Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ahava Love Letter - "The Initiator"

             “The Initiator”
“…which way He did initiate for us — new and living…”
(Heb. 10:20 Young’s Literal Translation)

Dear family of friends,

When I consider the ways and means of the Lord, one aspect I have come to appreciate is to know Him as The Initiator – the One who sets things in progress. Or better yet, the One who sets us in progress.

Have you ever felt, like I do at times, that things in your spiritual life have come to a standstill, or you have come to a crossroads? Usually when I come to this point, my natural instinct is to try and make something happen. And then out of frustration I try to keep “driving down the road”, for after all, you “can’t steer a parked car.”

When I get fearful of things not seemingly moving, or I am not  “working for the Lord” as I should be, or things are a bit too quiet for me, I tend to get anxious, and wonder if the Lord still knows I am here. I start feeling guilty of “just sitting still while nothing is progressing.” When the time has come where one season, or even era has ended, and the current transition is a slow train coming, it is at this point where I must still try to not make things happen, in my own flesh, but must continue to wait on the Lord. He is The Initiator. He is the One whom I need to let open the next door, and direct me to the next place or location I am to inhabit.

When Abraham got anxious for the promised son, and proceeded to help the Lord out, Ishmael resulted. When Moses used his own physical strength to “save” the Hebrews, he ended up in the desert for 40 years. When Saul got anxious for Samuel to arrive and perform the sacrifice, he didn’t wait, and ended up losing his kingship (1 Samuel 15). Others in Scripture took it upon themselves to try and make things happen, and they missed the Lord. Not fun.

Those who chose to wait upon the Lord, and let Him lead, experienced different results. David held his hand when he could have killed Saul in the cave, and the Lord’s plan to raise him up as king came to fruitation. When Joseph was held in Pharoah’s prison, and served even in that almost forgotten place, the time finally did come for the Lord’s timing and release. Joseph became second in command over all the country. Even Paul had three years in Arabia and Damascus (Gal. 1:17,18) before he went to consult with the apostles in Jerusalem. Soon thereafter his own apostolic mission went forth.

As for me, I have initiated too many projects, even those which seemed good at the time, and yet later found myself wondering where I missed it. At this critical point in my life, I am waiting for Him to initiate the next move. Once I hear, and then obey, it will be good.

May this year be the same for you.

Ahava to my family of friends,

Steve Martin

Love For His People, Inc. truly appreciates your generous support. Please consider sending a tax-deductible monthly charitable gift of $5-$25 each month to help us bless Messianic Jews in Israel. You can send checks to the address below. Todah rabah! (Hebrew - Thank you very much.)
Steve  Martin      Love For His People, Inc.  12120 Woodside Falls Rd. Pineville, NC 28134      

