Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Son Flowers in God's Garden

A sunflower field in between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem

Over the past several years we have marked the passing of a great many of the spiritual giants in Messianic faith and in the leadership of the Israeli body of faith specifically, like David Davis, Marc Chopinsky, Eddie Santoro and now Elihu Ben Haim.

In my near two decades of doing Israel prayer summaries I also remember we have buried faithful servants of the Lord like
Katya Morrison, Esther Ridings Moore, Tom Bender, Antony Simon and Brookie Escott. Before I started Israel prayer there was the beloved uniter, Ilan Zamir and soon after I began the prayer letter was a pioneer of the faith in Israel, Albert Nessim. The youngest among them was Shai Kushnir a Messianic IDF soldier who lost his life in the 2014 war with Hamas in Gaza.

From the youngest, Shai, to the eldest Albert, we are always shocked when the lives in our community are cut off. Being in the roughly the same age group as the leaders first mentioned, I think we of that age group also probably consider them as lives that have been cut off prematurely. As Jackie Santoro wrote last week, "
We are in a great end time battle and sadly as in any battle, there are casualties. But we have confidence that nothing is in vain and we as the Body of Messiah are going forward in greater strength each and every day."

We are like Son flowers in God's garden. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on the Revive Israel picture of the sunflower field that it would be the cover for Arrows this week. I didn't know how, but suddenly as I am writing this opening on Tuesday I see exactly why. I knew it was because even though we have buried many dearly beloved friends, servants of God, we are not like those in the world who have no hope. We know they are at the Father's side, with Yeshua in heavenly places. We also know that they are not the end of what they and we have set ourselves to do in our service to the King of Glory.

Sunflowers thrive in Texas like they do in Israel and one thing I know about sunflowers is they grow very tall and are profuse. When they die having lived out their life under a scorching sun, they leave such an abundance of seeds that are harvested for eating, and with many others falling into the ground and producing a profusion of new plants in the next growing season.

The Son Flowers of God's Garden are like that too. As I was looking through all the ministry letters that have come in over the past week, I was noticing how many new, young faces are represented today in Israel prayer. These are the seeds that have been produced by the leaders who have passed into eternity, and by all of those who remain - whom we pray live long, long lives for years to come.

Yeshua said in John 12:24, "Except a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit."

Eddie Santoro had faith for healing - not only his own, but he prayed for everyone he could through the whole time he was being treated and monitored for cancer. That he eventually died does not cause me to doubt that healing is the children's bread. It is for us and it is for us now. There is great spiritual resistance to the signs and wonders of the kingdom manifesting in Israel, and bringing in a harvest of souls just like it does everywhere else in the world when the power of God begins to manifest our inheritance in Yeshua.

This week, Jonathan Moore who is one of the young leaders in Ahavat Yeshua in Jerusalem wrote in Facebook, "Here's my prediction: Within 2 years we will be seeing lots of miraculous healings and Jerusalem."

I believe Jonathan is right on the spiritual mark of the scripture I was getting all the past week. For like the natural sunflowers, the deaths of two of the Son's flowers in God's garden in Israel this month, two who were sowing mentoring of young leaders, evangelism, healing, teaching the nations of Israel's destiny, and intercession are sure to reproduce multi-fold even in the coming year.
                                                                                                                                    — Donna Diorio 

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Jewish Mystique

This article was originally published in Arrows from Zion 5/29/2019

The Jewish Mystique

by Donna Diorio
When I was about twenty-one I read a book called, The Jewish Mystique. I had a job with a success guru who put on seminars for chiropractors six times as year. It was there I first became fascinated by all the Jews I was meeting, most of them from the East Coast.
Recently I remembered this book so I searched it out online. One review referred to "the Jewish Question" several times and I was almost embarrassed that I had read the book. Then I saw that Dennis Prager names it as one of the books that most influenced him, so I guess I am safe in saying it was the foundation of my first attempts to understand the Jews. It would be another ten years before I began to really being to understand the Jews as the Bible became my sole guide for understanding.

