How to Witness to a Jewish Person (and other things Christians screw up royally)

A very funny and touching post from my Jewish sister in Christ, Melissa Presser.

I wanted to share tips on Gentiles witnessing to Jewish people as this seems to be a neglected outreach in many churches today.

God bless you for reading, enjoy. 🙂

Celebrating Christmas

God, our loving Father, help us remember the
birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of
the angels, the gladness of the shepherds and
the wisdom of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love
all over the world.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing which
Christ brings and teach us to be merry with
clean hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy
to be your children and the Christmas evening
bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94)

Inspiring site of the day – Beit Netanel

While reading Tom Doyle’s inspiring book “Breakthrough”, which details the wonderful spiritual work Christ is now doing in the Middle East, to bring many Jews and Muslims to faith, I came across the story of Rachel Netanel. Rachel has an Orthodox Jewish background and came to faith in Christ after losing her job at an Israeli television station. She now invites Jews (non-Orthodox, since Orthodox Jews wouldn’t come) and Arabs into her home for dinner and Bible studies.

Rachel’s ministry in leading both Jews and Arabs to Jesus is not without its troubles as she has had to move ten times and is routinely questioned by police. Orthodox Jews also disapprove of her activities, threatening her, and spray-painting “Traitor” on her front door. They have even called Islamic leaders to complain that Rachel is converting Muslims to Christianity! Nonetheless, Rachel persists and her site is truly lovely so I wanted to share it with you:

http://www.rachelnetanel.net/html/engl.html

From the English version of her site:

Beit Netanel (the name of Rachel’s property) has the vision to share the Bible with Arabs and Jews who are interested, and to bring both together.

The idea was established in 1998 and is unique because it is based on hospitality according to Jewish tradition – celebration of Shabbat, the Jewish holidays, teaching from the Old Testament – as well as the prophecies, the genealogy of the Messiah from the Bible.

Because Rachel Netanel was born in Israel and comes from a religious background, she understands how to present the Bible to Israelis – Jews and Arabs – according to their culture. In practical terms, this means eating and studying together in a family atmosphere. When people mature spiritually, they are encouraged to go to a local fellowship of their own choosing.

Beit Netanel hosts one meeting a week with average attendance of 40 persons, several meetings for smaller groups, some meetings for 100 up to 800 people, and daily meetings that provide for one-on-one relationships and teaching.

At every meeting we have light food, music (worship and instrumental), Bible teaching or preaching from scriptures, fellowship and prayer.

Rachel’s story. Have a look:

Rachel’s Youtube.com / short version

Rachel’s life story Godtube.com
http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=25bfe0a749b759322080

To get in contact please write to info@rachelnetanel.net

A person of prayer

Peaceful scene Months ago, Pastor Frank  said we should say to ourselves, “By the grace of God I will be a person of prayer.” At the time I knew my prayer life was sadly lacking but the Lord has since helped me to grow in this area and to see prayer as an essential work of faith. Prayer is in fact part of the Great Commission Jesus gave us in the book of Matthew:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-21)

Prayer is a way of believing people cooperating with God’s will to draw as many people as possible to salvation. Without the love and support of fellow Christians, however, I wouldn’t be growing at all in this area. I have found National Prayer Bank, a place where believers in Christ can pray for others and post up their own prayer requests, to be invaluable in this regard. The messages of encouragement and prayer that I have received from others have been a great source of comfort, especially when ministering to and praying for unsaved loved ones. Here then for your benefit is the link to this prayer site: http://nationalprayerbank.com/ Another wonderful site featuring Spirit-lead prayers for others is the Acts 12 Movement site, which I first heard about from a fellow Christian blogger, Levi Thetford (http://levithetford.com/): http://acts12movement.com/ May you find these sites a blessing too. What prayer resources or techniques have you found helpful in your Christian walk? Feel free to post about them here. Until next time, Lord willing.

Islam or Christianity?

The Anglican Dean of Sydney, Phillip Jensen, has written a provocative blog post titled ‘The truth behind ISIL‘.

He says it is “time to face the truth that Islam itself is in part to blame, and to help our fellow Australians, especially those from Islamic background, to understand that Islam is false”.

“We must not try to conform Islam to Christian ideals of religion. Jesus and Mohammed were very different in their life as well as in their teaching. Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on a donkey to be executed, a week later, for our sins.”

“Mohammed arrived at Mecca in front of an army of 10,000 soldiers to take the city by force. In countries where Christianity has dominated, mosques can be built, the Qur’an can be read and studied and preached in the streets, and citizens can change religion without fear of persecution, let alone execution.”

