Author Archives: if4es
Appearance Oriented – Attitude Oriented – Action Oriented
Been perfect – Becoming perfect – Be perfect or be gone.
Love one another
Compartments of worship – Complete worship – Complaining, not worship.
Issues of Sin
Delving into sin – Deliverance is of the Lord – Deliverance ministry.
Nature of Ministry
Express yourself – Experience God’s presence – Extend your hand.
Failure – Faithful – Fighter
Gifts – Giver – Giving
The Cross & Resurrection
Heretical Renderings – Historical Reality – Hysterical Ruin
Investigate the Author – Invested with Authority – Invest in Autocrats
View of God
Joking matter – Jesus Saves! – Judge
Kingdom of God
Kiss the son lavishly – Keep a simple faith – Kill Enemies
Lust – Love one another – Love as duty
Mean people cause it – Method of growth – Meaning of life
New Livelihood – New Life-Source – New Lifestyle
Position toward Christ
Original sin – Order restored – Original Sin
Please self. – Please God – Please men
Character of Worship
Quest – Quietness – Quick
Restore – Rest – Repent
Nature of righteousness
Surface – Solidity – Shallow
Dealing with Hurt
Tears away from other – Tears at sin – Tears up in pain
Unity of the Saints
Umbrella for any sinner – Understanding shared – Unique identities stressed
The Sovereignty of God
Vanquish the thought – Vanguard of the soul – Victory in behavior
Balancing the Way of the Lord
Walk in Unity – Worship God always – Witness to God’s glory
Nature of God’s Word
X out the unwanted parts – X-Ray exposing our hearts – Xerographic conservation
Cause of Joy
Yesterday’s strength – Yes, Today is the day – Yearning for tomorrow
Paths to choose from
Zoological worship – Zeal for the Lord – Zeroed out religion.
Look up the verses, with their context and answer the questions. In the NIV, the phrase, “one another” is in each of these passages.
1. Compassion from God. Exodus 25:20; 37:9 – The cherubim on the on the ark of the covenant were facing one another looking at the mercy seat. Why? What needs to be at the heart & center of our worship? Peter 1:12
2. Covenant. Genesis 26:31 – These two men covenant together and kept their word. What does it take for us to be faithful to one another?
3. Covering. Exodus 26:3; 26:5 – How can we be better fitted together as a people who worship the Lord?
4. Contracts. Leviticus 25:14 16-17, 46 – Does God care if we treat one another like slaves and our own personal servants? How should we deal with one another?
5. Confession. Genesis 42:21 – Have we failed any of our members? For example, letting them go to the wolves?
6. Communication. Leviticus 19:11 – How do we communicate with one another to preserve the community?
7. Complaining. Numbers 14:3-4 – What is your first reaction when you face challenges & promises from God that seem impossibly great?
8. Conspiracy. Genesis 11:3 – What did God want the people to do following the flood? What did they do instead? Are you working against God’s plan?
9. Confusion. Exodus 16:15 – What are things that we discuss among ourselves when we need to ask God?
10. Collapse. Leviticus 26:36-38 – What happens to the Lord’s people who face judgment because of rebellion?
Most of us are familiar with the fact that Jesus was born in Judea in a year of a Roman census. (Luke 2:1-5) Census taking in the Roman Empire, generally affected the taking of taxes and the allocation of imperial resources to public works. Likewise, in America, census usually accompany allocation of resources to the states … and relate somewhat to taxation. This year, for example, the Census will be taken during the same season as taxes are gathered in by the IRS. Government officials will be allocated according to the number of people discovered.
What does that have to do with the rest of the Bible and the cause of Jesus other than an off-hand comment that helps us properly place the birth of Jesus in historical time?
In 1 Chronicles 20, almost 1000 years before the birth of Jesus, David the forefather of Jesus took a census of fighting men in his day. Joab his general objected, but the king prevailed. The king had been fighting a battle for years to establish the LORD’s people secure in the land. He wanted to ensure he had adequate personnel to fight if they needed to do so again. Where was the Kingdom after all those years? The curse that followed David’s decision resulted in the death of thousands of men in Israel. The Lord made it plain that the curse which lasted for days upon the land was the result of the unwise taking of a census. 70,000 people died.
