bless the jews
fruits fruits fruits

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4215 Dec 30, 2012
What fruit should we look for?

Healings, miracles, signs and wonders are not fruit; they are gifts, and that being the case, what fruit are we to look for in any ministry?

-- Do the people have a greater love and concern for others than they have for themselves?

-- Do they radiate a contagious joy that others feel and take on?

-- Do they ooze a tranquil peace when life’s events do not go the way they anticipated?

-- Do they show a steadfastness or unwavering nature in the midst of long suffering, betrayal or deep disappointment?

-- Do they display gentleness with others who appear weaker or less capable?

-- Do they have an overriding goodness that seeks the wellbeing of others over their own wellbeing?

-- Do they have a faith in the unseen and the “not yet” purposes of God?

-- Do they radiate a meekness or softness, evidenced by how they handle others when they disagree with them?

-- Do they display a temperance or an ability to master their passions and desires?

These nine points are found in Galatians 5 and are noted as fruit of the Spirit. All deeply spiritual people will have fruit that is spiritual. Why? Because thorns produce thorns and grapes produce grapes. That which is Spirit will always have spiritual fruit.

There must be a change in the moral fiber of the Church, because the culture is not to blame for the condition of the Church, but the Church is to blame for the condition of the culture. When the Church actually begins to behave like the Body of Christ, we will see the fruit of that — not only in our pastors and ministers but also in our judicial systems and in our politicians. In other words, the culture will reflect the Church’s passion for Jesus.
fruit

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4216 Dec 30, 2012
-------Healings, miracles, signs and wonders are not fruit; they are gifts------
depending on God

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4217 Dec 30, 2012
The anointing is dependent on God

We are “anointed” when God puts a measure of His Spirit in us, and that measure resides with us. Similar to oil, the anointing has a tendency to leave a residue on almost everything it touches.

When people carry God’s anointing, that anointing touches us when we come near them. We aren’t touched by the people themselves or their charisma. The anointing is not dependent on what those people say, do or think; it is not dependent on how appropriately they act. It is dependent on God.

In a way, the anointing is like the wind. We don’t know where it’s going next, but we do know when it’s present. God chooses when the anointing resides and when it leaves. If it resides, it resides to serve God’s purpose. This is why it’s important not to speak against our family — our brothers and sisters who have made mistakes and poor choices. We are not the One who determines where the anointing should go and what it should do next. If David was not willing to touch Saul, a twisted, sinful man who never truly changed, then we should not be willing to touch God’s anointed, either. In due time, God delivered to David everything He had promised him and more.

In conclusion, I would like to leave you with a few thoughts to ponder. Would Israel’s history be different now if David had responded to Saul the way many of us would have responded to him? How much do our words delay or escalate our destinies? What if our potential has been stifled because of the judgments we have made and the words we have spoken against God’s anointed fallen?
4 things church must do

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4218 Dec 30, 2012
FOUR THINGS THE CHURCH MUST DO

First, the Church must return to knowing God and His ways rather than just knowing about God. We have replaced power with programs, revelation with administration and the Father’s heart with organizational skills.

Second, the Church must learn how to contend for the faith again. We are weak, and we fall away so easily when crisis is not at hand. We have not been tested, and we have lost our resolve. We understand little of the adversary’s plans. We do not know how to debate our faith without becoming angry, and thus we have so few strong, clear, godly voices in political arenas. We have lost our witness — the witness that convicts others and strongly testifies that God is still God and is very, very real. We have lost the witness that demonstrates that God is a personal God in a very impersonal world, the witness that says,“What I do proves God exists.”

Third, the Church must return to the love of God’s Word and the belief that it is infallible and inerrant. This would include the conviction, understanding and knowledge that God is absolute, and there is only one way to know Him: through Jesus the Messiah. We need a new revelation that God’s power is unlimited, His knowledge is unending, His presence is with us always and He never changes. We have made God far too small, and our lives prove it.

Fourth, we will need to declare sacred and solemn assemblies of repentance and corporate fasting in many parts of this nation — a time set aside for rending our hearts before God.

“Now, therefore,” says the LORD,“Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him — A grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God?

Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say,“Spare Your people, O LORD.”— Joel 2:12–17

CRISIS IS THE FRUIT OF FOLLOWING THE WRONG GOD

God allows calamities to happen in order to draw us to Himself. What does that mean? It means that God allows us to reap the fruit of that which we serve. Walking in God’s ways brings blessings and fullness of life, while walking in the ways of the “god of this world” will bring the fruit of the god of this world: decay, destruction, deterioration and death. We make our choice, then the choice makes us. Sadly, we are developing a history of wrong choices.

