Why praying for Israel is different anywhere else

To many Christians, taking an interest in Israel and Jewish people may seem just another type of niche type of ministry project no different from any other.

My friend Justin who was volunteering on the staff of the church I was at in Jerusalem for 4 years mentions this:-

“Now Justin aren’t you being a little narrow in focusing so much on Israel and the Jewish people?

Here is why I am not, we are commanded and called specifically to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel, and the Jewish people, throughout the Bible The Holy Scriptures in countless passages.

Why? Because that is GOD’S Land, and they are GOD’S original people, whom HE called and whom HE has chosen, through whom we also have received the preserved Word of GOD, our faith, and ultimately the MESSIAH through their lineage and geneology.

Therefore when you pray for Israel you are not only praying for Israel, but for the world, because when you support your forefathers in the faith, and when you support GOD’S people, that translates to favor, and blessing upon you and the world, and the preservation of things. But when you neglect and abuse, you fail to support and oppose GOD’S People, if you could care less and don’t recognize GOD’S People it will be a curse, and a judgment upon the world.

So a prayer for Israel and a prayer for GOD’S People is a prayer for the world and its preservation and salvation. Furthermore with that in mind we as Christian believers I wholeheartedly believe are an extension of Israel by adoption, and one with the true believers of Israel that ultimately will accept and embrace JESUS CHRIST as their LORD and SAVIOR as well, through the connection and union of ourselves with THE MOSHIACH THE JEWISH MESSIAH CHRIST JESUS.

There are various scriptures which reference this and give light to it. That is why I emphasized prayer for the Christian Church specifically at this time as well. Then of course I referenced prayer for the lost and unbelieving in JESUS CHRIST as well, that they too would repent of their sins, and be saved by inviting JESUS into their hearts and lives to be their LORD and SAVIOR to fill them with HIS HOLY SPIRIT, and delivered from the impending tribulation judgment that could take place very soon by the looks of things in the world, and the end times events that very well could be preparing to be unleashed in the very near future.”

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Why apostle Peter would be a really bad Pope today

Recently I read the Pope has a bit of jolly visiting the holy land, which when visiting Beth Lehem, the Palestinian authority put on a nice show for him showing how they were dedicated to peace. You know, showing Jesus’s step-father Joseph with a Keffiyah (Arab headscarf) and other assorted propaganda that make out Jesus to be a Palestinian. Sigh.

I’ve been perplexed to figure out how Catholicism is influenced from the bible.  Someone the other day told me that Peter was the first ever Pope.  Peter is a well known figure that I’ve been reading a bit recently.

In actual fact I think that Peter would be a really bad Pope, at least put into the context of modern day Catholicism.

Peter is quite a passionate sort of chap, he is someone with a temper, good at talking to people and is a pioneer and building churches for the gentile believers.   He has his qualities and faults.

Peter has faith issues! (at least early on)

He doesn’t cope well with walking on water and sinks when hes asks Jesus that this idea doesn’t quite match up with laws of physics. I can see what he means I don’t swim at all, as I’m terrified of water and the idea of drowning. I’ve never managed to swim since several bad experiences as a child.
Jesus challenges Peter, by asking him to feed my lambs. In all honesty, I’ve never figured out exactly why Jesus was being a bit cryptic here. It seems he’s just asking him to check if he really loved him.  After denying Jesus 3 times which was highlighted by the rooster that crowed, Peter realises the terrible mistake he has made.

In Matthew 10 : 32-33 Jesus says Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.  Harsh words indeed.  Peter went on to achieve a lot later.

Its interesting that St Peter’s church in Jerusalem, has a rooster on top of it.  I wrote about this three years ago.

Peter is blunt!

The Pope does a lot of meeting and greeting of heads of state and senior members of other religious groups. On the PR front, Peter would probably get into a lot of trouble.

Christians who prefer only fluffy teaching would most probably consider him ‘judging’ at lot of the time. Peter doesn’t have time for cute Christian rubber wrist bands and that kind of rubbish, he’d rather get into with prayer and fellowship, in fact he’s really quite harsh with false teachers, which is why in the brief 3 chapters of II Peter has number two devoted to the charlatans and phonies in the church.

Peter has his own transport!