Just as Israel had fighting surrounding nations for a generation or two (the reigns of 2 kings, 40 years each), the USA has seen at least 80 years of regular waves of global conflict and war. Most recently the USA has been fighting the heirs of Edom, that forebear of Islam. The President has staked his administration on preserving the nation and the people of God. We may be charitable and assume that he is doing all he knows to do to lead the battles we are facing. However, not a few people are dying. Currently the flu along with COVID-19 are plaguing the land along with any number of other illnesses, disorders, and diseases that could be prevented. Suicide is killing far more youth and soldiers each year than COVID-19 has killed globally so far. Rumors of conflict arise in the news as there is regular talk of police brutality and occasional terror strikes and school shootings. An outsider’s perspective could lead to the conclusion that there is a curse in the land.
Perhaps we can learn something from David’s response to the curse: He invested in land to be used as a house of prayer for all nations. He bought the threshing floor from someone who was present where the plague stopped, and David dedicated that land to serve as the foundation for the Temple. The same area where Jesus would later be dedicated to His Father as a baby, as an adolescent, and as an adult. God used the disaster of an unwise census to prepare the way for His Kingdom agenda.
What was wrong with the census?
In the book of the Law in Exodus 30:12-16, the LORD says that whenever a census was taken, all those 20 years old or more were to give an offering equivalent to ½ Shekel. The value of a shekel has fluctuated over time, as has the standard weight of the unit. At times, ancients were paid as much as 7-10 shekels per month in the ancient world. So, a Shekel paid for as little as 2 day’s wages at times. A half-shekel would have paid approximately 1 day’s wage for a common laborer. If a day’s work is 8 good hours at minimum wage, you are looking at ~$80. ($120 if you work for 12 hours of daylight! Or maybe you earn more than minimum wage .…)
If that seems to be a burden, another way of figuring the value of a shekel is to look at the weight of a sheke since the word shekel means weight: A shekel was the basic silver coin of that day, of whatever nation. In the days of the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD, a half shekel weighed about 8.6 grams of silver (Jesus seems to have critiqued the cheap money changers and the low value of their temple coinage, and thus prophesied its collapse in the gospels.) The value would have approximately been $5 in today’s market. Another way to calculate, would be to figure the value of the main American Silver Coin now made: one troy ounce coins are valued at around $15 if you sell them to a dealer, or you can buy them for $30. So, if $30 is a shekel, then $15 is a half-shekel.
David prayed that the guilt for the wicked census would not be on the people but would be on his family and on his house forever. He did not collect this amount from the people to be put it in the temple treasury, instead he bought the land for the temple. However, can a building and religious services remove guilt? No, Jesus, the Son of David removed that guilt by bearing the sins of His people as the King of the Jews upon the Roman cross outside the city. Jesus was rejected, yet He knew He’d win the hearts of all nations. Has Jesus won your heart? Have you received the mercy the Messiah made available when He offered Himself up for many?
What was the spiritual responsibility of the people of God during a time of census?
God’s people are to invest in the house or center of prayer. Let me encourage you to make a special offering to the Lord’s house of somewhere from $5 to $15 to $80 (or more if the Spirit so leads you), per adult person to pledge loyalty to God’s call to pray. Perhaps you already tithe to your local church, but you really want to honor the Lord’s call to pray for all nations, which is commanded in Psalm 2:8 and Isaiah 56:7 and Mark 11:15-19. You could give a special gift, of the weight that accords with your commitment to pray for God’s Kingdom to Come, to a ministry that is focused on the nations. Not just your own nation. A ministry equipping you to pray for other nations & the advancement of Jesus’ kingdom. You are after all, a kingdom of priests. You are welcome to donate to this ministry which regularly offers and shares prayer for those nations and peoples and individuals of the world that are outside of the realm of Christ’s honor, which is their obedience to His name. (Perhaps you guessed I’d say that.) 😊 But, if you feel uncomfortable donating to the work that I do to advance the Father’s kingdom, I would be happy to suggest some other ministries that are also raising prayer among the nations. Remember, giving to the Lord’s work (and I’m much less concerned if I gain from this teaching than if you do), is a privilege. I have personally seen the Lord’s healing and protecting hand on me as I sought to obey this simple teaching. It has led to some significant gifts to ministries promoting prayer for the nations … and it has resulted in lives and nations being changed. I am committed to promote prayer for unreached Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist lands and direct my investments accordingly, to the Father’s glory.