Throughout Scripture, when crises hit the people of God, they turned their hearts to Him, and He heard and took action.

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
— Jeremiah 29:12–13

May the people of the United States seek the Lord … and find Him. Remember, we still have the promise that if we turn from our wicked ways, God will heal our land.
4 things church must do

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4219 Dec 30, 2012
God does amazing things all the time. Some of them are large enough to catch our attention; some seem small, but even so, they are equally amazing, simply because it’s God who does them.

Any time God does anything, no matter how small it seems in the moment, it changes the world, all of the world, because God had to do so many other things in order to do that one small thing that we may or may not have even noticed.
But here’s the deal: Prophecy, dreams and visions, all God says and all God does both in the future and the past, everything about our existence, everything that God caused and created and will cause and will create — all of it can be summed up in a single, simple phrase that we may be so familiar with that it’s lost its uniqueness: For God so loved the world.

Life is all about intimacy with God. We were created for that. Everything we do should be done with that in mind. If it’s not, we’ll find ourselves burned out, broken, lonely and empty — because it’s not good for man to be alone. We were created for relationship, specifically with our heavenly Father. Nothing in this world, or in the next one, is as important as our relationship with God.

So whenever you dream, remember that it happened because God loves you. Perhaps there’s something specific God is trying to tell you in the dream — but He’s trying to tell you it because He loves you. Dreams are first and foremost about that.

In the same way, whenever you study prophecy and are awed by God’s power and might and the way He speaks, remember that prophecy happens because God loves you. And He loves your neighbor. And He loves the drug dealer down the street.

Keep the heart of God in mind when you study Scripture. Keep it in mind when you seek to interpret your dreams and the weird, bizarre spiritual experiences you may have during the day. Without that understanding, nothing else about life will make sense.
JOHN PAUL JS

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4221 Dec 30, 2012
What do angels look like?

The Bible says that we won’t always be able to tell the difference between humans and angels:

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels."
— Hebrews 13:2

It would be very difficult for us to “unwittingly” entertain angels if they looked like angels. We would know exactly what they were if they were glowing or had six-foot wingspans. Instead, based on this Scripture, we can assume that sometimes, angels look just like you and me. They may appear to us as painters, mathematicians or doctors; they may look African, Irish or Hispanic. They may even look like children.

The night Diane and I brought Micah home from the hospital, I was visited by two angels: a 7-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy. I didn’t immediately understand they were angels, because they were unlike any angels I had seen before. They began to tell me different things about Micah, and I asked them,“How do you know that?”

“Because we’re angels sent from the throne of God,” they replied.

“You’re not angels,” I said.“I know what angels are like. They’re bigger than you. They’re adult-sized. Some of them are really huge, and some of them are really muscular, and some of them are really fast, and you’re not any of that. You’re just a 7-year-old little girl and a 10-year-old little boy.”

“You haven’t seen everything,” they answered.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you don’t know that many of us choose to take the form of a child when we are assigned to that child. Your children talk to us, because we take a form that doesn’t threaten them but allows them to become what God created them to become. We’re here to help them, not to prove we’re anything. Here’s another one of us now!”

A little boy approached, and the girl said,“Tell him what’s going on.”

“I was there,” the second boy told me.“I saw them up in the throne room, and I saw God giving them the assignment to watch over your son Micah. What they tell you, you need to do, because I saw God giving them the command.”
JOHN PAUL JS

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4222 Dec 30, 2012
What should parents do?

As time progresses, I think we will discover again and again that we “haven’t seen everything” yet. In the meantime, if your children are playing with invisible friends, talk to them about it. Find out how they feel when they’re playing with them. Do they feel happy? Peaceful? Scared? If your children show any hesitancy, rephrase your questions and ask again. In most cases, their answers will reveal to you exactly who sent these invisible playmates.

Remember that in biblical times, it was common knowledge that angels sometimes take the visage of the people they protect; why else would the Christians meeting in Mary’s house have thought it was Peter’s angel at the door (Acts 12:12–15)? I remember being a child and talking to angels who looked like my friends, but I knew they were angels. They told me what they were, but I also just knew. Your children will likely “just know” as well.

Be open to the possibility that God is communicating to your children via people, objects or animals (remember Balaam’s donkey) only they can see. If you raise your children in the way God has set before them, they will see and know things that are humanly impossible for them to see and know. They will be able to interact with Heaven, as God intended all of us to do. They will have eyes to see.



