Olympic Issue

A OlympicsHave you ever heard God’s voice as a voice of conviction and you knew He was right? I have to confess that recently, I lost my biblical perspective and actually enjoyed doing something that is counter to my belief system. We were watching the Olympics and especially enjoy the skiing segments. We all know that there have been some very vocal people from the American Olympic teams who have chosen to use their status as a platform for their vitriol against our president. They are happy to be part of the Olympics representing the American people, but wanted everyone to know they were in no way representing Trump. So, my thinking was, well, I and over 60 million Trump supporters are part of the American people that you are racing for. If you’re going to disrespect our president, then, I will pray that you do poorly in the Olympics. I hope you mess up your events and win no medals. I would rather see a foreign country go home with medals than someone who has contempt for our president. So there!

Throughout the week, I felt a kind of smugness about my prayer. I felt it was right to pray against this kind of outspoken poison. Then, we went out to dinner with some friends Saturday night and during the conversation, I self-righteously expressed how I had been praying a particular Olympian would lose and I gleefully shared how my prayer was answered and they came in 5th in their event which meant…no medal for them.

My friend didn’t say anything to my diatribe but gave me a pained look. I immediately recognized that look as conviction by the Holy Spirit. God was not happy with my attitude. My balloon popped. I knew that wishing and even praying for someone to fail is not a correct biblical response. God reminded me that we’re to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. This person did poorly in her event and was dismayed and I was rejoicing. Right there in the restaurant, I quietly asked God to forgive me. Then I asked Him to bless her in any upcoming events. Later, I thanked my friend for that look and explained how I was convicted of my sin.

It was I who had been on a “slippery slope,” (pun intended) going downhill fast in my witness for Christ. I think there are times when we must be sensitive to and thankful for correction from God. This was that kind of time for me. While I still don’t like anyone’s vocal disdain of our president, I learned it’s important to leave them in God’s hands. By wishing ill on them, was I not doing just what they were doing? Romans 12:14, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

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New Book is Out!

Betsy with booksI’m excited to tell you that my new book, “Come Walk the Narrow Path with Me,” is now available locally at Great Lakes Coffee Shop where I will also have a book signing on Thursday, February 15th from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. If you are local, I also have books to sell. You can contact me through this website. And, of course, all three of my books are on amazon.com.

If you are looking for a book to encourage and inspire you in your walk with Jesus when it comes to sharing your faith, this book is for you. Most books on witnessing are “how to” books. This one is over 35 true stories of actually talking to people about faith. Each opportunity is unique, planned by God, and a rich hands on experience. You will see that when we listen for God’s nudging and step out in faith, He shows up and reveals what to say.

God calls us to be “fisher’s of men.” We are to simply deliver His message of salvation to people. You will read about everyday people that God has opened doors for me to talk to about Jesus. People on airplanes and in foreign countries, neighbors, friends, women in jail, relatives, grocery store, tow truck drivers. Jesus loves everyone and has a plan for every life.  Witnessing is simply partnering with the Lord, allowing God to initiate and then sharing who He is with people.

My New Book!

Book Cover1

I’m excited to let you know that my new book, “Come Walk the Narrow Path with Me,” will be available mid January. This book is filled with personal testimonies of unique opportunities God has given me to share my faith over the years. As Christians, we are called to be witnesses, simply telling others about Jesus. I think you will find my stories compelling as you read about various people God has brought across my path and their varied responses to Jesus’ offer of eternal life. I’ll let you know when it’s available.

Tower of the Flock

A lamb“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,” John 15:26.

My blog is devoted to hearing God’s voice. Whatever we hear from God, we can know it is a testimony of Jesus in our lives. The Holy Spirit always points to Jesus. What I’m going to share with you now will probably be new to you as it was to me several years ago. It blew me away.

We’re in the Christmas season and what could be more appropriate than the Holy Spirit revealing something interesting about Jesus? You are probably familiar with the Christmas story in Luke 2. You remember how the shepherds were watching their flocks and an angel appeared telling them of the good news of Jesus birth. Then the angel said in verse 12, “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Notice the word “sign”. Have you wondered why the idea of Jesus being wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger would be a sign?

Have you heard of Migdal Eder, the Tower of the Flock? Probably not.

First some background…From Micah 5:2 we know that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem Ephratah. The word Bethlehem means, “house of bread” and the word Ephratah means “fruitfulness.” When we think of fruit in Israel, we think of grapevines. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” and “I am the vine.” The very place Jesus was born represented communion, the bread and the wine.