I do not want the King to return and ask me why I have invested so little into His business. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Are you merely investing in your own time to worship and spiritual services that cater to you? Or are you investing in prayer for the nations, as David, Solomon, and Jesus did?
Mert Hershberger, PO Box 981215, Ypsilanti, MI 48198-1215 – 734-678-1367 – email@example.com
To donate online: https://bit.ly/375HzSk
You may print off the attached file that has this teaching and a donation card: 2020-Census-HalfShekel. OR
To make Check donation,
- mail it to:
IF4ES-Donor Services, c/o New Horizons Foundation, 5550 Tech Center Drive Ste 303, Colorado Springs, CO 80919
If you need further help email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 531-4075
Name of Project: “IF4ES” (International Fellowship for Everyday Saints)
The body grows weak, dreams come to mind.
All food abandoned, an annual fast.
We’re seeking forgiveness and healing that lasts.
Forty days pass, like Jesus I fast.
Temptations and trials start to attack.
Breakthrough will come, if only I win.
Could fasting help us all overcome sin?
Abstaining from pleasure, I walk Daniel’s path:
Rich foods forgotten, in this partial fast.
I yearn for my homeland: a vision revealed.
The future unfolds; the Scripture unsealed.
Demons must flee, as I starve my old flesh.
Evil must leave! I passed the test!
Mercy increases, I yearn to be right.
The journey’s been long, but the end is in sight.
Transform my hunger to faith in the Lord.
Refraining from comfort as I bear the Sword
Of the Spirit to vanquish my foe and pierce
Through the dark: no lusts, no pride, and no fears.
This morning I woke up after dreaming of a missionary carrying the gospel to tribes in distant nations (namely Roger Doriot). As he was heading to the states, there was a song that an angelic choir was singing and I started to join in the song as well. When i woke, I jotted down a few lines that I hope will encourage you. If you can find a tune to sing this to, please do so!
We Must Tell the Gospel
From ancient times and from years now of old,
The message was spread by those who were bold.
We heard it and learned it and then we believed.
We’ll share and declare all the truth we’ve received.
Past mountains, by foot, and by bus and by plane,
It’s our job to tell it and make the truth plain:
Refueling our hearts on all the Word’s Truth,
Translating, relating—our lives were once mute.
We dare not be silent or hush up the Word;
We’ll spread Good News Broadly till all folks have heard.
Though we’re not the answer, we’ll answer the call:
We’re telling the nations that Christ gave His all.
We put forth the effort in good times and bad,
Through lives and our deaths, in the end we’ll be glad.
The nations shall come to the Light of the Lord;
The Spirit ensuring the Father’s adored.
You mothers must raise up your children to serve.
You scholars confessing God’s grace undeserved.
You churches must send forth the brightest and best.
You workers enduring and passing the test.
No culture exempt from the judgments of God.
No tongue shall be silent, we’ll till up the sod.
“To God be the glory, great things He has done!”
Which we shall announce till the vict’ry is won!
Trapped by a master not of my choosing:
The hating, beating, scarring, and bruising—
The beast-like man attacks the soul.
He challenges ev’ry cry to be whole.
Trapped by choices now old and unchosen:
Heart and mind numbed cold and frozen.
The burden of sin now crushes my life:
The cravings are cruel and cut like a knife.
Trapped by my doubts and all of my fears:
Ev’ry threat makes eyes flicker and tear.
Anxiety rips the life from my chest,
No longer free to put forth my best.
