Stephenway's blog listings. Feed Zend_Feed_Writer 1.10.8 (http://framework.zend.com) http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway Make Certain of Your Faith Do you really know Jesus (Yahshua)?  Many claim to, and even do good works ‘in His name’, but don’t really have Him in their hearts.  This is shown in the passage below.

Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'  23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'  (ESV)

Does this give anyone an idea why Paul would say that we were to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling”?  It doesn’t mean ‘good works’ or physical labor, but working in your mind that your faith is real.

Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.  (ESV)

When Paul spoke to the people in Berea, they didn’t just take Paul’s word for granted, but searched the Scriptures to see what was true (passage below).  That is one reason I tell people not to simply believe in anything I say, but search for yourself to see what is true.  Believing in me want do anything for you, but if I encourage you to see for yourself what is true in the Scriptures, then you can work to find the true faith within yourself.  Remember that this faith is not of yourself but the gift from God because of His great mercy in wanting us to seek out the truth (Ephesians 2: 8- 10).

Acts 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.  (ESV)

Without searching the Scriptures for yourself to see what is true, how could you be sure that you do not fall to false teachers, as is mentioned below and many times in the New Testament?

Jeremiah 5:30 An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: 31 the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?  (ESV)

It is a horrible thing when people spout words to be true that aren’t (“prophets prophesy falsely” above) and religious leaders take their own directions, or the directions of these false teachers that spout out words that aren’t true.  The New Testament speaks of people with itchy ears.  These are people who love to hear what they want to hear, whether what they want to hear is the truth or not.  We all love to hear what we want to hear, but we have to be careful that we really want to hear the truth.

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Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:04:02 -0600 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/03/05/make_certain_of_your_faith http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/03/05/make_certain_of_your_faith Do you really know Jesus (Yahshua)?  Many claim to, and even do good works ‘in His name’, but don’t really have Him in their hearts.  This is shown in the passage below.

Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'  23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'  (ESV)

Does this give anyone an idea why Paul would say that we were to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling”?  It doesn’t mean ‘good works’ or physical labor, but working in your mind that your faith is real.

Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.  (ESV)

When Paul spoke to the people in Berea, they didn’t just take Paul’s word for granted, but searched the Scriptures to see what was true (passage below).  That is one reason I tell people not to simply believe in anything I say, but search for yourself to see what is true.  Believing in me want do anything for you, but if I encourage you to see for yourself what is true in the Scriptures, then you can work to find the true faith within yourself.  Remember that this faith is not of yourself but the gift from God because of His great mercy in wanting us to seek out the truth (Ephesians 2: 8- 10).

Acts 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.  (ESV)

Without searching the Scriptures for yourself to see what is true, how could you be sure that you do not fall to false teachers, as is mentioned below and many times in the New Testament?

Jeremiah 5:30 An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: 31 the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?  (ESV)

It is a horrible thing when people spout words to be true that aren’t (“prophets prophesy falsely” above) and religious leaders take their own directions, or the directions of these false teachers that spout out words that aren’t true.  The New Testament speaks of people with itchy ears.  These are people who love to hear what they want to hear, whether what they want to hear is the truth or not.  We all love to hear what we want to hear, but we have to be careful that we really want to hear the truth.

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Turn to Yahweh Isaiah 45:21 Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together!  Who told this long ago?  Who declared it of old?  Was it not I, the LORD?  And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.  22 "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!  For I am God, and there is no other.

23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: 'To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.'  24 "Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him.  25 In the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory."  (ESV)

The Lord pleads with all the nations to turn to Him and be saved.  Have you turned to Him?  Whether you know Him or not, one day your knee will bow to Him.

Special note on verse 25 above:  “… all the offspring of Israel …”  The Jews took pride in proclaiming themselves to be the children of Abraham.  Jesus told them that our Creator was able to raise up children of Abraham from stones.  Israel was the name that Yahweh gave to Jacob, the grandson of Abraham and ancestor of the Israelites.  By coming to our Heavenly Father through His Son Who was crucified and rose again to bring our salvation, we become the children of Abraham (Jacob/Israel).  We become adopted into God’s family.

