Gaza, Praise and Gay Parade
by Asher Intater, , Revive Israel

OOn a Friday several weeks back, an estimated 180,000 people descended on Tel Aviv to participate in the annual "Gay Parade." There is an international effort to make Tel Aviv the "Gay Capital" of the world.

The same day we were meeting in our Tel Aviv congregation, Tiferet Yeshua, for our weekly assembly. During the praise time, the verse came to mind about God hearing the "cry of Sodom" rising up before Him because of the greatness of their sins (Genesis 18:20).

I suggested that maybe we should sing just a bit louder so that God might hear our praise songs above the cries of sin and sodomy around us. Tiferet Yeshua numbers just over 100 members. How could we have any influence compared to 180,000 militant homo-lesbians?

We recalled that God told Abraham that if there were only 10 righteous in Sodom, He would spare the city. (While we have no righteousness of our own, we do love the Lord.) Joy filled our hearts as we realized that God receives our prayers for grace on behalf of the city.

Internal Fighting

Just a few dozen kilometers down the coast from Tel Aviv is Gaza. A new ISIS cell there took credit for several rocket launches toward Israel last week. No damage was incurred. Israel responded with restraint, knowing tension exists between Hamas and ISIS. Hamas will take care of stopping the ISIS cell.

There are also divisions between ISIS and Syria on Israel's northern border, and between Sunni and Shiite forces in Yemen to the south. Israel could be easily wiped out by all these Jihad groups. However as they fight between themselves, our survival for the time being is guaranteed.

Defeating Enemies through Praise

In II Chronicles 20 we find the children of Israel in Jehoshaphat's time also surrounded by enemies. A prophetic word came that the Israelites were to take position on the battlefield and praise the Lord, because "He is good and His mercy endures forever" (verse 21). This seemed like a suicide tactic for sure.

However, the moment they started praising, God caused the enemies to attack one another (v. 22). The spiritual worship led to a military victory. If they had not praised the Lord, they might have been wiped out. We in Israel today also feel the urgency to lift up praises to the Lord. In the meantime, we keep worshiping and the enemies stay divided. We're not willing to stop praising to check out whether it is having an effect or not.

Praise has often been connected with military. What was the first example of biblical praise from a group of people? - The song of Moses after God destroyed their enemies at the Red Sea (Exodus 15). I wonder what their praise looked and sounded like. I imagine it was not a low key, somber and serious worship time. No doubt it was exuberant, victorious, joyful and perhaps a bit wild.

Let's keep worshipping the Lord and trust that our praise is having an effect on the situation around us.

This article was previously published 19Jun15 here on the Revive Israel website

Praising at Tiferet Yeshua Congregation

Gaza, Praise and Gay Parade
by Asher Intrater, , Revive Israel

TThere are many examples of Yeshua praying throughout the gospels, including His rising early in the morning (Mark 1:35), praying all night (Luke 6:12) and fasting 40 days (Matthew 4:2). His disciples saw how important prayer was to Yeshua and asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1).

Yeshua's prayer was not casual, but very intense: "He offered up prayers and supplications with great shouting and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death and was heard because of His fear of God" (Hebrews 5:7).

Why tears? Tears are a sign of pain. In times of intercession, Yeshua was burdened by compassion and could feel in his heart the sickness, suffering and death of mankind. Our "lostness" pained His heart. Our pain was His pain. He wept for us.

Why shouting? Shouting is a sign of resistance. In times of spiritual warfare, Yeshua faced the forces of sin and Satan. He fought against the moral darkness of the world. He opposed and overcame evil. In prayer He fought energetically on our behalf.

Why fear? This was not normal fear or worry, but the pure fear or reverence of God. Even though Yeshua was perfect and never sinned, as a man, it was possible for Him to sin. In humility, He had to deal with the temptations of pride and lust like any person living in a human, fleshly body.

The problem is that it doesn't work! Even with covenant, loyalty and integrity, our relationships are doomed to failure. Why? - Because we human beings are still selfish and sinful. We need something else to help us. This is where the cross comes in.

Let us strive for the same kind of prayer life that Yeshua had: feeling compassion, resisting evil, and walking in the humility of the fear of God.

This article was previously published 3Jul15 here on the Revive Israel website

Gaza, Praise and Gay Parade
by Asher Intrater, , Revive Israel

When Yeshua started His ministry, He chose twelve men with whom He would share His life. He walked with them in intimacy, together experiencing every facet of life. This intimacy was part of their transformation - enabling them to fulfill the high calling He had for them.

Relating in Eddie's yard
After three years of deep relationship with His disciples, as He came to His last hours on earth, there were so many things that He could have chosen to do. But He chose to have a final, Passover meal with those whom He loved. After He died and rose, the investment of His life in the disciples resulted in a manifestation of God's love that fills the earth to this day.

This fundamental principle of intimate relationship has been the primary goal of our life and ministry here in Israel. Over nine years ago, God called us to help establish Congregation Ahavat Yeshua in the heart of Jerusalem. From the beginning, our focus has been PEOPLE: to love and serve them faithfully. We called them - not to an organization, but to a community filled with His love.

Our home has been their home. Our table has always been filled with brothers and sisters with whom we "eagerly desired" to break bread and share our lives. Yes, we taught them and we counseled them, helped them financially and served them. But underlying it all, the thing offered and the blessing enjoyed, was lives joined together in love.

We just returned from an amazing weekend retreat with our congregation in the far north of Israel, just a few kilometers from the Syrian border. Over two precious days, we devoted our time to being together. We worshipped together, ate together and toured together. We swam together and prayed together. Brothers and sisters who did not know each other so well had opportunities to form and deepen relationships. New believers connected with older believers. Children played games together and parents sat and spent time together.

Ahavat Yeshua Retreat

We believe that as we grow in love one for another, the power and glory of Messiah Yeshua will be manifest in a deeper and more wonderful way in our congregation, and that same love will ultimately overflow into the city of Jerusalem.

This article was previously published 17Jul15 here on the Revive Israel website.

© Copyright Tikkun International Ministries. All rights reserved.