Here is the most recent letter from our beloved sister in Israel:
“In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 (there IS no ‘Moslem world’…it is ALL GOD’S world!) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1(EVERY Word…not ‘parts’ of the Word…but all of it is Him…His Light, His Life, His Truth)
Greetings in The Name of The King of Life, Yeshua, Jesus, in Whom IS Life.I greet you from a somber moment in a somber nation.I stood on my merepesset overlooking the square and the train station when the siren sounded for its eternal minute at exactly 8pm.EVERYTHING came to an abrupt standstill…all vehicles stopped and the drivers popped out standing at attention, heads bowed.People lined the street below me and stood on merepessets all around me – only the flags blew in the wind as the siren wailed it’s steady mournful song.
Yom h’zikeron is here.
The day of memory…memorial day for the fallen soldiers and victims of terror.23,447 is the total given this year since the beginning of the modern state of Israel.At 68 on our birthday, Thursday, Independence day, that number represents multiplied many living, grieving family members…wives, husbands, mothers and fathers, grandparents and yes, the children.I see them all around.Yesterday already the music on the radio had changed key along with the looks on the faces.Slowly the tv stations went off the air and places of entertainment began to close.
What a strange mixture of emotions fly at this time of year…the flags crop up all over in great abundance.People stand in traffic, some selling them, and yes, some giving them away for free.This year I see far more flags then before as at the same time Iran announced the successful launching of a new long range missile and two elderly ladies were stabbed this morning.As words around us seek to crush us and mock us …trying to say ‘See? Your God could NOT take you out of Egypt!’, a new ‘agenda’ was ‘launched’ this week.I listened with joy as someone explained in a radio interview that since the emotions between Holocaust Memorial day (yom h’shoar) and Independence day (yom h’atz’maoot) are so deep and huge, we are going to call them ’10 Days of Thanksgiving‘.Chalk boards will be placed around the country for people to write what they are thankful for and will be encouraged to think on giving thanks.I loved it!Between Rosh h’Shana and Yom Kippur are the 10 days of awe when we are to repent…and these will be called the 10 days of thanksgiving.
I am thankful that it is ALL written in His Word so freely given to us…and we are given such an opportunity to agree with Him and His purposes rather than the world’s!
Tomorrow is a ‘heavy’ day of sharing stories about loved ones taken…of tragedies and of heroes… of orphans and of widows.The streets will be filled with tears as we weave our way toward yom h’atz’maoot , which will begin at sundown tomorrow.The flag that we just lowered will be once again raised and a HUGE birthday party will begin in that strange, fine line transition!It is not at all a ‘party without knowledge’ as everyone knows that we are in far more danger then we have been since WW2…but it is a ‘party’ that says ‘Be strong and of GOOD courage!Strengthen your hands … and I will help too!’
I will try to write more, but yes, we will be busy.I will try however.Below I copied two things that touched me.To read more as these two days progress, here is a link to Yisrael h’Yom online:http://www.israelhayom.com/site/today.php
“When my oldest was a few months of age I was holding him in my arms at a bus stop waiting to get on the bus when an old man said, “Let the soldier on first.”
I backed up to make way for the soldier when I realized he was referring to my baby!
I’ve carried that moment for over 40 years for that was when I knew for sure that whatever children I had, one day I would have to watch them don a uniform and carry a big rifle.
I also knew, that no matter what, I couldn’t cry until the elevator doors closed.
I am the wife of a soldier–a front line medic; the mother of three soldiers–a paratrooper, a girl attached to the police and a son in intelligence.
I am the aunt of, the neighbor of, the teacher of countless soldiers, and God help me one day the grandmother of.
Tonight there will be a siren–a flat line siren (up and down ones mean war and I’ve heard too many of those) where the entire country will stop, stand at attention, bow our heads and remember our fallen in battle and in terrorist attacks. Tomorrow morning there will be a further siren. I live in a tough neighborhood but the kids are watching over us Please God watch over them. Amen.”(Marallyn Ben Moshe.– a friend – not yet a sister)
“What can I say about Israel at age 68 that hasn’t been said yet? This is a land where every person you meet is a hero, where life is drenched with meaning and significance, where the Chosen People constantly wrestle with G-d …, where abandoned people and forgotten history are dragged against their will to shape the future. A land where to give is the norm, where old and wise is cool, where achievement is always preferred over comfort, and where it is forbidden to stop smiling.
Israel’s ancient history shapes our historic duty, but the modern State’s constant barrage of challenges and misadventures come to teach us what it really means to build a world in G-d’s image. It’s definitely not always easy being part of this tremendous project, and it may sometimes look like we are moving backwards, but nothing in the world is as fulfilling.
Happy Birthday Israel” a local columnist
I want to (no…NEED to) recommend to you Chris Mitchell’s newly released book Isis, Iran and Israel.(can be ordered at http://tinyurl.com/j8kuhzdor please ask your Christian book store to order it!)Chris is the Middle East correspondent for CBN broadcasting and a good friend.He is also one of the most humble people I have ever met, wise, gentle and full of His discernment.He speaks what he has seen and knows and ends the book with a clarion call to be walking with HIM!I encourage you to get this important book.
