They Are Not of the World

(John 17: 16; Ephesians 2:6; Hebrews 11: 16, 13:14)

If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own, but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you (John 15:19).

Called and chosen out of the world, the believer has an eternal heavenly passport. The moment that a person becomes a child of God by the new birth, or being born again, he/she receives the right to become a child of God. It is not a birth from flesh, but of the Spirit. YAHSHUA told Nicodemus, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (Jn. 1,3). This passport is signed, and sealed by and with the Holy Spirit. As a foreigner carries his passport as the proof of his citizenship somewhere else, the believer also carries his heavenly passport as the proof of his heavenly identity in this world. This Seal guarantees the believer his entrance into his heavenly country, as Paul confirms: The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance, an anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it – to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:14). One sign of a true believer is the antagonist attitude the world displays against him/her. YAHSHUA said, Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account. Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great, for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matt. 5:11-12). In their persecution, the believers are sustained by the promise that the glory which will be revealed to them, will be greater than the sufferings he has endured in this world. In reference to the heroes and heroines of the faith, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews says, These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth…they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them (Heb. 11:13,16).

Days of Elijah

(I Kings 18)

The days of Elijah foreshadowed today’s day in the increase of apostasy, immorality and idolatry. When Israel was under the control of evil kings, including Ahab and Jezebel, who reigned its northern kingdom, they persecuted and killed God’s prophets. They were intolerable of anything related to the Living God. Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, was a Phoenician princess, a prostitute and a killer. She worshiped Baal, the god of fertility, practiced in her native land, Tyre. Her name, symbolic of shame and wickedness, was visible in many aspects of her life.  The name Jezebel remains alive and active today in its synonymous with evil.

In those days, God raised up a prophet called Elijah, who confronted both Ahab and Jezebel for their wickedness. A prophet filled with power and determination against the evil Ahab and Jezebel was on display. To start with, he killed all Israel’s 850 false prophets and prophetesses in a single day. A courageous prophet for the hour, at the time when darkness was abundant in the nation of Israel, for the nation had lost the sense of their true God in their worshipping of Baal, Jezebel’s god, and other gods as well. We find the report of Elijah’s amazing courage in I Kings 18, when he confronted all 850 of Baal’s false prophets and prophetess and challenged them to a test in which to prove YAHWEH to be the only true God. As a result, the slaughter of those false prophets took place, cleansing the nation of idolatry. A necessary cleansing for the nation to be blessed once again.

Where there are leftover roots of evil, good cannot prevail. Elijah, under God’s anointing, destroyed the root causes of the nation’s idolatrous evil. When the people who had come to the meeting Elijah organized at Mount Carmel, saw God’s consuming fire coming down over the offering on the altar, they repented and turned to the Lord by falling on their faces, and saying, The Lord, He is God, He is God!  (I Kings 18:39b).

Prayer for America

O America, return to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled and fallen due to your iniquities.  America, recognize and understand that the Lord, is your God; the faithful God, Who keeps covenant and steadfast love and mercy with those who love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations; acknowledge Him Who is leading you through this great and terrible wilderness of uncertainties with its serpents, and scorpions ready to consume you; America, pull down the altars of Baal, where you sacrifice your children disregarding their cries of pain at your mercy!  Examine your ways and return to the Lord; the Lord, the Lord, is compassionate and gracious; He will forgive you!  Return to the Lord, put away your abominable false gods, for a lion has gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations is on his way.  He has gone forth from his place to make your land a desolate waste; and your cities shall be left in ruins without an inhabitant; for this, gird yourselves with sackcloth, lament and wail; the evil time is upon you America, for truth has fallen on the streets and uprightness cannot enter [the courts of justice].  Shake yourself from the dust, loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O America, God shed His blood for you and crowned you with loving-kindness; seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; His precious blood will cleanse you clean, when you repent of your wicked ways and turn to Him.  Take away from your midst yokes of oppression. Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you; you know not your way to peace.  The Lord waits for you, America; He will be pleased to bless you again, when you turn to Him with your whole heart and mind.