If you would like a copy of John Paul's notes taken from an earlier ISD Live episode where he taught on Angels, just CLICK HERE.For more information on this subject, check out The Interaction Between Heaven and Earth, or our Living the Spiritual Life Course.
message from JOHN PAUL J

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4223 Dec 30, 2012
It is time to pray

Prayer is so important. If you have read my partner letters or heard me speak recently, you know that I am concerned for the well-being of the United States. For three years, I have prophesied a “perfect storm” of dramatic events that will affect every nation on Earth. We have already seen many of these events take place, and unfortunately, this storm is far from over.

Some of you have felt the effects of this storm, and others of you, by God’s grace, have not. But no matter the current state of your circumstances, I urge you to pray. Don’t wait until you have to pray, as I did. Don’t put off strengthening your dependency on God until your life is going downhill and you are desperate. Now is the time.
God the All-Sufficient One

Something substantial happens in the spiritual realm when we acknowledge God as the All-Sufficient One who is capable of taking care of our every need. When we pray, we promote the spirit and make the mind subservient to the spirit. In other words, prayer helps us come into proper alignment.

God is Spirit, and He is our Father. We can’t take a single breath without Him (Psalm 104:29), and everything we have comes from Him (1 Chronicles 29:14). As we begin to truly understand this, our prayer lives will transform radically because we will realize our dependence on Him. We pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests (Ephesians 6:18). We cast our cares upon Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

Most of us have a head knowledge of these truths, but we are still caught off guard when we realize that our Father genuinely does intend us to live care-free lives. He is the All-Sufficient One, and we are the ones He is all sufficient for.
God our Father

As God’s children, we have the full, legitimate right to speak to Him as our Father, to make “all kinds” of requests. If we don't personalize prayer, we won’t get very far. After a while, we will just give up because we won't have the passion for it. It is very difficult to delight in something we don't long for. It is very difficult to desire something that doesn’t seem splendorous to us. We have to personalize prayer in order to have the passion.

When we call upon His name and we understand the position that He has in our lives, our faith will increase, as well as our understanding that whatever we ask of Him, He will do. We can be confident of that:“This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us”(1 John 5:14).

However, the reverse of that is also true. We will not see God answering prayer if we do not pray.

So I want to urge each of you to pray. It is time to pull out the stops and become passionate about prayer. Speak to God on behalf of your people. Speak to God on behalf of the world. What burden has He put on your heart? Take it seriously, and pour it out in prayer before Him, remembering always that He is your Father and your words do not fall on deaf ears.
message from JOHN PAUL J

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4224 Dec 30, 2012
...... No matter what happens in our relationship with God, what level of gifting we have, where we feel God has placed us in His body, the influence we may or may not have—we need to keep our gaze on the more important thing: God Himself.

Throughout our lives, there will be times when God calls us to hard work and other times when God calls us to rest; in both seasons, He is here. Where are you? Learn to hear His voice. Seek Him out. Let Him touch you. Practice the presence of God and grant Him the desire of His heart.
message references

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4225 Dec 30, 2012
Declaring the Names of God

Written by John Paul Jackson

Every time a word is spoken, that word becomes established in the Earth. We may not remember it; we may forget it the moment it leaves our lips, but it hasn’t disappeared.

In part, this is why we pray. This is why we bless our enemies and not curse them, because if we return their evil actions with evil, it perpetuates evil, but if we return their actions with goodness, it stops evil and starts the flow of God in our lives. The eternality of words is one reason we avoid careless speaking (Matthew 12:36), and perhaps it is also one reason the Bible declares the names of God, His nature and His character over and over again. The Hebrews believe that once a word is spoken, it never stops speaking.

It is good to remind ourselves of the nature and character of God. It is good to speak His names into the atmosphere surrounding us. It is good to declare His glory and His favor and His blessing into our bodies, our families and the environments we find ourselves in, because once a word is spoken, it never stops speaking.

The Psalmist understood that there is no place where God is not (Psalm 139:7–12). There is only a difference in the measure of His presence. God Himself determines that measure, which is in accordance with His self-existent ways. Why is this important to us? Because God is always here. He is watching us, aiding us, protecting us and preparing us to be a habitation of the Most High. We are never, ever forgotten, and we are never, ever alone.

As I have written in an e-letter before, I pray declarative prayers often. Something happens when we declare who God is in our lives, in our circumstances, in the hard things and in the easy things. Something changes. Something shifts and adjusts and realigns with the Father’s purposes for us; this is why He created us. He wants us to succeed and achieve those purposes. When we recite His attributes back to Him, we synergize with His Kingdom — and with the results of that Kingdom, which far surpass the effort it may have taken us to pause a moment and speak His names. In this place of remembrance, we grow and find new life.