Ahava Love Letter #39   Date: Jan. 1, in the year of our Lord 2012    

Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah

Love For His People, Inc.    12120 Woodside Falls Rd. 
Pineville, NC 28134     704-806-6934 
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to our family of friends!
We are grateful to be able to send this year end letter to you, sharing with our family and friends the good year  the Lord has blessed us with. As the year of 2011 draws to an end, our first full year of growing the ministry of Love For His People,  we treasure what the Lord has accomplished. It is because of your friendship, support and encouragement along the way.  As I thought about what the Lord’s provision and direction has brought, my heart is most appreciative. We give thanks, while continuing in the path He has been leading us on. Without the Holy Spirit’s presence, and yours in our midst, I know the trek would have been less fruitful. Let me share some of the moments and events that Laurie and I participated in, and the work of the ministry that we were able to participate in, to bring encouragement and strengthening to others.
Beginning in January, Laurie and I began hosting the newly formed Friday night meetings called Beit Tikvah, as part of Antioch International Church in Fort Mill, SC. These continue to be a time to bless Israel, learn of our Jewish roots, and share in the Shabbat candle lighting. Leading Messianic style song worship, most often with the help of Little Big Eagle, Mary and Little Deer, and others, was a joy. Senior Pastor Peter Wyns shared regularly on our Jewish roots and our need in standing solidly with Israel. We are most grateful for our heritage given to us as believers, through the Lord’s chosen people.
In February we attended the NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) annual convention in Nashville. Our greatest joy was being invited to the Israel Ministry of Tourism breakfast. Later that night we further showed support for Israel by attending the annual ministry meeting of Proclamation to the Nations, headed by Laurie Cardoza Moore, of Nashville. Our desire continues to grow stronger to stand with those who stand with the nation of Israel, and the Jewish people worldwide. That is one of the major thrusts of the ministry entrusted to us.
Three times this year Laurie and I led worship for the quarterly assemblies of Highway to Zion, here in Charlotte, NC, headed by our good friend Cathy Hargett (also a director on our LFHP ministry board). Additionally we greatly enjoyed our times with our dear friends of Beit Yeshua in Lincolnton, NC. Curtis Loftin (another director on our board ), whom we have grown to very much appreciate over the past five years, his wife Carolyn, along with the Williams, the Miles and the Anthonys, regularly included us in their feast celebrations. I shared a brief word on how to practically support Israel, at their annual “Honoring Israel Night” in May.
Later that month we joined in the March of Remembrance, annually commemorating Holocaust victims, at the China Grove, NC gathering. Headed worldwide by Messianic song artist Ted Pearce, the local public display of support was put together by our friend Rabbi Yossi Wentz and the Messianic congregation of Beit Shofarot.
I personally enjoyed writing the 30 issues of the Ahava Love Newsletter this year, shared through e-mail, on our blog site,  and my personal Facebook note pages. It also is a regular posting on our Cross TV web page  (  Included in each edition was my Ahava Love Letter and an article by another board member, Dr. Bill Duerfeldt, from Asheville, NC (when he and his wife Cindi are not volunteering in Jerusalem!)
With a major portion of the generous donations of over $17,000 received this calendar year, we were able to give monthly support to a Messianic Jewish family of five in Jerusalem.  Also serving in Jerusalem, Jim and Linda, volunteers on the staff of Christian Friends of Israel, received monthly support through us for their work in The Land. Pastor John Ebenezer of Hyderabad, India, beginning his new orphanage called Lighthouse Center India, was blessed through the gracious contributions of our regular donors. Orphans in Liberia and Jewish kindergartens in southern Jerusalem were also impacted this past year, as together we extended His loving embrace.
Thank you for your ongoing support. We simply cannot extend His love for His people without you in 2012. We love you!
Shalom and ahava,
Steve & Laurie Martin

Thursday, November 24, 2011

israel today | Israel Radio Plays Messianic Music! - israel today (Aviel Schneider )

Paul Wilbur

It was Friday evening, and my wife came to me with an urgent message: “Listen! 88FM is playing the Messianic worship song Kadosh!” Indeed, just 30 minutes before the beginning of the Sabbath, Israeli broadcaster Yehudit Ben Yaakov was playing this Hebrew song on her weekly radio program Kan, Sham U’Be’Chol Makom (“Here, There and Everywhere”).

American Messianic Jewish worship leader Paul Wilbur belted out the words: “Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh, Ado- nai Elohim tsva’ot, asher hayah, ve’hoveh ve’yavo”—“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts, who was and who is and who is to come” (Revelation 4:8). “What a holy song, and what an in- spiring way to welcome the Sabbath!” declared Ben Yaakov. “What a great song by Paul Wilbur.”

She was so excited that she played the song Kadosh again, this time by a singer called Suzanne. How amazing that on a typical Sabbath eve, Messianic worship music was wafting over the airwaves of state-run Israel Radio, which owns 88FM.

The same weekend, the weekly newspaper Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) ran a full-page ad featuring the guest house at Yad HaShmona, a Messianic community near Jerusalem. Yad HaShmona was promoting its facilities for weddings and other festivities in the ideal surroundings of biblical gardens and the pastoral Judean hills.

Although this moshav (rural community) is well known throughout the Land as being run by believers in Yeshua (Jesus), it has the freedom to advertise in an Israeli newspaper.

Not only that, but in the same paper, just two pages before, there was a double-page spread from an opponent of the Messianic Jews—the ultra-Orthodox Shas party. Shas was advertising a mega-conference at the Ramat Gan soccer stadium near Tel Aviv, featuring the party’s spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. It is a kind of Jewish “revival” similar to those in Christian circles, but with Hebrew worship songs and rabbis preaching to the crowds. Israeli media outlets, whether TV, radio or newspapers, provide an open platform for both Messianic and Orthodox Jews.

In the same vein, a close friend of mine who is a Jewish believer in Yeshua said that a while back, ultra-Orthodox Jews hung defamatory posters around his neighborhood, showing his picture and stating: “DANGER MISSIONARIES!” Yet his Orthodox rabbi was not disturbed in the least; on the contrary, he even asked him to take on a more important role in the synagogue.