Thank you for listening…God be with you all and may we BE WITH HIM!I send much love, your sis here.
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve shared a letter from our sister in Christ, who is Inside Israel, but when I read the email she sent the other day, in remembrance of the 6,000,000 (yes, six million) Jews who were martyred, during World War II, for their race, culture and faith in the One True God, that we Christian Believers love and worship, I had to share it. As you read this email, let those of us who have been grafted in, always remember God’s love for His chosen people has never waned, and one day, they, the true branches will also proclaim the name of Jesus, bringing even greater blessings to us!
12 Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.
Beloved readers, as you read this email from our beloved sister Inside Israel, let us also remember to pray for the peace of Israel, who is still very much hated by the rest of the world:
Shalom again to Holocaust Memorial and Remembrance Day…Yom h’Shoar…Welcome, Lord of all comfort and Truth into this day.Invade the hearts of those whose hearts have been so damaged by the unimaginable and yet still hope against hope that there is Truth, Hope and justice…May we who have seen The Face of Truth, Hope and Justice bring your Light into this darkening world.
Yes, it has been ‘Yom h’shoar’ (Day of Holocaust literally but called the Remembrance day for the martyrs of the Holocaust, or just Holocaust Memorial day) once again, with its full ‘shock’ of entry and time of deep reflection.
How does one begin to grieve or share the grief of 6,000,000,000…six million?
One at a time.
Our Knesset holds a ceremony ‘Unto every person there is a name’ .It goes like this: (a quote from the Jerusalem Post)
“Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel and her daughters lit a candle in her mother’s name, and in memory of her relatives killed in the Jado concentration camp in Libya, where 2,600 Jews were sent, 562 of whom died. Gamliel’s great-grandfather, Shia Bracha, was sent to the camp from Tripoli, and was killed while trying to escape, and her grandparents lost a daughter from malnutrition in Jado.
“Modern Israel owes part of its establishment to the heroes who underwent the hell of the Holocaust and rose from it to fight for Israel’s independence, thus ensuring the continuation of future generations in Israel,” Gamliel said. “The recognition in recent years of Holocaust survivors and victims of the Nazi regime in Arab countries is for me, as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor from Libya, is the closing of a circle and does justice to a large group in Israel that did not receive the recognition it deserves.”
Others who lit candles were Holocaust survivors Esther Meron, Avraham Ivanir, Fruma Galant, mother of Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant, and Svetlana Sorokin, mother of MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union), as well as Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets Director-General Dr. Yisrael Peleg.
Next, MK Yaakov Margi (Shas) read from Psalms, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yaakov Yosef said Kaddish and an IDF cantor chanted the El Maleh Rachamim prayer.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein began the name-reading by reading the names of children who perished in the Sharogorod Ghetto in Transnistria, where his grandparents and mother survived the Holocaust.
President Reuven Rivlin read the names of soldiers killed in the War of Independence who were the last surviving members of their families, as well as the names of their relatives who were murdered by the Nazis. His wife, Nechama Rivlin, read names of relatives, and had to stop in the middle to compose herself, as she was crying.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kept his annual tradition of reading a poem his father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, wrote in 1941 in Israel, when he lost touch with his family in Europe and did not know what happened to them. They all perished in the Holocaust.
Supreme Court President Miriam Naor said she and her cousins did research to find out names and details about relatives who were killed in the Holocaust…” AND SO ON IT GOES.
‘Poignant’…’emotional’…’indescribable’…these are the words that come to me as I seek to, yes, describe the day that I have sought to describe for 21 years now.At 10:00am the eerie wail of the siren sounded throughout the country for two minutes while a nation stood silent and at attention, agreeing to share a mantle of grief far too heavy to be borne alone on the shoulders…fewer and fewer…of tattooed old people.For one day in the year they open the coffin of a closet where the dark memories lie hidden and share the unimaginable openly, in schools, on television and in ceremonies or homes, so that we can all carry it together with them.We listen to their stories…sit and have tea with them…weep with them…hug them.The stories are collected…written…dramatized…’They must never forget!’ they cry.‘The world must never never forget!’ they yell collectively…but their voices grow ever weaker.It has been 70 years now since the Holocaust.Many of them have lived this long because they have a burning passion to ‘Having survived…survive!’…but they are dying because they are, after all, just flesh and blood.
A new and hopeful thing has cropped up.It is called ‘Zikeron b’salon’ or literally ‘Memory in the livingroom’.I was listening to a report about it and they said that several years ago some young people were speaking of a need that they had to find further expression concerning the Holocaust.Children here learn about it in school from pre-school…and the studies continue through the army and university.During the last year in high school they participate in ‘The March of the Living’…a trip to Auschwitz death camp.Suddenly they are post army and university and it all comes to an end.A small group of young adults decided to ‘meet in the livingroom’, hear a testimony in person or on a tape, and to hold their own discussion and ceremony.It caught on with young people all over the country and this year there were hundreds of such meetings.
Yes, it is taken ‘personally’.Life from the dead…hope from ashes.