The stripes YAHSHUA suffered in His body was for you, America! The bruises He suffered in His soul was for you America, His blood shed through the crown pierced on His head, through the nail pierced hands and feet was for you America; the merciless floggings applied on His body, was for you America.  Annul your contract with the darkness and death; come to the Light, let justice run down like waters and righteousness as a mighty and ever-flowing stream, then the glory of the Lord, His holiness and goodness will shine on you from east to west, from north to south.  Seek good and not evil that you may live, and the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you.  Know in all your heart and in your soul that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord has promised concerning you.  Return to the Lord, America, circumcise your heart to the Lord and be revived to receive His blessings.

PRAYER

O Lord God of heaven, You Who keep covenant, loving-kindness, and mercy for those who love You and keep Your commandments, let You ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to listen to the prayer of Your servants which we pray before You day and night for America, confessing her sins which she has sinned against You. We acknowledge our sins and the sins of our nation before You.  We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments statutes and ordinances which You commanded.  O Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere and fear Your name. O my God, incline Your ear and hear, for we do not present our supplications before You, for our own righteousness and justice, but for Your great mercy and loving-kindness.  Lord, we Your people are crying to You for mercy; hear us from heaven according to Your loving-kindness; O Lord, according to all Your righteousness and justice, we beseech You, let Your anger and Your wrath be turned away from us, Your people; listen to and heed the prayer of Your servants and their supplications and for Your sake cause Your face to shine upon us. You are just in all that has come upon us, for we have acted wickedly.  God, be merciful and gracious to America and bless her and cause Your face to shine upon her and among her, that your way may be known upon earth, and Your saving power among the nations; O You Who hears prayer, to You shall all flesh come; O Lord hear!  O Lord forgive!  O Lord give heed and act!  Do not delay, for Your own sake, O my God, because Your people are called by Your name. You Who still the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves and the tumult of the peoples, You, O God, You are our God!  In Your wrath, remember mercy, so that Your people who call on Your name, will not be destroyed. For who knows the power of Your anger?  And Your wrath, who connects it with the reverent fear that is due You?

In You, O Lord, do we put our trust and confidently take refuge; let us never be put to shame or confusion!  Deliver us in Your righteousness and cause us to escape; bow down Your ear to us and save us!  Be to us a rock of refuge in which to dwell, and a sheltering stronghold to which we may continually resort, which You have appointed to save us, for You are our Rock and our Fortress.  We will wait and hope for You O Lord.  We call on Your name for our salvation, drag us not away with the wicked, with the workers of iniquity, for we are your people.  Arise, O Lord and vindicate Your holy name among the nations.

In the most precious name, the name of YAHSHUA, amen!

Nineveh Repented

Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was under God’s judgment for its wickedness.- violence and immorality. God in His mercy however, warned them through the Prophet Jonah before He destroyed it. But Jonah wanted nothing to do with it and ran way from His order. He faced the sea in its storm, was swallowed up by a great fish God had prepared to host him three days and three nights. There, Jonah repented and prayed for deliverance. The city of Nineveh received Jonah’s warning and repented from its sins with sackcloth and ashes. Jonah entered the city uttering judgment onto the city saying, Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown. The people believed in God and proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them even to the least of them (Jonah 3:4-5). God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God revoked His [sentence of] evil that He had said that He would do to them and He did not do it (Jonah 3:10). As a matter of fact, a decree was sent out by the king that neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything let them not feed nor drink water; but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth and let them cry mightily to God. Yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell, God may turn and revoke His sentence against us and turn away from His fierce anger so that we perish not (Jonah 3:7-9).

The calling on the name of the Lord YAHSHUA for deliverance and salvation, is for sure a way to be delivered. To call on the name of the Lord has its meaning to call out to, to cry out to. It is to invoke Him by name in distress, to receive mercy and to be saved. Psalm 3:4 says, With my voice I cry to the Lord and He hears and answers me  out of His holy hill; be merciful and gracious to me, O Lord, for to You do I cry all the day (Ps. 86:3); You heard my voice; O hide not your ear at my prayer for relief (Lam. 3:56); Romans 10:13, for everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved. The people of Nineveh were given another chance when they repented of their sins. No sin is too great that God could not forgive; no sin is greater than the loving-kindness of our Lord God. All it took was for them to acknowledge their sins and repent before God. A broken and contrite heart, the Lord will not forsake.

