What can we expect in the realm of our spiritual lives during 2011? The following list is by no means comprehensive, but reflects my own impressions. I invite you to read it, pray and perhaps receive from Heaven's heart your own effective list to guide you through this calendar year.
I believe the Spirit of the Lord is taking us to a place that supersedes Ego, Division, Ministry Pride, Money Motive and Personal Kingdom Building. He is pursuing us to choose Humility, Covenant Brotherhood, God's Glory and Authenticity. In short, we will need to depend upon the Living God as never before.
Greater Dependence on God
Major events of 2010 have forced the bottom line reality that we all need help. We remember the earthquake in Haiti that swallowed untold thousands of lives in January. We salute the 33 Chilean miners who gamely waited 70 days to be rescued, half a mile inside the earth. We weigh Israel's tragic Carmel Forest fire that claimed 44 lives and required international aid to put out. The catastrophes of 2010 magnified our human vulnerability and the raw need for help and intervention.
Who knows what crises, natural or international, await the world in 2011? We cannot know. Here, Yeshua's instruction is particularly relevant. He told us that during the tumultuous end times we should "Look up, your redemption draws nigh" (Luke 21:28). The call to look up is not only designed to increase our hope the in expectation of His return. It is a practical key to carry us through seriously trying situations. "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will glorify me" (Psalm 50:15).
Don't you feel the growing need for intense, effective prayer? I do, daily. May this be the year that our prayer/intercessory relationship with our Father moves into a higher gear, providing real-time answers and an ever-deepening, unbreakable connection with our King.
Greater Dependence on One Another
(Covenant Relationships will be tested)
John Donne said, "No man is an island." This year will underscore that profound statement. In the tale of Jonathan and David we have a shining example of what can happen when two people forge a relationship of genuine mutual trust and honor.
Jonathan, the heir to the kingdom, removed his armor (sword, bow and belt) representing power and personal position. He chose to relinquish his rightful place of authority and privilege, preferring David, because "he loved him as his own soul". The trust these two men demonstrated was so great that the kingdom of Messiah was established through their covenant friendship. The greater made way for the chosen; the chosen honored the heir.
The longer I seek to be a servant leader the more I see how fragile relationships can be. Misunderstanding, mistrust, offense, insecurity and fear regularly attack relationships. The default position is to pull back into ourselves. "In the end, men will be lovers of self" (2 Timothy 3:2). On the other hand, walking with one another in selfless love, patient forgiveness and healing affirmation bring the kingdom of God into view on earth. Our King is challenging us; He is requiring of us a new level of investment in our friendships and fellowships. If we want the manifestation of the Spirit of the Lord, this area must be clean and fresh. "By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).
Greater Boldness in Witnessing
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come" (Matthew 24:14). Though we don't know the day or the hour, who can doubt that the end of the world is approaching? The compelling priority of personal witness issues from God's heart. He aches for His human children who are wandering, utterly lost in this world's darkness. Of course, the final act of history's drama features a renewed witness to Israel, in the Hebrew tongue, expressed through a biblical Jewish identity. Yeshua linked His return with Israel calling on Him in the latter days. "You shall see me no more till you say 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord'" (Matthew 23:39).
All of this convicts me. I am spending too little time with not-yet-believers. But the Spirit of Yeshua in me is longing to befriend them. This is the year.
Conclusion: The Future is Ours
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:13). In 586 BCE, the prophet declared these words to a Jerusalem that had been destroyed before his very eyes, with tens of thousands of his fellow Jews brutally slain at the hands of the Babylonians. This same Jeremiah authored the Book of Lamentations, an emotionally exhausting description of Zion's fall and captivity. Against the backdrop of such tragedy, he wrote "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed. Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him'" (Lamentations 3:22-24). If the weeping prophet could focus on these despair shattering truths while enduring the devastation of Jerusalem, surely there is hope for us.
You may have gone through some pretty hard times in 2010. I experienced a few myself. Early last year, a very close team relationship of 16 years was broken. Toward the end of the year one of my dearest friends made his exit from this life after a grinding battle with cancer. You can add your heavy trials, I'm sure. May the compassion of the Lord bring comfort and renewal in their aftermath - and in those situations you are still walking through. Yet the measure of our walk with Yeshua is how we respond to adversity and loss. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies" (Psalm 23:4-5).
What awaits us next? Whatever it is, the Lord is serious about washing us from past disappointments and pain, then strengthening us. He wants us, His sons and daughters, servants and messengers, to be ready to manifest the Kingdom of God on this earth at this time. We MUST make Yeshua known - not only in words but in deeds and in character.
I want to make a bold statement, by unction of the Ruach. The future is ours. The future does not belong to evil. It does not belong to darkness and war and murder and corruption. All of these are happening and will continue. But the word of the Lord to us is "Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today" (Exodus 14:13). Moses made this bold prediction to the Israelites as the war chariots of Pharaoh loomed closer and closer to the refugee families who had fled Egypt's bonds. We may not experience a literal parting of the Red Sea in 2011 (then again...?) but standing in the full light of our God, we can bring Him glory and assist those around us to see His salvation.
|By Eitan Shishkoff|
|Let us know what you think - why not comment to this article. The authors of these articles are often involved in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most comments. As is normal with print and online magazines, Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we feel are edifying in tone and content.|
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Daniel Juster: Religious Coercion and Liberty of Conscience|
|Marty Shoub: "You Will Never Walk Again!"|
|Asher Intrater: Destiny for the Church of Spain|