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Posts tagged ‘Isaac’

Lamed Hey: In the Footsteps of Our Forefathers.


The 'Patriarchs Route' just south of Jerusalem
The ‘Patriarchs Route’ just south of Jerusalem (Yehoshua Halevi / Golden Images)

Growing up in New Jersey, my youth was filled with visits to important places associated with George Washington; where he fought, slept, and ate, and places associated with Thomas Edison and his many inventions. I even grew up next to a house whose sub-basement was a stop on the Underground Railroad. These bits of history as far back as 1775 are vividly etched in my mind still today.

Living in Israel, I have been exposed to a new set of landmarks, some obvious ones going back thousands of years including the Western Wall and remains of Jerusalem’s ancient Temples, the burial places of our patriarchs and matriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Leah, Rebecca and Rachel, Joseph and others. These are frequented on typical tourist itineraries, but there are many more off the beaten path, literally and figuratively.

These sites are landmarks in the thousands of years of Jewish history, underscoring our ancient, and modern, connection to the Land.

One example is a path through the mountains near my home south of Jerusalem called Derech HaAvot – the “Patriarchs Route.” More than just a catchy name, this winding dirt path is literally one of the ways that people walked south from Jerusalem to the desert, to Israel’s southern coast, and residential and commercial areas of the day, thousands of years ago. Did Abraham and Sarah and their children and grandchildren walk these very routes, maybe while going down to or returning from Egypt? There’s no archeological evidence of that (yet) but it’s intuitive that they did, as this was one of the highways of their day.

There’s something awesome and humbling knowing that these very hills, with their hot dry weather, beautiful landscapes, and magnificent sunsets, are the same today as when they lived, connecting us deeply to the Land, and our history. Of course, the most famous Book documents this all, I just have the privilege to live and raise my family here.

As much as biblical events happened all around us, there’s a vast amount of modern historical connection we have to the Land as well. A few years ago, we went with friends to visit one of Jerusalem’s lesser-known but no less interesting historical spots, the Museum of the Underground Prisoners. This is where the British used to incarcerate Jews who were accused of many crimes including being part of the resistance to the British Mandate and British policies limiting the number of Jewish immigrants, including refugees and Holocaust survivors who were able to reach the shores of our homeland.

Growing up here at that time, my father used to tell me about his friends’ older siblings who were arrested and sent to places like this, or exiled to Cyprus, for “crimes” as serious as posting flyers against the British. Back in the Underground Prison, one of our friends we were with, whose family goes back generations in Jerusalem, was raised both with academic lessons and personal family stories of this era. While exploring the museum’s exhibit that recounted the experiences of the prisoners, she came across a small Book of Psalms with a sign next to it that it had belonged to her uncle who had been imprisoned there. This little book was a link in the chain of Jewish life and experiences in Israel before 1948 that made the visit very personal to us all, and especially to her children who were fascinated to see a piece of modern history that documented their family’s ties to our national history. OK, it’s not the same as finding the knife that Abraham would have used to sacrifice Isaac, but it is meaningful all the same.

Every other year for the past several years, most recently this week, one or more of my kids joined thousands of Israeli teens commemorating the anniversary, an annual re-enactment of a famous hike, that of the legendary Lamed Hey. The kids experience for a night the mission, terrain, and weather, of an historic event in modern times, and our unbreakable bond to the Land. Lamed Hey are the Hebrew letters that represent the number 35 for the Thirty-Five soldiers who set out on an all-night mission to bring aid to the Gush Etzion region during Israel’s War of Independence.

On January 15, 1948, the Thirty-Five set out by foot carrying heavy backpacks loaded with first-aid supplies, plasma, weapons, and ammunition for the embattled Jewish Gush Etzion communities. They were forced to proceed slowly up the Judean Mountains’ rocky terrain. They departed before midnight, more than 15 miles away. Other than braving a cold Judean Mountain winter night, they first had to bypass a British police station unnoticed, and continue through hostile Arab territory.

The Thirty-Five walked throughout the night. Near dawn they approached Zurif, the last Arab village before Gush Etzion, four miles away. The unit was detected and shots were fired at them. They were deep in enemy territory without any means to call for outside help. As soon as the battle began, the commander realized that they would not be able to break through to Gush Etzion. They quickly split into two and, with one group covering the other, they climbed to the top of what is now known as “Battle Hill,” a strategic defensive location. The Thirty-Five bravely defended themselves against the fierce attacks of hundreds of Arabs from neighboring villages. Toward evening on Jan. 16, the supply of ammunition which the Thirty-Five carried began to run out. The battle ended with the death of the last of the Thirty-Five who, having used all their ammunition, died with rocks in their hands. After the battle, many of the bodies were mutilated by the Arabs beyond recognition.

We are connected to this Land, biblically, historically, and in modern times in more ways than can be recounted. We have paid a heavy price to return and restore Jewish sovereignty to the Land that God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their descendants, including me and my family.

It is with no small measure of joy and privilege that I raise my children here, 10-15 minutes from Jerusalem, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, and “Battle Hill” to where each of my four eldest children retraced the footsteps of modern forefathers, recalling their bravery, and our timeless connection to this, our Land, in the footsteps of our modern and biblical forefathers.



Jonathan Feldstein is the director of Heart to Heart, a unique virtual blood donation program to bless Israel and save lives in Israel. Born and educated in the U.S., Feldstein emigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He writes a column for Charisma’s Standing With Israel. You can contact Jonathan

Former Pastor Isaac Hunter Dies, Says Father Joel Hunter’s Church.