Isa 50:10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant?  Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.  11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches!  Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled!  This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.  (ESV)

All languages use some concrete terms to refer to abstract concepts.  Truth is an abstract.  Light and darkness are concrete.  Those who walk in darkness are those who walk without the truth.  Those who walk in the light walk in the truth.  Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one come to the Father without Him.  Jesus said that Satan is a liar and the father of lies.  Anyone who covers the truth (the light) is creating darkness (the lie).  Those who light their own fire and torches are ‘creating’ their own version of ‘truth’ which is really not truth, but a lie disguised as ‘truth’.  No one who walks in the truth has any reason to lie under any circumstances.  Any form of lie is from the enemy of our Creator.  No religion should ever consider that there may be a good reason to lie, because if any religion has the TRUTH, then it is a light that should never be hid.  Any lie, even if said for what seems to be a good reason, is walking in darkness.  Those who walk in darkness, and those who think they have a light, because they are depending on ‘torches’ fabricated by man will lie down in torment (not necessarily in this life).

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Thu, 05 Mar 2015 17:09:37 -0600 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/03/05/turn_to_yahweh http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/03/05/turn_to_yahweh Isaiah 45:21 Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together!  Who told this long ago?  Who declared it of old?  Was it not I, the LORD?  And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.  22 "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!  For I am God, and there is no other.

23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: 'To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.'  24 "Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him.  25 In the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory."  (ESV)

The Lord pleads with all the nations to turn to Him and be saved.  Have you turned to Him?  Whether you know Him or not, one day your knee will bow to Him.

Special note on verse 25 above:  “… all the offspring of Israel …”  The Jews took pride in proclaiming themselves to be the children of Abraham.  Jesus told them that our Creator was able to raise up children of Abraham from stones.  Israel was the name that Yahweh gave to Jacob, the grandson of Abraham and ancestor of the Israelites.  By coming to our Heavenly Father through His Son Who was crucified and rose again to bring our salvation, we become the children of Abraham (Jacob/Israel).  We become adopted into God’s family.

Isa 50:10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant?  Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.  11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches!  Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled!  This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.  (ESV)

All languages use some concrete terms to refer to abstract concepts.  Truth is an abstract.  Light and darkness are concrete.  Those who walk in darkness are those who walk without the truth.  Those who walk in the light walk in the truth.  Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one come to the Father without Him.  Jesus said that Satan is a liar and the father of lies.  Anyone who covers the truth (the light) is creating darkness (the lie).  Those who light their own fire and torches are ‘creating’ their own version of ‘truth’ which is really not truth, but a lie disguised as ‘truth’.  No one who walks in the truth has any reason to lie under any circumstances.  Any form of lie is from the enemy of our Creator.  No religion should ever consider that there may be a good reason to lie, because if any religion has the TRUTH, then it is a light that should never be hid.  Any lie, even if said for what seems to be a good reason, is walking in darkness.  Those who walk in darkness, and those who think they have a light, because they are depending on ‘torches’ fabricated by man will lie down in torment (not necessarily in this life).

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Israel- For/Against/Indifferent? For any who have serious concerns about the future of Israel- DO NOT WORRY!  The Lord will concern Himself with Israel’s future.  Among things to take note of is the fact that just as many nations have different political parties- Israel does also, and who knows which the Lord would prefer to see taking charge of their government.  Also, it is certainly proper that Israel would/should ask support from other nations; but Israel must remember that they are to depend on the Lord, and the Lord demands them to look to Him most of all, not its military, not its wealth, and not other governments.  Asking for support is not a problem, but depend on the Lord to supply, whether or not you get what you ask for.  Another thing for Christians to take note of is that most of the Jews, and the national government itself, has not recognized Yahshua as HaMashiach (Jesus as Messiah/ Christos/ Christ), and have not received Him as their Savior.  Though this last factor is not to be expected in these last days (as a whole nation) but witnessing is still to be expressed, and some (perhaps many) will turn.

