- Season of Change
- The Time of Our Rejoicing and His Outpouring
- Who is Seeking Connection?
- What is in my heart?
- Download November Newsletter
Season of Change
Pay Attention to the Changing Seasons
Trees releasing their leaves are one of the signs of the season changing. Leaves go from green to yellow, orange and red before they finally give up and fall to the ground. This phenomenon of release from the tree is what we call in Israel shalechet.
Change in general has its ups and downs. There are areas we need to let go of and areas we need to take hold of. The hold vs. release can be a bittersweet experience. Through this process it can feel as if so much is being taken from us. Yet I am reminded of Yeshua’s words at the home of Miriam (Mary) and Martha in Luke 10: 41-42.
“But answering her, the Lord said, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and bothered about many things; but only one thing is necessary. For Miriam has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Just like Miriam, in this season of change, you and I are also called to choose the part which is good, that will remain with us. We must embrace this in order to live in an emotionally healthy manner. When we sit at the feet of the True Source, we are equipped to deal with anything that life may throw at us. Please, do yourself a favor, make sure you are daily connecting with Him, and that your view of life comes through His eyes!
Inspired by Serving
Last month, in celebration of the biblical Fall Feasts, we held a citywide food distribution. We prepared 800 food baskets for needy families, in close partnership with the municipal welfare department. Local volunteers from our congregation and the wider community came to help pack the food. In order to minimize crowds (due to the Covid restrictions), we also needed help delivering the bags to people’s homes.
One of the groups that offered their assistance was a “club” of disabled IDF veterans. Of all the volunteers, they struck me as one of the most joyful and available groups of people I have ever encountered! Even though they all suffered loss and were disabled in the army, somehow they each took hold of serving others as a life goal, kind of like a tree that dropped its leaves but then grew even more beautiful ones in their place.
I pray that, just like those who eagerly responded to pack and deliver food bags, we may all be ready to serve “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).
As one practical avenue for serving, we warmly invite you to join us, and many wonderful, warm-hearted people in Israel and around the world, in reaching out to these Israelis in need. tikkun.tv/tents-of-mercy-donate-provision – by Avi Tekle
The Time of Our Rejoicing and His Outpouring
“You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast…the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.”
Another name for Sukkot is the Feast of Ingathering (Hag Ha-Asif), as seen in Exodus 23:16.
“The Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.”
There are four things which take place during this ingathering:
- An offering is made to God.
- A portion is given to the poor, the orphans and widows.
- A portion is set aside as food for the upcoming months.
- A portion is sown for the next harvest.
The main point, when giving is that it be done joyfully―realizing that up until now, God has been our Provider and we must trust and have faith that He will continue to provide.
Sukkot is also one of the three pilgrimage festivals, when the nation of Israel is called to go up to Jerusalem, bringing their thank offering (their tithe) to God. In John 7, we read that Yeshua was going up to Jerusalem. What would He have seen while He was there? As mentioned above, people were bringing their offerings to the Temple. In addition, the Levite priests walked down from the Temple to the Pool of Siloam, with music, singing and celebrating as they filled pitchers with water. Then the priests would return to the Temple and pour out the water on the altar. This was done throughout the seven days of Sukkot. When the ceremony was completed, they would ask God to pour out water (rain) over the dry land. This all took place at the end of the dry season, before the beginning of the autumn rains.
Zechariah 14:16-18 clearly explains the consequences of judgment in the last days, of not observing the Feast of Tabernacles by coming to Jerusalem and joyfully bringing our tithe–no rain! In addition to the obvious natural application, we can also see this as a spiritual picture of a lack of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Yeshua says that whoever believes in Him, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-39). Just as the land of Israel is a dry and thirsty land; so too are the hearts of man. We, the believers in Yeshua, thirst in our hearts for the Word of God, Yeshua. He takes our dry hearts and fills it with Himself, pouring out rivers of living water, healing rain, by His Spirit, over a dry and weary land and people. – by Guy Cohen
Who is Seeking Connection?
First, I would like to thank you for praying for us and strengthening our hands in the service for the nation of Israel. This past month our country has been in lockdown and your prayers are unbelievably valuable for us right now!
And now, some word pictures from Hosea regarding our relationship with God:
The prophet Hosea, who lived around 550 BC, exposed Israel’s sin of idolatry―putting other things before Him in their lives. Hosea described this unfaithfulness harshly as adultery and cheating on God. Then the tone of voice changes and God says:
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
I will give her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope.
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.”
One day, the Lord will turn His people back to Himself, like a faithful husband enticing an unfaithful wife to return.
“Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we will be restored; Renew our days as of old.” (Lamentations 5:21) These words are proclaimed in the traditional Jewish prayer book – Siddur.
Hosea’s “days of her youth” refers to the time following the Exodus. Even though the Israelites sinned after leaving Egypt, they indeed heard and responded to the “love call” of God. Now the message to Israel, and to us all, is to return to our first love. (Revelation 2:4)
“And it shall be, in that day,” says the Lord, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’
And no longer call Me ‘My Master.’” (Hosea 2:16)
For the words “My husband,” the Hebrew ishi is used. It is associated with ish―a man, and isha―a woman (Genesis 2:23).
This is a prophecy about the restoration of the relationship that Adam lost with God.
God is seeking a deep and intimate connection with His people, like the connection between Adam and Eve at the time of Creation.
Let’s listen to the message of God’s Spirit. If we return to Him, that connection can fill us today!
I wish you blessings from the Lord and a personal bond with Him. We are in prayer for your spiritual and physical well being in the name of Yeshua!
Leon and Nina Mazin
What is in my Heart?
“And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the desert, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)
What IS in my heart? During our 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, our hearts were exposed–by the hardships, the sense of deprivation, and the unknown next steps. We had to trust in the God who led us out of Egypt. How telling that our Father, who liberated us from the chains of our slavery, led us into a dry place to see what was in our heart!
Does some of this sound familiar? Are we not passing through what feels like an unprecedented desert season, without the ability to know what is ahead? Are we experiencing the exposure of our hearts—insecurity, fear, confusion, impatience, complaining? Does the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness hold valuable guidance for us, to equip us—to empower us?
Indeed, press fast forward 3400 years, and God is still teaching us about trusting Him. During the just-concluded Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot, we “dwelled” for seven days in temporary shelters (sukkot) next to our homes. In this way we remember our dependence on Him. How compelling that we must now learn the same lesson, due to a worldwide pandemic that is affecting our entire daily lives.
A Plague of the Heart?
A strange reference during Solomon’s dedication of the Temple further touches on this question: “What is in my heart?”
“When there is famine in the land, pestilence or … whatever plague or whatever sickness there is; … [when] supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men).” (1 Kings 8:38-39)
So there are outward plagues (like the Coronavirus) and there are inner plagues (like arrogance, un-forgiveness, jealousy and covetousness). In our concern about the outward plague currently troubling the globe, are we giving sufficient attention to the inner plague—in our hearts?
May we come before the Holy One, as Solomon did, presenting ourselves, calling upon Him in our most earnest prayer—for His cleansing. It is time to rededicate our own body as the Lord’s temple—cleansed of any plague, joyfully trusting in His provision as we travel through the world’s current “desert.” – by Eitan Shishkoff