Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Job: A Messianic Model

Donna Diorio
24 July 2018

In my life I have read the book of Job many times, pouring over it to understand 'why bad things happen to good people.' The first teaching I heard on this is that it was fear that opened Job to the attack of the enemy. Despite how God had blessed Job, he still fretted over his children not living perfectly before God. His continual fears opened him to attack. I could always relate to that since fear has been my constant companion since I was a child. The spirit that I do daily 'thought-to-thought' combat with.

Some of the best teaching I ever heard on Job was from Francis Frangipane who emphasized how praying for Job's criticizing religious friends is the thing that turned around his situation. The message of forgiveness and praying for your enemy is the major key to the book of Job for every individual who wants to slam the door of opening by the attacks of the enemy. 

However, the book of Job is not just a story for individuals. I believe even more so it is a story for the Israeli Messianic Jewish believers on behalf of all Israel. 

Job is a type of Israel. Chosen and blessed of God, suddenly under the attack of the Adversary from all sides, sitting in sackcloth and ashes for two millennia as what should be Israel's best friends - the entire Christian world - sits and criticizes Israel using Scripture to back up the reasons they believe all this has befallen Job.

Then finally comes the young upstart Elihu (My God is YHVH) to brush all the biblical debate aside and declare the righteousness of God. He doesn't try to suss out Job's guilt, but calls him out over the obvious, Where is your trust in God who loves you and cares for you?

Job has been to hell and back, with all the losses in his life and the criticism of friends, but in the end of the matter, God speaks and tells Job that in order to turn it all around, he will have to pray for his critical friends - forgive and bless them - thereby Job will close his openness to the Adversary and God will release a double-fold blessing to him, so that his end is greater than his beginning.

I believe the book of Job is 'road map' so to speak for the Israeli Messianic body. Like the rest of the Jews in Israel and around the world, they have plenty in the natural to be fearful of; to be guarded about with non-Jews; and to be angry about. They either have been or are currently persecuted by every nation in the world.

But the recognition of God's righteous judgment as faith in Yeshua restores right relationship with Messianic Jews should change the human response to a supernatural response - like the young upstart Elihu (My God is YHVH). Within that realization it should release the Fear, the Anger, the Distrust of human emotions to be superseded by the same thing that turned around Job's situation: forgiveness and prayer for all those critical religious friends. 

Now switching back to the message of Job for every individual, I realize full well that it has been a struggle for me to overcome the same things that I'm now saying apply to the whole group of Messianic Jews. We all do that at our own speed. I guess it depends on how long we are willing to sit in our own sackcloth and ashes. 

I hope this has given food for thought to some. I know it has given food for thought to me.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Spiritual Competitiveness

Spiritual Competitiveness

Competition. It is what drives people to excel in sports, business and all sorts of human activities. It is a good thing when it is kept in the right spirit. But we've all seen it when it turns mean, even evil, as competition descends into the hellish realm to subtle to extreme attempts to destroy "the competition".
In the kingdom of God competitiveness between others in ministry is even more troubling than when competitiveness in human attempts to achieve turn hellish. In the spiritual realm when we realize we are being competitive with our spiritual brothers and sisters, this is the time to go to war! The war against what is going on within ourselves!
We have to do battle within our own hearts and minds when we realize we are being competitive over something a brother or sister is doing and doing well. We have to arrest those peevish feelings against the person and realize that God wants more, not less servants excelling in doing good in His kingdom.
A great example of this is early on in Numbers 11 when there were 70 elders appointed to help Moses judge the situations the people brought to him. Young Joshua wanted Moses to forbid Eldad and Medad from prophesying because they did not show when the call for certain elders to come to receive a share of Moses' prophetic anointing. But the Spirit fell on them anyway in the camp because they were appointed among the 70, so they began prophesying in the camp.
Joshua didn't think this was right and wanted Moses to forbid them from prophesying. But Moses did not get competitive about God's anointing and told Joshua, "Are you jealous on account of me?" Moses asked in reply. "I wish all of the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put His spirit upon them!"
Competitiveness in the spiritual community reeks of our human weakness. We have to overcome our own inclination to carry what may serve us well in human achievements into our relations with spiritual brothers and sisters where competitiveness does not belong.
One way to do that is when you recognize you are feeling competitive with what someone else is doing to forward the kingdom, instead of resenting them which will lead to acting in negative ways against them, we can overcome our competitiveness with them by promoting them in what they do. It puts a stake in the heart of the enemy to do this - and I'm talking about the devil, not our brother or sister doing well in their calling!
Several years ago a young man in Israel began to put out an email and website in Israel that I perceived as spilling over into what I have been doing for a couple of decades. In fact, he was taking it beyond what I was doing into the realm of what I had envisioned I would like to take my endeavors to but never had been able to. I recognized the feeling of competitiveness immediately and knew the only way to get over it was to do the exact opposite of what I was feeling. So I began to promote his efforts at every opportunity. I had to keep dealing with it in an ongoing manner until I was free of feeling competitive toward his work. Choosing to do the right thing in overcoming our weaknesses is an ongoing process although finally I did completely overcome the inclination to feel competitive with the work he was doing because I kept choosing to promote him whenever I felt competitive toward his work.
It is the absolute truth that God wants 
more of us spreading the word, not less. 
He wants more of us to excel, not just one.

