Have you ever felt like you were in a waiting season? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think anyone handles those well. For me, it’s definitely a struggle. I try to lean on God, but not before getting really frustrated with Him. Don’t worry, we work through it.
Even though it’s uncomfortable, the Bible is pretty clear that waiting is a good thing–a God thing. It’s difficult and that means God is using it to mold us (James 1:2-4 NASB).
Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and it must be, because no other fruit makes me question my sanity more. When it comes right down to it though, I’d rather wait on God than do my own thing. I don’t have to tell you which one of us actually knows what He’s doing.
Meanwhile, I’ve dusted off the rhymes and awakened the angst to bring you this poem. Just like with any trial, you have to dig for the encouragement.
For the moon to appear,
For the first newborn cry,
For the snow to melt away,
For the candlelight to die
An unbearable test,
A neverending delay,
A wave with no crest,
A night with no day
The horizon is nearer than you,
The stars much simpler to grasp,
Is it all just a game to be played,
Is patience more like a trap?
If it all were to end,
And we say our goodbyes
Could I let you go,
Or would it just be a lie?
When it truly is finished,
And that moment arrives,
Joy may be thriving,
But hope won’t survive
Today, I choose expectation,
Tomorrow, the silent war,
Until the victor has won,
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
Something I love about my best friend is that she will listen to me ramble on and on because it’s what I do and it’s how she takes an interest in my life. I’ve also told the same friend that having a relationship with Jesus is similar to our friendship. It’s two people making an effort to be connected with each other.
But I take it back.
I believe it does take effort to have a relationship with Jesus, but I no longer believe that it’s the same kind of effort it takes to maintain one with anyone else in your life. I always thought using examples of everyday relationships with friends and family would help people understand what it means to have a real bond with Jesus.
But it’s different. Why, you ask?
Let’s discuss the most obvious. He’s not really here—I mean physically. When my best friend is out of the town, we video-chat, but it’s not the same as having her with me in person. The dynamic changes.
Jesus and I don’t get to have coffee dates where we hug and catch up on everything that has been going on in our lives. I don’t get to see the glimmer in His eyes as He watches me talk. I don’t get to hear His voice or His laughter. It’s not the same, and I struggle with that fact.
I don’t mind prayer, but picturing Jesus listening to my nonsense seems less productive and more difficult than Him actually sitting across from me explaining His plans.
Which brings me to my next point. With Jesus being a sovereign being, He has a plan and doesn’t necessarily need to come to us for help. He doesn’t get into a bind and come running to us for advice like a good friend would. He doesn’t need our support or encouragement; therefore, we can’t treat Jesus like we would our best friend.
The two sides are too uneven. We go to Jesus for help, comfort, and direction, and it’s sometimes it’s hard to know what He’s telling us. Our prayer time then becomes all about us and that too seems lopsided.
I broke down in the car one day and I realized I was so upset because I couldn’t get a hug from Jesus and I couldn’t hear Him tell me that everything was going to be alright. And I thought, what kind of relationship was that?
Because He’s all knowing, He knows us too well. He knows our innermost desires and secrets, and sees the things we’re too embarrassed to show. And yet, we only know what has been written about Him, like an ancestry book. Reading about someone is not the same as picking their brain directly.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus is alive and He does minister to us. It’s just not as black and white as I once believed.
I broke down in the car one day and I realized I was so upset because I couldn’t get a hug from Jesus and I couldn’t hear Him tell me that everything was going to be alright. And I thought, what kind of relationship was that?
It’s a relationship that requires faith.
He’s not physically here, but we can always reach Him. No amount of time can make Him forget about us. Jesus always knows what’s going on, and while He’s not standing right in front of us, we know He’s working on our behalf all the time.
He has a sovereign plan, and though He doesn’t need our help, He still gives us a purpose. He has gifted us with personality, talents, and passions that work in His plan. What a privilege to be apart of it anyway!
He knows us too well, and yet He still listens. We don’t need to put up a front or catch Him up on what’s He’s missed. He allows us to share knowing that He is already working on those prayers in some way.
