Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Rachel’

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.

Source: STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

JONATHAN FELDSTEIN

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 atfirstpersonisrael@gmail.com.

Advertisements

Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church.


In a recent column for CNN, Rachel Held Evans offers some thoughts on “why millennials are leaving the church.” Her post struck a chord with readers. She is addressing a perennial topic of conversation among church leaders and church goers: what will happen to the next generation.

Like Rachel, I’m 32 – right on the border of the millennials, and many of the questions and doubts I hear from the millennial generation resonate with me too. But my analysis differs somewhat from Rachel’s.

Rachel’s Analysis

Rachel thinks millennials are leaving the church due to the perception that evangelicals are

“… too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

She’s right to decry a vision of Christianity that reduces repentance to a list of do’s and don’ts. I too have noticed that many millennials desire to be involved in mercy ministry and support justice causes. And I couldn’t agree more when she says “we want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.”

The Church’s Response

How has the church responded? Rachel sees church leaders trying to update their music or preaching style, and thereby running up against the “highly sensitive BS meters” we millennials have. We’re not fooled by consumerism or performances when churches cater to what they think we want.

Rachel writes:

“What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.”

I agree with that sentence for the most part, although I would tweak the last line to say “What millennials really want from the church is substance.” Not a change in substance, necessarily, justsubstance will do.

Too often, our churches have offered a sanitized, spiritualized version of self-help therapy, and Jesus has been missing. And that’s the problem. Like every generation, she says, “deep down we long for Jesus.”

Here’s where Rachel and I part ways – on what communities following Jesus look like in our culture.

The Biblical Jesus

When I read the Gospels, I’m confronted by a Jesus who explodes our categories of righteousness and sin, repentance and forgiveness, and power and purity.

I meet a Jesus who doesn’t do away with the Law of the Old Testament, but ramps up the demands in order to lead us to Himself – the One who calls us to life-altering repentance and faith.

I see a King who makes utterly exclusive claims, and doesn’t seem to care who is offended.

I see a King who didn’t hold back anything from His people, and who expects His people to hold back nothing from Him.

Is the Church Obsessed with Sex, or is it the Culture?

Following Jesus leaves no part of our life unchanged.

That’s why it strikes me as odd that Rachel sees “obsession with sex” as one of the biggest obstacles for contemporary Christianity to overcome. I visit lots of churches, and I find that sexuality is not a frequently discussed subject from most church platforms or Bible studies. In fact, one could make the case that Christians haven’t talked enough about Jesus’ radical zealousness when it comes to sexuality. The fact that cohabitation, premarital sex and pornography are often overlooked among our congregations betrays the vision of sexuality Jesus put forward – a vision of the sacredness of a man and woman’s covenant for life, one that excludes even lustful thoughts from God’s design.

When it comes to sexual obsession, we ought to take a look at pop culture. One can hardly watch a TV show or a popular movie without being assaulted with sexual innuendos, crude jokes, or overt displays of all kinds of sexuality. Pastors and church leaders go on news talk shows and are badgered about their views of sexuality, as if nothing else matters but that the church join in and celebrate our culture’s embrace of Aphrodite in all her warped splendor.

Challenged to Holiness

Rachel says millennials want to be “challenged to holiness,” but the challenge she appears to be advocating is one on our own terms and according to our own preferences. That’s why I find it ironic that she decries the catering churches that alert our “BS meters,” while simultaneously telling church leaders they should do a better job catering to our generation’s whims and wishes. (She has since clarified this as not a list of demands, but desires and dreams.)

Truth be told, I don’t want a church that serves my preferences. I want a church that gives me Jesus and makes me want to serve His

Counting the Cost

One sign of Jesus’ Spirit is He convicts the world of sin (John 16:8). The sign of the spirit of this age is that the world is coddled instead of convicted. And those who marry the spirit of this age will always be widowed in the next.

Perhaps that’s why millennials have left the churches that most resemble the type of community described by Rachel at rates far greater than evangelical churches. When the counter-cultural message of Jesus is softened or tweaked, or the raging idols of this age (such as money, sex, and power) are overlooked or ignored, the cost of Christianity disappears. Christianity without a cost is Christianity without the cross. And Christianity without the cross isn’t Christianity at all.

What Kind of Millennial Christian Will We Be?

Some millennials, like many from generations before us, want the church to become a mirror – a reflection of our particular preferences, desires, and dreams. But other millennials want a Christianity that shapes and changes our preferences, desires, and dreams.

