Summer blessings in Messiah,
As we earnestly sought the Lord for His Word for you this month, we knew that our message would have to be one that stirred up, even unsettled some of you. The topic is somewhat unusual for us. Those of you who have been with us for many years know that we do not major in end time prophecy, eschatology, or signs of the last days. Neil always says that it is difficult enough to live and love well one day at a time, focusing on “today.” He leaves future events for someone else to figure out! That said—we have a sense in our spirits that something is coming—hopefully Yeshua! But, whatever the immediate future holds, God has gone before us. We are His precious children, destined for glory, not for wrath. The Lord wants us to LOOK UP, to focus on Him, not the circumstances around us. Now is the time.
Abba is bringing back truths to us that He imparted years ago. The subject of our desired “focus” became a little chorus that He gave me (Jamie) in the 1970s. The message is relevant for the times in which we live.
“Look Up and Live!”
Look down and you’ll see dirt and troubles abound. There’s no solution down on the ground. A downward glance will do you in!
Look around and you’ll say: “Lord, just look at him!” That’s where real trouble begins. Comparing leads to sin.
Look in too much and all you’ll see is yourself. Your reaching out will stay on the shelf when you concentrate on YOU.
Look up and you’ll discover who you are. You’ll see that God has brought you this far and has a perfect plan for you.
Look UP! Let faith arise within you. Look UP! For God is reaching toward you: Look UP! For your redemption is coming. Look UP and LIVE!
Summer has already come!
No one, except the Father, knows the day or the hour of Yeshua’s return (Matthew 24:36). We can however know the season, based on the pattern of God’s Feasts or Moadim found in Leviticus 23.Yeshua fulfilled each of the spring/summer feasts at His first coming (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Shavuot or Pentecost), on the exact day of each feast. There are three fall feasts waiting to be fulfilled: Yom Teruah (Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Atonement), and Sukkot (Tabernacles). It is highly likely that the Lord will return during one of these fall feasts. That is why each summer we sense the need for a spiritual check-up. Suppose this is the year? Are we prepared? Have we done everything the Lord asked us to do? Are we spiritually lazy? Are we a prepared bride?
Summer is not the time to take it easy spiritually. For years, an obscure verse of scripture has puzzled me. Recently, I just can’t get it out of my mind: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved (Jeremiah 8:20)!” Read it in context, and think about the USA. The prophet Jeremiah is mourning the apostasy of ancient Israel, a backsliding people, who held fast to deceit and refused to return to the Lord in repentance. “Everyone turned to his own course, as the horse rushes into the battle.” (Jeremiah 8:6) Israel was not ashamed of committing abomination. “Nor did they know how to blush.” (Jeremiah 8:12) This, unfortunately, sounds like America.
Our country is already under judgment. We have certainly provoked the Lord to anger with our idolatry, perversions, and murder of innocents. Our cup of iniquity is full to overflowing. We are deep in the summer season. Our sense is that something may happen at the end of this summer. Perhaps Jonathan Cahn is correct about Elul 29 (September 13, 2015). There may be another financial collapse in the U.S., or another type of judgment. The question asked in Jeremiah 8:22 is a good one: “Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there?”
Yeshua is the Balm in Gilead! He is the Deliverer, the Bridegroom, the Healer, the Redeemer, the Rescuer, the Fortress, the Rock, the High Tower, the Good Shepherd, the Great Physician! BUT—We must keep our eyes on Him! Seek His face daily. Return to Him with our whole heart. PRAY FOR A SPIRIT OF REPENTANCE AND REVIVAL TO SWEEP OVER OUR COUNTRY. Love the Lord! Trust Him! When the storm comes, know that He will be in the boat with us!
Look at Israel, God’s timepiece. Concerning the parable of the fig tree (Israel), we read in Matthew 24, that when its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, summer is near. When we see Israel blossoming, we are supposed to expect the soon coming of the Son of Man, preceded by His angels sounding a shofar (Matthew 24:30-33). Israel has been blossoming since 1948. There are not only leaves on the Fig Tree, there is abundant fruit. Jewish people all over the world are coming to Messiah. The times of the Gentiles may not be completely fulfilled, but the “times of the Jews” [our term] have certainly begun! (See Luke 21:24.) We live in the closing hours of history, and need to be reminded of that. “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44)
A Bride Fully Awake!
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
We see the Day approaching! It is time for the Bride of Yeshua to prepare for the wedding. We hear the Bridegroom calling, “Arise my love, my fair one, and come away.” (Song of Songs 2:10). Note what follows in 2:13: “The fig tree puts forth her green figs…” Israel, again.
It is time to rise up, to answer when the Beloved knocks at the door of our heart, to not excuse our disobedience, unbelief, and lack of passion. Many of us are still like the Shulamite in chapter five of Shir HaShirim, who says, “I sleep, but my heart is awake.” The bride is describing a state of spiritual lethargy.The flesh has lulled her into slumber, even though the spirit within is alive and well. She is not actively pursuing her Bridegroom, and is like one of the 5 foolish virgins of Matthew 25 who neglected to keep their lamps filled with oil. Note, however, that even the wise virgins slept. “But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.” (Matt 25:5) It is easy to lose our spiritual edge, to fall into spiritual laziness, apathy and even deception (a very real threat: See Matthew 25:26-28).
