The Confidence of Christ in Prayer: an example from the account of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary

23 Shevat 5784

Jesus, the Anointed One, our Savior and Messiah demonstrated great confidence in prayer. Let’s learn how to pray with holy boldness, following His example.

The Final Inquiry

A movie came out many years ago called “The Final Inquiry.”  It is a moving story set in 35 AD about a Roman man sent on a mission to determine whether or not the resurrection of Jesus actually happened, or not.  

In one scene, the Roman, named Valerius Taurus, is out by the caves where people had been buried. By this point in the movie, the Pharisees have figured out that Tauro is on a quest to find out the truth, so they come up with a way to explain away the different miracles performed by Jesus, to influence his investigation so that Tauro would conclude that the resurrection was a fraud: only an illusion used to confuse people and cause them to think Jesus was divine.

In an extreme act, the Pharisees offer Tauro a cup of spiked wine.  Tauro is drugged against his will and loses consciousness for several days, so they bury him.  When he wakes up, in graveclothes, the Pharisees use the experience to suggest that the raising of Lazarus, and of Jesus, could be logically explained, and that a true resurrection was nothing but a hoax.  Doubts were sown into Tauro’s heart, but by the end of the movie he experiences the healing power of Jesus (and falls in love with a beautiful Jewish girl – it’s a movie after all) and becomes a follower of the One who legitimately is “the Resurrection and the Life.”

The Example of Lazarus

When Jesus (Yeshua) says in John 11:11, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps,” He is not referring to a drug-induced coma or taking a nap. 

Believers in Jesus who die are often said in Scripture to be sleeping, not to be “dead.” 

The disciples do not understand, and say, “Well, Lord, if he’s sleeping, he will get well” (John 11:12). 

The LORD had to get through to them, so He says plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” (John 11:14).

Our Savior wanted to make it very clear that without Him, Lazarus really was dead. 

Jesus could have gone immediately to heal His friend at the news of Lazarus’ sickness, but He stayed another 2 days where He was before venturing out. 

By the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. 

There was to be no question that Lazarus had died.

This was all part of God’s plan to demonstrate His power, that He would be glorified.

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died”  (Luke 11:21).

We must recognize the extent of God’s miracle-working power

Martha recognized Jesus’ healing power, but she didn’t understand the extent of His power. 

Her faith was limited by her mindset and experience – Martha thought miracles could only happen to the living. 

As always, Messiah Jesus (Yeshua) is patient with Martha.  He says to her, “your brother will rise again” (Luke 11:23).  Martha is still unable to understand and she confesses her belief that Lazarus will have eternal life, but Jesus wants her to understand that in Him is life – even in this earthly life.

Mary comes along and says the same thing: “Lord, had you only been here” (Luke 11:32).  She is weeping and others with her were as well. 

Jesus wept

“Jesus wept” (Luke 11:35).

Jesus wept, too, but He doesn’t weep out of despair like the others. 

He wept for the people who just don’t understand.

For the people who haven’t placed their hope in Him.

The Almighty Lord resolved to demonstrate His power. He told the people to roll the stone away. 

Have an agreeable, teachable spirit

Despite Martha’s confession that she knows Jesus is the Anointed One, the Christ, the Son of God, and despite the fact Jesus had told her shortly before, “your brother will rise again,” she counters Him: convinced that rolling the stone away is a bad idea because of the stench of Lazarus’ dead body.

Jesus would be right to get upset at this point. 

I don’t know in what tone of voice He answered her, but Scripture records Him saying, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (Luke 11:40).

He must’ve been exasperated.

Some people just don’t listen!

If there is one time to be agreeable, it’s when Jesus is standing right in front of you with the full ability and willingness to raise your loved one from the dead!

The people roll the stone away to reveal the dead body of Lazarus. 

The onlookers probably wondered: where was the glory of God in this?

But Jesus’ illustration wasn’t done yet. Some of the people would have lacked a true teachable spirit. They were discouraged, incredulous, and lacking in hope and conviction.

Confronted with the finality of death

Confronted with the evidence of the finality of death, it is hard for anyone to think beyond it.

Have you ever had your hopes crushed? 

Have you ever put your head down on your pillow after a time of turmoil in your life and in the quietness of the night, all that you could wonder was, “why would God let this happen to me?” 

Or

“Where is the glory of God in this?” 

No matter how faithful we are, we all go through times when we ask that question.

Yet Jesus always asks us to believe.  And then we will see the glory of God.

The Confidence of Christ in the face of death

As an example to us, Jesus lifted up His eyes and began to pray with confidence:

Luke 11:41 “And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.”

It is important to note the manner in which Jesus prayed.

There are occasions recorded in the Bible when Jesus knelt down to pray.

There is nothing wrong with folding your hands, closing your eyes, and humbly praying. 

But there are other occasions when prayer is different.

Jesus is standing before a dead man. 

Prayer that requires Conviction and Confidence

His prayer needed to be one of conviction and confidence. 

He lifted up His eyes to the Father, fully aware of the authority His Father has given Him, and He said,

“Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” (Luke 11:41-42).

Jesus uses His prayer to teach the onlookers about having faith and confidence in who they can be as God’s children if they will only believe.  

Do you pray with this kind of confidence? 

Father, I thank You because I know You hear me. 

Father, I know I am Yours, and because of my faith in Jesus, I know that when I call to You, You will answer, and when I am in need of You, You are beside me. 

Do you pray only out of habit, or do you pray because you believe prayer has the power to change lives and to change circumstances? 

Are you able to approach the throne of your Father in heaven and have the absolute confidence that He cares about your requests?

Jesus did not meekly pray, “Father, if it is Your will, please do something about Lazarus.” 

He didn’t stand there as one with little hope and say, “Father, I think You’re up there.  I think You are interested in Me and my unattainable prayer request.” 

He did not mope and shake His head, “Father, I know it’s too late, nothing can be done.” 

Of course not!

Jesus thanked His Father for always hearing Him, and then He went right to work drawing upon that confidence. The Bible says that with a loud voice Jesus said, “Lazarus, come forth!” (Luke 11:43).

 And with that, a bound up dead man came walking out of the tomb.  

What needs to come forth in your life?

What is bound up inside of you that you need released to new life?

In what areas of your life do you need greater confidence?

The Lord says that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed (that’s reallllllllllly small), we can say to the mountain ahead of us: move, and it will move.  

1 John 5:14-15 reaffirms this Truth: “This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”  

Jesus challenges us to believe, and to follow His example.  By simply maintaining a real, living relationship with your Father in heaven, you can witness amazing things happen in your life and the lives of others, simply by praying with confidence. 

We can hold our heads up high because by the blood He shed at Calvary, we stand before the Father blameless.  Jesus was without sin, and He has made a way for us, so we too, are no longer dead, but living.

To be alive in Christ for all eternity is a privilege guaranteed to those sealed by the Holy Spirit. 

Have you encountered Jesus in such a way as to know that without a doubt, your life has been changed and your eternal destiny completely decided, that because of His touch upon your life, you will live with Him forever?  

And do you realize that in the middle of your normal days, you can approach the throne of grace with boldness and present your requests to God with great confidence as a son or daughter of the Most High God?

Repentance for New Life

I can recall each time when I was in the hospital with my newborn sons. It was such a joyful time when friends or family would visit and we would spend time together rejoicing.  And to know they took time out of their day just to be with me, my husband, and the baby.  

It is the same with our Heavenly Father.  He rejoices with gladness when one of His children takes time out of the day to spend with Him to open your heart to Him just for a few moments, and to let Him know how you are feeling and tell Him how wonderful He is.

Don’t ever say you can’t or are too old to seek God. 

I talked to one older fellow once who told me it would be hypocritical for him to start seeking God now that he lived 90 years without God. 

God can forgive a hypocrite who repents. 

People will always say it’s too late but it is not.  

I prayed that that man forgave himself and sought the true Forgiver who could give Him relief of his every burden.

Do you believe what Martha came to believe?

That Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life? 

Do you believe He is Lord and Savior?

Never allow a spirit of unbelief or negativity to dissuade you from following and obeying the Lord. Seek Him and trust in Him and follow Jesus’ example: have confidence even in the face of death because He has the ability to bring new life!