Trapped by pride that boosts up my ego:
Blinding my mind to all my own evil—
Deluded by lies I’ve told to myself;
Haunted at night by an unwanted elf.
Trapped by my past, my history of crime:
I’m stuck in a cage and covered in grime.
Regret makes no sense since my future is lost.
I chose to kill at my destiny’s cost.
Trapped by the dirt, the fire and hell:
I’d blame the Most High, but I’m covered in welts.
Pain and torment are all that remain.
My face is downcast and smothered in shame.
Trapped by expenses and mortgage and debt:
The long-promised “good life” departed and left.
My work is a waste, a life without grace;
All my earnings have vanished, my savings erased.
Trapped by a vow and a love for mankind:
“You’re chosen to die!” the Spirit reminds
Of commitments to you—lost all I had,
Yet I’ll rise in the end …. I know I’ll be glad.
Chains shall be loosed; bars shattered; ropes burned.
Old patterns shall change; old habits unlearned.
Faith conquers fear; truth defeats doubt.
Pride is confessed; the humble break out.
Pris’ners set free; crim’nals forgiven.
Graves shall be emptied, the dead shall be livin’.
Debts cancelled; promise kept; price paid.
Shouts erupt from where Jesus was laid,
“Freedom to captives! The blind can now see!
Good News to the poor! At last, we are free!”
This evening, I discovered the relevance of the Bible to American Life. We examined the center of attention at Messiah’s Birth in Bethlehem and how BethlehemInTheBible has relevance to today. (See the passages examined in the link highlighted.)
Roughly 7 years ago, one period of debt relief ago, there were 20 children who were killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Newtown school district of Connecticut. Though so recent, we have forgotten that debt, that transgression, that violation of childhood wonder. Children who would now be high school were killed.
Some would quickly lift a voice for or against gun control. But that is not the point.
Guns are not in control and never have been. Gunmen are not in control, and never have been. Terror will not have the last say! God is in control!!
This was around the time of the Christmas season and Ephiphany and the observation of the memory of the Slaughter of the Innocents in Bethlehem, some 2,000 years ago. The same scene played out again of tyranny let loose seemed to prevail.
But tyranny and terror will not prevail. For God is in control!!
Many Christians will remember the Christmas narrative of what happened in Bethlehem around the change from BC to AD. The following is from the KJV, for copyright reasons.
Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,
18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
This will be familiar to many. Perhaps for you too, this Christmas is met with tears and sorrow and sadness: memories of those loved ones you have lost one way or another. All the festivities and drinks do nothing but bring back bitter memories of those who leave which leaves a tear in your eggnog. So will you linger over this bitterness? Will this bitterness prevail? NO!!
Is it because the loss of loved ones is not sad? No, God knows your sorrow and weeps with you. But sorrow and sadness and sickness will not have the final say. No. The Savior shall return another day and shall have the last say. God’s Word is final, not death nor destruction, not disease nor divorce, not division nor discouragement. Why? For God is in control!
The final verse from that passage quoted in Matthew was from Jeremiah. Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet because he had some sad, very sad, lamentable things to say and lamentable times to observe. But lamentation shall not prevail! For God is in control!!
Let us revisit that passage from the “Old” Covenant: Jeremiah 31:15-17 reads in the NIV
15 This is what the Lord says:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
16 This is what the Lord says:
“Restrain your voice from weeping
and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,”
declares the Lord.
“They will return from the land of the enemy.
17 So there is hope for your descendants,”
declares the Lord.
“Your children will return to their own land.
Jeremiah is also one who prophesied restoration after a time of exile. But he looked beyond these pleasant dreams to a vision of the New Covenant, when mercy would abound and all would be made new. As the ESV has it:
Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
The Lord foretold forgiveness and salvation. And that is exactly why Jesus came: to forgive us, to save us from our sins. God also desires to forgive the American people Just as he forgave the children of Israel through Jesus. Just as Israel is being regathered physically into a new nation and spiritually as more and more Jewish people recognize the Messiahship, the Kingship, the Sonship of Y’shua is being acknowledged by more and more people, Jews and Gentiles, God’s grace and truth is making an impact on the nations as far as the curse is found.