Isaac Hunter
Isaac Hunter, former pastor at Summit Church in Orlando, Fla., has died, reports Northland, A Church Distributed.

Isaac Hunter, former pastor at Summit Church in Orlando, Fla., has died, reports Northland, A Church Distributed. Hunter is the son of Northland Senior Pastor Joel Hunter. Pastor Vernon Rainwater wrote the following message in a blog entry and a post on the Northland’s Facebook page Tuesday:

“By now you may have heard that Pastor Joel and Becky’s son Isaac Hunter died today. All of us are grieving for the Hunter family, and we will deeply miss Isaac. Words cannot express the sorrow we’re feeling.

“We love this family and are so grateful for the impact they have had on each of our lives. I have loved Isaac since he was a child, and I know this … Isaac loved Jesus. And we are assured of his continuing relationship with Christ now in heaven (Romans 8:38-39).

“I know we all want to reach out to the Hunter family, but the way we can love them best at this time is to pray for them and respect their privacy. Right now, would you please pray for them? We will have opportunities in the future to fully express our love and sympathies. Memorial service information will be posted on Northland’s website as soon as it’s available.”

Isaac and Rhonda Hunter have three children together. He has two brothers, Joshua and Joel. It is not yet known how Hunter, 36, died or any details surrounding his death. At press time, the Orange County Medical Examiner’s office was closed and not able to comment.

Hunter founded Summit Church in 2002. It has since become one of the fastest-growing churches in Central Florida with five locations and an estimated 5,000 worshippers. The church grew out of a ministry the younger Hunter started at his father’s megachurch.

Hunter made headlines last year when he resigned after admitting to an affair with a former staffer.

According to court documents from 2012, his family also found an undated suicide note on his computer with instructions to Summit Church on what should be done “If I die,” written before his 35th birthday on April 26, 2012.

“I would very much like to be remembered as a person who loved his children, his parents, his brothers, and his best friends—well, while I could,” Hunter wrote. “I fear I will love them better in my absence. As I have become what I never wished to be, a burden on those I love the most.”


Sarah – Wife of Abraham.

Abram and Sarai

Abram‘s Counsel to Sarai by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (circa 1896-1902).

Image: Public Domain

Profile of Sarah, Wife of Abraham and Mother of the Jewish Nation.

Sarah (originally named Sarai) was one of several women in the Bible who were unable to have children. That proved doubly distressing for her because God had promised her husbandAbraham that he would be the father of the Jewish nation, with descendants more numerous than the stars in the sky.

After waiting many years, Sarah convinced Abraham to sleep with her handmaiden, Hagar, to produce an heir. That was an accepted practice in ancient times. The child born of that encounter was named Ishmael. But God had not forgotten his promise. Three heavenly beings, disguised as travelers, appeared to Abraham. God repeated his promise to Abraham that his wife would bear a son. Even though Sarah was very old, she did conceive and deliver a son. They named him Isaac.

Isaac would father Esau and Jacob. Jacob would father 12 sons who would become heads of the 12 tribes of Israel. From the tribe of Judah would come David, and finally Jesus of Nazareth, God’s promisedSavior.

Sarah’s Accomplishments:

Sarah’s loyalty to Abraham resulted in her sharing in his blessings. She became the mother of the nation of Israel.

Although she struggled in her faith, God saw fit to include Sarah as the first woman named in the Hebrews 11 “Faith Hall of Fame.”

Sarah’s Strengths:

Sarah was obedient to her husband Abraham. Even when he passed her off as his sister, which landed her in Pharaoh’s harem, she did not object.

Sarah was protective of Isaac and loved him deeply.

Sarah’s Weaknesses:

At times, Sarah doubted God. She had trouble believing God would fulfill his promises, so she plunged ahead with her own solution.

Life Lessons:

Waiting for God to act in our lives may be the hardest task we ever face. It’s also true that we can become dissatisfied when God’s solution does not match our expectations. Sarah’s life teaches us that when we feel doubtful or afraid, we should remember what God said to Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14, NIV)

Sarah waited 90 years to have a baby. Certainly she had given up hope of ever seeing her dream ofmotherhood fulfilled. Sarah was looking at God’s promise from her limited, human perspective. But the Lord used her life to unfold an extraordinary plan, proving that he is never limited by what usuallyhappens. Sometimes we feel like God has placed our lives in a permanent holding pattern. Rather than taking matters into our own hands, we can let Sarah’s story remind us that a time of waiting may be God’s precise plan for us.


Unknown. Her story begins with Abram in Ur of the Chaldeans.

Referenced in the Bible:

Genesis chapters 11 through 25; Isaiah 51:2; Romans 4:19, 9:9; Hebrews 11:11; and 1 Peter 3:6.


Homemaker, wife, mother.

Family Tree:

Father – Terah
Husband – Abraham
Son – Isaac
Half Brothers – Nahor, Haran
Nephew – Lot

Key Verses:

Genesis 21:1
Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. (NIV)

Genesis 21:7
And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” (NIV)

Hebrews 11:11
And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. (NIV)


The Bride Awaits Her King.

laughing bride

Every woman loves a love story. What girl, young or old, hasn’t dreamed of being Cinderella, pursued by her Prince Charming?

Most people don’t consider Christianity to be first and foremost a love story; but it is. In fact, if you are a Christian you are involved in the greatest love story ever. And, it gets even better; you aren’t the ugly stepsister. You are the beautiful bride!

