flesh and blood but no spiritual breath.

In 1967 the "kairos" time spoken of in Luke 21:24 came to pass marking a new season in the restoration of the Dry Bones God gave Ezekiel in a vision.  Elsewhere in the world, Jews began to receive the knowledge of the Son of God, discovering that Israel's Messiah was that man, Yeshua.  1967 is regarded as the year that the Messianic Jewish movement was birth - and it is no coincidence to the Luke 21:24 prophecy. 

God began breathing spiritual life into Jewish men and women who gathered together to the faith in Jesus retaining their Jewish identity.  This was controversial in the Church. Still is.  Even for those who dedicated themselves to standing by Israel, mostly they have been stuck in the spring season mode, planting when they should be harvesting.  Mostly the Israel-supporting Church has ignored that God has been breathing spiritual life into the Jews so that there are an estimated one million Messianic Jews in the world today.

In a garden, if you are stuck in thinking that spring is still the season you are in when it is actually the end of the summer you will have missed many of the things that make for a plentiful harvest in the fall.  In the last two seasons, our practical assistance, like our prophecy and intercession, is geared toward the moving of the Holy Spirit in Israel.

It is time for the Church to awaken to fact that God is not standing still in His vision for the valley of Dry Bones.  It is time for the Church to lift up their eyes and see the season has shifted from primarily speaking prophetically to the flesh and bones issues of Israel, into speaking spiritual life to enter the walking dead.

For many Christians, the spiritual reality that Israel is spiritually dead has been glossed over. In the desire to raise Christian help for Israel's fight to survive in the politics of the international community, many have over-emphasized flesh and blood issues over spiritual life issues.  Most Christians are hungry only for analysis of the politics of opposition that Israel faces - the flesh and blood issues – while the spiritual life issues are low priority and back burner. 

There are too many ministries willing to speak only to the flesh and blood issues and never to the spiritual life issues of Israel.  Not only is that not what people want to hear, but it is also not was Israel wants these high profile Israel supporters speaking of!   Should we obey God or man?

If this lack of interest continues in what God is doing to infuse Jews with the spiritual life of Yeshua, then many who believe they are fully supportive of Israel will not even have a part in the harvest season as God commanded the prophet Ezekiel.  In verse 11 God tells the prophet, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 

The answer to that hopelessness does not lie in political support, but in spiritual birth.
Recently I read that during the last elections Israelis voted primarily based on economic considerations because they knew that no Prime Minister, no matter who he was, could do anything to move the needle on peace negotiations or national security.  Israelis have lost hope for resolution with their Arab neighbors and the terror groups that masquerade as Palestinian governments.

The answer God gives the prophet Ezekiel is this (37:9): Prophesy to the Ruach (Spirit), prophesy, son of man, and say to the Ruach, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O Ruach, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

That is not just the normal air we breathe, it is the life-giving Spirit of God that comes into us as we enter into the faith of Yeshua.  God says that in the summer season, we are to be prophesying in the Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit to enter into the walking dead, the Jews who are standing on their re-assembled dry bones, covered with muscle and flesh, but lacking the life-giving Holy Spirit of Messiah. 

Surely there are some Christians who have entered into the season change and are prophesying in keeping with the summer season and doing the accompanying practical aid necessary to bring in an abundant harvest in the fall - but the majority are still operating in the spring season, oblivious to the spiritual need or how God is answering the spiritual need among the Jewish people.  Awake, thou that sleepest!

In Matthew 16:2-3, Yeshua rebuked the crowd of Jews saying, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.' 

This is the same thing happening today, only it is the Church that is failing to discern the season of Israel's harvest.

In the final picture you see the raised hands of young Messianic Jews and Israeli Arabs worshiping the LORD together in Tel Aviv at one of the several annual conferences for young believers in Israel.  The Holy Spirit of God is breathing spiritual life into the dry and hopeless bones of Jews throughout Israel and in all the places they are in the world.

Will we recognize the shift of God's season in dealing with Israel's salvation?  Will we move from the intercessions and practical aid, and prophesying of the spring season of Israel onto the season that is now taking place in Israel?  It is time to adjust our priorities from strengthening the flesh and blood issues of Israel to prioritizing the spiritual life issues.

