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“Yes, he (Jacob) wrestled with the angel and prevailed; he wept and sought His favor. He found Him at Bethel and there He spoke with us, even the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord is His name.” Hosea 12:4-5, NASU
Rather than ask if you have ever wrestled with God yourself, the proper question would be, “How many times have you wrestled with God?”
We all have if we are honest with ourselves. The Lord speaks something to us, and rather than just say, “Yes, Lord” like Mary did when the angel came to her with the news of Yeshua’s (Jesus’) coming birth, we act as if He isn’t speaking to us, or He probably is asking the wrong person to do it.
“Let Thomas do it” may be what comes to our mind. Or, “I think Suzie should be the one, not me. After all, look at what she has already done.”
We often choose to dismiss or even ignore, when the Holy Spirit prompts us with a word, giving us an assignment or asking us to perform a task that might take us out of our comfort zone. And then, where is our faith?
It is often thought that if we allow the Lord to speak to us, however He wants – through His Word, another person, or circumstances, as He did with Jonah, Jacob, or any number of examples that have been given to us in the Bible – He might ask us to go to Africa, or speak a word to our neighbor, who we really don’t care for any (if we even know our neighbor these days.)
My response regarding the “Africa” word was always, “Sure. Send me.” I have always wanted to go since I was a 10-year-old. But that is not the general case with people. (And in time I will!)
When it comes to who is Lord, do we decide when and where He has rule in our life? Do we tell Him, “Yes I will” for this but “No I won’t” for that? On whose terms do we make the decisions we do, when He directs our steps?
Jesus knows us. He knows before we respond how we will respond, but He keeps giving us opportunities to make the right response. Or at least He will for a while before He leaves us to do as we want, and reap the consequences of the choice we made.
He told the parable about the two sons, after each hearing a command of their father, as follows in Matthew 21:28-32.
“Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’ “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought better of it and went.
“The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went. “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?”
They said, “The first.”
Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe him.” THE MESSAGE version
Wow! Notice who Jesus said would precede ones into God’s kingdom? The crooks and the whores. They believed, and thus did what He asked. What does that say about us when we hear and turn a deaf ear to what the Lord is speaking to us?
And then on whose terms will we carry out His desires? Do we put parameters around it, just enough to make it palatable, and easy to do?
Our walk with the Lord will take us off the convenient path, the easy way out, the comfortable couch that we love to sit on. Faith is an act of obedience.
Decide to choose to walk in faith next time the Lord gives you the privilege of hearing His voice, His Word, by choosing to give it to you. The more you respond in a positive, obedient manner, the more you will see the perfect will He has for your life being carried out.
It is up to you.
And if you have said no in the past, there is room for repentance. Ask for His forgiveness, and He will once again show you the way you are to go.
Now think on this and see what good things the Lord has in store for you and those around you.
“But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Jonah 1:3, NKJV
God spoke. Jonah heard. Jonah ran from God.
Ever happen to you? God speaks a word to you, either through another person, reading His Word in the Bible, or through a circumstance which you know is from Him, giving you a directive, and yet you run from Him?
Your response was “No. I am not going to do that.”
We all have done it at one time, and more. We heard the word. And then we ran from it. Fear. Uncertainty. Laziness. There is always a “good” reason not to do it.
The Lord speaks to us through His still voice, or we receive a prophetic word. We deny it. We say, “It isn’t so.” We do everything we can to pretend we didn’t hear it, so we can believe we don’t have to respond in obedience to Him.
And yet, He doesn’t give up on us. He has a very good reason He has given the word to us. And as the “hound of heaven”, He still seeks after us to reveal His will and direction for our life, knowing there will always be life in obeying the word, that “this is the way, walk in it.”
“O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:19-22, NASU
It reads in Jonah 1:1-3, “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” NKJV
Jonah heard the Lord speak a word of direction, and yet he did as we do too many times ourselves, we run from it. We tell ourselves that “That word isn’t for me, I can’t do it, what will people think?” Or, “How can I walk in faith when I am too fearful to step out and obey? It will cost me too much.”
And yet the very word the Lord is giving us too is the word that will change our life. And at the same time, it will change the lives of those He wants you to be the one who will bring the word of change to them.
As I read the first chapter of Jonah, it is very interesting that Jonah was very clear in what the Lord told him to do. There was no uncertainty. There was no ambiguity. He just didn’t want to do it. He ran from the Word. He ran from God Who gave it. “But Jonah rose up to flee…from the presence of the Lord.” Jonah 1:3
It was only after the fierce wind came down upon the ship he was hiding in, the other men found out it was he who was the cause of this before throwing him overboard, and the large fish swallowed him up.
“Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17, NKJV
I like how the Lord had already prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. He knew the plan. He was making the way for it to be done. Jonah still had a choice all along, but the Lord was setting him up to make the right choice.
The Lord spoke a clear word to Jonah (whom I believe was a real person, and the book of Jonah is a real, historical book of the Bible and not a fictional story.) It took a while, but Jonah finally did respond the way he should have in the very beginning and save himself from a lot of trouble.
He knows His plan for us. He will do all He can to get our attention and accomplish His will in our life. If only we quit fighting His plan, His purpose, and do what He has called us to do.
You may have known the Lord for a year, and after the excitement wore off and the challenges became too great, you quit the zeal and the adventure.
You may have followed the Lord for 10 years, 20 years, or even 40 years, and the vision you once had has become too dim, the zeal has been lost, the disappointments too many, or the wind of opposition in your face has been more than what you now think you can take.
But the Lord is still calling you. The Lord is still making a way where there seems to be no way. The Lord has not given up. He is calling you back. He is telling you to still “Come, follow Me.”
