Last night, Hamas called for a third intifada and the Palestinian Authority called for a "Day of Rage". As riots broke out last night around Jerusalem, sadly two Palestinians died in the riots. Riots will probably break out today throughout Judea and Samaria, so what should our response be? Simply, be a watchman standing on the walls!
Abraham's rescue of Lot and his household from the four Mesopotamian Kings in the middle of the night was an act of holy chutzpah! Israel's first patriarch demonstrated great faith, courage, family loyalty, and military strategy during this successful rescue operation.
As we enter into day 16 of Operation Protective Shield, we read how a "ceasefire" is proposed by different countries in order to settle the conflict. However, it's not a 'true' peace they want to achieve, but just a pause in the violence. A ceasefire in the eyes of Islam is called a 'hudna', which is understood as a time to regroup and rearm before rising to its ultimate victory. So how does one truly achieve peace?
As the war continues in Israel, much has been made of the success of the Iron Dome defense system which shoots down incoming rockets from the Gaza Strip. While we are very thankful for the protection this system affords, it does present a certain public relations challenge for Israel. Somehow, regardless of the differences in both size and intention between Israel and the Arab world, the global media frequently emphasizes what they call, “moral equivalency”. The perception of Israel's military strength and technical superiority somehow makes her the aggressor with an unfair advantage.
At the beginning of the recent conflict with Hamas, we discovered an app called "red Alert", which we, (along with millions of others around the world), installed on our iPhones. The app sounds an alert warning each time a rocket is fired into Israel, and identifies the city or area where the rocket(s) are expected to land. On the first day of "Operation Protective Edge" we were amazed at how often the alert sounded as hundreds of rockets flew out of Gaza. Driving with friends from the Galilee region back to our home in the Negev, the eerie warning sounded over and over again. With each warning we knew that potentially hundreds of people were in danger. And this has continued day after day for the past 11 days. Even today my phone has gone off incessantly.
We've now received literally hundreds of emails from readers around the world who are lifting Israel and specifically the believers here, in prayer, and what an encouragement this outpouring of support has been to us.
Throughout the history of the modern state of Israel, there have been accounts of angelic interventions protecting Israeli soldiers in the midst of intense warfare. One instance recounted by an Israeli military historian after the 1973 Yom Kippur war, describes an Israeli soldier in the Sinai taking captive an entire Egyptian column and leading them to where the Israeli troops were. The Egyptian commander was asked why he and his men gave themselves up to the lone Israeli soldier. He responded with surprise, ”One soldier? There were thousands of them.”
As some of you may know, a bomb exploded in a bus within blocks of our Jerusalem apartment when we first moved to Israel. That morning, my wife and I, along with our newborn baby, were heading to the city center to run a few errands when suddenly we heard the explosion. Within minutes, the sirens were screaming from every part of the city as officials quickly made their way to the scene. Later that month, the bus I was supposed to be on drove away as I watched it carry away the 50 or so people who would be critically injured and the 8 who would be dead seconds later, when that bus exploded before my very eyes. So, to put it mildly, we have seen firsthand how terrorism works and how it affects people.
The Lord gave us His promise to send us a helper — the Holy Spirit. The word for "helper" in the NT Greek is "paraclete". This word has more meaning then simply "helper" — it was also an ancient term used in warfare. When Greek warriors went onto the battle field, they went out in pairs, so when the enemy attacked they could stand back-to-back, covering each other's blind side. The battle partner in Greek was called a "paraclete" — he was there to watch your back!
We've been encouraged by numerous phone calls and emails over the past few days, telling us that people are praying and fasting for Israel and believers in the land — and we so appreciate it, more than words could ever express!
As the war continues in Israel, I'm finding believers throughout the land filled with peace in spite of the conflict. How is that possible, one may wonder? Could it be these believers are going deep?
A "beachhead" is the first objective, the primary location for a military force landing on an enemy shore, which, when secured can be used to gain further advancement.
Israel is celebrating its Independence today. Just before Israel celebrates its independence, it mourns those whose blood was shed for its freedom and then celebrates its freedom.
The writer of Ecclesiastes was aware of cycles in nature, how they repeat themselves. Some have noticed another interesting historical cycle which awakens our awareness at this time of year. The dates April 19th-20th contain an interesting pattern. This is a time frame which has seen the birth of much havoc in the world.
During World War I, in the winter of 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, one of the most unusual events in history took place. The Germans had been in a fierce battle with the British and French. Both sides were dug in, safe in muddy man-made trenches six to eight feet deep that seemed to stretch forever… but it was Christmas, and what happened next was astonishing, writes Stanley Weintraub, author of the book, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce.
Joshua son of Nun had been commissioned by Moses to bring Israel into the Promised Land. He was a leader and a general. Having spied out the land and returned with the other 11 spies, he was fully aware of the impending battle and the ferocity of the enemy.There were giants in the land. Having miraculously crossed over the Jordan with all the people and 40,000 armed soldiers, Joshua sensed deeply his responsibility to protect and lead Israel to victory and the inheritance God had promised them.
1 Chron. 20:4-8 And it came to pass after this, that there arose war at Gezer with the Philistines; at which time Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Sippai, that was of the children of the giant: and they were subdued. And there was war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi […]
Doesn't it seem like just when we get that much needed breakthrough, suddenly the enemy comes to attack? In this passage we read how the Philistines heard that David was anointed King and quickly assembled together to seek and destroy him. And what does David do? Does he become fearful? No. Does he hide? No! David goes out to meet them!
When the twelve spies were sent into Canaan to spy out the land, ten returned with a bad report. Their assessment was that it was impossible to conquer the land that God had promised them. Forgetting how God had led them with a pillar of fire by night, and fed them manna from heaven during the day, brought forth water out of a rock, and parted the Red Sea, they saw the situation with only their natural eyes, failed to walk by faith, and succumbed to fear.
As the threat of war looms on the horizon in Israel, I'm all the more reminded that we in the Body of Messiah are already at war spiritually. Constantly contending in our minds, we battle over thoughts and emotions which flow through them. The enemy often attacks by bringing up issues from our past. Failures, regrets, wounds, and traumas all have the potential to drag us down into doubt, darkness and despair. Our tremendous challenge is not to respond to these memories with old destructive thought patterns. Our victory lies in responding to these thoughts and feelings with the mind of Messiah as new creations in Him.