With Jesus, it’s different.
For now, I will sit alone in my bedroom and pray, knowing He’s there. I will walk into work knowing He’s with me. And I will cry knowing that He understands.
Until I can finally see His face, I will be content in the knowing.
I love getting to connect with new authors and Gina is one you won’t want to miss! As someone who also loves devotional writing, I’m so excited to share Gina’s newest release with you!
Here is my interview with Gina Stinson about her upcoming devotional Reclaimed: The Stories of Rescued Moments and Days that releases THIS WEEK!
What can readers expect from Reclaimed: The Stories of Rescued Moments and Days?
Reclaimed is a sixty-day devotional, inviting readers on a daily devotional journey where Jesus is the rescue hero of every story. Each easy to read, humorous and hope-filled devotion encourages readers to gain the victory over their own set of life circumstances. Hope in Jesus Christ resounds through each story, bridging the hearts of the discouraged and down-trodden to the heart of the good Father.
60 truth packed storytelling devotionals
100+ stop and reclaim Scripture passages
A reclaim today journaling spot
One-minute tips for reclaiming your days
Links to free online resources from the author
What inspired you to write it?
After years of living in fear and defeat, I finally got tired of the enemy getting the victory! Reclaiming God’s Word as the foundation of my life—as the loudest voice I hear— has given me the confidence to walk in the truth of who God is and who I am.
As I began looking back on my life through the lens of God’s Word, I began seeing a theme over and over—God could take what the enemy meant for evil and he could turn it for my good and God’s glory. Giving those circumstances over to him released me to be able to reclaim and thrive every day.
Why did you choose 60 days?
After mom-blogging for many years, I had more material than you could imagine to work from! I began perusing the stories of my life and was astounded at the faithfulness of God. As I began piecing together some of my favorite and lifechanging moments, I saw that God was scraping together a beautiful story that would point others straight to him.
I began thinking of devotionals that I had successfully read myself and most of them were 30-60 days—a manageable length for those who want to start a devotional regime or want an encouraging pick-me-up with solid truths to lean on throughout the day. This devotional is designed for a Monday-Friday read. If readers read Monday- Friday they book will be completed in three months.
What about the writing process did you enjoy the most?
The actually writing portion of the book is my favorite part. Re-living the events of my life has been humorous and healing. As with most people, I’ve had my share of sad moments and happy moments. As I wrote about each of those moments, I was reminded over and over and over again of the goodness and faithfulness of God and others in my life. It was encouraging and inspirational.
It was also fun sharing some of my childhood with my own children. When I came across a story I thought they would enjoy, I shared it with them. We had so many fun moments reminiscing about my upbringing!
How did the process of writing this devotional affect you personally/spiritually?
The writing process was extremely humbling. There were things I needed to take care of as I wrote the book—confessing past sins, forgiving myself, forgiving others. It was a revealing process and I am changed because of the journey.
There was a moment that I remember breaking down and in tearful gratitude thanking God for allowing me to have this opportunity to share his story. While the humor and the hurt are all mine, the real message of the book is the hope and healing that God’s provides. I think I re-learned that lesson a hundred times in the writing process.
Born and raised in the deep south, where accents melt your heart like butter on a biscuit, Gina’s gift of storytelling drips off the written page. Her hospitality welcomes readers into real, truthful, honest conversations about God.
Gina was raised in Georgia and homeschooled by her parents— before homeschooling was cool. In college, she earned a degree in Education and Bible. She’s put that degree to good use homeschooling her own children and teaching elementary school throughout the years.
In between raising kids and teaching, Gina has enjoyed serving with her husband, Bruce, in full-time church ministry for 27 years in Texas. She’s been involved in women’s ministry, music and children’s ministry. She’s served her fair share of hotdogs and pizza at youth lock-ins.
These days you can find her writing on her own website blog, in Journey Magazine, Pathways to God Devotional and other online and print publications. She is also a contributing author to Yvonne Lehman’s Anthologies, Remembering Christmas, Pandemic Moments and Divine Moments.
