Oasis Newsletter

Oasis Volume 15, Issue 4

 God’s Faithfulness

A Messianic Mommy’s Musings

I haven’t even put the Purim costumes away yet, and already in my son’s kindergarten, the children are learning the story of baby Moses in the basket. The older I get, the smaller the gaps seem between one holiday and the next. Maybe it’s the nature of being a mom to school age children. After all, you have to keep those kids focused on something. And holiday themes are always a good way to get their attention. Yet we are all children of God. Maybe the on-going cyclical nature of the Biblical feasts is God’s gracious and loving way to get our attention and keep our hearts set on His faithfulness.

There’s a funny saying that sums up the message of every Jewish holiday: “They tried to kill us, God made sure we won. Let’s eat!” While certainly true in a very general and humorous way, this saying again points to the need/benefit of experiencing, even imbibing, yes repeatedly ingesting the stories of the faithfulness of God.

On Friday nights we bless the Creator of the Universe for creating the fruit of the vine and bringing forth bread from the earth. We remember that He made the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested. And we commemorate the Shabbat by eating a special meal.

On Purim we read the story of Queen Esther and how she and Mordechai lead a nationwide prayer meeting to call on God’s faithfulness. We dress up in crazy, cute and colorful costumes, remembering how Esther hid her true identity until the right time. And we eat sweet “Haman’s ears” cookies to celebrate God’s victory for our people over the evil Haman of Agag.

Now, lest we sit for a moment and be tempted to forget the triumph and faithfulness of God, we are wooed into the Passover season. The pink and white flowers of the almond tree whisper in the wind the coming of spring. Warm breezes knock at our closed winter windows, urging us to open up, air out and clean up our homes in preparation for the great Pesach feast.

That night we will sit down together to recount the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt; how God chose Moses and destined him to be the redeemer who would lead us out of slavery. We will tell our children again the story of how, with a mighty and outstretched arm, God showed His power to the oppressing Egyptians, smiting them with plagues and passing over all whose doorposts were covered with the blood. There will be a search for the hidden manna, and we will remember Yeshua’s sacrifice as the ultimate Passover lamb.

As I fold up Spiderman, Minnie Mouse and Superman and put them away in the costume box, I am busy thinking about the Passover meal I will make. Will I make light and fluffy matzo balls or sinkers? Will I serve gefilte fish or spicy Moroccan Nile Perch? Brisket or lamb? Will I use festive disposable ware or my grandmother’s china?

Whatever the choices, my heart and mind will and should be busy pondering the faithfulness of God, while my body is also busy commemorating with the physical actions of cleaning, cooking, eating – actions that are not merely physical but are vehicles to keep my mind focused on the victories God has won as He has kept His covenant to our people.

“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” (II Thessalonians 3:3)
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 The Brownies That Changed My Life
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For eight years we ate together, slept at each other’s houses, spent weekends hanging out – me and my buddies.

Then our activities began to include night clubs and drinking beer. My conscience would say, “I am doing such nonsense. When will I make a clean break for myself?”

Meanwhile, I completed my army service and reentered civilian life. At a certain point I got tired of this double existence. On Friday night I would get drunk, and then on Shabbat I would go to the congregational worship service like a “butterfly.” Each time I prayed and asked for forgiveness.

Then the moral situation around me got so low that I was physically nauseous at the things being done. I decided to stop associating with these friends. Not too long after, I fell from a ladder and could not work for months. It was a very tough time for me.

My old friends tried to get me to rejoin their partying and drinking lifestyle. When I refused they laughed at me, “What, you think you are really going to change?!”

After a particularly good worship time at the congregation, the guys called asking me to go out with them that night. As usual I declined. Then they showed up at my house at midnight. Something was not right in their eyes. They were drunk and something else besides. But they had brought brownies and I was hungry. We made tea. They gave me several brownie squares and could not stop laughing, but they promised the brownies were fine! I ate the brownies. Then they said, “That’s it. You’re in for it now.”

They warned me not to let myself fall asleep. Soon I started hallucinating. I didn’t know if I was awake or asleep. The “broken record” in my brain kept repeating itself again and again. Again and again. I went to look at myself in the bathroom mirror. The lights in my eyes had been turned off. I saw my soul go up while my body stayed put. I told my brother, “I am dying.” I saw everything from above. I couldn’t see the faces of my family. I could only hear them. My heart almost stopped.

