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Caring for the Community

Teaching Letter

Partakers of the Root

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When God had something to communicate to His people Israel, He often went to great lengths to make sure that He was being heard and understood. From the flash of lightning and crash of thunder to the mighty roaring of the wind to the whisper of the still small voice, He used whatever was necessary to get His points across. In His Word, He uses vivid images to help us truly understand, at a practical level, the instructions and concepts He is attempting to impart.

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Lessons from the Wilderness

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At a Bridges for Peace staff devotion, we were inspired by a dynamic God-Tube video about the 1992 British Olympic runner, Derek Redmond. Although Redmond had undergone eight surgeries prior to the games, he made the fastest time for the first round of the 400–meter race and also won the quarter–final. However, in the semi–final, his hamstring suddenly snapped, and he fell to the ground in excruciating pain. A stretcher was brought out to the track, and his father ran down from the stands to assist him. But instead of quitting, Redmond chose to finish the race and hobbled down the track holding on to his dad for support to the end. The entire stadium of 65,000 rose for a standing ovation. Though he didn’t win the prize he was after, he certainly taught thousands of people a lesson in endurance.

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Is Anti-Zionism the New Anti-Semitism?

“You declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely 'anti-Zionist.'  And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the    valleys of God's green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews—this is God's own truth.


Martin Luther King Jr, “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend” (August 1967)

 

“In every generation, they rise up against us to destroy us.”

Read by Jewish people worldwide in their annual Passover Haggadah (see Psalm 83:4)

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Mary: A First-century Jewish Woman

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Unlike her husband Joseph, the historical record abounds with information about this enigmatic woman. Unfortunately, however, in studying that history, it is often difficult to separate fact from fiction. Hopefully, as we carefully examine the various teachings and traditions surrounding her life, we will be able to peel away the myth and discover the reality.

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Knowing and Loving God

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 “…The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment”(Mark 12:29–30, quoted from Deut. 6:4, 5). As Christians, this ultimate command of Yeshua (Jesus) should be our goal. We should love God with our whole being. As I think about loving someone, it is clear to me that you do not love someone you don’t know. You may admire them for their fame or appearance. You may read about them and find much to be lauded. But, until you know them, you will not really love them. The more we know the Lord, the more we should love Him.

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Israel—God’s Modern-Day Miracle

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The very existence of the small democratic Jewish nation of Israel thriving amidst a sea of Islamic dictatorships is truly a modern-day miracle. Emerging from the ashes of the Shoah(the Holocaust), this ragtag group of people was to ascend to the heights in every area expertise and professionalism ranging from entertainment to cosmetology to science.

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God’s Water Ways

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I’m quite sure everyone, in some way, has been moved by water: by the mighty roar of a crashing waterfall, the vast expansiveness of the sea and its unending curling waves pounding the shore, the rush of a river over and around unmovable rocks in its winding path, or the stillness of a pastoral pool. If rocks can cry out (Luke 19:40) and trees can clap their hands (Isa. 55:12), then water can surely speak too. It doesn’t take much reflection time to hear their lessons on life. They are so simple and so apparent that even an unchurched unbeliever can hear or observe them.

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A History of Hurt

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The front desk clerk at my hotel was helping me print out a draft of the presentation I was about to give on the subject of Christian anti-Semitism. Noticing the subject matter, he wondered aloud, “Christian anti-Semitism? Now, that doesn’t make any sense.” I thought he nailed it. The topic should strike us as the worst of an oxymoron, for we should expect anything Christian to be for the Jews, not against them.

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Encountering the Real Jesus

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All over the world, people have heard of Jesus. He has more than a billion followers today. Even if you don’t believe in Jesus, you must recognize that Jesus is one of the most well-known personalities in history. I recently picked up a book by Jewish author Michael Shapiro entitled The Jewish 100, a Ranking of the Most Influential Jews of All Time.  Predictably, Moses claims the number one slot, but to my surprise, the Jewish author chose Jesus of Nazareth for the number two slot. On another occasion, an Israeli mayor had invited a BFP leadership group to his home for dinner, and he brought up the subject of Jesus, saying he was fascinated by a man who had such influence.

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Guard Your Tongue

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“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” Have you ever heard this seemingly innocent childhood taunt? Perhaps you’ve even used it yourself in response to some unkind phrase or words. Most of us, at some point in our lives, have both said something bad about another person and have had another person say something bad about us. We tend to think that what we said really didn’t hurt the other person, but we also tend to long remember the hurt that another person’s words have caused us. It seems a general truth that we judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions.

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