I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior today! You do not need to fear. He has provided for your salvation by His sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. When this earthly body fails, you will be resurrected to new life in Christ, if you will only believe and pray sincerely with all your heart! Luke, who recorded this account of Lazarus and Mary and Martha was a doctor. He was an eyewitness to the miracles of Jesus and He recorded this for you and me to believe. If a doctor was convinced: surely we can also know without a doubt that what is written in Scripture is as true today as it was then!

Live in confidence: you can do all things through Christ who is your strength!




16 Fundamental Truths for Understanding the Bible and reaching the world with the Gospel

The Assemblies of God: 85 Million adherents strong

I love being a part of a movement of God that is so large and diverse.

The Assemblies of God (AG) has over 85 million (yes, MILLION) adherents worldwide and continues to grow and flourish because of the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit through Jesus’ servants all over the world. 85 million is a glorious testimony of the wonderful work pastors and missionaries are doing to reach the lost for the sake of the Gospel.

The Assemblies of God operates under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and a firm understanding of 16 Fundamental Truths that are entirely Biblical based.

These 16 Fundamental Truths unite believers all around the world.

More on that in a moment. First, let me tell you a funny story.

The Assemblies of God and church planting (a humorous story!)

I had a humorous conversation the other day when I took my sons to their swimming lessons.

A fellow homeschool mom found out that I had graduated from Divinity School and eagerly asked me to consider planting a church in her area. She said there was only one evangelical church near her rural home and felt another was needed.

The humorous part of this occurred when she went on to describe that evangelical church:

“It’s Assembly of God.”

I chucked. “Oh, you’re not into the Assemblies of God?”

She looked at me with wide eyes and shook her head, vehemently, “no.”

“They are the crazy ones, right?”

She started to backpedal. “Well, um, yeah, kinda. Well, I don’t mean they are that bad…”

I smiled and told her very matter-of-factly, “I’m an Assembly of God pastor! Nice to meet you!”

I went on to gently tell her that not all of us are crazy:

Pentecostal churches can get a bad rap. So much so that even Pentecostals tend to describe themselves as simply, “Spirit-filled” to distance themselves from 1) the true crazies and 2) oneness sects. I am adamant that we need to reclaim the term because there is absolutely nothing wrong with being 100% Trinitarian Pentecostal.

There are healthy Pentecostal churches just as there are unhealthy ones.

I know plenty about it because I just spent a full year in a declining church that refuses to acknowledge its pending demise. It is like a hospice for churches, and that is just plain sad. Churches should be full of life, intergenerational, and reaching the community. Churches should be teaching sound doctrine (such as these 16 Fundamental Truths) and reminding people of why they believe as they do so that they will be encouraged and equipped to reach more people in the community with the Good News.

I encouraged this mom to try another AG church sometime. I also invited her to our church plant which is launching soon.

The Assemblies of God is very intentional about church planting because it is a Biblical model that works. People get excited about being part of something new.

16 Fundamental Truths based entirely on Biblical Principles

Many many years ago, the Spirit of the LORD inspired our forefathers and foremothers to write down 16 Fundamental Truths – quite nearly non-negotiables about the Scriptures. There are 4 Cardinal Doctrines which are absolutely non-negotiable. Those include Salvation, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Divine Healing, and the Second Coming of Christ because they are essential to the core of the Gospel and the church’s mission.

Anyone who learns these basic 16 fundamental principles will acquire at least a basic understanding of the overall picture of God’s plan for the salvation of humanity for those who will believe and trust in His Son Jesus (Messiah Yeshua).

The AG’s 16 Fundamental Truths are considered non-negotiable because each of them are completely and firmly rooted in Scriptural evidence, and Scriptural verses are provided with each one.

I caution seekers to always check an organization’s list of doctrine and ensure that it is entirely Scriptural because otherwise it is very easy for people to be taught incorrectly and led astray by the winds of false doctrine and heresy.

If a church (even an AG one!) falls into the “crazy” category, they may need to be reminded of the Biblical Fundamental Truths because the Bible will not lead us astray, but man’s emotions sure can. We must pray for all Christian churches (both AG and non-AG), that they will follow sound Biblical doctrine.

I invite you to read the Assemblies of God Statement of 16 Fundamental Truths for yourself.

Then you will see, we are not so crazy after all! 😉

And if you really love them, there’s even a song! (Hint: its extremely useful if you are studying for AG credential exams!)

I also have a free PDF printable for Bible memory verses for children based on these 16 Fundamental Truths. You can find that here.

ASSEMBLIES OF GOD STATEMENT OF 16 FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS

16 Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God AG

The Bible is our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice. This Statement of 16 Fundamental Truths is intended simply as a basis of fellowship among us (i.e., that we all speak the same thing, 1 Corinthians 1:10 [KJV/NIV]; Acts 2:42 [KJV/NIV]). The phraseology employed in this Statement is not inspired nor contended for, but the truth set forth is held to be essential to a full-gospel ministry. No claim is made that it covers all Biblical truth, only that it covers our need as to these fundamental doctrines.

  1. The Scriptures Inspired
  2. The One True God
  3. The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ
  4. The Fall of Man
  5. The Salvation of Man
  6. The Ordinances of the Church
  7. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
  8. The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
  9. Sanctification
  10. The Church and Its Mission
  11. The Ministry
  12. Divine Healing
  13. The Blessed Hope
  14. The Millennial Reign of Christ
  15. The Final Judgment
  16. The New Heavens and the New Earth

1. THE SCRIPTURES INSPIRED

The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.

#16 Fundamental Truths


2. THE ONE TRUE GOD

The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent “I AM,” the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

#16 Fundamental Truths

THE ADORABLE GODHEAD

a. Terms Defined
The terms “Trinity” and “persons” as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from “gods many and lords many.” We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God who is One Lord, as a trinity or as one Being of three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural.

b. Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead
Christ taught a distinction of Persons in the Godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but that this distinction and relationship, as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained.

c. Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Father which constitutes him the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Spirit which constitutes Him the Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter, the Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Spirit is the one proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one.

d. Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to Person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the Godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation.

The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship.

The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority.

The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation and authority. Hence, neither Person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others.

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e. The Title, Lord Jesus Christ
The appellation, “Lord Jesus Christ,” is a proper name. It is never applied in the New Testament, either to the Father or to the Holy Spirit. It therefore belongs exclusively to the Son of God.

f. The Lord Jesus Christ, God with Us
The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only Begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man. He is therefore, acknowledged to be both God and man; who because He is God and man is “Immanuel,” God with us.

g. The Title, Son of God
Since the name “Immanuel” embraces both God and man in the one Person, our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title, Son of God, describes His proper deity, and the title, Son of Man, His proper humanity. Therefore, the title Son of God, belongs to the order of eternity, and the title, Son of Man, to the order of time.

h. Transgression of the Doctrine of Christ
Wherefore, it is a transgression of the Doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title, Son of God, solely from the fact of the incarnation, or because of His relation to the economy of redemption.

Therefore, to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and that the Son is a real and eternal Son, is a denial of the distinction and relationship in the Being of God; a denial of the Father, and the Son; and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

i. Exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord
The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; angels and principalities and powers having been made subject unto Him.

And having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Spirit that we, in the name of Jesus, might bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father until the end, when the Son shall become subject to the Father that God may be all in all.

j. Equal Honor to the Father and to the Son
Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son,

it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee,

but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Spirit to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of Deity, and to give Him all honor and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead except those which express relationship

(see Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead, Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit , and Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead) and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father.

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3. THE DEITY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare:

His virgin birth,

His sinless life,

His miracles,

His substitutionary work on the cross,

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3 [KJV/NIV
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 [KJV/NIV

His bodily resurrection from the dead,

His exaltation to the right hand of God.

#16 Fundamental Truths


4. THE FALL OF MAN

Man was created good and upright; for God said, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.” However, man by voluntary transgression fell and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God.

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5. THE SALVATION OF MAN

Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Conditions to Salvation

Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life.

The Evidence of Salvation

The inward evidence of salvation is the direct witness of the Spirit.

The outward evidence to all men is a life of righteousness and true holiness.

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16 Fundamental Truths:

6. THE ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH

BAPTISM IN WATER

The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures. All who repent and believe on Christ as Saviour and Lord are to be baptized. Thus they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life.

