We’re in The Old City of Jerusalem. We’ve stopped for a discussion on Psalm 122. It has a specific reference about following the Lord’s command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and what it brings to those who do.
While this discussion was taking place, church bells were loudly ringing; the local Imam was calling his people to prayer; car horns were going off; people walking along the street were talking so every one could hear them; birds were chirping, all the while engines were whining as they went up a hill. Of top of this, it was discovered that the Hebrew word translated “prosperity” actual means peace. The believer who prays for the peace of Jerusalem will experience peace from such prayers.
All these distractions can make it very tough to hear Jesus’ voice. Yet, life is full of such distractions. We can do one of two things when they come; and, come they will. One, we can let them bother us so we don’t hear and follow Jesus; and thus, we won’t experience the peace Jesus promises. Or two, we can filter out those noises with the Spirit’s help and start praying for the peace of Jerusalem and experience the peace that God says will blow our minds!
We have no control over life’s distractions. But we do have control on whether or not we will filter them out to hear and follow Jesus to experience the kind of peace that He promised. Choose to focus and follow.
Set Free Now”W”w
The Spirit uses olives to teach us many truths about our walks with Jesus. Today I want to focus on the third step of the olive oil production process. The first step is to crush the olives to produce the extra virgin olive oil used for the Temple Menorah. The second step presses the olives to produce the oil used for cooking. The third step is another pressing that produces a bitter oil used for lamp oil and soap (mixed with fragrant spices).
Jesus was crushed and pressed for us at Gethsemane, which means olive press. If you review the passages before His arrest, Jesus went back and forth three times between His sleeping men and talking with His Dad. During the third conversation, scripture reveals that Jesus was in agony. This word carries the idea of severe emotional struggle. Why? His Father was silent for the first time in Jesus’ life! Jesus was wrestling with His emotions big time; and yet, He conquered them to bring light to the dark places that remain in our hearts, minds and lives. He kept going forward despite His emotional struggle to wash us from the pain that can cause bitterness.
We all struggle with our emotions at times. But who will be king – Jesus or our emotions? Only One can bring the light of hope that our lives can be changed and the cleansing power that can remove bitterness caused from the pain brought by ourselves and others.
Let’s continue to exercise the truths Jesus gives us in His Word through the Spirit’s power in each situation. As You do, Jesus will be king of your thoughts and your emotions so you can experience the joy and peace that only He can bring.
Set Fre”E” Nowww
I learned a new Hebrew phrase today that in English basically says, “Don’t put your shoes further than your leg.” It talks about the truth that all you have is the decision you have at the moment, not what you or others made yesterday or will make tomorrow.
Pictured is the Moshav Hamra. It is a family owned organic herb and tea farm in the Jordan Valley. Its ability to sell its products have been greatly affected by decisions made by others and economic factors beyond its control.
After talking with the farm’s founding father, you would have to love his attitude. “Don’t put your shoes further than your leg.” He can only control his decisions and his actions, no one else’s. He can’t worry about tomorrow or fret about yesterday. He can only make choices in the here and now for his family and farm.
It’s the same for secure children of God. If we want to become more like Jesus, we must focus on exercising the truth by faith empowered by the Spirit in the moment. It’s all we have.
As the psalmist wrote, “Don’t fret. It only leads to wrong doing.” We can focus on so many things beyond our control that we let others make our choices, rather than relying on the Spirit to help us make them.
Be caught up on forgiveness so you don’t focus on yesterday. Give Jesus tomorrow. And then, rely on the Spirit to make your choices today to listen to and follow Jesus. Don’t let your shoes get ahead of your leg!
“S”et Fre”E” Nowww
People came to pre-State Israel for many reasons. One was the dream of freedom from persecution, while for others it was to live in the land of their forefathers. Such was the dream of a group of professionals, doctors, lawyers and dentists, who came from Romania in the late 1800’s. However, for their small community to survive, they would have to clear and then work the land. They would have to work at night, as to not get shot by their Syrian enemies. They would have to import eucalyptus trees to plant along the edges of their property to drain the swamps with their malaria infected mosquitos (the last swamp in Israel is pictured) and to provide protection from enemy fire.
For these settlers, who were not used to working with their hands in such a way, these constant hardships were eroding their dream. And for many, it crushed that dream altogether.
What will make you quit going forward in becoming more like Jesus? We have lots of swamp land (i.e. character flaws) to be cleared (i.e. replaced with Jesus). Paul tells those who want more of Jesus and less of themselves to expect hardships, enemy pushback, and difficult choices.
Keep making those tough choices my friends, turning back (living a life you know lacks fulfillment and joy) is not an option!
Set Fre”E” Nowww
In 1918, the British were given control over then named Palestine with the understanding that Jews could build a homeland there. A few years later, they reneged on this promise with the infamous White Papers, which stated that Jews could not build any further villages of towns
. This de facto made it an Arab country. The one catch, however, was that “existing” towns could stay.
The Jewish people employed a very astute tactic to use this “catch” to their advantage. First, they bought land through intermediaries from Arab land owners. Once owned, they deployed what became known as the “Tower and Stockade” strategy.
Within 24 hours, they would erect a fence that could withstand bullets, a tower to alert them of a coming enemy in order to defend their new village, and tents for people to live and then work their land. They were “declaring that we are here!”
By the time the enemy, in this case the British and Arab world, realized what was happening, an existing city was up and running that couldn’t be torn down! The first such city in the western Galilee to use this strategy was Hanita (pictured), which means to park or come to a rest. In the first 24 hours of being built, it was attacked and defended at the cost of 10 lives, but it is still a thriving part of Israel today.
God said He would restart the nation of Israel. But the people did have a part to play, which they did. Galatians 5:1 states that Jesus set us free, but we must do our part to stand firm in what He did and through His power remain free.
Don’t be afraid to take new areas of your life! When the Spirit wants to take new territory, which Jesus already owns, it’s time to go forward. Victory is assured, but we must apply the FREEdom principles to stand firm in that victory.
The enemy will not give up easily. He will fight back. But a changed life, becoming more like Jesus, is worth the effort! And your changed life is declaring to the world that Jesus is here and can give them victory just as He did for you.
Set “FREE” Nowww