“It’s amazing how these things can boomerang!” he said. “I was sure I’d be thrown out of the synagogue because of those posters.”

While Messianic Jews face an uphill climb toward acceptance in Israel, not everything is negative. It is true that Jews who believe in Yeshua, as well as Christians, are often targeted by the ultra-Orthodox anti-missionary organization Yad LeAchim, which fears that Jewish souls will be lost to Christi- anity. This is largely a response to the bloody history of Church persecution of the Jewish people over the centuries; Jews were massacred in the name of Jesus, but now they are supposed to be redeemed by the same name. This is difficult for the Jewish people to accept.

Nevertheless, Messianic Jews are making inroads in the Jewish state and enjoy more tolerance and freedom than ever before.

israel today Israel Radio Plays Messianic Music! - israel today

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ahava Love Letter - "Courageous & Honorable"

“Courageous & Honorable”

Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong.”
(1 Cor. 16:13)

Dear family of friends,

There is a movie that recently came out called Courageous. I heard it is good. I am sure we will see it once it is on DVD. (Spending $20 for the big screen is a chunk, and hard to get out of my wallet. Plus Laurie always likes popcorn (she buys that), so there would go the monthly entertainment budget in one night. I was always taught not to spend your money all at once, in one place.)

But this letter isn’t about the movie. It is about ones that I know who I consider courageous, and honorable. It is about those I want to imitate, and emulate. These are ones that I know now, who are out there doing something to bless those they are sent to, and bring further fulfillment in others. Let me share two of those.

Morris Ruddick is an author, businessman, entrepreneur, teacher, and more ( I first met him through one of his first books entitled “God’s Economy – Israel & The Nations”. That was about 2005. Then I really met him in person this past February, 2011, at a local conference when he was a speaker. Morris, about 68 or so, travels to Vietnam, India, Israel and other locations, sharing the dynamics of the Lord’s economic principles, based on the Word of God. I can only imagine doing that when I am 11 years older. He encourages me in my quest to hear and obey.

John Ebenezer of Hyderabad, India reminds me of the Energizer bunny. He keeps going and going and going. Amazing. When he gave me his birth date this year, I realized he was 70. I was further amazed. And especially after being with him for a week in his homeland in 2010. Since we began supporting his ministry, in 2004, to the “lowest  of the lowest class” among the Hindus and Moslems, and then being with him on the ground for a week in 2010, makes one stop and see what can be done, with little in hand. Meeting the Christian pastors and their congregations he continually teaches, encourages, and presses onward into the goodness of the Lord shows that the “proof is in the pudding.” (For a short video clip: John Ebenezer - India )

When one longs to be “on the field” and do the stuff out there, the Lord brings encouragement as we see what they continue to do. Our part may be to pray, write words of hope, and give support as provision is made available. We are doing that through Love For His People.

I hope you have those who are encouraging you, by the way they press forward, through all obstacles. We are called to make a difference and bring the Lord’s abounding goodness. I can attest to ones who do, with courage and honor.

Ahava to my family of friends,

Steve Martin

Love For His People, Inc. truly appreciates your generous support. Please consider sending a monthly charitable gift of $5-$25 each month to help us bless Messianic Jews in Israel. You can send checks to the address below. Todah rabah! (Hebrew - Thank you very much.)
©2011 Steve  Martin      Love For His People, Inc.  12120 Woodside Falls Rd. Pineville, NC 28134      

Facebook pages: Steve Martin  and  Love For His People       

Twitter: martinlighthous, LovingHisPeople and ahavaloveletter 

Blogger:         YouTube: loveforhispeopleinc

Love For His People, Inc. is a charitable, not-for-profit USA organization. Fed. ID#27-1633858.  Tax deductible contributions receive a receipt for each donation.

Ahava Love Letter #38   Date: Nov. 18, in the year of our Lord 2011    

Steve Martin with John Ebenzer in India 2010

 Morris Ruddick

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Dream Dreams" - Ahava Love Letter

Ahava Love Letter
 “Dream Dreams”

 “…your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.” Acts. 2:17 NKJV
Dear family of friends,

Dreams. I believe in dreams that are given to us by the Lord. As the word says in these last days, “young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.” (Ok, so at 57 and counting I may be “mid-old” by the world’s standards. So I qualify.)

