- It is About Time!
- Decisions, Choices and Fruit
- Testimonies from our Humanitarian Aid Project
- Download February Newsletter
It's About Time!
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
This morning I stood in line with my 11-year-old son for over two hours waiting for an antigen test so that he can go back to school tomorrow, after being quarantined from exposure to a Corona patient last week.
In the line with us were other parents with children of all ages. Parents chatted with each other or conducted work calls from their cell phones while the line crept forward. The teenagers rolled their eyes at the queue when they looked up from their screens. The small to mid-size children bounced about, some fighting with their siblings or pulling on their parents’ arms, others whining “I’m so booored, hungry, tired, etc.” “How much longer do we have to stand here?!”
I found myself thinking about how funny time is. When I joined the line, I was frustrated and irritated. As the line grew, seeing that I was closer to the front of the line and many more people were behind me, my frustration lessened.
“At least I am closer to the front of the line than they are. I have much less time to wait than they do.” Knowing that I was in a better state than others helped me bear my reality. This was silly, yet if there had been no one else behind me and I had to wait the same amount of time, somehow it would have felt longer.
The Hebrew word for “time” in the scripture verse quoted above is et. This word can mean ‘moment in time’ as well as ‘a season in time’ and it also contains the connotation of the ‘right time.’
Another word for time in both Biblical and modern Hebrew is z’man. Some of our words in Modern Hebrew are different than Biblical Hebrew, but these words carry the same meaning now as they did in the original Hebrew. Two Biblical characters, who heard the voice of God and were available to answer His call and be in the right place at the right time, were Esther and Nehemiah.
For if you remain silent at this time (et), relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time (et) as this? (Esther 4:14)
Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time (z’man). (Nehemiah 2:6) Between the two words, z’man is the more common. Et is a bit more sophisticated and comes later in the learning process whether for an adult newbie to the language or as a child acquiring her native tongue. But the word z’man is also the root of a whole family of words that have the use of time at their core: zeemen (summon), heezmeen (invite), heezdamen (to happen to), heezdamnut (opportunity), and more.
As a person who immigrated to a country with a vastly different culture than my birth country, and as someone who then married into a third culture, and as someone who is also a member of a multicultural community – I can testify that people relate very differently to the concept of time.
For some cultures, punctuality is a critical value. For other cultures, propriety (the right behavior/response in the right moment) is a critical value. For yet others, preparation or process are the critical elements. Besides culture, personality, family culture and sub-cultures all play into one’s mentality regarding time. On occasions where there is a clash between what one person values about time and what another person values about time, the conflict is inevitable and often complicated. This I know firsthand.
From those famous words in Ecclesiastes, we know that God also values time; although, I would venture to claim, not necessarily in the same way that WE do.
Yeshua himself sometimes did the “wrong” thing at the right time, and the Sadducees and Pharisees were examples of people doing the “right” thing at the wrong time.
If we want to be a people who do the right thing at the right time, we need to align ourselves with God and listen to the Holy Spirit for direction as to what to do, as well as when and where to do it. In this first season of 2022, we need to know the important things for us to be doing at this time. The funny and encouraging thing is that it can be different for each of us. Some of us are building. Some of us are tearing down. Some of us are learning to hold back and rest, while others are learning to move forward in action.
The first century believers must have thought it was “high time” for deliverance from Roman occupation and must have been certain that Yeshua had come to deliver them. The disciples must have thought that “the end of the world” was in sight – in their lifetime or in the next generation at the latest. Yeshua must have felt compassion on His disciples, knowing that the Roman occupation would only end far in the distant future after vast national suffering.
Like our predecessors of two thousand years ago, we feel the crazy upheaval in the world means we are in the “end-times.” We may be getting very close, but I would propose that whether or not we are actually experiencing THE end-times, is beside the point. We need to be plugged into the Holy Spirit whose job it is to direct and guide us regarding the right thing at the right time, whether it is word or deed, confrontation or compassion, action or inaction.
