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"I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known your faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 89:1 This could only be written by someone who has known God personally. He is so moved by the faithfulness of God that he bursts forth singing of his tender mercies. This is not "religion," this is personal relationship, it's the "born again" life, and it is what all true believers experience. "Religion" on the other hand, is a system commanding what we must do for God, but relationship, or covenant, is what God does for us. God is not pleased with religious rituals, in fact they are a stench in his nostrils. Man seeks to please God, or to impress God, or to appease God with something "religious," but God calls this profane. Religious rituals make man FEEL holy, but true holiness is the man bowed before the Lord in humility and repentance, waiting on his mercy and seeking his will. When God reveals his will to a believer, it will never consist of some religious ritual. It will not consist of lighting a candle or trusting in a statue or a medal, no, when God reveals his will to a believer it will consist of repentance. When the man or woman's life is surrendered to God, he will experience the touch of God in his life in such a way that it will cause him to sing of God's mercies forever and make known his faithfulness as he testifies to all of what God has done. "Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in FALSE HUMILITY...: Colossians 2:18 Religious ritual is false humility. Priests wearing silks and satins and parading with a cross or a statue is the picture of false religion. The next time you observe such "holy" occasions, look at the priests and bishops parading in their regalia and know you are looking at false religion; many of those parading as such are not even saved. vs 23: "These things indeed have an APPEARANCE of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of NO VALUE against the indulgence of the flesh." No, the Lord is not impressed with man's religion, he is looking for a surrendered heart. Rosaries and statues and candles and processions - these are an abomination to him because by doing these things man assures himself that he's doing something "holy," ...but it's FAR from holiness, in fact it's actually idolatry. Man has sanctified the profane and profaned the sacred. If you want to please God, bow your heart before him. Bring down your pride. Pride is the greatest of all sins. Confess your sin. Open your heart to whatever he will say to you. And above all, immerse yourself daily in his Word, the Bible. “But on THIS one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at my Word." Isaiah 66:2 Put away the profane religious rituals, flee from them. God doesn't want a rosary, he wants a heart. You can't replace repentance with rosaries and statues, candles and medals. You can't bring your offering to God YOUR WAY, that is the sin of Cain who did not come to God with the lamb sacrifice but with the works of his hands - and he was rejected. You have to come to God HIS way, and to know his way, you have to know his Word. He is looking for those who will know the TRUTH, and who will worship him in spirit, and in truth. "God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and TRUTH." John 4:24

"How the faithful city has become a harlot!" Isaiah 1:21 Most of you know of my love for Israel. I spent years there. But there is a danger I must warn of. In this generation God has revealed to many that these are "the last days." He has showed us markers, fulfilled prophecies that signal to us that this is the last generation before his coming. Many have been delighted by the ancient prophecies being fulfilled right before our eyes, but that delight has caused some to look at Israel through rose-colored glasses. Some of the love for Israel is based on an incorrect understanding of the true condition of the state of Israel today. Many overlook the fact that Israel is unregenerate at this point, denying the Messiah who gave his life for them. Most of their great men were totally secular, unaware even of the Word of God which has so much to say about it." Why is that? God has brought Israel back to the land of their fathers, and it is important to understand that first of all it is GOD who has brought them back! It is not that they are so great, it is that the God of Israel is so great. One day I had the opportunity to hear Yitzak Rabin who was the prime minister at the time, speak at a convention I attended in Jerusalem. I was appalled at what I heard. He spoke a very long time on the praises of the Israeli armed forces, bragging how great Israel's army was; not once, not one time - did he make any reference to the God who rebirthed Israel. And this was a religious convention no less! I was appalled. I could hardly believe what I was hearing, because till that point I too was looking at Israel through rose-colored glasses. Rabin's lack of even the remotest mention of the God of Israel really gave me a wake-up call. It was very sobering, and it brought me to an honest assessment of the state of Israel today. Israel today is for the most part, unregenerate, secular, and ungodly. And one important note ...shortly after that day ...Rabin was assassinated. "I am Yahweh, that is my name; AND MY GLORY I WILL NOT GIVE TO ANOTHER..." Isaiah 42:8 The passage in Ezekiel 37 that details the rebirth of Israel makes it clear that God deliberately brings them back to the land in a state of unbelief -- LEST Israel think their rebirth was their own doing - LEST Israel take the praise upon themselves for this tremendous miracle. In Ezekiel, the Lord speaks of Israel in the diaspora as being "dry bones." He