by Asher Intrater, , Revive Israel
The most precious thing in life is intimacy. Intimacy is first and foremost with God, and secondly with humans. It is the pearl of great price that we should sell all to obtain. Intimacy comes from a personal relationship with God through faith in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah.
Abraham became a friend of God (Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23). Moses knew God face to face (Deuteronomy 34:10). David said that "kirvah" (closeness, nearness) to God was worth more to him than anything in the world (Psalm 73:25, 28), and that "sweet counsel" was what he desired from a friend (Psalm 55:14).
The disciple who reached the closest intimacy with Yeshua was John, who leaned on Yeshua's chest during the Passover Seder (the Last Supper) and was known as the "disciple whom Yeshua loved" (John 13:23). He penned these words: For the Father Himself loves you (John 16:27).
If the Father Himself loves you, then there is no barrier, no distance, no rejection, no separation at all. Absolute intimacy at the closest level is being offered. The literal translation of Deuteronomy 4:4, "You who are held fast to the Lord..." is "davek" (the noun form of davek means glue in modern Hebrew); those who have "held fast" to the Lord have stuck close to God like glue. You can't get any closer than glue.
Sin breaks that intimacy. Jeremiah described it as a girdle that had been made dirty (Jeremiah 13:1-11). We were as close to God as underwear is to skin and then we became filthy. Sin is like a husband or wife who betrays the sexual intimacy of marriage by adultery (Hosea 1:2, 3:1). Sin is the betrayal of intimacy.
Intimacy allows the secret thoughts of one's soul to be shared with another. God allows for His deepest thoughts to be shared with us through the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 2:10-12). The Holy Spirit knows what is on the inside of God and then shares it with us. That is intimacy: inside touching inside. If we let our hearts be known to God, His heart will be known to us (I Corinthians 8:3).
Intimacy demands vulnerability. If we open the most sensitive things in our hearts to another, we will likely be hurt. Thus, vulnerability involves pain; this pain is the price of intimacy. We can be "wounded by our friends" (Zechariah 13:6). Therefore, intimacy needs trust. We cannot come near to God unless we have confidence in Him (Hebrews 11:6). We need faith to trust others. If we want others to trust us, we should prove ourselves to be trustworthy. God's faithfulness to us enables us to have faith in Him. Faithfulness engenders faith in others.
Yeshua accomplished this for us on the cross. He became vulnerable in order to open the way to intimacy with the Father. We wounded Him. Yeshua paid the price to purchase intimacy with us. He was stripped, beaten, and mocked for our sakes. That is the sacrifice of love. Love bears the pain of vulnerability to pay the price for intimacy.
We take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23) to walk together with Him. We meditate on Scriptures to understand His thoughts (Isaiah 55:8:11). We pray in the Holy Spirit to have revelation to know Him personally (Ephesians 1:17). We humble ourselves to be brought near to Him (Matthew 11:25-29). We obey, even unto death, in order to know Him and be like Him (Philippians 3:10).
Yeshua's last and greatest prayer was that we would be "one" (John 17:11, 21-23). This is more than a prayer for unity and cooperation. It is for divine union. Yeshua prays that we would be inside of Him and God inside of us just as He and the Father are inside of one another. He is inviting us to experience that same perfect intimacy.
Intimate union with God is the most sublime and transforming experience in the universe. It glorifies and purifies (John 17:5, 10, 17, 24). It is the ultimate pleasure (Psalm 16:11). It is the purpose for which we were created.
(Please pray for Asher this month as he has set time aside to work on a small book the Lord has laid on his heart on the subject of intimacy.)
by Eddie Santoro, , Revive Israel
It's Shabbat morning in the city of Jerusalem and members of Congregation Ahavat Yeshua are beginning to arrive for the weekly service. In one of the offices, Asher and I, and a small group of committed intercessors are praying for the power and presence of God to fill today's service.
Vered and her team are among those who arrive early to ensure that the four different classrooms for the children's program will be ready. Sarah, the overseer of the Youth program, is busy going over this week's plan with Yoel and Or, two young Israelis who have begun to take responsibility for the teens. Our cantor is also there, reviewing with those who will share in the monthly reading of the Torah.
The worship team is up front practicing the music that will bring us into the presence of the Lord. Evan arrived early to oversee the musicians and sound people. The fruit from the efforts of today's leaders, Andrew and Tal, and all the others who serve on the worship teams is being experienced by the whole congregation as our weekly worship touches new heights and freedom in the Holy Spirit. Galit also came in early, with hands full, carrying bags filled with food and drink. Although she is a single working mother, she has taken responsibility for overseeing the wonderful fellowship time that follows every meeting. This time is a powerful tool in building a greater sense of community in our group.
There are so many more that help to make this unfolding miracle possible. Ariel is serving as my assistant and is growing in his calling as one of the future leaders. Sharon oversees transportation; Daniel and Simcha are ever busy sharing the good news. Ofra serves as secretary and Shani oversees the finances.
It's almost 11 am and the room is filling up; nearly 150 believers in the city of Jerusalem are coming together to worship Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, in Hebrew. In comparison to many churches throughout the world, we are small in number, but the prophetic significance of this gathering cannot be overlooked. This is what the prophets wrote about thousands of years ago.
The crowd is invited to come together, and as the worship team begins to play, the presence of God descends upon us. There are songs and deep felt intercessions. The prophetic word flows and the Body responds. Some are kneeling; flags are being waved, hands are raised and others are dancing before their King. The Torah is read and the miracle of Jewish men and women, filled with the Spirit of God and loving Yeshua unfolds. The Word is preached in power and anointing, hearts are touched and people are changed.
The story of Ahavat Yeshua is a wonderful and growing miracle. We have come a long way in the almost seven years since our tiny congregation of 20 people held its first meeting. The resistance over the years to all that we have done has been significant. The enemy is committed to our destruction, but praise God, Yeshua has overcome the enemy!
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