Last week one of our patients died.Ada Steinberg was 96 and lived with a ‘helper’.Originally from Russia, she had never married, made aliyah alone as a teenager, became a professor and had many friends…but she outlived them all!That was a chilling thought to me when she told me that her last friend died.She was now ‘all alone’…but she went on and became very close to her ‘helper’.She died quietly in her sleep last week and I asked my boss…who would ‘sit shiva’ for her (mourn her in the Jewish tradition).He stopped and said ‘I don’t know.’ That wasn’t like my boss.He knows ALL of these things!‘Was she in the shoah?’ I asked him.To my surprise, he didn’t know that either.It took me quite awhile searching online to find anything about her but finally, on the Yad V’Shem website, (take a look) www.yadvashem.org/amongst the recorded testimonies, I found hers.It is in Hebrew and so it will take me awhile to listen, but I intend to.She had a name.She was brave.
I was raised with the Holocaust.Today I found myself wondering how it had ‘colored’ my world.I guess I will never know really.I was very very small, perhaps two, when I first became ‘aware’ (yes, really) of the Holocaust.I had very thick curly dark hair and I was with my Mother.It was summer.I remember the dress that I was wearing.A woman stopped to talk to my mother and she reached out and put her fingers in my hair and began running them through lovingly, but even then at that young age I knew ‘something wasn’t right.’I remember her getting down on her knees and looking at me and saying over and over ‘I had a little girl like you once, yes, I had a little girl just like you…’.My Mother sheltered me behind herself and I was holding on to her knees (that is how I guess my age…knee high).But that was only my first encounter.Holocaust survivors began pouring into our neighborhood in NY, USA…and there was a ‘scary feeling’ about them…something of death held on to them and it haunted me.In our apartment there were books and photos of the newly liberated camps.I would lay on the floor and look at the pictures…and wonder.
My conclusion then was: ‘We must be such an awful people to be so deeply hated.’
HOW THANKFUL I AM THAT THE ONE WHO WAS DISPISED AND REJECTED PURSUED ME AND SAVED ME OUT OF THE HELL THAT I FOUND MYSELF TRAPPED IN!
So I stood outside of work at 10:00am this morning when the siren pierced the air and prayed for Kala Zeltzer, Yaakov and Ruth Lork and the other survivors that I know by name…for them to be comforted face to Face by The One Who is truly able to understand and bare even their grief…and lead them safely home.
It is late and this is nothing like I intended to share…but it just got too late.I couldn’t let the day slip by without baring witness to it…least we forget.
I hope to write more in a couple of days.God bless you all.Lovingly, your sister here.
Last night, I had two different dreams, yet both had the same theme. The dreams were what I call “God Dreams,” because both dreams were scripture filled, and they dealt with spiritual warfare. I wasn’t sure if the first dream really was from the Lord or not, because it dealt with a friend, and usually, when I have a “God Dream,” I KNOW it is from the Lord. Yet even though I didn’t know for sure if it was a “God Dream,” I felt a strong compulsion to share it with my friend in writing right away, before I forgot it. I felt very strongly in my spirit that my friend was in danger and needed to be warned of this danger.
In the second dream, Abraham, Isaac and Israel were there, as were many others, including me, and we were all joined in an angelic battle against evil. I felt the darkness all around me, as many, who I thought were friends, who were saved, turned out to be evil. I remember battling against the evil, and many good people were killed. Even some of the angelic beings, who loved and served the Lord were killed. Yet, even so, it was during these battles that I witnessed many miracles, as the dead were raised, and some who were wounded, were instantly healed.
One thing I remember during this dream, which, like all dreams, seemed so real at the time, even though there was evil and darkness all around, I had no fear. Now, you should know that I do not consider myself to be a brave or courageous person. I DON’T like pain, and though I love the Lord with all of my heart, I am in no hurry to die. Yet, I waged war against evil in that dream, and I was fearless. Were there times when I was afraid? Yes, the war that was taking place was very real, and there were times when my heart would pound a little harder, but the Spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew, and heard it said in my dream, over and over, “The battle is the Lord’s.”
I won’t share my other dream with you, because that wasn’t meant to be shared with anyone but her. However, suffice it to say that she, too, was in the midst of a spiritual battle.
I’ve thought of these dreams off and on all day, today, and I feel such an urgency within. Friends, I truly believe those dreams were meant to remind me, and now you, as I share this with you, that we are living in very dark times. We are living in a time and place that calls good evil, and evil good. We are living with those who call right wrong, and wrong right. We live among those who call the darkness light, and the light darkness, and there are too many, who call themselves children of the Lord, who don’t know the difference.
What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. (Isaiah 5:20 NLT)
Beloved reader, heed my warning. The time is upon us, when there are false teachers, false prophets and even apostates teaching false doctrine, and many are falling for it, because they do not KNOW the Lord. Oh, many know of Him, but they do not truly KNOW Him, because they don’t want to know Him.
What about you? Do you know God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Or do you simply know of Him? Do you know His ways? Or do you just know about the things that He’s done?