The Song of Solomon gives us a picture of our Bridegroom King, Jesus, who left heaven’s paradise to come to fallen Earth and redeem His bride: “Who is this coming up from the desert like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense made from all the spices of the merchant?” (Song 3:6, NIV). Here Jesus is coming out of the wilderness perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, signifying His sufferings and intercession for His bride.

This is the same Bridegroom who ascended to heaven, and who can declare, “Father, I did it! I paid the price for her” (see John 17:4; 19:30). In response, the Father can reply to His Son, “Sit here, on my right hand while I send my Holy Spirit to train your bride” (see Heb. 12:2; John 16:13).

The Holy Spirit prepares us for the Bridegroom King. He is our teacher and guide. He awakens our spirits and sets our hearts on fire. He is the One who brings the revelation of conviction, repentance and salvation.

The Spirit illuminates the Word of God, taking the logos (doctrine or the revealed will of God) and making it a heart-gripping rhema (an individual Scripture given for a specific purpose). And He is the One who makes known to us our birthright and awakens us to our destiny.

In Search of a Bride

The story of Isaac and Rebekah is a picture of the great love adventure between Christ and His bride. In Genesis 24, Abraham (Father God) commissions his servant (the Holy Spirit) to find a bride for his son, Isaac (Christ).

In Genesis 24:14, the servant leaves the father and goes through the wilderness with 10 camels loaded down with a large dowry. When he arrives at the town, it is evening, the time when the women would go draw water at the well. The servant prays to God and puts forth a fleece: “Have the maiden You have selected as Isaac’s wife give me a drink and offer to water my camels as well.”

Before he even finished his prayer, Rebekah came to the well, dressed as a servant, going about her daily chores. The servant asked her for a drink and immediately something quickened her heart. She answered, “Yes, of course, and may I also water your camels?” (See Genesis 24:19.)

Now that was an extravagant offer. The camels had just come out of the desert and were extremely thirsty. One camel can drink about 30 gallons, so she was offering to draw about 300 gallons of water for his 10 camels.

In the natural, all Rebekah saw were thirsty camels. She didn’t know about the son. But hidden beneath this simple request for a drink was a prophetic invitation for her. Often, the Holy Spirit comes to us asking for what could be compared to only a drink of water, and we reject His invitation because we can’t see what is concealed within it.

After Rebekah watered the camels, the servant presented her with jewelry—a golden nose ring and gold bracelets (Gen. 24:22). When she told her brother Laban about the visitor and the gifts he had given her, he ran to meet the servant and extended him a personal invitation to his home (v. 31).

When we see all the wonderful gifts the Holy Spirit has to offer, we greatly desire and need them.

But often we get so focused on the gifts that we forget the Holy Spirit is a Person with a personality and that we need intimacy with Him even more than we need His gifts.

The Journey Leads to Jesus

When the servant entered Laban’s home, the servant refused to eat any of the food set before him, saying that first he must explain his mission. The servant shared the story of Isaac’s miraculous birth and recounted the series of events from earlier that day—his prayer at the well and Rebekah’s response (Gen. 24:36-48).

After the servant related the story, they ate and fellowshiped all night. The next morning as the servant prepared to leave, Rebekah’s family asked if he would stay another 10 days before taking Rebekah to his master. The servant refused the invitation because he had a mission. He had to get the bride to the son! (See Genesis 24:56.)

So often we want to stay in the bride’s house. We want to stay where the party is, and where all the gifts are. We lack the revelation of the importance of our journey.

We view the Holy Spirit as though He is there only for our benefit—for a little healing and a little refreshing. We fail to understand the magnitude of this incredible love story and the importance of the journey to the Bridegroom King, who longs for His bride.

When Rebekah’s family asked her if she were willing to go with the servant, she replied, “I will go.” Likewise, the Holy Spirit is looking for voluntary lovers who will say, “Yes, I will go with You! Yes, I want to know the Bridegroom King! I am willing to leave my family to follow You now.”

Rebekah didn’t know how to get to Isaac on her own. She didn’t know that she must travel hundreds of miles through the wilderness of varied terrain, through valleys, mountains, streams and pools. She had to totally trust her relationship with the servant to lead her to her bridegroom.

Rebekah was willing to leave her comfort zone. She didn’t know about the times of isolation she would face or the criticism that would come her way when others did not understand how the Lord was leading her. She was totally dependent upon the servant.

The Holy Spirit is jealous to bring a pure, lovesick bride to Jesus. He knows the fears and weaknesses we have. He knows the times our hearts faint, and He will protect us.

He takes away everything that hinders love—callousness, brokenness, unforgiveness and pain. He wants to do a radical work of healing, cleansing and deliverance so that we will mature into the beautiful bride we were created to be.

Every time we say yes to the Holy Spirit’s leading, our Bridegroom’s heart must leap as He sees His bride moving closer to Him in love. Jesus wears many crowns, but the one crown the bride can give to Him is her love (Rev. 19:12).

The Holy Spirit may express Himself through the phenomena of fire, wind and oil, but He is more than those attributes; He is a person, and we must develop an intimate relationship with Him to prepare us for our personal journey through the wilderness.

The Purpose of the Wilderness

Our individual wildernesses are unique. There are different types of mountains for each of us to cross. These symbolize the obstacles, persecutions and misunderstandings we encounter.

The Holy Spirit will lead you to the mountain of myrrh—the time of the dark night of the soul. This is akin to the time when He led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Luke 4:1-14).

When Jesus came out, He was filled with authority and with heavenly power. He was able to do whatever the Father told Him to do. Just like Jesus, we, too, will go through sufferings and temptations, but the Holy Spirit will be there with us.