As I mention in the sequel to A Kiss A Day (Please keep praying. The rough draft is almost complete, but it is still rough.), our Bridegroom knocks on the door of His bride’s heart and says, “Open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one…” (Song 5:2b). He is attempting to awaken His bride. For us today, that time is NOW. “…Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light… Put on the Lord Yeshua, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Rom 13:11-14)
From the new book: “He knocks. He is on the outside asking to come in. The bride hears His voice and senses His call. What exactly is the knock? Some have seen it as the inward touches of the Word on our spirit. A kiss perhaps? His next words are so tender, so loving, and forgiving that only a very special bridegroom could respond this way to his bride, who in her indifference and laziness, has closed the door on Him. He calls her (us) my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one (in Hebrew-ahoti, rayati, yonati, tamati) (in Spanish- hermana mia, amada mia, paloma mia, perfecta mia). WOW—such loving words—to a bride who has locked him out!
Oh, you might say, I would never do that! Not intentionally, perhaps, but the fire of our love for our Bridegroom doesn’t always burn brightly—at least mine doesn’t! I can relate to a verse from the prophet Jeremiah: “Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32).
Even when we forget Yeshua, He doesn’t forget us. His love is unconditional and amazing! He is a very patient lover. He never forces Himself into an area of our lives, but waits for us to open the door. In the meantime, He continues to woo us with words of love, not rebuke or anger, hoping that our hearts will melt at His knocks.
He calls us to arise because He has so much more for us. Our Bridegroom longs to rouse us from a place of spiritual ease where we are satisfied with less than God’s best for us. He calls us for the purpose of blessing us! There is a comment on this verse in the Talmud that says, “Open to God a door as big as the joint of a needle, and He will enter with a cart full of blessings.” Nice thought. Accurate too!
Our God is a seeking God. We have the choice of opening to Him when He calls. We are the ones who create the separation, not Him. When we don’t welcome Yeshua, it is because something else has taken His place, has gotten in the way of our fellowship with Him. It could be our busy schedule, our hobby, our job, our children, or any number of things that prevent the Lord from being our number one priority. Sometimes our own unbelief shuts the door on the Beloved. Whatever the cause, the call remains.
While the Beloved may be calling His bride to a place of more intimate communion, He also might be calling her to a deeper level of commitment, even to a ministry. Or perhaps, He is calling His bride to deny herself in order to reach the lost more actively. He might even be testing her faithfulness to see if she is ready to do His will in all things.
Whatever the call may be, the motive is the same: His love for His bride. We are Yeshua’s sister, His love, His dove, and His perfect one! If it takes forever, He will wait for us!
You would assume that the response to the passionate, long-suffering, patient, persevering love of the Bridegroom would be immediate and positive. Instead, the bride responds, “I have taken off my robe; How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; How can I defile them?” (Song 5:3). Is this us? Do we make excuses for not making Yeshua our number one priority? It is time to turn around (teshuvah, repent, in Hebrew) and follow after our Bridegroom? Answer: when He knocks at the door of your heart—immediately!
Coming with Clouds
Sometimes the Lord asks us to do something that makes no sense to us, and like the bride in Shir HaShirim, we delay in obeying His call, and He quietly retreats. This happened to me some time before Hanukkah last year. I sensed the Lord telling me to begin painting clouds—in watercolor. He said that He was coming in the clouds, and that I needed to begin to look up! Since I had never painted with watercolors, and felt I had no time to learn, I ignored my Bridegroom’s request. I had excuses. I rationalized—until our return from Israel this year, when the virus that began during Mercy Mission 2015 lasted for over a month! At home, weak, I thought: “Maybe I’ll begin to paint clouds.”
Since March 23, 2015, my head has literally been “in the clouds.” I know their names, their shapes, how quickly they move, the incredible colors that God uses at sunset, and fully expect to see Yeshua one of these days. Our pre-believing Jewish neighbor called one day to tell me that she thinks I am going to see Jesus before anyone else! I told her that it was not true based on Rev 1:7, “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” Then I thought about it and told her, “OK. Maybe I will see His toe first, since I spend so much time looking up at clouds!”
Being obsessed with clouds does not mean ceasing to work on earth while it is yet day (John 9:4). If anything, we are more motivated than ever to work in the harvest field because we know that our Messiah is coming soon, and we want to be found faithful. Yeshua left the earth with a cloud (See Acts 1:9!), And He is returning the same way (Acts 1:11)! This could be the year!
The connection between God and clouds is fascinating. Our November 2010 newsletter was all about clouds and their connection with the Presence of God. (Of course, the Lord knew beforehand that I had chosen the word “Presence” as my focus for 2015.) All of our past newsletters can be found on the Jewish Jewels website in the “archive” section. The one on clouds is worth reading.
The Psalms include numerous references to clouds. God makes thick clouds His canopy (Ps 18:11). His faithfulness reaches to the clouds (Ps 36:5). So does His truth (Ps 57:10). He rides on the clouds (Ps 68:4). His strength is in the clouds (Ps 68:34). He commands the clouds (Ps 78:23), and clouds surround Him (Ps 97:2). God makes the clouds His chariot (Ps 104:3), and He covers the heavens with clouds (Ps 147:8).
Messiah’s coming with clouds was prophesied in the Book of Daniel: “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14 is referring to Yeshua, our Heavenly Bridegroom.
Suddenly. “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:27) Matthew 24 mentions “tribulation.” The church worldwide is already in a “tribulation” of sorts, with Christians being beheaded on a regular basis in Muslim countries! (We do not want to speculate too much on “pre,” “mid,” and “post.”) We just know that “the Son of Man [is] coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” (Matthew 24:30) and we want to be ready when He comes!
When the High Priest asked Yeshua if He was the Messiah, the Son of God, Yeshua said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64).
One day soon, Yeshua will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the shofar sound, and the dead in Messiah will rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:16). “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
What is God saying? LOOK UP!
-Seek His face and His will.
-Obey when He knocks.
-Pray, and stand on His promises.
-Don’t be afraid.
-Forgive and receive forgiveness.
-Pursue love-above all else-for God and others. (The greatest preparation for the bride)
Looking Up with Expectation,