God calls Himself our husband. Jesus is the bridegroom, and we are the bride. I’ve been married for thirty-four years to the same man, and you know what? I KNOW him. I KNOW his ways. My husband doesn’t have to say a word to me, and with just one glance, I KNOW what he is thinking. We KNOW each other so well, that we finish one another’s sentences. I know what makes my husband smile, and I know what makes him angry. I know what makes my husband happy, and I know what hurts him. When my husband hurts, something within me hurts too, because I KNOW him so well, and I love him.
That’s the kind of relationship that God wants with each one of us. He wants to reveal His character, His intimate ways to us, not just His mighty acts. He wants us to feel His joy when a soul is saved, and He wants us to feel His pain, when someone is lost. He wants us to love what He loves, and to hate what He hates. Yet, sadly, most people will never know Him that well.
Instead, most will settle for a “prophetic word” from someone who may be nothing more than a glorified fortune-teller, wrongly called a prophet in the church. People like those prophets who prophesy “entrepreneurship” or “money in your future.” They like when people tickle their ears, and they believe what they want to believe. What about you? Do my words offend you? Beloved, I don’t want any false prophets tickling my ears. I want to know God so well, that when someone lies, I know it deep within my being. I want the truth, not a lie that gives me false hope.
I want to hope for what is real, and I don’t need someone to prophesy over me, because I KNOW the Lord, and HE talks to me. Does He talk to you? Or are you so busy listening to what your pastor says, that you can’t hear God? Pastors are meant to help us draw closer to God, NOT to take His place.
Do you know what His word says? Or do you only know what you’ve been taught that the word says? Beloved, I urge you to talk with God, listen to God, and read His word, so that you can begin to know Him and His ways. Don’t simply read what I write, or what some other author writes, or what some evangelist or worse yet, some televangelist says. We are ALL human. We ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God. We ALL get it wrong sometimes. SOME get it wrong ALL of the time, and if you don’t know God, you won’t know the difference. Someone could be “ministering” to you now, and because you don’t really know God, he/she could be leading you straight to hell. And understand this, my friend, YOU will be held accountable if you don’t know God, because God has given every one of us ample opportunity to know Him.
For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. (2 Corinthians 5:10 NLT)
Beloved reader, the dreams I had last night are a warning. Let he who has an ear hear that warning. The days are getting darker and darker, and there is a war taking place in the spiritual realm that most don’t even know of. That war is being waged for your soul and your spirit, and if you don’t know God, you don’t stand a chance. Do I sound melodramatic? Yes! I know I do, because it is THAT serious. Therefore, I will close with the words Moses spoke to the children of Israel before he died. And I pray with all my heart, that you would heed these words and choose life!
15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.
17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods,18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.
19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20 NLT)
For every heart that has ever been broken, destroyed by abandonment, rejection and betrayal, and for those that have not, you have been loved with an everlasting love before there was time. These words the Lord spoke to Israel are for all who will call upon His name:
Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.
Do you doubt that these words are meant for everyone who will call on His name? Not only did God love Israel with an everlasting love, He also loves ALL of mankind with a love so strong that He was willing to sacrifice His One and Only true Son for the sake of ALL of us.
For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
Those who have been broken, abandoned, rejected and betrayed all long for that one thing. Whether you are willing to admit it or not, there is an ache deep within your heart, a longing for love that cannot be quenched. And how do I know this? I know this because I am one of the broken, abandoned, rejected, and betrayed, and my first memories are of a little girl who had a hunger for Someone to love me no matter how bad, or how ugly, or how undesirable and unlovable I was.
When I was very young, my mother and father divorced. After they divorced, I can count on one hand the number of times I saw my birth father again. Now that I’m an adult, I understand that my father’s abandonment was not because I was bad, ugly, undesirable or unlovable. Instead, it was his problem, but as a child, I believed every single one of those things about myself.
When I was around two and a half, my mother married my stepfather, a man that I grew up thinking was my daddy until right before I entered the first grade, and I had to learn how to write my name. You see, up until that time, I thought my name was Cheryl Mitchell, and I already knew how to write that, but now I learned that my real name was Cheryl Payne, and I didn’t really belong to the man I called Daddy. I wondered why God had made someone like me. You see, even then, I knew there was a God, and though I didn’t yet know Him personally, He knew me, for He was the One who had knit me together in my mother’s womb, and He had a plan for my life.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
I was one of those children that trouble seems to follow, or maybe it would be more accurate to say that I was the one following trouble. I hated school, from the first day I set foot there. It seemed like I was always in trouble once I was in school. When my parents went to parent/teacher conferences, they were told that I could do better if I would just apply myself. I always dreaded those parent/teacher conferences, which would lead to my parents’ cussing me and telling me how worthless and stupid and lazy I was, as they beat me over and over and over again. I was afraid to go to sleep at night, because they would come into my room over and over again throughout the night, until they went to bed, pulling me out of the bed and beating me yet again.
When I was in the sixth grade, I really did something stupid, You see, if I brought home a bad report card, I would receive several beatings, then be punished for the following nine weeks, until the next report cards were issued. My punishment consisted of being banished to my bedroom to study for those nine weeks. I was not permitted to go outside, receive phone calls, play or watch television during those long weeks. I was only allowed out of my room to use the bathroom, eat dinner, go to school and to go to church. I thank God for the church bus that would pick my sister and me up on Sunday mornings, because that was when I was able to laugh and sing and feel loved.
