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The following is a Special Arrows of Zion article written to give prayer warriors for Israel more in-depth insight into the issues facing the Israeli believers:
Special Arrows from Zion
Persecutors & Financial Lack
by Donna Diorio
April 26, 2009
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the LORD.
There are many who say,
‘Who will show us any good?’
LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker;
He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished.
He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker,
But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.
I know: "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
It is not the people, but the spirits operating in the people. Still, it is the people we see and know that do things and say things that are so hurtful; even kicking us when we are down.
Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God in exactly this situation so we don't focus on the people when we should be focusing on the spirits operating in the people.
What does this have to do with financial lack? It may be hard to believe, but there are actually people in whom evil spirits work that mock and try to foil believers who are struggling financially.
In all my years of keeping my ear tuned to the believers in Israel, I have heard it over and over again, how those religious persecutors who bedevil the believers, not only use personal information about the believer's struggles against them, but the persecutors also attempt to make things worse.
Like, for example, the religious persecutors will taunt a ministry family with information they discover - often through illicit means - about financial struggles. For instance, through intercepting emails the persecutors discover that the family is not able to afford much needed dental work, so they not only taunt about the lack but they also try to increase the financial distress. Maybe they work to get family members fired from jobs, or employ other means of interfering with income or donations.
Sounds far-fetched, doesn't it? But it isn't. I can't tell you how many times I have heard the same kinds of stories from the dozens of Israeli ministries I have contact with.
The ministries are very cautious about what personal information I can share with my intercessors because of how that information gets used against them. (It is easy to get information people don't want you to have on the internet. It is not just criminal identity thieves who exploit the vulnerabilities of the internet.)
What I have experienced is that when a person is in a position of lack, - even a ministry that is doing valuable work in the kingdom of God - they want to cry out for help or share their need, but they keep their personal needs close to the vest. One reason is to avoid being shamed by the taunts of the persecutors.
Think that just couldn't be? Think again. When the enemy is operating in people who think you are the devil, they also think anything goes in their war against you. If they get wind that you can't get your teeth fixed, or you haven't been able to do something for your kids, or to pay your rent, this becomes the mocking and taunting from their voices that you hear.
I am not talking about imagining voices of mocking and taunting. I am talking about real people speaking these taunts in your hearing. There is nothing like inner shame to clog up the faith of a believer who stands by faith.
Maybe they talk to your boss about what a dangerous “missionary” you are and how your boss is a traitor to employ you. Maybe they keep customers from coming to your Bakery Shop, or distribute fliers warning your neighborhood that you are a "soul stealer". Maybe they steal your mail (and donations), or hack into your computer to wreak havoc in any number of ways. Whatever it takes to kick you while you are down; to increase the trouble in your situation, to cause you to stumble and fall.
These are real people in whom spiritual wickedness is operating. Maybe they dog your steps everywhere, taunting and intimidating. Stand in front of your business or ministry front, congregation or house, taunting you and harassing your patrons, congregants, neighbors.
Sound paranoid? It isn't. These things are common harassment techniques by anti-missionaries in Israel and other places. In secular terminology we would call it psychological warfare, but in spiritual terms this is the spiritual warfare the Israeli believers face.
Their persecutors pull out all the stops to cause angry retaliation, or shame for being in such a predicament, or they just attempt to create an atmosphere of fear in the heart of the godly. Fear that your world is about to be overturned like that boat the disciples were on with a sleeping Jesus when the storm was raging (Mt 8:26).
The trouble the disciples found themselves in wasn't "their own fault" nor just in their own paranoid imagination. Scripture says the Lord's disciples were "in jeopardy" not just that they feared they were in jeopardy. When they woke up Jesus to save them, He asked them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”
Hey, we are all like that. We fear when we are in jeopardy. We have to grow into the place that we can be like Jesus, sleeping peacefully in a boat being tossed violently in a raging sea. We have to grow into that measure of faith, trusting in the destiny God has on our lives to fulfill; trusting the promises He has spoken into the depths of our hearts.
Like the scripture said of Joseph, "...Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him." The trust we have in the promises God has spoken to us get "tried" in the trials of our lives before they come to pass. And our promises from God are not always fulfilled quickly in a neat little, easily explained, scripture-based teaching.
In Christians circles we have some well developed teachings about what believers are doing wrong if they suffer lack. There is a lot of truth to those principles of getting and being financially sound, but there are also situations where that just doesn't cover what is happening. It is a great American view of scripture-based spiritual principles that ignores a whole lot of other scriptural situations of godly people in strangling lack.
Americanized Christian financial principles certainly do not explain the tight place of the situation believers in Israel. If we try to put every person into a neat little box of ‘sound Christian financial principles’, it smacks of the heartless comments of Job's three friends to me. What Job’s friends had to say about God's ways were right, but what was not right was the application of any of them to the situation Job found himself.
The other day I was reading in Lamentations 3 where Jeremiah is lamenting how God's hand is laying heavy affliction upon him - not just upon Israel, but upon him personally. He was personally suffering mighty afflictions. Then it struck me, Jeremiah was God's man, speaking God's word to a nation that was gone astray and about to punished. Jeremiah was the "good" guy, but he was also suffering terrible afflictions. Jeremiah was lamenting like a man who was being punished for having done wrong.