Even when donations are involved - and this is a particular issue I think in Israel because the ministries have to fight the feeling that they are in competition for the meager amount of international donations available. We MUST not fall into the trap of hellish competitiveness over the gifts and anointing of God that rest on our brothers and sisters in the ministry. We have to do war in our own minds and hearts to conquer this enemy (competitiveness) of the work of the LORD. When that feeling rises, we must purpose to do the exact opposite of what our feelings are telling us: instead of tearing them down, we must lift them up.
The two graphics above illustrate what I am talking about. In the first ALL are running the race with excellence at different levels. It doesn't matter that one is ahead in this colorful group of runners because ALL are accomplishing the things of the kingdom of God.
In the second graphic, only one color runner is lifting up and ahead of all the colorless runners. When we run with spiritual competitiveness it hampers our efforts, our efforts remain 'colorless' while the one we are against continues to get the work of the kingdom done anyway.

Better that we all run our own race and all do well. Let the competition for donations fall into the trust of the Lord to meet our need instead of trying to grasp for it through competitiveness.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Guest Martin Sarvis with Prophetic View on Earthquakes in Israel

Tremblings and Shakings

  Martin Sarvis from Jerusalem on 7/9/18
[Earthquakes have continued over the following days]

“The LORD reigns, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake!  The LORD is great in Zion, and He is exalted above all the peoples.  Let them praise Your great and awesome name; Holy is He…Exalt the LORD our God and worship towards His holy mountain, for holy is the LORD our God.” 
(Psalm 99:1-3, 9 NASB)

    “Awake, awake, Zion!  Clothe yourself with strength…Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.  Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive.”  (Isaiah 52:1-2 NIV)

The year was 2004; the Second Intifada was still raging, Ariel Sharon was Prime Minister…and in an upper room on Nachshon Street in Jerusalem a worship watch of Succat Hallel (Tabernacle of Praise) was in session.  Rick Ridings had just felt strongly the Lord moving him to declare aloud Psalm 99 (above).  As he came to the last word of the psalm, the earth began to shake as a 5.3 earthquake rumbled through Jerusalem (Norma was present at the watch, Martin was at home a block away, and got up and hurried into the street when I realized what was taking place!). 

It lasted less than 30 seconds, but everyone at the watch burst into wild praise, while our friend Nigel Lidiard, who was on the piano, recovered and launched immediately into a song he’d penned some time before:

     Shake the heavens, shake the skies / Shake the whole earth and everything that lies /
     Shake the heavens, shake the skies / Shake the whole earth and everything that lies /
     Within the path of Your return!
     Every work of man must be brought low / Every human plan and purpose has to go /
     The glory of the temple yet to come / Will shine through living stones /
     That emanate the radiance of God’s Son! /  Shake the heavens…” 
                                           By Nigel Lidiard ©2002 Songs of the Tabernacle

The next day the Israeli news services reported that had the quake been one digit higher on the Richter scale, major damage would have occurred on buildings.  As it was, the only damage which they initially reported was a crack which appeared over the place where the Prime Minister makes his exit from his seat in the Knesset.

This was on 11 February 2004.  Three days later on 14 February, a portion of the outer layer of the wall adjacent to the Western Wall in the Old City, a section containing the western entrance to the Temple Mount, collapsed, part of the rubble falling into the women’s prayer area of the Wall.  Most reports attributed the collapse to the earthquake three days earlier.  It was not part of the huge stones making up the Kotel, or “Wailing Wall.”  Rather, part of the walls put up by Ottoman Muslims around Jerusalem 500 years before.