goes on to say that HE will raise up those dry bones and bring them to the land of Israel, but that there will be "no breath in them" at this stage of the restoration, they have not yet received the Holy Spirit of God. "So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; BUT THERE WAS NO BREATH IN THEM." Ezekiel 37:7-8 Believers, let us look with hearts of praise at the restoration of Israel as an act of God, one in which he purposefully brings them back in a state of unbelief so that there will never be a question of where the praise is due. “Therefore say to the Israelites,‘ this is what the Sovereign Lord says: 'It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy Name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.'" Ezekiel 36:22-23 This is in no way a criticism against them; indeed, I probably more than most share that love for Israel and the Jewish people. However I also am very aware of their present state of unbelief and their great pride which the Lord is going to bring down before he reveals himself to them. Let us be very ready to focus on the God of Israel who is doing this great miracle as he said he would in so many passages of Scripture. Look at Joseph, a "Type": The story of Joseph in Egypt is a very great "type" of this process of restoration. Joseph's brothers, the sons of Jacob, rejected Joseph, threw him in a pit, left him for dead, then sold him as a slave in a caravan going to Egypt. Years later there was a famine in Israel and the sons of Jacob were forced to go down to Egypt to buy food. What they didn't know though, was that the man in charge of the food supply was none other than Joseph who had risen to prominence and was second in command only to Pharoah. Before Joseph revealed to them who he was, he put them through some rigorous times and brought them to repentance for having rejected him. The passage that shows how Joseph finally revealed himself to them is among the most emotional, heart-rending passages in the entire Bible. Read it in Genesis 45:1-8 to see the "type" of Yeshua (Jesus) revealing himself to his people Israel when he comes. Be sure to bring some tissues as you read it. Conclusion: So what should be our focus in all of this? First, the focus has to shift from the glory of the Israel story to the glory of the God of the Israel story. We need to take off the rose-colored glasses. And then once we understand the real picture, let us "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6). And pray for the eyes of all Jewish people be opened to the story God himself is unfolding. Pray for their repentance. Pray, pray and pray some more, until this wonderful story comes to its entire fruition. MORE: God's Covenant With Israel

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may they prosper who love you." Psalm 122:6 It is easy to miss some of the promises of God hidden away in his Word. In this one for example, God promises to prosper those who pray for the peace of Jerusalem. If you have prayed for the peace of Jerusalem, if you have served Jerusalem in any way, ask the Lord to honor this promise for you. When God called Abraham, the father of the Jews, he made another promise which all should hear and all should heed. He said to him: "I will bless those who bless you..." Genesis 12:3 But he added this to it: "...and I will curse him who curses you." That pretty much settles the fate of the "Palestinians" and all who hate and vow to destroy Israel. A picture of a current-day example of this is what happened to Great Britain after she turned against Israel. Great Britain was greatly used by God to begin the restoration of the Jews back to the land of their fathers, and of Great Britain it was said, "The sun never sets on the British Empire," because the British Empire including her colonies was so huge worldwide. It covered so many parts of the earth that it was always daylight somewhere in the British Empire. But her fortunes turned when Britain turned against Israel in the 1940's and her greatness waned from then on, her glory faded - not only in the loss of her colonies, but even now as the monarchy has been steeped in scandals, bringing shame again and again on the whole royal family. America on the other hand, has been a staunch ally of Israel, and America is the most prosperous country on the face of the earth. Now that the Word of God is banned in so many places in America, she will lose her greatness and the coming judgments will be far worse than what has happened to other countries because America has no excuse. But the promise remains for those in any place on the face of the earth - that the blessing of God will come upon anyone who blesses Jerusalem and prays for her peace. Yes, "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" - and be blessed by the most high God. Let's take a deeper look into what the "peace of Jerusalem" means. Ever since the rebirth of Israel in 1948, the world has hated her. Daily, Israel stands in danger of rocket attacks, terrorism, and war. And the Word of God shows that there will be more wars ahead for Israel. Her enemies, though they are unable to destroy her because God guarantees her survival, yet they are able to do great damage to her and will come close to their goal of "wiping Israel off the face of the earth." So how then are we to pray for her peace, knowing great troubles are coming for her? Here's a great revelation taken from God's Word concerning Israel: she will only know peace when the Prince of Peace comes because: THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM IS A PERSON! So in effect, when you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, you're praying for the coming of her Messiah! And anyone who prays this, will truly be greatly blessed.