There are a few books out on the subject of dreams, by different Christian authors, describing the meaning of those objects, people, events that we are given in dreams. I have read at least two or three, wanting to further understand these communications from the Giver of Dreams. As the Lord speaks, and as we search Him out for understanding, it does give us further insight into His plans and purposes for our lives. Maybe a word for another too.

Two dreams that I remember from this week involved a building in one and some travel in another. In the first dream I was with a local pastor, inspecting a large building, with the objective in mind to renovate it for meeting space. I remember it was very oblong, which at first didn’t seem to be the best suitable facility for a large gathering. But at the same time it was what we believed the Lord had provided. I recall the wallpaper was going to have to be taken down, and some further re-decorating would be necessary. That didn’t seem to pose a major problem to us.

A stream was flowing through one end of the building. A bit odd, but yet it gave a unique feel to the place. We were happy with that. (Do you know of a building that has a stream flowing through it?)

The other dream took place in England. I was with my oldest son. In this dream, he was about 10. I was traveling to another place, and had gotten on a “train without tracks” to get there. Upon arrival at our destination, the conductor wanted to charge me $100 (50 English pounds). Being I only had a total of $200 on me for the entire trip, I told him I couldn’t afford to pay that for just this portion of my journey. Then a friend of mine whom I knew from a ministry helped negotiate the price for a cheaper fare, and I was free to continue on. (I don’t remember what my son was doing back at the original depot. I am sure the Lord had something for him going on.)

What do these mean? I am not quite sure yet. Maybe there is an interpretation that someone will share. In the meantime, I hope you and I continue to have more dreams. I believe the Lord is increasing His communications to us, if we are willing to receive what He is saying.

Dream on!

Ahava to my family of friends,

Steve Martin

Love For His People, Inc. truly appreciates your generous support. Please consider sending a monthly charitable gift of $5-$25 each month to help us bless Messianic Jews in Israel. You can send checks to the address below. Todah rabah! (Hebrew - Thank you very much.)
©2011 Steve  Martin      Love For His People, Inc.  12120 Woodside Falls Rd. Pineville, NC 28134      

Facebook pages: Steve Martin  and  Love For His People       

Twitter: martinlighthous, LovingHisPeople and ahavaloveletter 

Blogger:         YouTube: loveforhispeopleinc

Love For His People, Inc. is a charitable, not-for-profit USA organization. Fed. ID#27-1633858.  Tax deductible contributions receive a receipt for each donation.

Ahava Love Letter #37   Date: Nov. 8, in the year of our Lord 2011    

What’s the big deal about a Palestinian State? - Dr. Bill Duerfeldt

Dr. Bill Duerfeldt

What’s the big deal about a Palestinian State?

            A recent letter to the editor of the Portland Oregonian asked this question – “If Israel was created by a U.N. resolution, what’s the big deal about another U.N. resolution creating a Palestinian State?  This question reminds me of a famous quote by the 18/19th century philosopher  Georg Hegel -- “What history teaches us is that people…never learn anything from history...”

In point of fact, the Palestinians already have their own State and have had since 1922; but I’ll come back to that in a minute.  First, let’s take an abbreviated trip through history, and maybe – despite Hegel’s cynical remark -- we can learn something.

Prior to the Allied victory which ended World War I, all of the Levant (what is today Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel) as well as Egypt, Sudan, Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, and Armenia were part of the Ottoman Empire.  (It is important to understand that there were no independent “Palestinian Peoples” at this time, nor have their ever been.  All peoples living in the Levant -- whether Arabs, Jews, or Christians -- were “Palestinians” by definition.) 

During WW-I the Ottoman’s had aligned themselves with Germany in the pact called the “Ottoman-German Alliance”.  At the end of the war (1918) the Allies occupied Istanbul and the Ottoman Empire essentially collapsed.

Prior to the Allied victory, in 1917, Lord Balfour, Prime Minister of Great Britain wrote the now famous Balfour Declaration, which said – in part -- "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object…”

In an effort to fill the governmental vacuum caused by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Treaties of Sevres and Lausanne sought to chop up the remains of the Empire into several different zones of influence and control.  By 1923 this had resulted in Thrace going to Greece, the expansion of Armenia, the creation of Kurdistan, and the independence of Persia and Ottoman Turkey.  In addition, the French controlled Syria and Lebanon (the French Mandate) and the British controlled Iraq (the British Mandate for Mesopotamia) and Palestine (the British Mandate for Palestine).

