- Article 1,'Marriage Keys Revealed in Names'
- Article 2,'Spring Cleaning'
- Article 3,'A Golden Age'
- Article 4,'Nastya's New Life'
- Article 5,'Lena's Story of Faith'
By Eitan Shishkoff
Boaz’s parents were born in the United States, Rebecca’s in the former Soviet Union. He grew up in the Galilean countryside; she was raised in the city. They met through the Tents of Mercy young adults’ fellowship. Following a sweet courtship, they married this May in a beautiful wedding attended by several hundred guests from all over Israel.
I was privileged to perform the ceremony and shared these words while standing with them under the covering of the marriage canopy (chupah):
Together, you have an amazing, godly heritage that brings together two key Jewish people groups from opposite sides of the earth. Uniquely, your names are found in two of the greatest biblical love stories. By exploring the significance of the names of these two couples: Isaac and Rebecca and Boaz and Ruth, we can discover keys to God’s blessing in the covenant of marriage, a lifetime of love and fulfillment.
Rebecca and Isaac were brought together by Eliezer (“the help of my God”) to be part of the lineage of the Messiah.
1. Rebecca, your name means “yoked.” Your attraction to each other will be a permanent bond. Foster it. Enjoy it. Invest in it.
2. Isaac speaks of laughter. Maintaining a sense of humor is vital to a growing, enjoyable relationship. Don’t lose the ability to laugh, to see the lighter side of life’s absurdities and your own foibles.
Boaz and Ruth were brought together generations later in an Israeli harvest field. Theirs was a union born of faith, not unlike yours, which made them one despite their differences in origin. Notably, their union also figures in world redemption, by bringing forth King David (their great grandson), thus inaugurating the line of King Messiah as the Son of David.
3. One of the interpretations of the name Boaz is “in Him is strength.” Finding your strength in God will enable you to walk together through the years.
In the Bible, Ruth became the bride of Boaz. Her name holds an essential quality for your destiny as a couple.
4. Ruth means “friend.” Being friends, developing a vibrant lasting, ever-deepening friendship will make all the difference as your formerly separate lives combine, becoming a loving and supportive partnership.
Combining the four ingredients inherent in these names will make for an enduring feast.
We are standing under the chupah, where Heaven and Earth meet. May that ever be the reality of your relationship, and may it grow richer with every day. We love you!
Springtime is a season of new life and also of… spring cleaning. In Israel this is typically done before Passover. While removing the leaven from their homes, people take stock of their belongings and spruce up their apartments.
At Tents of Mercy, spring cleaning came a bit later this year. After Passover, during the weeks between Passover and Pentecost (Shavuot), members of the “Ark” (the youth and young adults’ ministry) spent time before the Lord and one another. The physical appearance of the youth center needed to be improved. In parallel, the spiritual state of the youth groups was stagnant. Our young people were not experiencing breakthrough in their regular meetings and gatherings.
So we cleaned and painted and announced three days of fasting and prayer for the teens and young adults culminating in Shavuot. For three weeks we prepared physically and spiritually.
Then came the anticipated days of fasting and prayer. The first two nights were not highly attended, but the Lord spoke to us about new wineskins. Another Scripture we were led to was: “The voice of my beloved is coming…Rise up my love my fair one and come away with me” (Song of Songs 2:8, 13). These verses spoke to us about the longing of the groom for the bride and the bride’s need for the sound and voice and security of the groom. It was a call to rise up, to come away, to separate and dedicate ourselves to being with the Lord. The youth responded with repentance, proclamation of the Word, and intercession, along with an enthusiastic style of worship that is unique to the youth.
On the last night, we came intending to spend the whole night in prayer and worship. To our surprise, almost 40 youngsters showed up, filled with expectancy and hunger. Words cannot express what we experienced together as a group. There was a transformation in many of the youth regarding their walk with the Lord. People received a burden to pray for the lost. They prayed for the congregation and our visions and activities. They went to war against mediocrity and hypocrisy. We sensed the Lord’s presence and His pleasure.
The power and motivation from the youth themselves over a full night of prayer was far above and beyond what we had anticipated. The youth had a desire to seek God in a new way that we had not seen before. Several times during the night we put the live internet broadcast of the Revive Israel Shavuot prayer on the projection screen. It was a great encouragement for our youth to see, and to pray in unity with the prayer directions that Revive Israel had set out. At the break of dawn everyone in the group prayed in accord. God had fed and cleansed us.
It was the Lord’s plan to bring us to this place. This is a new stage in the vision to prepare the next generation. God is raising them up. He wants to give our young people a clear message to unbelievers, a strong focus on the Lord and an understanding of our identity. We will be ascending new heights that our “fathers” have not yet reached. The young people are the promise and hope of the congregation. Yet at same time, with all of their promise and potential, they are the group that is most vulnerable to attack.