You are my Protector.
You are my Strength.
You are my Shield.
You are my Covering.
You are the One who keeps me from falling.
You are my Director.
You are my Way.
You are the One who keeps me upright.
You are my Choice and my Decision.
You are my Hiding Place.
You are the One I trust.
You are the One I love.
You are the One who treasures me, even when I see nothing good within me.
You are the Creator.
You are Wisdom when life is confusing.
You are God, who speaks to me.
You are my Healer.
You are my Helper.
You are the One who completely forgives me.
You are the One who never forgets a promise.
You are Gracious.
You are Patience.
You are my Comforter.
You are ever faithful.
You are the One who brings me peace.
You are my Father.
You are my every breath.
You are the Answer to every question I have.

Nothing is too hard for You. Even when fear surrounds me, and worry tries to steal my heart, Father, you are the One I choose. You are the One I will trust. My life is in Your hands, and it will be to me according to Your word and not to the word of the enemy. There will be no fault or shortage in the promises You have made me, because You are the One who made them. I will take You at Your word, and I will remember who You are.

When life is difficult, declare His nature and His names. When you find yourself wrapped up in negative circumstances, call to mind who He is and how safe you are with Him, and experience again the hope found in His presence.

Then I called upon the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!”
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
Yes, our God is merciful.
— Psalm 116:4–5
message references

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4226 Dec 30, 2012
"Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice."
— Psalm 141:2

Have you ever wondered about the scriptural tie between incense and prayer? Many of us weren’t raised in cultures that use incense on a regular basis, and in fact, for some of us, the only reference point we have for the word might be the thin, rectangular packages we could buy at the local food co-op. When God says that our prayers “rise before Him like incense,” many of us have no idea what that actually means.

Why would God refer to our prayers this way? There is more than one answer to that question. First, incense is referred to as “sweet” several times in Scripture — not something that carries an unpleasant odor or a headache, but something that gives pleasure. Our prayers rise “as incense” before Him, as something desirable. God could have told Moses and Aaron (Exodus 30:34) to craft this smoke of bitter spices, but He didn’t, which should alleviate any fear on our part of approaching Him in prayer. We can broach the same topic again and again; we can come as we are, without impressive words, because He never tires of us.

Prayer is more than just a welcome aroma for Him; it is a favorite of favorites, and He savors every molecule, every particle, that comes up before Him. Not only is the mere sound of our voice something He treasures (Song of Songs 2:14), but the prayer itself is sweet to Him.

Second, prayer begins and ends with God; we’re His middlemen, so to speak — the bridge He has chosen to work through. I talk more about this concept in my teaching set Unlocking the Mysteries of the Lord’s Prayer, but here is how it relates to incense: In order for incense to function properly, it requires fire. Incense burns. In other words, God gives us the unction to pray; He starts the fire within us, and we respond by praying His desires back to Him.Prayer begins in the heart of God and then eventually returns there — but only after it has mingled with us, which makes it even more valuable to Him. Salt was one of the ingredients to be mixed with the spices, and we are the salt of the Earth.

That is what incense is.

This is what incense does:

Prayer allows us to resist what we couldn’t resist before; it enables us to stop sinning.
Prayer gives wisdom, which permits repentance. We recognize that we’re experiencing the consequences of our actions.
Prayer helps us to understand God’s truths. I believe that Daniel didn’t understand Jeremiah’s prophecy about Israel’s restoration, as well as the reason for their captivity, until he had spent time in prayer (Daniel 9).
Prayer recognizes God’s attributes and greatness, which alters our thought processes and allows us to see our circumstances the way God sees them.

Now, how does prayer accomplish so much within us, when we may not even be praying for these specific things? Incense affects the heart of God. It moves Him, and anything that moves God moves us as well. Every time we pray in honesty and humility, we become more like Him, and the fragrance of our words wafts through the throne room.
message references

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4227 Dec 30, 2012
Most married couples will tell you that there is no such thing as perfection. They may be happily married and at peace with one another, but they will quickly say that the “perfect” marriage simply isn’t possible. Perhaps, based on your own experiences, you agree with them. Perhaps you have even advised a single or two to save themselves time by not looking for perfection, because it doesn’t exist.

That, however, isn’t necessarily true.

