Tag Archives: Paul

Looking for Answers Only God Can Provide

Dear Friend,

Shalom in His grace. I hope and pray you are well, healthy, and serving the Lord with joy!

I want to share a great story with you of how a young Israeli came to faith through our Isaiah 53 Explained Facebook ads and the follow-up so wonderfully and faithfully carried out by Randall and Luda, two of our staff members in Israel. Randall wrote to me, and I think he should tell the story!

Hi Mitch,

“M” (name left out for privacy purposes) is a young man, twenty-five years old, originally from Uruguay, who immigrated to Israel with his family in his early teens. He was very good at soccer and played professionally. He has some believing family members, perhaps grandparents, but they were not active in a congregation, so there was not much influence on “M.”

Curiously, when he would see pictures of Jesus, he had a feeling that He was somehow watching over him and that, because of Jesus, everything would be all right. After his father’s recent death, we happened to follow up on his request for your Hebrew Isaiah 53 Explained book.

Somehow, Rachel (one of our Israeli staff members) got to the post office during the COVID-19 crisis to send him a Hebrew New Testament. He was delighted, as he had no biblical knowledge other than Bible classes in Israeli school.

“M” is very friendly and, at first, may have viewed us in light of his focus on education—as just an interesting learning experience. However, he was strongly attracted to the Word, the message of the gospel, and the person of Jesus. After several weekly ZOOM meetings, he agreed to pray to ask for forgiveness for his sins and receive Jesus as Savior.

The Isaiah 53 outreach is a great privilege. The book has opened dialogue with hundreds or even thousands of Israelis, apart from the exposure on the internet.

Now, “M” is trying to finish his high school comprehensive exams, which he never did because of chasing his soccer career.

He is between jobs and is also changing apartments soon. Over the next couple of ZOOM sessions, we plan to discuss linking him with other believers.

Please keep us in your prayers.


There are many others in Israel, the United States, and worldwide who have come to faith during the pandemic! Our inability to sit face-to-face or mask-to-mask with people who are ready to give their lives to the Lord does not limit God’s saving power.

He is working powerfully among His chosen people around the globe. If I have learned anything from the pandemic, it is this: all people, including my Jewish people, are looking for answers that only God can provide.

And the harder the times, the more intense the search!


I came to faith during the Jesus movement after almost being killed in a drug deal and finding little meaning in the lifestyle I embraced in my late teenage years. It was a dark time, and I was searching without realizing it. I also had no idea what I was looking for, but I knew I needed a new lease on life—a new beginning!

My two Jewish best friends accepted the Lord during those days and shared the gospel with me. I heard their words, but they did not make sense. As a Jewish person, my impulse was to reject Jesus out of hand. After all, whoever heard of Jews believing in Jesus?! I had not, and I had never met a Jewish person who believed in Jesus before my two friends came to faith.

Thank God, He did not give up on me. After months of searching, answered prayers, and reading the New Testament, I accepted the Lord as my Messiah and Savior. And just like “M,” I grew to love the Bible. From then on, all I wanted was to serve the Lord and tell others about Him! I feel the same today as I did then, almost five decades ago!


I remember when I discovered that the Apostle Paul was Jewish. That was a shock. I understood that Jesus was Jewish, but the Jewish community generally views Paul as a renegade. I continued to read the Epistles he wrote with this new understanding, and along with Abraham, Moses, King David, and (of course) Jesus, Paul became one of my Jewish heroes.

I had many of the same questions that Paul had. For example, Why did the Jewish people not believe in Jesus when He first came? Why have my ancestors and leaders of the Jewish community generally rejected Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah? Has God rejected the Jewish people for rejecting Jesus?

Paul, or Rabbi Saul, answered these questions in the book of Romans, especially in chapters 9 to 11. I was so impressed with his burden for his Jewish people.

Paul wrote,

I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh…. (Romans 9:1–3)

In simple terms, Paul said he was willing to go to hell if it meant that a Jewish person might go to heaven. Paul had a deep burden for his people.

In Romans 10:1, we also learn that Paul prayed for the salvation of his people. He wrote, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.” The apostles struggled through many of the same challenges I had when I first came to faith.

Did all Israel reject Yeshua? Did God reject the Jewish people? No! The proof is that Paul, himself, in Romans 11:1, declared that he was a Jew! Had God rejected the Jewish people for their unbelief? No! Paul was living evidence of God’s faithfulness.

Paul was a Jewish believer, but he also said there is a remnant of Jewish people who believe in Jesus, preserved by God throughout time. Did Paul believe that God rejected His chosen people because they had decided not to follow Jesus? Heaven forbid!

Paul told the Roman believers that there is a remnant today, just as there was in ancient Israel (Romans 11:2– 4). He recounted the story that appears in 2 Kings 18 when, following a great victory over the prophets of Ba’al, Elijah traveled to the desert. He told the Lord he felt all alone, and God showed him that he had company. There were seven thousand men who had not bowed the knee to Ba’al.

Paul stated a principle for the ages based upon this story when he wrote,

“In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice” (Romans 11:5).

I am part of this remnant today, as is “M.” We are not alone, though for now, we are a growing few.

The Lord is preserving a remnant today for His glory, though we know that one day the entire nation of Israel will come to Jesus. In Romans 11, Paul concluded that God has not rejected the Jewish people and that a day is coming when the Jewish people who are alive at the time of the Second Coming will turn to Jesus.

