Friends,
It has been quite the year already. Today though, thankfully, we have good news that the Paris Peace Conference, which, though it seemed posed to sign Resolution 2334 against Israel, has been shown to be a dud. Read here:

https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/82159/82159/#79XDE36LuBGXbdih.97

A few days ago someone sent me a link to a prophecy teacher who describes the significance of a resolution such as the UN Resolution 2334, being passed. See this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oN2eLqq78So

For more Biblical background explaining these current events as they line up with Bible prophecy, see this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bmnY8zEGXE&feature=em-subs_digest

Truly, one day Satan will get the whole world to turn again Israel and the nations will gather in war against her. Yes, even now we see the obsession that so many have against that tiny nation and the eternal city, Jerusalem. As the LORD “declares: ‘I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling.” (Zech. 12:2) Indeed, the reeling, the staggering, the anger, the obsession, has spread across the globe and many have been infected. But, the Lord promises that those who come against His chosen city will only injure themselves. (v. 3) In fact, the Lord promises that He Himself will strike all the attacking nations with madness, blindness, and injury, but to deliver and cleanse His people, His land, and His city. (12:4-13:2)

It is about that tiny nation. Because God, long ago, claimed it as His own.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

The Story Of Christmas

December 23, 2016

Friends,
The story of Christmas is that Jesus, the Eternal God and Creator (John 1:1,2,10), came to earth as a human baby so that, in bearing witness to the Truth (18:37), He would conquer sin (John 1:29 // Rom. 6:18), the devil (John 12:31 & 16:11), and death (8:51 & 11:25,26), would pay mankind’s ransom (1 John 2:2), thus liberating us from the dark kingdom (Col. 1:13,14), and would, in His sinlessness (Heb. 4:15), model for us how to live (1 John 2:6), while also baptizing us in the Holy Spirit (Mt. 3:11) –He whose power we are to use to imitate Christ. (Gal. 5:16)

The story of Christmas is that Jesus came to His own people –the descendants of Jacob whom He irrevocably chose (Jer. 31:35-37 // Rom. 11:1,2,28,29) as His treasured possession (Ps. 135:4), the nation He calls “My nation” (Isa. 51:4), and the bloodline He chose to identify with (John 4:22 // Rom. 1:3)– but they, the majority, did not accept Him. As John 1:11 says, “He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him.” Even so, the next verse says, “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” This was first offered to the Jews (Rom. 1:16), but God, knowing they, as a nation, would reject Him, allowed the rejection so as to bring salvation to the Gentiles. (Acts 28:17,23-28 // Rom. 11:12,15) Therefore, whoever believes (believes with true repentance, faith, and trust) has crossed over into Salvation. (John 3:15 & 5:24)

The story of Christmas is that the eternal blessings which were offered to Abraham belong also to all “who are of the faith of Abraham.” (Rom. 4:16) God made The Covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Israelites, and King David, and the people of Israel are thus the recipients of God’s promises. (9:4,5 & 11:18) However, the Good News declares that the Gentiles have been invited, through Christ’s work, to submit to being grafted into the Covenant so that they, along with believing Jews, may “share in the nourishing sap from the olive root.” (11:17)

This, though, does not make Gentiles into Jews. Indeed, Scripture maintains that one’s faith does not change one’s bloodline or race. We see the Jewish/Gentile racial distinction evidenced at least three times in Acts chapter 13 alone. Once is in verse 16 where Paul says, “Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!” Another is in verse 26 where Paul says, “Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.” Another is in verse 43: “When the congregation [of the synagogue, which is where the Jewish Law and Prophets are read –v. 14,15,42] was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.” (Scripture has a multitude of this evidence, but just two more examples in this same chapter can be seen through the statements, “They are now His [Jesus’] witnesses to our people” in verse 31, and “What God promised our fathers He has fulfilled for us, their children” in verses 32 & 33.)

The story of Christmas is that from David’s “descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as He promised.” (Acts 13:23) Yes, Jesus, “the Root and Offspring of David” (Rev. 22:16), the One the Lord God promised would reign over the house of Jacob forever (Isa. 9:6,7 // Luke 1:31-33), is the King of the Jews (Mt. 2:6) whose all-mighty rule, based in Jerusalem, will extend across the whole earth. (Ps. ch. 2 // Zech. 14:9,16,17 // Rev. 11:15 & 19:11-16 & 21:24-26)

The story of Christmas proclaims glory to God and the invitation of reconciliation to those with whom He is pleased. (Luke 2:14 // 2 Cor. 5:19,20) As Jesus says in Rev. 22:14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” This opportunity is not only for the Jew, but it is, most assuredly, also for the Gentile. Yes, anyone, anywhere, can pledge allegiance to the King of Kings –the One who was born a Jew, in a stable, that first Christmas night.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Our Faithful, Caring God

November 26, 2016

Friends,
Sometimes when we get really busy, our time with the Lord gets cut short, and if this continues very long, we who love Him feel sad. We miss Him and we worry that His patience with us may be running out. We may think that it’s not just the lack of quiet time with Him that is causing us to hear less from Him, but that He maybe is just not happy with us anymore. True, the busyness comes from things we must do –jobs, projects, circumstances, or people that have come into our lives that take up a lot of that time we were daily spending with Him and in His service. Yes, these other things we are doing are as unto Him also, and yes, they are things we feel He actually wants us to do, but yet, somehow, He doesn’t seem as close to us in spirit. It makes us sad.

