Monday, June 27, 2011

Here Comes Another Lost Tribe!

Raj Kosaraju and 6,306 others like this.

June 24th, 2011

Thousands of kilometers to the east, in the furthest reaches of northeastern India, a long-lost community continues to nourish its age-old dream of returning to its ancient homeland, the land of Israel.

The Bnei Menashe, or “sons of Manasseh,” are descendants of one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel, which were exiled by the Assyrian empire more than 27 centuries ago. The community, which numbers 7,232 people, resides primarily in the Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, along the border with Burma and Bangladesh.

Despite generations of wandering, the Bnei Menashe never forgot who they were, where they had come from, or where they aspired to return.

Three times a day, every day, they turn in silent prayer toward Jerusalem, pleading with the Creator to put an end to their long exile and bring them home to Zion.

That dream is now poised, at last, to become a reality.

This past Monday, an extraordinary meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Immigration and Absorption took place in the Prime Minister’s Office. At the top of the agenda was the issue of the Bnei Menashe.

AS CHAIRMAN of Shavei Israel, an organization that has been assisting the community for over a decade, I had lobbied intensively for much of the past year for the committee to address the issue.

Testifying before the assembled ministers and bureaucrats, I spoke of the 1,700 Bnei Menashe who have already made aliya, and of the success they have had in integrating into Israeli society.

Approximately 96 percent of Bnei Menashe immigrants are employed, supporting themselves and their families and contributing to the state and its economy. A mere 4% – less than half the national average – are reliant on social welfare to make ends meet.

Nearly all young Bnei Menashe men are drafted into the army, with a majority serving in combat units. Some 50 Bnei Menashe are currently in uniform, and recently the first Bnei Menashe officer was commissioned.

I pointed out that a growing number of Bnei Menashe youth are pursuing higher education at Israeli colleges and universities in fields ranging from computer science to social work, and that several have also received rabbinical ordination after years of study in yeshiva.

And rest assured, I told the ministers, the Bnei Menashe are our lost brethren. In March 2005, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar recognized them as Zera Yisrael, or the “seed of Israel,” and said they should be brought to the Jewish state.

He also ruled that because they were cut off from their people for millennia, the Bnei Menashe are required to undergo conversion to remove any doubt about their personal status. All those who have made aliya have already gone through this process.

Put simply, I said, the Bnei Menashe are a blessing to the Jewish people and to the State of Israel, and they strengthen us no less than we do them.

Nonetheless, the government of Ehud Olmert inexplicably froze their aliya in 2007, dividing families and stifling the flow of this talented and highly motivated immigration.

So I turned to the members of the committee and made a simple yet forceful plea: It is time for Israel to let the remaining Bnei Menashe come home.

And then a miracle took place. After deliberating the matter, the ministerial committee, headed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, formally decided to draft a government resolution and bring it to the cabinet for approval no later than the end of July.

The resolution will permit all the remaining Bnei Menashe in India to make aliya, and will finally bring an end to their years of waiting and uncertainty.

Both the foreign minister and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver said they were behind the measure.

This means we are just one month away from an historic turning point, one that will restore 7,232 precious souls to the Jewish people.

But there are obstacles that may still stand in the way.

The Treasury is likely to object, not wanting to spend a shekel more than it deems necessary. And then there are the naysayers and post-Zionists who have lost sight of Israel’s mission to serve as the homeland for all Jews.

We cannot allow them to prevail.

There is simply no good reason for this aliya to be stymied. The Bnei Menashe are part of the extended Jewish family. They are committed Zionists who observe the Torah and its commandments, and who are reaching out across the centuries to reconnect with our people. We need to extend a welcoming hand back, and bring them to Jerusalem.

I urge all people of faith and goodwill, Jew and Christian alike, to pray for this undertaking to succeed. Write the premier, contact MKs, and tell them in no uncertain terms: Bring the lost tribe of Bnei Menashe home now! This past Monday, as I listened to the committee approve its decision, I truly felt as if I was standing on the banks of the Red Sea, watching the waters begin to part.

