Archive for the 'Israel' Category

“Ancient Paths” – The Feasts

Jeremiah 6:16; “Thus says The Lord; ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.”

On April 15th of this year I posted my first reflection on discovering the “ancient paths”. Let us remember as we proceed down this road; it is not enough to discover them, but we need to walk them out. This article is going to talk about The Feasts and their importance, not only to the Jews but for Christians. I believe at a minimum, Christians need to recognize them as they roll around each year and, in some way, observe/celebrate that Feast.

It says in Exodus 23:14-15a; “Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me, you shall observe the feasts …”. Before we look more closely at these scriptures let me remind you of the three major feasts …

Pesach / Passover … Shavuot / Pentecost … Sukkot / Feast of Tabernacles

Back to Exodus …

“you shall” … observing the Feasts is not optional, it is a command.

“celebrate” … the Feasts are a time of great celebration; it is not a requirement of the Law that is burdensome, in a sense it is a party.

“to Me” … He is the focus and center of all the Feasts. Another scripture calls them, “appointed times”. God has set aside the Feasts throughout the year as appointed times to meet with Him; what could be better than that. God wants to meet with His people on a regular basis and the Feasts are one of His prescribed ways to do that.

“observe” … notice, take time to pause and reflect.

Another thing to remember is that Jesus observed the Feasts; if they were important to Him, they should be important to us.

Without going into a dissertation on Replacement Theology, let me just simply say; there is much the Christian Church has left behind and needs to rediscover. There are blessings for those who observe His designated times of celebration, the Feasts; and I do not want to miss anything He has for me.

“… ask for the good way, and walk in it …”

Next Feast … Sukkot, October 2nd – 9th; start making plans!

Rest for Your Soul

Jeremiah 6:16; “Thus says The Lord; ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.”

It is April 15th and I’m writing this article as we are sheltered-in-place and the world is facing the uncertainties associated with Covid-19; if there was ever a time we needed “rest for our souls”, I believe it is now. Jeremiah 6:16 was my theme verse for my most recent trip to Israel and during that time I believe I was able to uncover a small part of the mystery of the “ancient paths”.

Originally, I was scheduled to be in Israel from February 25th – March 27th to host three different groups from Pittsburgh. We were able to successfully complete two of the trips but had to cancel the last one as the country began to shut down with the pandemic increasing across the globe. With the weight of the responsibility of the trips and all the travelers and all the what-ifs; I must confess, I think I failed my faith test (aren’t we glad that He grades on the curve?).

It was during one of those moments as we entered Jerusalem at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 13th that I received some insight into the ancient paths and rest for my soul. On the bus, approaching our hotel, I was sovereignly hit with the incredible Shalom-peace of God; wasn’t looking for it, it just unexpectantly showed up. Before dinner, reflecting on what happened; I believe He showed me that one of the ancient paths that brings rest and peace is Shabbat. We had entered the Holy City at the beginning of Shabbat. The fast-paced activities of the world today is diametrically opposed to rest and peace; at the beginning God had a plan to counteract the turmoil of day to day life. His plan; one day out of seven to slow down, spend time with family, focus on Him and rest.

There are many more ancient paths to discover and walk in; but in the meantime; may His Shalom Peace give you rest for your soul.

What’s Next?

Judges 2:10; “There arose another generation who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.”

I’m concerned! I’m concerned about the next generations that have not been steeped in the Word of God and are growing up not really knowing the Lord or His ways; especially as they relate to Israel and the Jewish people. Over the last several decades many of our colleges and universities have championed anti-Israel views and actively promoted the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) Movement; and under the guise of social justice they have demonized Israel as an apartheid State.

I’m concerned, that the church is abandoning the truths of scripture for a feel-good, social gospel that will not serve us in the days ahead. When was the last time you heard a sermon about Israel and His chosen people? We need to know what the Bible says about Israel and the Jewish people and on that foundation alone, take our stand.

I’m concerned that our young people don’t know about God’s heart for The Land and the people of Israel. He created them with unique purpose and calling and is not yet through with them. The Psalms tells us that; “He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city” and “The joy of the whole earth, is Mt. Zion.” Zechariah states that; “God’s love for Jerusalem and Mt. Zion is passionate and strong.”

What’s next? More than ever we need to educate; we need to tell the story of Israel as outlined in the scriptures, over and over. We need to pray for the generations coming behind us. And we need to pray.

Let me end with a question; according to the old children’s song – How do you know that Jesus loves you? “ … for the bible tells me so!” How do you know that God loves Israel and the Jewish people? “ … for the bible tells us so!”