What should we do? We should talk to our God about it. We should tell Him we love Him, miss Him, appreciate Him, know that all good things come from Him, and that we are trusting Him in everything. We should keep praising the Lord for who He is, that He has the power to bring about good, that He takes care of us and our loved ones, and that He has sovereign control over everything. Even in the busyness, we can do this –as we drive, clean house, or even in quick intervals while giving our attention to other people. And of course we should be continuing to pray, including for others and their needs, even if we haven’t had time to see them as much.

In Isa. 49:14 Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” Sometimes we might feel the same. But what does the Lord say in response? He says He will never forget His children. (v. 15) “See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.” (v. 16)

“But my cause is disregarded by You, Lord,” we may say, as did Israel. (See Isa. 40:27) “My concerns escape the notice of the LORD.” (See same verse) But the Lord answers comfortingly again, assuring us that “He gives strength to the weary” (v. 29) and that those who hope in Him will be renewed (v. 31) and not disappointed. (49:23c)

What wonderful promises! What blessed comfort! Truly the Lord is so good, so compassionate, and so faithful. He is always there for us. Just a whisper away. Even when we may think He is not, He is.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
There are so many wonderful promises in God’s Word! Therefore it certainly is bewildering as to why many people do not more often go to them for comfort and strength and encouragement. Here is one of my favorites (though, actually, they are all my favorites): “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” (Isa. 65:24) This is God avowing this. Could there be any better promise?

We should let this promise sink deep down into our spirits. God, “the Mighty God and Everlasting Father” (see Isa. 9:6), “our Prince of Peace and Wonderful Counselor” (see same verse) is pledging to us that He will answer our calls, our prayers, our requests, our questions, and our cries to Him. And He is declaring that He answers us even before we finish speaking.

“Oh no,” someone may say. “God doesn’t do this for me.”

Well maybe not. Some people God ignores because they have shunned His laws. (Ps. 50:16-22 // Pr. 28:9) But otherwise, for those who wait and trust, we later see that God did indeed answer while we were still praying, or even before we began. God decreed the orchestration of events and set them in motion even while our desires, our requests, were still being formed in our hearts and on our lips. It’s just that we do not realize this until later, sometimes a long while later.

Do we believe God’s Word? Do we believe His Spirit’s voice? Then we should believe God’s promises. For by His Spirit who uses the “Amen” which His children speak through Christ (the living and active Word –John 1:1,14 & Heb. 4:12), every promise God has made is “Yes” for those who walk in Him. (2 Cor. 1:20)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Last week we received some hopeful news about the Philippine province I grew up in. It looks like the efforts of those who have been fighting for the rights of the Agta, fisherfolk, and farmers against APECO, an organization which has been trying to usurp the land there, have been gaining an affect. Here is a good and interesting news video:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/video/2013/apr/09/aurora-philippines-land-deals-development-video

Ps. 103:6 says, “The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”

Ps. 140:12 says, “I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.”

Such promises from God’s Word are certainly comforting when we watch oppressors trying to take from those who are weaker than them.

But how does God work on behalf of the poor and oppressed? He works largely by working through other people, especially those who are honorable, honest, and compassionate. He can especially work well through those who seek His voice, guidance, instructions, and will, and who, because of their knowledge of God and His Word, already have a bent to knowing what is right, righteous, and just, and who eagerly want truth, righteousness, and justice spread across the globe. Because of God’s own Spirit within these individuals, the human, in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, is able to pray, intercede, praise God, speak, and act, and God thereby brings about the deliverance He desires.

However, if God can’t find people to work through, if people won’t go, won’t speak up to defend the poor, if they won’t pray, fast, and intercede, if they won’t cry out to God that He rescue the needy, then how is God supposed to secure justice for the afflicted? Sure, He can reach down from Heaven and move people around by the force of His own hand; but that is not how He has chosen to work within His creation. What He’s chosen to do is to look for a man or woman He can work through. A person who is pliable, willing to listen and follow His instructions, and eager to do what is right, kind, and courageous. He moves the person’s heart and compels that person to pray and act. When a person prays and follows any of God’s other instructions to him (such as writing, marching, lobbying, resisting, etc.), then God does move mountains. For God, who awards the plea of those who exhibit faith and compassion, does uphold the cause of those who are mistreated. God does rescue and deliver and save the abused who cry out to Him for help.