HOLY COMMUNION

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements –bread and the fruit of the vine– is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4 [KJV/NIV]), a memorial of his suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26 [KJV/NIV]), and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26 [KJV/NIV]), and is enjoined on all believers “till He come!”

#16 Fundamental Truths


7. THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church. With it comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry.

This experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth.

With the baptism in the Holy Spirit come such experiences as:

  • an overflowing fullness of the Spirit, John 7:37-39 [KJV/NIV], Acts 4:8 [KJV/NIV]
  • a deepened reverence for God, Acts 2:43 [KJV/NIV], Hebrews 12:28 [KJV/NIV]
  • an intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work, Acts 2:42 [KJV/NIV]
  • and a more active love for Christ, for His Word and for the lost, Mark 16:20 [KJV/NIV]

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8. THE INITIAL PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

The baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.

The speaking in tongues in this instance is the same in essence as the gift of tongues, but is different in purpose and use.

  • 1 Corinthians 12:4-10 [KJV/NIV
  • 1 Corinthians 12:28 [KJV/NIV]

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9. SANCTIFICATION

Sanctification is an act of separation from that which is evil, and of dedication unto God.

The Scriptures teach a life of “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.”

By the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to obey the command: “Be ye holy, for I am holy.”

Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by the faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit.

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10. THE CHURCH AND ITS MISSION

The Church is the Body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of her great commission. Each believer, born of the Spirit, is an integral part of the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which are written in heaven.

Since God’s purpose concerning man is to seek and to save that which is lost, to be worshipped by man, to build a body of believers in the image of His Son, and to demonstrate His love and compassion for all the world, the priority reason for being of the Assemblies of God as part of the Church is:

  1. To be an agency of God for evangelizing the world.
  2. To be a corporate body in which man may worship God.
  3. To be a channel of God’s purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son.
  4. To be a people who demonstrate God’s love and compassion for all the world.

The Assemblies of God exists expressly to give continuing emphasis to this reason for being in the New Testament apostolic pattern by teaching and encouraging believers to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. This experience:

  1. Enables them to evangelize in the power of the Spirit with accompanying supernatural signs.
  2. Adds a necessary dimension to worshipful relationship with God.
  3. Enables them to respond to the full working of the Holy Spirit in expression of fruit and gifts and ministries as in New Testament times for the edifying of the body of Christ and care for the poor and needy of the world.

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11. THE MINISTRY

A divinely called and scripturally ordained ministry has been provided by our Lord for the fourfold purpose of leading the Church in:

Evangelization of the world.

Worship of God.

Building a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son.

Meeting human need with ministries of love and compassion.

#16 Fundamental Truths


12. DIVINE HEALING

Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers.

#16 Fundamental Truths


13. THE BLESSED HOPE

The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church.

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14. THE MILLENNIAL REIGN OF CHRIST

The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope, followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on earth for one thousand years.

This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel,

and the establishment of universal peace.

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15. THE FINAL JUDGMENT

There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

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16. THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH

“We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

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Praying for a continued outpouring of the Holy Spirit as missionaries and pastors reach people around the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ

If you are a follower of Jesus, we pray for you and ask that you would pray for us and the continued work that God is doing. We must pray with urgency in these last days, that many more would come into a saving relationship with our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ (Yeshua haMashiach), the King of Israel and the King of the Universe.

The 16 Fundamental Truths are one way that God has united the Pentecostal movement of the Assemblies of God fellowship. We are excited about the future and all God will continue to do using men and women who are willing to step out in faith and preach the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you will join us in this effort, to pray continually, please leave a comment!

We love to hear from you and pray for you!




Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?

5 Tevet, B”H

I love the question that the wise men asked when they arrived in Jerusalem: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” Matthew 2:2. Let’s ask that same question today.

The Coming of Messiah

The Gospel of Matthew begins with his account of the birth of Messiah. What has always stuck me the most is that the Son of God would be called Emmanuel: God with us:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.” Matthew 1:18-25

The God of the entire universe humbled Himself and became flesh, to live among us and to die for our sins in order to save us. If you need some reassurance today, know this: God is with us, and He will never leave us nor forsake us.

The Bethlehem Star

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:1-2

I heard an excellent sermon recently. The pastor invited the congregation to consider all the billions of stars and realize that Scripture reports that the magi knew “His” star. One specific star. God has named each of the stars, and there was one particular star that would be the heralding star of the coming of God Incarnate, Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah.

“He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.” Psalm 147:4

Gentile Astronomers

The wise men were probably not ethnically Jewish. Scripture gives us clues to believe these seasoned astronomers were Gentiles.

First of all, the fact that they are looking for the King of “the Jews” suggests this was not “their” king. The wise men didn’t say, “Where is our King?”

This is nonetheless extraordinary because somehow these Gentile star-gazers knew that the Jewish Messiah would come and they wanted to be a part of the history God was writing.

A second reason that suggests that the wise men were not ethnically Jewish is because they did not identify Bethlehem as the place to find Jesus (Yeshua). If they had been deeply familiar with the Jewish Scriptures, the wise men would have been likely to discern that the promised Messiah would be found in Bethlehem, but instead, they ask where they can find Him.

The wise men were Gentile astronomers who fulfilled even this Messianic prophecy from Psalm 147:

“The kings of Tarshish and of the isles
Will bring presents;
The kings of Sheba and Seba
Will offer gifts.
Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him;
All nations shall serve Him.” Psalm 147:10-11

The Gentile nations would come before the Promised King of kings bringing their gifts, their treasures, foreshadowing that the glorious Gospel would be available to all – Jew and Gentile alike.

Relationship Evangelism

I had an interesting conversation with my dental hygienist during my most recent visit. My dental hygienist comes from a very open, liberal background and attends a Unitarian “church.”

She has expressed curiosity about Jesus and I try to minister to her gently when my mouth isn’t full of toothpaste or her dental instruments!

At one point during our conversation, I said something about how Jesus is still alive.

To which she replied, very innocently, “Yes, you mean He still lives on when we talk about Him or in how we live.”

I challenged her nebulous response a bit, by saying, “Well, more than that. Jesus is literally still alive and sitting on His throne at the right hand of God the Father.”

(The Unitarians believe that Jesus and Buddha and Muhammed should all receive equal respect.)

I continued, “Think about it carefully. Buddha is dead. Muhammed is also dead and buried. Ghandi, same fate. Jesus was dead and buried, too, but the difference is, Jesus rose up from the dead and is literally alive and well! He is still alive!”

Her eyes lit up. I know she felt the impact of Truth in that moment. Please pray for her, the LORD knows her name. She is spiritually hungry and is open to hearing the Truth, but is in a relationship with a man who also espouses Unitarianism.

When those who are from spiritually afar come to us wondering who is the King, and is this King alive, and where can they find Him, it is our Commission to openly share the Gospel with them! Be sure to build relationships so that you can help lead others to a saving relationship with our Messiah!

Where is He who was born King of the Jews?

He is in our hearts –

but so much more than that –

He is alive and will forever rule and reign!

He is our King – the King of all kings!

Jesus (Yeshua) our Messiah came to dwell among us, and now He invites us to choose our eternal dwelling place to be with Him.

Shalom!




Sweetness amid the sounding shofar: the prophetic significance of Rosh HaShanah

Elul 5783, B”H

Rosh HaShanah/Yom Teruah

Rosh HaShanah will begin at sundown on Friday, September 15 this year. This Biblical holiday lasts through sundown on Sunday, September 17. Rosh HaShanah is also known as “Yom Teruah,” literally the “Day of the Shout.” Yom Teruah is a more correct name, Biblically, for this feast. Many refer to it in English as the Day of Trumpets, or the Day of the Shofar.

Scriptural precedence for the Biblical feast can be found in Numbers as well as in the Psalms which we will look at in a moment.

 “And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. For you it is a day of blowing the trumpets.” Numbers 29:1, emphasis added

Have you ever heard the sounding of the shofar?

The tone is so profound. To celebrate this holiday, the shofar is sounded:

“Sing aloud to God our strength;
Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob.
Raise a song and strike the timbrel,
The pleasant harp with the lute.

Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon,
At the full moon, on our solemn feast day.
For this is a statute for Israel,
A law of the God of Jacob.” Psalm 81:1-4
, emphases added

There is a solemnity, calling all hearers to humble themselves before the King of all kings. There is also joy, for we know that one day the shofar will sound and the dead in Messiah will rise and those who are still alive will meet the LORD in the air:

“For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the blast of God’s shofar,and the dead in Messiah shall rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left behind, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air—and so we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, TLV

Inherent and Inerrant Cohesiveness of the Biblical Narrative

Our Savior and Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) fulfilled the prophetic meaning of each Biblical feast found within the pages of Scripture.

I view so much of this as a “lost history” because so many believers have not been taught about our collective history as the people of God: native and grafted in members of the house of Israel.

The Biblical holidays (particularly the Fall Feasts) are eschatologically significant, pointing us to the end of days and affirming the inherent and inerrant cohesiveness of the Biblical narrative.

The Hebrew Scriptures form the foundation for the New Testament and all of the Scriptures are without error. The entirety of the Word of God is valuable and we must treat it as such!

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Prophetic and Eschatological Significance of Rosh HaShanah/Yom Teruah

The Bible exhorts us to “Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!” Psalm 66:1

Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah provides occasion for such shouting, though we should not limit our praise to just one time of year. If we look to the Scriptures, we will see that every aspect of the Feast days points to Jesus (Yeshua).

During the Hebrew month of Elul, spiritual preparation is made because it is known that soon the Bridegroom will come. You may be interested in my recent post explaining a bit about the month of Elul and preparations for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (the High Holidays).

When the shofar is sounded on Rosh HaShanah, we are reminded of the coronation of our King. He has sought us in the field, we are beloved and betrothed, and we await the Marriage supper of the Lamb.

“‘Then he said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”'” Revelation 19:9

Each Rosh Hashanah is sort of like a divine dress rehearsal. Some believe that the final shofar will indeed sound on Rosh Hashanah, but I am cognizant of the Word of God which says no one knows the day nor hour.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36

That said, Yeshua (Jesus) may have been alluding to Rosh HaShanah when He said this because “no one knows the day nor hour” had connotations as a wedding idiom at that time. “No one knows the day or hour, but we know those two are getting married!” Also, the Jewish community did not know the exact date or time for Yom Teruah, and it had become commonplace to describe Rosh HaShanah as the feast of which “no one knows the day nor hour!”

Word to the wise: always be ready.

The King is coming.

The Sweetness of a New Year

In Hebrew, Rosh HaShanah means “Head of the year.” It is the start of the Biblical new year and is a time of repentance as well as rejoicing.

I love how Rosh HaShanah occurs always just after the start of the school year. My children are homeschooled and we enjoy incorporating aspects of the Biblical Feasts into our studies of history and Biblical studies. It is customary on Rosh HaShanah to eat apples and honey and to pray for a sweet new year.

In our household, this means praying we will each demonstrate sweetness of character and be kind to one another.

Sweet and Sour: Sweetness amid the Sound of the Shofar

For those of us who are counted among the saved, sanctified, and sealed in the Book of Life, the New Year is very sweet.

But we must also be cognizant of the dichotomy between that which is sweet and that which is not-so-sweet.

If we are honest, Yom Teruah (Rosh HaShanah) reminds us of the sour reality that not everyone will be saved.

Not everyone will heed the warning blast.

Not everyone will repent.

We will find perfect relief of our burden to preach at the end of days, but until then, we must continue to introduce our loving and merciful Savior to a lost and dying world.

To me, it is a bittersweet reality.

We truly must do more to reach the unreached.

So great is ADONAI’s mercy, so sweet and so generous.

We have been commissioned to share that Good News, and we must. Before it is too late.

Wake up sleeper, open your eyes!

Have you heard the song by Austin French, “Wake up Sleeper, Open your eyes”?

“Wake up sleeper
Open your eyes
Oh sinner, arise
Leave your past at the door
Wake up sleeper
Come to the light
Christ is alive
Death don’t live here anymore
Death don’t live here anymore”

These lyrics are so appropriate for Rosh HaShanah/Yom Teruah because the sounding of the shofar is intended to wake up sinners out of their slumber so there will be repentance before it is too late!

As followers of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ), we, too, need to be awakened once again. There is so much apathy in the church today and we must repent of our complacency. We must awake from our slumber! Like the Prophet Joel said, we must sound the alarm on God’s holy mountain!

Looking forward to things yet to come

This Rosh HaShanah/Yom Teruah, let us look forward to all that the LORD has in store for those who love Him:

“But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

Here is a wonderful worship song that contains that verse:

God’s plans for your life are so great! Keep your eyes on Jesus (Yeshua) and always be ready!

“And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17

Sweetness at the mercy seat

Brooke Fraser’s recent song, “Honey in the Rock” also has such beautiful lyrics and it brought me some inspiration today.

Sweetness at the mercy seat
Now I’ve tasted, it’s not hard to see
Only You can satisfy

This Rosh HaShanah, may you experience the sweetness of salvation at the mercy seat of the LORD Most High. Once you have tasted and seen, you will know that our God is so very good and His love endures forever.

Shana tova! Happy New Year!




Elul: repent and rejoice! the King is in the field

Elul 3, B”H 5783

The Hebrew month of Elul

You may recall my post from July about Tisha b’Av. In that post, I introduced the Hebrew months of the year to help ubicate us in understanding the significance of certain dates on the Biblical calendar.

One of those months is called “Elul.”

Elul (Heb. אלול) comes from the root word “to search.”

This is the time of year when we are reminded that the LORD searches our hearts and knows us and we repent for those things which we continue to struggle with in our ongoing journey in holiness.

We are to search inside of ourselves and turn away from that which harms our relationship with the LORD Most High as we enter a new Biblical year.

Psalm 139:23-24

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

Medieval Jewish sages realized that each letter of the word “Elul” in Hebrew can serve as an acronym for the well-known phrase from Song of Solomon 6:3 “Ani l’dodi, v’dodi li” (Hebrew for “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine”).

Song of Solomon 6:3

When we reflect on this time of preparation, we see that Elul is a time of preparation for the Bride, for truly the Bridegroom is coming. This is a time of self-examination as we prepare to meet our Coming King. He accepts us with the deepest of love when we come before Him with a pure and contrite heart, made beautiful by our relationship with Him.

Elul, the High Holy Days, and the Coming of the Bridegroom

The month of Elul precedes what are known as the High Holy Days. These days include Yom Teruah (also known as Rosh Hashanah) and Yom Kippur. Yom Teruah occurs on the first day of the next month which is known as Tishrei. The High Holy Days are customarily a time of introspection as Yom Kippur serves as the yearly day of atonement. Israel pleads to be written in the Book of Life, and sealed for another year.

Now that our Messiah and Almighty Savior Yeshua (Jesus Christ) has come, those who have confessed Him as LORD and King have the assurance that the names of the saved are written in the Book of Life, never to be blotted out.

Elul is like the month before the wedding. Preparation is made because soon the Bridegroom will come. The Bride may prepare for the Coming Bridegroom with grace, dignity, and confidence because she has been set apart, consecrated, made ready for the moment when her King comes.

Repentance and Holiness

As saved and sanctified children of God, we continue to pursue holiness and the path of righteousness.

Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

Though we may not experience all that which tremendously occurred at Mount Sinai, we now spiritually experience the glory of Mount Zion.

The writer of Hebrews continues: For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.  (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” 

And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven . . . ” Hebrew 12:18-25, emphases added.

We are to live our lives with quiet and holy fear (reverence).

To do this fully, a true believer and follower of the LORD will very obviously seek to live in humility, all too aware of our faults and failings, but awesomely and intimately aware that He is perfecting us each and every day. We live with an attitude of repentance, thankful that His mercy blots out a multitude of sins. We do the work of ministry, always seeking to share the Word with those who do not yet know Him – not to gain a place in heaven, but to demonstrate our heavenly citizenship! The world glorifies sin. We glorify only Jesus (Yeshua), the One who died to take away our sins and the One who will return for us!

James 5:20

“. . . let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” James 5:20

On the Day of Shavu’ot (Pentecost), Peter urged his listeners to repent:

“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.  

