“The LORD of HOSTS is with us!”
By Hannah Tekle
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah” (Psalm 46:1-3)
It’s hard to describe the past few weeks. It all feels like a dream – a very bad dream. Saturday morning we were getting ready to hold our “Simchat Torah” service, when all hell broke loose. Hamas terrorists infiltrated our country on the southern border with Gaza. They began a string of deadly attacks on innocent Israeli citizens in their homes – mass shootings in the streets, invading kibbutzim and towns on the border of the Gaza Strip, decimating families in their own homes and taking civilians hostage. At the same time, a barrage of thousands of rockets was fired from Gaza on settlements near Gaza, Beer Sheva, Jerusalem and as far north as Tel Aviv. We found out later that the whole thing was a complex terror operation that Hamas secretly planned and practiced for almost a whole year.
The first week following the onset of the war was a blur of daily morning prayer meetings followed by afternoons and evenings filled with phone calls and shopping trips to prioritize needs and then gather and purchase the goods to meet those needs. Our humanitarian aid center quickly transformed into a control center for collecting sorting and sending out supplies to soldiers, mostly here in the North, as we learned what the needs were. We have been privileged so far to provide undergarments, hygienic products, dry food, mattresses, jackets and even warm Friday night meals for hundreds of soldiers.
“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The LORD of HOSTS is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah” (Psalm 46:4-7)
As the war has progressed, the names of dead civilians and soldiers, missing and kidnapped men, women, children, babies and elderly have grown to form a heartbreakingly long list. Over 1,300 are dead and murdered, including more than 300 fallen soldiers. Approximately 200 have been kidnapped and are being held captive. The numbers are hard to fathom and the personal and national grief is monumental.
A mind-boggling 300,000+ reserve soldiers have been called up to increase the manpower of Israel’s regular standing army. This means that basically every Israeli has a loved one sacrificing their safety to restore security to our borders – EVERYONE.
Just as the nation is fighting and mourning together, we are also rallying together in a way that is equally unprecedented. The feeling of national unification is remarkable. Life is anything but normal, but everyone is eager to contribute in any way possible. It’s a beautiful thing.
The severe divisions in the country over the last 8 months certainly didn’t contribute to our being ready for the kind of attack that Hamas planned against us. As Yeshua said, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Fortunately, our leaders have come together to form an emergency, unity government. We offer up heartfelt prayer for our leaders according to 1 Tim 2:1-5, and also pray that all the suffering and anguish will serve a higher purpose to bring the truth of Yeshua to all.
In parallel, we carry on with the growing war relief efforts. For now the focus is on answering the needs of several military units that were brought to our attention. Tents of Mercy’s distribution center is now serving a dual purpose – clothing and food aid that we regularly give out to needy citizens, and now a “war room” for receiving and channeling goods to IDF units. We are also mobilizing to assist displaced civilians from the South with housing and supplies. May God’s grace be poured out.
“Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes WARS cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. ‘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 fortress. Selah”
Thank you for stepping up in prayer, care, and support during these difficult times:
- Pray for soldiers, commanders, and first responders…for bravery, protection, and success in their mission.
- Pray for peace even in the midst of the storm: for parents, children and communities.
- Pray for our leaders to be humble and strong, guided by the fear of God.
- Pray for protection, and successful outreach for the believers assisting IDF units in the north and south.
- Pray for strong voices to be raised up against anti-Semitic lies and false propaganda.
- Pray for divine protection and strategy for units going into Gaza, some of whom are family and friends.
- Pray for Salvation in our nation – that in their desperation people will turn toward God.
- Pray for the hearts of children who have been forced to witness trauma and tragedy, that Yeshua may console and strengthen them.
- Pray for wisdom for parents.
- Pray for the international body of Messiah to rise up, to speak out, to identify evil for what it is, and to show support to Israel and their own local Jewish communities.
By Guy Cohen
Thank you for your prayers.
It is with a heavy heart that I write to you. You have seen the headlines, the pictures, the numbers of dead, injured and taken captive; and it is not yet over.
It was a holocaust of demonic proportions. The enemy used Hamas, a terrorist organization funded by Iran, to slaughter soldiers and civilians in their beds. I am unable put into words what was done to women and to children. The brutality is unfathomable and the atrocities unspeakable.
We are on alert, every fiber prepared for war; waiting for something that has not yet happened – with our entire being reacting as if it has. Families wait for news about those taken or still missing. They wait for a text message or a few words from loved ones serving in the military. Multitudes are already burying and mourning the dead. There are Israeli refugees from infiltrated communities and burned houses.
Meanwhile forces search for terrorists, and for more dead and missing. We stay close to bomb shelters as the enemy continues to fire rockets into Israel.
In 2005 Israel removed itself from the quagmire of patrolling Gaza – thus giving the people there the opportunity to come under complete self-rule. However, since then we have been in a never-ending cycle of their rocket fire.
Israeli children from the time they enter kindergarten are taught to long for peace, whereas the children of Gaza grow up brain-washed to kill Jews.
