:: A PRAYER :: Francis of Assisi

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

And the blessing of God the Supreme Majesty and our Creator, Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word Who is our Brother and Savior, and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide, be with you and remain with you, this day and forevermore.

– Francis of Assisi

ISRAEL – THE KEY TO WORLD REVIVAL

israel-keySON OF MAN, CAN THESE BONES LIVE?
“Life from the dead could be describing a time nearly upon us, when the body of Messiah will be utterly captivated by the beauty and holiness of Yeshua; when the church will be given a revived spirit to love God with all her heart, soul and strength; when intimacy with God will be the believer’s crown, and purity and power will be the jewels; when compassion and kindness, healing and humility will characterize Messianic believers. Will this end-time revival be catalyzed by a mighty army of on-fire Jewish prophets and evangelists, spiritual shock-troops preaching the holiness and compassion of God to men and women across this planet?”
Avner Boskey : Israel – The Key to World Revival
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Nine Models of Intercessory Prayer For Israel

PRAYING FOR ISRAEL

  1. Moses (Exod.32:11-13, 32; Deut.9:18-19, 25-29; Num. 14:13-19)
  2. Solomon (1 Ki.8:46-53; cf. Deut.30:1-10; 2 Chron. 20:5-12)
  3. Nehemiah (Neh. 1:4-11)
  4. Asaph and the sons of Korah (Psa.74; 79; 80; 83; 44; 85; 123)
  5. Joel (Joel 1:8, 13-14; 2:12-17)
  6. Isaiah (Isa.63:15 through 64:12; 58:1; 62:1,6)
  7. Jeremiah (Jer.14:7-9,17-22; 15:5; 9:1; Lam.33:43-51; 5:19-22)
  8. Daniel (Dan.9:1-19)
  9. Paul (Romans 9:3-5; 10:1)

THE EARLY CHURCH DIDN’T HAVE A NEW TESTAMENT

DISCLAIMER: I believe the Canon of Scriptures as we have them today is necessary and inspired. I’m basically exploring how the early disciples lived their faith and what texts they used as basis to teach and make disciples. And what we can learn from it.

How many times have we heard the longing expressed for a return to the power and simplicity of the Early Church? What gave them this experience and reputation we so envy? Is it possible we are missing something as to where they drew their “doctrine” from? I am becoming more and more convinced that it is the case.

Even Paul in his writings was basically unpacking the massive prophetic legacy contained in the Law and the Prophets, the Torah and the Tanakh. Just as Jesus did for the disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. Just as the Bereans did after hearing the Gospel preached to them – they went back to the Hebrew Scriptures of their day. Just as Peter preached on the day of Pentecost. Just as Steven did before being martyred. And so on.

Now, tradition tells us that the first book of the New Testament was written “around” 50 AD. That would be close to 20 years after Jesus’ ascension. Yet, merely 50 days after his ascension the first revival broke in Jerusalem. The Church was born then. Not in 325 AD. Under the power of the Spirit, not under the authority of Constantine. Their Scriptures? Torah and Tanakh. And these are the ones of whom it is said they loved one another so much they shared their wealth, and acted like Christ so much that they were called “Christians.”

So what happened? Have we seen over the centuries the rise of a doctrine born of the New Testament rather than the Old? Indeed we have. There has been a clear Hellenization of Yeshua, the stripping of the Jewish roots of our Messiah, and therefore we ended up with a religious mixture called Christianity, based almost solely on the Canon of the New Testament. History recorded the extreme abominations the Church drew the world into. So completely different from the teachings of Yeshua and the Apostles. Continue reading

Progressing Downward

A couple weeks ago I talked about Reader’s Digest Christianity, and how it reduced the Christian faith to pithy, easily-achievable goals that ensure our personal improvement. Here, I have a different (though depressingly similar) target: “LiveStrong” Christianity. LiveStrong bracelets are today even more popular than the infamous WWJD bracelets were 10 years ago, despite the public fall from grace of their namesake, Lance Armstrong.

In the minds of many people inside the church, “Livestrong” is the essence and goal of Christianity. You hear this obsession in our lingo: We talk about someone having “strong faith,” about someone being a “strong Christian,” a “prayer warrior,” or a “mighty man/woman of God.”  We want to believe that we can do it all, handle it all. We desperately want to think that we are competent and capable— we’ve concluded that our life and our witness depend on our strength. No one wants to declare deficiency. We even turn the commands that seem to have nothing to do with strength (“Blessed are the meek” or “Turn the other cheek”) into opportunities to showcase our spiritual might. I saw a church billboard the other day that said, “Think being meek is weak? Try being meek for a week!”

We like our Christianity to be muscular, triumphant. We’ve come to believe that the Christian life is a progression from weakness to strength—“Started from the bottom, now we’re here” (Drake) seems to be the victory chant of modern Christianity. We are all by nature, in the terminology of Martin Luther, theologians of glory—not God’s glory, but our own.

But is the progression from weakness to strength the pattern we see throughout the Bible? Continue reading

How to Try the Spirits

by A.W.Tozer (Man – The Dwelling Place of God)

THESE ARE THE TIMES that try men’s souls. The Spirit has spoken expressly that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Those days are upon us and we cannot escape them; we must triumph in the midst of them, for such is the will of God concerning us.

Strange as it may seem, the danger today is greater for the fervent Christian than for the lukewarm and the self-satisfied. The seeker after God’s best things is eager to hear anyone who offers a way by which he can obtain them. He longs for some new experience, some elevated view of truth, some operation of the Spirit that will raise him above the dead level of religious mediocrity he sees all around him, and for this reason he is ready to give a sympathetic ear to the new and the wonderful in religion, particularly if it is presented by someone with an attractive personality and a reputation for superior godliness. Continue reading