Thursday, October 2, 2014

Review of "Son of Hamas" by Mosab Hassan Yousef

As a Bible-believing Christian I have a genuine love for the nation of Israel. This love stems from a greater love for the God of Israel and His Son Jesus Christ. This love is not blind and I fully realize it is not a perfect nation nor are its people perfect. When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I admittedly lean more to the Israeli side of the issue. This book has given me a greater understanding and a broader perspective. It provides a glimpse behind the veil of media coverage into the reality of the struggle.

The story of Mosab Hassan Yousef is unique in that, not only is a Palestinian, he is the son of one of the founding members of Hamas. He writes with candidness realizing the weight of what he shares in his story. His is intertwined with the history of the decades old conflict. He provides the reader with the vantage point of a family inextricably caught up in the story struggle, corruption, sorrow, poverty, power, anger, love, hate, and so much more.

The greatest part of the story is the discovery and acceptance of the truth about Jesus Christ. In the midst of a war of hate between two peoples, the Author of love and peace came to dwell in the heart of a confused, bitter young man. His story is one that transcends the chaos he grew up in. The story within the story is how the God of Israel reached out to a hater of the Jews and saved him. I highly recommend reading this book and continuing to follow the story of Mosab Hassan Yousef.

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishing for the purpose of review.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Book Review: "The Israeli Solution" by Caroline Glick

When watching, listening to, or reading news, it doesn't take long for the subject of Middle East peace to come up. Opinion pieces, blogs, news sites, magazine and newspaper stories all cover the ongoing saga of the Israeli and Palestinian people. Most are brief and overtly biased offering nothing more than opinion. Caroline Glick provides something of substance regarding this difficult issue in her book "The Israeli Solution". 

The premise of her book is to offer a different perspective and solution to the decades old issue of peace in the Holy Land. In order to do this she provides a well researched and honest history of the events and people connected to the "peace process". The backstory alone is eye opening to say the least. She also spends several chapters outlining the policies of Western powers who have tried to solve the conflict. In this she demonstrates the evolution of foreign policy in its being "dumbed down" and the reasons behind it. 

Perhaps the most compelling support for her proposed solution is in the people themselves. The historical, legal, and religious right of the Jews as well as the social and political betterment of the Palestinian situation is at the heart of her "one-state plan" for peace. She contrasts the conditions of Jews and Israeli Arabs in a free society to those of Palestinian Arabs under the rule of a terrorist regime to make her case.

"The Israeli Solution" is definitely worth the time and should be required reading for politicians connected to the peace process. It is an informative, enlightening gut punch to the modern "peace process". 

I received this book free from the publisher for review purposes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

keeping the charge

"But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me" - Ezekiel 44.15

Ezekiel prophesied to the Israelites held captive in the land of Babylon who had turned from God, rejecting His Word, and refused to obey His Law. Sadly, the masses were helped along in their rebellion by the religious and spiritual leaders, the priestly line of Levi. These were supposed to be a wall of protection, a preserving agent, against straying from the one true God to follow after the many false gods worshiped by Israel's pagan neighbors. Instead, most forsook the heart and substance of worshipping God in exchange for a hollowed out form of godliness stuffed with the perverse pagan worship of idols, which often involved sexual immorality. To these "who went far from Me when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they" God said, "shall bear their iniquity" (Ezekiel 44.10)

In His letter to the church of Thyatira, Jesus called them out for allowing "that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols" (Revelation 2.20). Much like the priests of Ezekiel's time, the spiritual leaders of the church of Thyatira were guilty of allowing heretical doctrine and a form of worship within the church that pushed physical, as well as spiritual, fornication. Without repentance, these in the church of Thyatira would be held accountable for their wrongdoing and enter the Great Tribulation.

Much like Israel and the church of Thyatira, the Church today is turning away from the one true God to chase after false gods. Among them are the gods of sex and pleasure. And like the days of Israel's fall and Thyatira's corruption, the Church today is being helped along by many of its religious and spiritual leaders. Sexual immorality is being taught from pulpits by men who deny God's word while contorting it to justify their own wicked and perverse fantasies. Wrapped in the paper of God's design for marriage is a package that holds a rotting carcass of fleshly lust, lies, and bondage. Although wildly popular and often respected, these men, too "shall bear their iniquity".

