- Grief: What to do with it?
- Bringing Change & Receiving Vision
- Update: Eagle Project
- Unexpected Help
- Download August Newsletter
Grief: What to do with it?
“And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. So the days of weeping and mourning for Moses ended” (Deuteronomy 34:8).Mourners with shovels and hoes moved a massive amount of earth to cover Eliahu’s casket. Stately pines, standing as silent witnesses, surrounded the grave and the many who had come to honor a truly dedicated servant of the Lord. It struck me as a communal act. Something ancient. Something holy. A shared experience of grief, touching the vulnerability of every one of us.
There’s nothing like a funeral to tenderize the heart. I’m writing on the day after bidding “l’hit’ra’ot/ we’ll see you again” to Eliahu Ben Haim. Eliahu was a Messianic pioneer in the land and the leader of Intercessors for Israel, an indefatigable champion for prayer. His passion was intercession for Israel to see the fulfillment of God’s sovereign promises regarding the land, the people, and Yeshua’s ultimate return.
In heaven he joins two other allout Israeli Messianic servants who passed in very recent days. Eddie Santoro (z”l) whom I wrote about in “Heroes of the Faith” June, 2019 issue. And, soberingly, just after Eliahu, Yishai Reinhardt (z”l). Yishai, the founder of “Hands of Mercy,” poured himself out, thinking little of his own needs in order to focus on victims of terror, war, and hunger.
What’s happening? It feels like the inevitability of death is increasingly thrust before us. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” This is certainly true. And yet for us who remain, it is not easy. How to deal with grief? This question cannot be side-stepped. It is part of life, part of loving people in the rawness of loss.
1. Live According to the Preciousness of each Person, and of each Day.
This sense of loss presses in. Our brother, our sister, our friend, our colleague, is no longer with us– gone. This finality provides a partial answer. Grief emphasizes the preciousness of every person, every day, every opportunity to love and bless. It emphasizes the imperative of forgiving each other quickly. It emphasizes the pricelessness of family. One day we will part company. What will we leave behind?
2. Grief is real– Don’t try to wipe it away.
Our grief– especially the aching loss suffered by spouses and immediate family– is real. It does not need to be wiped away by statements like “he/she is in a better place.” Of course, that’s true; it is our rock solid hope. Yet in the here and now, where there is genuine loss, genuine regret, genuine pain– grieving gives valuable expression to inexpressible esteem for the departed.
3. Give those grieving– or those dying– the open opportunity to share their process.
A treasured Israeli expert in the area of grief and dying, is Lynn Halamish. Her primary message on this tough, but vital subject has been so helpful to me. “Give them the platform to speak. Don’t try to generate words of comfort or identification. Be the best listener you can be. They need, if they so choose, to talk– not to listen to you.” Of course, if you’re the one grieving, this works in reverse. When you feel the freedom, don’t hold back. Talk about your loved one. Give thanks through the tears. I saw a touching example of this at Eliahu’s funeral. His children, grandchildren, and incredible wife, Hannah, spoke so tenderly. We understood that for them, this public spokesman was more importantly a caring father, grandpa and husband.
Death has a way of defining life. It confronts us with the question, “What am I living for? What is truly of lasting value?” Eliahu, Eddie, Yishai, Marc, Katya, Esther– and too many to name– lived whole-heartedly for God’s purposes, re-establishing a Jewish testimony of Yeshua in His own land. Even as we grieve, we are inspired and fortified to go forward by their unwavering example. – Eitan Shishkoff
Bringing Change & Receiving Vision
For Us Personally
The change must first begin with me, and therefore I want to know, what God’s plan is for me? Why am I here? How can we hear the answers to these questions from God, in an era of sensory overload and distraction that can try to steal and block us from what God has called us to? We must choose to not allow virtual input, fantasy and a fabricated world to steal real interaction with God, and with others. We need to actively invite God to renew and restore these interactions.
What do you see your life, family and congregational participation being ten years from now? What is God showing you? What is the vision for your future? I look at the tools God gave me years ago, and I realize that they have done a good job but need to be continually updated. God gives us new tools to implement the vision of the future.
For Those Around Us
It is important that we identify the vision or purpose of our lives according to God. “Where there is no vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). In Hebrew the word ‘people’ can also be translated as ‘nation’– which gives a clearer understanding that it is not only the individual who is at stake but those to whom we are connected. I potentially block God’s plans for others when I think only of myself.
For Our Congregations
Congregations are expressions of God’s house. God’s house is a place for all mankind to return to Him. Our congregations must be strong in the Spirit of God, for that is where our victory lies. There are two potential directions that I see the Harvest of Asher congregation going in the next ten years:
1. Settling into a mold or comfort zone. This is a framework that will be relevant to those who fit into the mold, and will focus on growing in the word among ourselves.
2. Having open arms, thinking outside of the box, looking beyond the camp as did the prophets and seers of old. Being filled with the Spirit and called to go forth to reach the sinner, widow, down-trodden, sick and dying.
