Over the years I have heard many people tell of their great calling to be an apostle, prophet or to save gazillions through their ministry. Most of these never pan out. Those who are called to such things don’t speak about them or have them emblazoned on their business cards.

Having said that, I saw something recently in 1 Samuel that blew me away. There is the calling and then, there is the commissioning. David was called when he was a boy, but he didn’t become king until much later. Same with King Saul.

Young Saul

How old do you think Saul was when he went looking for his father’s donkeys? This is important. If you read the story in 1 Samuel 9, the impression you get is that he was a young man, not married ­– maybe 20 years old or even less. But when he is crowned king, he is 30.

After unsuccessfully searching for his donkeys, his servant told him of Samuel the prophet. Saul doesn’t even know who Samuel is and he is the leader of Israel. When Saul approaches him, he doesn’t realize that he is talking to Samuel.

Saul approached Samuel in the gateway and asked, “Would you please tell me where the seer’s house is?”

“I am the seer,” Samuel replied. (1 Samuel 9:18-19)

He tells him he is going to be king and Saul is stunned. When Samuel calls all Israel to proclaim Saul as king, what does he do? He hides!

And the Lord said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.” (1 Sam. 10:22)

This is not a man, but a boy. He is proclaimed king, but he doesn’t go and build a palace. What does he do? He goes home. He has no idea what to do as the new teen king. And many did not receive him as king:

Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched. But some scoundrels said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent. (1 Kings 10: 26-27)

Saul Receives a Warrior’s Anointing

In the next chapter, we find Saul working in his fields. Most people think this was the next day. I think it was years later, because now he is 30 (1 Sam 13:1). Some Israelites were about to be conquered by Nahash, the Ammonite. The Israelites from Jabesh Gilead sent word to the rest of Israel, hoping that someone would help them.

When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept aloud. Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, “What is wrong with everyone? Why are they weeping?” Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said.

When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger. (1 Sam. 11:4-6)

Saul received the calling to be king some years ago, but now the anointing to be Israel’s leader comes upon him. He takes charge and leads the rescue, routing the enemy completely. Now, suddenly, everyone in Israel is willing to follow Saul as king.

So it appears that after he was declared king, he just continued to live as a farmer. But suddenly the Spirit of God comes on him and he leads, as a leader should. When the people saw the “fruit of his ministry” they, with one voice, received him as King.

Too many in ministry are concerned with titles. Yeshua is concerned with fruit. Yeshua taught us not to focus on titles.

“[Religious leaders] love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. (Matt. 23:7-10)

Yeshua often spoke hyperbolically—like when he said to hate your family or gouge out your eye. He exaggerated to make a point. Here, I don’t think He is saying titles are evil, but if you get an ego or pride boost out of your title, then you are not in a healthy place.

“Are You A Prophet?”

Many years ago in Bible college, I asked the great teacher David Pawson, after he preached a message that left me undone, “Are you a prophet?” He responded, “That is not for me to say, but for you.” In other words, let your fruit speak for itself. I submit to Asher Intrater as my apostolic leader. He doesn’t run around proclaiming to everyone that he is an apostle. It is clear from the fruit—he has birthed several successful ministries, raised up leaders to take over those ministries, leads family of ministries and congregations in Tikkun Global, has an amazing prophetic teaching gift—that is an apostle. But no one calls him Apostle Asher and he would correct him or her if they did.

Your fruit will prove your calling—not your business card, website or Facebook page. The gift of God will open every door. It is not the calling that makes the man, but rather walking it out and bearing fruit.

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Why do we go through trials? Why does God allow difficulty to get in the way of blessing and promotion? The answer is simple. Trials purify our motives and keep us humble. That humility enables us to handle blessing and promotion without becoming proud. It causes us to use His abundance for the kingdom and not for ourselves.