A few of her favorite ways to pass the time are crocheting, playing piano, crafting and spending time with her family at home. She also enjoys browsing small-town markets and fairs.
Reclaimed: The Stories of Rescued Moments and Days will be available through Amazon on October 15.
You can connect with Gina on all her social media outlets:
Please welcome my friend, and fellow author, Leah Meahl to the blog. Leah and I met last year through blogging, and connected immediately because of our shared faith. She has been very kind and supportive of my writing, and even invited me to contribute as a guest on her blog.
Leah is a talented, accomplished writer with two books to her name. Her first book, The Threshold, debuted last year. Students at North Greenville University turned Leah’s book, TheThreshold, into a film. How cool is that! It’s a powerful story. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/VW1rRDSF9gk Leah makes a cameo in the opening scene.
Her new book, Pebbles: 31 days of faith-enriching parables, releases September 25th on Amazon. Please go to her website to find out more about her books and blog. I’m going to stop talking, and let Leah tell you about her new book…
A husband and wife had a child, and because they were good, they raised their child to be good as well. The child grew up loving his parents, and because he loved them, he wanted to obey them and do right
When the child asked to play with his friends, his parents agreed, but gave him a warning.
“Don’t play under the bridge where the brothers Fear and Terror play. They are nothing but trouble.”
The child obeyed, avoiding the bridge even though some of his friends liked to play there. But one day, his friends took him to the bridge to meet Fear and Terror. The bridge’s dark underbelly reminded the child not to go there but turning away would mean being ridiculed by his friends. Instead, he followed them.
To his surprise, Fear and Terror were friendly. Out of the shadows, they loomed intimidating at first, but they gave him high fives and put their arms around his shoulders saying things like “Welcome, Friend!” and “We’ve been wanting to meet you!”
The child relaxed a bit. As long as he was careful, maybe he could hang out with his new friends. When he felt like leaving however, Terror grabbed hold of him.
“Don’t go yet!” he’d say. And when his parent’s warning began to ring in his ears, Fear would start another game and beg him to play.
The brothers began to dare the child’s friends to do dangerous things, and one by one, the friends complied even if it left them miserable and in tears. When Fear and Terror met his eyes, the child froze.
“Your turn!” said Fear. “See that waterfall? Let’s see you jump off it!” He pointed to a place where the water under the bridge spilled onto rocks and a shallow pool below.
“No, I don’t want to do that,” the child said.
“We thought you wanted to be our friend. You’re not a friend, you’re a coward,” Fear guilted.
Before the child could answer, the brothers picked him up and carried him to the waterfall. His heart pounded when they set him down, feet in the water, right on the edge.
“If you don’t jump, we’ll push you!”
The child didn’t know what to do. He looked around for a way out, but even his friends couldn’t save him. Determined not to jump, the child turned back and faced Fear and Terror. Before they could push him over, he lunged at them, kicking, screaming, flailing, and splashing them. They only laughed at him, shoving him into the water. Then they picked up stones and threw them at the child. He cried out in pain.
A commotion of footsteps stomped through the water. The child heard the angry shouts of his mother and father. For the moment, he thought they were yelling at him, but then he felt his mother scoop him into her arms and saw that his father took Fear and Terror by the collar and hauled them away.
Though his mother was silent, she dried his tears and tended his cuts and bruises. When his father returned, the child bowed his head in sorrow. The father’s face was stern at first, but then bent down and kissed his child’s head.
From then on, the child stayed away from the bridge where Fear and Terror played.
As a white person, I don’t have to talk about race. I mean, I have the privilege of choosing whether to acknowledge and think and talk about it—or to think of it as other people’s problem. As a white person, it’s way easier not to think about race at all. But as a person of faith, I see this as part of living into the life of love God has called us to.
When people ask me to tell them about my novel The Means That Make Us Strangers, I usually say something like, “It’s young adult historical fiction about a white, American girl who grows up in Ethiopia and then moves to South Carolina the first year there are African-American students at the white high school. It’s a story of belonging and identity, and race as part of that.”