The Walls of Jericho

(Joshua 6: I-21)

Walls are a means of protection, and privacy. In the early days they served well in big cities as Jericho, to mark boundaries, as we read here in the first verse of Joshua chapter one. Now Jericho was tightly closed because of the Israelites; no one went out or came in. They sought protection behind their walls, as usually they did, but this time, there would be no wall that would withstand the power of the Almighty God behind Israel’s strength!  Israel’s reputation had reached their ears concerning the places and kings Israel had destroyed. According to Rahab, the people were trembling with fear of them. She said, I know that the Lord has given you the land and that your terror is fallen upon us and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you, for we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted, neither did spirit or courage remain any more in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath (Joshua 1:9-11).

After days of marching around the city, as God commanded Israel to do, the walls of Jericho came down and Israel conquered the city. They were to march around the enclosure, all the men of war going around the city once, for six days, seven priests were to bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horn and on the seventh day they were to march around the enclosure seven times, and the priests were to blow the trumpets, when at the long blast of the trumpets, the people were to shout with a great shout and the wall would fall down (vs. 3-5). The battle to conquer Jericho belonged to the Prince of the Lord’s host. But Israel had to fight against it physically. The victory was certain and powerful. The people had no chance to fight Israel and so, no one escaped besides Rahab and her family, as it was promised her. Conquered in 1599 years B.C., Jericho was visited by the Lord YAHSHUA many years later, this time not as the Prince of the Lord’s host, but as a Savior, bringing salvation to a short Jewish man, called Zacchaeus and his family. YAHSHUA proclaimed, Today, salvation came to this household, since Zacchaeus too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:1-10). Zacchaeus’ wall came down when he admitted his sinful condition to the Lord. Salvation came to him and to his family as a result.

Spiritual Detox – The True Fast

(Isaiah 58; Psalm 139:23-24; I John 1:9; Psalm 32:1-5; 51:2-12)

At the end of forty days and forty nights fast, YAHSHUA was hungry. The devil then came to tempt Him by suggesting, “If You are the Son of God, command the stones to be made bread.”  Satan found YAHSHUA physically weak (hungry) but His Spirit was and would never be weak. YAHSHUA replied, It has been written, man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:2b -4).  Here the Lord expressed that man is not only flesh and blood, but also spirit and soul. When the physical body is in need of cleansing through a fast, the spirit and soul are also benefited. Fasting should be done not only for physical purposes but also for the spiritual. Here is the kind of fast chosen by the Lord from Isaiah 58: Is not this the fast that I have chosen; to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hunger and bring the homeless poor into your house – when you see the naked, that you cover him and that you hide not yourself from your own flesh and blood? Then these  promises: Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and your healing  shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard; then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, Here I am. If you take away from your midst yokes of oppression, the finger pointed in scorn, and every form of false, harsh, unjust and wicked speaking, and if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hunger and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday. And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.

Understanding the Context of the Fig Tree Episode

(Mark 11: 13-15; Matt. 21:18-22)

A week before His death, YAHSHUA rode on a young colt as the ultimate expression of His kingship or messiahship. The people, in return, cried out with voices of happiness, they spread their garments on the road, and others [scattered a layer of] leafy branches, and those who went before and those who followed cried out, Hosanna! Praised and blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord; Praised and blessed in the name of the Lord is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest (Mark 11: 7-9)! What was going on here? Had the people accepted Him as their Messiah? Of course, not. The people wanted Him to overthrow the Romans and become their physical king. They were not interested in the spiritual aspect of His Messiahship. That week was very important for YAHSHUA. In a few days, His ministry as all knew it, would come to an end. He entered Jerusalem riding on a colt fulfilling Zachariah’s prophecy of long ago: Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zach. 9: 9-10). Slowly, He rode to Jerusalem, the city that kills their prophets, and soon, He too, was going to face His death at their demand. He was their rejected and condemned King, riding on to face His death in His city- Jerusalem, the city of the great King. A lot was happening at that time while He was fulfilling the last things before His death without the people around Him knowing or perceiving them.