J.D. Alcalá Bennett lives and writes from Los Barrios, Campo de Gibraltar, Spain.
J.D. is author of the book: "The WALLS OF SPAIN". JHouse Publishing and Joni's Writing Lab of Fort Worth, Texas proudly carries both JD's music and book. http://www.jhousepublishing.com/authorsartists/j_d_bennett
Juan David es autor de: Los Muros de España
I grew up learning the Romans Road at my little church in Grand Terrace, California. I have always admired the Wednesday Night Kid’s Class teacher for teaching it us kids every single Wednesday night. (It was my mother.) Because of this gift of hiding the Word in my heart at a very early age, I have been given an anchor for my soul that many of my peers have never had, and they have often times fared much worse than me for having scoffed at the Almighty and His Church at one point or another in their youth or young adult life.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God -Romans 3:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. -Romans 6:23
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8
Whosoever so shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
The Roman’s Road has been for me a road, of solid rock, that I can recall word for word at any moment when life throws any number of challenges my way.
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin again God.
So as I travel the road less travelled, one of an evangelical missionary, a road greatly hated by both the postmodern and the pagan alike, I can stand on a powerful foundation that will endure the test of time.
One of the beauties of having small children or even working with them, is getting to share the good news of Jesus to an audience who doesn’t know all about the Gospel yet and to see their reactions to this Good News. We see our daughters light-up as we teach them about Jesus performing miracles! When our girls get enthusiastic about their Bible lesson, there is no greater gift that we as parents could ask for! It is just exciting as we approach this season of Passover and Resurrection Sunday to get to teach and tell the wonderful message of redemption through Yeshua to our daughters and to all that we have an opportunity to share with. How we love to tell the story!
How powerful it is to tell the story of the Last Supper knowing the steps of the Pesach Seder that Yeshua and his disciples were remembering. To tell the good news that we believers are redeemed with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Messiah. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
The Passover Seder Booklet is called a Haggadah, which is “the narrative or telling” of the story of the first Passover in Egypt (Exodus 12:4) and the ancient steps of the meal have profound lessons for all who participate. I just love being able to tie all of the Scriptures together, Old and New Testaments, so that our girls can see and celebrate how God brought all things together through His Messiah, his old begotten Son.
Already this year, JD received 2 invitations for teaching on Easter weekend, to preach an Easter morning message in one church in Northern Spain and to preside a Messiah in the Passover dinner in British Gibraltar. So this season we have been presented with no shortage of opportunities of proclaiming that those who would believe on the name of the Lamb, might be passed-over in the final judgment!
What is wonderful is that in Spain, “Semana Santa” or Holy Week, is such an event that for a few days your typical Spaniard has a little more interest in the Messiah and in hearing about the Scriptures. On one occasion during Holy Week in Seville, Sara and I were walking down the street and a reporter from the news asked if we would answer a few questions about Easter (I pushed Sara forward!). So just walking through the street, Sara got to share on TV about Jesus dying for our sins, answering a question the reporter gave her about if she sees Holy Week as cultural or religious. It was the kind of question that a missionary is dying for someone to ask them! So we pray that all of us, our family and yours, can preach the word! Pray for us that we as Christ-followers can be ready in season and out of season. Pray that we can always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks (us) for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet, with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)
Did telling the truth ever get you in trouble? Did telling someone in your family about something you dreamed about ever have consequences in the conscious world? Jospeh was young when he opened his dreams to his disinterested, jealous, older half-brothers. Jospeh was his father Jacob’s favorite son when he was sold into slavery by his brothers, but his dreams and the betrayal that he suffered at the hands of his brothers, made possible the preservation and the incubation for the 12 tribes of Israel while on the African continent.
First thing we can do in Scripture is look at the principal verses about his dreams: In B’resheet 37:3, Israel loved Joseph more than his brothers, but not only that. Joseph starts having dreams. In 37: 8 Jacob pondered the dreams. Israel, as he was now known, knew in his old age how God works. Yakov, if anyone, was well aware that God could select the younger to rule over the elder, and that God could reveal his choice through a dream. He knew very much about the younger taking the birthright and the blessing.
In verses 37:9, we see that the sun, moon & stars bowed down to Joseph. All of Joseph’s family eventually did bow once they came to him in Egypt. Joseph’s brothers give us a different picture of the difference between regret and repentance. Often times people are filled with regret because they were found out in their sin. The pain they feel is not repentance, it is the pain of being exposed. The brothers of Joseph regretted what they had done to their brother, but that regret had not turned into godly repentance. God’s sovereign choice of a leader often times brings out jealousy of those who must submit or who are not the chosen ones. Rather than recognize God’s choice, they set out to destroy Joseph, showing and proving why the 10 brothers were not chosen, while showing qualities of why Joseph should be elevated.