I then wait to see how people will react. Usually people’s eyebrows go up a little when I identify the character as white, as if they’re surprised I should mention it—as if it would go without saying. Sometimes people stiffen at the word race, like I’ve said something impolite or mildly offensive. Most often I get this reaction when I’m speaking to another white person, and, unfortunately, it happens so often that I’ve come to expect some variation of it.
Maybe everything that’s been happening in the U.S. over the last few weeks has made it more acceptable for white people to talk about racial justice—I hope so. There are a lot of conversations we need to have, a lot of stories we need to hear.
White Christians especially have, for too long, turned a blind eye to our brothers and sisters who have been unjustly accused, killed, locked up, misunderstood, and shouted down. Worse, we as the white church have participated in harming our brothers and sisters—and have refused to acknowledge that—for years, decades, centuries. We have splintered the church by giving preference to people who look like us rather than people who follow the same God we do.
As a white person of faith, I’m troubled by my complicity in the harm my brothers and sisters have suffered, and so I process and respond as I know how: by writing about it.
Racial discrimination is part of my story, too. I grew up as a racial minority, surrounded by racism. The difference was, I was the privileged minority. I was born and raised in Latin America, where my light-colored hair, pale skin, and blue eyes won me favored treatment. I fit the ideal: I looked the way people pictured an “American,” even before they knew what kind of passport I held. The split-second associations people had when they saw me made them assume things would go well for them if they were nice to me. I got picked for lead roles in elementary school productions not because I could sing (I can’t), but because I looked “angelic.”
Now, as an adult, I live in the suburbs outside Chicago. One time I was driving home around midnight in the car I’d recently purchased. When I saw the police lights in my rear view mirror, I knew I was in trouble—my car didn’t yet have plates, and the temporary license plate taped in my back window was expired. I’d broken the rules and deserved the consequences. The cop shined his flashlight in my face and flashed it around the car a bit, then politely asked for my license and registration. A few minutes later, the cop came back and returned my papers, saying he’d let me off with a warning because I “didn’t look suspicious.”
I was furious. What did the cop know about me that would qualify me as “not suspicious”? He didn’t know I taught Sunday school and got a Christian character award in high school. He based that decision mostly on what I looked like. And I knew the chances were pretty high that if one of my black or brown friends had been driving that same road at that time of night—even without the blatant violation of no license plate—the assumption of innocence wouldn’t have worked in their favor.
We live in a world where people make assumptions based on appearance. And, unfortunately, in U.S. society, there’s also a deep-seated tradition of valuing white lives more than our darker skinned brothers and sisters, a tradition that goes back to black slaves being considered property, when it was written into our Constitution to count slaves as 3/5ths of a person.
This tradition was reinforced in daily life under Jim Crow laws, and it was enforced through lynchings and other acts designed to control black people through fear. It continues today in a judicial system that is six times more likely to arrest an African-American man than a white man, and—after arrest—is more likely to send the African-American man to prison and give him a stiffer sentence than a white man would get for the same crime.
As a Christian, I believe that these things should trouble me. The Bible is pretty clear: God cares about how we treat other people, and he cares about injustice. A lot.
Throughout the Old Testament, God repeatedly told the Israelites to not oppress those who were vulnerable in their society. Usually that meant orphans and widows, but the law also includes protections for minorities. For example, Leviticus 19:34 says, “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” The Old Testament prophets railed against the way God’s people turned their back on him and mistreated and oppressed others.
When Jesus came with his revolutionary love that gave dignity to social outcasts, women, and the poor, his command to “Love one another” (John 13:34), wasn’t limited to the members of God’s family who look and sound like us.
When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost (Acts 2), the church exploded to include Jews who spoke different languages and had radically different backgrounds and life experiences. Some of the first challenges of the early church involved dealing with racial and cultural divisions. It is to such a church that the New Testament says, “We love each other because [God] loved us first. […] Those who love God must also love their fellow believers” (1 John 4:19, 21).
