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A Ray of Hope

Teaching Letter

The Human Side of the Conflict

Mark Twain said, “If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed.” This is so true for the most complex societal issue of our time, commonly called {image_2}“The Israeli–Palestinian Conflict.” We are bombarded daily with phrases like cycle of violence, occupation, two-state solution, Palestinian refugees, illegal settlements, roadblocks to peace, Palestinian territory, and apartheid wall in the mainstream news media. Without an informed context in which to interpret these terms, the average news recipient remains woefully ill informed and swayed toward an international media bias against Israel. 

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Pray Without Ceasing

One of the few scriptural principles agreed upon by Christians regardless of denomination is the importance of prayer. Christianity and Judaism share the belief that prayer is a necessity and a privilege as well. Both religions are based on a relationship {image_2}with the God of the Universe and recognize that communication is critical to its success. And both acknowledge that such communication would be difficult, if not impossible, without the foundational instructions found in the Bible.

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God Is Good—All the Time!

I love the song “God is Good” written by Don Moen:

God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good all the time

© 1995 Integrity's Hosanna! Music{image_2}
 

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Serapis—Divine Healer or Counterfeit God?

In both Jewish and Christian belief, one important characteristic of God is that He is a healer who can restore an individual’s body and sustain health. Common to each faith is the belief that life is a precious gift, as man is created in the image of God to worship Him, give Him glory, take pleasure in His creation, and to walk in such a way that he is a delight to God. To Jews and Christians, life is seen as the vehicle for delivering praise to God because He is a God of life and covenant.

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The Psalm of Psalms

A recent headline in a newspaper from the eastern United States read, “Why Weren’t We More Prepared?” The article discussed the calamity that had befallen that part of the world in the path of Hurricane Sandy, bemoaning the fact that people just weren’t ready to deal with such a horrific storm. {image_2}Neither, the article claimed, were emergency services and power companies prepared to help promptly in the aftermath.

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The Land-Promise in the New Testament

The covenantal land-promise of the Older Testament (OT)—God’s promise of the land of Israel to Abraham—continues in the Newer Testament (NT), where it is implicit, if not explicit. This is self-evident; the burden of proof is on the critic who feels the need to delegitimize Israel’s claim to the land. {image_2}

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The Fruit of the Spirit

In this teaching letter, I would like to take a look at the fruit of the Spirit from a Hebraic point of view. Most of us read our Bibles with our own cultural understandings overlaid on the Scripture. {image_2}We are influenced by our culture, language, experiences, and nearly 2,000 years of Christian theology and tradition. I wonder, what did these words mean to the Apostle Paul?

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Ruth, Mother of Royalty

Ruth, one of the most beloved books in all of Scripture, stands out as the story of a remarkable Gentile woman whose love and loyalty elevate her to the esteemed position of “mother of royalty” in Israel’s Messianic lineage. {image_2}Jewish history tells us it is the account of a young maiden, of questionable heritage herself, whose virtue and kindness compel her to cast her lot with her widowed mother-in-law, leave behind her own claim to royalty, and embrace a God whose people were the longtime enemies of the kingdom her father ruled.

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The Bible through the Lens of the Land

{image_1}When you look back over your life, there are always places, people, and memories that stand out—some for positive reasons and others because they caused pain. Then there is the special place we call “home.” For this teaching letter, I have chosen three places and events that I think would be strong memories for Yeshua (Jesus): Nazareth, where He grew up and where He was later rejected; the Sea of Galilee, where He walked on the water; and Caesarea Philippi, where He chose to make one of the most important prophetic proclamations of His life.

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For the Love of Torah

Oh, that we loved the Word of God more! The psalmist writes with passion: “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver…Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119: 72, 97). {image_2}Unfortunately, the Church comes up short, according to several polls done concerning daily Bible reading. One poll found that those who read the Bible daily only read it less than eight minutes a day!

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