The season has changed, but many Christians have not even noticed.

If you want to hold up Israel for the outpouring of God's best, then you must recognize the change of season and enter into prophesying life to the walking, but spiritually dead. 

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Friday, March 1, 2013

What is God's Highest Purpose for us in Supporting Israel?

Christian Support of Israel does not mean
 there is an understanding of the holy Remnant in Israel.
If we aren't teaching this, how will they grasp the significance?
What is God's Highest Purpose for us in Supporting Israel?

Jewish and Arab leaders praying together in northern Israel
at an annual gathering for believers

After being a Christian connected to the Messianic Jews for about 22 years, I have found that the greatest issue is not that half the Church does not think Israel is significant to God at all, but rather that the half of the Church that does recognize the significance of Israel still fail to recognize the significance of the existence of a growing Body of Messiah in Israel. 

When we don't recognize that the believers being raised up in Israel by the Holy Spirit are the KEY to the salvation of all Israel - and to a parallel release of revival throughout the nations - then we ignore them as insignificant. 

This sadly has been what I have observed in the Church that is gung-ho to support Israel - just not God's purposes in the LORD's Body in Israel. 

You can get millions of Christians interested in praying for Israel's safety from their enemies - the terrorists and the international politics, but it takes a revelation from the Holy Spirit for those Christians to understand that as the Body of Messiah, the kingdom of Yeshua, increases in Israel, that it is the holy Remnant that actually increases Israel's safety. Selah.

A subscriber in Puerto Rico reminded me of this article I wrote in 2006,
"If Jesus came down for an encouragement visitation with His kinsmen in Israel, He wouldn't head straight for the Israelis that Christians seem to think of when we think about supporting Israel. Yeshua would meet with His disciples the same as He did after He was resurrected and appeared to them before ascending to the Father."  You might enjoy it too.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Visitation of Jesus in Israel

One of my subscribers was trying to access an article I wrote in 2006 on my website, but couldn't because the website was down (I still don't know for sure why).  But I did have the article in my documents file and thought it might be good to revisit it here.

A Visitation of Jesus in Israel
by Donna Diorio
March 14, 2006

If Jesus came down for an encouragement visitation with His kinsmen in Israel, He wouldn't head straight for the Israelis that Christians seem to think of when we think about supporting Israel. Yeshua would meet with His disciples - the same as He did after He was resurrected and appeared to them before ascending to the Father.

As soon as He arrived Jesus would head off first to meet with His followers who have been enduring the most persecution, like the Jewish believers in Beer Sheva and Arad; His Druse disciples in village of Maghar; or the Arab Bible Society that recently shut down under bomb threat from masked gunmen in Gaza.   

Jesus would probably soon afterwards want to go up to Jerusalem (and over to Jaffa) to meet with students and teachers who are in discipleship training for a new generation of spiritual leaders in Israel.   He would want to quickly get out to the desert, as well, to one of the youth events for teenage believers.  Jesus would want to encourage the teens to hold steady in their faith in the midst of overwhelming peer pressure and to have great confidence about His plan for their lives.

While in the Negev, He would also delight in blessing one of the many Israeli Jewish and Arab believers ‘desert encounters’ that come together to overcome their mutual woundedness and to deepen their relationships with each other in Him. Jesus would be eager to meet with all the groups and individuals who are reaching out of their comfort zone to walk in reconciliation with former enemies, now brothers in Him.  It would bless Him as much as them to be able to attend one of the multi-congregational Jewish and Palestinian picnics held each year in the north at one of the national forests.  (How it blesses Him when brothers dwell in unity!)

Back in Jerusalem, Jesus would be far more likely to hang out with young people at the JAMM or to head over to lead a night watch in the 24/7 intercession at Succat Hallel than He would be to mingle with the ‘religious’ in the Old City.  He would also want to get over toTel Aviv to hang out at the Dugit Coffee Shop and talk 'God stuff' with people who drop in for follow up conversations after encountering street ministries outside.  He would probably stop off at several ministries and congregations along the highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, just to say, “Hi” and “Keep up the good works.”