From Micah 4:8 Jesus is announced at the “Tower of the Flock,” Migdal Eder. This was a two story tower located in a field in Bethlehem Ephratah. Archaeologists have found the remains of this structure. It was built of rocks piled two stories high and it was from the windows on the second story that shepherds watched over the flocks.

An interesting fact is that the shepherds who worked in the fields were not the lowly shepherds we usually think of. Actually, they were shepherd priests, priests from the temple where sacrifices took place. The tower, called Migdal Eder, was the location for birthing sacrificial lambs. Priests were involved to be sure the lambs were unblemished. So, while shepherds watched over the flock from the second story of the tower, shepherd priests would bring the pregnant sheep to the lower level to deliver the lambs.

As soon as a lamb was born, it was swaddled, wrapped in strips of cloth made from priestly undergarments in order to keep the lamb unblemished. Then the lamb was placed in a manger so it wouldn’t be trampled.

“And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

When the shepherd priests heard the angel’s announcement while they were watching over the flock and then went into Bethlehem and saw baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger, they must have exclaimed, “This is the lamb of God, unblemished, prepared for sacrifice. This is Christ, our Messiah, our Savior!” These shepherd priests were the only ones who would understand the sign. It was a word from God through angels to them alone.

Further, is it possible that Jesus swaddling cloths were from the same source as the lamb’s cloths? Were they from a priest? Remember, Zechariah? He was Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth’s, husband and John the Baptist’s father. He was likely the priest on duty whose clothes may have been used to wrap baby Jesus. This would mean that Jesus, our High Priest, first clothes were those of a priest!

Jesus is our High Priest and I love what Hebrews 4:15, 16 says of Him. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

So, as you celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, remember the revealed background of this babe in a manger.

(“Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts,” by Michael Norton. It should be noted that the above information has been documented by Messianic Rabbi’s and archeological findings.)

 

 

The Invisible Woman

Do you ever feel like you’re invisible? Does it seem like people don’t notice you or care about things you do? In this powerful video, God spoke words of truth that set her free.

You can read of Hagar in Genesis of whom it is said, “Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God who sees'”;

Rainstorm

A RainstormWe were vacationing in Colorado this summer visiting some relatives and friends. One very rainy morning, we had planned to hike at Staunton State Park. A couple years before we had discovered this park but hadn’t had a chance to hike at that time. As we discussed with my cousins what to do that day, Bill and I decided we wanted to head to the state park despite the rain. We knew we might not get to hike but the 45 minute drive would be filled with great scenery. My cousins looked at us as though we were crazy and decided not to accompany us.

As Bill and I drove away, it was pouring down rain and didn’t let up the whole way to the park. But a funny thing happened. About 20 minutes into the drive, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray for dry weather so that we could hike. While this seemed like a strange request since rain was forecast for the whole day, I did pray. As I brought my request to God, I began to sense the playfulness of Jesus. It was as though He told me that I should just watch and wait, that He fully planned to grant my request. I could even envision Him smiling.

We enjoyed the scenery as we traveled but it did rain the entire way to our destination. As we pulled off the highway into the park entrance, I quickly noticed that the road looked dry. The rain had not only stopped suddenly but amazingly, it had not rained at all at the park. We pulled into a parking place, turned off the windshield wipers and headed for the hiking trail. We enjoyed a lovely two mile hike with excellent weather. As we approached our car to return to my cousin’s home, I felt a couple of sprinkles and as soon as we got in the car, there was a downpour.

Several things were obvious from this story. God led me to pray. He delighted in answering the prayer in a way that I couldn’t miss. And I’m pretty sure He got a kick out of doing so.

 

Solar Eclipse

Solar EclipseMany are asking what the solar eclipse on August 21st means. Does it have spiritual significance?  Having watched the blood moon series last year, is this coming solar event an omen? While only time will tell, there are some interesting things to consider.

In Michigan, we can expect to see the moon cover 84.0% of the sun. The moon will be in the sun’s path starting at 12:58pm and continue for 2hours 47minutes. The best time to see the peak of the eclipse will be 2:23pm.

Scripture indicates in Genesis 1:14 that the lights in the heavens (sun, moon, stars) are to be a sign. I Corinthians 1:22 adds that Jews look for a sign and Gentiles look for wisdom.

We are presently in the Jewish year 5777, the year of Jubilee. Two days after the eclipse, August 23st 5777 will be the first of Elul, a Jewish month where the focus is on repentance but also on harvest, the gathering of the crops. Could it be that the eclipse is a reminder for America to repent? Are we about to see a harvest of souls for Christ?