“None of these corresponding freedoms are available for Christians in countries where Islam holds sway.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/live-antiterrorism-raids-across-sydney-and-brisbane-20140918-3fzkq.html#ixzz3DfDVaqgL

For a further eye-opening exploration of the Islamic faith compared to Christianity, kindly see:

http://www.gospelway.com/religiousgroups/islam.php

The Lord brought a special scripture to my mind tonight while I was pondering the vast difference between what the Koran teaches compared to the Bible. The God of the Bible is kind and merciful to His enemies, as evidenced by Him waiting for at least 80 years for people to repent while Noah built the ark. While Islam preaches force and submission, especially to apostates, the Bible teaches us that we should:

“…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
(Matthew 5:44-45)

So we should pray for those who are caught up in Islam’s false religion: people’s lives, happiness, and their very souls are at stake.

Amen.

What does the Bible say about animal abuse?

by Mercy Aiken (see http://rainbowsbridge.com/grief_support_center/grief_support/bibleandanimalabuse.htm)

Does God hear the cries of those who do not communicate in human language? Does His heart respond to the fearful mewing of a motherless kitten or the exhaustion of a donkey staggering under a load far too heavy for it? Does He care about the animals that are bred in cramped quarters and exploited for profit?

God was so interested in the welfare of the animal kingdom that He created, that He even commanded Noah, in the time of judgement on the earth, to make the ark big enough to hold two of every kind of animal that existed.

The Bible actually has much to say in regard to animal abuse. In the beginning, God created the earth and all the creatures on it to be under the authority of humanity. He entrusted these beautiful elements of His creation to our care (Genesis 1:26). Our sinful nature causes us to abuse these things, sometimes without even realizing it. Yet, God expects the Christian, above all others, to be sensitive to all of His creation, knowing that exploiting or abusing it shows a disrespect for God Himself. Abuse of anything that God made is not the character of God, but rather of the Evil One.

Domestic Animals: “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel” (Proverbs 12:10). Throughout the Bible, God shows how He expects us to care for our animals in practical ways. In the Law of the Israelites, for example, one of the purposes of the Sabbath year of rest for the land, was to let the land lie fallow–and so that the poor as well as livestock and wild animals could eat from it (Exodus 23:11 and Leviticus 25:7). The Sabbath day itself was not only for humans to rest. God also commanded us to give our animals rest on the same day. (Exodus 20:10). He also commanded the Israelites to help both their friends and enemies when their ox or donkey had fallen over, or was carrying a burden too heavy for it to bear (Exodus 23:5 and Deuteronomy 22:4). In addition, livestock were also allowed to eat as they worked (Deuteronomy 25:4). Finally, God says to us in Proverbs 27:23: “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.”

Part of the reason that God anointed young David to be king over Israel, was that he was a good shepherd and could be trusted with the sheep under his care, even risking his life for them when they were attacked by lions or bears (1 Samuel 17:34-35). God knew that if David had this sort of heart for his sheep, he would be a faithful shepherd over an even greater treasure–the people of Israel.

Wild Animals–His eye is on the sparrow: In addition to domesticated animals, God also watches over wild animals and commands us to do the same. In Deuteronomy 22:6-7, God promises a long life to those who will watch over wild birds. If we rape the land or the creatures in it, what will sustain us in the future? He allows for the taking of eggs, but commands that we release the mother bird to continue living in the wild and reproducing as He intended. In Job 38:41, God says that He hears the cries of newborn ravens crying to Him for food. Jesus went on to say that God supplies food for the wild birds and that not one of them falls to the ground without Him knowing it (Matthew 6:26; 10:29).

These small, but kind and practical commands written throughout the Bible give us good insight into how God expects us to treat animals. Surely we will have to answer to Him for any abuse that we have committed against them. God created animals for us to love and to learn from. In them, we see our own dependance upon God illustrated in their dependance upon us. We can also see elements of our foolishness manifested in them (who has not seen a crowing rooster and laughed at the comic caricature of ourselves crowing to all the world in our foolish pride?) In addition, God also tells us to learn from their wisdom:

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8).

(Job 12:7-10 KJV) “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.”

Although worship of animals as deities is strictly forbidden in Scripture, we are to respect them as a part of God’s creation. Some believe that because only humans were created in God’s image, they alone are worthy of respect and care. Yet, the Bible tells us that even the angels were not created in God’s image, yet we are to respect them! We are to respect all of God’s created order, not to worship facets of it, but to see in it the same call that we ourselves have, which is to glorify God. All of God’s creation was made with the ability and the power to glorify Him, each in different ways. In this, animals, as well as humans, share a common element with the rest of creation. Perhaps the words from these Psalms say it best of all (emphasis added):

Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him from the heights above. Praise him all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. He set them in place forever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away. Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightening and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens (Psalm 148: 1-13).

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord (Psalm 150:6).