In 1922, the British divided the Palestinian Mandate into two administrative areas.  East of the Jordan River this area of Palestine was called Trans-Jordan. Originally the plan called for the territory west of the Jordan to go to the Jews, and the Trans-Jordan would go to the Arabs.  Remember that Arabs, Jews, and Christians lived on both sides of the Jordan River at this time.  In that same year the League of Nations recognized Palestine Trans-Jordan as a state under the British Mandate, with Emir Abdullah as the titular ruler of the state.  (This was Abdullah’s reward from the British for working in league with Lawrence of Arabia in bringing about “the Great Arab Revolt” against Ottoman rule during WW-I.)   The country remained under British supervision until 1946, when the United Nations recognized the new Palestinian Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as an independent country, and Abdullah went from being Emir to becoming King.  Here then, was the birth of the Palestinian State; an independent nation which exists to this day!

However, during this same twenty six year period, on the west side of the Jordan River, the Mufti of Jerusalem was refashioned into the Grand Mufti of Palestine, and the office was held by one Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini.  In the 1920s and 1930s El-Hussenini actively opposed both the British rule in Palestine and the renewed Jewish Zionist immigration.  He instigated Jewish massacres in 1921 and again in 1929.  The Grand Mufti allied himself with the Germans during WW-2 and also opposed Emir Abdullah for his efforts to expand Trans-Jordan as the Palestinian state at the expense of the Mandate territory west of the Jordan River.  After the Second World War the struggles between Arabs and Jews continued, with the British – generally siding with the Arabs – caught in the middle of the escalating conflict.

By 1946 Great Britain had been dealing with nearly three decades of continual unrest and had decided to end the Mandate.  However, it was unclear what to do with the territory west of the Jordan River – now generally called “Palestine” – conveniently forgetting that Trans-Jordan / the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was also “Palestine”!  The British turned the “Question of Palestine” over to the United Nations and the eleven nation UNSCOP committee.  Despite the fact that the Palestinian Kingdom of Jordan already existed for the Arabs and that the Jews had originally been promised the territory west of the River, UNSCOP recommended two independent states – one Arab, one Jewish –  with Jerusalem to be placed under international administration.  On 29 November 1947 the U.N. General Assembly voted 33 to 13 (with 10 abstentions) in favor of the Partition Plan.  The Jewish Agency accepted the Partition.  The five Arab nations who were voting members at the time, unified under the League of Arab Nations, voted against the Partition, and refused to accept it.  Meanwhile, the British government announced that the Mandate would end at midnight on 14 May 1948.

On the afternoon of Friday, 14 May 1948 David Ben-Gurion announced the creation of the Jewish state, to be called Israel, effective at midnight following the end of the British Mandate.  The United States, the Soviet Union, and eleven other nations immediately recognized the new nation.  The Arab nations did not.  Within days the new nation of Israel was invaded by Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan.  Interestingly, the Jordanian troops were led by 38 British officers who resigned their commissions in the British army in order to fight for King Abdullah!

During those initial months of war in 1948 and 1949 – now known in Israel as the War of Independence – approximately 750,000 Arabs fled what is now Israel and entered surrounding Arab countries.  At the same time, about 600,000 Jews fled those same Arab countries and entered Israel.  The Jewish immigrants were immediately absorbed into Israeli society.  The Arab immigrants were placed in refugee camps and held as political pawns for decades.  The decaying remains of some of these despicable refugee camps – those which were under the control of Jordan between the 1949 Armistice and the 1967 Six Day War – can still be seen today in areas of Israel.  It was these camps which became the breeding grounds for terrorist organizations such as the PLO, Hamas, and Hezbollah.  But that’s another history lesson for another time.

So…what about the “Palestinians”?  Shouldn’t they have their own state?  In reality, they already do.  It’s called Jordan and it is more than three times the size of all the territory west of the Jordan River, both Israel proper and the “disputed territories” of the West Bank and Gaza combined.  And those are the facts!