Jesus would love being around all the young (and some not so young!) believers witnessing at the believer's booth at the giant annual New Age festival.  He would certainly want to meet with all His followers who are serving Him and their country in the Israeli Defense Forces.  (He is the Commander of the Armies of the Lord, after all.)

Jesus would want to travel up the Mediterranean coastline visiting all the congregations and house groups of believers along the way in Netanya, Kiryat Yam, Haifa, Acco and Nahariyya.  Surely He would want to revisit the congregation in His hometown of Nazareth.  (It was just established last year and there has not been a Messianic Jewish congregation in Nazareth for a very long time.)  Maybe Jesus would even want to walk out for a time of intercessory prayer for religious zealots when He visited his old home town.  The hill in Nazareth where their ancient counterparts had tried to push Him off the cliff would be a perfect place for that intercession.  He could pray there for all His followers in Israel today who are targeted by the religious for His name’s sake.

From there Jesus would undoubtedly travel over toward Tiberias and to the Sea of Galilee where He spent so many wonderful hours teaching the common folk in the rolling countryside that surrounds the sea.  (Once again after these two thousand years He has many followers who meet to worship Him throughout this region.)

From Ariel to Eilat, and from Mt Carmel to Ashkelon, Jesus would travel throughout Eretz Israel blessing and strengthening new believers and seasoned servants, both young and old—all 10,000 Israeli believers scattered throughout the land.  There is no doubt that if Jesus chose to return to Israel for just a quick visit to encourage His people to do His will, it would be His body, His followers that He would visit.

Many of the prophets, hearing that Jesus was in the Holy Land for a quick visit with His people, would miss seeing Him altogether. 

That might sound surprising but the reason they would miss Him is because so many are convinced that Jesus would be hanging out with the same ones they like to rub elbows with. (Isn’t it just too cool to talk to a rabbi or a Knesset member?) 
Hearing that Jesus was making a visitation to Israel to encourage His kinsmen, the prophets would likely all flock to Temple Mount first.  They would expect that Jesus would want to come and make His feelings known about the usurpers at the Dome of Rock.  (Well, after all, He overturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple, didn't He?) 

Actually Jesus probably wouldn't even bother visiting that particular area.  There is a time and season for every visitation, and the season for Him to visit the Temple Mount is not here yet. He also wouldn't go visit the Knesset or the Sanhedrin—not because He doesn't care about those Jews, but because the purpose of this visitation would be to build up His body in Israel for the work of the ministry.  Besides, proclaiming the gospel to the un-believers is the job of the believers.  That is their purpose; He is just visiting to encourage the believers in their purpose.

Some of the prophets would expect Jesus to go visit 'the righteous' in Mea Shearim, but His visitation to Israel would be about encouraging His followers who are running with His Father’s vision.
Jesus would not go over to the Mea Shearim neighborhood where Yeshiva boys "enforce" the Sabbath on a Friday night by angrily pelting rocks at the cars of the seculars that drive past.  He wouldn't travel down into one of the ultra-pious enclaves in the Negev Desert to sit in on strategy meetings with the locals and anti-missionary groups like Yad L'Achim. (He’d have already visited with their intended victims in His first stop in Israel.  You know, just to strengthen them with much needed grace for being partakers in the fellowship of His sufferings.)

If the Israeli government was dismantling another settlement like Amona while Jesus was visiting—in spite of what many Christian Zionists may think--He wouldn't don an orange tee shirt and head for the protest site!  Some of us might link arms with the "Greater Israel" protesters hardened in violent resistance of a legal government eviction but Jesus wouldn’t take part in it.  He isn't worried about losing ground; His concern is with not losing sheep.  (Jesus is convinced in the wisdom and integrity of the Father's plan and promise to restore Israel's borders. He also knows the fulfillment of “Greater Israel” certainly doesn't rest on the strength or righteousness of Israel's un-believing religious right wing, or the strength of their un-believing political right wing, for that matter!)