With regards to the other nations: those who support Israel will be blessed (not necessarily in this life); those who are aloof (neither support nor stand against them) and those who stand against them will answer to their Creator according to His will.  Our Creator will bring about the ultimate deliverance of Israel.  Make no doubt about it, God’s Word will never return to Him without fulfilling His purpose.  His “WILL” is that all should come to know Him, and all will, but many of those will be after it is too late to reconcile with Him.  His “PURPOSE” is to make His Word available, and He will accomplish that through His servants.

Isaiah 44:21 Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.  22 I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.  23 Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it!  For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel.  24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: "I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, 25 who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish, 26  who confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the counsel of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, 'She shall be inhabited,' and of the cities of Judah, 'They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins'; 27 who says to the deep, 'Be dry; I will dry up your rivers'; 28 who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose'; saying of Jerusalem, 'She shall be built,' and of the temple, 'Your foundation shall be laid.'"  (ESV)

Cyrus was the King of Persia who gave the Israelites the permission to return from their Babylonian captivity and rebuild their temple.  As the Lord’s “shepherd”, remember a shepherd is one who tends to the sheep, whether in a religious or civil capacity.  Cyrus served the people of Israel and the Lord’s purpose in restoring the nation of Israel from that captivity.

Isaiah 49:26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine.  Then all flesh shall know that I am the LORD your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."  (ESV)

From the passage above- I would not want to be an oppressor of Israel.

Isaiah 55:10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  (ESV)

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Thu, 05 Mar 2015 16:20:41 -0600 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/03/05/israel-_foragainstindifferent http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/03/05/israel-_foragainstindifferent For any who have serious concerns about the future of Israel- DO NOT WORRY!  The Lord will concern Himself with Israel’s future.  Among things to take note of is the fact that just as many nations have different political parties- Israel does also, and who knows which the Lord would prefer to see taking charge of their government.  Also, it is certainly proper that Israel would/should ask support from other nations; but Israel must remember that they are to depend on the Lord, and the Lord demands them to look to Him most of all, not its military, not its wealth, and not other governments.  Asking for support is not a problem, but depend on the Lord to supply, whether or not you get what you ask for.  Another thing for Christians to take note of is that most of the Jews, and the national government itself, has not recognized Yahshua as HaMashiach (Jesus as Messiah/ Christos/ Christ), and have not received Him as their Savior.  Though this last factor is not to be expected in these last days (as a whole nation) but witnessing is still to be expressed, and some (perhaps many) will turn.

With regards to the other nations: those who support Israel will be blessed (not necessarily in this life); those who are aloof (neither support nor stand against them) and those who stand against them will answer to their Creator according to His will.  Our Creator will bring about the ultimate deliverance of Israel.  Make no doubt about it, God’s Word will never return to Him without fulfilling His purpose.  His “WILL” is that all should come to know Him, and all will, but many of those will be after it is too late to reconcile with Him.  His “PURPOSE” is to make His Word available, and He will accomplish that through His servants.

Isaiah 44:21 Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.  22 I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.  23 Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it!  For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel.  24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: "I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, 25 who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish, 26  who confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the counsel of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, 'She shall be inhabited,' and of the cities of Judah, 'They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins'; 27 who says to the deep, 'Be dry; I will dry up your rivers'; 28 who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose'; saying of Jerusalem, 'She shall be built,' and of the temple, 'Your foundation shall be laid.'"  (ESV)

Cyrus was the King of Persia who gave the Israelites the permission to return from their Babylonian captivity and rebuild their temple.  As the Lord’s “shepherd”, remember a shepherd is one who tends to the sheep, whether in a religious or civil capacity.  Cyrus served the people of Israel and the Lord’s purpose in restoring the nation of Israel from that captivity.

Isaiah 49:26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine.  Then all flesh shall know that I am the LORD your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."  (ESV)

From the passage above- I would not want to be an oppressor of Israel.

