.; A compilation of news reports from the past week for the information of those committed to ..praying .. for the restoration of Israel
David’s Comment: Nehemiah 8:10 The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength ……
The above scripture from Nehemiah 8:10 is a well known and often quoted Bible verse and is even a well know praise song. Those words are very simple and very true, and considering the state of the world we live in today, it is one verse that we should all take hold of for our own personal strengthening and well-being.
With the so called Peace Process as good as dead,and Iran once again this week threatening to ‘eradicate’ Israel, the very real threat of another war in the Middle East is still a concern to most Israelis. With the potential world-wide chaos that would cause, and with many nations, organisations, and individuals seeking the reduction and ultimately the removal of Israel, the days ahead seem grim, to say the least. Those who live in Israel have good reason to be concerned. We know that our neighbours want to destroy us, therefore most homes have our bomb shelters, we have gas masks on hand, and many people have the tape and plastic on hand to seal our rooms in case of gas or biological attack. And we are aware that much of the world hates us and wants to be rid of us. The effects of this on the average Israeli is manifested in stress, anger and hopelessness. Just the same as in the days of Ezekiel 37:12 Our bones are dry, our hopes is lost, and we are about to be cut off. You don’t see too many smiles on peoples faces – quite the opposite is the case. Not too many Israelis are heard whistling, humming or joyfully singing as they walk along the road these days.
Then there is the financial crisis in much of the world, and the extreme weather in many places making life miserable for multitudes of people. This week serious flooding has hit Japan with more than 100 Japanese have died and 4 million have been displaced from their homes. Planet Earth is not always a ‘joyful; place to live. Therefore I want to give this week’s comment a positive flavour, to inject hope into what appears to be a potentially hopeless situation, not just here in Israel, but all over the world. The concerns that I mentioned above is not confined to Israel. You may have noticed the same lack of joy on the faces of people in your area. It is understandable as most of them don’t know the Creator. They don’t know the Messiah. They don’t have the multitude of wonderful promises written in God’s Word. Without these 3 things, I agree, it does seem hopeless. However for we who do know GOD, and are in an intimate covenant relationship with Him, it is or should be, a far different scenario. We have the HOPE OF GLORY, the MESSIAH living in us (Colossians 1:27). The Full Gospel Businessmen’s ministry founder Denis Shakarian summed it up when he wrote his book about Believers, The Happiest people on Earth.
Josie and I try our best to remain joyful as we go about our lives in the ‘cauldron’ of daily life in Israel. People often see the joy on our faces and ask “what have you got to be so happy about ?” That question is an open door to share the ‘good news’ of GOD’s plan for Israel. The conversation always comes around to Israel’s hopeless looking situation. I am able to tell them that not only is our future not hopeless, as Israel’s history is full of hopeless situations that the God of Israel delivered us from, but the future of this tiny country is awesome. The Messiah, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is about to return to the Earth, to rule the entire World from His Throne in Jerusalem. When that becomes a reality, Israel will be the No 1 nation of the World and Jerusalem will be the capital city of the World.
We can all see that the world is in big trouble, bigger trouble than it knows, however we need to see these problems as opportunities. Opportunities to share the incredible hope that we believe the future holds. Opportunities to be the Lord’s ambassadors and to preach good tidings to the poor; to heal the broken-hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJ).
I am writing this to encourage you to continue to pray for our ‘fellow-citizen’ Israelis (Ephesians 2:19), many of whom are wandering around in a state of hopelessness and despair. Continue to pray for their salvation and for an outpouring of the JOY OF THE LORD. Remember we are told to comfort them in Isaiah 40:1 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God. (NKJ) There is hope for Israel – great hope. Its all in their Bibles Jeremiah 31:35-36 This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar the LORD Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.” (NIV)
And if you happen to know some Christians who are not walking in the JOY OF THE LORD, we are also called to comfort them. The future may look grim, but the Bible tells us that when we see all of the prophesied tribulations coming to pass, then we should look up for our redemption is getting close. Our Bridegroom will soon appear to take us to the great marriage supper of the Lamb. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (NKJ)
When the going gets tough, the Lord expects us to get going – to get on with our destiny and calling as His ambassadors and co-laborers. So be filled with the JOY of the LORD, and let it be your strength.
The LORD bless you as you bless Israel by standing in defense of her right to exist on the land given to the Jewish people by the GOD of Israel. Lets pray that Israel will turn back to their GOD. Do not be silent, but share this with your fellow Christians, share it with your pastors, and with anyone you have a chance to speak to. Lets also pray for a breakthrough to the Muslims, and please remember to pray Divine protection for all of the soldiers in the IDF.
