Yonatan Eldar was barely 16 years old, but he chanted from the Torah (the biblical scrolls) beautifully on that Sabbath day in March, in the ancient melodic tradition that so many religious Jews continue to this day. I remember seeing his smiling face beaming with pride as the older congregants congratulated him warmly.
The Eldar family lives around the corner from us in Shiloh, Israel, on a street that could be called Terror Victims' Row due to the high concentration of child terror victims who lived there.
Many Christians have a love for Israel and are eager to visit the nation. But often their dreams don't stretch beyond touring the sites that have biblical significance for both Jews and Christians and perhaps taking photographs of them. However, there are numerous ways visitors can be a blessing to Israel, interact with the people and leave something of themselves behind when they travel there. Here are 10 of them.
While I was in Israel in late March, I took time away from my tour schedule to visit Hadassah Medical Center. I'm glad I did. Hadassah was founded in 1918 and is the second largest employer in Jerusalem. But what impressed me the most were the stories I heard about the hospital long before I arrived in Israel.
Last weekend America celebrated Memorial Day as a time to honor all military personnel who have given the last full measure of devotion for the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Today, America is at war! We are at war with a radical religious element of Islam that feels they have a mandate from their god (Allah) to kill Christians and Jews.
I feel America is in the greatest danger as a nation that we have known since 1776. The elements that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor are all alive and well in Washington, D.C. and the nation.
Fifty days after leaving Egypt, the Israelites gathered at Mt. Sinai to hear God proclaim the Torah or Law to them. The sight was awesome and provoked considerable fear in the hearts of all those gathered there, so much so that they asked Moses to speak with God on their behalf (Exodus 19:10-25; 20:18-21).
Recently I've heard prophecies that America has just two to three months to turn things around before the judgment comes. Those voices have it wrong. The two to three months applies to a period of time concerning which the Lord spoke to me at the end of last year, and the judgment is not on America, but on the church in this country.
From time to time something is e-mailed to me that I think is worth passing along. The item below by Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, highlights the recent outrageous attack by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) against the rights of Christians. On their DHS Threat Assessment list, they recorded conservatives, veterans, pro-gun people and others as "right-wing extremists," and as possible terror threats. Mat articulates the details about this in the letter below. Read it and let me know what you think.
Though the hate crimes bill, which could put pastors in jail and protect pedophiles, has already passed in the House, we still have a chance to stop it in the Senate. The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) does a nice job of explaining the bill and sharing how Christians can help stop it. Read their newsletter below and then give your comments about it on our Web site.
The other side is on the run. The Traditional Values Coalition did not let them get away with their lies about their so-called hate crimes bill. We worked to force them to go on record about what this bill really does -- it protects bizarre sexual behaviors, pedophiles and could send pastors to jail.
The genuine power of the Holy Spirit is not just about miracles—we must also embrace holiness.
Very few evangelical Christians today observe the traditional church calendar. Sure, we know when to celebrate Christmas and Easter, but more obscure holidays like Epiphany or All Saints Day have long been forgotten—usually because we consider them "too Catholic."
But we have a strange way of treating Pentecost, which happens to fall this year on May 31. Even those of us who wear the Pentecostal label rarely commemorate it, either because we forget to count the weeks after Easter or because we don't place any importance on a date that gets lost somewhere between Mother's Day and Memorial Day.
On one of my trips to Washington, D.C., I prayed with a prayer group at various sites and memorials dedicated to our veterans who had given their lives for the cause of freedom.
All around me from newspaper stands I read glaring headlines of bombings in the Middle East, rapidly spreading genocide in Sudan, and threats and more threats from terrorists. The voices for violence, genocide and terrorism seemed to be overtaking the voices for freedom.
As I glanced at the papers, I saw other headlines reporting men and women being imprisoned, beaten or put to death for their faith in Christ. In this dark hour of the church, the voices for Christ are surely threatened, held hostage and being snuffed out.
"Lord, what's next?" I asked in desperation. "What's to become of the voices for Christ?
Then came that still small voice of His Spirit: "Is a voice not made for the purpose of speaking?"
I had my answer. Jesus has given us His Great Commission to make disciples the world over (see Matt. 28:18-20). Isn't His Great Commission still in effect even today?
I was reminded of Peter who had been imprisoned for his outspoken faith (see Acts 12:4-8). Behind prison walls, Peter had been placed under the terrorism of four squads of soldiers, bound tightly with two chains and secured between two soldiers. In Peter's darkest hour, it seemed as if his voice for Christ would be silenced forever. It appeared that all hope was lost-that his cause for Christ was too weak a match for the enemy.
But in that darkest hour, voices were still speaking out for Christ. Acts 12:5 states that, "Constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church" (NKJV). The results were miraculous—an angel rescued Peter and led him to freedom.
You and I must not be thrown by the persecutions and threats that come against believers today. We must not be discouraged to the point of not praying or speaking out as voices for Christ. After all, God's Word reveals we might be persecuted, but we are not forsaken (see 2 Cor. 4:9).
In John 10:10 Jesus warned us that "the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy." Jesus also stated that He had come that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Was not the second part of His statement our promise of victory over all threats of the enemy? So why should we be thrown by the threats and attacks against our Christian faith?
You and I need to keep on speaking out for Christ, never ceasing to be thankful for the freedoms of this great country that still allow us to do so.