I write about race because, as a person of faith, I see that my brothers and sisters are being treated unfairly. When your family is hurting, you do something. And for me, that means writing fiction that looks at some of the problems around race, not because it’s easy or a trendy topic, but because I think facing this painful topic and talking about it—even if we accidentally say the wrong thing and need to ask forgiveness and try again—is helpful and healing to the family of God.
What else can someone do to help against racism?
Most importantly, listen. Pay attention to black people who are willing to share their experience, whether that’s a friend or neighbor, a TV show, a movie, or books. If you say anything, ask a question. (Just make sure the question isn’t trying to prove or defend anything.)
Educate yourself about history. Equal Justice Initiative has some great online resources to help. They also have a museum and a memorial to help the U.S. face its history of racial violence. Learn facts that can help correct your own thinking and that you can point others to.
Work on yourself. Acknowledging “whiteness” as a subculture that influences how we view the world can be an important step to helping us come to terms with our own complicity in a system that privileges us. Lament and repentance are also important. When your own assumptions about other people come to the surface, notice that and take time to repent. Practice speaking truth in love when people around you are saying things that are untrue and unloving.
Christine Kindberg is the author of The Means That Make Us Strangers, a YA novel set in 1960s South Carolina. Christine lives in the Chicago suburbs and works as a Spanish-language editor at Tyndale House Publishers. When not reading or writing, she enjoys running, cooking with friends, and watching shows that feature British accents. You can find out more on ChristineKindberg.com, and you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
We all have a desire for better things. A hunger for more. We make plans and we dream dreams. They can range anywhere from vacations, to starting businesses, to owning a home, to getting married and having children. Those are all great, and they matter. But what about the dreams of God?
God has a specific purpose and plan for each of us. He has uniquely gifted us to do His will. We are not here just for our own goals, and we are not here to merely exist. You and I were made for bigger things.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10, NIV
God-sized dreams require one key element, God. There are many things I can accomplish in my own abilities, and never bring God into the equation. The God stuff is bigger than us. Impossible without Him. That’s one way you know it’s from God.
Has God given you a dream? If so, has it happened yet? Or, has your God given dream died? Maybe you have no clue of what dream God has for you. It’s time to ask Him. It’s time to cry out to Him, and seek His will for your life.
There are times when He drops His dream for us right in our lap without us ever asking. This was my experience. I never wanted to be a writer, ever. God planted that seed in me over twenty-four years ago when I wasn’t asking. My husband had a dream to write a children’s book. I assumed my role was to be a good, supportive wife. God had other plans. After many years of avoiding what God wanted me to do, I finally published my first children’s book in 2018.
You are the only person in this whole wide world that can do what God created you to do. He has given you talents and abilities, and ultimately, faith. You know the saying, God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.
Are you afraid? Have you made too many excuses?
I’m too old.
I’m too young.
It’s too late.
I’m not a “good enough” Christian.
God needs your willingness and your weakness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22, NIV
There are many things that can hinder our God given dreams. Life is hard, and sometimes we are in survival mode. Intense trials come, and the last thing on our minds is to dream the things of God. Crisis can be the fire for our faith that will bring us to our knees, and really force us to seek God like never before.
Comfort can also prevent us from pursuing those God dreams. Stepping out is scary. It’s easier to play it safe. I stayed comfortable for many years. The thought of writing a children’s book was overwhelming. But God was unrelenting in His pursuit of me. I finally surrendered and stepped out. Yes, it was scary. But He provided every single thing I needed to accomplish His will. He’ll do it for you too!
Make a decision today, to do one thing toward your God given dream. Seek Him first, above all, and He will show you the way. Be patient as you wait on the Lord to reveal His plan for you. He’s always after our heart first and foremost.
Love you all,
Meghan never dreamed of being a writer, but God had other plans. After many years of avoiding what God called her to, she wrote a Children’s book and now she can’t stop writing. She loves to encourage others through the written word. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or email her at email@example.com. Be sure to visit her blog for more encouragement!
Check out her Middle Grade Christian Fiction book here!
Why should you care about Israel? That’s the question I aim to answer today. First, a little backstory so you know where I’m coming from.
My name is Liat, I was born in Kfar Saba, Israel into a Messianic Jewish family.