He will walk with us over the hills of daily pressures where we will choose whether or not to continue climbing higher. But there will also be low times when we’ll go through the valleys, and our hearts will faint with despair.

In the valley, we won’t understand the way, and we’ll want to cry out: “Holy Spirit, are You still with me? I can’t feel You!” But He is always there. He is our skillful guide who alone knows all the terrain.

Actually, the wilderness isn’t all that bad. As we continue on our journey to meet our Bridegroom King, God establishes places of remembrance for us. These are times when we meet intimately with the Holy Spirit.

During stressful and painful seasons, the Lord invites us to meet with Him and make a holy covenant. Then, in the future, when we encounter hard times, we will be able to look back at this place and remember that we have met with God.

Prophetically, I believe the word to us for this hour is that we come to know the Holy Spirit as a person. We need to break outdated mindsets and paradigms of church culture that put limitations on the Holy Spirit.

Cultivate a personal relationship with Him. When we do not know Him in this way and aren’t experiencing seasons of renewal, we will feel alone and abandoned.

We must cry out to know the Holy Spirit better. As we learn to embrace Him as a Person, He will come to center stage because He is leading us to the Bridegroom King.

Each of us is responsible for maintaining an intimate relationship with our beloved guide, so that when we go through the despair of the wilderness, we know immediately to lean on Him. Yield to Him and come to know Him as the best friend of the Bridegroom.

As Rebekah was going through the wilderness, I am sure she was saying to the servant, “I’m nervous about this high mountain in front of me, please tell me more about Isaac. What does he look like?”

Only the servant knew Isaac intimately. Rebekah had never seen him face to face.

As they trudged along through the heat, the servant likely talked about Isaac to Rebekah, saying: “I have known him since the day he was born. He is wonderful, stunning, dazzling and full of light and compassion. This bridegroom is a good, tenderhearted man, and when he sees those who are broken, despised and rejected, he quickly goes to them. He is a tender shepherd.”

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SpiritLed Woman.


Isaac’s Amazing Change.

Teen Drug AddictionChristian Testimony.

Even though Isaac was raised in a Christian home, he opened the door to sin at a very young age. By 14, as a freshman in high school, he was already traveling down a destructive road of drug addiction, pornography, stealing, and dangerous thoughts of suicide. As Isaac’s depression worsened, he took even greater risks, until one weekend he had an encounter with God. Since then the depression has vanished, and Isaac’s life has undergone an amazing change.

Isaac’s true story is one of many uniquely featured testimonies from you, the members and visitors of this site. Each story reveals a life transformed by Christian faith. If your relationship with God has made a significant difference in your life, we would like to hear about it. Submit your testimony by filling out this Submission Form. To receive weekly messages of hope and encouragement from real-life stories of changed lives, sign up for eTestimonies.

Isaac’s Amazing Change

I was raised, and am still being raised, in a Christian home with good parents. We go to a good church. My parents taught me right from wrong as a little kid, and they taught me about God and Jesus. In essence, I believed them. So everything in life was going well until I was about 12. Then, during a period of 3 years, Satan got quite close to claiming my soul.At age 12, my friend introduced me to pornography. And I have to say, I enjoyed it. For the first time, my image of right and wrong was shattered, as Satan got that foothold he needed to pervert my life with sin. It was a slow-working process. I went on like this for about a year. Then it got worse.


At 13 I started to get depressed. It happened for normal, young-guy reasons … girl trouble. And honestly, looking back, it was nothing to even get close to depressed over. I liked a girl, but she didn’t like me back. Nonetheless, I got depressed.Then started that always-fun-for-parents rebellious phase of my life. I’d yell at them and get ticked-off at everything. I’d flip them off behind their backs. I had started cussing pretty bad about this time too. Because of their reactions, I honestly thought they hated me. I thought that nobody loved me, and that I was hated by everyone except my friends.

I decided I had to do something, so I started skateboarding in January of 2006. It was supposed to be an outlet for my depression, and it worked at the time. When I was skating, I’d forget about my troubles entirely. But not even skating would work completely, just as the enemy had planned it.

Turning Away from God

By the time I was 14, during the summer before my freshman year of high school, I had pretty much denounced Christianity. I went so far as to flip God off at times. I remember one time I had just gotten up off the bathroom floor from crying my eyes out, because I was so depressed, and I flipped him off saying, “F*** you, God!”So, obviously I was in pretty bad shape. But, instead of turning to God, who I thought hated me, I started looking into drugs. I didn’t get my hands on any for a while, but I started trying to get one substance in particular. Over the summer, I’d searched to get it, but couldn’t get any. After that summer, I “came back” to God, but still hanging onto terrible liberal philosophies to simply justify my sin. My reason for coming back was honestly to get a girl to like me. Then came the worst few months of my life.

Experimenting with Drugs

I was a freshman. It was November 2006. I was still 14, and I even more depressed than ever. One night when my parents were away, I started looking up information about the drugs I found in the medicine cabinet. Soon I found something that would make my drug-dreams come true. It was an over the counter medicine, but I won’t give the name, to keep others from temptation. It was a hallucinogen and a deliriant.I started taking the drug occasionally, until my parents bought a full bottle of pills. I was stoked. And because they bought them for me, since I was having a problem that the medicine was meant to treat, I took them a lot, in larger doses than was recommended. I loved getting high, because when I was high, I had no depression. The only problem was, when I would come back down, I was much more depressed than before.