If Jesus came to visit Israel today--just a short visitation to encourage and strengthen His kinsmen for the days ahead—who He visited would surely be a big shocker for many believers around the world. Jesus would just not go to the places or seek out the people so many of us are convinced that He would.  No, He would head straight for ones it seems most of the believers worldwide have pretty much overlooked. He would head straight for His followers, His own body in Israel

You know what I'm talking about right?  Jesus is "the head" and we are His "feet" walking out His witness and will on the earth?  You know, "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me." 

Jesus has "feet" in Israel, a "body" who bear witness of Him.  The body of believers in Israel is His own hidden treasure like He spoke about in Matthew 13:33, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”   That is even their mission, to be like yeast hidden in the midst of dough that causes the whole batch to begin to rise until it is ready to be baked into bread.  (They are supposed to be hidden from their countrymen, not us!  Are we spiritually blind too?)
Jesus’ body in Israel—I am talking about the believers who call upon the name of Yeshua—are the hidden blessing in the midst of a strife torn land.  They are the ones upon whom the preservation of Israel rests, because the blessing of God is granted to the nations for the sake of His faithful remnant within them:   

As the new wine is found in the cluster,
    And one says, ‘Do not destroy it,
    For a blessing is in it

    So will I do for My servants’ sake,
    That I may not destroy them all.

    I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
    And from Judah an heir of My mountains;
    My elect shall inherit it,
    And My servants shall dwell there.
       Isaiah 65:8-9
If Jesus came to visit Israel today, just to walk around and encourage His kinsmen, He would make His way around to all His shepherds, the congregational leaders.  He would go to the evangelists and the street witnesses.  He would meet with the worship ministries and psalmists who make music in name of Yeshua; and with the intercessory prayer groups that meet throughout the Land. 
Jesus would make it a point to lift up the arms of those who are ministering humanitarian aid to terror victims and to those passing out food and clothing to the poor.  He would meet with un-salaried ministries that raise their own support (from donations in their former nations) just to be able to minister His life to broken families and wounded individuals.  (Just because many minister on staff with a congregation in Israel sure doesn’t mean they get a paycheck! He would want to bless them for their sacrificial service to Him.)
Jesus would go round to the many offices set up by His believers to minister to women with unwanted pregnancies offering them a way to live with their choice. He would be eager to impart even more compassion to those ministering to the homeless, the alcoholics, the druggies and the others who are used and abused by themselves and by others.  He would want to speak grace upon those ministering care to the elderly, and also to those teaching new believer parents how to “raise up their children in the Way they should go.” 

Jesus would want to meet with all these believers whose citizenship is not only Israeli, but also Heavenly.   All these spiritual brothers and sisters would be the ones Jesus would want to see first, to bless first, to speak grace and shalom to first. 

But Jesus is not going to come down from heaven to earth again to encourage the saints in Israel. Why not?  Because He has already made provision for reaching out to every single Israeli believer we have mentioned here. 

Do you see it Church?  We are His feet; we are His body in the earth.  It is our job to do this in the same way He would.  Do you see that we should go to encourage the same ones He would?  It is going to take our feet to go around and encourage, uplift and generally build up His body in the Land of Israel
You know the saying, “What would Jesus do?”
This is what Jesus would do regarding the support of His family in Israel. They are the believers, His spiritual kin.  If we build them up for the work of the ministry, all Israel will be saved.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Love Never Fails

Nice art.  It goes with something I was thinking about when I woke up this morning, the verse in 1 Corinthians 13, that love never fails.  My perception of that has always been that 'love wins' or 'love does not lose'.  So I looked it up this morning to see if that is the true flavor of the word 'lose' in the original language.

What I found was that the kind of love Paul was talking to the Corinthians about was the kind of love that once you have it, you cannot lose it.  This is love that does not fall out of love. It is love that it is not possible to fall down from or fall off of.  It is love that is in such a steady place that it is not possible to fall from a place which one cannot keep this love.  It is love with a power that cannot fall powerless - it will never fall to the ground, or be rendered powerless.