It has taken thirty-six years of going through all the learning curves, and finally being strategically focused in observing the Israeli Messianic Jewish ministries for the past eighteen years, but I am no longer fascinated by all things Jewish. Fascination drew me to discovery of the Messianic movement, but fascination matured into an earnest desire to see God's plan for the Jews and all the nations to be fulfilled. Without the increase of the faith of Yeshua in Israel, God's plan is in a holding pattern.
Just as surely as God puts a stirring in our hearts for the Jewish people, a fascination, if you will, it is a phase that Christians drawn to the Messianic movement need to mature out of. Don't be shocked, but we need to move from our of our fascination with "all things Jewish" and let our hearts be captured by God's ultimate plan in drawing us to them. It is for His return to the Jewish people with salvation through Yeshua - the gospel that is preached by the Israeli Jewish ministries in the way that only they can.
There has always been a remnant of Jewish faith in Yeshua, but today God has begun to restore His Jewish people in Israel, and not just physically, but spiritually. Not just the restoration of their homeland Israel, but to the faith that He promised He would one day open their eyes to. It is a restoration of faith that is going on worldwide, but the restoration of Messianic faith in Israel is God's epicenter of what He is doing in our day.

If we remain fascinated by Jewish things more than by God's plan for faith to arise in Israel, that we will easily downplay or dismiss entirely the great mantle of Israel's salvation that is upon the shoulders of the Israeli believers and the ministries who are leading and discipling them. 
Most often I hear the idea that the Christians from the nations have the mantle from God to win the Jews because they are "to make Israel jealous". If we want to make Israel jealous of our faith, we can't do it by disregarding the Israeli Messianic Jews who are of "like precious faith". Will any unsaved Jew have respect or jealousy for our faith if we are so easily convinced to treat Jews who believe in Jesus as "traitors" to the Jewish people, and to be avoided by any Christian who wants to have a relationship with organizations helping Israelis? Lots of Christians need to think this point through!

To make Jews jealous of our faith, Christians must not only have hearts to help Israelis, but we also have to respect, love and support the Israeli believers who are as "living letters" to their countrymen of the faith in Israel's Messiah. As Isaiah 8:18 declared:
"Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwells in mount Zion."
We will never make Israel jealous with this support become complete. It is time for Israel-supporting Christians to put off the spiritually childish fascination with Jewish things and grew into the mature focus of God's plan for the salvation of "all Israel". The hour has come. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Understanding

The Understanding
by Donna Diorio

In 1998, as Benjamin Netanyahu's first term as Israel's Prime Minister was coming to an unplanned end, there was a strong campaign among the religious parties to legislate against the Israeli believers in Yeshua from sharing their faith.  I have always believed that God removed Netanyahu from power because he allowed the religious parties to increase too powerfully and threatening to the Israeli Messianic Jewish believers ability to fulfill their mandate from God. 