Then I got the wild idea to steal some. So I went to the store one day, walked to the pharmacy and, not going into detail, stole it. I got away with it very easily. Now I had a full bottle of the stuff that nobody knew about but me. Big mistake for me.After that, having not succeeded in hallucinating yet, I decided one Sunday after church that I would pop pills until I hallucinated. I was home alone because my parents had a wake to attend. After dinner, I popped pills, 4 every 15 minutes, for 2 hours and 15 minutes. That’s 36 pills! And I had the weirdest trip.

Even though I had been scared to death, Satan convinced me that this was fun and just what I needed. So, I started getting high all the time. I rarely took big doses, just moderate ones.

Then I met another stoner at my church youth group, and we started talking some. I got bored with just the drug I was taking, and started also taking the drug I had searched for almost 6 months earlier. I ended up doing it 3 times.

I started smoking every now and then, cigarettes that I stole from my mom. Then, getting desperate, I stole a prescription drug from my aunt who had had surgery a few years back.

Thoughts of Suicide

I used the drug without feeling a bit of guilt. Yet every Sunday, when the pastor gave the alter call, I’d feel God pulling at my heart. I didn’t heed the call, but instead, I ran. Soon enough, thoughts of suicide came alongside the depression.

Then, in March 2007, came the weekend that would change my life forever.

It is called by my youth group, “Winterfest Weekend.” We all pack up early Friday morning and head down to Winterfest in Knoxville, TN. So, my friend and I went, mainly to get away from our parents and get out of a day at school. Little did I know how my life would be changed that weekend.

The first night, I played “Christian.” To quote from a Jentzen Franklin message called, “Keep Your Underwear On,” I looked like a Christian on the outside, but on the inside, I didn’t have my underwear on. I was faking it. I truly was worshiping God, but I had no intention of letting go of my sinful lifestyle. My friend and I were planning to go the next day and rob the Knoxville Mall of our preferred drug and get high in the service.

Thank Jesus, we had chaperones at the mall, so we didn’t do it. (Although we did buy itching powder at Spensor’s and put it on people in our youth group. But, that’s beside the point.)

Crying Out to God

That night we went to the service. I listened, worshiped God and all, just like the night before. Tommy Bates was preaching on the Holy Spirit, and how Satan wants to destroy us. I didn’t agree with him at the time on some points, like that drugs are sinful, but still God tugged at my heart, as usual.

At the end of the message, when he called for anyone who had not been filled with the Holy Spirit to come, three others went: my friend, and two other guys from our youth group. Because I wasn’t alone, I went down and called out to God. I honestly don’t know where the words I cried came from, because I surely wasn’t thinking them. I guess it was from my spirit.

To summarize, I cried, “God, I’m tired of giving you only part of me. Lord, take all of me and fill me with your Holy Spirit!”

So, I kept praying like this for about 10 minutes. Then a girl, who looked to be about 12 years old, with bloodshot eyes from crying, came up to me and said, “The Lord said to tell you, he’s going to fill you with the Holy Spirit tonight.” That touched me. There was no way she could have heard me. The music was so loud I couldn’t even hear me. I knew her words were from the Lord. I knew he must have heard my plea for salvation, and that he would do as he said. So she prayed for me.

Finding Freedom

Within about 5 seconds, I couldn’t stop shaking and was having trouble standing. In that instant, my drug addiction, my depression and suicidal thoughts, my porn addiction, all of it had vanished! I was free!

I lay on the floor for about 20 minutes praising the King of Kings! This was even after Tommy dismissed the service. Eventually some of the adults came and helped me up. I was walking like I was drunk. It was the best “high” I’d ever had, and it wasn’t drug induced! I found out when I got back to the hotel that my friend had come to Jesus and been filled as well, along with the other two guys.

Amazing Change

Since then my life has changed completely. God has done some amazing things. He still has a lot of work to do in me. I’m anything but perfect, but he has come into my life, taken away my sin, and now he is the center of my life.

To anyone out there hurting like I was, I’ll tell you, Jesus is the answer. Satan may blind you, as he did me. But realize that life isn’t about what you know, but about faith that God knowswhat he is doing.

God has helped me through the hardest year in my life, without as much as a slight thought of suicide. I had surgery and lost my grandma, all in a months time. But the Lord got me through it, and not only that, with joy!

Thanks for reading this. I hope it has blessed you.

From Isaac Snuffer, Follower of Christ!

Who Is the Angel of the LORD in the Old Testament?.

by Bob McCabe

As one reads the Old Testament, he will undoubtedly notice the mysterious references to the angel of the LORD. Is this an angel like Michael who was sent out by the LORD? Or is this some kind of manifestation of deity? Who is the angel of the LORD?

Let’s initially examine the term angel (in Hebrewmal’ak). This word can also be rendered as “messenger.”Mal’ak generally indicates one who is sent, a messenger or a representative. It can refer to human messengers sent by human officials (Gen 32:3) or by God (Isa 42:19) as well as to supernatural messengers sent by God. In reference to this latter group, it may refer to a created order of supernatural beings, angels (Gen 19:115). The issue for us concerns whether this term can refer to the infinite supernatural Being, God. In order to prove that this term can refer to God, we will need to examine when it is used in connection with the phrase “of the LORD.” While this expression is used thirty-nine times in the Old Testament, we will examine two of these.