Anyway, when I was in the sixth grade, I received an “Inc.” (Incomplete) on my report card for not writing my fire prevention essay. Don’t ask me why I didn’t write it, because I honestly couldn’t tell you. I knew the incomplete was coming, but I didn’t worry about it until it was actually there, on my report card. When I saw that grade, I panicked, and then I got this “brilliant” idea. I had learned that if you licked the tip of an eraser, you could erase ink. As soon as I got home from school, before my parents came home, I did just that, and changed my grade from an “Inc.” to a “G” (the equivalent of an “A”). I actually got away with my ruse until nine weeks later, when report cards were once again issued.
In those days, we carried our report cards to each class and the teacher would call you forward and print your grade on the report card. My heart pounded all morning long, and through lunch, until it was time to go to my Language Arts class. By then, I was really worked up. I must have had millions of butterflies in my stomach – so many that I was beginning to feel ill. When my teacher called me, my whole body shook with fear, yet still, I walked forward to her desk. As soon as she took my report card out of the envelope, she looked at me and stated loudly, “You erased this!”
I looked behind me, hoping against hope that my classmates hadn’t heard her, but of course, all eyes were on me. I shook my head emphatically, as I looked her in the eye and whispered, “No I didn’t. You did. Don’t you remember? You accidentally put someone else’s grade on here, and you changed it,” but she wasn’t buying it.
“You erased this report card and I’m calling the principal.” With that said, she stood up and walked over to the intercom to call the principal. I was truly panicked by this time, and I didn’t care that my classmates were all staring at me as I cried and pleaded with her not to call the principal, but to no avail. She stood by the intercom and told the principal what I had done, and he hurried to our classroom, where I was weeping inconsolably, and pleading with her and then him not to call my parents.
At that point, I was such a wreck, that they sent me to the nurse’s office. The nurse tried to quiet me, and then she began prying into my business, asking why I was so afraid. She asked me if my parents beat me. Did they abuse me? As she questioned me, all of my fear now turned to anger and hatred, not against my parents, but against her. I was already in enough trouble, without her being nosy and trying to make things even worse for me. It wasn’t until nearly thirty years later, that I realized she wasn’t being nosy. She was trying to help me, but I was too blinded by fear and misplaced anger to realize it.
I thought about running away, but I didn’t know where to run to, and I was too afraid to do it. So, I just sat in my bedroom waiting until my mother came home at 6:00 that evening. By then, my fear had grown immensely, and with good reason. Soon, the bedroom door was opened, and there stood my mommy and my stepfather, whom I thought of as my daddy. My mother began shouting at me, and then my daddy began to speak, and the angrier she got, the louder she was, while the softer his voice got, the more I feared him. They told me how stupid and lazy I was. They said that I was worthless and nothing but trouble. And then, my daddy said the words that really crushed me, “I’m ashamed that anyone thinks you’re my daughter.”
Then they each took turns beating me, but as bad as the beatings were, the thing that still hurts, even now, at 53 years of age, were those words spoken by my “daddy,” the man I truly adored. I wasn’t angry at him or my mother, though, because they were right, I thought. I believed every single curse they spoke over me, and it took many years for the Lord to finally set me free from them. All night long, until she finally went to sleep, my mother would sit in the den smoking cigarettes and thinking about what I had done, and the more she thought about it, the angrier she became, again and again. Then, she would burst into my bedroom, snatch me out of bed and begin beating me again and again. I laid in the bed, shaking with fear, and crying, and it seemed like every time I would begin to doze off, my door would slam open, and I would be snatched from the bed and beaten again and again.
I was punished for the following nine weeks until the next report card was issued and my grades were good, but until then, I was berated over and over again. I wasn’t angry with my mommy and daddy though. I was angry with my teacher and myself. I hated her for many years, but I hated myself for many more.
On the church bus every Sunday, we would learn different scriptures, and one of the first ones I learned was John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Now, I remember my thoughts when I first heard those words, “For God so loved the world…”
“Yeah,” I thought, “but He doesn’t love me. He knows how bad I am. He knows everything about me, and there’s no way He could ever love me.”
It wasn’t until many years later, on a Saturday as I prepared a Sunday School lesson for children who were the same age that I had been when I first heard those words, “For God so loved the world…”that He revealed to me that those words included me too. While preparing a lesson on Psalm 139, as I read, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Cheryl, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. It was I who knit you together in your mother’s womb, and I knew every single day of your life before you were born, and I loved you.”
Beloved reader, can you believe that? Those words are not just for me. They’re for you, too. And get this, the very same God who knit each and every man, woman and child in their mother’s womb, decided long before then that He would adopt those of us who wanted Him to be their Daddy.
God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.
Isn’t that wonderful? And do you know why He chose to adopt us? He didn’t do it because He pitied us, or because He felt like it was something He should do. No! He adopted us into His own family through Jesus because He wanted to do it! Not only that, it gave Him great pleasureto adopt us!!!