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation— that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved. (Romans 11:25–26)


Paul answered another critical question in this triad of chapters. What is the Gentile believer’s role in God’s plan for the Jewish people?

The apostle said there is a biblical mandate for Gentiles in the Body of Messiah to reach Jewish people with the gospel message. In fact, according to Paul’s statement in Romans 11:11, the Gentiles are to make the Jewish people jealous.

As a mission to the Jews, we understand that we are to help our Gentile brothers and sisters accomplish this great work. It is part of our organizational mission statement to help (empower and equip) our brothers and sisters in the church to evangelize and disciple Jewish people.

Chosen People Ministries hopes to encourage, provide materials, and build strategic bridges with Gentiles in the Body of Messiah to fulfill this mandate in the twenty-first century.

We are partners in the gospel, and together we will reach Jews like me, “M,” and many others for the Savior.

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers and support. Let us look forward to the great future God has prepared for those who love Him as we try to help as many as we can to love Him too.


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Filed under evangelism, Israel, Jews and Christians, Judaism, Uncategorized

Leveraging our Grief for His Glory

As a result of the pandemic, we have all had time to think more deeply and reflect on how we have lived, walked with God, served in our ministry, and held to our priorities and values. Yet, one of the most valuable experiences to grow out of the pandemic is the opportunity to make changes and reprioritize as we consider our next steps and begin the “new normal” of the days ahead. What are our life’s highest priorities, and how will they change in the future?

One of the priorities cherished by the Apostle Paul was evangelism—to participate, to pray, and to ask others to pray.

But I believe it is essential for us to consider the underlying motivation that fueled Paul’s passion for evangelism. The factors that moved the apostle may be used as a mirror to discern our level of passion and desire to share the gospel, especially during this challenging time of being separated from so many people we love and care about.

Paul wrote:

“I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh…” (Romans 9:1–3).

This great sorrow and unceasing grief are at the heart and core of the apostle’s motivation to faithfully share the gospel and endure the persecution, suffering, disappointment, and difficulties of doing so. He is ultimately motivated by grief.

We understand grief better today than ever before. Grief simply means mourning what is lost, and we are all grieving today, in one way or another. We are mourning the loss of “normal” life, opportunities to see family and friends, the loss of a job, or even more so, the loss of a loved one to the virus or some other reason.

The great writer and Christian thinker, C. S. Lewis, was married to Joy Davidman, a Jewish woman from New York City who passed away from cancer only four years into their marriage. Lewis wrote a lot about this experience, and one book, A Grief Observed, summarizes much of his feelings about grief, loss, and the heartache that comes from no longer being able to sit face to face with someone you love.

He writes,

“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”[1]

And further,

“I once read the sentence ‘I lay awake all night with a toothache, thinking about the toothache and about lying awake.’ That’s true to life. Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.”[2]

And most poignantly,

“Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”[3]

I think that this is what Paul was trying to help the Roman believers understand. He loved his Jewish people so much and was in a constant state of grief not because he was away from them but because he knew that his beloved Jewish people and family were separated from God and was grieving on their behalf. His sense of grief consumed him because of the separation his people experienced from God. In reality, it was a separation that was not understood, known, or accepted by the Jewish people.

The Apostle Paul’s grief led to his prayer in chapter 10:1 where he cried out,

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.”

How about you and me? How intense is our burden?

We have the rare opportunity today to better understand grief and loss because of this tragic pandemic. There is now the possibility of leveraging those feelings of sadness and separation to pray more fervently for our friends and family—especially our Jewish friends—who are separated from God and might not even be aware of it. Because we are aware of it, we can grieve on their behalf.

Grief is a hard thing, as it requires us to feel with our hearts and carry the burden for something that will not have an immediate resolution, especially if we are speaking of the case of Jewish evangelism. Yet, feeling the hard edges of life is so important. If we allow grief to penetrate our hearts, perhaps we can better understand and join in the Messiah’s anguish over His people, as seen in Luke 19:41–42, when He weeps over Jerusalem and the troubles that would befall His Jewish people in the future. I believe the Apostle Paul joined in this grief. The Jewish people could not possibly understand the consequences of being separated from God for all eternity. (Acts 4:12) If we can allow this grief to touch our hearts, perhaps we can better understand these days—to motivate us to pray, to witness the hope we have through Yeshua the Messiah, and to appreciate the salvation and Savior we have, who bore all our griefs, burdens, and sin according to Isaiah 53:4:

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4).

By His grace, the Messiah has ushered us into a glorious relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This faith in Him causes us to grieve for others because we know what He has done for us.

Lewis added in A Grief Observed,

“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”[4]

Sometimes we hang onto the thread of faith as we face disappointment and even disillusionment growing out of the hard experiences we face in this life. Yet, that thread does hold us because it is attached to the firm grip of our loving and all-powerful Savior. We will experience loss and grieve, yet we have also been given the gift of hope through the Messiah of Israel. We should try to prayerfully use our now more profound understanding of grief and loss to motivate us to pray and witness to those who might not even know what they are missing. But we do and, by His grace, should make intercession for those who do not, just as our Savior did for us.


[1] C S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001), 52.

[2] Ibid, 9–10.

[3] Ibid, 11.

[4] Ibid, 22–23.

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