Isaiah 55:10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  (ESV)

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Wait Quietly for the Salvation of the Lord After Jerusalem was ransacked and the temple destroyed, Jeremiah wrote a mournful dirge to the conditions his people were in.  Yet in the midst of that, he doesn’t forget the faithfulness of God’s steadfast love.  He knew that God’s wrath had been justly aroused because of the unfaithfulness of the people.  Yet he also knew that he should bear this sorrow with a patient heart, continually seeking his Creator who would restore those who faithfully seek Him.

Lamentations 3:18 so I say, "My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD."  19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!  20 My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.

21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."  25 The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.  28 Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; 29 let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; 30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults.  31 For the Lord will not cast off forever, 32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; 33 for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.  (ESV)

Jeremiah knew that discipline serves a purpose, and the more severe the discipline only meant that the people had tested their Creator to that extreme limit of forbearance.  Notice how even if one is brought so low that his mouth is in the dust, there may yet be hope.  Remember Jesus’ teaching of turn the other cheek?  Jeremiah says here that one is to give his cheek to the one who strikes him.  Remember what Jesus said about being blessed if we were reviled and persecuted?  Jeremiah taught here that we are to allow ourselves to be filled with insults.  Reminds me of when King David was fleeing Jerusalem after his son Absalom declared himself to be king.  Shimei went out casting rocks and reviling at David’s retreating party and one of his men wanted to go slay Shimei for doing so.  David said not to, because God may have sent him to revile.  This is not at all easy, and I don’t think I could pass a test this severe, and hope I never have to.  But in all circumstances, Jeremiah says to seek the Lord and He will have compassion in accordance with His steadfast love.

Lamentations 3:38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?  39 Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?  40 Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD!  (ESV)

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Wed, 04 Mar 2015 12:17:14 -0600 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/03/04/wait_quietly_for_the_salvation_of_the_lord http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/03/04/wait_quietly_for_the_salvation_of_the_lord After Jerusalem was ransacked and the temple destroyed, Jeremiah wrote a mournful dirge to the conditions his people were in.  Yet in the midst of that, he doesn’t forget the faithfulness of God’s steadfast love.  He knew that God’s wrath had been justly aroused because of the unfaithfulness of the people.  Yet he also knew that he should bear this sorrow with a patient heart, continually seeking his Creator who would restore those who faithfully seek Him.

Lamentations 3:18 so I say, "My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD."  19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!  20 My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.

21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."  25 The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.  28 Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; 29 let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; 30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults.  31 For the Lord will not cast off forever, 32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; 33 for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.  (ESV)

Jeremiah knew that discipline serves a purpose, and the more severe the discipline only meant that the people had tested their Creator to that extreme limit of forbearance.  Notice how even if one is brought so low that his mouth is in the dust, there may yet be hope.  Remember Jesus’ teaching of turn the other cheek?  Jeremiah says here that one is to give his cheek to the one who strikes him.  Remember what Jesus said about being blessed if we were reviled and persecuted?  Jeremiah taught here that we are to allow ourselves to be filled with insults.  Reminds me of when King David was fleeing Jerusalem after his son Absalom declared himself to be king.  Shimei went out casting rocks and reviling at David’s retreating party and one of his men wanted to go slay Shimei for doing so.  David said not to, because God may have sent him to revile.  This is not at all easy, and I don’t think I could pass a test this severe, and hope I never have to.  But in all circumstances, Jeremiah says to seek the Lord and He will have compassion in accordance with His steadfast love.