Why Israel? God’s heart for a people, His plan for a nation…Derek Prince

As Christians, we need to acknowledge our unfathomable debt to Israel and to always pray on the basis of that total indebtedness. Without the Jews, we would have no patriarchs, no prophets, no apostles, no Bible – and no Savior!

John 4:22 tells us that; “Salvation is from the Jews”. To pray effectively for Israel and the Jews, we need to be informed about them. The information we need does not come from the world’s perspective or from the media. It comes from God’s viewpoint, which we find in the Bible. 

The Jews are a unique people with a unique calling. David says in 1 Chronicles 17:21; “Who is like Your people Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people…” 

You cannot fully understand the Bible unless you know something about Israel. And if you’re confused about Israel, you’re confused about the Bible. The identification of Jesus with the Jewish people was not just for the few years of His earthly life and ministry. It is eternal. Many years after His resurrection and Ascension, He’s still called the Lion of the tribe of Judah! Not only was He a Jew, He is still a Jew. We need to remember there is a Lion in Heaven, He’s a Jew, and one day (soon) that Lion is going to roar. 

What you have just read was excerpted from Derek’s book; Why Israel? And as the subtitle challenges us, shouldn’t we really be seeking His heart and plan for the Jews and the nation of Israel? One of the roles of The Obed Project is to help you begin that journey; the rest is up to you. Blessings on your adventure of discovery.



The Appointed Time

FAVOR FOR ZION …. The Lord says that the regathering of Israel in our day is a banner raised by Him for the nations. Events in Israel and the Middle East today are at the center of world attention and media coverage. This period of Israel’s regathering at the end o f the age was marked clearly on God’s great prophetic calendar three thousand years ago.

Psalm 102:13-16, 18 says; You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come. For her stones are dear to your servants … The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory. For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory … Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created my praise the Lord.

Now is God’s appointed time to have mercy on Zion and to show favor to her. This is not something that Zion or the Jewish people have earned, but something that comes out of God’s sovereign grace and mercy. One of the main purposes of what God is doing is to  bring glory to His own name in the sight of all the nations by fulfilling His promises to Israel. The rebuilding of Zion is one of the great biblical signs that the time is at hand for the Lord to appear in His glory. We have the great privilege of living in that time that the psalmist foresaw. I believe we are the ones being created in response to what God is doing for one supreme purpose: to bring praise to the Lord.

Reprinted from: Derek Prince Ministries devotional: Declaring God’s Word

The Destiny of Israel and the Church …. Installment No. 1

In the next several postings/articles I would like to highlight and acknowledge one of the individuals who has greatly shaped my biblical understanding of Israel and the Jewish people, Derek Prince.

His love for The Land, unparalleled grasp of scripture and understanding of prophecy as it relates to Israel is second to none. So I commend to each and every one of you; his books and teachings which are readily available through Derek Prince Ministries. To whet your appetite we are excerpting below from the book; The Destiny of Israel and the Church 1992, 2007, 2016 by Derek Prince Ministries-International, published by Whitaker House.

“God’s prophetic Word reveals that this present age will culminate with the restoration and redemption of Israel. The nearer we come to the close of the age, therefore, the more intense will be the pressures surrounding Israel. 

A major part of satan’s strategy against Israel has been to obscure the truth as revealed in the Bible. It is amazing that so much confusion has existed, and still exists, in the church today concerning God’s purposes for Israel. The battle for Israel is, in fact, the battle for truth. 

Essential truth is usually simple. And the truth is, Israel is Israel, and the church is the church.

… Any writer or preacher who introduces a different application of the term Israel forfeits the right to claim scriptural authority for what he or she has to say about Israel. 

Israel’s Restoration Predicted … The prophets of Israel certainly do make clear, specific promises of a restoration of Israel that will take place in two phases; first to their land and then to their God. I always put it in that order because I see in Scripture that God purposes to bring most Jews back to the land unredeemed, not in faith, in order that He may deal with them there. 

Historically, this has always been true of God’s dealings with Israel. He has consistently related to them not just as individuals but as a single people, joined by a covenant both to God and to one another. This is how God intends to deal with them at the close of this age – as a single people. In order to do this, however, He must gather them once again in one place. 

God’s promise to restore Israel is not based on anything good they have done, but only that God may be glorified through it.”

Good Stuff!!! More to come ….

Our hope and prayer is that you will not only fall in love with Israel and the Jewish people but that you will build a STRONG biblical foundation based on the truth of the scriptures as it relates to The Land.

