For most Christians, the word “salvation” means the salvation of the soul from the wrath of God through the death and resurrection of Christ. However, with a careful reading of Scriptures we find that it is used of other things as well, such as being saved from physical drowning (Acts 27:31, Hebrews 11:7). We also discover that salvation has different shades of meaning depending on the context.
First, it can mean salvation from the penalty of sin, referring to God’s once-for-all deliverance of believers from spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God (Rom 6:23). Christ’s finished work accomplished this deliverance from God’s wrath. “Since therefore we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:9). Thus, all believers in Christ have been saved. It refers to a past action.Read More →
It was a young man Zephaniah, who suggested to me that I try doing Instagram reels. Successful reels focus on a niche subject. I told him I would prayerfully consider his suggestion. As I prayed about it over a few weeks, I noticed an increase in faith and courage, an increase in desire and peace. Even inspiration and ideas were formed spontaneously.
I thought the one minute limitation for reels is actually so limiting. What can you say in one minute? Nothing substantial I’m sure. But this is a generation conditioned by Tik Tok to receive byte-sized content. People generally do not have patience for long talks. They are used to receiving content in brief, one minute sound bites. Usually it’s amusing or informative or seductive. I find these impossible to create. I am not humourous, nor detailed, and am not well-endowed!!
What can I talk about in one minute? – I do 40 minutes sermons! What niche subject do I talk about – I have no idea! I have set myself up for failure, with no end in mind, even before I have begun.
How do you make these reels? I thought I could begin it by faith, to begin small. If I use whatever skills and content I have, I will grow. It’s like if I start with five loaves and two fish, and put it in God’s hands, God can multiply it and feed the multitude. I’ll just do whatever and start with wherever I am. Talk about whatever I desire, or whatever I sense, or whatever inspirational insights that pop up.
I decided to start. I cannot figure out a lot of technical stuff, like how to embed Instagram reels into my blog site. Therefore, here is a sample of my feeble, amateurish start in this reel link HERE. Please do support me by liking, subscribing, and commenting. Most of all, pray for the reels I create to cheer up, build up, and stir up God’s people. Thank you so much.
It is inhuman what these two nations are doing to each other. The massacre of infants, young and old civilians, without discrimination, in a cycle of revenge and hatred that gets fiercer and fiercer with each passing day. The tit for tat harks back to the 1900’s and the insistence of rights of both nations have been broadcasted endlessly in the mainstream media, and in more recent days, in social media. The war front has always been multifaceted and includes influencing the minds of millions of viewers in social media.
I lament this tragic feud between the descendants of the same family. The Palestinians (and Arabs) are descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham via Hagar his slave. The Jews are the descendants of Isaac, the son of Abraham via Sarah his wife. They are brothers.
There is some scientific evidence that points to the truth of the biblical story. It is not new. An interesting research in 2000 surfaced some stunning findings from DNA studies. “More than 70% of Jewish men and half of the Arab men whose DNA was studied inherited their Y chromosomes from the same paternal ancestors who lived in the region within the last few thousand years.” Ann Gibbons who authored this article in Science.org continued to report that: “The results match historical accounts that some Moslem Arabs are descended from Christians and Jews who lived in the southern Levant, a region that includes Israel and the Sinai. They were descendants of a core population that lived in the area since prehistoric times. And in a recent study of 1371 men from around the world, geneticist Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona in Tucson found that the Y chromosome in Middle Eastern Arabs was almost indistinguishable from that of Jews.” Read her full article HERE.
This certainly matches the Genesis story account which shows that the two sons of Abraham were in estranged relationships as brothers, and that both their mothers could not get along. There was envy, insecurity, anger, rejection, hurt, fear, enmity and hatred as both families tried to co-exist and find a safe space in the household of Abraham (Genesis 16,17,25). These feelings of mutual enmity and contempt have resurfaced in the lives of the millions of descendants of both sons of Abraham. More so over the Yom Kippur attacks by the Hamas into Israel last weekend, on the evening of Sunday, 24th September to the evening of Monday 25thSeptember 2023. The massacres were during the most holy day of the Jewish religious calendar, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16).