This is the kind of love that the LORD gives us, but it is also the kind of love that He desires us to pursue with people in our lives – that we would be perfected in love. 

When I looked at the rest of verse 8, love was contrasted to prophecy, tongues and knowledge.  In each of those a different kind of "fail" was being expressed in the original language.  The fail these things are another word entirely; this "fail" means something that will cease, something that will be deprived of force, influence, power.

Corinthians 13:8 is the proof text that many use to say that gifts of the Spirit are no longer available to believers.  That is not what I believe and is not my point. 

Rather, in it I see the apostle spelling out our priority system to the Corinthians.  He is saying to believers, of all the spiritual things you pursue, be sure to put learning to love like He loves you at the top of your pursuit.

Everything else has a shelf life, but those who pursue learning how to love like God will take that into eternity with them.

No matter what happens in a person's life, love will not fail to find compassion for others.  When we mature in God’s kind of love will be stirred no matter how someone else has screwed up.  It is a flame that cannot be put out by many waters under the bridge. 
In Ephesians 4:13 Paul tells us about the "perfect" that is coming when the prophecy, tongues and knowledge spiritual gifts will come to the end of their usefulness.  It is the time with the Body of Messiah/Christ has come to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God

We the Messiah’s Body in the earth, as a whole, will understand the LORD's purposes for us so completely that we will genuinely reflect Yeshua's love.  As a whole, we will be the one new man - that maturity into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ/Messiah, which is God's purpose for us. 

We will love one another.  That right there is enough to cause many to believe it is mission impossible.

I believe in the reality that this is what it is all about from God’s perspective. Many of my good and spiritual friends do not believe it will ever be possible for humankind to ever so put on Messiah/Christ as a Body, that this could be possible on this side of eternity.  But I believe that is exactly the testimony of scripture as to God's purposes in Messiah Yeshua.

Often I fail to love the way God loves me but coming up to this level is at least in my sights.  It is the fixed point of my mission horizon.  No matter what the challenges we face in our lives, the opposition is aimed at making our love for others, hence our love for God to fail.  This is the battle, so let us fight the good fight with the God kind of love which is incapable of failing.

Love never fails.

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Prophetic: A Coming Shift

by Donna Diorio
Because of a good word I heard from Joel Osteen's service yesterday proclaiming that a shift was coming when the things that hadn't budged in a long time were suddenly going to shift overnight, I realized that "a coming shift" is the key phrase I've been picking up by the prophets over the last few weeks. Joel Osteen is not someone I would think of in connection to the word prophet, and he himself even said as much, but clearly he was also impressed by the prophetic nature of what he was speaking.

Now, as far as the prophets, I'm not one that follows after particular prophets. This one has a word that resonates with me, and then that one does - and in between times they couldn't be any further apart in what they are seeing for us. This troubles me, so I take a guarded approach to prophecy. If it registers, I listen; if it doesn't, I don't. 

One thing I know about prophets and prophecy is something I heard Asher Intrater speak last decade at an Israel gathering at Mike Bickle's KC-IHOP. Asher was addressing the fact that true prophets were all over the place with their prophecies because they did not know what the end game is.

If you don't know where God's plan is supposed to end up then your trajectory of prayer and prophetic understanding is going to be off. That's why we have prophetic words all over the map. There is an essence of the word that is true, but all prophecy is interpreted through the current understanding of the prophet so the prophets may all be shooting in the same GENERAL direction, but not zeroing in on the bull's eye of God's intentions.

God has been restoring truths, gifts and ministry offices back to the Body. Starting with Martin Luther's revelation that salvation is a free gift of grace by faith, God is restoring all that we lost so quickly after the first century A.D.   All the Divine benefits are being restored to a Body that is being matured to handle them. The five-fold offices are also being restored. 

Now here's a second thing that I know: Although the gift of prophecy and the office of prophet has been restored, it has not reached the equilibrium of Divine stability.  It cannot until the prophets lay hold of the significance of Israel in God's grand plan, and specifically the significance of the role the Israeli Body of Messiah plays toward that end.