Do you think your childhood was kind of crazy? Maybe think again lol
I was born in Kfar Saba, Israel and lived all across Israel. There was the scorching dry desert of the Negev where we spent our days scrambling on top of donkeys & camels, meeting local Bedouins and sitting in front of whirring fans – attempting to escape the blistering heat.
We can’t of course forget about Northern Israel with its trees drooping with ripe fruit and catching fish with an old water bottle in the Sea of Galilee (a local trick).
Most memorable however would of course be Jerusalem.
Jerusalem. A perfect mixture of ancient and modern. Of celebrations and of struggle.My memories of growing up on the outskirts of Jerusalem range from mountain top moments to crushing disappointments.
A simple day of running errands near the Old City would mean hearing beautiful violin music waft through the air from street performers & listening to a harp player sitting near Jaffa gate.
Arab merchants, on the other hand, were attempting to coax customers into their store with promises of coffee and tea. “My friend! Join us!” They said with heavy accents and hopeful smiles.
I of course, stop along the way to chat with strangers (there is really no such thing in Israel, we are more like one big family) and taking in all the incredible sights, sounds and scents from the market nearby.
I love walking down the streets of Jerusalem cherishing the sense of life, beauty & belonging.
I don’t want to deceive you however, life in Israel is by no means rainbows and butterflies. It is often a daily struggle of intense stress, chaos and fight for survival.
With the cost of living so extremely high and salaries so low it’s typical for families to be in debt struggling to make ends meet and cover basic expenses such as rent & groceries. At times, that’s the least of our worries.
It was just a regular day after school. My brother grudgingly agreed to come pick me up instead of me having to take the hour 1/2 bus ride home. It would eat up some of his time but save me from getting bus sick as I often did on the windy, narrow roads.
I climbed into the car and peered out my window mindlessly, my thoughts consumed with whatever middle school girls think about. Then suddenly I heard it. “BOOM.” I jumped. It resounded throughout the city.
“What was that?” I asked breathlessly. Confusion etched into my brother’s face. “Did something fall on our roof?” He asked dubiously. I glanced up at the unharmed interior of the car and shook my head.
We cautiously rolled forward and continued on our way. Ambulances & police began flying by us racing towards my bus station. My brother fumbled with the radio. “A bomb was planted on bus by Palestinian terrorist…. critical condition… first responders on scene…”
It stammered in and out.
Later it was confirmed. Another terrorist attack at the central station in Jerusalem, right where I would have been standing. Several killed, dozens badly injured.
This tragedy happened several years ago but there have been hundreds more like it since.
Just a few days ago a young Israeli soldier was killed by Arab youth throwing rocks at him. He was his parents only son. My heart breaks a little every time more news rolls in of another death, another attack, more pain, more struggle.
It can be hard to grasp the complexity of Israel, more importantly God’s heart for Israel and the Jewish people when being so far removed. It can seem like Israel is so far away and it can be difficult to discern what is even the truth behind current events since mainstream media portrays a very skewed reality.
Every single believer should care about Israel and the Jewish people. Not only care about it but be willing to lay down their lives if necessary. That’s a pretty bold statement but it’s exactly what we’re called to do by following Yeshua’s example.
Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
As believers we need to recognise that the Jewish people are God’s chosen people. When Yeshua came to earth scripture says He came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel!
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His prized possession, above all peoples on the face of the earth.”
Why are we chosen? Are we chosen because we’re better than everyone else? Stronger, smarter, holier? I don’t think so.
“The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.” (Deuteronomy 7:7)
Israel is by no means perfect. We see throughout the bible their rebellion, sin and failure. Just like us, they need God’s mercy, forgiveness and redemption.
In the Old Testament (Torah) we see horrific acts of child sacrifice, sexual immorality, violence, corruption… the list goes on.
I’m grieved to say that In modern day Israel, there are still ungodly practices that go on: abortions, prostitution, homosexuality, etc.