In October 2011, ONE Israeli hostage soldier was released by Hamas in exchange for 1,027 Hamas prisoners. The current head of Hamas was among those prisoners; he was cured of cancer by Israel while a prisoner. Yet he organized this massacre.
We ask that you keep the families of our congregation and the whole believing and non-believing community in your prayers. Many fathers, brothers and sisters are serving in the military. Already at least two soldiers from the believing congregations, have given their lives in defense of Israel.
The war is being fought on two fronts, South and North. Hezbollah in Lebanon, has the ability to target specific locations with their rockets. They have promised that the northern border will be hit 100 times harder than the south. For this reason, the eyes of the IDF are on both borders.
The humanitarian aid efforts of our congregation Harvest of Asher are focused on needs in the far North. We are receiving non-stop requests.
We were asked by the regional council of the Western Galilee to help provide medical supply kits to treat the wounded. We are grateful that the funding has been received and that we are able to help prepare border communities in this way. Social workers from Akko told us there are many elderly, sick and poor families and single persons with insufficient food and basic supplies. The government has stated that we can expect a loss of utilities, water and electricity for a week. So there is a need to purchase and store these items for distribution. I must note that already we are experiencing shortages in the grocery stores. The soup kitchen located in the center of the city also needs to be equipped to prepare meals for a greater number of people than normal.
We need finances to help with the requests for humanitarian aid. We need wisdom to know how the Lord would have us proceed.
“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people,” says your God. (Isaiah 40:1)
By Leon Mazin
You feel especially aware of your true dependence on the Creator, at birth and at funerals. Alina, a daughter of Misha and Olya in our congregation has become one of the fallen of the Israel Defense Forces. She was a true heroine! Like King David, she defended her fellow soldiers. Then she fell. In the Hebrew prayer, it is sung “Menukha nakhona al kanfei Shekhina.” May she rest in peace on the wings of the Shekhina presence of God and look forward to Glory! Please pray for her family and thousands of others around the nation as they mourn their lost ones. Our faith, confidence and security is truly in the Heavenly Father.
We have been receiving all sorts of requests for wartime supplies from people on the borders and in Judea and Samaria. The needs vary from base to base and soldier to soldier. We try our best to fill in the gaps. Although food and basic necessities are provided, many soldiers are lacking in tactical gear, especially bulletproof vests. If you are interested in supporting the soldiers, you can do so through the link below.
Even in the midst of war we would like to report regarding recent events in our Congregation. Over the summer a group of young adults revived the “Eagle Project” of discipleship held in Norway in partnership with Norwegian believers.
In early autumn, by God’s grace and thanks to your support and prayers, we held events for new immigrants celebrating the Feast of Trumpets and Sukkot. Most of these immigrants did not grow up with a basic understanding of their biblical identity as descendants of Jacob. At the events, our congregational minister Michael shared with them the background of these God-given convocations and their meaning for the Israeli people today.
During the Feast of Tabernacles, we invited Holocaust survivors and held an a special gathering for them. We call them “Golden Age People.” We were very happy to meet them, since every year there are fewer remaining Holocaust survivors, and not so many of them are still alive. So, we tried to bring them joy and support them with some small things. They sang songs, recited poems, and just talked with each other. Our ministry team prepared food for them.
Our new daughter-congregation, “Or Hai” (Light of Life) is preparing to begin holding their own services soon. To mark this new endeavor, the leader and his assistant, Dima and Mark, were recently anointed for the ministry.
O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof, O God.
See how Your enemies growl,
how Your foes rear their heads.
With cunning they conspire against Your people;
they plot against those You preserve.
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”
With one mind they plot together;
they form an alliance against You…
They say, “Let us take possession of the meadows
of God for ourselves.”
Cover their faces with shame, Lord,
so that they will seek YOUR name.
I Will Not Be Shaken
By Eitan Shishkoff
On my desk is a scripture card I look at a lot. It simply declares, “I will not be shaken.” These words come from Psalm 16:8.
“I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken.”
The nature of life, even without war, is fragile. When war is close, as it is now in Israel, it shakes you up. At 75, I’m far from any direct combat. Yet our country is so small, and the enemies on all sides so close, that no one is removed. The battlefield includes everyone’s mind and emotions whether they are in uniform or not.
In this psalm, David reveals how NOT to be shaken. As he freely relates in so many psalms, Israel’s worshiping warrior king often faced inner crises. “In my distress I called on the LORD (18:6)…The LORD has heard the voice of my weeping (6:8)…He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock (40:2).”
In fact, the more I review these transparently personal prayers, the more it’s obvious that Israel’s heroic leader wrestled with conflicting, destabilizing emotions while facing Israel’s enemies. His remedy? Remembering that God is ever near, at our right hand. He determined to “set the LORD always in front of me,” as the Hebrew indicates –“facing Him.”
I am learning to declare “I will not be shaken.” In these days of war, and in the tumultuous end-times before us, I believe this statement will be indispensable to you as well. When followed by “because He is at my right hand,” it becomes the rallying cry our souls must hear.