God has a way of creating perfection. Now, don’t mistake me — this perfection may not be what you’re expecting, and depending on your circumstances, it may be hard to reach and even harder to remain in.
But here is a biblical principle that is especially important now, when the world at large seems as far from perfect as possible. Because God is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 119:96), by definition everything He does is perfect as well. This means that perfection in your life, in my life, in our churches, in our marriages, in our families is attainable. Not because we have everything we want and never have problems, but because God is perfect, and if He is your life breath, you will find yourself living in His perfection. Your circumstances may not change, but how you view them will.

What Satan did

The issue is that we have an enemy who wants us to live as far from freedom as possible. He’s wanted this from the beginning, when he saw that God had created two people who were, in every sense of the term, absolutely perfect. God shaped them with His fingers. They were lovely in form and in spirit and carried His likeness in a way that possibly no one has experienced other than Jesus Himself. They walked in perfect union with Him and carried His authority.
message references

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4228 Dec 30, 2012
So Satan worked to deceive them, and by the end of the day, human perfection had become nothing but legend. Death and sin entered into what God had designed to be only for Himself, and needless to say, the earth and everything upon it began to warp.

What God did

For millennia, Satan ruled seemingly unhindered, covering the once-perfect earth in darkness and sin. But then one day, in a single day, the Perfection of Heaven willingly submitted Himself unto the same death that had taken His perfect ones in the beginning; He then descended into Hell, held out His hand and took back what Adam and Eve had given Satan in the Garden.

This is what Jesus did for us. He came to make us perfect once again — and the unbelievable thing is that He succeeded! Somehow, in the midst of our faults, He calls us perfect, flawless (Song of Solomon 4:7, 6:9), white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).

But we have such a hard time believing this! Why?

Because the devil will do anything he can to rule over us again (1 Peter 5:8). After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Satan, who was and is utterly defeated, devoted himself to doing what he had done in the beginning — trying to destroy the perfection God created. Therefore, it takes daily decisions on our part not to believe what he insists is true.

Be alert. The devil will play with your head. He will try to convince you that your sin is too great for the blood of Jesus to cover. He will confuse you into thinking that his way is the only way; that you are the defeated one; that you are ugly and flawed and could never, ever possibly be what God wants.

After years of believing these lies, it is war to believe the opposite. It is a struggle to put two and two together and realize that Jesus did not go to the cross for nothing. The perfection of God gives us the opportunity to see ourselves and our lives as Heaven sees them — not faultless, but absolutely perfect, because He is able to make us perfect.

The perfection I’m talking about means that we can present ourselves, humble and empty before Him, and He can fill us up. It means resting in Him as His perfection comes and rubs out our cracks and crevices and makes us whole. As I recently wrote on Coffee Talk, some of us have more cracks than others, but there are no cracks that the Spirit of God cannot rub out. Passionate and persistent pursuit of Him will be rewarded.

To witness His perfection in your life, there are two things you must do. First, supply you, in humility and without pretense, and second, be willing to change the way you think. The rest, to His great joy and eagerness, is up to Him. You will be amazed at how these two decisions change your life.
strength secrets

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4229 Dec 30, 2012
The Secret of Strength

Written by John Paul Jackson

We are being prepared for some very difficult times. Times of shaking, such as those we’re experiencing now, show us just how much we are in God’s hands and not the other way around. That’s usually the first thing we forget, both in good times and in bad. It’s not up to us; it’s up to Him. It’s His strength and not our own. That’s true of everything in life, and it’s especially true where intimacy with Jesus is concerned — which is usually the reason the shaking happens in the first place.

I could tell you all manner of things that are coming, but if you do not know God — I mean, deeply know Him and not just know about Him — my speaking would be in vain. Intimately knowing God is vital in this era, and intimacy with Him is always a present-tense noun: a beinginstead of a striving. His hands and not our hands. This is what Solomon meant when he wrote:

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, 

By the gazelles or by the does of the field, 

Do not stir up nor awaken love 

Until it pleases.
— Song of Solomon 3:5

This verse is repeated multiple times in the Song of Solomon. Do not stir up or awaken love until it pleases — i.e., we can’t make intimacy with God happen on our own. This is why we sometimes get frustrated with Him. We want Him now. Here. Our way. Our timing. Our style. And then as the shaking strips us bare, we moan,“God, why is this taking so long?”

Others of us are driven by quiet, subtle voices in our heads that whisper, You should be better than this. God isn’t pleased. God isn’t happy with you.

So what happens then? We try even harder. More than ever, we push ourselves to make it happen, to reach that allusive next rung on the spiritual ladder, because then, we think, maybe we’ll start to understand what this relationship with God is really about.