Then midway through the chapter, he suddenly turns, remembering he ultimately has right standing with God, and Jeremiah says:
It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!' The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.
Jeremiah had a tough row to hoe, as he said in 3:45, You have made us an offscouring and refuse in the midst of the peoples.
The LORD is my portion even in the midst of afflictions. In the end, Jeremiah was true to his calling and to God regardless of the afflictions that befell him.
In the end, Job too was lifted out of all the things that befell him, and God told him to pray for his compassion-less friends. God said that the friends had not spoken the right thing about Him as Job had.
We can know godly principles, but often we try to slap a ‘failing’ label on someone when it does not apply to them from God's point of view. Gain is not always an indication of godliness, and lack of gain is likewise not always an indication of lack of godliness. (1 Tim 6:5)
God is mysterious. We can never reduce His dealings with us down to a never-fail set of scriptural principles that is supposed to explain every situation for every believer.
As one who advocates for the Body of Messiah in Israel, to those who criticize their ministries suffering lack, or being spiritually challenged in the afflictions of persecutors they face, I say you are only showing how much you do not know - spiritually and also of their temporal situation.
We are all growing into the oneness of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, into a complete man, into the portion of the maturity of the completion of Messiah. Eph 4:13
"... to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross..." Eph 2:15-16
Recent Sample of
Arrows from Zion
Strategically Aimed for the Lord’s Harvest in Israel
- Persecution of believers MUST top our list of prayer priorities for Israel. Name one thing that could be closer to God’s heart than for those called by the name of the LORD Jesus laboring in His harvest fields. That’s right – there is no greater priority.
- Pray that the enemies of the Good News of Yeshua would be confused and ineffective in their attacks. Pray that the believers would be supernaturally guarded from physical attack and beyond understanding, their boldness will increase. Pray for the harvest.
- Pray for the ongoing negotiations to form a government in Israel – for leaders to lay down personal ambitions and SERVE the nation’s best interest. This is a mirror held up to reflect the parallel spiritual reality in the Body of Christ. Don’t miss this prophetic message being reflected in partisan politics and personal ambitions defile and destroy.
- Thank God for Israeli media who are taking an objective look at the persecution of the followers of Yeshua in Israel. Thank God for the article “JESUS for Jews” in the Jerusalem Post last week. (JESUS really is FOR Jews).
- Despite wars, persecution and the daily stress of life in Israel, thank God for the “signs of renewed vibrancy” in Israeli ministries. Thank God for the moving of His Spirit in spiritual maturity, growth, outreach, zeal and character.
- Pray for clear direction to the National Evangelism Committee – Divine wisdom and guidance in those areas that remain effective, and those which He is ready to prune.
- Pray for those who “realize what a tremendous privilege it is to live out our worship lives in the midst of so much biblical history.” Pray for the Messianic Believers “to grow in our faith with a sense of prophetic destiny.”
- Pray for those ministries laboring in book translations to bring Christian ministry resources to Israeli believers.
- Pray for those laboring in humanitarian outreach within Israel and communicating important news to critical to Israel to believes worldwide.
- Pray for breakthroughs of those of us laboring to address the walls of resistance to the unity of one new man that will make the worldwide Body of the LORD an ir-resist-able force!
A Timely Additional Prayer Point for the Formation of the Israeli Government
Feb 18, 2009
- The convoluted Israeli political system is starting to show the emergence of Benjamin Netanyahu as the probable next prime minister. His government will be comprised of the right wing parties, many of them religious parties.
These special interest groups always want to lay claim to several areas of political control in Israel, one is the Interior Ministry which decides who can come into Israel and who must leave; and citizenship matters. The Interior Ministry is already full of career religious bureaucrats from being held nearly exclusively by the religious parties up until a reformation in the Israeli political system that occurred in the past decade. Under a return of a religious party Knesset Minister heading Interior - a concession that Netanyahu could give them in exchange for joining his coalition government - would be a DISASTER for the Jewish-believer citizens and Christian ministries living in Israel.
THIS IS A PRIORITY PRAYER REQUEST - for Netanyahu to keep the ministries that lead in persecution of believers OUT of the positions that enable them to do so with impunity.
Netanyahu in the past promised Christians worldwide that he not back the religious parties' efforts to pass legislation that could lock up Israeli Jewish believers for sharing their faith....and then he crumbled when he needed the religious parties support. Soon after he was removed from office before his term was up. I believe it was the intervention of God on behalf of the believers because bills were being introduced relentlessly by religious parties during the Netanyahu administration.
A far right wing government is a double-edged sword: protective of Israeli national security but not protective of the security of the LORD's community within Israel. Guess who our priority MUST be. That's right: the believers, our spiritual brothers.
Pray that God would make Netanyahu possess the wisdom to protect the citizens right to worship even Jesus if they so choose and to keep the religious parties out of strongholds they have used in the past to clear Israel of the believes in Yeshua.
W e e k l y S u m m a r y
Prayer Requests of Israeli Ministries
from leaders within the
Israeli Body of Messiah
designed to help intercessors
pray over the pressing needs of Israel
with the benefit of 'inside information'
from those of like precious faith in Jesus.
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