For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’

Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.  You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” Acts 3:19-26.

Teshuvah: Biblical Repentance

The Jewish understanding of the concept of “teshuvah” is slightly different than the traditional Christian interpretation of repentance.

Standard Christian repentance is about simply turning away from sin. There is nothing wrong with that. But teshuvah, true Biblical repentance, goes deeper than that.

Teshuvah is a “return.” More specifically, a return to our first love after being astray.

Inherent in teshuvah is the acknowledgement that we have sinned, but this is more about returning to the Way of the LORD than about guilt: it requires an action on our part to strive to right the wrong.

“Teshuvah” is seen as an action. It is often said one is “doing teshuvah.”

Teshuvah means the individual identifies the wrongs they have committed and actively works toward a behavioral change “to right the wrong.” The sinner confesses to God, but also goes back to the one he or she has wronged to ask for forgiveness and attempt to right the wrong.

Christians know that we cannot earn our salvation, so the concept of “teshuvah” gets a bit difficult for many Christians to understand. I have even found that some Christians simply do not want to understand because they would rather remain complacent. Some use texts about grace to shirk any semblance of responsibility, which is a truly irresponsible way to view YHVH’s immense and perfect grace. I believe in grace. I also believe in doing what is right.

Teshuvah is something the Christian can do in gratitude for salvation. Any decent person of faith ought strive to right their wrongs, right? The difference is, we know that we will never be able to erase the evil we have done to another so we cannot completely right our wrongs and we know that. We trust in our Merciful LORD, the Righter of Wrongs to bring healing, restoration, and ultimately wholeness.

Elul is the time of year when teshuvah is emphasized. Hosea uses the term “teshuvah” in admonishing the people of Israel to return to the LORD.

Hosea 14:2

“Take words with you,
And return to the LORD.
Say to Him,
“Take away all iniquity;
Receive us graciously,
For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.” Hosea 14:2
, emphasis added

Biblical repentance is about returning to the LORD with nothing hindering our relationship. We are cleansed and made new by the blood of the Lamb and we are victorious by the word of our testimony.

We are ready to meet our Beloved.

“Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all sins.” Proverbs 10:12

Proverbs 10:12

40 Days of Repentance: Elul or Lent?

The time of repentance observed in the month of Elul is set by Biblical precedent.

It sounds very much like a Hebrew “Lent” for those familiar with Lenten practices.

I will be controversial here, but I’m not one to shy from that . . .

Lent is a manmade invention championed by the liturgical world. It is not Biblical.

Historically, significant efforts were made to distance the “church” from its Jewish (and Biblical, mind you) history. It is no secret that Catholic and Lutheran churches alike were plagued with antiSemitism for many many years.

Those who invented Lent took the concept of Elul (a 40 day time of prayer and fasting lasting from 1 Elul to 10 Tishrei) and “Christianized” it, citing a time to prepare to honor the death and resurrection of Christ. Sadly, the Western inventions of things like Advent and Lent have served to confuse the body of Christ and isolate us from the true Biblical feast days and their significance.

Elul is about returning. Let us return to the basic (Hebraic!) tenets of our faith – to seek to walk on the path of righteousness, guided by the LORD Himself as written in His Holy Word.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Word of God is available to us and if we are not spending time in the Word, that is another reason for repentance.

Collectively, we should repent that the church has strayed so far and has actually contributed to the unbelief of the Jewish people as they observe the glaring discrepancies of many unBiblical “Christian” practices.

May we return to the essence of Elul.

Cheshbon haNefesh: The accounting for the soul

Cheshbon haNefesh is a Hebrew term used frequently throughout the month of Elul. “Cheshbon” is used in modern Hebrew to describe an invoice or bill, such as at a café. Cheshbon: what is owed, what must be paid, the account. Nefesh refers to the soul or what makes you you – it is a word that is also translated as “life” or “being.” Nefesh is the life force within you.

During Elul, we are reminded of His gracious gift. We fall on our knees in the humblest of gratitude, thankful that Yeshua (Jesus) shed His precious blood in payment to redeem our souls.

We owe everything to our Savior yet we know our account has been paid in full.

Elul is a time to reflect on how we are using our nefesh – how are we using the life that is within us to advance the Kingdom of God? It is a time to take ourselves to account.

This is a time to realize where we truly fall short in our relationship with our Creator. In what ways do we fail to love? Do we truly love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind?

HaMelech ba’sadeh: The King is in the field

It is often said during Elul that “the King is in the field.”

The King of all kings, who may seem unapproachable, who is far in His heavenly palace seated on His throne is the same King who reaches out His scepter even when we are unworthy of His mercy. The King of all kings is the same King who comes to our level – He humbled Himself and walked in those fields ripe for harvest.

The Chassidic interpretation is that the King comes when the laborers are in the field – meeting His workers where they are. Surprising them with His presence. Demonstrating kindness.

The King is coming.

The King is in the field.

The King of all kings is approachable and He loves you.

You can go to Him and He will receive you with open arms.

And you will be raptured away in love together.

Personal Prayer and Devotional Time during the month of Elul

It is traditional to read Psalm 27 daily during the month of Elul.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the 
LORD.

Psalm 27:8

Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the LORD will take care of me.

Teach me Your way, O LORD,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.

Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Perhaps you would like to reflect on this passage during this time, as well. This Psalm truly speaks to the relationship aspect of our faith: that we call upon Him and He answers and we are to seek His face.

The King is in the field and the harvest is ready but the workers are few.

Will you meet Him in the field?

Will you share the Good News that the King is coming back again!?

Repent and Rejoice!

Our King is coming for us!

Please comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts about the month of Elul and the coming of our Almighty King!




Review: Evangelical Study Bible

I am a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG2). As a #BibleGatewayPartner, I have received a copy of the New King James Version Evangelical Study Bible published by Zondervan Bibles at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review here on the Adonai Shalom USA blog. #BG2

Evangelical Study Bible (NKJV) Book Review & Description

The new Evangelical Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson is immediately appealing! The design on the hardcover edition is very inviting: it features a lovely tree branch design with modern coloration and reminds us that the Bible is truly life-giving:

New King James Version Evangelical Study Bible

Evangelical: Reaching the world around us

I particularly liked what is printed on the front inside of the book jacket: a short admonition to be bearers of Truth: to use this Bible to become firmly “grounded in the truth” in order to reach the world around us. The book jacket challenges the societal norms of today which falsely posit that “truth is just a perspective . . . . always changing, shifting, and transforming to conform to the standards of the world around us.”

Given that the book jacket is indeed the first impression most of us would get from a hardcover book, I believe this was tastefully and wisely done.

We are blessed to have so many different study editions of the Scriptures available to us in the English language. This particular study Bible emphasizes the importance of living out an evangelical faith. I would not be surprised if the Evangelical Study Bible becomes a very popular edition for Bible study groups throughout the English-speaking evangelical world. The articles and in-text resources are very accessible for new as well as more mature Christians, making this an excellent choice for anyone looking for a general evangelical study resource.

Use of color in the Evangelical Study Bible

The Evangelical Study Bible contains what the editors call “special helps” which are “unique to this Bible.” These include doctrinal footnotes, personality profiles, information of archaeological sites with full-color photos, apologetics articles, and in-text full-color maps. There is an introductory page for each book of the Bible complete with a full color image.

The use of color throughout makes this Bible particularly eye-catching. Today’s social media savvy youngsters use photos and images constantly. Likewise, this Bible grabs one’s attention through the use of full color images, a wise choice to meet the goal of making this an evangelical-friendly Bible. There are additional full-color maps in the back that offer additional eye-catching material and useful tools for personal study and even apologetics.

This Evangelical Study Bible follows the custom of using red lettering for the words of Jesus. I am such a fan of red letter Bibles. I love to clearly see what Jesus said!

This Bible also features verse-by-verse commentary, short articles and background notes on Christian teachings and doctrine, cultural and archeological notes, word studies, and other helpful indices. The text is a very readable 10.5 point font, slightly larger than the 9.5 point font in the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible that I also recently reviewed.

The NKJV Evangelical Study Bible lives up to the slogan printed on the cover: “Christ-centered, Faith-Building, Mission-Focused.”

