Archives For Faith and Life

In Hebrew the word for preaching the good news is mevaser. We have a city called Mevaseret, the female form of the verb. So, I was in the Gospel Mall today on my way to a meeting—meaning I was in the Mevaseret Mall—what better place to share Yeshua! I had to get something quickly. I was in the drug store when I noticed the woman in front of me point to her back, as if she was in pain.

Considering all the little things that happened to get me at that place, I assumed it was a divine appointment.

  • I only came to the mall because I made wrong turn.
  • Once in the mall, I decided to use the restroom first.
  • Then, seeing the long line at the counter, I went to the pharmacy hoping I could pay there, but that didn’t work.
  • I returned to the front and the women between me and the women in pain suddenly decided to go back and shop.
  • And then the women in pain, inexplicably stopped outside the pharmacy(as if God had her waiting for me to pray for her) while I paid for my item.

Clearly I was supposed to pray for her.

I ran out of the pharmacy just as she was finally walking away. “Slicha” (excuse me). “Did you tell the woman at the pharmacy that you have pain in your back?” She said yes. “Can I pray for you? I believe God will heal your back right here.”

She was a little stunned—I mean, who does that? …asking someone if you can pray for them that you don’t even know. But when you are pain.  Curious, she said I could pray.

I asked her if I could put my hand on her back and she said I could. I prayed for her in Yeshua’s name and asked her to check her back.  All the pain was gone! She was in shock. I explained that God healed her back because he wants to know her and for her to know him. She was very grateful and I asked if she could just wait a minute. I ran to the car and got my testimony booklet and Identity Theft—both in Hebrew. I wondered if she would wait.

I ran back in and there she was. She took both items and again thanked me. I explained that God loves her and the healing was just the beginning. He wants more. She had no idea what I was talking about, but now she has all the information she needs! Pray that she reads the materials and finds salvation in Yeshua.

The moral of the story is:

1) Without the healing, the woman, most likely, would not have been interested in hearing about Yeshua. When someone experiences the presence of God, or a small miracle like the healing of their back—they open their heart to hear the gospel. The woman at the well in John 4 was not interested in Yeshua until He, through the Spirit, revealed the secrets of her life. Nathaniel was not at all interested in Yeshua until Yeshua told him that He saw him in the spirit.

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Yeshua saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” (John 1:46-49)

2) God gives us the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be witnessed for him.

“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

3) We must be proactive about using them, not passive. Take a chance and you will be amazed at how God backs you up. He is more eager to use you, than you are to be used!

As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.” (Acts 9:32-35)

4) There are hurting people out there who need to the truth. We are God’s plan to reach them. There is no plan B.

In this world we are like Jesus. (1 John 4:14)

This week in Israel, we celebrate the story of Esther. It is an all too familiar theme of a world leader seeking to carry out genocide against the Jewish people. I want to look at the three central characters and learn one thing from each of them.

Esther

When Esther heard through Mordechai that Haman was plotting to kill the Jews, she balked. She was not like Mordechai, who refused to bow down to Haman. She wasn’t naturally courageous. My friend Yakov Damkani is a Mordechai. He is a fearless Israeli evangelist, who has stood for Yeshua in the face of violent attacks. But Esther was not. Like most of us, if she was going to do this—risk her life—she was going to need help from above.

I think of those four policemen who did not charge into the school while 17 teenagers were killed. That is what you are trained to do. You put your life on the line for others. In Israel, it is second nature to run to the action, rather than run from it. On dozens of occasions, civilians have stopped terrorists. Last year, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, took down and knife wielding Palestinian with his bare hands.

I don’t judge the police officers in Florida. I don’t know what I would do in the same situation. But Esther had to overcome a similar fear. Probably shaking with fear, she approached the king. Her bravery saved thousands of lives.

Mordechai

We read in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” It is true and we can see that in the life of Mordechai. If God has determined blessing for your life, no outside element can stop it—not the devil, not Haman.

Yes, there are tests and challenges in life. They are not contrary to the blessing of God, but sent to help us mature. Joseph was not ready to save the world from famine as a teenager, when he boasted he would rule over his brothers. But after being sold as a slave, falsely accused of rape and then thrown into prison, he was ready.

The trials developed deep character in Joseph—so much so, that when he was reunited with his brothers he was able to say in essence, “This was God’s plan for me, not yours,” as he forgave them. Just because you are going through a trial doesn’t mean God has forgotten you.

