A time to mourn and a time to rejoice

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Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day) celebration at the Western Wall, May 2017 (Photo: Mati Kraw/Wikimedia)

It has been another very volatile and intense few days here in Israel. Just one day after Holocaust Remembrance Day in which the nation stopped and solemnly honored the memory of those who died in the Holocaust, we awoke on Shabbat morning to the news of an unending barrage of missiles raining down on Southern Israel – AGAIN! The fierce fighting continued unabated for two days with a total of over 700 missiles fired over Israel. Four Israeli’s were killed and dozens injured. Israel retaliated with over 350 targeted strikes on Gaza. Early Monday morning, we heard the news that an Egyptian brokered truce was in effect and seemed to be holding. 

We have experienced this very same scenario too many times before. The citizens of the south are crying out for change – how many times each year can they continue to be assaulted and their lives uprooted and their children traumatized by these missile attacks? And when it ends, it all seems as it was before. Nothing appears to have been accomplished and there are no significant changes observed.

According to the “Times of Israel”, bouts between Israel and Gaza terror groups happened 7 times last year, each one similar, though this last one is considered to be one of the most intense with the largest number of projectiles ever fired from the Gaza strip in a 48 hour period.

Hamas and its partner Islamic Jihad demonstrated that its arsenal of weapons continues to be well supplied with new and more advanced rockets. Although a cease fire went into effect, Hamas has said that the conflict will continue. Though they were hit hard, they continue to declare victory. 

Please pray for a new strategy to end this conflict. It is a difficult and complex situation, both politically and militarily and one that is not easily solved. Our government leaders need the wisdom of God in order to end these attacks once for all and effectively destroy the Hamas and Islamic Jihad control of the Gaza Strip. 

Pray for the Gazans to rise up against the terrorists who are their real enemy. It is Hamas who oppresses them and keeps them living in abject poverty, taking the funds given to help the people and investing them instead in armaments and in their military infrastructure. 

Pray for Prime Minister Netanyahu as the pressures on him are immense. Pray he looks to the God of israel for guidance as the conflicts both within and without heat up in this day. Pray that he will see his Messiah, Yeshua as he seeks divine wisdom.

Memorial Day and Independence Day – The country begins observing Memorial Day on Tuesday night. This is a very solemn time as the nation honors all those who were killed defending Israel in all its wars, as well as all those killed in terrorist attacks over the years. Regular TV programming is preempted with stories remembering different ones who gave their lives in service to the country throughout the history of this nation. There are ceremonies in every city and town and in the cemeteries as people remember those loved ones who have fallen.

As the sun goes down on this day of remembrance and mourning, the whole atmosphere changes as the nation explodes in joy that Israel still lives and so begins the festive celebration of Independence Day. On Wednesday evening, there are fireworks, ceremonies and all kinds of fun filled activities throughout the country. The next day is a day for parks and grills and fellowship time with family and friends.

This year our congregation Ahavat Yeshua will be having a picnic with our sister congregation, Tiferet Yeshua. In this stress filled time, it is so important to have a day to relax and enjoy each other.  Please pray that it would be a blessed time as families come together and have fun- rejoicing that Israel is a nation and that Messiah Yeshua is its true and coming King! 

As Israel begins its 71st year, we are amazed at the growth and development that we see here in this Land. 
Israel is truly a miracle nation, brought forth and sustained by the hand of God. It is such a joy and a privilege to live here. In these days of rising anti semitism across the globe, it is so wonderful to know that there is a place that the Jews can come home to that is theirs, never to be uprooted again. For those of you who have never been here, we encourage you to come and visit and experience the specialness and uniqueness of this Land of Israel. It will change your life!

On a personal note, we want to thank you for standing with us in this time. Your support both in finances and prayer are so deeply appreciated. We are fighting the good fight of faith as we continue to plant seeds and are a testimony of the goodness of the Lord to whomever we meet. We are overwhelmed to see how the love of the Lord and His light that shines through us affects everyone who comes into our house. 

God is truly amazing and we know that if God is for us, no one can stand against us! We are more than conquerors in Him and His grace is really sufficient!

This article originally appeared in Zion’s Glory Update, May 7, 2019, and is reposted with permission.