03 September 2016

Always on time

I remember my friend Steve and I prayed for God's direction. We believed we were supposed to start a new ministry there in Lawrence, Kansas, but as young men, and as young believers, we were not 100% sure. We asked the Lord in prayer for assurance, for confirmation, for a sort-of guarantee that we were hearing correctly. Our prayer was hopeful, but not powerful. Just a plea or two from children to their dad. I remember praying something like, "If this ministry (which would eventually become the Mustard Seed Church) is of you, please confirm this with a little bit of money."

We wanted to start a house (commune) ministry like the House of Agape in Kansas City. We wanted God to help us in our venture. It would be a place for young people, hippies, druggies, socially rejected folks, to find the Living God. That was our hope.

The next day Steve went to his mailbox and found a notification of a transfer of some funds from a relative to him. The amount of the transfer was not clear to him, so he rang the bank and found out the amount was upwards of $20,000. What?!! For Steve, then 21, to receive this information was clear. He knew this money was obviously the answer to our prayer from the day before. But wait a minute, the letter had already been sent a few days earlier than this moment in March 1972. Was this really an answer to our prayer? I mean, we hadn't even prayed yet when the sender, no doubt a clerk at a financial facility, had put the stamp on it and sent it through the mail system. The question remains... can God answer a prayer before it is even asked?

This week I was in Singapore and was at Changi Airport after a successful weekend of ministry. I was really tired and awaiting my flight home to Sydney. In a nearby seat in the airline lounge, I saw an Asian man obviously upset. He was feverishly looking through his backpack, taking item by item out and turning with worry at each removal. What could be wrong? I decided to go see if I could help.

Daisake is from Japan, and had been in Vietnam. He flew from Ho Chi Minh City and arrived into his transit city of Singapore a couple hours previously. It was now time for his onward flight to India, and now he couldn't find his passport. Oh no, that's not good.

The agent at the lounge also came to him. We asked where he had been. Had he been wearing a jacket? Had he used the restroom? I went there to check. Nothing. I looked under the chairs in which he had sat. Nothing. The agent at the lounge recommended we go to the info area, so he and I went to the information booth downstairs. I urged him to cut into the long queue because his was an emergency. I apologised to the folks in the queue as he cut in. No one really minded. They understood it seemed like an emergency.

I took a photo of him and the agent. I sent it onto Instagram and Facebook on my feeds. I asked people there to pray for him. They who read that post didn't know him. They didn't know the situation. I said, "Please pray right now for daisake from Vietnam who lost his passport" Nothing more. And people responded. Prayers went up from around the globe. I showed Daisake the posts, and told him that I was a minister. I told him that I had asked my followers to pray for him. He was amazed.

But no help from the pictured agent. We speed walked to the Singapore Airlines help desk another 400 metres away. Again we cut in line. And again no dramas from the others. He was so upset and the time was fast diminishing for his flight to depart. They had already been boarding at the gate for 40 minutes. Could the agent help? She was very helpful and considerate, but I wondered if anything could be done. This is when a copy of a passport that a person carries with him (a good bit of advice from me) would have helped in such a case. But Daisake didn't have such.

Then, for no apparent reason, the agent rang again to the boarding gate. The agent upstairs had done that 30 minutes earlier. She told the agent there of his situation, and amazingly the agent there said, "We have his passport. It was turned in. Have him hurry."

WHAT!?! Wow, no time to say a long'goodbye' and only a chance to celebrate the mercies of God and for me to know whom to thank. It was the prayer warriors worldwide who instantly joined me and him, and the person who found and turned in his passport. Oh, and the Living God who ever looks out on His creation and cares for us in our smallest and largest concerns. "Hallelujah!" I said. And "Hallelujah" Daisake said.

God is always on time. And yes, sometimes the answer is sent even before you pray. Wow, the God of eternity can answer an as-yet-unasked prayer since He sees the beginning from the end.(Isaiah 46.10)

There are biblical stories that remind me of this truth as well. The children of Israel escaping slavery in Egypt at just the right time, the prophet Samuel approaching King Saul at the right time, Yeshua arriving at the shiva-sitting household of his friend Eliezer (Lazarus) and miraculously raising him from the death. God's time is not ours; He has a different schedule than we do. But His timing is always right.