All through that night I suffered. My mom phoned my so-called friends and yelled at them. My body convulsed as if jolted by electricity.

Then I saw it. I saw that I would one day stand and testify before people of how God rescued me. I prayed. I slept for 15 hours.

My friends laughed at me. They got a kick out of the way I talked incoherently after they drugged me. They had almost killed me but didn’t seem to care.

After praying with Eitan and Avi later that week I told my ex–friends, “I prayed for you and forgave you even in the middle of the hallucinations. But I am taking an axe and cutting every root that connects us. I choose this day to live for God. I implore you to choose life because you never know when the end will come.”

I did not file a complaint with the police.

All this happened over two years ago. I do not have anger in my heart. God showed me that I was living for the flesh. Since then I have chosen every day to live for Him. My life made a complete turnaround in every way. As part of this I devoted myself to intensely serve the young adults at Tents of Mercy intensively.

Things began to change for the better in many ways. Soon after the brownie incident, I began working on a farm and seeking God daily. A believing family visited from Central Asia and happened to come see the farm where I was working. They had a beautiful daughter my age. We began an accelerated courtship, and today we are happily married!

Now I continue to pursue God’s presence together with my wife. God is the foundation rock for us, and we are learning to rely on Him.

“You thought evil against me: but God turned it into good.” (Genesis 50:20 DR A)

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“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psalm 46:10-11 NKJV)

 A Place Without Noise

Men with God in the Desert

This powerful psalm inspired us to stop running and spend some time with a group of men who desire to break the routine and receive something special from our great God.desert01

God wants us to be still, to stop striving. We think that we have some control over our lives, and we are pushing hard to acquire more possessions. We have a crazy routine that’s eating us from the inside and killing our time.

In God’s eyes a man is an important creation. He is a husband and father, as well as a priest – in his home and at his second, spiritual home, his congregation.

God gave great responsibility to men, and we see that the enemy is doing everything to put them down by killing their self-confidence and by stealing their time and status as priests. These dynamics have been happening in our congregations, and it is time for men to rise up and fulfill God’s purposes in their lives.

Why the Desert?

desert02It seems that the desert has a certain spiritual power. Yeshua, John the Immerser and all twelve tribes, spent considerable time there. So we left behind all the noise of our routines, cities and jobs, and we came to a place without noise – the best place to hear God.

What did we Experience?

Our journey began with some miracles: the temperature was near freezing, and the forecast called for storms and even snow. We prayed hard. An astonished group of men saw God’s faithfulness shining through a bright sun in a blue sky as we trekked the Ramon Canyon and visited two local museums.

After preparing and eating a barbeque dinner together, we shared testimonies while sitting on carpets in a Bedouin tent.

With renewed strength we returned home to serve our families, jobs and congregation.evgeni-byline

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 Behind the Scenes

Being part of this year’s Purim play, told through purim01the dramatization of the Disney hit Frozen, has been such a privilege. As a new member of Tents of Mercy congregation, it felt lovely to be welcomed into a big congregational project and to be able to contribute to something which was so well done. 

No matter how you tell it, Esther’s story carries such a deep and relevant message. Esther was part of a story that God wrote. Her role was demanding, difficult, at times unpredictable, but vital. If Esther had not done what she did, what would the consequences have been? Unthinkable.

purim02There was a hint of this as we prepared for the Purim play, “Kafurim” (Frozen Purim). The young actors and assistants were so committed. They faithfully attended rehearsals, learned their lines, practiced dances, painted scenery and created costumes. They played out – on stage and behind the scenes – what God calls each of us to do when we accept Yeshua into our lives; to commit ourselves, to face challenges and unpredictability. There is a great story being told and we are all part of it. God is author, director and producer. So often the main work is behind the scenes, in the preparation, where no one but God sees. But as we witnessed on the night of the performance, the results are powerful. Each person has a unique part to play, and being part of this year’s production reminded me of this important truth. 

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Believe it! Be inspired by the message of Purim. You are an integral part of God’s story and He will use you to make a difference, to change and perhaps even rescue lives.

 lyndsey

 

 


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