Look how things ended up with Mordechai. Haman hated him. He wanted to kill him. One night the king could not sleep and so he decided to have someone read him the chronicles of his reign. He discovered that Mordechai had once saved his life from an assassination plot. The next day he asked Haman, what should be done for the man that the king wants to honor. Naturally Haman was sure the king wanted to honor him. So he says:

“For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’” (Esther 6:7-9)

The king was pleased with Haman’s idea and told Haman to do it for Mordechai. Hollywood could not have written a better script. In addition, Esther was given Haman’s estate and presented Mordechai with his signet ring that he took back from Haman. If God has determined blessing on your life, then you can expect it. He will overcome the impossible to bless His children.

Haman

Fueled by pride and jealousy Haman plotted against the Jewish people. When we seek to harm others, we clog the funnel of blessing. Like Joseph, we must forgive those who hurt us.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matt. 6:14-15)

And if we seek to harm others out of fear, jealousy, anger, pride, etc., we will bring curses on ourselves.

“Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.” (Prov. 26:27)

This biblical principle states that the very vehicle that you seek to use to harm others will run you down. It is written in Esther, “when the plot came to the king’s attention, he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head.” (Esther 9:25)

The King was informed that “a pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.” The king said, “Impale him on it!” (Esther 7:9)

Conclusion

Let’s choose to be people of courage, walking in the blessing of God, forgiving all who sin against us.

 

 

 

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Whenever there is a controversial Biblical issue (e.g. timing of the rapture, signs and wonders for today, apostles and prophets, replacement theology), I ask myself one simple question: What conclusion would I come to if no one had influenced me and I simply read the Bible for myself?

If we were reading the New Covenant for the first time, would we conclude that there are no longer apostles and prophets? Most new believers, after reading the book of Acts, are eager to see God’s power.

“But, Ron, we aren’t supposed to focus on power.” Amen! That was Yeshua’s warning after the disciples came back from casting out demons and healing the sick. He chided them for being overexcited about the supernatural and potentially missing the most important thing, that their names were written in heaven.

He only lightly admonished them, and encouraged them in the supernatural. “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy.” (Luke 10:19)

Yeshua said that believers in Him will do greater works than Him (Jn. 14:12). In the book of Acts, we see believers healing the sick, raising the dead and casting out demons. If we conclude that miracles are not for today, what about demons? Do demons still oppress and possess? Is it now God’s will that we keep these demons? Or, are we called to cast them out as we see in the book of Acts?

Experience means something

The Word lines up with my experience. Experiences means something, particularly when it confirms the Word of God. (I often remind people who don’t believe in the restoration of Israel, that Israel is, indeed, restored.) I have seen blind eyes opened and the lame walk—I have seen people full of demons find freedom in Jesus and have seen these demons flee when confronted in the name of Yeshua (even in countries where the possessed/oppressed person didn’t understand English).

In our congregation, we have a woman who was oppressed by demons for decades. The moment she was immersed in water, the demons left her and she is a new person. As for healing, my administrator used to get migraines every day at 13:30. In June, US-based healing evangelist Todd White prayed for her briefly in Jerusalem, just as he was getting in the van to leave. The migraines never came back. I have personally prayed for many unbelievers in Israel to be healed and have seen the majority cured instantly. (http://roncan.net/2GLw0BB).

Apostles and Prophets

What about apostles and prophets? Do we still need prophets today? Not everything we need is written in the Bible. Paul was warned by the prophet Agabus what would happen to him in Jerusalem. Nothing Agabus said could have been understood by Paul through reading the New Testament. He needed a prophetic word. When Ananias came to Paul, he came as a prophet sent by God to tell him of his calling. Paul had a vision in Acts 16:9 about Macedonia. Joel said in the last days we would prophesy. What was the ministry of Judas and Silas, as prophets, that is not still needed today? (Acts 15:32)

Paul spends three chapters on the gifts of the Spirit. Why are such rules about prophecy even in the Bible, if it is done away with? He exhorts in 1 Cor. 14:1, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.”

Prophecy will End

“But, Ron, Paul says prophecy will end.” (1 Cor. 13:10) Yes, but when? Some say at the finish of the writing of the New Testament. Paul says that it will end when “that which is perfect comes,” when we see “face to face.” (v. 10, 12) That clearly refers to the Second Coming of Yeshua. Only then will all be revealed and there will be no need for prophecy.

More believers identify as Charismatic believers than non-Charismatic. According to a Pew research poll, there are 584,000,000 Charismatics/Pentecostals, as opposed to 285,000,000 Evangelicals.

