Call for Prayer and Repentance

When do God’s people turn to Him? While we desire to cling to Him at all times, it is in times of trouble that this desire becomes a compelling need – a need to cry out to Him for deliverance, to ask Him to show us where we have sinned and turned from His righteous ways, to seek His forgiveness, and to learn from Him how to correct those things that separate us from His heart, and divide us from one another.

The world is in a season of distress. How shall we get through this trying time?

Many around the world, both from the Christian and the Jewish sides of Israel’s covenant family, are sensing the need to cry out to the Lord God in this season. As a way to enter into this process, B’ney Yosef North America is observing the week of July 5-11, 2020, as a time of fasting and repentance for our sins of division, discord, injustice, and failure to walk together in love.

Why now? It is a lesson we have learned from our Jewish brethren at this time. July 9 is the 17th day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, the Fast of the Fourth Month of Zechariah 8:19. This fast day begins a time known as the Dire Straits, a three week period ending on the 9th of Av, the Fast of the Fifth Month. This was the time the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple of God, removing His visible presence from His holy city, devastating the land He cares for, and dispersing His covenant people of Israel to the nations. Ever since then, Jews have fasted and mourned, not merely for themselves as a people, but for the nations of the earth, to whom Israel is a witness of the Most High God.

Our call for prayer and fasting in this week of 17 Tammuz is the beginning of a season of repentance from now until Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, on September 28, 2020. We are joining with other prayer initiatives throughout this season, and we invite you to do the same.

Do we truly want to see our Father’s Kingdom come and His will done on earth as it is in heaven? Then let us humble our hearts, bow our knees, and seek Him together.

Prayer and Repentance Initiatives

    • 17 Tammuz Call for Prayer and Repentance, July 5-11, 2020. Call for all of God’s covenant people to enter into fasting and repentance at the beginning of the Dire Straits. B’ney Yosef North America (bneyyosefna.com).
    • Nations’ 9th of Av Virtual Solemn Assembly, July 29-30, 2020. Time of mourning and fasting in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters on the Fast of the Fifth month. Nation’s 9th of Av (9-av.com).
    • 40 Days of Repentance, August 19-September 28, 2020. Daily pause for prayer and reflection during the weeks leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. B’ney Yosef North America (bneyyosefna.com).
    • 10 Days of Prayer, September 19-28, 2020. A Global Upper Room calling on cities to stop for United Prayer and Worship with Repentance during the Days of Awe. 10 Days (10days.net).
    • The Return, September 26, 2020. National and Global Day of Prayer and Repentance on the National Mall, Washington, DC. The Return (www.thereturn.org).

Teshuvah – YouTube

Ken Rank (left) and Al McCarn (right) in a conversation about current world events on United 2 Restore.

The great thing about going to Winchester, Kentucky, is  the opportunity to reconnect with good friends like Ken Rank. He asked me last week to record a conversation for United 2 Restore on the topic of “Teshuvah,” a Hebrew term often translated as repentance. It seems our Heavenly Father is calling people from all across the spectrum of His covenant body to enter into a season of prayer, repentance, and even fasting to seek reconciliation with Him and with each other. And why is that? Maybe because we need to do this to find the way through the global crises confronting us.

Please click here to listen to Teshuvah on United 2 Restore

Statute/Balak | Discussion on Numbers 19:1 – 25:9 – YouTube

From left to right, Abe Ott, David Altman, Al McCarn, and Leonard Newlin.

While in Winchester, Kentucky, David Altman and I had an invitation from our friends Leonard Newlin and Abraham Ott to join them in their weekly video discussion of the Torah portion. They have been doing this for quite a while on their YouTube channel, RSS Torah Portions.  This was the double portion Chukat (Statute) and Balak. We had a lot of fun talking through such topics as the red heifer, the bronze serpent, Moses not getting to enter the Promised Land, Aaron’s death, Balak’s attempts to get Balaam to curse Israel, and, of course, the talking donkey. Hopefully you’ll have as much fun listening as we had in the discussion!

Please click here to listen to Statute/Balak | Discussion on Numbers 19:1 – 25:9 – YouTube

Who Are The Poor?

Statue of Eleanor Rigby, Liverpool, England, Rodhullandemu (CC BY-SA, via Wikimedia Commons). Music: “Eleanor Rigby (Strings),” The Beatles, via The Internet Archive.

Why are there so many poor people among us? Who exactly are the poor? Is this a question of wealth, or of faith and obedience?

Deuteronomy 14:22-15:11; Matthew 5:1-12; Philippians 2:1-11

 

 

Click here to listen to the podcast: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-j9vnp-e1de81

 

How Foster Care Saved a Civilization | Nations’ 9th of Av

Memorial of Sir Nicholas Winton savior of 669 Jewish children from former Czechoslovakia. This memorial, dedicated in 2009, is located in Prague Main railway station. (Luděk Kovář – ludek@kovar.biz, sculptor Flor Kent / CC BY-SA, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wintons_Prague_memorial_by_Flor_Kent_-_1.jpg)

Here’s a powerful word of wisdom from the Bible:

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous. (Proverbs 13:22 TLV)

Let’s set aside that part about sinners and righteous for the moment and focus on the first part – the part about a good man leaving an inheritance for his grandchildren. What is the primary requirement for that to happen? It should be obvious: there can be no inheritance if there is no man, good or bad, to leave it. Of course, this is just as applicable to good women, especially to the courageous single mothers striving to make ends meet while playing the roles of both parents. For them it is immeasurably more difficult than for families where both parents contribute to the welfare of their children and grandchildren.

Suffice it to say that with no parents, or with only one parent, it’s highly unlikely that much of anything will be passed on to the rising generations, except perhaps the pain of rootlessness. It’s bad enough if we are discussing one family, or even a segment of society. For example, in the United States, about 20 million children – one in four – live in a home without a father.[1] The percentage is much higher among African American, Native American, and Hispanic children, even as high as 65% or more.[2] Yet even as tragic as those figures indicate, there is still hope simply because a large part of the society consists of intact families that, at least in theory, can help those in need.

But what if there are no intact families? What if an entire population of adults ceases to exist, leaving their children without care and guidance? Can you imagine it? That would be an entire generation –

    • of brides who would never be given away in marriage by their fathers.
    • of young men who would never know the approval of their fathers as they enter professions and begin families of their own.
    • of children who would never hear the stories of their grandparents.
    • of young people who would not know their own history – where they came from, who their people were, what special things they created, how they talked and sang and laughed.

Can you imagine such an unspeakable tragedy?

I can. It has happened too often in human history. Ask me about the Pequod nation of Connecticut, or the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, or the mixed African peoples thrown on unfamiliar shores as slaves in the West Indies and North America. But there is a more immediate example.

Please click here to continue reading


[1] These are the numbers as of 2017, according to the Census Bureau as referenced by the National Fatherhood Initiative (https://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistic).

[2] According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center, the percentages of children in single-parent homes in 2018 was 65% for African Americans, 53% for American Indians, 41% for Hispanic or Latino, 40% for mixed race children, 24% for non-Hispanic White, and 155 for Asian and Pacific Islander. The national average in 2018 was 35%, or 23,980,000 of all the children in the United States (https://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/107-children-in-single-parent-families-by-race#detailed/1/any/false/37,871,870,573,869,36,868,867,133,38/10,11,9,12,1,185,13/432,431).

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