I’m pretty sure Peter would not need his own chariot and someone to drive him around in a custom bullet proof automobile. Peter is a fisherman so is used to getting his hands dirty and operates and services his own boat along with his friends.   Wonder if Petey took his fish to market on a horse, or if there was another person in the distribution channel who bought from the side of the lake and sold it to the other parts of the country?

Peter is named a rock by Jesus!  

Matthew 16:13-19
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Its really interesting here that Jesus is told people mistakenly think that other biblical figures, some then and some from the OT were thought to be the Messiah.    From here, Peter meaning rock becomes his name rather than Simon.

Peter tells Jesus hes also a rock!

Peter’s own writings from 1 Peter, the metaphorical stones Jesus used in changing Simon to Peter, Peter uses from the books of Isaiah and Psalms.

See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:6 / Isaiah 28:16

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 1 Peter 2:7 / Psalm 118:22

A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” 1 Peter 2:8 / Isaiah 8:14

Peter commits violence!

When Jesus is taken away and arrested, Peter hacks off the Roman soldier’s ear! Jesus then heals the soldier of this heavily bleeding cranial trauma, and carries on with the death sentence that’s issued to him.

Peter and Paul once had a disagreement over theology!

Oh dear, and people think troubles in the church are a modern thing, and going back to Hebrew roots will give us a more pure more authentic experience right?   Not quite.  Arguments of the same issues were in the first generation believers.   Here I think this was down to someone having an idea that out of Gentile believers and Jewish believers, one was more important than the other.   Galatians 2 talks about this.

Peter has a calm balanced approach to Eschatology!

Yes, he talks about end times and the earth burning up in 2 Peter 3 but in quite relaxed way, but warns against scoffers, ie: those who are denial about how moral standards would deteriorate before Jesus’ return.  I think today Peter would encourage us today to stay firm in our faith and moral standards but no need to listen to daft conspiracies on Youtube.   I might be wrong but don’t think I’ve seen any mention of the Pope looking forward to Jesus’ return or the worldwide troubles that would be associated before hand.

Instead, The Pope could try and mimic Peter

vaticanstampMaybe the Pope could take up fishing. By getting yourself to the level of a simple occupation that provides food and income, and a still quiet place like the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) would give you ample opportunities to mentor young believers, use the quietness to reflect and seek God.   Society tends to put a big artificial layer of complexity on religion, in terms of our relationship with our Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I don’t really see a need for a man in his own palace in Rome which has an authority with its own special postage stamps.

So dear readers I hope you can read and be enthralled by Jesus and his disciples and the impact they made and not see them set today as people set in a context they were not meant to be.

Having a love like a child in Jesus

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some brand new believers in Jesus. Something I love about people who have been newly saved.

Trying to remember that scripture about the angels in heaven sing and dance when someone commits the life to the Lord. I once worked in sales office with some highly commissioned salesman would get excited and would ring a little bell or press the button on a talking Gorilla cuddly toy, about a couple of times a week, when they got a sale, and the client had faxed or scanned over a signed contract for some IT equipment worth about £10,000-£1m or so. Some of the best evangelists I know have done sales work. I wasn’t great at it, some great deals I did happened when I approached the client at a coincidentally ideal time rather than me pushing the right buttons on the company’s decision maker.

Anyway, the zeal and love for the Lord is proof that scholarly background and knowledge of theology is not a substitute for a love of the Lord.

I read various blogs and news sites from various Christian groups and things going on in the middle east.  A lot of time I’m reading negative things, showing such-and-such a ministry have had a scandal or bad decision of some sort.

I’m often not good at being gracious when I’ve disagreed with. I need to get better at this. I’ve spoken to many people who have worked in ministry for sometime and it seems common to get jaded after seeing so many ugly things in the church and ministry world, in Israel the believing community is small, everyone knows each other so not so easy to keep secrets when mistakes happen.

Jesus spoke about us needing to be like a child in our humility:-

Matthew 18

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

If you’ve been a Christian for a long time I’d be interested how you have got back to a simple love for the Lord.

Post volunteer life back in Portsmouth

Long time since I’ve been blogging I know.

In November 2013 I finished up my volunteering after over 4 years of working for Bridges for Peace.

The last 7 months or so have been hard, readjusting, getting back into my original church and cell group, but getting to know new people in UK to. Don’t have many of the same friends I had 5 years ago, not by choice but just by circumstances.

I’m looking at moving to London for a new job and new adventures.