We’re eager to pass the gospel on to the next generation, to live in ways that call into question the idolatries of our age, to stand in a long line of believers who have been out of the mainstream, constantly maligned and misrepresented, but who love Jesus, love people, and aren’t afraid to call everyone to repentance.

That’s a Christianity this millennial believes is worth dying for, but also one that’s worth living out in a local church with other believers from all generations.

Why Millennials Are Coming to Church.


If you have even briefly looked at the interwebs this week you have seen a lot of talk about the millennial generation, especially as it relates to the church. Rachel Held Evans kicked things off withher perspective on why they are leaving the church. There were many responses worth reading, here are two (Trevin Wax Brett McCracken).

Our church is only 6 years old but is very generationally/socially diverse. It’s pretty amazing actually. Looking around on a Sunday and you see senior citizens who have retired, young professionals, truck drivers, young men who tour in metal bands, college students, stay at home moms, et al. While we don’t have a ton of college students, the largest percentage of our growth at Redeemer comes from the millennial generation.

Yesterday I was scheduled to have two meetings with two different couples. One couple was coming in for a membership interview, the other couple was coming in for pre-marriage counseling. All four people are “millennials,” and I thought I would ask them a few questions related to the recent online conversation.

First up was Brad and Katie. I asked them why they haven’t given up on the church in its institutional/formally organized sense.  They aren’t just attending a service. They are already plugged into a Community Group, have recently joined two of our ministry teams, and are covenanting with us (we take membership seriously at Redeemer). Why? They emphasized two things: real community and serious bible teaching. As they began to look for a church after getting married they wanted to surround themselves with believers who were seeking the Lord together. They wanted to be a part of a community. They said they were warmly received by our people, and made to feel  welcome quickly and naturally. They also emphasized the expository teaching at Redeemer that emphasizes the gospel and experiential theology. Brad and Katie said they need the local church for a number of things, but most important to them is a healthy community to belong to, with strong teaching from leadership.

Then I met up with Jake and Stephanie, members of Redeemer who are getting married this month. I asked them the same questions, but their answers started a bit different. “We did leave the church.” Both Jake and Stephanie rejected the local church for some time after growing up in it. In their cases it wasn’t until their conversion years later that brought them not only to Jesus, but to his people. They said, “Community is huge for us.” But they were not interested in just any kind of gathering of decent people. They wanted, needed, fellowship with Christians who are real, honest, and interested in others.

Actually, we ask everyone who wants to join Redeemer, “Why this church?” Over the years the answers have been very consistent. “The people here are amazing, and Jesus is the focus.” or  “The community in the church is very strong, and we love the focus on the gospel.” In my experience the millennials who have found a home at Redeemer are not interested in a Sunday spectacle, but a church. They want truth, even when it’s hard. They want to know and be known by others, even when it’s hard. They want the care and protection the church offers her people, and they want to contribute.

We definitely aren’t the cool church in town. Our building is busted. Our worship space is puritan-plain. We are Southern Baptist (definitely not cool up here), complementarian, Reformed. There is a lot about is that is uncool in many ways–at least to many outsiders. But Jesus is here, and his people are amazing.

Joe Thorn

How To Help Your Kid Prepare For College.


Rachel Cruze

For a lot of parents, sending their kids off to college is a bittersweet experience. It’s a battle between being proud of their son or daughter for taking this next step and thinking back on how fast the time has gone—and how it seems like just yesterday that they were 2 years old.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was stepping onto a college campus for the first time, and I remember how thankful I was for the effort my parents put into preparing me for that experience. But I think a lot of teenagers head to college without any idea about how money works. Ten years from now, they’ll more than likely be loaded up with student loan bills. It’s a scary trend that keeps getting worse.

Don’t let that happen to your college kid. Help them understand these issues before they step into that first class.

Budget, Budget, Budget. If you haven’t been using a budget, it will be difficult to convince your kid to use one. So start by making sure you understand budgeting and have begun to use it as part of your financial plan. Then, just walk them through the process—spending all of their money on paper and on purpose before each month begins. Everything should be broken into categories—food, gas, clothing, etc.

Independence Means Responsibility. Stepping out on your own is a big deal, but it’s not all fun and games. Living away from home means you have to take care of yourself. Do your best to prepare your son or daughter for what that means. Food doesn’t just drop out of the sky, and gas doesn’t magically appear in their car. Independence means responsibility.