Soon enough, I am sure, the Bnei Menashe will cross the sea, reuniting with the Land and people of Israel after a remarkable journey.

Just as the prophets foretold, Manasseh’s children are at last coming back. And all one can say is: Thank God.

Author: Michael Freund

The writer, Michael Freund, serves as chairman of Shavei Israel (, a Jerusalem-based organization that assists the Bnei Menashe and other lost Jewish communities in returning to the Jewish people.

Watching biblical prophesy fulfilled right in front of your eyes!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This is not the time for grieving. This is a time for believing.

I remember the last time when he came to see me off at Nagpur airport on October 3, 2007. We attended a couple of meetings the whole week and I was heading to Belgaum enroute Mumbai. We finished the wonderful programs on the 2nd October in which more than 1200 participants gave a commitment to serve Jesus. It was the hard work by many godly servants of Nagpur. Pastor Benjamin Joseph was one leader among them who was humble, soft spoken, always cheerful, servant heart attitude and above all gentle in spirit. I saw him a couple of years ago on CBN TV where he shared his testimony how he had a renal failure and both his kidneys were damaged and how Lord Jesus was able to save him. He said he had called his wife and told her it is over. He is going to die. All the doctors told the same. But his wife Sujatha did not lose hope. She prayed the whole night. And Brother Benjamin came out of his unconscious situation the first thing in the morning.
Kidney dialysis removes toxins from the blood, and it can be life sustaining. Most people cannot stop dialysis unless they get a kidney transplant or if the problem that caused the kidneys to stop working can be treated. Chronic kidney failure cannot be treated except through a transplant, and most individuals who have this condition will die within a few weeks if they don't continue dialysis. Adults do have the right to make medical decisions for themselves, however, and some choose to stop treatment. In fact, in the United States, approximately 25% of those dealing with kidney failure make the decision to stop receiving dialysis.

People sometimes stop dialysis for positive reasons. If a person with kidney failure receives a successful transplant, he or she will no longer need this treatment. People with acute Kidney failure  may only need dialysis for a short time while their kidneys recover. Unfortunately, donor kidneys are in short supply, and these organs will not recover from chronic conditions. The majority of individuals who choose to end dialysis are, essentially, making the decision to die.

Many individuals with chronic kidney failure choose to stop because they are either not likely to receive a transplant or ill suited for one. When faced with the need to continue receiving dialysis for the rest of their lives, many find the prospect intolerable. For some, the quality of life with regular dialysis treatment is very poor. As such, they would rather live a few weeks on their own terms than have the potential to live years with dialysis.

Sujatha could hardly resist the doctors’ messages.  “I really started listening to what they were saying.  She was a crying and  she was a mess. She just slid down on the ground and all the sudden some friends  got off of the elevator and they knelt down with her and they started praying with her.  And then another  friend came and said, ‘Sujatha, this is not the time for grieving.  This is a time for believing.’  And so, everybody showed up.  All of our church showed up.  We prayed for probably three hours or more, praying and singing praises to God.  And, she almost feel like God was just going, ‘That’s what she was waiting for. Now, let’s see what she can do.’"

To the doctors’ amazement, Joseph  survived that night and stabilized. On the same week, Sujatha saw another miracle. It was when a Church member walked in and decided to donate her kidney to Brother Benjamin Joseph.

Joseph says, “I begged Jesus to raise me from this bed. ‘If you will, I promise I will glorify You.  I will tell everybody I come in contact with about what You did.’”

Less than one month later, Joseph was back at work and was completely healed. Today he is living an active lifestyle, which doctors said would be impossible.

His doctor wrote, “I would say that this process of recovery was certainly not normal or predictable.  I have never seen anyone as ill as Mr Joseph Benjamin recover.”

Joseph explains, “God just totally restored everything! He restored my health. He restored my liver, my kidneys. My heart is like it was before it ever happened.  My lungs are perfect. There is nothing wrong with them at all. He completely restored me.

