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"BLESSED ARE YOU WHEN PEOPLE...PERSECUTE YOU...BECAUSE OF ME." MATT 5:11
by Barnabas

Dear Brethren,

“Because of Me” is the litmus test.  Around the world today there are many Christians suffering because they are not ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) and are willing to publicly confess Jesus before men (Matthew 10:32).  They are not suffering for being wrong doers, for crimes that they have committed in the flesh (1Peter 3:17); rather they are being persecuted just because they are saved.  When we come to Christ there is a price to be paid.  Jesus was very open with His disciples about the cost of discipleship.  The Apostle John wrote, “Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master ' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…” (John 15:20).  John was the only disciple that did not suffer a martyr’s death, yet he did suffer greatly because of His faithfulness to His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As believers, followers of Jesus in the world today, it is important to reflect on the lives of the Saints who have gone before us.  They were the ones who left us their example and testimony as a Word of Encouragement.  Hebrews eleven is a sketch of what the Saints endured under the Old Covenant for the sake of the Name of the Lord.  John the Baptist and Jesus, along with those who suffered and died in the Book of Acts, are our encouragement in this age of Grace under the New Covenant.

There are believers in Israel today who can testify to this Word Paul sent to the Church at Corinth.  “To this present hour we are both hungry…thirsty…poorly clothed…roughly treated…when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate…” (1Corinthians 4:11-13)  This past week we have had a missionary couple from Israel staying with us.  They are living the Book of Acts in the Holy Land as they endure the sufferings of Christ.  Eddie and Lura have a burden to reach the Jew, the Arab, the Palestinian and the Bedouin, with the Gospel.  Their work is very active among the immigrants and refugees in Israel, displaced and suffering souls, coming in from Eastern Europe and Africa, Jew and Christian alike.

In Israel today, there are Ultra Orthodox Jews who proudly call themselves the Pharisees.  Just like the Pharisees in the Gospels and Acts who persecuted Jesus and Paul, these men are persecuting Christians and Messianic Jews.  They are enemies of anyone who comes in the Name of Yeshua, the Hebrew Name for Jesus the Messiah.  The storefront that they rent and use as a church, chess club, and lending library has been firebombed three times.  The tires on their vehicle have been slashed, they have been beat up, spit on, and falsely accused and jailed because of their commitment to Christ Jesus.

Not long before he was executed for His faithfulness to the Lord , the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy this sober Word of Encouragement.  “…all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2Timothy 3:12).  James tells us to “Consider it all Joy, when you suffer various trials, because the testing of your faith produces endurance…” (James 1:2-3).  Peter wrote, “Brethren, do not be surprised at the fiery trial which has come upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening…to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing” (1Peter 4:12-13).

Be Sober.  What our brethren have suffered and are suffering now, could become our cup very soon.  The forces of anti-Christ are in the world (1John 4:3).  Jesus said, “I have given them your Word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  This is about our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Jesus paid it all – Jesus wants it all.

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“Now there was a rich man…And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate....” (Luke 16: 19-20)
Life after death is a popular topic of debate today.  Even in the Church there are many who want to downplay the Biblical reality of eternal judgment after death for those who have rejected Christ Jesus and His Gospel of redemption, in favor of a more “positive” and “seeker friendly” approach, one that isn’t so “negative”.  But what does the Bible say about life after death?  We can learn a lot from the stories Jesus shared in the Gospels, especially the testimony of the Rich Man and Lazarus  FULL STORY

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"Jesus...as was His custom..." (Luke 4:14-16)

“And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” (Luke 4:16)

Dear Brethren, Family & Friends,

Customs help to define a culture, and as we study the life of Jesus Christ, we can learn a lot about the culture of the Kingdom of God.

It was Jesus’ “custom” to go to fellowship with other believers, to read the Word of God, and to teach God’s Word to others.  But it was also His “custom” to heal the sick, the lame, the blind and the leper.  His “custom” was to forgive sins, preach the Gospel and to pray, and so much more.

In this world that is filled with spiritual darkness, as we yield to the Holy Spirit and allow the Word of God to live in us, we can “let our light shine” so that lost men, women and children will be drawn to Christ Jesus as we model the “customs” of His Kingdom.

We hope that this newsletter will be an encouragement to you and help you in your walk of faith in Christ Jesus.  And as it was Jesus’ “custom” to pray for others, we hope that you will set aside some time to pray for the missionaries and their families that are listed.  In some cases, we cannot even provide you their names, but the Lord knows your heart and He knows them.  Your prayers on their behalf helps them to stand firm in their faith and have victory in the face of opposition from the devil.

In these trying times, may the Lord continue to have Mercy on us all.

  FULL STORY

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“O that a man might plead with God as a man with his neighbor!” (Job 16:21)
In these trying times it is all the more important that we encourage one another to stay close to the Lord.  Our relationship with God our Father through His Spirit and the Word will comfort and sustain us regardless of what we have to face.  The Bible has many testimonies of those who endured times of suffering, trial and persecution.  For some those were times when their fellowship with the Lord grew deeper and more intimate, while for others, it was the suffering that led them to the feet of Jesus to be saved.

Our relationship with our God and Savior grows as we spend time in His Word and through prayer.  As the financial and political pillars of the international community and America grow weaker, it is critical that we encourage one another to put our trust in the Lord all the more.  Remembering the Lord’s great deliverance of His people on the shores of the Red Sea, King David wrote “Some trust in Chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in the Name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7)

Let’s encourage one another to read the Word, remembering that it was the Lord who delivered then and it is the Lord who will deliver now, so that when the trials come we can endure, both for God’s glory and our benefit.  FULL STORY

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"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert..." (1Peter 5:8)

When we look at what is going on in the world, especially the political and economic turmoil, we can be tempted to interpret these events as just part of the ongoing cycle of human civilization. But if we want to have peace in the midst of what is happening, faith not fear, we need to allow the Word of God to give us understanding so that we can know how these events fit into God’s timeline as He prepares the world for the Second Coming of His Son, Jesus Christ.

  FULL STORY

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"Well done thou good and faithful servant..." (Matthew 25:21)

We know from the Scriptures that judgment is coming upon the whole world someday.  But the Word of God says also othat there is a special "judgment" for the believers at the Bema Seat, or the Judgment Seat of Christ.  That is when the Christian is judged for the work that was done for the Kingdom of God after they came to faith in Jesus Christ.

What will we hear the Lord say on that day?  Will it be "Well done!"

Let's encourage one another to live our lives so that they will be pleasing in the sight of God the Father and bear good fruit for His Kingdom.

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