I ask, “Why did He open my eyes?” I see our congregation as one which does not fit into the “mold.” I see us as a congregation of breakthroughs in the supernatural. The world needs change. We need change. – Guy Cohen
Update: Eagle Project
The Eagle Project is a joint ministry hosted by both Return to Zion Ministry and Revive Israel. Its vision is to renew, teach, develop and invest in the young generation in Israel from age 20 and above.
In May 2019, after a long period of preparation, the Eagle Project launched an expanded scope of “Eagle Global Ministries” as a dozen emissaries were sent for two weeks to minister to our Asian brothers and sisters.
Together with the local Asian Eagles, these young men and women created and implemented a detailed agenda whose goal was to teach and unite Jews and Gentiles.
The first week in Taipei, Taiwan included lessons about the roots of our faith, cultural differences, local and Israeli history and more. After two days, the team started a full-time ministry tour, including music, to the local body of Messiah and even took it into the streets. The young eagles experienced how to teach in front of people, share their testimonies, lead worship, speak in discussions and debates and listen to others. They also held in-depth Scripture teaching sessions, built solid connections and relationships, listened to God’s guidance and prayed for one another– all this as one united body in Messiah.
In the second week the team split up into two groups, one of which moved on to Seoul, Korea, while the other remained and continued their ministry in Taipei.
God has blessed us in this, our first experience of ministry coming out of Zion. This “trial run” exceeded all our expectations. We were able to physically see the growth in spirit of the youth, and the vision of the Eagle Project taking shape. 1 John 2:14 came alive!
We want more from Him. We want to do more for Him through His chosen people worldwide, and the younger generation plays a key role in His plan.
Rebecca Ya-Lei Tu, our Taiwanese partner writes: “It was a picture of God’s family revealed in front of our eyes when we witnessed young modern day emissaries from Israel and Norway reuniting with the body of Yeshua in Taiwan, Japan and Korea. I believe the friendship and fellowship built in this project planted seeds for the personal growth of our young people and expanded the Kingdom mindset in their lives.” The next step will take place in October 2019, when a young group from Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Norway will come to Israel for 10 days filled with learning, fellowship and ministry in Israel.
Unity bears fruit!
For more information or questions please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org – Evgeni (Eagle Project Manager)
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For Jane, this was more than a job. It was a calling, a chance to honor the men and women who helped pioneer this land of promise. She loves these people. We have been visiting there, bringing musicians and helping financially for two years. Due to governmental decisions, Jane’s job was cut and the location was moved to the Tiberias Hot Springs. The elderly friends that she served were saddened as was Jane.
So, along with Jane, I planned an official farewell celebration and send-off for her and a blessing for the precious senior citizens she had to leave behind.
I was early to pick up my two passengers Rinat and Hava on the way to the celebration. Through our congregation, Kehilat Poriya, we ordered small silk flower arrangements for each one and a beautiful laminated printout of 1 Corinthians 13 and Jeremiah 29:11-13, in Hebrew.
After only 5 minutes into the journey, the back left tire went flat. We called my husband to come and help us. I became anxious because the celebration was due to start soon. Then suddenly I felt the peace of God flood my soul. Within seconds, a gentleman pulled up in a truck behind us and offered to help. However, he could not get the tire off to put on the spare.
About that time, my husband Eric arrived and they both tried. A few more moments passed, and a motorcycle passed us and then turned around to offer his assistance.
I looked at this situation with three men trying to help me, and now I began praising the Lord for His help and care for us all! In the end Eric stayed with my car, and we drove to the celebration in his.
Upon our arrival at Tiberias Hot Springs, we could not find a parking space. My nerves were frayed. We then found a space but weren’t sure it was legal. So, just in case, I went in to ask at the desk.
The gentleman at the desk was gracious and came out and see if the spot we had chosen was legal. He said it was, and we could park there for 9 hours if needed.
As I often do in situations when someone has been especially helpful to me, I asked his name. He said, “My name is JESUS.”
Never in our 35 years of living in the Land of Israel have we met, or even heard about, a man–Jewish OR Arabic– named JESUS!!! I was shocked beyond imagination! My heart was overflowing with joy at this unexpected reminder of HIS help, love and care for us. We went inside and actually arrived before Jane. In spite of every obstacle we were right in the palm of HIS hand.
The celebration was a huge success. These Israeli pioneers and Holocaust survivors felt blessed. They danced– even the woman with two walking canes.
To God’s glory, I got to share the story of how we made it to the event and who helped us, before all of these precious people. They know that I am a believer, and this was a testimony of just who HE really IS. Each of those people were grateful and appreciative of the gifts we gave.
When I handed each one flowers and verses, I said, “God knows the paths you are taking, and He is with you.”
- Israelis may not excel in common manners, but when you need assistance, they are there to help.
- God will go to any length to bless the pioneers who founded Israel, and the Holocaust survivors who are still with us.
- May we allow God to be free to minister His life to others through us, even in uncomfortable circumstances. We’ve tasted and seen. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). P.S. After the celebration, Jane was re-instated in her job, and she is so grateful.
– Terri Morey