Sujatha has a fresh perspective.  “I would tell people what my friends and well wishers told me, ‘This is not a time for grieving.  It is a time for believing.  It’s when things look the most bleak is when God wants to step in because that is when He gets the most glory.’”

Joseph knows what God did for him. “I am here and by all medical standards, I shouldn’t be.  It is just a testimony to God’s people.  It’s the reason I’m here. It’s because of the power of prayer.”

We, as mere humans, are not omniscient; we don’t and can’t know everything, especially when it comes to the future.  However, God does.  He knows everything—past, present, and future.  What’s more, he has walked ahead and planned our steps before us.  All we have to do is follow in His footprints like a child after their father.  God knows what lies ahead of us, every hill, valley, curve, and fork in the road.  At times we may be travelling blind in the darkness, but, if we’re following the Lord, we have the benefit of His light leading the way for us. I needed to hear that God is good and faithful. I needed to understand what that means. Most especially, I needed to understand that God loves us, and what that means. I swayed back and forth from despair and hope, from anger and faith. We hoped in the Lord, and struggled to hope in the Lord.
In all of this, God is glorified.

All set and done, I would like to recall what C.S. Lewis wrote in his book, The Problem of Pain: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain, it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

See, it’s all about faith. It takes faith to be healed. It takes even more faith to keep trusting Jesus when healing doesn’t occur.

We may not understand it at the time, but sometimes God desires to do more than simply heal our physical bodies. Often, in his infinite wisdom, God will use physical suffering to develop our character and produce spiritual growth in us.

Here’s what I can tell you. Your faith is more important than your life. I can also tell you that a person’s eternal life in heaven is more important than their physical life on earth. And further more life is all about glorifying God, whether or not you’re sick or healed, whether or not you’re alive when Jesus comes. It’s all about Jesus, not about you.

Do you have that kind of faith?


Raj Kosaraju

Friday, June 24, 2011

Question: "Does God still speak to us today?"

The Bible records God speaking audibly to people many times (Exodus 3:14; Joshua 1:1; Judges 6:18; 1 Samuel 3:11; 2 Samuel 2:1; Job 40:1; Isaiah 7:3; Jeremiah 1:7; Acts 8:26; 9:15 – this is just a small sampling). There is no biblical reason why God could not or would not speak to a person audibly today. With the hundreds of times the Bible records God speaking, we have to remember that they occur over the course of 4,000 years of human history. God speaking audibly is the exception, not the rule. Even in the biblically recorded instances of God speaking, it is not always clear whether it was an audible voice, an inner voice, or a mental impression.

God does speak to people today. First, God speaks to us through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Isaiah 55:11 tells us, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” The Bible records God’s words, everything we need to know in order to be saved and live the Christian life. Second Peter 1:3 declares, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

Second, God speaks through impressions, events, and thoughts. God helps us to discern right from wrong through our consciences (1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 3:16). God is in the process of conforming our minds to think His thoughts (Romans 12:2). God allows events to occur in our lives to direct us, change us, and help us to grow spiritually (James 1:2-5; Hebrews 12:5-11). First Peter 1:6-7 reminds us, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Finally, God may sometimes speak audibly to people. It is highly doubtful, though, that this occurs as often as some people claim it does. Again, even in the Bible, God speaking audibly is the exception, not the ordinary. If anyone claims that God has spoken to him/her, always compare what is said with what the Bible says. If God were to speak today, His words would be in full agreement with what He has said in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God does not contradict Himself.

Jesus Christ, Provider of Eternal Life, Our Judge

When God made us in His image, He created us to live forever. So, though our earthly body will perish, our spirit will never die. The question about eternal life is important, as we'll spend eternity either with God in heaven or in an insufferable state, separated permanently from Him (Matthew 25:34, 41).