Also, in many of these charismatic movements around the world, they firmly believe in the restoration of apostles and prophets. Some use the term “Bishop” to refer to a leader of leaders. Others use the term apostle. An apostle is a leader of leaders. Like Paul, he wants to take the gospel where it has not been heard. (Rom. 15:20)

Christianity Today uses the term “spiritual entrepreneur” about someone apostolic who births multiple ministries. Is he a pastor, a teacher, an evangelist? Could he be an apostle?

Again, if you are reading the New Covenant for the first time, what are the chances that you would come away thinking the gifts of the Spirit and apostles and prophets are no longer needed? In my opinion, very small.

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Several years ago I was preparing a message called, “A History of the Holy Spirit.” I came across this story about Billy Graham from a book called, A Personal Look at Billy Graham, the World’s Best-loved Evangelist, by Sherwood Eliot Wurt, It is one of the most powerful Billy Graham stories I have read. In 1946 he had an experience with the Holy Spirit that changed his life and ministry.

Here is an excerpt from that book:

During his visit to Britain in October 1946, a meeting was arranged at Hildenborough Hall in Kent where Billy was to be introduced to Christian leaders before his evangelistic tour of cities in England, Ireland, and Wales. He arrived in time for the closing service of a youth conference, at which the speaker was Stephen Olford.

Olford, born of missionary parents in Angola, had planned to be an engineer, but a motorcycle accident in England brought him face to face with God while he was recovering in a hospital. He attended St. Luke’s College and served as World War II chaplain to His Majesty’s Forces, who were leaving for the Dunkirk action. Later he became an itinerant evangelist.

At Hildenborough Hall Olford preached a fervent message on the text: “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the spirit.”1 When he had finished, he seated himself and rested his head in his hands. He became aware of someone nearby and looked up to see Billy Graham standing over him.

“Mr. Olford,” said Billy, “I just want to ask one question: Why didn’t you give an invitation? I would have been the first one to come forward. You’ve spoken of something that I don’t have. I want the fullness of the Holy Spirit in my life too.”

Billy told his biographer John Pollock, “I was seeking for more of God in my life, and I felt that here was a man who could help me. He had a dynamic, a thrill, an exhilaration about him I wanted to capture.”

They arranged to meet in Wales where Billy was scheduled to preach in a town named Pontypridd, eleven miles from the home of Olford’s parents . In a room in a stone hotel in Pontypridd, Stephen and Billy spent two days together. Billy told Stephen. “This is serious business. I have to learn what this is that the Lord has been teaching you.”

The first day was spent, according to Stephen, “on the Word  and on what it really means to expose oneself to the Word in the quiet time.” They spent the hours turning the pages of the Bible, studying passages and verses. Billy prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to go on without knowing this anointing You’ve  given my brother.”

That night Billy preached to a small crowd. The sermon was “ordinary,” according to Stephen, and “not the Welsh kind of preaching.” Billy gave an invitation, but the response was sparse.

The next day they met again, and Stephen began concentrating on the work of the Holy Spirit by declaring, “There is no Pentecost without Calvary,” and that we “must be broken” like the apostle Paul, who declared himself  “crucified with Christ.” He then told Billy how God completely turned his life inside out. It was, he said, “an experience of the Holy Spirit in His fullness and anointing.” He explained that “where the Spirit is truly Lord over the life, there is liberty, there is release — the sublime freedom of complete submission of oneself in a continuous state of surrender to the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.”

According to Stephen, Billy cried, “Stephen, I see it. That’s what I want.” His eyes filled with tears — something rare with Billy. It seems he had no appetite that day, only taking a sip of water occasionally. Stephen continued to expound the meaning of the filling of the Spirit in the life of a believer. He said it meant “bowing daily and hourly to the sovereignty of Christ and to the authority of the Word.”

From talking and discussing, the two men went to their knees praying and praising. It was about midafternoon on the second day that Billy began pouring out his heart “in a prayer of total dedication to the Lord.” According to Stephen, “all heaven broke loose in that dreary little room. It was like Jacob laying hold of God and crying , ‘Lord, I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me.’ ”

They came to a time of rest from prayer. Billy exclaimed, “My heart is so flooded with the Holy Spirit!”  They alternately wept and laughed, and Billy began walking back and forth across the room, saying, “I have it! I’m filled. I’m filled. This is the turning point of my life. This will revolutionize my ministry.”

Said Olford, “That night Billy was to speak at a large Baptist church nearby. When he rose to preach, he was a man absolutely anointed.” Billy’s Welsh audience seemed to sense it. They came forward to pray even before the invitation was given. Later when it was given, Olford said, “The Welsh listeners jammed the aisles. There was chaos. Practically the entire audience came rushing forward.”