O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in the dark street shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
This village where Rachel was buried, the town where Ruth was found by Boaz, the town where David was raised and near where he shepherded sheep, the well of the city had become the source of water that served as a unique and simple sacrifice of that home-dug water, the same town where Micah prophesied a future ruler and where Babylonians had likely massacred children and where Jesus was born and where Herod slaughtered children. This same village will one day see victory. Why? Because God is in control!!
In the irony of God who gained victory through sending His Son to suffer, joy and sorrow often meet in the same places on this earth.
Today, there are Arab believers in the Jewish Messiah who was born in Bethlehem who are longing to visit Bethlehem, not just to see historic sights, but to see family. Those from the rocks, the seed of Hagar, are longing to be reunited with their loved ones in their home town. But a government would stop them. But will those who have been estranged from their family in Christ be separated forever? No, the gates of hell will not prevail. One day, the Baby born in Bethlehem will lead wise men from all nations into the place of joy. Because we are so clever, because we work so hard or are so tough? No. Because God is in control.
Jesus did not merely die on a cross, he rose from the grave. God is in control.
Bethlehem in the region of Judah means there is a House of Bread in the Land of Praise! God provides for us whenever we praise Him. Because God is in control!!
I have seen God’s mercy myself so many times. I have also seen God’s provision and protection. Because I deserve it? NO!! Because God is in control!
Let us look back to the place we started on the shores of this land, in a New Town, In Newtown, Connecticut.
Now, a 7 short years later, something new has happened.
Seven years was the limit that debt had its reign. In the seventh year, there was to be mercy, forgiveness, and freedom from bondage.
In Newtown Connecticut, guess what, bondage is lifting: there seems to be a year of favor in the city where the Tigers play. This year in the same city which saw its little kids slaughtered is now seeing victory. The Joy of Victory (Joieta) is coming to the same place where defeat once seemed so imminent.
God smiled on the people of New Town and they won their final football game of the season. They won their final game against a high ranking team against a team from Media, Pennsylvania. Newtown is fields the Tigers as their team just as Judah fielded the Lion as their iconic creature, both are felines. Both shall live in peace with grazers on the field when Jesus reigns. Why? Because God is in control.
In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together;
the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.
The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion,
and a little child will lead them all.
7 The cow will graze near the bear.
The cub and the calf will lie down together.
The lion will eat hay like a cow.
8 The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.
Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.
9 Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,
for as the waters fill the sea,
so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.
10 In that day the heir to David’s throne
will be a banner of salvation to all the world.
The nations will rally to him,
and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.
In America, Media is powerful. The media seems to govern America. Media seems to make up the minds of America. But American football declared that a New Town shall defeat the Media!! There is a new city which will win in this land as well as in the land of promise. Because the promise has gone out to the ends of the earth. Is it because America is righteous? Certainly not!! The media has done a fine job recounting all the vices of America and violations in the nation. But a New Covenant shall win in a new town. Why? Because we are good or great or special? No! Because God is in control!!
God is in control and He shall have the final say. He shall speak life, peace, and joy for all time! God is victor in the land!! I write this as Trump was impeached. As the media discusses the meaning of politics in places of power.
But I tell you, a little Child shall lead: Jesus shall reign. We do not put our hope in Trump, Congress, nor the Supreme Court!
For the Lord is our Judge,
The Lord is our Ruler,
The Lord is our King;
He will save us.
Isaiah 33:22 Amplified
If you believe that is true, say Amen!!
God has significantly blessed the work of IF4ES: Numbers of baptisms increased … to three. Numbers of groups grew and impacted new cultures … to three. Those impacted by the preaching of the Gospel included all sorts of people: Mandingo, Congolese, Ugandan, Tamil, Persian, … Jews and Muslims and the church of God.
New works are underway that could potentially impact many in the county as we mobilize prayer and equip the saints for works of service.
Please pray for us. For a more detailed report of the year, current as of the start of November, see the attached PDF at the link at the start of this posting.