In 1 Samuel 1, we find several characters, representative of different people. There is a man named Elkanah. He had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah was blessed with children, while Hannah’s womb remained closed. Hannah was a good wife and Elkanah loved her (v. 5). Peninnah was petty and proud and mocked Hannah for being barren.

Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. (1 Sam. 1:6-7)

In this story, you are Hannah. You love the Lord, but there is a trial in your life. You don’t know why. It confounds you that God would allow this. You long for this trial to be over, but yet it persists.

Elkanah represents the Father and His unconditional love. In the Middle East, at that time (and today in many places), the inability to produce children, particularly a male heir, would be a reason for rejection. Yet, Elkanah expresses his love for Hannah.

Peninnah represents every mocking voice, from the Devil to your neighbor to maybe even your best friend. These are the ones who tell you, “You are barren because of your sin—God must not like you—there is a curse on you.” Sometimes, we find these people even in our own congregation—sometimes they are leaders. They lack empathy and glory in the fact that they are more blessed than you.

Now, stay with me, because your breakthrough is connected to how this story ends. There is a very powerful principle coming.

The family goes to the tabernacle in Shiloh. Since it says that Peninnah had sons and daughters, it is clear that Hannah had endured this ridicule for many years. Finally, we are at the climax. Hannah comes to her Tipping Point.

A tipping point is the point at which an issue, idea, product, etc., crosses a certain threshold and gains significant momentum, triggered by some minor factor or change.

In the life of Hannah, her tipping point was when the pressure and humiliation pushed her too far. At the tabernacle, she cries out to the Lord.

In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” (1 Sam. 1:10-11)

You see, when Hannah finally reached this point of full surrender to God and His will was when the blessing was released. The only thing holding back the blessing, to that point, was not being fully surrendered. I cannot tell you what her motivations were for having children:

  • So people would respect her.
  • So people wouldn’t gossip about her.
  • To please her husband.
  • To stop the ridicule.
  • To be a mother.

But God was seeking to raise up a prophet. He simply needed Hannah to be willing to give Samuel to Him. And this is what holds back the blessing in our lives many times—that our character is not sufficiently developed to handle blessing or promotion.

I am 53-years-old and I have a television show on GOD TV. Why did God have to wait until I was in my fifties to put me on TV? Very simply, I obviously didn’t have the character to handle it when I was younger. But you go through “stuff” and you realize how weak you are. The trials of life humble you—they break you—like proud Peter who was willing to “die with the Lord,” finds himself denying he even knew Him. He had to go through that humbling situation to be ready to preach to the Jews of Jerusalem on Shavuot (Pentecost).

If the promises of God are not appearing in your life, like you think they should, ask the Lord about your motives for wanting the promise. Can you handle the blessing/promotion? Or would it cause pride?

Hannah came to the place where she was willing to use the blessing for the Kingdom, and not for herself. Shortly thereafter, Elkanah made love to his wife and “the Lord remembered her.” She had a boy and, according to her vow, brought him to the tabernacle to serve the Lord.

Next, she prays a prophetic prayer:

The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. (1 Sam. 2:6-8)

In other words:  God is fully in control! There is nothing that has happened in your life that God has not seen or allowed. I am not saying that everything that happens is His will. But He allows trials to come to perfect us, so He can bless us. James urges us to rejoice in trials because:

…the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:3-4)

Don’t give up my friend. God has not forgotten you. In fact, He has you right where He wants you. He is setting you up for blessing!

And don’t feel bad for Hannah, that she had to give up her one and only son. She saw Samuel every year and

“the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.” (`1 Samuel 2:21)

 

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Three interesting things have happened or are happening, in regards to Iran.

1. Pro-Israel Iranians

Israeli media recently reported on a story of pro-Israel Iranians who were in Russia for the World Cup. An Israeli reporter was interviewing fans of both the Moroccan and Iranian teams before Iran’s win over the North African state. To his shock, one Iranian fan said:
“What you saw in there—those are the people of Iran. Not what you see on T.V. We love you and I know you love us.”
Another fan said, in broken English, that he is hoping for peace between all nations, saying it doesn’t matter where you are from. A third fan expressed his love for Israel saying, “my best friends are Israeli.” You can watch the clip here. The commentator is speaking Hebrew, but the interviews are in English.