Dr. Bill Duerfeldt
Asheville, NC

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hallelu-Yah!! - Dr. Bill Duerfeldt

From the desk of Dr. Bill Duerfeldt

Hallelu-Yah !!
            There are two Hebrew words which have remained un-translated in virtually every language on the face of the earth, yet their meaning is the same as the original Hebrew.  The first of these is “Amen” (Let it be so.).  The second is “Hallelujah”, which is actually a combination of two words – Hallelu (You Praise) and “Jah” or “Yah” (the abbreviated form of Yahweh, ie – the LORD).  In other words, “Hallelu-Yah” is an exhortation to “Praise the LORD”.  It’s important to note that this exhortation is not praise for just any god.  Rather, it is a call to praise a specific God -- “Yah” – the God of Israel.
            In Hebrew we have single words which have multiple English translations – such as “chesed”, a word I discussed in an earlier article.  Now we’re going to look at the opposite situation.  I want to look at a single word in English – praise – which has multiple variations in Hebrew.  In fact, “Hallal” is only one of nine words in the Hebrew language which is translated as “praise” in English.  As you would expect, each of these nine words is subtly unique from the others, and each conveys different concepts of how our praise to God should vary.  Let’s take a closer look at these nine words.
            Since we’ve already started with Hallal, let’s continue with that one.  Hallal occurs 165 times in the Tanak, and is, by far, the primary word translated as “praise” in the English Scriptures.  This word carries with it the concept of clarity and brilliance – something shiny and pure – such as a clear, sharp tone, or sound.  Hallal also means to sing and to celebrate.  Hallal praise is pure, clear, glorious and celebratory praise to God.   It’s interesting that hallal can also mean “foolish” or even in extreme cases – “madness”.  In other words, our praise to the LORD may at times be so exuberant that it may appear as foolishness or madness to someone else.  I’ve been in worship services like that, especially in Israel during the Festival of Sukkot!  The joy of the LORD is, indeed, a “Divine Madness”, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

            The next word is zamar and is most often translated as “sing praise”.  It can also mean to make music or to play a musical instrument.  One great example of zamar and hallal together is Psalm 104:33-35:  “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live, I will zamar to my God while I have my being.  My meditations of Him will be sweet because I love Him…bless Thou the LORD O my soul, Hallelu-yah!  Other examples can be found in Psalm 17:7, 9:2, and 98:4 to name only three.  Because the word means praising with song and music it is not surprising that with only two exceptions, zamar occurs predominantly in the Psalms.

            Shabach means to laud, to boast of, or to commend to someone.  It can also mean to stroke or to smooth, to make still – the picture of someone stroking an animal to calm it.  Therefore shabach is a form of quiet, peaceful praise; a praise of satisfaction and contentment.  Psalm 63:3-5 is a good example:  “Because Thy chesed is better than life, my lips shall shabach Thee.  I will bless Thee while I live, and lift up my hands in Thy Name.  My soul shall be satisfied…”

            The word yadah occurs almost as often in the Tanak as does hallal.  The root of yadah is yad  (hand), and the concept of yadah is to throw, cast, or to shoot (such as shooting arrows), actions one does with the hands.   In the majority of cases in which yadah is translated “praise”, it is in the context of corporate worship, and is as if the worshipers are throwing their praises heavenward to the LORD.  Good examples can be found in Psalm 100:4: “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise, give yadah unto Him and bless His name”; Psalm 35:18: “I will give Thee thanks in the great congregation; I will yadah Thee among Thy people”; and Psalm 138:4: “All the kings of the earth shall yadah Thee O LORD when they hear the words of Thy mouth.”  In 39 instances the word yadah is translated “thanks” or “thanksgiving”, such as in 1 Chronicles 16:34: “O give yadah to the LORD for He is tov and His chesed endures forever.”
            The word barak occurs in the Tanak three hundred and thirty times, more than hallal and yadah combined.  However, in nearly all instances the word is translated “bless” or “blessed”, rather than “praise”.  The concept is one of bending or kneeling down in adoration.  In only one verse in the KJV is barak translated as praise – Psalm 72:15.  Nevertheless, the Scriptures are replete with hundreds of examples of unadulterated praise using the word barak.  Such familiar examples are “Barak the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy Name.” (Psalm 103:1); Baruk be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things.” (Psalm 72:18); and “The LORD lives, and barak be my Rock and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (Psalm 18:46).  The word baruk – a derivative of barak –is a common expression heard frequently in Israel today.  For example “Baruk HaShem” – which literally means “Blessed be The Name” – is the way many Jewish people convey their thanks to the LORD, without fear of blaspheming the Divine Name.  Baruk also appears in many of the Jewish prayers, such as Baruk atah ADONAI Eliheynu Melek HaOlam… “Blessed are You O LORD our God, King of the Universe.”