Gen 37: Suffering builds perseverance and allows character to shine.
For Joseph the discipline of being sold into slavery to Egypt would test his faith, for the nation of Israel, the stay in Egypt would be for their preservation and discipline too.
Out of Egypt I called my son. Another Joseph would be preserved through divine dreams, until the right time came to come up from Egypt. Gen. 37 teaches us today about suffering as a test of our character. Like James 1, it is to build and refine the Lord’s work in us. Joseph was not kept from suffering just because he was righteous. Should I repeat that? The Most High would ultimately honor Joseph as he had promised, and that account of Joseph’s perseverance and righteous suffering would be forever preserved in the Torah for all who love God’s word.
Back to Genesis 38: Judah went to visit his friend Hirah and married a Canaanite woman named Shua. Their firstborn son, once grown, was so wicked that the Lord killed him. But then came the crisis of having an heir. This was very serious business in this period, almost 4,000 years ago. If an heir died with no children, cultural demands required that the next of kin, in this case Er’s brother Onan, to marry the widow Tamar. Onan was also struck dead for trying to avoid his family duty of preserving the line of Judah, this while Judah was still living! The tradition was called levirate marriage.
David Jeremiah writes: Only a God of grace could make a Canaanite woman like Tamar and a prodigal man like Judah, members of his royal line and ancestors of his Messiah.
So what qualities did Joseph possess? Genesis 39 shows Joseph’s rise to success.
God’s sovereign help to Joseph’s life and work.
God’s active presence in Joseph’s life.
Joseph’s devotion to his masters/bosses and to God.
Joseph’s industry and stewardship
Joseph, through the providence of the Most High, would bring his brothers from the plateau of regret up to the pinnacle of repentance and of true sorrow for doing wrong. We see the sorrowful repentance and reconciliation in Genesis 45. And God would use these twelve, reunited brothers, in the founding of his great nation Israel. Do you know what Hosea 11:1 says? Out of Egypt I will call my son.
Brit Hadasha Questions: Do you remember another beloved son who was carried off to Egypt in the night? Did it happen after Joseph had a dream? Yes, Joseph the carpenter had a dream too. Joseph of Nazareth may have had to work through thoughts of how hopeless it was to be of the Davidic Dynasty. His family had not reigned since the Davidic family was both Imprisoned and put to death by the king of Babylon in 597 bc and the years following.
For us nowadays, 600 years is a long time to wait for God to answer us. Maybe Joseph would deal with God about fears that the house of David would never be restored, as they lived in obscurity keeping themselves out of Herod’s sight. How many generations of the House of Judah prayed for the Messianic restoration of the House of David. How they must have prayed that a son of David would again be king of Israel and reign from Jerusalem forever.
What does the angel call Joseph in Matthew 1:20? Joseph, son of David. God had never forgotten the family of David or Joseph. He did not forget David’s line in Babylon, if you look at Jeremiah 52, Jehoiachin was treated kindly by the king of Babylon in the end. All the family was not wiped out. Zedekiah’s family was, but that was only one part of the sons of Josiah. Josiah had more sons and grandsons who survived.
Adonai ALWAYS keeps his promises!
And God preserved the line of David to produce the Lion of Judah, through the Babylonian invasion and destruction, through the dangers in captivity, through the plots of Haman in Susa, through the attacks of Antiochus Epifanies, the conquest of Rome, through the Hasmonian and Herodic dynasties, that were not David’s line, until we find a young virgin in the city of Nazareth. Then the Lord takes up where he left off with his servant David, and sets in motion the birth of a child that has changed the course of the universe forever.
And Joseph of Nazareth dreamed dreams. The angel of the Lord told him to take Mary. Then the angel later warned him to take the child and his mother to Africa, to Egypt. To stay in Egypt until wicked King Herod had kicked the bucket. As we read, Joseph was also told in a dream when it was safe to return to Eretz Yisrael.
Each Purim, some choose to reverently remember what might have happened to our Jewish people in Persia had Esther not arisen as queen and heroine for such a time as that (“Don’t suppose that merely because you happen to be in the royal palace you will escape any more than the other Jews. For if you fail to speak up now, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from a different direction; but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows whether you didn’t come into your royal position precisely for such a time as this.” –Mordechai, Esther 4:14).
Some Persian-Sephardic synagogues even do their Purim play or their reading of Sefer Esther in Farsi.
Many congregations enjoy reading the whole Esther scroll in one sitting, and my congregation back in Irvine, California always has a Purim pageant which my theater friends and I get excited about.
All the kids have fun eating their traditional cookie on that day, hamantaschen. I remember my mom saying years ago, that there was only one bakery where we could find it for Purim, where we lived way east of L.A. , and it was in an old bakery in San Bernardino, CA. So I remember driving Ms. Daisy there as a teen to get our hamantaschen needs taken care of.
Others, like Israeli and Hebrew school kids, not mention our friends the Na Na Nach’s, have a grand old time on Purim, like as if it were the Jewish Mardi Gras. They bring a joy to some holidays that I admire.
On much darker note, this year I have been thinking about wicked Haman. On the 11th of Adar, doning my tallit katan and kippah for the occasion, I sang Yerushaliym Shel Zahav at the Gibraltar Friends of Israel, Israel Night Meeting . I was canting the song as the last events of the movie Schindler’s List played behind me on the screen. I heard the murmurs in the room as the movie depicted the hanging of Amon Goeth, another Haman, the Butcher of Krakow-Plaszow in Poland. Those of you who know the Book of Esther know Haman’s plot against our Jewish people not only brought his own doom, but that of his whole household. If you know the movie Schindler’s List, you will remember when a string a people depicting Schindler’s survivors marching forward out of the ashes of the Holocaust singing Yerushaliym Shel Zahav.
Having participated this way for Purim this year, it made the holiday very dark and sorrowful for me. It made the weight of the suffering of the Jewish people fall on my heart as if it was Tisha -B-Av and I even shed a tear as I spoke about my grandmother singing and playing this song when I was too young to appreciate what was happening. I also took the opportunity, given the mood right then at the meeting, to address the current state of denial of wrongdoing in Poland and the likelihood of more Holocaust denial to follow. So Purim this year took on a flavor I had not experienced before.
Maybe this is how Mordechai felt after the first Purim? Not so joyful as much as shell-shocked.
Muy buenas a tod@s. Estamos muy emocionados, como equipo de English Action Camp, de anunciar el campamento para este verano en El Centro de Campamentos Los Naranjos, en Cazalla de la Sierra, La Sierra Norte de Sevilla.
Aquí tenéis el folleto. Por favor no dudéis en poneros en contacto conmigo.
Isn’t this the season for walking into a drug-store and seeing heart shaped boxes with chocolates and value packs of valentines and personalized love notes that come complete with music when you open it? Well this Sunday we took advantage of this season to teach our family a lesson about love. We began with a hunt for paper hearts that were hidden around our living-room. Once our girls had found them, we read the Bible verses written on the hearts one by one, on half the hearts there was a Scripture reference and on the corresponding heart we had a summary of the verse (as our daughters are 2 and 5 years old!). As we read each verse, our girls hugged themselves when we said the word love, and they pointed to heaven when we said God. By the end of reading and teaching them through 1 John 4:7-11 and 1 John 3:16, our daughters, who are very small still, knew how great the Father’s love was for them. The lesson had stuck. This last week our mission’s pastor from Redlands, California came to see us. He asked us a very interesting question, for us as missionaries, over dinner: Why does God love you? What does He love about you?
Sara and I smiled at each other and laughed nervously, as there were tons of answers we could both give our pastor and old friend (at least cliché answers). I realized the direction to take in answering his question, was the personal part of the question, to the relationship between my soul and my Creator. I won’t give all our conversation away, (It was a good one.) but we can know that Creator God knows us dearly, when we love Him. In 1 Corinthians 8:3 Paul affirms our insecurities of being loved: But the one who loves God is known by God. My daughter is a month away from turning 6-years-old. That is exactly the age I was when my earthly father abandoned me.
The Lord knows me, since that day my Daddy didn’t come home, and these 31 years since then. He knows John David, the little boy who got picked on at school, who was insecure and got picked last for football and soccer. God knows the void He filled in my heart, very vividly and profoundly, when I was still very small. It may be for that reason that some times if I speak on the Father’s love for us, if I refer to 1 John 3 & 4, tears still come to my eyes. Because He loves us indefinitely more than we can know or measure, and the Father knows how much that has meant the world to little old John David Bennett.