The first passage is found in Exodus 3:1–14. While tending the flock of his father-in-law at Horeb, Moses saw that a burning bush was not being consumed by the fire. As he approached the bush, v. 2 clearly states that the angel of the LORD appeared to him in the flames of the bush. It is stated in v. 4 that the LORD spoke to him from within the bush. In v. 6 the Being in the bush further identifies that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As the conversation continues between these two, the Being in the bush announces His name, “I AM WHO I AM” (v. 14). Thus, this passage indicates that the angel of the LORD mentioned in v. 2 is clearly identified by Himself and accepted by Moses as the infinite God.

Zechariah 3:1–10 is our second passage. The content of Zechariah’s fourth vision focuses on Israel’s future cleansing from sin and reinstatement as a priestly nation. Verse 1 introduces the participants: “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him” (NIV 2011). More specifically, these participants are Joshua the high priest, the antecedent of “he” is the interpreting angel (he is referred to in 1:914192:34:1, 3, 5; etc.; in light of 1:9 the interpreting angel was apparently present to explain some of the details of these visions to Zechariah), the antecedent of “me” is Zechariah, the angel of the LORD, and Satan. In this verse Joshua is described as standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan is pictured as standing at the right hand of the angel of the LORD to resist him. With this introduction to the vision we should note that the angel of the LORD is the focal point around which the following context revolves.

The first half of v. 2 reads like this: “The LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan!’” In light of the participants mentioned in v. 1, we could read this verse in this fashion: “And the LORD, that is the angel of the LORD, said unto Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan.’” Therefore, v. 2 identifies the angel of the LORD as the LORD and indicates that there is a distinction between the angel of the LORD and the LORD. This identification is further substantiated in v. 4. If we follow the context of vv. 2–4 carefully, we should notice that it is the angel of the LORD who forgives sin in v. 4. Since God is the only one who forgives sin, it is readily apparent that the angel of the LORD is God. Consequently, this passage provides solid support for both the deity of the angel of the LORD and his distinctiveness from the LORD.

Who is both deity and yet a distinct person from the LORD? Since no one has ever seen God the Father (John 1:181 Tim 6:16) and since the Holy Spirit never takes on bodily form, this suggests that the supernatural Being to which this expression refers is the second member of the Trinity (also compare Exod 3:14 with John 8:58). Therefore, the angel of the LORD was a temporary manifestation of the LORD Jesus Christ in a preincarnate form. It is important to make a distinction between Christ’s preincarnation and incarnation. His incarnation is a permanent union where God the Son took on full humanity becoming the God-man. His incarnation began with His miraculous conception and will continue throughout eternity. Christ’s preincarnate form was a transitory visible manifestation of God the Son. After His incarnation, Christ never appears again as the angel of the LORD. As we view the angel of the LORD, we can see how God through progressive revelation provided data in the Old Testament for the doctrine of the Trinity that is more completely elaborated upon in the New Testament.

How Fathers May Bless Their Family.

Stan Coffey
Numbers 6:22-27


I. The Resource Of The Blessing
Ii. The Record Of The Blessing
Iii. The Reality Of The Blessing
Iv. The Release Of The Blessing

How many of you today would like to be blessed of God? How many of you would like to have joy unspeakable and full of glory? How many of you would like to have victory over the world, the flesh and the devil?

How many of you fathers on father’s day would like to be able to bless your wife, bless your children and bless your home. God has uniquely placed the father in the home in position to pass the blessing on to our loved ones.

I would even say it is the father’s responsibility to do this. Father you must now how first to unlock the secret of the blessing so that you can in turn give to your family the blessing of God. Just as Abraham blessed Isaac, and Isaac blessed Jacob, so you can bless your children and confer on them the blessing of God that will make and unbelievable difference in their lives. 

Fathers, we prepare to pass on to our family the physical and material things that we have, but how many of us will pass on to them the Spiritual blessing that comes only from God the Father.

Well, the secret is locked up in the supernatural power of the blessing. This is a truth that has been largely lost to the church for nearly two thousand years and yet, you and I need that blessing that we’re going to read about in this passage of scripture.

There was a little boy in a Catholic school who went up to the nun one day and said, “I want a new bicycle.” She said, “Well, if you want a new bicycle, when you say your prayers tonight, tell God that you will be a good boy for six weeks and He will give you a new bicycle.

So, that night, he began to pray and he said, “Oh God, I will be good for six weeks if you’ll give me a new bicycle.” Then he thought, “No, I can’t be good for six weeks. Oh, God if you will give me a new bicycle, I will be good for four weeks.” And he thought, “No, I can’t be good for four weeks either.”

He looked over on the dresser and saw a picture of the Virgin Mary. He wrapped it up in a pillow case and put it under the bed and he said, “Oh God, if you ever want to see your mother again…”

Well, some people pray differently than other people pray. 

Numbers 6:22 — “The Lord said to Moses, (23) Tell Aaron and his sons, This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: (24) The Lord bless you and keep you; (25) The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; (26) the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. (27) So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

I want us to notice first of all in this message today:


The blessing we are talking about today comes from God Himself. Only God can give the blessing and the father can receive a blessing from God and pass it on down to his childre …

Israel Houghton Sends a Powerful Message to the Church.


Israel Houghton
Israel Houghton

Israel Houghton leads millions into worship with seeming effortlessness. But he’s had to be willing to lay down his music for God to get him there. Check out our second installment of this exclusive interview, and click here to read Part 1 if you missed it.

CHARISMA: Have you always been uber-creative?

Houghton: Yeah, I think so. I was always drawn to music and tremendously influenced by a myriad of different types of music. Nobody ever told me that you couldn’t merge things, that you couldn’t blend things. I just said, “Hey, this would be really cool with that.” I’ve always been fascinated by sights and sounds and video elements and lighting elements and musical elements.