Believe me when I say that Israel was not chosen because of their lack of sin, exactly how it’s not our actions that justify us before God but our faith in Yeshua.
photo above: gay pride parade Tel Aviv
“I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” (Romans 11:1-2)
The truth is that God will never forsake His people Israel, despite our sin and flaws He will always choose Israel to be His special treasure above all the earth.
There is a theology circulating around some churches that states “Israel messed up too many times with their sin, rejected the Messiah (Jesus/Yeshua) therefore God abandoned them and has replaced Israel with us (Christians.)
This could. not. be. further. from. the. truth!
We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are all in desperate need of His forgiveness and mercy.
God has not, and never will replace Israel. What we has done however is open up the way so that whoever wants to follow Him has the opportunity to do so, regardless of their ethnic background.
So what about the nations? Where does that leave those who are not Jewish?
The original question was not “how can I be Jewish and believe in Jesus?”
The original question was “How can a non-Jewish person believe & follow a Jewish Messiah?!”
This was such a foreign thought in biblical times yet God clearly provides us with an answer.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Yeshua the Messiah.” (Galatians 3:28)
We are one in the Messiah.
Through Yeshua we are one united people. There is no separate standard or favouritism. The goal if you’re a Gentile is not to ‘become as Jewish as possible.’ Like-wise the goal for a Jewish believer is not to ‘abandon all Jewishness, traditions & culture to prove your salvation.’
I’ve seen both occur and it’s simply not the narrow way that leads to life that God instructed us to follow!
2. If you love me keep my commandments.
The entire focus of our faith is love. When a man in the New Testament asked Yeshua what was the most important commandment in the Torah He said “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment…” Matthew 22:37
How do we show our love towards God? Yes of course by spending time with Him, but equally as important is obeying Him. Living our life in a way that is pleasing to Him. We can’t claim to love God and then blatantly disobey His commandments.
Photo above: Jewish girl praying at Kotel (Western Wall, Jerusalem)
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
What commandments are you talking about? You might be asking?
I want to make it clear I’m not promoting legalism or rabbinic man-made laws. In fact Yeshua was vehemently opposed to that kind of religion!
However at the same time Yeshua kept and encouraged us as His followers to keep the Torah.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” (Matthew 5:17)
A few examples would be ‘the Sabbath: one of the Ten Commandments, Kosher Dietary Laws & the biblical appointed times (holidays such as: Passover, Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles, Shavuot/Pentecost, Purim etc)
If you’re completely new to all of this it can be a bit overwhelming. The good news is that God isn’t in a rush! Take your time to prayerfully seek Him in embracing His will for your life. Gaining an understanding of the role we can play as believers in regards to Israel and the Jewish people gives us so much more purpose, clarity and passion behind our faith.
Keeping the Torah & God’s biblical holidays are not burdensome rituals. They hold so much meaning & richness that enhance our faith.
So why should you care about Israel?
Because God cares about Israel.
“If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.” (Psalm 137:5)
“For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His home: saying, “This is my resting place for ever and ever…” (Psalms 132:13-14)
As a believer you have an active role to play in sharing God’s heart for Israel & the Jewish people.
God promises that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed.(Genesis 12:3)
Thank you for your prayers & support towards Israel and for helping us bring the Word of the Lord out of Zion to the nations!
It’s true. From the outside of the famed story of Noah’s Ark, it’s easy to assume I’d be faithful enough to believe Noah and join his family in safety. But one day, I paused and reflected upon my skeptical nature.
I’m a stubborn person. I wouldn’t classify myself as a “Thinker” or one who needs to have every fact and statistic to understand something, but I’m bull-headed in the sense that it’s difficult to change my mind.
If I were living in Noah’s day, as the person I know myself to be, here’s how I think it would go.
I would believe that The Designer existed. Looking around the world, I would imagine that only someone great could create such beauty and life. I would also revere my ancestors, Adam and Eve, whom I was told gave birth to everyone around me. I would believe that the earth is vast and unexplainable.
And as for my purpose, I would believe that I was made to simply enjoy where I was placed. Everyone I knew set out to enjoy themselves, why shouldn’t I? I’d work for my food and relax with my friends. Who cared about what I did so long as I enjoyed myself?