Beloved reader, has your heart ever been broken, abandoned, rejected and betrayed? Have you ever felt unloved and unlovable? Have you ever longed for a Daddy who would lavish His love on you, without feeling like you must earn His love? Do you have a hole in your heart that cries, just as mine did, “Please won’t Somebody love me, even though I don’t deserve it?”
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.
Beloved reader, my whole life, I felt like I was nothing but a burden to my family, who I loved deeply. But I now have a Daddy who loved me long before He formed the earth, and He chose me to be His adopted daughter, because I bring great pleasure to Him.
I shared all of this with you, not to make you pity me, but so you can rejoice with me. For you see, I was always loved, even when I felt like no one loved me, and I am no better or worse than you. God loves you, just as much as He loves me, and if you want to experience that love, call upon His name. The following prayer that Paul prayed many, many years ago is the prayer that I now pray for every person who reads this post:
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.16 I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.17 Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him.Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.~ Ephesians 1:4 NLT ~
Are you as amazed as I am, at the lengths that God has gone to, in order to win our hearts and rescue us from sin? God looks at mankind, knowing that we are sinful from the time we are born. It’s our nature to sin, and God is fully aware of that…
The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and He saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. ~ Genesis 6:5 NLT ~
Still, the Lord saw something in us that He loved. Despite the sin that enslaved and controlled each and every one of us, God saw something worth dying for. Doesn’t that amaze you? It blows me away! I know myself pretty well, and when I examine my own heart, I can’t imagine why anyone would be willing to die for me, let alone the Creator of the Universe, whom I’ve hurt too many times to count…
But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.~ Romans 5:8 NLT ~
I feel like jumping up and down for joy as I write and share these words with you. How exciting! In order to comprehend just how wonderful this is, we need to understand that God, also known as Yahweh, Adonai, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our Strong Tower, and by many other wonderful names, is holy…
No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God. ~ 1 Samuel 2:2 NLT ~
Now what is the importance of God’s holiness, and what does it mean to you and me? Firstly, Ephesians 1:4, the scripture we’re studying, tells us that God chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault. Therefore, we must know and understand what holiness is, so that we can be the people God chose us to be, in Jesus’ name…
The Hebrew word for holyis qadowsh, which means:
sacred, holy, Holy One, saint, set apart
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew. Therefore, I have written the word and definition from the Hebrew translation. Obviously, holy in reference to the Lord, would be the definition Holy One, for He is the only God who is holy. Though other nations chose to worship other Gods, Yahweh alone was the only Holy One, and because of His holiness, He called His people to be holy like Him…
For I, the Lord, am the One who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy. ~ Leviticus 11:45 NLT ~
Now, the New Testament, unlike the Hebrew, was written in Greek, which was a common language, spoken by most nations at that time. Therefore, the Greek word for holyis hagios, which means:
most holy thing, a saint
Now, I know that some churches only refer to certain people as saints, after they have died, however, when we read God’s holy word in its proper context, it says that He chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. Sometimes, we miss out on what God is truly saying, because we listen to what “the church” tells us, without looking to see what God says in His word. According to Ephesians 1:4, God chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes… There was no gathering of apostles, priests, cardinals, bishops, priests, pastors or even the pope, who determined whether we were holy or saints. God alone chose us in Christ.
4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. ~ Ephesians 1:4 NLT ~
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9 NLT ~
Beloved readers, do you see what God has chosen us for in Christ? He has chosen us – not just people who receive a title from mankind, but you and me to be a holy nation of royal priests, so that we can show others the goodness of God. According to the Hebrew and Greek definitions of holy, we have been chosen to be sacred, set apart from the world, and saints who are holy.
So, what does this mean to us? Firstly, I can be none of the things God chose me to be unless I am in Christ, for apart from Him, we can do nothing…
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. ~ John 15:5 NLT ~
It is also very important for us to remember that God in Christ chose us to be His royal priesthood of saints, not us, and not anyone else, be it a preacher, priest or anyone else…
You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name. ~ John 15:16 NLT ~
Beloved readers, it is clear from the scriptures that we have been chosen to be holy (set apart, sacred, a saint), so that we can show others the goodness of God. Sadly, many people who call themselves Christian are no different than everyone else. The King James version of the bible declares that we are a peculiar people, and yet, if we live and behave as everyone else, how are we peculiar?
It’s really sad that you can often tell, just by looking at them or speaking to them, when someone is Islamic, because they often dress differently than us, and they live differently as well. Yet, with a few exceptions, most people could not tell if someone is a born-again Christian or not, because so many continue to live and do as the world does (i.e. – telling little white lies, gossiping, cussing, hating people who are different than they are, fearful of saying “Jesus Christ,” except when they are taking His name in vain…), and so the list goes on and on.
Beloved reader, please join me today and let each one of us examine our hearts, and let us also ask God to do so as well. This is a wonderful prayer that David prayed, and if we ask God to do this, He will be faithful to help us…
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. ~ Psalm 139:23-24 NLT ~
4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. 5God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.~ Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT ~
Do you remember what it was like to play sports in school? I never did like gym class except for badminton and bowling. Running races was humiliating, because as tiny as I was at the time, I was equally slow. However, by far, the most degrading thing about gym class, was the team sports (i.e. – dodgeball, kickball, softball, basketball etc.), because that was when the gym teacher would choose team captains (always the most popular and athletic), who would, in turn, choose their teams. Of course, the team captains always chose the most athletic (because they wanted to win), and the most popular (because if the team captain wasn’t already one of the popular crowd, if he/she chose wisely, perhaps they would welcome him/her into their elite clan).