DPM Books on Israel:

The Key to the Middle East

The Destiny of Israel and the Church

Our Debt to Israel (14 page booklet)

Jerusalem …. A City Like No Other

In March of this year we were able to host two tours, one the first of the month and the second at the very end, stretching into April. With a two week break in between the two trips we decided to rent an apartment and stay in Jerusalem; what a joy to every day walk the streets of the City of our God and take in the wonder of what He calls “the apple of His eye”. Jerusalem truly is a city like no other and what better way to describe it to you than to hear what His Word says about it ….

The scripture tells us that He has installed His King upon Zion (Jerusalem), His holy mountain … The Lord dwells in Jerusalem, it is where He has chosen to live forever, it is His resting place, He desires it … The joy of the whole earth is Mt. Zion, the city of the great King … He is rebuilding Jerusalem and bringing the exiles back … He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city (shouldn’t we do the same)… The Lord is great in Zion and sits in majesty in Jerusalem, exalted above the nations … His love for Jerusalem is passionate and strong (how about yours) … God will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem … God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers, revealing himself as its defender … He will defend this city for His name’s sake … The Lord of heaven’s armies will come down and fight on Mt. Zion … The Lord’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem ..Zion, your God reigns! 

In every Jewish home at the end of the Seder (Passover) meal the declaration is made; “Next Year in Jerusalem!” Sounds like a good idea to me; how about joining us and experience firsthand; the wonders and glory of the “eternal city”. Psalm 84 tells us; “What JOY for those who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

Let me close with this scripture – Isaiah 62:6-7; “Watchmen … remind the Lord, take no rest … until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” Let’s be faithful to our calling.




Did You Know ….

Writing in the sand

Did you know “That He who watches over Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps?”

Did you know that knowing your facts, having good sources, and being self-educated  helps you to develop your own narrative about Israel?

Did you know that the “West Bank” you hear about in the news is the biblical heart-land of Israel and contains Judea & Samaria?

Did you know that Anti-Zionism is the new Anti-Semitism?

Did you know that Israel has become the Plumb-line for the Church?

Did you know that a note in an NIV Study Bible says; “Ultimately, how a person treats Jewish people will reveal whether or not he is saved.”

Did you know that “land for peace” did not work to stop WWII, it has never worked, and it will never work; actually on two different occasions the Palestinians have been offered over 95% of what they wanted and they turned it down?

Did you know that no Israeli Jew has ever blown themselves up on a Palestinian bus, killing innocent women and children?

Did you know that the real question or battle isn’t about pre-’67 borders or right of return; but it’s about Jerusalem, the City of the Great King?

Did you know that “all who love Jerusalem will prosper”?

Did you know that the blood shed on Calvary was Jewish blood? Think about that next time you take communion.

Did you know that on Israel rests an “ancient anointing” and there are blessings that can only come to you and your family by blessing Israel?

Did you know that one day He is going to gather all the nations against Jerusalem to do battle and that He will return and His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives and there He will do battle with the nations?

Let me end with a “Do you?” instead or a “Did you?”


These are the days of Esther

Clay Jar

For sake of time and space, join me as we jump into the pages of scripture already part way through the Book of Esther.  Haman, a noble of Artaxerses, becomes filled with rage toward an entire race of people (God’s chosen ones) just because a single man, a Jew named Mordecai, would not bow down and worship him. Even though he was a man of riches, honor and power, Haman states that none of that means anything as long as he saw Mordecai the Jew sitting in the palace gate.

The mere fact that Jews exist infuriates people in the Middle East even to this day. Haman, who takes many forms in today’s world, is openly plotting to destroy the entire Jewish race and subsequently the nation of Israel. The amazing thing is that these insidious plans are being hatched in broad day light for all to see – or so one would think. Haman got the king to send letters detailing his plans to eliminate the Jews throughout 127 provinces of the kingdom stretching from India to Ethopia. The enemy used the media then, as they are using it today to advance their evil schemes. Haman’s wife and advisors cautioned him against this plan to destroy the Jews but he was “hell-bent” (literally) on their annihilation. The Hamans of today would be wise to heed the advice of scripture that warns what will happen to those who touch the “apple of His eye.”

God had told Queen Esther earlier in our drama not to reveal to anyone that she was a Jew; you see, God had a plan – He had one then, He has one NOW. God is giving the enemies of Israel enough rope to literally hang themselves. Also, in His great mercy, He is given them time to relent and repent of their actions. Decision day came for the queen; she had to put her life on the line and publicly stand with the Jews. These are the days of Esther, a time of decision for the Church – are we ready to stand with Israel, the Jews, no matter what it costs?