Do you remember when Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in Matthew 16:4 telling them that the only sign they would get was the sign of Jonah? From Matthew 12:39-41, Jesus was speaking to an evil and adulterous generation and in citing Jonah, he was referring to His own resurrection. But there is more. In 763 B.C. there was a famous solar eclipse. That was about the time Jonah arrived in Nineveh. Could it be that the reason the entire city of Nineveh repented was because they had just seen a “sign” in the sky, one that frightened them? One that was followed by Jonah’s preaching on repentance?

When Jesus was on the cross, the Bible tells us that the sky grew dark mid day and there was an earthquake. Some account that as a solar eclipse, a sign in the heavens corresponding to that fateful day.

The last total solar eclipse occurred June 8, 1918. Two events followed in that year…the end of World War 1 in November which was a good things but also the largest flu pandemic known to mankind affecting 500 million people world-wide and killing upwards of 40 million people.

The next solar eclipse will occur on April 8th, 2024, seven years from now. Interesting…

Anne Graham Lotz recommended an intriguing video by Pastor Steve Cioccolanti from Australia. Much of this blog are taken from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZvIibUAY2o

 

 

 

Orphanage Story

Surgical glovesA dear friend of mine, Aly, submitted this unique story of hearing God’s voice:

Several years ago, my husband’s company decided to move us to Beijing, China. They had never moved anyone overseas before, ever, and he had only been with that company for about two years. So we knew that God had moved us there for a purpose more than just business, but we also knew it was against the law to proselytize. That is, you can’t tell people about Jesus. You can’t pass out Bibles. You’ll get deported! So we just began to pray and ask the Lord how we could be a blessing to people there. And we felt like God was saying from every angle, “Just love on my people.”

So shortly after we moved there, one of the things we did to start loving on the people was that I started a ladies prayer group with a group of expat women. We prayed for a lot of things, including God’s blessing on China and also that He would connect us, somehow, to one of the many orphanages, to the people there, even though we didn’t speak the language well.

Several months after we began praying these things, I took our girls back to the US for a visit. The day before we flew back to China, we decided we wanted to take one full suitcase back with stuff that we could use there for ministry. So I had our older daughter, Abby, go out into the garage with me and stand before this big medical cabinet. My father had been a surgeon and he had passed away right before we moved to China, and they still had a ton of medical supplies.

Jer. 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and mighty things you do not know.” So we began to pray and ask God what He might have us bring back.

“Lord, please tell us what to fill the suitcase with.” Nothing. “You get anything Abby?” She said no. So I said, “Okay, let’s ask God again. “ “Any flashing neon lights” I asked her? “No? Me neither.” So I said, “Okay, let’s just take back all these surgical gloves. I’m sure someone can use them.” So we left the boxes of plain gloves and grabbed all the expensive sterile gloves and packed a whole suitcase full of them and headed back to Beijing.

When we got there, our Chinese driver picked us up. And when we got back to the house I asked him to help me put the gloves downstairs. He looked at me and said, “What? Why did you bring those back? That’s the stupidest thing I ever saw. You could have brought food. You could have brought clothes. This is stupid.” I told him I wasn’t sure why, but I knew that God was going to use them for something. I could hear him muttering all the way down the stairs about how stupid I was. So I asked God again to use them for something and to show him.

The next week I got a call from one of my prayer sisters and she said that her school was looking for someone to take clothing to a local orphanage but that she had no driver. Luckily, my husband was out of town so I had our driver there that day. So we picked her up, got the clothes and headed to the orphanage. After delivering the stuff and spending some time playing with the kids, we asked if we could have a tour of the orphanage. There was a very small room where they spent all their time, then two bedrooms upstairs that were lined with cribs, and a small kitchen, a small bathroom and then a room they called their medical room that seemed like a large walk in closet. It was stacked floor to ceiling with bins of clothes and a small table with a little cabinet over it. As we finished up, I spoke to the director through a translator that was there.

“Can you please tell her we are Americans? We travel back and forth to the United States often and would love to be a blessing to their orphanage. Is there anything they need?”

Through the translator, she said back to me, “We need one thing. We need one thing only. We need single use sterile gloves.” This was EXACTLY what I had brought back the week before. And they were the one thing they needed! I looked at my friend, Lisa, and we were both stunned!

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and mighty things you do not know!” I loved it because I felt like God was showing me that even when I don’t hear a voice in my mind, that if I am abiding in him, calling out to Him, He will direct my thoughts!

