December 2002 by Asher Intrater
Yeshua (Jesus) gave us a simple yet profound rule as to how to order the priorities in our life. Our first priority has to do with our relationship with God and His purposes; the second with acting in integrity; and the third is all the other material blessings that the world seeks.
"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
Our first priority in life is to follow God. This was Yeshua's call to His disciples: "Follow me." This does not come without effort. We have to actively seek the presence of God in our lives. We have to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil on a daily basis.
The center of the kingdom of God is the king: Yeshua. We are to guard and nurture our personal relationship with Him. The kingdom of God is a perfect society that will come in the future, but it is also the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives today (Matthew 12:28, 16:28). Being filled and baptized with the Holy Spirit should be a constant goal.
The second priority has to do with our actions. We must walk in integrity. We must pursue the highest standards of moral behavior. There is no spirituality without holiness; there is no power without purity. When Yeshua faced the devil's temptation in the wilderness, He refused even the slightest moral compromise under any condition.
The Word of God must produce a moral change in us. If not, we have just a form of godliness and have denied its true power (II Timothy 3:1-5). We are not so much to demand our rights, as we are to do what is right. We are to seek social justice and financial integrity. Life contains tests every day to see if we will choose to do what is right in the face of either temptation or hardship.
Moral behavior is a result of our relationship with God. It does not take priority over it. Sometimes when people start backsliding in their relationship with God, they say, "I'm not doing anything wrong..." But that is just an excuse. If our relationship with God grows cold, our moral standards will begin to slip as well.
Thirdly, we need to trust God that all our material needs will be met. God is not only our savior and our judge, He is also our creator. All the material blessings and pleasures in the world were created by God, not by the devil.
The word "Garden of Eden" means "garden of delights." The Bible starts with a perfect world in the Garden of Eden and ends up with a perfect world in paradise restored. The Bible is not against sexual pleasure, but against adultery and lust. The Bible is not against financial blessings, but against greed. If there is anything that is good, it comes from God and it is His will to give it to us. Jesus said, "All" of these things will be added to you, not just some of them.
Someone who seeks material blessings before righteousness, will not only miss God's kingdom, but He will in the end lose the blessings as well. Those who put their relationship with God and moral integrity first, will receive in the end more material blessings than they could ever imagine.
Korea, China and the Far East
Thank you for your prayers for me on my recent trip to Korea. The Koreans are a special people. I believe God's hand is upon them to bring the gospel to the millions of people in the Far East. Most of my ministry in Korea involves giving seminars on the baptism of the Holy Spirit to evangelical churches. My theme verse there is: Acts 1:8 - "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
I believe the power and baptism of the Holy Spirit is the launching pad for them to fulfill their destiny to bring the gospel to the "ends of the earth."
I was struck again this year by the connection between China and Korea. Physically, Korea sits as a peninsula to the enormous Chinese land mass. There are deep historic, cultural, ethnic, and linguistic connections between the two peoples.
Beijing, China has been chosen as the site for the 2008 Olympics. This means that in the next few years leading up to 2008, China will begin to open its gates to more relationships with the international community. I believe we are approaching a "kairos" time for the fall of communism and a massive sweep of evangelism in China. The year 2008 may be seen as a turning point date, a target for us to focus our prayers upon. Now is the time to pray for revival in that land and for the spiritual preparations to be made ready for evangelism. More than 20% of the world's population is Chinese, and 60% are Asians. Let us believe, pray for, support financially, and go - that we might see in these end times an enormous harvest of souls in those nations.
The time for general elections in Israel is fast approaching. The primaries are over. Amram Mitzna won by a large margin to be the Labor party's candidate for Prime Minister. Ariel Sharon won by a large margin to be the Likud party's candidate. We believe that the make up of the Israeli government has significant spiritual influence, not only on this country, but also for the purposes of God's kingdom throughout the world. (After all, Jesus is returning to take up the throne of David, which in a practical and earthly sense is the position as head of the Israeli government.)
We need to pray for God's will to be done in these elections. We also need to seek discernment for what God wants to happen. Israeli politics are extremely complex, and we must be careful not to make overly simplistic "prophetic" proclamations as to what the will of God is there. However during the next few weeks, I will try to offer some perspectives to help you as you pray.
The Israeli government has been greatly hindered over the past few years by the large number of small political parties, and with that the extreme difficulty of forming a functioning government coalition.
The proliferation of the smaller parties was encouraged by a law that allowed for direct election of the prime minister - separate from his political party. This allowed for many people to vote for the prime minister, but not his party. They would vote for the prime minister of their choice and then for whatever minor political party that represented their factional interests.
This left the elected prime minister with no base of support within the Knesset to do his work. This situation had to be fixed. It could have been fixed by either separating the prime minister's support base from the Knesset all together (as it is in the United States), or by restoring the vote for the prime minister to be connected to his party list. The law was changed this past year to the second option, which should help to form a more stable coalition.
To help you understand this, here are a few figures: The Knesset has 120 seats. The prime minister must form a government coalition of a simple majority - 60 seats. In the current government, Sharon is forced to make a coalition, when his own party, the Likud, has only 24 seats! The current forecasts predict a Likud victory with more than 35 seats. The
Shas party, the largest ultra-orthodox rabbinic led party, currently has 17 seats, which enabled it to leverage great power almost to the point of extortion. They are likely to go down to about 11 seats, if not even less.