As with the King’s initial letter, things have been set in motion by the Prince of Persia (the devil) that I believe will not change. But another Voice, stronger and clearer emanating from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords that will have the final word.

I believe the Lord is challenging each of us: “Where are the Mordecais? Where are the Esthers who will count being identified with Jewish people more precious than life itself?” I don’t have a problem signing my name to the bottom line. Is there another?

Times and Seasons

“Times and seasons.” These words are so familiar to Christians and so much a fabric of our lives that sometimes we forget the larger picture. In my personal life, God has a way of demonstrating physically the spiritual truth He is working in my life.
In the two weeks before I left for Israel to be gone for five weeks and to lead two groups back to back, I retired from the company I started over thirty-one years ago, I bought (and moved into) a new home, and moved my office to The Obed Project’s new offices. I am finally now able to devote full time to Obed – which pleases me. However, all of this change caused me to have to touch everything I own, make decisions about each possession and either give it away, throw it away, or box it up for moving. It did not take deep spiritual acuity to see that I was in a changing season in my life. I knew it and had been praying for wisdom in the transition. I never suspected that everything would happen so fast!

Although I lead groups often (65 trips so far!), I am always amazed and astounded by what the Lord does and the powerful lessons He teaches us.

During the first group, we experienced record high temperatures, comfortably lower temperatures, dust storms, and desert winds – all in all, just regular June Israel weather. We traveled around the country and, as always, I fell in love with the land once again. One of our goals at The Obed Project is to show Israel to the traveler through a biblical lens, thus causing the searching Christian to see the everlasting, faithful, covenant relationship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has with the land and the people of Israel. This always happens. Each time. To me.

The second group was very small. We had a smaller bus and a very intimate feeling (it is hard not to feel this way when you are bouncing around in a smaller bus!).  From the beginning, some truly unusual things happened.
To understand the miraculous nature of what I am about to tell you, you first must know that the rainfall in Israel follows a most basic pattern. It only rains in the winter. It never rains in the summer. Here is a quote from a Jewish site which says it better than I:

“For starters, you can leave everything outside during the summer months — laundry, bicycles, furniture, grill. It does not rain in the summer. Ever.

The first rain will hit sometime during the High Holidays. It doesn’t matter if the holidays are early or late, it will rain sometime, often during Sukkot. The corollary to this is that it is impossible to find umbrellas, rain boots or raincoats in the stores until after the first rain.

The last rain will hit right around Passover, usually on seder night. “

So, from about April till about October, it simply does not rain (thus the concept of the latter and former rain).   I remember thinking on my first trip to Israel in September of 1983 that the guide was arrogant when he said: “I can guarantee you that you will have no rain while you are here.” I wondered how he could promise something like that with such authority. Then I learned what is second nature to Israelis – rain means winter in Israel.

Our second group spent the first three days of our tour at the Dead Sea. On the third day, as we exited our hotel for the day’s activities, we noticed that all of the Israelis, including our guide and driver, were looking up and talking excitedly (O.K. – I admit that all people speaking Hebrew sound excited!).  We looked up and saw some fluffy white clouds in the sky. This did not seem worth getting excited about to our group who were mainly from the southern USA. But to the people who know Israel, this was very unusual. When I got on the bus, the driver told me that it was already at 8AM over 40 degrees Celsius. (This is a daily calculation for me – Celsius to Fahrenheit.) I struggled and then came up with a temperature of 104F. The driver, guide, and I also discussed the clouds – with such wonder that a tour member asked what was the big deal about the clouds. The guide then spoke to the group about the fact that there are rarely clouds in the desert in the summer (not much in the winter either!).

The Lamb

We stopped at Qumram to discuss the Dead Sea Scrolls and the group called the Essenes. We were standing outside in the sun (baking) when suddenly we felt drops of water. The guide stopped speaking and the group knew the wonder of rain – in the desert – in Israel – at the very end of June. Amazing.

These clouds (and very light showers) followed us into the Galilee but in a few days had disappeared. It was a lesson to the group about how closely Israelis are tied to their land and the seasons of the land. And it was a huge confirmation to me that truly now is a time of change of seasons. This season change is happening to all of us, whether we acknowledge it or not. God has announced a change of seasons on the earth. Let us all pray and discern our part in this change.

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