But when that isn’t what takes place, we get frustrated. We’re trying to make something happen, and God knows that if He lets us get what we want, it will kill us later. He doesn’t want us to “make something happen” with Him. Who wants to be married to somebody who has to be talked into it every day? You never find force and obligation in true intimacy.

With God, on a day-to-day basis, the goal isn’t to get there.

The goal is to be.
The strength of intimacy

Intimacy, by its very nature, is secret and hidden. It’s not because it’s shy or ashamed of something or overwhelmed. That’s not the case. Nor is it weak; we would have burned long ago if God’s intimacy — His great love for us — was capable of giving up and falling apart. We have given Him plenty of opportunity to forsake us, and yet He loves us still. Therefore, intimacy is a great strength.

Remember that, as the year starts off. Should your world be shaken and should times grow hard for you, remember that. As you rest in Him and are intimate with Him, you will find your strength. You will find what you’ve been looking for, and it will happen as love happens — without striving and without obligation.
strength secrets

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4230 Dec 30, 2012
The act of returning forces you to look at things you might not want to look at. It is mentally difficult to cross the same roads again. Yet, depending on the situation, returning can save your life.

Returning to God can be a difficult thing as well.

Through the natural turn of everyday life, we build up walls. We get used to things being a certain way. Our comfort zone becomes lined with fear, and those fears must be crossed in order for us to know our First Love again. We have to admit that maybe we were wrong. We have to let go of what we’ve thought was right in order to accept what God thinks is right, and it could be different than what we had in mind. It could hurt.

But returning is so important! Nothing we do in life could be as good as this, what you’re doing right now: spending time with Jesus. Nothing will give you such a rich and beautiful return. Nothing is worth as much as this is worth. Nothing is as great an investment as this.

Everything that God has done, He has done to touch your heart. Why was the tabernacle built in the wilderness? Why did Jesus come to earth? Because God desires to be with us! He desires to dwell among us. Read the Bible with that thought in mind and be shocked at what you see — a God who loves you. Passionately. Forever. Exquisitely. Perfectly. Right now. Tomorrow. Yesterday.

Nothing could compare to this. Nothing else could even glance at this union without losing its eyesight forever. That’s how special this is. That’s how important and life-changing this is.

So, no matter where you are on this road, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve sat on your Father’s lap, in His arms, listened to His voice, heard the beat of His heart, felt Him play with you — come back. Return. It’s getting to be spring now, depending on where you live in the world. This is the time people return. This is the time people fall in love again.

Perhaps you need to return to something. Can you hear God whispering that to your heart?Return. Take that step. Make that choice. You will never, ever, ever regret doing so. That is God’s promise, not mine.
jewish world

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4231 Dec 30, 2012
The 'Deuteronomy Diet': A Jewish guide to eating right
For part one in a three-part series, Rabbi Michael Knopf explains how lessons in Jewish law can help us break free of our poisonous American diets.

Fresh vegetables

Research has shown that vegetarians or near-vegetarians (when they mainly eat real, unprocessed, whole foods) tend to be much healthier than carnivores.

The 'Deuteronomy Diet': When gratitude can save your life

By Rabbi Michael Knopf / Jewish World blogger

Any religious tradition worth its salt, as I have argued in the past, must offer a pathway for adherents to flourish. For Jews, this means that we ought to expect our tradition to successfully help us navigate real world, real-life concerns. One of those concerns that many Americans face is our health - particularly our diet.

The American obesity epidemic is well documented. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of the American adult population struggles with obesity, and more than one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. This is not simply a cosmetic concern; obesity dramatically increases an individual’s risk for heart disease, type-2 diabetes, stroke, and cancers. Obesity-related illnesses are now among the top killers of Americans.

Yet obesity, along with the diseases linked to it, is largely preventable. Making healthier choices, including eating better, can help save us from obesity and its related ailments. On the other hand, our diet can literally have a hand in killing us or saving us from death

The Jewish tradition offers a path to healthy living. It affirms that God loves us and wants us to live long, healthy lives. The Torah adjures us to “choose life”(Deuteronomy 30:19), to make decisions that will enable us to live better, longer, and more fully. More helpfully, the Torah backs this imperative with useful guidelines to enable us to fulfill it.

Take, for example, Deuteronomy 8:10, which teaches,“you shall eat, you shall be satisfied, and you shall give thanks to the Holy One your God for the good land which God has given you.” The classical Jewish tradition reads only one of the verbs in this verse,“bless,” as a commandment, and derives from it the obligation to recite the birkat hamazon, the blessing following a meal, an expression of our gratitude for the bounty we were privileged to enjoy. But the other verbs in this passage,“eat” and “be satisfied,” also may be read as commandments. Indeed, all three verbs are essential elements of what I call “The Deuteronomy Diet.”