Now, I don’t know where you landed in the scheme of things, but I was neither popular, or very athletic. Therefore, I was usually one of the last ones chosen for a team sport. In fact, when the captains began choosing their teammates, I would often pray, “Lord, please let them pick me somewhere in the middle. Please don’t let them pick me last.”
Not only did I hate team sports, team projects were equally undesirable. You see, the brighter, more popular children would team up with one another. Those children who weren’t as intellectual also had their own cliques to work in, which still, left me the odd one out. I was just one of those children who don’t quite fit in anywhere, and even as an adult, I likewise, continue to struggle with feeling out of place.
That’s why I get so excited about this scripture…
4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.~ Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT ~
Do you see it? Before He made the world, God loved me and chose me! Praise God – this is one instance in my life, where I was among those who were picked first! What’s more, if you are born again, believing that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead, then you, too, can rest assured that as surely as God loved me and chose me before He made the earth, He loved you and chose you before He made the world. Isn’t that Good News?
Just think about it! When I was a child in school, it felt as though my whole world was broken all around me, every time I was rejected. Actually, even as an adult, it still sometimes feels that way, when someone rejects me…
And yet, if I put things in perspective, I gain a whole new insight that allows me to see things as they really are. Now, all of those soul crushing moments don’t seem as devastating, when I consider that the God and the Creator of the universe chose meto be His beloved daughter, long before He spoke all of creation into being. For you see, my present problems are nothing, when I fix m eyes on Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior…
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT ~
Now, when I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, and think of how God chose me before He created the earth, Jesus reminds me of this…
16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name.17 This is My command: Love each other.
Isn’t that wonderful news? Jesus chose His followers. Are you one of Christ’s followers? If so, that’s because He chose you. Do you doubt me? The fact is that we wouldn’t even love Him or anyone else, if not for one thing…
Do you need more convincing? Well, beloved reader, it just gets better!
But you are a chosen people,the King’s cohanim (priests), a holy nation, a people for God to possess! Why? In order for you to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9 CJB ~
Do you see the beauty of it? Long before we were born, indeed, long before the earth was even created, God thought of each one of the men, women and children who would love and follow Him, and He chose us. He called us by our name, and do you know what we were chosen for? We were chosen to be holy and without fault in God’s eyes. We were chosen to be God’s chosen people, and not only that. We were chosen to be a royal priesthood (the King’s priests), in order for us to declare the praises of Christ, who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. We were chosen by God, because He loves us and it gave Him great pleasure to bring us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and adopt us into His own family.
4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.~ Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT ~
It’s been more than three weeks since I’ve written or posted anything. During that time, my pain medication has been elevated, due to a continued increase in the pain I suffer. The increased pain medication has made it nearly impossible for me to write, as I have been unable to stay awake long enough to read, write or think with any clarity. Then, when the pain meds wear off, the intense pain also renders me unable to write, as I struggle unsuccessfully, to get my mind off the pain and focus on something else.
Then, in the midst of this, my FaceBook account was hacked by someone pretending to be me. This imposter created a clone of my account, and began contacting some of my friends, trying to obtain personal financial information from them. Needless to say, I reported this to FaceBook, and I’ve closed my account for the time being…
Meanwhile, for the last nine days, my husband and I have been visiting our daughter and son-in-law, and three of our nine grandchildren. This precious time with my family has given me great joy, despite the pain I’m in, and last night, before bed, my granddaughters asked me to share a bible story with them. This completely blessed me, for there is nothing I’d rather do than share God’s word with people, and especially with my beloved grandchildren…
Therefore, I sharedDaniel 1with them last night, and I will continue sharing the story of Daniel and his friends each night for the rest of our visit… So, after beginning to tell Daniel’s story to my grandchildren and preparing to share the next chapter with them tonight, I felt a stirring within me to write. This urge to write has been missing for the last few weeks, but now, I found myself wanting to share Daniel’s story with you…
As you may already know, when King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army invaded Judea, the Lord allowed Nebuchadnezzar to make Judea’s King Jehoiakim his prisoner and take him back to Babylon. The Lord also allowed his army to rob His holy Temple, carrying some of its sacred vessels back to fill the treasury of Babylon’s false gods. Among those captured in the invasion, were members of Judah’s royal family, and several members of nobility. It was from these members of royalty and nobility, that Nebuchadnezzar chose the brightest young men who were also the most handsome, to be trained to serve in his royal court.
Among those chosen to be trained to serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s court were four young men named, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Then, possibly in an attempt to make them forget their roots, one of the first things Nebuchadnezzar did, was to change the names of his captives. Thus, Daniel became Belteshazzar, Hananiah’s name was changed to Shadrach, Mishael’s name became Meshach and Azariah became Abed-nego.