Contributing Editors

An impressive list of contributing editors can be found in the early pages of the Evangelical Study Bible. These Biblical scholars have received degrees from reputable universities and theological schools including Dallas Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Regent University, Liberty University, Hebrew Union College, and Westminster Theological Seminary. The commentary throughout the Evangelical Study Bible appears to be dependable and fairly interdenominational. The editors profess faith in our LORD:

“We believe that the Bible is God’s message to men and women of all time – that it presents His plan for salvation and daily Christian living. We pray that this new edition of the Evangelical Study Bible will increase your understanding of that message and will richly bless your spiritual life and growth for years to come.”

“Dear Reader,” Evangelical Study Bible, viii.

My recommendation:

★★★★★

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Evangelical Study Bible deserves a 5 out of 5.

This is an excellent evangelical resource for anyone who takes their faith seriously and wants to enhance their personal study and devotional time with in-text study resources and verse-by-verse commentary.

Pastora Jennifer Mieliulis Fuentes, M.Div., Duke University

Book details

Title: Evangelical Study Bible
Author: 
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: 
2023
Genre: BIBLES/New King James Version/Study

ISBN-13: 978-0-7852-2771-7

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Behold, your King is coming to you: Zechariah’s Palm Sunday prophecy

(Zechariah 9; Luke 19:28-48) 5783 B”H

It is already nearly Palm Sunday and Passover! We still have snow on the ground here in the northwoods, but the joy of our Savior’s Resurrection warms our hearts and helps us remember that the spring flowers are just about to burst forth.

Zekharyah: God remembers

Have you ever read the full prophecy found in Zechariah 9?

Zechariah (זְכַרְיָה (Zekharyah) was a priest and prophet by heritage and lineage and God used him to reveal one of the most important Messianic prophecies!

The Hebrew name “Zekharyah” means “God remembers.”

God remembers His people, He remembers His promises, and prophecy is fulfilled precisely because the LORD has spoken and His Word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11).

The chapter begins with judgment on Israel’s enemies – highly appropriate given the promise of Zion’s Coming King who would defeat evil. God remembered all that Israel had endured and reassured them that He would send the Righteous One.

Zechariah 9:9-17 contains the prophecies that were fulfilled on Palm Sunday. Additionally, this passage prophesies that the coming King would speak shalom and salvation to the nations:

Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion!
        Shout, daughter of Jerusalem!
    Behold, your King is coming to you,
        a righteous one bringing salvation.
        He is lowly, riding on a donkey—
        on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

I will banish chariots from Ephraim
        and horses from Jerusalem,
        and the war bow will be broken.
    He will speak shalom to the nations.
    His rule will extend from sea to sea,
    from the River to the ends of the earth.
As for you also, by the blood of your covenant,
        I will release your prisoners from the waterless Pit.
Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope!
    Today I declare that I will restore twice as much to you.
I will bend Judah as my bow
        and fill it with Ephraim.
  I will rouse your sons, O Zion
        against your sons, O Greece.
    I will wield you like a warrior’s sword.

Then ADONAI will be seen over them
    as His arrow flashes like lightning.
ADONAI Elohim will blow the shofar
    and march in whirlwinds of the south.

ADONAI TZVA’OT will defend them.
    They will consume and conquer with sling stones.
    They will drink and roar as with wine
        and be filled like a bowl,
        like the corners of the altar.
ADONAI their God will save them on that day
        as the flock of His people.
    They will be like gems of a crown
        sparkling over His land.
How good and beautiful it will be!
    Grain will make the young men thrive
        and new wine the virgin women.”
Zechariah 9:9-17, emphases added

Isn’t this beautiful to picture?

“They will be like gems of a crown sparkling over His land.” Zechariah 9:16b

He loves you so much you sparkle like a regal gem!

As you can see, this Bible passage describes the overwhelming and awesome power of the LORD Most High. His arrows flash like lightning and shofars will sound and the LORD of the Armies will defend us. It is really impactful to dwell on this passage for a time. Meditate on God’s Word! You will always be blessed.

Our Humble King, Owner of all things

Do you notice that the Zechariah passage ends with all such fanfare and victorious imagery, but it sure didn’t start out that way. It tells about a lowly Man, riding on a donkey. But, despite the humbleness of the passage, it does make a bold announcement:

“Behold, your King is coming to you.” Zechariah 9:9

What a statement!

The King was coming! And not just any King – your King. The One who will hold out His scepter of righteous forgiveness and allow you into His Presence with all-consuming love, mercy, and passion.

Do you need to hear that today?

Do you need to know that there is One who holds all Authority, the Majestic King of all kings, and He is coming once again? No one knows the day or the hour of Yeshua’s (Jesus’) Second Coming, but I can assure you this: He is coming back for His own.

As Zechariah records, Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ our Lord) is the Righteous One and He is bringing salvation. He will save you, deliver you, and set you free of your burdens and your sins and even the curse and sting of death. He will give you new life, if you will trust in Him today with all your heart.

Luke documented the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy that the Messiah would ride on a colt. (Luke 19:30ff).

I love how the owners of the colt ask the two disciples in Luke 19, “Why are you untying the colt?” Luke 19:33

That was a reasonable question. The disciples didn’t own the colt, but the Master, the LORD Himself can given them permission to take it! They were instructed to simply say,

“The LORD has need of him.” (Luke 19:34, NKJV).

“The Master needs it.” (Luke 19:34, TLV).

God owns everything, so He owned that young donkey, too.

The LORD needed the donkey because He was absolutely fulfilling in every minute detail the words of Zechariah‘s triumphal prophecy.

Luke describes the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

Even though our LORD chose to use a lowly donkey as His transportation into Jerusalem, the events of that first Palm Sunday were far from lowly.

During what is commonly described as “the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem,” there was now a full multitude of people who would consider themselves Yeshua’s (Jesus’) disciples. They were celebrating because they knew He was the Anointed One, the Promised King!

Scripture says that they praised God with a loud voice!

Do you, too, praise Him with a loud voice?

Do you let it be known that you and your household serve this King?

“When Yeshua came near the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began to rejoice. They praised God with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen, saying,

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of ADONAI!”
Shalom in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!”

But answering, Yeshua said, “I tell you that if these keep silent, the stones will shout out!”

As He drew near and saw Jerusalem, He wept over her, saying, “If only you had recognized this day the things that lead to shalom! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will surround you with barricades and hem you in on all sides. And they will smash you to the ground—you and your children within you. And they won’t leave within you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:37-45).

Blessed is the King!

What has often become a repetitive custom to say, “Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai” was in that moment the most powerful declaration of allegiance and praise!

Shalom in Heaven and Glory in the Highest!

Shalom in heaven!

Glory in the Highest!

Doesn’t that reach the depths of your heart?

The joy of knowing the King of kings has come!

I imagine the overwhelming experiential joy that the disciples must have been feeling at that moment!

The Pharisees missed the mark and wanted to hear a public rebuke.

But Yeshua (Jesus) knew the condition of their hearts.

He wept over the Holy City, knowing that despite their daily greetings to one another saying, “Shalom,” they truly didn’t understand shalom.

More than a greeting and more than a temporary condition, true shalom comes only from being in right relationship with the Holy One, learning to love and seeking His mercy. Keeping every jot and tittle of the law could not save the people. They needed to know the Lord of Shalom.

Rejoice Greatly and Shout

Zechariah 9:9 proclaims we are to rejoice greatly and shout because of the announcement of the Coming King!

As we enter this Holy time of Passover and celebrating the FirstFruits of the Resurrection, I pray you will rejoice greatly. That you will not be ashamed to shout praises unto God Most High!

The tomb is empty. Our King will return!

Celebrate! And may we pray for those who do not yet know Him. That they, too, would shout “Hoshiana!” (Hosanna!): Please, save!




How firm is your foundation?

(Luke 6) 5783 B”H

Luke 6:46 stood out to me today in my reading. It is part of the Sermon on the Plain, a fairly well-known passage that echoes the Sermon on the Mount, but goes beyond what we would call “beatitudes” and includes woes and warnings to ensure that God’s people seek to build their faith upon a firm foundation.