Lamentations 3:38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?  39 Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?  40 Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD!  (ESV)

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Israel Is the Apple of God's Eye Let us never forget that Israel is the apple of God’s eye.  This expression, ‘the apple of the eye’ from the Hebraic culture refers to the ‘pupil (apple)’ of God’s eye and means that His eye is always on His chosen people.  Abraham was promised that this would be through Isaac, and was transmitted down from Isaac to Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel).  Whoever blesses (from their hearts wish the best for) Israel will be blessed (not necessarily in this earthly life), and whoever curses (a heart that is set against) Israel will be cursed (again- not necessarily in this life).  Even so- to wish Israel well does not mean that any individual is in a position to do more than to pray for and give verbal support for Israel.  Also, it is not necessary for one who blesses Israel to wish bad tidings for those who wish bad tidings for Israel, because our Creator is the One Who will give the eternal blessings, and those who receive the eternal curses will bring that on themselves.  For us for now, we must remember to love our enemies, as Jesus taught.  If you believe in Jesus, you must remember that we are to love our enemies and bless those who curse us.  We are to remember to submit to our rulers as the New Testament teaches, and to pray for them.

Israel is in God’s hands and what is happening is in the pupil of His eye.  At the same time, we are to pray that the people of Israel come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.  It would be great if all the nations would support Israel (and one another as well).  Even so, Israel (and Christians) must remember that help is to ultimately come from our Creator.  The Old Testament (the Tanach) teaches that Israel is not to go to nations to rely on strength (though it is certainly right to ask for aid and assistance- even military assistance).  Any help given to Israel will be noted by our Creator, and if it is denied, that will also be noted; but God will control the final outcome, and he already knows what it will be.

Isaiah 31:1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!  2 And yet he is wise and brings disaster; he does not call back his words, but will arise against the house of the evildoers and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.  3 The Egyptians are man, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit.  When the LORD stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all perish together.  (ESV)

The Isaiah passage above was from Isaiah before the Jews were carried into captivity.  The passage below from Nehemiah was from the time the Jews came back to their ancestral home from Babylon.  God will gather His people to the place of His choosing, if they earnestly seek Him and seek to follow His guidance, and to do His will.

Nehemiah 1:8 Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9 but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.'  (ESV)

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Wed, 04 Mar 2015 11:31:44 -0600 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/03/04/israel_is_the_apple_of_gods_eye http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/03/04/israel_is_the_apple_of_gods_eye Let us never forget that Israel is the apple of God’s eye.  This expression, ‘the apple of the eye’ from the Hebraic culture refers to the ‘pupil (apple)’ of God’s eye and means that His eye is always on His chosen people.  Abraham was promised that this would be through Isaac, and was transmitted down from Isaac to Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel).  Whoever blesses (from their hearts wish the best for) Israel will be blessed (not necessarily in this earthly life), and whoever curses (a heart that is set against) Israel will be cursed (again- not necessarily in this life).  Even so- to wish Israel well does not mean that any individual is in a position to do more than to pray for and give verbal support for Israel.  Also, it is not necessary for one who blesses Israel to wish bad tidings for those who wish bad tidings for Israel, because our Creator is the One Who will give the eternal blessings, and those who receive the eternal curses will bring that on themselves.  For us for now, we must remember to love our enemies, as Jesus taught.  If you believe in Jesus, you must remember that we are to love our enemies and bless those who curse us.  We are to remember to submit to our rulers as the New Testament teaches, and to pray for them.

Israel is in God’s hands and what is happening is in the pupil of His eye.  At the same time, we are to pray that the people of Israel come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.  It would be great if all the nations would support Israel (and one another as well).  Even so, Israel (and Christians) must remember that help is to ultimately come from our Creator.  The Old Testament (the Tanach) teaches that Israel is not to go to nations to rely on strength (though it is certainly right to ask for aid and assistance- even military assistance).  Any help given to Israel will be noted by our Creator, and if it is denied, that will also be noted; but God will control the final outcome, and he already knows what it will be.

Isaiah 31:1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!  2 And yet he is wise and brings disaster; he does not call back his words, but will arise against the house of the evildoers and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.  3 The Egyptians are man, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit.  When the LORD stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all perish together.  (ESV)

The Isaiah passage above was from Isaiah before the Jews were carried into captivity.  The passage below from Nehemiah was from the time the Jews came back to their ancestral home from Babylon.  God will gather His people to the place of His choosing, if they earnestly seek Him and seek to follow His guidance, and to do His will.

Nehemiah 1:8 Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9 but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.'  (ESV)

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