To further enhance the change in the lives of Nebuchadnezzar’s captives, they were sent to live in his palace, where they would be trained in the Babylonian ways for three years. Daniel and his friends meekly went along with all of these changes, until they were presented with food from the king’s table. While these rations were very generous and were gratefully received by other prisoners, to be forced to partake of this food, would defile Daniel and his friends before the Lord, and they would rather die than be seen as unclean by their God.
Therefore, carefully choosing his words, Daniel spoke for himself and his friends to the king’s chief eunuch, asking that he and his friends be served nothing but vegetables, grains and water. Ashpenaz, the chief eunuch, refused, but Daniel was persistent, and quietly spoke to the guard that the chief eunuch assigned to him and his compatriots…
12 “Please, do us a favor. Put us, your servants, to the test for the next 10 days. Give us a vegetarian diet and water. 13 When the time is up, you can see for yourself our condition and compare it to the condition of the other young men who are eating from the king’s table. Then, after you have seen what has happened, do whatever you think is best with us, your servants.”
14 So the guard agreed to do as Daniel requested. He tested them on a diet of only vegetables, grains, and water for 10 days. 15 When the 10 days were up, he looked them over and noticed that Daniel and his friends were better off than all the young men eating from the king’s best foods. They looked healthy and well nourished, 16 so the guard continued to hold back their royal rations and replaced them with a strictly vegetarian diet. 17 Through all of this, God conferred upon these 4 young men superior abilities in literature, language, and wisdom. God had given Daniel an additional gift, too: the ability to interpret visions and dreams. 18 When the 3-year period of training and conditioning, as set by the king, was over, the king sent for the candidates; the chief of the royal eunuchs himself escorted them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king interviewed all of them and found that none of the candidates were any better than Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; so they were each assigned an important place in the king’s court.~ Daniel 1:12-19 VOICE ~
As I think about this story, and I ponder my own situation, which seems so hopeless and untenable, I’m struck by the presence of God in Daniel’s life. Think about it. Daniel was a God-fearing Jewish boy, whose desire was to serve God faithfully in Judea, in the midst of God’s chosen people. Yet, instead of having his dream fulfilled, Daniel and his friends were cruelly snatched from the arms of their loved ones and deposited into the midst of heathens. Also, rather than serving the country they loved, in Jerusalem, home of God’s holy Temple, they were now forced to serve a pagan king, who served pagan gods. Nothing had gone the way it should have, and Daniel’s dreams of ministering had been snatched away from him… Or had they?
As I think about my own situation, it all seems so hopeless. I’m in so much constant pain, that I’m unable to stand and minister like I once did. My dreams of ministering for the Lord seem to be beyond my grasp right now. I’m no longer able to preach and minister in the prisons like I once did, and my dance ministry has also fallen to the wayside, for how can you dance, when merely standing, sitting, walking or laying cause excruciating pain?
Still, as I read about Daniel, I’m struck by the knowledge that God not only knew about Daniel’s situation, it seems that He orchestrated it, for His glory…
2 The Lord gave Nebuchadnezzar the victory and allowed him to take King Jehoiakim of Judah as his prisoner. At the same time, He permitted the Babylonian king to rob God’s temple of some of its sacred vessels and carry them away to Babylonia (called Shinar), which was the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, to fill the treasury of his own gods, Marduk and Nebo.
3 After the king returned home, he commanded Ashpenaz, chief of the royal eunuchs, to bring some of the Israelites who had been taken captive to the palace. These included members of Judah’s royal family and the nobility.~ Daniel 1:2-3 VOICE ~
Now, if God orchestrated the events in Daniel’s life, and in the lives of His chosen people, doesn’t it seem plausible that He would also orchestrate the events in my life and yours? To be kidnapped and taken to a country far away, seems like a horrific experience, and yet, when you realize that God was behind it, this dreadful event is miraculously changed into a reason for hope and even joy.
Likewise, a life of constant chronic pain was not a part of the life I dreamed of having. I dreamed of preaching throughout the country, in prisons and churches and wherever else God sent me, but I now see that what I had once thought was God’s will for my life, was really only my own hopes and dreams for my life. They were my plans, not His. Furthermore, knowing that this chronic pain is not some tragic misfortune caused by the devil, unbeknownst to God, but rather, it is all a part of His plan for my life, makes my current circumstances worth rejoicing over…
28 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautifulwhen we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.~ Romans 8:28 VOICE ~
Now, as I look at Daniel, who was snatched from his home, never to return again, I can see that God orchestrated everything in his life, changing it into something beautiful and good. So, if God orchestrated Daniel’s painful events into something good and beautiful, don’t you think it’s possible (even likely) that since I love Him, He has been orchestrating everything in my life to work toward something good and beautiful?
What about you, beloved reader? Have your circumstances been difficult? Be of good cheer. For as long as you love Him and are called according to His purpose, God will orchestrate everything in your life to work toward something good and beautiful.
Then I decided to spend my time having fun because I felt that there was nothing better in all the earth than that a man should eat, drink, and be merry, with the hope that this happiness would stick with him in all the hard work that God gives to mankind everywhere.