A Direct Question

“Why do you call me, ‘”‘Master, Master’ and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46, TLV

Yeshua (Jesus) is our Master, our LORD. Many of us are familiar with the New King James translation:

“But why do you call Me ‘LORD, LORD,’ and not do the things which I say?” Luke 6:46, NKJV

He is LORD, and we are not.

Therefore, as followers of our Almighty and Merciful Savior, we are to very intentionally become servants of our Master Yeshua (Jesus).

Deliberate Faith

Oswald Chambers, a Scottish Baptist-Holiness evangelist, used the term “deliberately” to describe the relationship we are to be in: “The passion of Christianity comes from deliberately signing away my own rights and becoming a bondservant of Jesus Christ.”

Peter described himself this way:

“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ . . .” 2 Peter 1:1

This is all remarkably countercultural, of course.

The world seeks increase, but as John would preach, we must decrease (John 3:30).

Yeshua (Jesus) asks a very direct, but entirely fair question:

You call Me your LORD and your Master, so why don’t you do what I tell you to do?

Why don’t you do what I say?

Obedience

There are instances when we know we should have done one thing, but did another.

Times when we knew God was leading us in a certain direction, but we either ignorantly failed to really tune into His voice or we very deliberately or defiantly chose to ignore His leading.

Yet our Savior Yeshua (Jesus) died so we could be in relationship with Him. He gave His life so we could confidently live our lives knowing this life is not the end.

He simply asks us to obey Him.

Our Perfect Teacher

He is our Master as well as our Teacher:

“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40

There is great truth in that statement.

If you have been taught by God-fearing men and women, you will learn to emulate them.

If you have been taught by the arrogant, a twinge of that arrogance will probably brush off on you.

As followers of the Perfect Teacher, we should absolutely be hearing His voice and seeking to be just like Him. That His Words would be our words and we would speak Truth and Life, Love, and the message of Salvation.

Yeshua (Jesus) taught using stories. This helps us visualize the lesson He is trying to help us to understand:

“Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.  But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:47-49

A Firm Foundation

Throughout the Scriptures, the LORD emphasizes the need for us to have a solid foundation:

“So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:

‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
    a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
    will never be stricken with panic.'” Isaiah 28:16, NIV

As someone who fights an ongoing war with anxiety, I love the translation here in the NIV. We who rely on our Savior, our sure Foundation, will never be “stricken with panic.” Our faith must help us win every battle! Anxiousness really has no place in the life of a believer so it is a battle we must fight and trust Him to help us win. ” . . . God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.

I am also a person who has a ton of faith. I’ve seen enough miracles to know His mighty power is still working today. Faith, built on a firm foundation will take you so very far and you will witness so many glorious works of the LORD.

Are you praying today for a loved one to be saved?

Trust in the LORD! Have faith!

Build your prayer life upon His promises and maintain a firm foundation.

No matter what comes up against you, you will prevail if you continue to build up your faith by reading God’s Word, listening to His voice, and obeying Him!

Rebuilding the Foundational Wall of Jerusalem

When Nehemiah oversaw the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem, there was adversity:

“But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish—stones that are burned?” Nehemiah 4:1-2

Nehemiah was not deterred.

Nehemiah had a firm foundation, the anchor of his soul: he loved the LORD and wanted to do all he could to serve Him:

“So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.” Nehemiah 4:6

The people had a mind to work.

When those who love the LORD set their minds to work for His Kingdom, amazing things can happen. Let those naysayers be, and keep working for the LORD. He will bless you and keep you safe from all harm because your foundation is found in Him.

Our Chief Cornerstone

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,  in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19:21, emphasis added)

Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) is our Chief Cornerstone and our faith is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.

When we are firm in our faith and understanding, we realize that we – together with God’s people all around the world of every nation, tribe, tongue – we comprise the temple, spiritually now. Our body, the Body of Christ, the Body of Messiah, is the temple of the Holy Spirit, (1 Corinthians 6:19).

The Importance of Teaching our Children

“And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying:  “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’ ”

Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel,  that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:1-7 (emphasis added).

This account from Joshua (Yehoshua) is a perfect example of attention devoted to children. The Israelites were journeying, they were tired, they had to contend with their fears and foes, and yet the LORD inspired Joshua to instruct the twelve men to carry a stone that would serve as an object lesson “in time to come” when the children asked about the significance of the stones.

Have you invested time into training up your children to know the history of their faith?

Do you come from a blessed background in which you grew up knowing about Jesus?

Not everyone grew up with a firm foundation, but we can all work to change that for future generations.

When you children ask in time to come all the details of faith, may the story of Joshua be included, for those stones began to lay a foundation even there in the wilderness.

How firm is YOUR foundation?

Is your faith truly founded on the Rock who is our LORD?

Are you in true relationship with the LORD of all, the One who came to save you?

I love this hymn and want to share it with you today, that it would bless you. Take some time to pray and ask the LORD to confirm to you that your foundation is secure! May you be most especially blessed today, dear friend!




Spirit-filled Songs of Praise in Luke’s Gospel

(Luke 1-2) 5783 B”H, updated 2/20/23

Last week, I focused on Dr.Luke, Gospel-writer. His purpose in writing was so that the beloved ones would “know for sure the Truth.” We will see today that Luke was also very interested in recording examples of Spirit-filled praise.

As we continue to look at Luke‘s writings, I’d like to point out his early focus on praise hymns. Before the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke ends, he has already shared with us the song of praise (often called the “Magnificat”) of Mary (Miriam), the mother of Jesus (Yeshua).

This indicates to me that Luke was a worshipper. It seems to me that Dr.Luke had a heart filled with praise which inspired Him to write and share the Good News with us.

Miriam the Prophetess & Miriam, Mother of Messiah

When we hear the name “Miriam” related to Scripture, it is not uncommon to immediately think of Miriam the Prophetess, Moshe’s (Moses’) brave sister (Shemot/Exodus 15:20).

Both Moshe (Moses) and Miriam sang praises to ADONAI for leading them to safety through the parted waters of the Red Sea (Shemot/Exodus 15). With tambourine in hand, Miriam led dancing and singing:

“Sing to ADONAI, for He is highly exalted! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!” Exodus 15:21

Exodus Praise to Adonai

The praises sang in the Sinai desert set a precedent for the way praise would be offered throughout the Scriptures. Even today, we ought use these patterns for our praise – unashamedly rejoicing before the LORD in song and celebration.

Every bit of the Bible is compelling, but I find it very fascinating that Miriam the Prophetess is not the only Miriam in Scripture.

The mother of Yeshua (Jesus) was also a Miriam. “Mary” is anglicized. Back in ancient Bethlehem, it wasn’t “Mary and Joseph:” it was “Yosef and Miriam” blessed with their beautiful Son, Yeshua.

Luke’s Gospel account records that when Miriam visited Elizabeth, the Holy Spirit (Ruach haKodesh) filled Elizabeth “completely” (Luke 1:41, TLV).

In response to that Spirit-driven experience, Prophetess Miriam praised the LORD using the types of phrasing typical of Hebrew poetry. It is likely that Miriam, mother of Jesus (Yeshua) was inspired by the praise song sung by the other Miriam, sister of Moses:

“Then Miriam said,

‘My soul magnifies ADONAI,
and my spirit greatly rejoices in God, my Savior.
For He has looked with care upon the humble state of His maidservant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One has done a great thing for me,
and holy is His name.
And His mercy is from generation to generation
to the ones who fear Him.
He has displayed power with His arm
He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down rulers from thrones
and exalted humble ones.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent away the rich empty-handed.
He has helped His servant Israel,
remembering His mercy,
just as He spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his seed forever.'” Luke 1:46-55

Zechariah the Priest (Kohen)

Luke, being the very detail-oriented doctor that he was, made sure to record the song sung by Priest Zechariah because of its prophetic Truth.

Zechariah, too, was filled with the Holy Spirit (Ruach haKodesh) and Luke makes sure to point that out.