2. Bibi’s video

Imagine the Ayatollahs of Iran congratulating Israel on a sport victory. Normally, it is Iranian Judo participants who (because of pressure) won’t even participate in a match against an Israeli. However, Prime Minister Netanyahu took to YouTube to congratulate the Iranian people on their performance in the World Cup, noting the difference between the radical leadership of the country and the citizens of Iran.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQdX1kpcArI

3. New protests

Iranians are protesting in the streets against their government. We must hold them up in prayer. They are tired of their government wasting billions of their dollars on regional proxy wars in Yemen and Syria, all for the sake of Islam.
Iranians have been dealing with out of control inflation and unemployment that has gone through the roof, leaving over 30 percent of their millennial population out of work. They have given millions to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, to the Yemini rebels and to Hezbollah, who is taking more and more control over Lebanon.
More shocking are the chants of “Death to Palestine,” “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon,” and “Leave Syria and think of us.” Other shocking chants include, “We don’t want the ayatollahs” and “Death to the dictator.” These Iranians are risking their lives for freedom.
Of course, all this strain is part of President Trump’s strategy of putting extreme pressure on the Islamic regime through crippling sanctions. Iranian currency has lost 50% of its worth in the last six months. But the people are not mad at Trump; they are mad at their irresponsible government. It was reported that Iran has killed four protesters.

Humanitarian catastrophe on the Syrian Border

Syrians run to Israeli Border

As the Russian-backed Assad forces in Syria roll from town to town, Syrians are fleeing to the border with Israel. How ironic that a nation of people that has been told all their lives that Israeli is filled with savage Jewish imperialists, now see Israel as their only refuge from the crazed dictator. They have set up a tent city in the Golan Heights in the demilitarized zone between the countries, hoping the Syrian forces will respect the UN cease fire zone. The number, which is growing each day, is up to 270,000. The number has doubled in a just a few days!

The Syrian rebel forces have built a good relationship with the Israeli Defense forces over the years and hope that if push comes to shove, Israel will protect them.

Israel Takes in Six Injured

The IDF rescued six injured Syrians. These are orphaned children—orphaned because their parents and siblings have been killed by the Assad’s forces.
“In a unique and complex medical operation by the Bashan Division, six moderately to severely injured Syrian were received and treated last Friday night, including four children. According to reports from the Syrian side, the families of the children were killed in bombings during the fighting in Syria, and the children were rushed to Israel to receive treatment.” —Israeli Defense Forces

Humanitarian Aid

The IDF just sent food and supplies into Syria to help these refugees.
“The operation lasted ‘several hours,’ the army said, in which some 300 tents, 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, three pallets of medical supplies, and 30 tons of clothes and shoes were delivered to the refugees.” —TimesofIsrael

Let’s be in prayer…

  • That Israel fulfill her destiny to be a blessing to the nations.
  • That God would send angels to protect the Syrians on the Israeli border.
  • That the IDF would have wisdom in how they respond to Iranian/Syrian aggression.
  • That the Iranian revolution would lead to freedom and revival in the Islamic stronghold.
  • For the safety of the Israeli Jewish and Druze communities on the Golan Heights.

How your Gift will Impact Israel

When you support Messiah’s Mandate, you are supporting Tiferet Yeshua congregation in Tel Aviv that is sharing the good news of Yeshua, discipling Israeli believer, raising up leaders and serving the needy. We continue to see growth as God fulfills his promise to remove the blinders from the Jewish people in the end-times. Just go to www.standwithmmi.org and take your stand for Israel. Let’s believe for revival in the Israel and the whole Middle East!
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