We ask you to pray for the shepherding and protecting of this portion of God’s flock. May they mature and grow in their faith, even in the midst of trials and temptations.
“…your old men will dream. Your young men will see visions” ( Joel 2:28).
Tents of Mercy’s seniors have banded together into a group they call “The Golden Age.” Albina, herself a senior, leads the group. A few weeks ago I was an impromptu participant at a special seniors meeting attended by all four of our elders. Albina enthusiastically shared with me about the group.
We began in summer of 2006. I had a particular vision for this age-group. Many of the elderly members of our congregation were dispirited and dejected. They felt a lack of belonging – disconnected from the community and culture of this country that was new to most of them. So we started to meet together each week. In the beginning, we were just learning to sit, wait, and listen to God. Now every time we get together, we ask that God would give us His heart, and He is doing it!
Many of our members used to live without a daily awareness of God. Now we come to pray and to be prayed for. We have new life in God.I want to tell you that this is not just a bunch of old people sitting in a circle passing time. Most of our meetings have a time of teaching from the Bible. Moshe Morrison has blessed us greatly with a series on the foundations of the faith, with a depth of insight that is hard to obtain on our own. Personally, with the help of our pastors, I have grown so much in this congregation. I know that our entire group of seniors feels the same way.
The seniors say that every time there is a meeting, they are delighted to come. We are almost all of a similar age, and are dealing with the many of the same circumstances in our lives. We pray to strengthen each other. We encourage each other not to worry. We are learning to give God all our hopes and concerns. For most of our group, with all of their aches and pains, it is a huge accomplishment just to leave the house and meet together. Yet the testimony and feedback is that they are changed by the fellowship and mutual encouragement and guidance. Each time they make the effort to come, they return home filled and refreshed.
Larissa is an excellent example. She comes to the congregational facility almost every day for early morning prayer and returns again on the day when we have the golden age group. Larissa would appear to be alone in life. She lives in housing for seniors – without a husband; without children, without relatives. But she has wonderful giftings. She is a woman of prayer. God’s love is in her heart, and the congregation is her spiritual family. She knows that true life is only to be found in God and she is able to keep on going because of prayer.
Each time we come together we pray for the teen group and the soldiers and the government. Afterward we move to personal prayer. Many of our relatives are not yet believers. We are seeking to pray and love our grandchildren into spiritual awakening, and it is beginning to happen.
When I was16, I started using hard drugs and soon started injecting them. For five years my life was pure hell. There was a great emptiness inside of me, and I did not want to live. There was nothing left for me in life and I tried to commit suicide several times. I would steal, lie and worse, in order to buy more drugs. No one could help me – neither my parents nor a rehabilitation center. I just wanted to end my life. I had been married and borne two small sons, but my husband died of a drug overdose. Then my brother told
me about Yeshua, who had died for my sins. I believed, repented and accepted Yeshua into my heart, and He raised me up!
Today I’m married to a wonderful man and we are expecting our third child. I am happy because Yeshua has given us a new life. He is a God of love and restoration. Glory Hallelujah!
Life can be challenging for a single mother. It was particularly challenging for a young Jewish mother raising her 5-year-old in a Central Asian country in the mid 90’s, where Islam was gaining ground after the fall of Communism.
It was actually her troubled pregnancy that drove Lena to seek spiritual help. Doctors had predicted the baby boy to have some level of brain damage, and recommended that Lena terminate the pregnancy. She refused and searched for spiritual help instead. The child was born, and did indeed have health issues, but not to the extent that had been predicted. Lena starting praying and the child improved, but he was still in and out of the hospital for two years. When the boy reached the age of four, Lena started attending a traditional church in her home town. She would bow before the icons (statues of saints) and kiss their painted images. Her young son grew very apprehensive of the traditions, and gradually Lena did too. Soon afterward they started visiting a Korean mission church. Not being used to a charismatic church, she visited once and was not inclined to return. But every Sunday her son insisted on attending, and for five years he would literally grab Lena’s hand to make her come with him.
One Sunday the Holy Spirit convicted Lena, and she decided to give her life to Jesus (Yeshua). That dramatically changed the course of her and her son’s life. In the ensuing years, Lena grew in her faith, and was also introduced to other Messianic Jewish believers. One of them was Yitzhak, the leader of a Messianic congregation in a large city 1,000 kilometers away. He saw great potential in Lena’s leadership skills, and eventually asked Lena to oversee a Messianic group in her home town. Meantime Lena’s son was praying for a computer, a bike and a new dad! It didn’t take God very long to bring an answer to the third request because God was already working on Yitzhak’s heart to propose to Lena…and she agreed! Since then the family has immigrated to Israel and is now part of a local Messianic body here, serving those around them with joy and encouragement.