The Apostle Paul prayed it this way over Timothy – that he may be “filled with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives” (Colossians 1:9). May God show us His plan for this time and season, whether it be to deliver us from the present darkness we face or to give us Faith and Patience to withstand our current trials until the time is full for His deliverance.
Decisions, Choices and Fruit
by Guy Cohen
Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 speak volumes about blessings and curses: our decisions always have consequences. When I look back at bad things that happened in my life, I need to ask what decisions I made and why.
Throughout the book of Proverbs we see that God says in effect, “My child, choose to obey my word and you will be protected.” What I realize is that my flesh and spirit are always fighting against each other. My flesh is drawn toward the things of this world, while my spirit is drawn toward God. The choice is before me.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul admits his weaknesses concerning the matters of the flesh. God’s response to Paul’s multiple requests for the thorn in his flesh to be removed was: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9 NIV). Paul also said it this way, “When I am weak then I am strong,” referring to his challenges in the flesh – which included his thoughts, emotions and desires. Only when you and I realize how much we need help with our emotions, thoughts and desires, only then can we really allow God to be strong in us.
When I as a believer in Yeshua make a decision, I need to submit my total thought process to God and allow Him to guide me. Then I will be able to trust Him regarding the fruit of the decision. However, when I try to make decisions by my own flesh and mind, I have come to realize it’s like taking a disobedient bite from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Those decisions lead to death.
Therefore, when I allow God to breathe in and through me, I see victory together with Him. I give the glory to Him – the One who overcomes the battles of my thoughts and gives me His thoughts.
It is written in Matthew 11:12 that the Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force. I see that this applies to the tough decisions for overcoming in our life. We face many powerful temptations; there are many instances when “candy” is dangled in front of us. It looks good and is sweet but in the end it doesn’t last and only brings decay.
We must allow the Spirit of God to move in us and give us discernment in all decisions. Whether it is making a purchase, changing jobs, moving to a new house, getting married, serving in the congregation, and on and on.
My prayers for 2022 are that it will be a year in which you and your household will choose His way in all things. May you know deep within that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). May you commit your way and your decisions to Him and may He make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5).
Testimonies from our Humanitarian Aid Project
by Leon Mazin
Shalom dear brothers and sisters in Messiah!
We truly can’t thank you enough for your most generous partnership towards our vision of the restoration of Zion! Your support allows us to continue providing resources to the people who need them most.
People like you truly make a difference, and we are incredibly grateful!
Below are just a few of the many grateful recipients who would like to express their appreciation.
Testimonies from our Humanitarian Aid Ministry:
After immigrating to Israel in January 2020 it was quite difficult for us to settle in a new country, especially not of our mother tongue.
In September of that same year, my husband passed away; I became widowed with two children, one 6 years old and the other 9 years old.
It was a very difficult time for all of us, I later found myself in a very bad financial situation, amongst many other difficulties. When I heard of the organization “Return to Zion,” I applied for help and was immediately accepted. They have been supporting me and the children tremendously ever since!
We receive large food packages, blankets, cooking pans/pots/ utensils, clothing for the children, and many basic accessories for us to have a warm home! We would like to express our deep gratitude to all the partners of the “Return to Zion Ministry!”
Hello! My family and I flew from Ukraine, the city of Dnepropetrovsk.
When we arrived, we did not know and did not understand anything. We heard from others about Return to Zion, and when we came, we were greeted warmly. They immediately explained everything. They said that we could contact them with any questions. We received pots, pans, and many other kitchen utensils, as well as warm blankets and food packages. We were very happy to receive such support. It was a huge help!
Thank you for being there!
For already two and half years I have been receiving help from Return to Zion. I am a cancer patient; therefore I cannot work, and the money that I receive from the state is not enough to support me.
Ever since I turned to this organization, I’ve been receiving a huge amount of help! I recently received new blankets, a set of kitchen utensils, and a holiday gift set. Once every two weeks I receive food packages. I am very happy and grateful to those people who help us new immigrants in Israel.
I would like to thank those who care for us and let us live with dignity.
“Restoring and proclaiming faith in Yeshua in Israel!”