Then I literally ran out to the mini-van, jumped in and said to my driver, “Even you are going to have to say- WHO IS LIKE MY GOD? They need one thing here. One thing only. They need those gloves I brought back!”

Now understand, my driver knew I had never been there before. He drove me everywhere I went in Beijing. He looked at me and said, “I admit. That is very strange.”

(Aly is CEO/President of http://www.prayersisters.org)

 

 

Does Jesus Smile?

jesus-smilingHave you ever wondered what Jesus really looks like? I grew up in Sunday school and there was always a picture of Jesus on the wall. It’s what I would call “Somber Jesus”. He looked stoic, detached, other worldly with no beckoning expression on His face. The picture neither warmed my heart nor did it draw me to Him.

I don’t believe that’s what Jesus looks like. Of course, we can’t know exactly what He looks like because they didn’t have cameras in those days. But I believe we can surmise from Scripture the kind of look He frequently has on His face. Jesus loves people. When I love someone, I smile. I’m happy to see them. Jesus was often surrounded by people. He was compassionate, warm, and approachable. He even said in Luke 18:16, “… “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Would children feel drawn to a man who always had a solemn, serious look on His face? I think not.

Jesus even calls us little children seven times in I John. Isn’t it time we saw Jesus as He portrays Himself? A man filled with joy, a man who frequently smiles and laughs. jesus-smiling4jesus-smiling3jesus-smiling6

In Matthew 25:23 we are commanded to “… enter into the joy of your master.” Jesus said in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” Joy means delight, pleasure, elation, happiness, all words that beg for a smile and laughter. If the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents, would not Jesus also be smiling, dancing, laughing and filled with delight?

Jesus is filled with joy and invites us into His joy. Let’s scrape away our outdated view of how Jesus looks and picture Him for who He really is: Our beautiful Savior, smiling at us, laughing with us, his children.

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John 16:24 “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”

 

Jubilee Year!

jubileeDid you know that according to the Jewish calendar we are now in the year of 5777? The biblical number seven means completeness, perfection, finished. On our calendar, the year 5777 began in early October 2016 and will continue through most of 2017. While the year 2017 may not be significant to us in America, dates are very important to religious Jews. This particular year, 5777, is especially important because the Sanhedrin in Israel have declared it to be the Year of Jubilee.

So, who are the Sanhedrin? In ancient biblical times, they were the ruling religious counsel of 70 men in Israel. After being dormant for 1600 years, the Sanhedrin officially reconvened in January 2005 and have now declared this year to be the Year of Jubilee.

What does that mean? What is the year of Jubilee? It’s a year of coronation, of crowning, of new authority. It’s a year of restoration, forgiveness, healing, prosperity, and a new cycle. It’s a year of victory, of advancement, completion and wholeness. A year when the lost are restored, chains are broken and people are set free. It’s the year of the Lord’s favor. It’s a year when we can boldly make faith declarations for all of these things.

Previously on my blog, www.betsytacchella.com, I posted about President Trump seeming to be a modern day Cyrus (posted May 4th, 2016). At the time, I was thinking of how God appointed and anointed Cyrus to aid in rebuilding the temple in a Jubilee year. Is it possible that God will use Trump in this Year of Jubilee in a coordinated effort with Israel to do the same thing? The Sanhedrin has been in contact with both Trump and Putin urging them to consider this project. Interestingly, unlike the Arab nations, both of these leaders support the Jewish right to build their temple. This is monumental in prophetic terms. Will this be the year?

Are you familiar with the Temple Institute? This is a Jewish institute in Jerusalem with the sole purpose of meticulously creating all of the implements mentioned in the Bible to be used in the third temple. They also educate the public about the coming temple. Their goal, of course, is to eventually build the 3rd temple. They are diligent and quite serious in their endeavor. You can visit their site and observe the exquisite implements at www.templeinstitute.org. Click on “sacred temple vessels” and allow God to show you His glory. You will thrill as you contemplate their unparalleled beauty.

With this being the Year of Jubilee, it is imperative that we separate ourselves from anything that would hinder our relationship with the Lord. We must prepare our hearts for Jesus return. We must be about advancing the Kingdom of God, laying aside every encumbrance. God has a destiny for each one of us, for our nation, and for Israel.

In the Jewish feasts, the shofar is blown during worship. One of the purposes is that it is used as an instrument of praise. As we await Jesus’ return, let’s enter into praise. If you would like to worship to the shofar, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjU7XW5zpRc .

jubilees

Notice the events that took place on various historical Jubilee years.