The decision is yours. But the gift and grace of God is always available to help you make the right one. I hope you choose life and walk continually in His ways.
Run to God, not from Him.
Now think on this and see what good things the Lord has in store for you and those around you.
Greetings to you, our friends of Love For His People ministry.
We are moving on in our Lord’s purposes, encouraged even as we pray harder for strength and needing to know even more of His timing in all things. And then to get it all done. Are you still doing it? With each passing day, month, year, decade, we each have the choice to continue on or to quit. By His grace and mercy, I hope you are continuing on. It sure is a challenge sometimes!
What I wrote in my most recent Now Think On This message an hour ago, after hearing the word from the Lord on my way to work this morning, I hope you will read and find hope in. It was a word for me, and maybe for you too.
As believers, who really care about our country, our children, and our grandchildren, I hope you aren’t one who dismisses activity in our national elections. Be informed. Get involved. And vote when the time comes. No longer can we sit by and let the evil forces take over and destroy what the Lord has given us – the freedom and means to do His will.
Being this is a “news” letter, here are some updates.
Even without asking, three guys have already said they wanted to come on our next fall 2020 “Ahava Adventure – Men Only” trip to Israel. Looks like I may have to get a bigger rental van if others do too! So let me know. And just maybe one of our women board members will have one for the ladies. Any interest?
With the year not quite yet gone, on the Gregorian calendar at least, we have already seen the doubling of the Love For His People ministry income over last year’s total. Please be a part of sharing what you have with the ones in Israel who need our ongoing monthly financial support.
You can easily give now: Donate to bless. For those who want specifics, I can give you the names and amounts for each. We are transparent. Our annual financial report is also always on our website. Annual Financial Report
Be blessed in your blessing. I hope you are seeking Him and finding Him. Jesus is the Way. The Only way. Keep sharing the love of the Lord, and see love breakthrough in ones you never thought it would, even among those near you.
Ahava and shalom,
Steve MartinFounder/President Love For His People ministry
P.S. Being a numbers guy, it is always encouraging when 48% of you open (and read) these newsletters. The “normal open rate” for emails these days is much lower, so that speaks of the interest and the benefit you find in them. Thanks!
P.S.S. YouTube has proven that most of us like watching videos, so I recorded 65 short ones as we walked (literally over 51 miles!) around Israel. You can “Walk With Me”and see Netanya, Haifa, Tiberias, the Golan, Ein Gedi, where Jesus (Yeshua) was baptized, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem! So, click here, and come on, walk with me…
If you know us already you can skip this part. Otherwise, here we are!Love For His People – moving forward into our 10th year with you. For them.
Over 9 years ago on June 30, 2010, Steve Martin left the third ministry he had worked for in the past 24 years in order to providentially start a new ministry, co-founded by my good wife Laurie. The primary purpose is to bless our friends the Jews of Israel, and specifically the believers within the nation – those who have come to acknowledge that Yeshua is the Messiah, HaMashiach.
As non-Jews, Gentiles, goyim, Christian Zionists (whatever label we have!), we began the organization to stand strong for the Jewish state of Israel, Yisrael – the Land of Israel. In this world, with nations continually becoming more anti-Semitic daily, including our own USA, we have been called, as the prophetic word in 2004 was spoken over us, as a “scepter for Israel.”
“Yes, I am well pleased with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties endured on behalf of the Messiah; for it is when I am weak that I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10, Complete Jewish Bible
A good friend and co-worker at a Charlotte, North Carolina ministry told me once, or maybe even twice or more, way back in 2005 just before he was about ready to retire, for his 2nd time at age 75, that “Getting old is a ____.”
Being still rather a young man at 51 years of age then, I didn’t completely understand what he was saying. And though a Christian, I can’t repeat what he said, but I have gained further understanding in these past 14 years since his comment. (You can fill in the blank if you have thought, or spoken, something of the same.)
My knees are hurting. My stomach is bulging and aches from time to time with acid reflex and whatever. And I won’t even give birth soon as my daughter recently did.
My sleep is fleeting too, as may be “Et tu, Brute?” is relatable to you? (A statement said even further back than 14 years.) The once 10 pm time for bed has moved up now to the 8:30 pm time. Nothing new about that. Everyone who knows me knows already. Though I do like the 3:30 am wakeup times the Lord gives me, I still am up a few times between the “lay me down to sleep” and the “Let’s get up and get going!” daily routine.
And where does the time go? Blink twice and a new year is about ready to land.As you and I get older, you too may be asking the Lord what I often do, “Why couldn’t I do what I am now able to do, but 40 years ago, when I really wanted and thought I could and should, do it?” Now I am physically a bit more worn out than then, so what happened? Did I miss the turn somewhere? Or the turn missed me? And you?
Be encouraged in your daily walk with God, for when it is all said and done, our God wins! God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and God the Holy Spirit – the Three in One – rule from their heavenly throne.
Together they are daily involved in the lives of men, women, and children in all the nations. The establishment of their kingdom here on earth is taking place. And one day Jesus, Yeshua HaMashiach, will set up His earthly throne in Jerusalem, Israel, the place where He left from in 33 AD, promising to return to that same place.
Knowing the last chapter recorded in the end of the Book, the Word of God, the Bible, as revealed to John the Apostle, we know that from the beginning in Genesis, to that ending chapter in Revelation, the Lord has been preparing His people and bringing about His plans and purposes. Both believing Jews and Gentiles are seeing His work and getting involved.
These messages are to encourage you, included among them I trust, in your walk with the Living God of Israel.