College Isn’t Cheap. Even if your kid is going to a small community college, they’ll still probably have a few thousand dollars of tuition to pay. If you break it down, one class can cost $1,000 at the very minimum! And that doesn’t even include books. That means skipping class or blowing off homework is a waste of money—and a big fat dent in the GPA.

Choose a Major Wisely. Help your teenager find his or her passion. This isn’t a must before they step on campus, but simply plant a seed that gets them started thinking about what they want to do with their life. You don’t want them graduating with a degree that leaves them unfulfilled or unable to find a job.

Friends Matter. New friends mean new opportunities and new social situations. Who you hang out with definitely influences how you spend money and the decisions you make. Without being overbearing, remind them how important it is to have positive friends who build them up instead of bringing them down.

If your soon-to-be college student doesn’t seem to care, it might just take them messing up a few times to understand how important it is to have a plan for their money. They’ll come around quicker than you think once they have that first-hand experience.

Remember, you can make all the right decisions and give all the right advice, and it’s still possible that they will mess up. As a parent, just be there for support and to reinforce these principles throughout their college experience.

Growing up as Dave Ramsey‘s kid, Rachel Cruze learned the basic principles of money at an early age. She travels across the country teaching those same principles, in a personal and passionate message of money and hope, to teens and young adults. Rachel’s also the host of Generation Change, a course that teaches teens about money and empowers them with the skills they need to become financially responsible adults. To find out more about Rachel, visitdaveramsey.com/speakers or follow her on Twitter at @RachelCruze.

Publication date: June 18, 2013

He Will Remember You.


 

Have you ever felt like God has forgotten you? Feeling a little left aside when you see others moving on, receiving answers to their prayers, while you seem to still be at the same starting point?
Well most of us have and so certainly has Rachel. Rachel, Jacob‘s second wife, watched while her sister Leah gave birth to one child after the other and her none. She prayed and yet no child came. She must have done all we know to do, from demanding to begging and nothing was coming.
Well after time has passed, the Bible tells us that God remembered Rachel (Genesis 30:22). It is interesting to note that it doesn’t tell us that Rachel remembered God or went back to God. Actually she didn’t, she tried having children some other way by giving her servants to Jacob.
But not so with God. No matter how much time has passed, He doesn’t forget to do us good. It shows how big the passion God has in bringing all that he has for us to pass.
Just as God remembered Rachel, He will remember us and He will fulfill His plans of peace concerning our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). You may have given up on that dream, but God hasn’t.
“For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:18)
Wishing you a Blessed Week!


I have told you this, that His joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full! (John 15:11)

By Anita Antwi.

House, debris over Fla. sinkhole to be removed.


  • Demolition experts watch as the home of Jeff Bush, 37, is destroyed Sunday, March 3, 2013, in Seffner, Fla. The 20-foot-wide opening of the sinkhole was almost covered by the house, and rescuers said there were no signs of life since the hole opened Thursday night. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

    View PhotoAssociated Press/Chris O’Meara – Demolition experts watch as the home of Jeff Bush, 37, is destroyed Sunday, March 3, 2013, in Seffner, Fla. The 20-foot-wide opening of the sinkhole was almost covered by the …more 

RELATED CONTENT

  • Demolition experts watch as the home of Jeff Bush, 37, is destroyed Sunday, March 3, 2013, after a sinkhole opened up underneath it late Thursday evening swallowing Bush, 37, in Seffner, Fla. The 20-foot-wide opening of the sinkhole was almost covered by the house, and rescuers said there were no signs of life since the hole opened Thursday night. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)View PhotoDemolition experts watch as the …
  • A Hillsborough County, Fla., firefighter removes salvaged items, including a family photo, from the home where a sinkhole swallowed Jeffrey Bush, late Thursday in Seffner, Fla., on Sunday, March 3, 2013. Crews are set to begin the demolition of the home on Sunday, after search personnel failed to find Bush. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)View PhotoA Hillsborough County, Fla., firefighter …

SEFFNER, Fla. (AP) — Authorities hope to get a better look at a sinkhole that swallowed a man in his Florida home once demolition crews knock down the remaining walls of the house Monday and begin clearing away the debris.

Crews on Sunday razed more than half the home, managing to salvage some keepsakes for family members who lived there.

The opening of the sinkhole has been covered by the home, but once emergency officials and engineers can see inside it more clearly, they could begin planning how to deal with it. They also need to decide what will happen to the two homes on either side of the now-demolished house. Experts say the sinkhole has “compromised” those homes, but it’s unclear whether steps can be taken to save them.