One day near the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths), Sukkoth, His own younger brothers challenged Yeshua to go up and perform some miracles to garner either sympathy or to recruit more followers. The scene is here:
"Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For not even His brothers were believing in Him.
So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune.The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.”Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee.
But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret." (recorded in John 7.2-10)

God's timing is perfect. It isn't your timing. Be patient. Wait on the Lord.

The Jewish prophet Habakkuk wrote in chapter 2:3 “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”

Peter also understood this in his letter he wrote, "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3.9) God's love is real and worth awaiting. And worth receiving.

Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah, "AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU,
Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION” (2 Corinthians 6.2)

"Thus says the LORD, “In a favourable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;" (Isaiah 49.8)

Dear friend, if you aren't already a believer in Yeshua, now is your day. Receive His love and care. Say "yes" to Yeshua. He died for you. He rose from the dead. He is returning to His own. Be one of His. Your time is now.

02 September 2016

BDS...in Australia ....again

The national executive of the Health Services Union will consider taking up support for hurting people next month. But the executive might be going a bit too far. It's not the first time in Australia that an agency has extended care to the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza or in the West Bank as a specialised campaign. Back a few years ago the Council in Marrickville took on BDS in chambers, but then after reconsidering the issue and its serious implications backed down. Why did they back down? Why should the HSU do the same?

The Australia Jewish News today published an editorial which says it so well; I will quote it.

"Next time someone goes to the chemist to get vital medication for multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's they could be refused because both were developed by Israeli company Teva Pharmaceuticals." The AJN goes on to list bandaids, bay soap, ultrasounds, CT scans and MRI. And "if a person contracts AIDS or HIV they won't be able to access Israeli development treatments, the most effective tools for fighting the diseases."

For those who don't know, BDS stands for "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions." It is designed to be a financial punishment on the land and people of Israel for the occupation. HEre's what they say on their own website: "BDS is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity. Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law."

So note that the divestment part of BDS as they cite on their website: "DIVESTMENT campaigns urge banks, local councils, churches, pension funds and universities to withdraw investments from all Israeli companies and from international companies involved in violating Palestinian rights."

To include 'all' Israeli companies must include loads of high-tech companies. (Note this photo from this website from Israel or What's App founder. Social media was abuzz after Jan Koum, the co-founder of the popular messaging platform WhatsApp, commented on a Facebook post by pro-Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, which attempted to demonstrate the "foolishness" of the BDS campaign.
The post article goes on, "The StandWithUs post included a photograph taken on Britain's renowned University of Oxford campus of an Apple laptop computer laden with pro-Palestinian and "Boycott Israeli Goods" stickers. On top of the computer a hand-written note is seen with a message pointing out Apple's use of certain Israeli technology.

"Hi there! Just thought you should know the flash-storage inside this computer was designed and built by Anobit, an Israeli technology company! If you don't want it any more, please pass it to the desk behind you," reads the letter. From University of Oxford: Boycott Israel stickers on Israeli made technology - only a BDS supporter would be so foolish."

Imagine being mocked as foolish also by London Mayor Boris Johnson during his trade mission to Israel back in November.
Johnson arrived in Israel with an official trade delegation, mainly to promote bilateral trade in technology between the cities of London and Tel Aviv. His mission was to promote the British capital’s high-tech sector, in a bid to get more Israeli companies to expand to London and make IPOs (initial public offerings) on its stock markets.

London is currently home to 141 Israeli high-tech firms, according to London & Partners (the mayor’s promotional agency) and the IVC Research Center. There are currently 16 Israeli tech firms listed across London Stock Exchange’s markets with a combined market value of £3.7 billion ($5.6 billion). Johnson was also very critical of the movement to boycott Israel, deriding them as “a bunch of corduroy-jacketed lefty academics.”

“I cannot think of anything more foolish than to say that you want to have any kind of divestment or sanctions or whatever or boycott, against a country that when all is said and done is the only democracy in the region,” he said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 and recorded on this website in the UK

So hopefully the Health Services Union will take care of patients and reject this foolish and counterproductive resolution. But you never know.