Stephen drove back to his parents’ home that night, deeply moved by Billy’s new authority and strength. “When I came in the door,” he said later, “my father looked at my face and asked, ‘What on earth has happened?’

“I sat down at the kitchen table said, ‘Dad, something has happened to Billy Graham. The world is going to hear from his man. He is going to make his mark in history.’ ” The heavenly reservoir had overflowed.

A close colleague of Billy’s before Pontypridd, Chuck Templeton, heard the young preacher after that experience. Astonished, Templeton remarked that Billy’s preaching had taken on “a certain magnificence of effect…fascinating…really impressive.”

The Faulty Theology of Joy Behar

Ron Cantor —  February 17, 2018 —  Comments

This week, world renown theologian and general spewer of nonsense, Joy Behar, said that people who expect God to speak to them are mentally ill. You know, nutso—hearing voices. Well, here is how she put it.

“It is one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you…that’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.”

The Theology

Before we talk about how demeaning this is to the Vice President, let’s just examine her words theologically.

  1. Behar has no problem with your religion. “It’s one thing to speak to Jesus.”
  2. Her problem is when you actually believe that your God is real. It is mental illness if you think that Jesus is talking back to you.

So, according to Joy Behar, it is fine to pretend that God is real, as long as you don’t believe it. The God of the Bible speaks to people. He has sent his Holy Spirit to guide us. John 16:13 specifically says He will speak to us. Paul, the writer of most of the theology in the New Testament visited heaven (I Cor. 12:2), had visions (Acts 16:9), heard the voice of Jesus directly (Acts 9:4) and lived life as if God still speaks to men.

The Offense

Vice President Pence rarely defends himself against a steady onslaught of attacks against his faith. But this time was different. The insulated talk show host, who probably never has real conversations with people of faith, assumes that most of America is like her. Faith is a toy—something to entertain us, but not real. This time Behar didn’t merely attack Vice President Pence for not being willing to put himself in compromising positions, by being alone with women (something I call common sense or wisdom), but she criticized all Americans who believe that God plays a role in our lives and destiny.

Pence defended people of faith.

“ABC has a program that compared my Christianity to mental illness. And I liked to laugh about it, but I really can’t.

“To have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong. It is simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance…It is an insult not to me, but to the vast majority of the American people…My faith sustains me in all that I do…

“It demonstrates how out of touch some in the mainstream media are with the faith and values of the American people that you could have a major network like ABC permit a forum for invective against religion like that.”

The Faux Apology/Excuse

Taking a page out of disgraced comedian Kathy Griffin’s book, she turned this into an attack on comedians. When Griffin committed career suicide by holding up the supposed bloody, decapitated head of President Trump, she sought to say that it was the Trump’s family that was attacking her and that it was only because she is female. “Cut the crap, this wouldn’t be happening to a guy — this is a woman thing.”

Behar too, takes no responsibility for the outrage against her. Instead, she sought to justify her comments, while backtracking, saying she doesn’t think all Christians are mentally ill. Thanks Joy.

“That would make me mentally ill since I’m a Christian myself; it would make my mother mentally ill, my mother, my aunts, my daughter, of course not. I don’t mean to offend people, but apparently, I keep doing it. It was a joke. Comedians are in danger these days.”

First, of course she is not a Christian in the biblical sense. She is a cultural Christian—in name only. She is pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, pro-transgender, pro-everything-not-biblical. Secondly, instead of apologizing for going too far in her comedy (by the way, The View is not primarily satire, but political) she says, “Comedians are in danger these days.” Yes, we should not be offended when she equates our relationship with God as being mentally unstable. It’s a joke! You are hilarious Joy!

This is the same left, that crawls into the fetal position at any perceived micro-aggression.

And she felt the need to say the stupidest, most manipulative thing: “We also have a first amendment in this country.” She takes advantage of her naïve audience by pretending (I hope she was only pretending!) that this is a free speech issue.

Or is Joy Behar suggesting that the first amendment guarantees everyone a million dollar a year job to spout their views on politics and religion, with no repercussions? No one has ever threatened Joy Behar’s freedom to declare her offensive views. She seems to think, if offended believers respond to her hurtful words, it is somehow unconstitutional? So, in her world, the first amendment guarantees her freedom of speech, but not mine or yours, if we want to respond.

Megan McCain got it right before Whoopi Goldberg shut her down:

“As a Republican, I feel like liberals say we need to be tolerant of everyone, we need to be tolerant of everyone except pro-lifers, except Trump supporters, except gun owners, except for everyone in the red and middle of the country.”

Mic drop for Ms. McCain.