Jeremy Bush, 35, tried to save his brother, Jeff, when the earth opened up and swallowed him Thursday night.

On Sunday morning, Bush and relatives prayed with a pastor as the home — where he lived with his girlfriend, Rachel Wicker; their daughter, Hannah, 2; and others — was demolished and waited for firefighters to salvage anything possible from inside. The home was owned by Leland Wicker, Rachel’s grandfather, since the 1970s.

The operator of the heavy equipment worked gingerly, first taking off a front wall. Family belongings were scooped onto the lawn gently in hopes of salvaging parts of the family’s 40-year history in the home.

As of Sunday afternoon — when demolition had stopped for the day and only a few walls remained — a Bible, family photos, a jewelry box and a pink teddy bear for Hannah were among the items saved. Firefighters also were able to pick out the purse of one of the women in the home.

Cheers went up from family, friends and neighbors each time something valuable was salvaged.

Wanda Carter, the daughter of Leland Wicker, cradled the large family Bible in her arms. She said her mother and father had stored baptism certificates, cards and photos between the pages of that Bible over the years.

“It means that God is still in control, and He knew we needed this for closure,” she said, crying.

Carter said she spent from age 11 to 20 in the home, and she had to close her eyes as the home was knocked down.

“Thank you for all of the memories and life it gave us,” she said.

The Rev. John Martin Bell of Shoals Baptist Church said he had been with the family all morning. “We just prayed with them,” he said. He added that all five who lived in the house — Bush, Wicker, Hannah and two others ages 50 and 45 — were in need of support and prayers from the community.

Several generations of family members lived in the home at the time of the ground collapse, includingJeff Bush, the man now presumed dead.

Jeremy Bush tried to save his brother by jumping into the sinking dirt hole. He had to be pulled out of the still-shifting hole by a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputy, who was visibly shaken when talking about the incident more than a day later.

“I’ve never seen anything move so fast and do so much destruction,” Deputy Douglas Duvall said.

The search for Jeff Bush, 37, was called off Saturday. He was in his bedroom Thursday night in Seffner — a suburb of 8,000 people 15 miles east of downtown Tampa — when the ground opened and took him and everything else in his room. Five others in the house at the time escape unharmed as the earth crumbled.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is conducting the investigation. Detective Larry McKinnon said the sheriff’s office and the county medical examiner cannot declare Bush dead if his body is still missing. Under Florida law, Bush’s family must petition a court to declare him deceased.

“Based on the circumstances, he’s presumed dead; however the official death certificate can only be issued by a judge and the family has to petition the court,” McKinnon said.

The area around Seffner is known for sinkholes due to the geography of the terrain, but they are rarely deadly. No one — from longtime public safety officials to geologists — could remember an incident where a person was sucked into the earth without warning.

___

Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush .

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By TAMARA LUSH | Associated Press

Suffering and Sovereignty.


But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose. 1 Peter 2:20-21, NAS

In a sense all Christians are chosen vessels, because a Christian is a person chosen by God from the foundation of the world. But there are those Christians raised for a very special work, and we call them “sovereign vessels.” A sovereign vessel is someone chosen by God for special work, and the more special the work, the more specialized the suffering.

Jacob was a sovereign vessel, and we have already seen how he suffered—but he was undergoing the greatest trial yet. All that he went through in running from Esau, all that he endured after being with Laban, and all he suffered in losing Rachel, all of that was eclipsed when he saw the bloodstained coat of many colors. Not knowing that it had been dipped in the blood of a goat, he concluded his son Joseph was dead and he would never see him again. It was the trial of trials.

Perhaps you know great suffering, and just when you think you can’t take any more, lo and behold, something happens that turns into the worst ordeal you have ever undergone. Listen. It is a hint from God—you are a sovereign vessel—He doesn’t do that without a reason.

Deep suffering is a strong hint that God has chosen you for a very special task. It’s an honor to be a sovereign vessel. But if you want to volunteer to be a sovereign vessel, don’t do it until you’re ready for God to deal with the sore spots in your life, for you do have some. Some have sore spots, and it is as though they have them forever and nothing is ever done about them.

But if you have been raised up for a special work, God is going to refine you by dealing with the sore spots in your life. You may volunteer to be a sovereign vessel—but don’t do it until you are ready to pay the price. The connection between suffering and a sovereign vessel is inseparable. One day you will look back and see the hand of God in everything.

Excerpted from All’s Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).

By R. T. KENDALL.

Tag Cloud