Of course, the earthquake that day did succeed in getting everyone in Jerusalem’s attention.  But was the Spirit of God seeking to say some things through its aftermath for those who were listening?  Prime Minister Sharon was at that time beginning to make a shift away from the policies with which he had come into office.  Eventually, his term would be cut short, and his seat in the government given to another.  And the portion of the wall which fell?  Originally constructed as part of a barrier encircling the Holy Mountain and City to keep Jews and Christians out—might its crumbling have signaled a breach in the religious system ensconced there, which itself is going to fall to make way for the coming of the rightful King of Glory who will someday again be worshipped there?

The Scriptures teach of earthquakes in which God is not present at all (I Kings 19:11-12); and of others in which He is very much present (Ezekiel 38:18-20).  They speak of some coming as God’s righteous judgment for sin (Isaiah 29:5-6); some as messengers, harbingers of things to come (Haggai 2:6-7; Matthew 24:7-8).  And they teach of a place of safety for those who are trusting God their Rock:  a place where even when the upheavals come, they will not be shaken (Psalms 15:5; 16:8; 21:7; 62:5-8).  Nor will the shakings remove Israel from the loving purposes of God covenant word to her, “ ‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you [Israel] will not be shaken nor my covenant of shalom be removed,’ says the LORD who has compassion on you.”  (Isaiah 54:10)

Wednesday and Thursday of this past week, northern Israel again began feeling the shakings. There were three minor earthquakes in the north.  Now, there are not many days in which some very low seismic movement doesn’t occur in the Land.  A huge fault runs below the cleft reaching from above the Sea of Galilee to Eilat.  The epicenter of most earthquakes felt in Israel originates near the north part of the Dead Sea or somewhere higher along that fault.  The ones felt this week were stronger.  

On Wednesday the 4th, residents of Haifa and the Western Galilee region experienced two tremors, one registering 4.1 on the Richter scale, the next 4.5.  The following day, a 3.2 earthquake shook Tiberius on the Sea of Galillee and Tzphat in the hills just to the northwest.  All of these are considered minor, or course.  But scientists are concerned that a much larger one may be on the way.

There have been catastrophic ones in the past in Israel; a 6.5 quake hit the Galilee in 1837, killing over 6,000 people.  In 1927, a 6.2,extending from Jericho to Jerusalem to Nablus and Tiberius, killed over 500 people and damaged the Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Today there is a growing conviction in Israel that another large one may be on the horizon. A 2016 report by an Israeli home-front readiness committee estimated that were Israel to be stricken by a 7.5 earthquake, 7,000 would likely be killed, 8,600 injured and 377,000 left homeless. 1)    Yesterday’s HaAretz published an article entitled, “Israeli Defense Ministry Readies for Major Earthquake,” with a subtitle which read, “One option the ministry is exploring is building of a number of residential compounds that could hold more than a million evacuated residents for up to three years.”  And not only in the government is there a growing uneasiness.  We know of situations in Jerusalem where landlords have begun requiring their tenants to purchase “fire and earthquake insurance” policies for their apartments.

In Matthew 4:7-8 Yeshua spoke of a future time when warfare would increase between nations and kingdoms, when in various places there would be famines and earthquakes.  And these would be merely the beginning of birth pangs before His return.  Is this “increase” coming soon in Israel?  We don’t know; but since their frequency seems to be on the increase, we want to know and understand what the Spirit is saying to the Congregations.

* That God would sharpen the discernment of His Body in Israel…that we may have understanding and insight into what He is saying as the shakings increase.

*  For grace to endure whatever shakings may be necessary to turn some men and women’s hearts to the Lord Almighty. That in mercy, Israel would be spared a devastating earthquake which would result in huge loss of life.

*  That believing Jews and Arabs in Israel will be nourished in their relationship with God and knowledge of His word—that when these things begin to occur, they will be prepared to not be shaken, but to be a light and source of life to those who are.

            I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.  I have set the LORD continually before me: Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  (Psalm 16:7-8)

            For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the lovingkindness of the Most High he will not be shaken.”  (Psalm 21:7)  We pray for a Prime Minister and other leaders who will  trust in the LORD in this way!

            You have made the land quake, You have split it open; Heal its breaches, for it  totters…You have given a banner to those who fear You that it may be displayed because of the truth.  (Psalm 60:2-5).

            My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.  He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.  On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.  Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is our refuge!  (Psalm 62:5-8)

* Pray the song by Nigel Lidiard printed above…that those things which lie within the path of Messiah’s return would be shaken and removed!