Until one day, I’d hear from my friends about Noah. Noah was one of the oldest patriarchs of the land. He kept to himself and his family. He claimed to walk with The Designer. No one believed him because no one else had walked with The Designer.
When Noah wasn’t shouting doom and gloom at the people, he was building what he called an Ark. Out of curiosity, I would probably check it out. An impressive feat of engineering, I would think.
Perhaps when Noah was taking a break, wiping the sweat off his brow or getting a drink, I would strike up a conversation with him.
“Why are you spending these years building this? What do you intend to do once it’s finished?” I would ask.
“It’s for those Elohim intends to save,” he’d reply. Elohim, The Designer.
“Save from what?”
“From the water that will fall from the sky and kill every living thing.”
“Water doesn’t fall from the sky,” I’d argue. “How do you know it will come from the sky?”
“Elohim says so.”
No matter what I’d ask, Noah’s answer would be the same. Because Elohim said so. How could I deny it if The Designer says so? But I would deny it. I’d never seen water from the sky. I’d never heard The Designer’s voice. If everything were to be destroyed by this water, shouldn’t The Designer tell more people?
So, I’d watch as the Ark continued to form. Years would go by. Still no sky water. And though all his talk about the death of all living things would sound depressing, I would be fascinated by his words and how he acted different from everyone I knew. So, I would go back and talk to him.
Before I would leave for the day, Noah would ask me, “Will you join me on my Ark? If you believe, you can be saved too.”
But I would laugh and humor him saying, “We’ll see, Noah.”
Even when I would notice the throng of animals heading toward his Ark, I would manage to reason with it. Noah was storing up food, of course it would attract animals. And I would laugh with my friends as they joked about taking care of those loud, stinky creatures.
Armed with questions and rebuttals, I’d visit Noah and his family. His wife would tell me about the new animals coming in and his son’s wives would talk to me while the men were working.
Noah would come and say to me, “The Ark is almost finished. Will you join me and my family?”
Stirred by his kindness, I would hesitate. But then I would sigh and shake my head.
“It just sounds too far out for The Designer to destroy what He created. And with water from the sky no less! It’s not logical, and you have no guarantee that it’s going to happen. I don’t want to say you’ve wasted your time, but I would just need to see it for myself.”
Noah would lower his head in disappointment, which would make me feel guilty, and he would walk away.
I’ll apologize tomorrow, I would think. But in returning the next day, I would find no one on Noah’s property. And the massive door of the Ark would be closed. I would hear the animals making their usual noises inside. I’d call to Noah from the ground, but no one would answer from the massive structure.
For seven days I’d return to see if Noah and his family had given up and come out of the Ark, but they hadn’t. This was the craziest they ever looked, and my friends made even more fun of them. But I wanted to reason with them. I wanted to talk with Noah. I wanted to make him understand how foolish they looked. They were even making The Designer look foolish.
And the day everything would change was the day I would approach the closed Ark and step in a puddle. My heart rate increasing, I would look around to see water trickling up from the ground. My feet would squish in the mud around me. As I would get away from the water, I would feel that first drop. Like a cool pin prick on my shoulder. I’d touch the damp spot on my shirt and look up.
As more drops hit my face, I’d run up to the Ark and scream, “I’ve seen now!” hoping someone would hear me and take pity on me. But Noah had already given me the chance. Chance after chance. Just like I thought he’d wasted his days, I would realize in an instant that I’d wasted mine.
And as the water would creep up my ankles, I’d cry, knowing my comfort and enjoyment was about to come to an end.
It’s good to question the things we believe in, but there comes a time when our stubbornness and our desire to understand everything needs to take a back seat.
In the end, the Bible says it will be like the days of Noah. People have and will continue to stake eternity on needing proof it exists. But it only takes one moment of faith to change everything.
I truly believe that if I were around in Noah’s day, I would have drowned, because of how I think, because I’m slow to accept things unless you give me a good case. I’m hoping that realizing this will help me in my own walk towards truth—towards The Designer.