          Todah.  Isaiah 51:3 prophecies these words regarding the return of the Jews to Israel – “For the LORD will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her – todah and the voice of song.”  I believe it is more than coincidence that the word todah is the word in contemporary Hebrew for “Thank You”.  As Isaiah prophesied, when you visit Israel you hear this word dozens of times every day.  Todah appears in the Tanak more than 30 times, and is usually translated either “thanksgiving” or “praise”.  The word connotes a “thank offering” or a “sacrifice of thanksgiving” – a praise to God in gratitude for something He has done on our behalf.  In a Scripture already mentioned above – Psalm 100:4 – the Hebrew says, “Enter His gates with todah and into His courts with praise, give yadah, unto Him and bless His name.”  Or this beautiful verse from Psalm 147:7:  “Sing unto the LORD with todah; zamar upon the harp unto our God.”
Hil’lul carries with it the sense of rejoicing and making merry; a public display of thanksgiving and celebration.  This word appears only twice in Scripture.  In Leviticus 19:24 we read, “But in the fourth year the entire crop must be consecrated to the LORD as a celebration of praise (hil’lul).”  The other is found in Judges 9:27 – “And they went out into the fields and gathered their vineyards, and trod their grapes, and made hil’lul…”.  Although the word is not mentioned in Scripture pertaining to the week-long celebration of Sukkot, I believe the festivities during the Feast of Tabernacles would definitely qualify as hil’lul !

The Hebrew word mahalal is used only once in Scripture, in Proverbs 27:21 – “As fire tests the purity of silver and gold, so a man is tested by the praise (mahalal) he receives.”  The word connotes “flattery” or “boastfulness” rather than true praise.  It is not a word used in the praise of ADONAI.

A hymn or song of praise is a tehillah, a word which also derives from the word hallal.  The Hebrew name of the Book of Psalms is Tehillim (Songs of Praise).  This wonderful word appears over fifty times in the Tanak and is found in such beautiful Scriptures as Psalm 22:3-- “But You O LORD are holy, enthroned on the telillim of Israel.” and in Isaiah 61:3 – “To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of tehillah for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."
And finally, I will quote Psalm 104:3 for the third time – now with all of its words of praise in place – “Enter His gates with todah, and His courts with tehillah, give yadah unto Him and barak His name.”

An arctic people in northern Scandanavia – the Saami – have hundreds of words for snow.  This aspect of their language reflects the critical nature that snow, in its many varieties, has upon their culture.  In the same manner, the praise of Almighty God is a critically important part of the ethnicity, religion, and culture of the Jewish people, and has been from time immemorial.  Indeed, the word Ye’huda (from which English derives the word “Jew”) means in Hebrew “praised” or “one who praises”.  Therefore, to those of us who have been grafted into the Olive Tree, who are now adopted into the family of Abraham, we too can rejoice in the God of Israel through all the various manifestations of praise so richly preserved for us in the Hebrew language.  Baruk HaShem

Dr. Bill Duerfeldt
Asheville, North Carolina

israel today | Messianic Perspectives on the Sabbath in Israel - israel today

There are many different views on the practice of Shabbat (the Sabbath) amongst Messianic Jews and Christians. Israel Today posed the following question to believers who live in the Land of Israel: How do you and your congregation observe the Sabbath?

Full story:  israel today Messianic Perspectives on the Sabbath in Israel - israel today

Friday, October 21, 2011

israel today | Christians stand with threatened Jewish settlement - israel today

Some 200 Christians traveled to the threatened Jewish community of Migron in Samaria on Sunday to stand in solidarity with the pioneering Jews who live there.

Despite being originally established with tacit government approval and the cooperation of the Israeli army, Migron has been repeatedly targeted for uprooting as an "illegal" settlement outpost. Most recently, the government of Israel ordered the destruction of the village's first three permanent homes. The rest of the residents have lived for years in trailer homes.

The Palestinian Arabs and the international community claim such outposts are the primary obstacle to peace in the region.

But Jan Willem van der Hoeven and the pilgrims joining him for the International Christian Zionist Center's (ICZC) Feast of Tabernacles celebration brought a different message.

For full report: israel today Christians stand with threatened Jewish settlement - israel today