1)  “Three minor earthquakes hit Israel, serious one only a matter of time”: The Jerusalem Post, 6 July 2018, 8:11 IST.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Kavanaugh | Kavana | INTENT

A friend has posted that the name of the President's nominee for Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, made her jump when she heard the announcement. She said it was because it is the same pronunciation as a Hebrew word that she knows: "I don't speak Hebrew!! just happened to know that is the word which Jesus used to rebuke the Pharisees after calling them white washed tombs." כוונה kavana = intent, intentions

Even though the name of (K)Cavanaugh is Gaelic Irish, there seems to me to be a message from God in this appointment. For one thing, from the legal experts I follow on social media, Brett Kavanaugh is above all else a person who believes in judicial fidelity to the INTENT of the Constitution.

The fight between the Republicans and Democrats on Supreme Court appointments boils down to judicial fidelity to the intent of the framers of the Constitution, or to (dis)regarding the framers' intent and treating the Constitution as a "Living Document" that can be re-written to change with the times.

This, of course is a concept borrowed from rabbinic tradition that the Torah is a living document, which the rabbis are allowed to re-interpret according to their times. Now here is where I will get extremely controversial, because even though God's Word and the US Constitution are documents that are completely different, I do believe that even in rabbinic interpretations of God's Word, where they failed to uphold the INTENT of the Framer, they got it all wrong. This is precisely why the word כוונה kavana = intent came out of Yeshua's mouth (MT 23:27-28)

27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity. 28 In the same way, you appear to be righteous on the outside, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.…

So the message of INTENT is critical in this hour - politically and spiritually. Above all we must be holding to the INTENT of the FRAMER. The Framer of God's Word is God. His do's and don'ts in the Torah are not merely legalistic rules God is imposing upon man, because His INTENT is to protect mankind. As a Supreme Court Judge looks deed into the wording of the Constitution seeking the intent of framers of this nation, so we are to look deep into the Word of God, especially in the books of the Torah, to see the intent of the framework God gave us to live in.

Now in the Liberal Left today, they embrace the idea that the Constitution is just an old document that must be reinterpreted by modern minds to be just. They think the same thing about the Bible, God's Word. That is why so many Christian denominations have thrown off fidelity to the Framer's INTENT. They see it as outdated that God defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and condemns homosexuality, and other things. They think this is a "legalistic" and "judgmental" view in modern times.

If they reject God's INTENT in these matters, then it means little to them to carry that through to the Constitution of the United States as well. They feel free to change the INTENT of the Constitution because they have already stepped across the Rubicon of dismissing God's INTENT in the very same matters. They do not understand the INTENT is to protect, not merely to restrict.

So I said I was entering into something that would seem controversial to some and here it is: The concept of a "Living Torah" can be a bogus as viewing the Constitution as a living document to be reinterpreted in modern viewpoints at the expense of dismissing the framer's INTENT. I believe many of the rabbinic interpretations have abandoned God's INTENT and I believe that the Liberal Left have dismissed the INTENT of the Founding Fathers who framed our Constitution at the feet of the LORD in prayer.

Our fidelity is not to legalism, but to INTENT. The departure of fidelity to the INTENT of the Constitution began when Americans dismissed God's Word as an outdated body of mere restrictions on their lives. God's INTENT was never that.

This is not to say that all rabbinic interpretations are devoid of God's intent, but I am not going to live my life by rabbinic interpretations anymore than I am going to live my life by what the Liberal Left deems perfectly legal. I do not dismiss the INTENT of the Framer of God's Word or the framers of our Constitution. In my eyes, this is a battle of Light against the Darkness.

My friend who heard the Hebrew word kavana in the judge's name said that this intent also carried a meaning related to worship of God: that "you engage all of your senses as you worship God with kavenah". Worship is not just singing to God, it is also choosing to live with intention toward God - living with godly intention is also worship. If we are to engage all of our senses in this kind of living, it will color every part of lives - not just the times within our congregations, but also the times in our workplace, our family life, our politics.

To live within God's INTENT for man is not outdated and it will also be reflected in even our political choices. I believe this naming of Kavanaugh (kavana/INTENT) to the Supreme Court is calling us up higher, to examine our own intent both political and spiritual.

Let us not be content with a mere legalistic fidelity to *our own* intention toward God - it is HIS INTENT for us that matters. If we align ourselves with God's INTENT that will keep us from aligning ourselves with those who have first dismissed God's will for their lives who now pursue making US law to be at odds with God's will. This is precisely the pursuit of so much social justice in the USA - a declaration that their human justice is higher than God's and the founding fathers who framed the constitution within the bounds of God's will for mankind.

Let our fidelity to God's INTENT guide us through these treacherous times.