©April 28, 2012 Revive Israel Ministries
John the apostle had a profound revelation of the love of God, and is referred to as "John the Beloved." In fact, that nickname came from his own writings. His identity was so changed by the love of God that he had the audacity to refer to himself five times as the "beloved one" while writing the Bible!
John was the first to understand that God loves the world (John 3:16); - that is, the people in the world. If God loves all the people in the world, that includes John, me, and you. (Once we understand the love of God, we are separated in our hearts from the world system and become part of God's team to express His love to the rest of the world.) If God loves the whole world, how much more so does He love those who have received the Son in that world.
The concept of the love of God progresses through the Bible. In the Law, we are commanded to love God (Deuteronomy 6:5). In the Gospels, we understand how much God loves us. Then we realize that God's love for us preceded our love for Him (I John 4:10). If God loves us, then we ought to stop hating ourselves. Self-destructive habits are not of God but of the devil (Mark 5:5).
If God loves us, then we can love ourselves. If we love ourselves, then we can love our neighbor (Leviticus 19:18). If we don't know God's love, then we can love neither ourselves nor our neighbor. God's love frees us from self-destructive tendencies and enables us to love others. Remind yourself out loud repeatedly everyday: "God loves me; God loves me…"
Our transition in understanding God's love includes the effect that love has on our own identity. It changes our self-image. What He does changes who I am. If God loves me, then "I am beloved." His action changes my being. I become a new person, with a new self-worth. We only have self-worth because God imparts His grace and value into us.
My faith in God's love for me demands a change in how I see myself. "Behold what love the Father has given us that we might be called children of God! And so we are!" – I John 3:1. That includes you and me. Just like John, we are now beloved children of God. We proclaim by faith, "I am beloved."
Memorial and Independence Day
22,993 Israelis have been killed defending our nation since its inception. Most Israelis have someone in their extended family mourned on Memorial Day.
We spoke this week with an Israeli Messianic Jewish war veteran who fought in the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, and the Lebanon War. He was among the front line soldiers who liberated the Temple Mount in 1967. He wept as he spoke about bombs exploding around him, about friends dying in his arms. As we prayed together with him, he asked, "Why did I survive and not my friends?" There is an amazing record of supernatural protection on Messianic Jews in the army. Many have had bombs and bullets go off around them, but have not been hurt (Psalm 91:5-11).
Israel today is 64 years old. Memorial Day and Independence Day were celebrated this week.
Modern Israeli religious Jews refer to the State of Israel as "the beginning of redemption." In other words, the current state is not the kingdom of God, yet it is a necessary stage in the process of reaching that kingdom. Although we see the process differently from them, we do believe that God is in the process of "restoring the kingdom to Israel" (Acts 1:6) and is doing so in stages (Mark 4:26-29), from small to big (Mark 4:30-32), from inside to outside (Matthew 13:33), from insignificant now, to eventually filling the whole world (Matthew 13:31-32).
Mission and Community
In Acts 1:6-8 Yeshua gave us a world mission: be filled with the Holy Spirit; be witnesses of the gospel around the world; and restore the kingdom to Israel. In Acts 2:42-47 a deeply-committed, covenantal community was formed around that mission. It was a community with a mission. One does not come without the other. One of the best examples of combining mission and community that we know is Gateways Beyond. Their team writes:
To be a “missional community” is to be together and to look out, not to be inwardly focused, but ambassadors to the nations. If you pursue community you will get little, but pursue mission together, and you will get community.
As we approach the final days before Yeshua’s return, He is returning us to the roots of those first days after His ascension. We are coming back to a more authentic, Book of Acts community in Messiah. Our mindset should be, “me for the community and the community for the Lord.”
We are more than a community, we are a missional community. Our hearts were set on fire by Messiah Yeshua’s love. It is of His love and redemption that we yearn to be witnesses in this world.
For more information and articles by Gateways Beyond: http://www.gatewaysbeyond.org
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Please PRAY for our ongoing ministry in Israel of indigenous evangelism, planting Messianic congregations, the discipleship training center, prophetic praise and prayer watches in Hebrew, and financial aid for the needy.