CHARISMA: Has God ever asked you lay down music so you could learn new facets of what it means to worship Him?

Houghton: Yeah. I don’t know if it was music altogether, but it was definitely the chase toward significance. It’s funny, in those early years you say, “God bless me. I want to have impact and I want to be used by You”—and He says OK. Then, after a while, you have to compete with the very thing that He gave you.

I remember having that moment when I felt like if I pressed the gas pedal a certain way, I would probably see something happen—but I also had the feeling that I wouldn’t enjoy or appreciate the results because it was something that I was pushing for. I ended up helping to start a church from scratch literally two blocks from where I started leading worship at 19. And my prayer this time around was, “Lord, I’m done. I’m done with helping people know my name, with trying to pursue some sort of career path. I just want to worship. I just want to be used by You.”

That was a return for me, of going back to my first love. I remembered those first times of leading worship, with my legs shaking and with the good kind of nervousness that comes with being completely dependent on God. I think the more you learn, the more you can slip into saying, “Yeah, I got this”—and the less time you spend with God. As long as people are saying, “Wow, that was great. You’re really anointed,” it’s easy to start believing that must be an indicator that you’re doing it right. And you gradually get further and further away from where you were supposed to go. It doesn’t make you a bad person or anything like that, but you’re not on target anymore.

For me, it was an intense realization of that. When I went back and took the knife to my Isaac, so to speak, I said, “OK, I’m going to be content to be used in whatever capacity.” The ironic part is that’s when God began to open doors that were so obviously Him. My responsibility at that point was to walk through them and to be a good steward of those moments.

CHARISMA: If God is more concerned with the positioning of our heart, what role does excellence play in worship?

Houghton: It’s important to define heart. Often that word is synonymous with “Hey, that was a good effort; it wasn’t very good, but it had a lot of heart.” On the flip side, I’m created in God’s image. If His breath is in me, if the way He thinks and creates is also in me, then it is possible to create with a good heart, with a pure motivation and purity of expression, and do something excellently.

If you look at David or Solomon, those guys were incredible, and they did what they did to honor the Lord. If you look at early music history, all those great composers were commissioned by the church and created music with such excellence and passion that to this day, hundreds of years later, we’re still affected by the excellence and the historic timeless nature of what they put out.

To me, I feel like when David said, “I’m not going to give to the Lord something that doesn’t cost me.” That’s how I look at it from the standpoint of music and production and creativity. I want to make sure that whatever I’ve been given, I maximize in giving it back.

In regard to doing something with excellence, my motivation changed a long time ago. It used to be that I wanted people to ooh and aah, so to speak, but that’s different now. I want to honor God. I want to make a statement that says the church is a powerful force in the earth, and I get to be a part of the accompanying sound of that force. It’s an exciting thing.


How God Speaks Through Dreams.

Jane Hamon
Jane Hamon

During times of discouragement, if answers to prayer are long in coming or not what we had expected, we can begin to lose hope and even doubt that God will answer our prayers. To help us through, God sometimes encourages us by dreams or visions.

He did this for me and my husband shortly after I gave birth to a son with a facial birth defect. A woman who lived 45 miles from our home had a vision of a baby with socks on his hands and feet. She began to pray for the baby even though she did not understand the vision.

Later that week we were dedicating our son to the Lord during a Friday night service. Our son’s birth defect was so sensitive that we had to keep socks on his hands to keep him from harming himself. When our son was held up during the dedication, the woman, who was visiting that night, recognized that he was the baby in her vision.

God used the vision to inspire this woman to organize prayer for my son during his early days of infancy and corrective surgery. The vision and prayers blessed us with fresh encouragement and hope during a very traumatic season in our lives.

However, our experience was not an unusual one. There are many examples in the Scriptures of God’s bringing comfort and hope through visions and dreams.


Abraham was a wealthy man to whom God gave great promises. He owned cattle, silver and gold, but he had no son to inherit his wealth, for his wife was barren. The Lord appeared to Abraham in a vision and promised him an heir (see Gen. 15:4).

God also said that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky. Abraham believed God, and the Lord credited it to him as righteousness (vv. 5-6).

After God spoke to him, Abraham fell into a deep sleep, and God gave him a prophetic promise through a dream. The Lord showed him his descendants would be enslaved in cruel bondage in Egypt for 400 years. Then the Lord would deliver them, and they would come out of Egypt with great possessions and return to the land He had promised to Abraham (vv. 12-16).

The birth and destiny of an entire nation was revealed in this dream. Abraham had longed for an heir, and God gave him a promise far beyond his expectations.

Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, received great promises from God, also, not only for himself but also for his descendants. When he was a young man, Jacob had stolen his elder brother Esau‘s birthright and obtained the blessings normally given to the firstborn. Esau sought to kill Jacob for his deceit, so Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, sent him away to seek a wife in the land of her brother Laban (see Gen. 28).

On the way, Jacob stopped for the night, and as he slept, he dreamed: “And behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

“And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: ‘I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants'” (vv. 12-13).

The Lord assured Jacob that He would be with him wherever he went and that He would bring Jacob back to the land He had promised to him (v. 15).

Two wives and 11 sons later, God spoke to Jacob again in a dream (see Gen.
31:10-13). Jacob had been working for his father-in-law, Laban, who continually cheated him. In the dream, God revealed a plan for dividing the cattle of Laban’s flocks fairly and giving Jacob his rightful portion.