Last Thursday, May 21, a piece of historic legislation was introduced by a courageous, bipartisan group of lawmakers. Thirty-five members of the House of Representatives co-sponsored a bill that would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The lead sponsors of the D.C. Defense of Marriage Act are Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio and Dan Boren, D-Oklahoma. In an era devoid of genuine bipartisan cooperation, it is heartening to see people stand up for what is right -simply because it's right.
The bill was created to block a D.C. City Council measure, approved in early May, which seeks to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The D.C. Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was a bold move because D.C. residents have been fighting for home rule for years. Despite their struggles, Congress has still maintained the procedural right to weigh in on any new law in the District of Columbia.
The four men arrested Wednesday for allegedly plotting to bomb a Jewish community center and a synagogue in Bronx, New York, have been charged with "conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction in the United States" and "conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles," CNN reported.
According to a criminal complaint filed in White Plains, New York, U.S. citizen David Williams, James Cromitie, Onta Williams, and Laguerre Payen from Haiti, met with an undercover FBI informant to get what they thought were actual weapons. The men alledgedly planned to blow up two Jewish facilities and use surface-to-air missles to shoot down U.S. military planes.
What if it were possible to travel back in time to ancient Jerusalem, where Jesus made His triumphal entry into the city? Or to take Holy Communion in the Garden Tomb where Christ was once buried? For many Christians, a pilgrimage to the Holy Land is only a dream.
But it doesn't have to be! With the economy forcing some airline companies to lower prices, consumers like you and me are reaping the benefits.
About two weeks ago the nation celebrated the National Day of Prayer. I had the privilege of being invited to speak to a group of 100 business people in Jacksonville, Fla., as part of an outreach called Christian Professional Resources. The half-hour message was videotaped and put on the Internet. I'm sharing it with you here because I spoke about "Calling America Back to God" and mentioned some things that I've reported on in the Strang Report. I hope you'll watch it, share it with others and then give me your feedback in the comments section.
Here is a letter from Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, a religious freedoms law firm.
On Wednesday by a vote of 188-186, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted down a same-sex marriage bill because it contained a religious liberty protection clause. The state Senate had previously passed the bill along party lines by a vote of 14-10. Governor George Lynch, who is opposed to same-sex marriage, said he would veto the bill unless it contained a religious liberty protection amendment. The amendment was added to the House version of the bill, and that is where it met opposition by an openly homosexual member of the House, who lobbied against the bill because of the amendment.
This was sent in a newsletter by Tony Perkins, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council.
On March 9, 2009, President Obama issued an executive order that opened the floodgates for funding more human embryonic stem cell experiments. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has drafted guidelines for distributing these funds. These guidelines devote your tax dollars to experiments with embryonic stem cells, from destroyed human embryos. But the only successful treatments and cures come from adult stem cells, taken from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, fat tissue and other body tissues. Thousands of patients have had their health improved and their lives saved with adult stem cells. Dozens of diseases and injuries including cancer, juvenile diabetes, heart disease, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease have already been treated using adult stem cells and more treatments are being developed.
Rep. Tom McClintock gave the following speech to the Council for National Policy in Washington D.C. on May 16, 2009.
Here, in the winter of our despair, I want to pause to take stock of the state of our nation on this date of May 16.
Voters have swept our party from office after a failed Republican administration that abandoned conservative principles. The most left-wing President in our nation’s history has taken office with a 66 percent approval rating and strong majorities in both houses. His agenda includes radical intervention into energy markets, highly inflationary monetary policy, a determination to dramatically reduce our military spending while dramatically increasing overall domestic spending with deficits as far as the eye can see.
That was the state of our nation on May 16 … 1977.
Editor's Note:The following message first appeared in the Summer 2008 issue of Unchained!, a quarterly magazine published by Pure Life Ministries (purelifeministries.org). It is still relevant for us today and offers encouragement about the times we are living in. The message is reprinted here with the permission of both the author and the publisher.
God promised to shake everything that can be shaken, and He is not slack about keeping His promises. I don't ever recall a time such as today, when almost everything is being shaken.
We are seeing unprecedented natural catastrophes taking place throughout the earth. It was just a few years ago that a tsunami claimed more than 200,000 lives. And in the spring of 2008, within a week's time, we saw two more disasters in the Far East kill at least another 120,000 people. There is no doubt in my own mind that such events are the promised "birth pangs" Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24.
The United States has not been exempt from this alarming trend. For example, in the first half of 2008 we had more deaths by tornadoes than we have had in any given year for more than two decades. The U.S. economy is fast heading into a recession—maybe even a depression. The almighty dollar, once the benchmark of monetary value throughout the world, has now been surpassed by the euro. As the United States continues to weaken, Muslim terrorists and rogue nations grow stronger.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just had his first meeting with President Barack Obama. The two Obama issues, however, are non-issues for the Netanyahu government: talking to Iran and a fast track toward a Palestinian state.
The Obama government is trying to make things move in the Middle East and there are fears this will come at Israel's expense - even if it means bringing down Netanyahu's government.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama met for one hour on Monday to discuss mutual concerns for their respective nations.
Their private meeting went 30 minutes longer than planned. Then, top advisors joined both men for another hour of talks. Finally, reporters were invited in for a half hour question and answer session. Their time together ended with the prime minister, the president and their staffs having lunch in the "old family dining room."
I know that both nations will do their best to put their best "spin" on this historic meeting calling it productive. However, the spokesman on ABC television made a stark and truthful comment when he said, "This is the parting of the ways of this administration and the Israeli government."