Shabbat Shalom …… David & Josie
This Weeks News Items
1. Northern Israel Rattled by Tremors World Israel News July 6th
Two minor seismic temblors shook Israel?s north Thursday morning, after four tremors hit Wednesday last week. The most severe quake occurred Wednesday at a magnitude of 4.7 on the Richter scale. Earlier the area was shaken by a 4.0 magnitude tremor. These earlier quakes were felt by Israeli residents as far south as Tel Aviv, Modiin and Jerusalem, and also in Lebanon and Syria to the north. The epicenter of the earthquake was in the Lower Galilee, around nine kilometers north of Tiberias. No injuries or damage were recorded.The Geological Survey of Israel (GSI) reported that since early Wednesday morning, several earthquakes occurred in the northern part of Lake Kinneret. On Monday, a 2.1 magnitude earthquake occurred in the same area. A similar series of earthquakes occurred in this region in 2013. GSI Director Rivkah Amit warned that these seismological events may be a prelude to a more powerful and potentially devastating event.
Israel is situated on the East African Rift, which runs through the Jordan Valley, on the border with Jordan, an area prone to earthquakes. The last major earthquake to hit the region occurred in 1927 ? a 6.2-magnitude tremor that killed 500 people and injured another 700. In 2016, experts warned a Knesset committee that the country is not prepared for a major earthquake in the region. Pray that the LORD will use these earthquakes to ‘rattle’ the people of Israel spiritually
2. Two Fires Ignited by Gaza Kites Times of Israel News July 7th
Two fires blazed near Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip Saturday afternoon, caused by incendiary kites flown into Israel from the territory. A large fire was raging near Kibbutz Or Haner, Channel 10 news reported. Nine firefighting teams were at the scene, with the support of four fire fighting aircraft. A second fire was reported near Kibbutz Nir Am. Officials said there was no current danger to the communities themselves. Recent months have seen an uptick in violence at the Gaza border, with weekly violent Palestinian protests, ongoing rocket attacks, and the new phenomenon of incendiary kites and balloons flown over the border, sometimes at a rate of several dozen each day. The incendiary devices have sparked near-daily fires that have burned thousands of acres of farmland, parks, and forests. Some have been found connected to explosive devices. Israeli firefighters extinguish a fire at Shikma Reservoir caused from kites. On Friday thousands of Israelis took part in a rally calling for the return of the bodies of IDF soldiers held by Hamas. Some 4,000 people took part in the Israeli event, waving Israeli flags and flying blue kites in a peaceful counter to the flaming airborne devices launched at Israel in recent months from Gaza.. Also Friday, a few thousand Palestinians participated in the weekly ?March of Return? protests on the Gaza border. One was reported killed when a device he was holding exploded. Pray that the new anti-kite system will be 100 effective from now on
3. PA Angry Over Israel’s Plan to Deduct Terrorist’s Salaries from Tax Collection World Israel News July 7th
Senior Palestinian officials condemned a new Israeli law that financially penalizes the Palestinian Authority (PA) for paying stipends to terrorists and their families, vowing never to stop this practice.
?The Palestinian Authority will never stop paying salaries to the families of prisoners and martyrs,? senior PA officials siad. ?Netanyahu is destroying the Palestinian Authority by deducting these funds from the taxes. In the end, he?ll need to replace the Authority and pay all of the salaries in the West Bank and Gaza,? they threatened. The Knesset passed a law on Monday that will withhold ten of millions of dollars from tax revenues collected by Israel on behalf of the PA over the ?welfare payments? that the PA allocates to the families of prisoners and terrorists killed by Israeli forces. Israel and the US view these payments as direct incitement to terrorism. The PA has dedicated a significant portion of its budget to directly incentivize the murder of Jews through stipends to terrorists and their families. In its 2018 budget, the PA increased the funding and allocated $360 million to the Prisoners and Martyrs fund, which disperses payment to imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists and the families of dead terrorists. The PA Finance Ministry said on Tuesday that Israel already deducts NIS 120 million each month from the tax revenues in order to cover the costs of electricity and water supplied to the Palestinians as well as medical treatment Palestinians receive in Israeli hospitals. ?Moving forward with the implementation of this decision will have grave repercussions,? the PA stated. Pray that Israel follows through with the deductions which will also help Israel to recover the costs of damaged caused by the Gaza riots and the fire-kites.