Scripture tells us that we have inherited a sinful nature from the first man (Romans 5:12). Ever since that time, humanity has been in rebellion against the Lord and under His judgment. There is nothing we can do to pay for our sin. If this were the end of the story, we would be a people without hope for today or the future. But the good news is that the heavenly Father recognized our plight and mercifully provided the way to heaven (John 14:6)

Sin, according to the Bible, is any action that violates the law given by God in the Ten Commandments. The law was given by God to show us what it means to live a life deserving of God's love. It was also given to show us that none of us can live that kind of life. God knew that in advance, and that is why He sent His Son Jesus to be that perfect life for us. Jesus, God in human flesh, voluntarily laid aside His God-hood to connect with us, to show us He understands us and to give us a way to be reconciled to the Father, since none of us can keep the law to its letter. "For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

1. Sinner's Prayer - Become a Sinner Saved by Grace!

What's the key to the Sinner's Prayer? As long as we are content to live in sin, the Bible says we are separated from God. That condition may seem fine for a while, but it ultimately leads to misery and then to eternal separation from God. "There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death." (Proverbs 16:25). The good news is that God Himself has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him, and He has done this through His Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:6-15). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23)

A healthy fear of God will hold us in awe and do much to deter us from sin. When we have a proper fear of the living Lord, we live a cleaner life. Any born-again person who sins willfully has momentarily blocked out any fear of God. You and I can do that. When we actively engage in sin, we consciously put aside what we know to be the truth about God. We deliberately suppress the knowledge of Him in our hearts and minds. We lie to ourselves by saying, "We'll get by. God won't mind so much." Yet God used Moses to reveal to His people a reverential and healthy fear of the Almighty.

When you come to that understanding, and God's light breaks into your life like the pure whitewater of a rushing river, you learn to thoroughly hate and dread those actions that will plunge you again into darkness. The psalmist expressed that thought with these words: "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" (Psalm 119:103–105 NIV)

What about you? Are you content to live for yourself, get the most good things in this lifetime, and die anyway? Or do you want a life of purpose and hope? God, the One who created you, has a purpose for your life and wants to give you a new beginning. If you are ready to admit your need for a clean slate in life, the God of second chances is waiting to give it to you. All you have to do is start with the Sinner's Prayer.

2. Sinner's Prayer - Recognizing the Need

The "Sinner's Prayer" is a term that describes the words spoken by a person when he or she has recognized their sin and their need for a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It goes something like this:

“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.”

3. Jesus Christ will judge every person who has ever lived…

Scripture reveals that Jesus Christ will judge every person who has ever lived (Acts 10:42). Those who refuse His offer of salvation face the white throne judgment—the unbelievers’ last stop before an eternity of exile from God’s presence. Believers will also stand before Jesus, at which time they’ll finally come to full comprehension of His extravagant grace.

Jesus will reveal the true nature of a believer’s heart to him or her. Every rebellious act, wrong attitude, and cutting word will be reviewed. When the Bible says that Jesus will wipe the tears from our eyes, it is referring to this time (Isa. 25:8). We’ll be standing in the holy Savior’s presence, grieving over how undeserving we are of His sacrifice. But the sorrow will last only a moment. On its heels comes the tremendous joy of having received forgiveness and lived a life pleasing to Him. Christ’s judgment is not a punishment; it is a reminder that we are pardoned. At last, we will fully realize the depth and breadth of His grace.

Believers need not cower or hang their heads during the judgment. Nor are we to repent—the time for that is past. We will stand before the Lord, clothed in Christ’s righteousness and forgiven of every single sin. And we will at last comprehend how great is the love of our God for us. How wonderful it is when we find relationships with no strings attached. Our relationship with God is like that: no conditions, no strings. He loves us even when we are unlovable. We can misbehave, and we can be bad, but God welcomes us back whenever we return to Him. He doesn't ever withhold His favor from those who reach out to Him.

We mustn't doubt our salvation once we have truly received Christ as Lord. We can know with abiding assurance that we're saved. But we do want to make sure we have truly received Christ as Savior and Lord. If that isn't settled in your life, kneel down today and give yourself fully and finally to Him in true repentance and faith. I'm not always as good as I know I should be. I act terrible at times. Please forgive and accept me, Lord. I love You, and I want to make You proud of me. Amen.