God's word is clear when it comes to the purity and holiness of the Church. We must first understand the relationship the Church has with Jesus Christ as His Bride (Revelation 21.9). To introduce and promote sexual immorality and sexual deviance in the Church is to defile and corrupt Jesus' Bride. Woe to the person who does so! Paul warned the Ephesian believers to not let fornication, uncleanness, filthiness, foolish talking, or coarse jesting even be named among them (Ephesians 5.1-7) because it is "not fitting" for His holy people. To the Philippians he wrote, "whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things" (Philippians 4.8-9). Peter, quoting Leviticus, said, "but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written 'Be holy, for I am holy'" (1 Peter 1.15,16). 

Here is the believer's charge to keep: "walk worthy of the calling with which you were called" (Ephesians 4.1).

As members of the body and Bride of Christ we have been called to holiness, purity, and righteousness because He who has called us is all of these. In Ezekiel's day the sons of Zadok, also priests of the Levitical line, were faithful and "kept the charge"watching and guarding the sanctuary of the temple to keep it pure. The sanctuary was the place where God's presence dwelt. We are told that our bodies are now the temple of God, His holy sanctuary (1 Corinthians 3.16; 6.19; 2 Corinthians 6.16), and we are to keep charge, watching and guarding it. Zadok's sons were rewarded with closeness to God Himself. Their promised ministry was unto God Himself. As mentioned, we have been given a similar charge and the reward for our faithfulness to keep this charge is intimacy with Him and crowns of righteousness, life, and glory. In these last days "watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16.13)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: "The Holy Land Key"

As a pastor I often look for books as a resource for personal study as well as those I can recommend to others for their spiritual growth. Pastor Ray Bentley has written such a book. The understanding of the prophecies of Scripture concerning the end times can often be daunting. Bentley's approach provides insights to the study of these ancient prophecies.
He begins with key precepts to studying prophecy so that each student of Scripture begins at a common starting point. He introduces the reader to a modern day prophet, a foundation stone of modern day Israel, and a people straight out of the pages of Bible prophecy. Bentley helps the reader to understand that the "key" to prophecy is Israel and the importance of reading the words of the ancient prophets through the lives of God's people in Israel.
It is clear that Pastor Bentley has the heart of a teacher. His writing is casual and clear in order to bring the reader to a better understanding of his topic. This is a book I will keep in my personal study library as well as recommend to others.
I received this book for free fromBlogging for Books for this review. 
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

separated by sin

"But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." ~ Isaiah 59.2

In Isaiah's day the Israelites complained that God could not hear their prayers and petitions. They faced adversaries from without and troubles from within, but God did nothing to help them. Fasting was ordered and fervent prayers were offered in an unsuccessful attempt to stir Him. Grumbling and complaint rose ever louder against the Lord in those days. They cried out "Why have we fasted and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?" (58.3) The perception was that He could not respond to their demands. The reality was that He would not.

For the believer, sin undealt with is a barrier in the relationship with God. Whether it is willful negligence or unknown oversight, sin that has yet to be repented of hinders the prayers and worship of the believer. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made the point that a person should press the pause button when offering a sacrifice if he remembers an issue between himself and a brother (Matthew 5.23-26). In other words, if they sinned against another they were to make that relationship right by confessing their sin and asking forgiveness from the brother sinned against. Why? so the sacrifice would be accepted. The psalmist wrote, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (Psalm 66.18). Although it is not an issue of salvation for the believer, sin can separate us from the blessing, benefit, and protection of God as well as the relationship with God; however, the believer will never be separated from God Himself.

The unbeliever who refuses to acknowledge sin, repent and receive forgiveness will not only miss out on the blessing, benefit, and protection of God, but will be separated from God Himself! The only prayer the Lord will hear from the unbeliever is one of broken surrender in repentance and seeking the forgiveness He offers through Jesus Christ.

Believer, ask God to reveal any unknown and/or unrepented of sin. When the light of the Holy Spirit shines in the dark recesses of your soul be willing to confess, repent and ask forgiveness from God and anyone you might have sinned against. Then walk by faith in the joy of a restored relationship with your Father in heaven.

Unbeliever, confess, repent of, and ask forgiveness for your sin. Receive from Jesus Christ the cleansing that comes by faith through His shed blood and experience the new life given by the Holy Spirit. You, too, will then experience the joy of a relationship with the One who made and purchased you at His greatest expense.

Interesting Article on the Current Church Growth Movement

Why I Oppose The Church Growth Movement

This is an interesting opinion piece that is worth the read.