There are multitudes of promises in the Word of God, and many of them are promises about God coming to the aid of the oppressed. If we believe these promises, we are invited to walk in them and let God’s Spirit do His work through us. (Matt. 21:21,22 // John 14:12-14 // Rom. 8:9,26,27)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Generosity Reaps Treasure

January 15, 2013

Friends,
The Lord gives commands which He expects His followers to obey. One of these commands is that we give to others generously. (Luke 6:38) Another command goes way further: “Sell everything you have and give to the poor… Then come, follow Me.” (18:22) And there’s this one: “Leave all you have for My sake. Then come, follow Me.” (v. 22,28,29, paraphrased)

But what does Jesus promise along with the commands? He promises that if we give generously, particularly to those who can’t repay (because they are helpless –Luke 14:12-14 // James 1:27), as well as to those poor who are righteous, full of faith, and working hard to advance the Gospel (Matt. 10:40-42 // Luke 6:20-26 // James 2:5), we will reap an abundance. Jesus promises that we will be awarded a measure that is poured out, full, and running over. (Luke 6:38) He promises that we will “receive a hundred times as much in this present age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:30 // Luke 18:30) He promises that we will be storing up treasure in Heaven (Matt. 19:21 // Mark 10:21 // Luke 18:22), and that this treasure will endure forever. (Matt. 6:20) All this is promised to the one who is devoted to Christ (v. 24) and whose Treasure is Christ Himself, His Kingdom, and His will. (6:21 & 13:44-46 & 25:14-23)

But how hard it is to give up all. It can be traumatic. If there are weights around our necks, how hard it is to disentangle ourselves and throw them off. But, if we are eager to obey God, and if we are meditating on His Word, and if we are listening carefully to every one of His instructions, then the Lord will certainly provide the means of escape, the way out. And so, without the sins, the temptations, the chains, the hindrances, we will be able to run that race marked out for us. (Heb. 12:1) Then the joy that comes to us as we participate in the plans of God, in following Christ’s lead, and in serving in the Spirit, is definitely reward enough, though so many more blessings are also ours!

Moreover, when the Day of Judgement arrives, the quality of each person’s work will be fully evaluated (1 Cor. 3:13) so that “everyone may receive what is due them for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10) Those who have given to Christ by giving to others (by giving of their time, energy, talent, money, love, care, etc.) will be awarded eternal life (Matt. 25:31-40) along with reward, authority, and honor. (v. 21 // John 12:26) But, those who neglected to be generous, will incur eternal punishment. (Matt. 25:41-46)

Therefore, what is one very critical area of behavior in which we are evaluated by God? Generosity. The generosity of giving up all one has to help the poor, to assist the saints, to aid in the spread of the Gospel, and always for the sake of Christ.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
What exceedingly excellent and wonderful promises we have from our God through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit! Beautiful, precious, and power-filled promises! If we were to try to tell of them all, we could not, for there are too many to recount. But, here are some:

1. The Lord is a faithful God who does no wrong. (Dt. 32:4)

2. The Lord shields His loved ones and gives them rest and security (Dt. 33:12) and sleep. (Ps. 127:2)

3. The Lord has made His obedient servants His treasured possession. (Ex. 19:5)

4. The Lord hears us when we call to Him (Ps. 4:3 & 5:3) and He answers us. (Ps. 120:1)

5. The Lord is our Support, our Provider, and our Comforter. (Ps. 18:19 & 34:9,18)

6. The Lord commands victories for those who have made Him their King. (Ps. 44:4)

7. The Lord is our Rock of Refuge and our Fortress. (Ps. 71:3)

8. The Lord gives us light, joy, hope, power, strength, and boldness as we do His will. (Ps. 68:35 & 97:11 & Acts 4:31)

9. The Lord gives us His constant Presence, enabling us through His Spirit, to walk in peace, confidence, love, patience, humility, and all holiness. (Gal. 5:22-26 // Heb. 13:5,6)

10. The Lord gives us wisdom, endurance, and joy as we go through trials, assuring us that they work for us our maturity, conformity to Christ, and a greater eternal reward. (James 1:2-5 & 1 Peter 1:6-9 w/ Matt. 25:21 & 1 Cor. 3:13 & Heb. 11:35)

11. The Lord not only grants salvation to those who obey Him (Heb. 5:9), but also comes to dwell right inside such believers. (John 14:23 // 1 John 3:24)

12. The Lord is completely holy, just, and true in all His ways and judgements (Rev. 15:3,4 & 16:5,7) and treats everyone accordingly. (Jer. 17:10 // Col. 3:23-25)

Because of all these glorious promises (plus countless more) coming from the All-powerful, All-loving, All-knowing God of perfect character, we should be overjoyed in the privilege of worshiping Him who is worthy of all praise. And so, along with all the peoples of the earth, may we ascribe to Him glory, honor, beauty, riches, majesty, splendor, kingdoms, authority, wisdom, thanks, exaltation, power, strength, love, faithfulness, mercy, salvation, holiness, and Truth, doing so continually as we serve Him who is our Savior, King, and Friend.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel