Introduction

The Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to speak in several thousand churches around the world, including England, Israel, South Africa, Canada, and every one of the 48 contiguous United States. When speaking, I have also had the blessing of sharing my testimony––how God revealed the Messiah Jesus to me as a Jewish college student in Chapel Hill, NC, through the Old Testament prophecies. In sharing my story, I also have helped others understand the significant place that my Jewish people have in God’s heart and plan, and our need to take Jesus back to them. I also have been honored to be a part of seeing many Jewish people receive Jesus as their Messiah. I personally have known Jesus for nearly 33 years.

My great grandparents on my father’s side came to the United States from Russia in 1904. My grandparents on my mother’s side came from Germany in the 1920s. They were all Jewish. I was raised in a religious Jewish home and instilled with a deep love for my heritage. I have always loved my culture, my people, and my land. Yet when God revealed Himself to me in college, and I gave my life to Him, I experienced the pain of realizing that my family did not understand, and also the pain of seeing them reject the Messiah I knew to be true. The Jewish community, for the most part, rejects Jesus as Messiah. I have spent 28 years taking the message of Jesus back to the people whom I love so dearly.

Some say the “church” is anti-Semitic—that there is a “hatred” of Jews in churches today. I do not believe that to be the case. I have spoken in churches around the world, and wherever I speak, I experience wonderful people who love and care deeply about the Jewish community, about Israel, and are fascinated with the Jewish roots of our faith. Of this I am grateful. Many Christians, including Christian leaders, are getting involved in a growing movement to support Israel. Of that I am also grateful. We must strongly stand in support of the Jewish homeland. In the process, however, we must also keep perspective. The proclamation of the gospel must come first—in tandem, with our support of Israel––because peace won’t come until Jesus reigns in individual hearts and returns to establish His Kingdom.

Most Christians are aware of the passages in Scripture that say, “I will bless those who bless you” (Gen. 12:3), and “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6). However, most Christians know very little about the land and the people who are so deeply loved by God. We are interested but neglect to pray. We also neglect to share the good news. Our limited knowledge can only take us so far. We have to allow our heart to be knitted together with God’s. He has a special love for Israel, for Jerusalem, and for my Jewish people. Our hearts need to turn in that direction as well.

I have written this devotional because of my love for my people, and because I know that prayer is effective. I believe that God wants the Christian community to pray for Israel and for the Jewish community. Understanding more about Israel, the Jewish people, and our Jewish roots should place a burden on our hearts—a burden to pray AND to take the incredible message of Jesus back to them.

It is my hope and prayer that this devotional will inspire and encourage more Christians to pray for the people who have that special place in God’s heart and plan. I am hoping that more prayers will go up to God for the peace of Jerusalem. And, in the process, it is my hope that you will learn more about the city that Jesus wept over and the people whom He desires to gather together under His wings. Please take your time with this book. Do not rush through it. It is not meant to be read through from beginning to end in a day, or even a few days. Ponder the message of each devotion and let it speak to you personally. Extend each prayer. Pray each one asking God to do a work in your heart. It is my sincere hope that He will do just that.

As I have written this devotional, I have often spoken in the first person. The Jewish people are literally “my people.” I have not stopped being Jewish. I am one of them, and I love them. I cry out along with my brother, the apostle Paul: “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (Rom. 10:1). My people need the Messiah—they need Jesus. He has come.

May the church’s burden be to take the message of hope and peace in our Messiah back to the community who gave us our Messiah, and may that burden continually grow. I hope this devotional helps you along your journey, as you love Israel and my Jewish people.

For the sake of Israel,

Murray Tilles

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