The Deuteronomy Diet is a three-pronged solution that, if followed (ahem) religiously, will help us break free of our poisonous American diets, avoid obesity (with all of its related complications) and, generally, live better. I will break down the Deuteronomy Diet’s three component parts – eating, being satisfied, and being grateful – into three separate articles so I can carefully explain each element. In this piece, I will discuss the first verb, to “eat.”
jewish world

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4232 Dec 30, 2012
This commandment guides what we should eat and how we should approach the whole business of eating in the first place.

We Americans tend not to eat food so much as we ingest it as medicine. We have been taught that what matters in food, what will make us healthy or unhealthy by eating it, are the nutrients it possesses. Food, then, becomes merely the delivery system for protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, etc., and the act of eating becomes an act akin to pill-counting: our plate should have a little more of this nutrient, a little less than that nutrient, and, voila, we will live long and healthy lives.
One of the results of this is that it has driven us to eat more processed, packaged foods.

After all, if a food is processed and put in a package, the package can tell us how much it contains of a particular nutrient we want. The problem is that food producers are eager to advertise just how “healthy” a packaged product is by emphasizing the good nutrient or two it contains in large volume, while deliberately obscuring the unhealthy aspects of the item.

The Cocoa Puffs box screams about its whole grain goodness and riboflavin while hiding its massive quantities of unhealthy sugar.

So, ironically, as we have become a society more preoccupied with health and nutrition than any other in history, our thirty-year experiment in eating this way has made us fatter and less healthy.

We’ve been taking our medicine, but, unbeknownst to us, we’ve been swallowing it along with heaped spoonfuls of poison. So the Deuteronomy Diet comes to teach us, as Michael Pollan, author of “In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto”(Penguin Press, 2008), puts it, that we ought to “eat food,” not ingest nutrients.

For this reason, a related aspect of the Deuteronomy Diet’s command to “eat” is to eat mostly plants, just as it is one of Pollan’s eating rules. This comes from the imperative’s context. Our verse comes amid a passage describing the bounty of the Land of Israel. Just before they are told to “eat,” the ancient Israelites are told what they will (and what we ought to) be eating when they enter the Promised Land: it is “a land of wheat and barley, of grapes, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olives and dates.”

Our ancestors were taught that the ideal diet consists primarily of whole grains, fruit, and vegetables. May the Israelites eat processed food-like substances? May they eat meat? Sure, no prohibition is offered. But our tradition’s ancient wisdom favors eating real, earth-grown, whole foods.

The Jewish tradition’s guidance is corroborated by contemporary science: Whole grains, fruit, and vegetables are, without question, the best foods for humans to eat, and our diets should consist of them principally. Research has shown that vegetarians or near-vegetarians (when they mainly eat real, unprocessed, whole foods) tend to be much healthier than carnivores.

Pollan argues that our cultural norm is to eat “lots of meat and processed foods, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of everything,” the result of which has been obesity and illness. The Deuteronomy Diet offers a corrective path, guiding us to eat real food and mostly plants, helping us choose life.

Rabbi Michael Knopf is the Assistant Rabbi of Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, and a Clal - Rabbis Without Borders fellow.
jewish world

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4233 Dec 30, 2012
In Israel, no Jew should be left behind
Orthodox control over Israeli civil institutions lessens the vibrancy and diversity of what it means to be Jewish because it establishes that the Orthodox community has a monopoly on Jewish authenticity.
The question of what being Jewish means is one that has plagued our sages for centuries, eluding many contemporary scholars and spiritual leaders - myself included.
Although it is tempting to claim that Jewishness is based upon one’s adherence to the beliefs and practices mandated by the Torah, this is highly problematic, with divergent opinions postulating varying narratives on what the Torah mandates, the definition of true adherence, and what beliefs and practices we must hold..
Furthermore, if this were the sole criteria to be considered a Jew, then one who was born to Jewish parents could cease to be Jewish by not adhering to Torah-based beliefs and/or practices. And following the same logic, one could theoretically become Jewish without converting.
This rationale is rejected by most Jews, who hold that one is a Jew – like it or not – if born to Jewish parents, and there is nothing that can be done to jettison that identification (however, there is often disagreement about what constitutes Jewish parents).
Similarly, most Jews, regardless of affiliation or background, agree that one who is not born to Jewish parents can become a Jew only through some type of formal conversion process.
Therefore, it is paradoxical that many contend that in order for Israel to claim with integrity that it is a Jewish State, it must be governed “Jewishly”. This claim holds that being a Jewish State means not only having a Jewish majority ruled by a Jewish government, but also creating laws that are formed based upon Jewish religious directives.
The push for rabbinic control over civil institutions like burial, marriage, divorce, public transport, etc. is often advanced based on this argument, dictating that unless