This is the first recorded instance of God’s imparting sound business strategy through a dream. God also used this dream to tell Jacob to take his wives, his children and his flocks and return to the land of his father.

The Lord let Laban deal deceitfully with Jacob. God was purging Jacob. It was a long, arduous process, but through this process the promise was fulfilled and Jacob became Israel, meaning “prince with God” (Gen. 32:28).

Dreams often challenge us to change just as Jacob was challenged to change. God had not addressed Jacob’s character flaws in his dreams, but that did not mean that God approved of all that happened in Jacob’s life.

Similarly, when we receive a word from the Lord, whether through a prophecy, a dream or a vision, we must know that the outcome will depend on our obedient cooperation with God’s maturing and purging work in our lives.

Joseph was a young man of 17 when he had two dreams that seemed to bring him nothing but trouble. He was Jacob’s favorite son, which made his 10 older brothers intensely jealous.

The strife in Jacob’s household was exacerbated when young Joseph had two dreams–one in which his brother’s sheaves bowed down to his sheaf, and the other in which the sun, the moon and 11 stars bowed down to him. Joseph shared these dreams with his brothers and, perhaps understandably, his brothers hated him all the more. Even his father rebuked him, although he also kept in mind what Joseph had said (see Gen. 37:5-11).

Perhaps Joseph was unwise to share these dreams with his jealous siblings. I believe he shared them not because he was prideful but because he had more zeal than wisdom. Whatever the reason, the outcome was that his outraged brothers sold him into slavery.

Joseph’s story shows us the importance of praying carefully before we share our dreams. Much unnecessary turmoil can be avoided if we act wisely. Paul prayed that God would give the Christians at Ephesus wisdom in addition to revelation (see Eph. 1:17). Revelation without wisdom can cause great heartache and pain; both must be utilized in proper balance to accomplish God’s ultimate purposes.

After many years in slavery and prison, Joseph became prime minister of Egypt and helped the country survive seven years of famine. When his brothers came to Egypt for provisions, they bowed before him just as the dreams had foretold.

The dreams gave Joseph hope, guidance and encouragement during difficult times and kept him from forsaking the God of his fathers. God had a destiny for Joseph that would be fulfilled only after many years of holding fast to Him in a strange land and under trying circumstances.

Joseph’s faithfulness to God was the key to his success. God in turn remained faithful to Joseph and, in His time, fulfilled His word and brought these dreams to pass, saving not only Joseph and his family but the future nation of Israel as well.

Dreams and visions may reveal your future ministry and destiny, but they rarely reveal the process God will use to bring about their fulfillment.


We were building a new home, and anxiety about the cost of the tile roof was stretching my faith. Then one night I dreamed that we were putting a very strange roof on our house–a roof made from dried, preserved tarantula spiders!

In my dream, everyone was excited about our new roof, but I couldn’t see what was so exciting about these strange tiles. Then I visited the homes of people I knew and found them raising baby tarantulas with great joy and excitement.

I awoke perplexed. I looked up “tarantula” in the encyclopedia. It said that in the Middle Ages people believed that anyone bitten by the tarantula spider became ill with tarantism–an imaginary disease that gave the victim a strong desire to dance! In reality, the bite of a tarantula is not harmful to humans.

The dance, the disease and the spider were named after a town in Italy called Taranto–which called to mind the Canadian city of Toronto, where there had been highly publicized outpourings of joy among God’s people.

The Lord used my dream to tell me that He was going to cover our home with rejoicing–symbolized, strangely enough, by a tarantula. In the Middle Ages, people feared the spider’s bite without cause in the same way I had feared not having the provision for the roof. God was assuring me that my worries were unfounded because He would provide joy and abundance.

The dream showed me that His joy would be poured out in every home in our congregation, producing a boldness to go forth in His name and destroy the strongholds of the enemy. I was overcome with joy and laughter and filled with faith. Who would guess that a tarantula could cause rejoicing?

Just as dreams can bring assurance, they can reveal unresolved matters in our hearts. When we dream about suppressed issues, we become aware of them so we can deal with them and be made whole. Often when we have built walls around areas of emotional pain to shield us from the hurt, God uses dreams to bypass those walls and go directly to the source of the pain.

On a conscious level, we may feel that we have dealt with those past wounds, but our subconscious minds recognize areas that still need healing. By bringing such matters to mind, God makes us aware and begins the healing process.

A man who had lost several family members in a short period of time came to me because he was troubled by dreams of his loved ones. Consciously, he felt that he had accepted their deaths, but still he dreamed about them.


Sowing in Famine.

Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him. Genesis 26:12

Genesis tells us of a drought that came on the land, leaving nothing but parched and dusty ground. The famine it caused was so severe, Isaac and his family were ready to flee to Egypt. But the Lord had another plan and appeared to Isaac, saying, “Dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of” (Genesis 26:2).

Isaac obeyed, tilling the soil and planting his meager seed. God blessed his obedience and faithfulness with a harvest that continued until he became extremely wealthy.

“He that observes the wind shall not sow; and he that regards the clouds shall not reap” (Ecclesiastes 11:4). Those who dwell on the wind instead of the Word clutch their seed, afraid to sow. Your situation may seem hopeless, but you serve a God who created man from the dust of the ground! Trust in Him with all your might. Sow in your famine and reap a king’s reward.

When we face lack, we are tempted to eat our seed instead of sowing it. But without sowing, there will be no harvest. Continue to sow in times of lack so that the future will have a harvest instead of continuing famine and dry season.

Lord, give me the courage to sow even in difficult times.
Help me to trust You for the future harvest. Amen.


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