So, we have many who think of themselves as apostles, but the place where God raised up and established the apostolic office in multiple men, is Israel. They came from different parts of the country but Jerusalem was where the counseled/council-ed together for the believers in Israel and the nations. Until the apostolic office is restored in Jerusalem, I do not expect to see a mature expression of the office of apostle in the rest of the nations - certainly not in terms of wide general acceptance of the validity of the office.
It will take the acceptance of the significance of those Israeli Messianic 'our-generation' apostles and what they have to share before those apostles in the nations come into their full stature. It is the same thing with prophets.
Here it is in a nutshell: The Church is not operating independent of what God is doing ultimately in Israel through the Body of Messiah in Israel. The Church cannot fulfill the vision of completeness and harvest apart from entering into the vision that God has for the restoration of the LORD's Body in the nation of Israel.
When the prophets and the apostles of the nations embrace the Kingdom vision of the Body in Israel, then the prophets will begin to see their trajectory zero in accurately. When the apostles of the nations begin to esteem the apostles of the Body in Israel and what they bring to the table spiritually, then the office of the apostles in the worldwide Body will begin to firm up, established by God in the eyes of the saints. 
Not until. The Church will not get to the end without embracing God's purposes in the Israeli Body of Messiah.

"For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. . . .For if thou were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?" Rom 11:16, 24

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Christian Giving "to bless" Israel

Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed BY the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their generosity. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints'.
  2 Cr 8:1-4

“Whoever keeps the fig tree
will eat its fruit”

4 out 6 New Testament references to "the poor" are made by Paul speaking specifically of the donations he was raising among all the churches to deliver to the BELIEVERS in Jerusalem.   (Ro 15:26, 1 Cor 16:1, 15; 2 Cor 9:1; & 9:12-13)  The donations from the churches were collected over at least a 3-year period and when it came time to take it to Jerusalem with ambassadors of the churches in tow, the prophets came out to make it clear that Paul would sacrifice his freedom to deliver it.  There is great spiritual opposition to establishing the Church in support of the Kingdom vision of building the body of Messiah in Israel.

Most people think the apostle was encouraging Christians to give to the generic poor, but Paul was very specifically urging Christians to intervene in the poor circumstances of the Jews who follow Jesus in Israel. What's more, this is not something that was just for that day. It is positively, absolutely the necessity today. When the Church wakes up to this and quits lavishing donations on the anti-saints of Israel, then we are going to see an explosion of salvation in Israel. It takes financial resources to minister a vision as big as "all Israel shall be saved."

The whole 8th chapter of 2 Corinthians is the apostle to the Gentiles discussing Christian giving to the Body of the LORD in Israel. It is not about generic giving to the poor, but specifically about what he called in Romans 15:27 the "duty" of the Christian churches to minister to the material needs of their spiritual brothers - the believers in Jesus in Israel.

The parameters of this giving is spelled out in 2 Cor 8: For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack--that there may be equality. 2Cr 8:13-14

And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. 2Cr 8:10-12

Today, the truth is that most Christians who give donations to Israel do so in an un-biblical way. They donate to and through the unsaved in Israel, the traditional rabbis who oppose the gospel and vehemently oppose the Jews who profess faith in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). Or they give to the unsaved government leadership projects. Or they give to Zionist settler groups using often ungodly tactics in attempting to possess the Land.

Whether it is the unsaved rabbi building bomb shelters or "blessing" the chief rabbi of the city who has threatened to run the local Messianic congregation out of town, MOST Christian to "bless Israel" does NOT support the Kingdom purposes of God in Israel.

Both of these examples are what major Christian Israel-supporting ministers have actually done not knowing any better.  That is why the ideal avenue of donating to bless Israel should be to donate through the spiritual leaders of the Jesus-followers in Israel who possess knowledge of the best places to plant your seed in Israel.  The un-saved simply cannot represent the interests of Jesus in Israel.  

Unfortunately, most Christians giving to Israel through unsaved avenues REFUSE to listen to the truth of the matter. No one is going to tell them they aren't doing good by Israel.

Good deeds are not the same as God deeds. Wake up, Church and start giving to build the Kingdom of God's dear Son in Israel.