jewish world

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4234 Dec 30, 2012
Jewish law governs these institutions, the inherent Jewish character of the state will be compromised.
This narrative is based upon the aforementioned erroneous claim that Jewishness is defined based upon practice, as opposed to the near-universal acknowledgement that it is lineage or conversion-based.
Rabbinic control of Israeli civil institutions inherently weakens the Jewish character of the Israel, with the voices calling to control these rights frequently coming from segments of the Orthodox community.
Although I respect (though often disagree with) Orthodox authorities and their understanding of Torah, ceding control over the definition of what it means to be Jewish to one (numerically small) segment of the Jewish world diminishes Israel’s ability to be a Jewish State for all Jews.
Moreover, Orthodox control over Israeli civil institutions lessens the vibrancy and diversity of what it means to be Jewish – not only in Israel, but throughout the world – because it establishes that the Orthodox community has a monopoly on Jewish authenticity.
Tragically, the ability of a small community to control the Jewishness of the state shuts many Jews out of the civil institutions that are supposed to be rightfully theirs. Truly being a Jewish State means that no Jew ought to be left behind or left out.
On the other hand, being a Jewish State, means more than simply being a state for Jews (i.e. a state with a Jewish majority designed to be a safe haven for a specific persecuted people).
Israel has provided refuge for those in need, and it should continue to do so. But being a Jewish State is not simply a question of demographics. The meaning behind being Jewish transcends tribal/ethnic definitions, for there are norms of Jewish conduct, values and ethics.
The challenge, then, is for Israel to not only be a state for Jewish people, but a country that Jews throughout the world can be proud of and that lives up to the highest of Jewish values.
These values cannot be dictated by the fiat of one segment of the Jewish population. Rather, they should be the product, as they have been throughout Jewish history, of a broad communal conversation that is simultaneously sensitive to our contemporary situation and informed by our history, canons of sacred literature and diverse culture.
Michael Knopf is the Assistant Rabbi of Har Zion Temple, a congregation near Philadelphia affiliated with Conservative/Masorti Judaism, and a recent graduate of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles.
quotes on food n health

Seri Kembangan, Malaysia

#4236 Dec 30, 2012
Some were completely cured and others found that it decreased the frequency and intensity of the migraines they did get. Magnesium glycinate may be preferable to other forms of magnesium in its treatment of migraines.

I have also found that regular use of magnesium prevents headaches. Since I started using magnesium for depression, I have not had a headache (unless I did something really stupid - for which I deserved a good headache). I have a friend that suffered from cluster headaches, the worst and most debilitating type of headache known to humans. People have committed suicide to be free of them. This person was really irritable (a clear sign of magnesium deficiency) and would not take magnesium, saying that if the best doctors in the field could not cure his headaches, why would he even listen to me? He suffered horrible cluster headaches for another year, and was suffering from some prescription drug overdoses and bad side effects.

He was in so much pain that he laid down on the floor. I did too. He knew my position on magnesium already and all he wanted to know was the dosage. I told him that if I were him, I would take, at least in the beginning, 400-mg ionizable magnesium three times a day (breakfast, mid afternoon and bedtime) totaling 1200 mg magnesium.

I told him that he would eventually get diarrhea at that dosage, and that he should back off to a more sustainable dosage in about a week. I told him to avoid the toxic forms of magnesium, which would probably make his headaches worse. I also told him to avoid man-made glutamates and cut down on calcium.

I didn't see them for several days, then, I heard a loud and very rapid knocking on my door about midnight. It was my friend and his girlfriend, and they were tripping over each other trying to be first to explosively and joyfully tell me the good news! NO MORE HEADACHES! PERIOD!!!!!!!!

Not even a minor headache! What more can I say. Chronic headaches without clear explanation (like a well deserved hangover) are just another symptom of our sick, over-medicated, magnesium deficient society. Can you imagine the financial losses that would be incurred by pharmaceutical drug pushers if the truth were known about magnesium and its critical role in health?

I suspect they would declare magnesium to be toxic and force the FDA to take it off the market. This may happen due to the Codex treaty.

Succeed! Depression is not a psychosis!

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