Notice the parallels between the songs of the Miriams and Zechariah. They begin by magnifying the LORD, blessing His Holy Name. The Bible says that Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and therefore prophesied about his son Yochanan (John [the Baptist/Immerser]) as well as Messiah Yeshua our Savior Jesus:

“Blessed be ADONAI,
    God of Israel,
for He has looked after His people
    and brought them redemption.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of His servant David,
just as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ages past,
salvation from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us!
So He shows mercy to our fathers
    and remembers His holy covenant,
the vow which He swore to Abraham
    our father, to grant us—
rescued fearlessly from the hand of
    our enemies—to serve Him,
in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
And you, child, will be called a prophet of Elyon.
For you will go before ADONAI to prepare His ways,

 to give knowledge of salvation to His people
through removal of their sins.
Through our God’s heart of mercy,
the Sunrise from on high will come upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet in the way of shalom.” Luke 1:67-79

The Army of Heaven

Are you familiar with Chris Tomlin’s song, Whom Shall I Fear? (The God of Angel Armies)?

I particularly love the line, “The One who reigns forever, He is a Friend of mine!”

Think about that! Let it sink in! The God of the Heavenly Armies, the All-Victorious, Almighty One, who reigns forever – is also your Friend. A Friend of mine!? Then yes, whom shall I fear? The Commander-In-Chief, the Eternal Protector, just so happens to be the One I can call upon at any moment and He will send heavenly host reinforcements. Immediately. He’s that Powerful. He’s that Loving. He’s that good of a Friend. ADONAI-Tzva’ot!

“A multitude of heavenly armies” proclaimed the birth of our Messiah:

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth shalom to men of good will.” Luke 2:13-14

Luke recorded these songs of praise to inspire us to do the same.

Praise the LORD today!

Does your soul magnify ADONAI?

Do you sing praises to the LORD Most High?

Have you, like those who have gone before us, recognized the Sovereignty of God in your life?

Do you rejoice in God your Savior?

Have you been rescued and delivered by His Mighty hand of power?

Are you filled with the glorious Holy Spirit?

Praise the LORD for all He has done!

“For the Mighty One has done a great thing for me, and holy is His Name.” Luke 1:49

Asbury Awakening

We appear to be witnessing a revival, or what is often more historically termed, an “awakening,” at Asbury University. As I wrote on our Adonai Shalom Facebook page,

“Let’s pray for the students of Asbury University. May this be a true revival/spiritual awakening that our nation and world so desperately needs. I have been cautiously optimistic that what is going on there may become the Azusa Street of our day. This generation has been raised on coffee and donuts in the church and is hungry for real spiritual nourishment. I pray this generation learns true worship and experiences the authentic power of the Eternal One! I also pray for the administration because the logistics of what is going on at the university must be quite a challenge to navigate. But may the LORD have His way and may hearts turn to Messiah Yeshua (Jesus)!”

This is such an exciting event to witness! We are in the last days, and there will again be Spirit-filled songs of praise lifted to our Most High God who is worthy of all honor and glory forever and ever. With all the modern technology, people have found out about the revival and are traveling from all over the world, hungry to experience the LORD. The Spirit of God is not limited to that place, but there will be people who, like the wise men, need to go there to see what it is the LORD has done and they will go and spread that news elsewhere. We should pray that this wonderful spirit of repentance and revival will continue and truly have a global impact.

Keep your eyes fixed on our Savior Yeshua (Jesus) – because He will come back for His own!

May you be most especially blessed today!




Luke: “That you may know for sure the Truth”

(Luke 1) 5783 B”H

I really love the Gospel of Luke and his sequel, the book of Acts.

Luke was a doctor. A learned man. He valued people and wanted to see them live healthy, full lives.

Do you know a doctor like that? Someone who went into the profession less for the money and more for the people? It’s not always easy to find a physician like that, but when you do, it is a blessing.

All too often, doctors rely on their extensive medical knowledge more than they do on God – the Giver of all that intelligence.

But Luke was different.

A doctor who encountered the Healer

Dr. Luke was certainly well-prepared and intelligent, yet he valued the spiritual side of things and was humble enough to recognize that there is an Almighty Healer.

As evidenced by his chronicling of the ministry of Yeshua (Jesus), Luke was very detail-oriented. Like any wise doctor, he would make thorough observations knowing that attention to detail could mean the difference between life and death.

Luke would have known firsthand that human medical practices were limited.

Surely he had been bedside when a patient succumbed to illness or injury and knew the feeling of helplessness, unable to prescribe a curing remedy.

Can you imagine the curiosity Luke must have felt when he witnessed the healing miracles of our Messiah? How perplexing! Was he skeptical at first? Did he try to explain it away using scientific reasoning? Or was he overjoyed that there was a true Healer?

Luke encountered the One who made the true difference between life and death – the One who defeated death and grants new and eternal Life.

As Luke realized that the Great Physician, Yeshua (Jesus) had come, he began to carefully document what he had seen in order to provide an orderly record to his beloved friends in the faith (ie.Theophilus). He must have been so fascinated, so captivated!

I’m confident Luke wondered: how could it be that this Man, Yeshua (Jesus), had authority to cast out sicknesses, heal diseases, and resurrect the dead!?

Luke the Gospel writer knew others were doing the same thing – “undertak[ing] to organize an account of the event fulfilled among us . . . ” (Luke 1:1). The Tree of Life Version gives an appropriate heading to the opening of Luke: “A Doctor Charts the Facts.” Luke wanted to make sure his account was accurate, to give yet another layer of evidence that the testimonies about the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) were indeed true.

In his own words: “Therefore it seemed best to me also, because I have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, to write for you an orderly record, most excellent Theophilus, so you may know for sure the truth of the words you have been taught.

Luke 1:3-4, emphasis added

That you may know.

For sure.

The Truth.

Luke so you may know the Truth

“Many convincing proofs”

Doctors would love to know things “for sure,” but usually they are making the best educated guess possible:

Maybe you have this going on…

We need to rule out x, y, or z . . .

Dr. Luke the Gospel writer was no exception. He didn’t believe that the Savior of the world came just because he saw one or two signs. His acceptance of Yeshua (Jesus) as the promised Messiah wasn’t based on what the crowds of people were saying.

He observed and concluded there were “many convincing proofs” (Acts 1:3) and wrote the second volume to his historical record, what is now known as the Acts of the Apostles.

Here he continues:

“I wrote the first volume, Theophilus, about all that Yeshua began to do and teach – up to the day He was taken up, after He had given orders by the Ruach haKodesh to the emissaries He had chosen. To them He showed Himself to be alive after His suffering through many convincing proofs, appearing to them for 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.”

Acts 1:1-3, emphasis added

If you are familiar with the book of Acts, you know that Luke doesn’t shy away from reporting on the miraculous. Luke trusted that what Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah came to do by the power of the Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit) was absolutely true and verifiable.

Yeshua (Jesus) showed Himself to be alive after being crucified

Doctors, even back in Bible times, are trained to read a pulse and understand vital signs. It is thought that Luke probably studied at one of the medical schools in Tarsus, Pergamum, or even Athens.

Obviously then, as a doctor, Luke would know when to pronounce someone dead. And living in the Roman Empire . . . harsh, cruel deaths were commonplace. He knew that Yeshua (Jesus) had been crucified. Crucifixion was one of the worst possible ways to die: a suffocating and bloody death.

Left hanging on a cross: chance of survival 0%.

Yet this Holy Man, this Yeshua (Jesus) . . . “presented Himself alive!”

He showed Himself to the disciples.

And not just once.

Luke tells us He showed Himself to be alive, appearing to the disciples for 40 days!

Who else has died, been buried, and then wakes up and presents themself to people for 40 days?

Had Luke or the disciples thought the resurrection and subsequent appearances were mere dreams or hallucinations, he had the credentials to identify them as such and dismiss them.

Before I became a believer, I heard something that helped me sort out the confusion. Maybe it will help you, too:

Muhammed is dead.
Ghandi is dead.
Buddha is dead.
But Yeshua (Jesus) is still alive.

Yeshua (Jesus) was dead and buried, yes, but that tomb is empty.

To this day, there is a sign at the tomb in Jerusalem that says, “He is not here for He is Risen.”

This is absolutely remarkable and Luke knew it! He knew there was abundant evidence confirming that the Savior of the world was alive and that what He taught was true.

Do you know this Gospel Truth?

Has your life been changed by the power of the Gospel?

If you are a person who needs proof, who needs evidence, then Luke is your guy! We will be going through the book of Luke together, and I hope that you will be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Yeshua (Jesus) is indeed the Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer, and King of all kings!