4. Israeli Authorites To Meet Over Threat of Large Earthquake World Israel News July 9th
Due to the series of tremors that occurred over the past 2 weeks in Israel, an emergency meeting washeld Thursday with all relevant authorities who would have a role to play in case of a major earthquake. Participants included representatives of the Ministry of Defense, the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), the Home Front Command, emergency medical services, the police, the fire department and heads of all the local authorities. They reviewed the country?s readiness and discuss how to use a common language during an emergency to facilitate cooperation among the various groups. Instructions have already been disseminated to all the bodies to refresh their emergency procedures. Homes have rattled throughout the north from Haifa to Kiryat Shmona as a series of light earthquakes struck the region since July 4, measuring between 2.0 and 4.5 on the Richter scale. Only a few of the roughly 30 tremors were actually felt, according to the Israeli Geophysics Institute, although they have alarmed Israelis. Pray that Israel will be spared from serious damage and injures from a large scale earthquake
5. Hamas Vows to Turn Southern Israel into a Hell World News Israel July 10th
Hamas condemned Israel?s closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza, vowing to step up arson attacks and make southern Israel into ?a hell.? Hamas said it will increase the number of bomb-laden kites and balloons launched from Gaza into Israel in response to Israel?s closure of the Kerem Shalom border crossing. A group affiliated with Hamas that is responsible for launching the incendiary kites and balloons said in a statement, ?We will escalate the conflict and intensify the launch of balloons at night in response to the decision of PM Netanyahu to close the crossings and tighten the siege. ?The decision by the Israeli government to tighten the siege on the Gaza Strip to pressure the rebel groups to prevent the launch of balloons is proof of its failure to manage the conflict with the rebellious youths who rose peacefully to lift the siege on Gaza.? Tens of thousands of acres of crops and forests have been burned over the past few months since the kite and balloon attacks began. The IDF noted that the state of Israel ?aspires and acts to improve the living conditions of civilians in the Gaza Strip.? However, the IDF has decided to take these measures to counter Hamas? exploitation of Gazan residents and its launching of arson terrorism towards the Israeli communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip. ?The current situation doesn?t allow the residents of southern Israel to safely maintain their daily routine. Should these severe conditions continue, IDF measures will persist and intensify,? the IDF stated. Pray that the people of Gaza will overthrow the oppressive Hamas regime.
6. Syrian Drone Shot Down 10 km Inside Israel INN News July 11th
Israel shot down an unarmed drone that entered its airspace from Syria on Wednesday afternoon local time, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said. The firing of a Patriot missile at the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) triggered rocket sirens in Israel’s Golan Heights and Jordan Valley regions, and shortly after videos appeared on social media showing a trial of white smoke in the sky over Israel. The drone was an intelligence-gathering aircraft and belonged to the Syrian government and its remains have already been retrieved just south of the Sea of Galilee, almost ten kilometers (six miles) inside Israel, an army spokesman told reporters. He said the UAV had been tracked long before it entered Israel, flying through both Jordanian and Syrian air space. The army has not yet determined whether its crossing into Israel was deliberate or accidental. Israel urgently checked with Russian and Jordanian officials that the drone did not belong to either country before it sent the Patriot to blast it out of the sky. Pray that any incursion into Israel will be seen and prevented even before the border is crossed.
7. Israel Rated as 8th Strongest Country in the World Times of Israel News July 8th
An international survey has ranked Israel as the eighth most powerful nation in the world for the second consecutive year, narrowly ahead of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The annual survey by the US News & World Report was published during the weekend, based on the answers of more than 21,000 people from four regions. The survey ranked 80 countries on a range of issues, including power, cultural influence, economy and entrepreneurship, with the categories adding up to an overall “best countries” ranking. Israel was ranked 30th on the best countries list, the same ranking as last year, with Switzerland and Canada taking the first two slots. But in the power ranking, Israel was ranked inside the top ten, behind the United States, Russia, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Japan, in that order. Neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were ranked 9th and 10th, with fellow Middle Eastern countries Iran and Turkey ranked 13th and 14th. ?For its relatively small size, the country has played a large role in global affairs,? the magazine said in its description of Israel, which ? following US President Donald Trump?s December recognition ? listed Jerusalem as its capital. Israel also made the top ten in the list of ?movers? ? up and coming economies ? where it was ranked 10th. The UAE, India and Singapore were the three highest-ranked nations in that category, respectively. Let us give thanks to the GOD of Israel for all that He is doing to prepare for the return of His Kingdom to Jerusalem