With new elections, the liberal party took control and Israel became less safe in national security because of it, but Messianic believer-citizens became more safe. That seems to be the trade-off politically for Israel. My trust is that God will keep both of those needs balanced. That balancing act may be exactly what we are seeing  unfolding again in the chaotic Israeli political situation. While Netanyahu is strong on protecting Israel from international pressures, he is miserably weak in protecting the religious freedoms of Israeli Messianic Jewish believer-citizens. 
Here is another troubling fact: the Israel-supporting Church generally has the exact same strength and weakness as Netanyahu. When Netanyahu failed to adequately speak up for the Israeli believers in 1998, I believe God sovereignly  removed Netanyahu from office.  He moved to limit the damage that the religious parties were set on doing to the Israeli believers sharing their faith. In God's eyes, the believers are every bit as important as the whole nation of Israel because, in fact God's plan to save Israel from annihilation in the end times is inextricably entwined with His plan to bring "all Israel" to faith in Yeshua through the testimony of Israeli Messianic Jews.  
Fast Forward to 2019. Netanyahu's political problems may be of God because once again Israel may be getting a course-correction so that too much power is not given prematurely to religious parties in opposition to the Gospel.  There are again increasing reports of aggressive religious persecution against the Israeli believers.
 Just this morning the Times of Israel tweeted about a meeting where the Israeli  President gave reassurances: "Rivlin to Christian leaders: Israeli sovereignty will never erode religious freedom".  The problem, of course is that this promise is pointless if it does not extend to Israeli Messianic Jews who profess Yeshua. 
And that brings us to the religious riot at a private Messianic worship event in the Clal Bldg Pavillion in Jerusalem last week. It was reported on Facebook the next day by Shelly Greenberg, a law intern and Messianic believer who witnessed the riot. Because of her experience in Messianic events, she also helped to get arriving guests of the event into the facility, past the rioting Lehava organization. 
Shelly Greenberg wrote that "Kids were crying, mothers and old people were terrified. . . . I must say, I've been dealing with those kind of things for years, but I have never seen them so possessed. They were in craze." Even the police & SWAT teams that arrived failed to control the crowd she said.
Inside the concert proceeded but outside, after two hours the riot area was finally pepper sprayed. As far as we know there were no arrests made and we have not been able to find any coverage of the riot in the Israeli newspapers. See coverage in Messianic news here and here. Some videos also captured a small measure of the riots posted on Facebook here and here.
We need to understand that God has placed a mantle of great purpose on the Jewish believers in Israel, and He will defend them waiting for us to step come alongside them 100% as He intends. They are paying the price for our failures to support them in prayer, in finances and in the political influence we hold. 
The religious persecutions of 2019 are a continuation of the opposition to the Gospel we see in the Acts of the Apostles, and which has shown itself time and again since Israel's modern re-birth in 1948. We must know this and not let it deter us from cooperating in the vision God has for the faith of Yeshua to bloom again in Israel. 
"Those that do not learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat it." | In 1998 the Zvili bill sought to stop the gospel from going forth in Israel by Israeli Jewish citizens was stopped due to months of tireless efforts by the Messianic Action Committee. Through their informing Christians about the threat they faced a strong worldwide outcry rose among Israel-supporting Christians. Israeli politicians noticed.  But the political realities were that Netanyahu's promises to Christians not to let the bill pass was too much for Netanyahu to uphold. He was under the same pressures to allow the religious parties too much power in order to maintain a coalition government.
Meanwhile Israel-based Christian organizations came up with their own solution to deal with the religious opposition in proposing what was known as "The Understanding".  What they hoped for was their  agreement would ease the religious political resistance to their own presence in Israel. It certainly did not ease the resistance for the Israeli believer-citizens and was viewed by many as a betrayal of them and of the faith, as well.  
Here is some of the wording of The Understanding: 
"We believe that the covenant which God concluded with the people of Israel was never revoked. We deeply respect the Jewish people in their identity and integrity not engage in activities, which have as their intention to alienate them from their tradition and community. Nor will we exploit, for the benefit of our denominational interests, such economic, social or psychological needs as may emerge. 
"We earnestly call upon the government of Israel to maintain its enlightened policy which allows our Christian communities in this country, both native as well as expatriate, to freely follow our vocation, which includes among others, caring for our members; engaging in many social and charitable projects; welcoming and assisting pilgrims and visitors from abroad; and maintaining schools and institutions for teaching and research - to the end, that the Christian communities in the State of Israel may flourish in harmony with those of other faiths."
I am among those that believe what is expressed in The Understanding falls short of what God wants to see from Christians in terms of supporting His plans for Israel. The reason is because it fails to see Israel is coming to faith in Yeshua now and they are coming by the anointing of God on the Israeli Jewish believers to bring them to faith. 
The Understanding ultimately left the Israeli Jewish believers vulnerable to un-protested persecution by the very Israeli religious organizations that "non-proselytizing" Christians have entered into agreement with. It has encouraged the Israeli believing community to suffer in silence. Why talk about what your family doesn't want to hear about of your hardships? We really have to do better, don't we? 
Increasingly Israel-supporting Christians are learning the truth and coming to cooperate with the plans of God for it. We can love our Israeli brothers and sisters in Messiah, and put them in the forefront of our desires to support Israel with the full knowledge that this is what God wants from us. 

Post Script I have sat for over a decade on the article I wrote originally on The Understanding from which this new article has been drawn. For the sake of the Israeli Ministries, I believe it is time to acknowledge the past so we don't repeat it once again in 2019.  Our alliance is to God's plan for Israel. We can't brush the Israeli Ministries aside as inconsequential to Christian ties to Israel.