The two peoples have been slaughtering each other with bombs, bullets and broadcasts. I lament this tragic outcome of the descendants of brothers who were meant to live together in covenant loyalty and loving relationships. I do not think it will ever stop. I am pessimistic of any future rapproachment between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The only hope I harbour of these two finding real rapproachment, love and reconciliation is in Christ. There has to be internal peace before external peace can be achieved. I am sure in a Christian fellowship of Palestinians and Israelis, there can be forgiveness, reconciliation and true peace and love, despite any lingering disagreements of right and wrong. The love of Christ alone can cover all sins and enmity.
Therefore, while I lament now, I also long and yearn with hope for the day when Isaiah’s prophecy will be fulfilled: “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa 11:6-9)
Thus the weight of my prayers for both these people lean more towards the salvation of souls, that the remnant will come to the Lord in repentance and love. For then and only then, can the descendants of these Ishmael and Isaac find forgiveness and reconciliation in the bosom of their Father in heaven.
“Oh dear! This is tragic. This is serious. It is going to be disastrous for all peace-loving people on both sides of the conflict. There will be an invasion. There will be great loss of lives on both sides. This conflict is going to be headline news for a few weeks. It is going to take attention away from Russia-Ukraine war. This conflict will not be settled at the negotiation table.” This was what I was thinking, feeling when I heard over the weekend about Hamas attacks in Israel and the declaration of war by the Prime Minister of Israel, and the calling of the reserves into action.
Interestingly, just this Sunday the pastor preached from Isaiah chapter 7 about a Syrian-Israel (northern kingdom) alliance that threatened to invade Judah (southern kingdom). King Ahaz of Judah and the nation heard the news and trembled like leaves shaken by a strong wind. God in his mercy sent Isaiah to encourage king Ahaz to trust in the covenant God of the house of David. Ahaz preferred to trust in his strategy instead of putting his trust in God. He sought the help of Assyria. Assyria then decimated Syria, and then Israel (northern kingdom) and finally turned on Judah (southern kingdom). The prophets saw this as God’s judgment on his chosen people because of their idolatry. Instead of worshipping God and God alone, they worshipped idols. This idolatry led to all kinds of injustice, oppression of the weak, unrighteousness and the breaking of God’s laws. It led to the judgment of God on his chosen people.
Modern Israel is no different from the people of God in the times of king Ahaz. They too are an idolatrous people that love things more than God. Hedonism, materialism, relativism, secularism. humanism, rationalism and all other kinds of worldviews reigns. The people have rejected God from the pre-eminent place in their society. These are modern day idols, the golden calf among the chosen people. There is no denying it. Pew Research Center in 2016 stated that 7.3% are Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox); 18.8% are Dati (religious); 24.3% are Masorti (traditional); and 33.1% are Hiloni (secular). Only 1.9% are Christians. A Gallup survey in 2015 determined that 65% of Israelis say they are either “not religious” or “convinced atheists”, while 30% say they are “religious” (Wikipedia “Religion in Israel”). These statistics may give us clues about how God may want to deal with the nation of Israel, and how we can pray and intercede.
- Let “supplications, prayers, intercessions” be made for all peoples, both Israelis and Palestinians, and for those in authority and high positions, so that permanent peace may be established in the Middle East and innocent people can live a peaceful and safe and dignified life, and that people will come to a knowledge of the truth.
- Pray for good sense, peace and reconciliation to prevail, and all invaders to be removed, the kidnapped rescued, and innocent civilians be safe and protected.
- Pray and feel for all who have suffered and are now grieving, in fear, anxiety, and danger.
- Pray that all foreign powers that are involved be frustrated in their self-interests and purposes, but those that are true peacemakers to succeed in their aims.
- Pray for the Christian churches and believers to be available to help the innocent civilian victims of war and aid them. Pray for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit upon the Christians in both nations to empower them to help the needy and preach Jesus Christ. Pray for a good harvest of souls into God’s kingdom.
- Pray the people of Israel will have an awakening to their need of Jesus, the Prince of Peace who alone can give them the interior peace that matters most.
- The best way is to intercede in tongues so that we pray according to God’s will. That is if you have the gift of tongues.