Reflections on my recent trip to the Land

Bomb shelter in S’derot

About a week ago, I returned home from Israel. In spite of a few hurdles, I had the opportunity to meet with Brothers and Sisters from all of our ministry partners. Our relationship was noticeably different in this regard;

“Mishpacha”–which means family–is no longer an endearing term to me, but a reality. ‘Family’ describes a cohesive unit that acts respectfully on behalf of each other’s well-being. Biblically, the term ‘mishpacha’ can mean more than the members of one’s own family, but those of the same ancestry as in the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Spiritually, this can also include those born of God, through the Seed of David–Jesus the Messiah. In essence, this describes God’s “one big happy family.”

Or at least it should.

Sadly, the season of Covid produced contrary results, revealing fractures in the church family within our nation; some appear seismic, even beyond repair.

How can we respond to this dilemma? Or is it too late? Many seem to think the rapture is not only the blessed hope, but also our only hope.

I disagree. I believe the church is the hope. However, we will not leave this planet until the “bride makes herself ready”. Every bride-to-be, or one already married, knows that is a tedious process, which requires skillful preparation and great care, believing that the result is worth the effort.

The Bride of Jesus, the Messiah, is a union of Jewish and Gentile Believers. Together they will write the final chapter of world redemption.

Shortly after Covid broke into our lives, it became clear that it was going to take more than “ten days to flatten the curve.” Most offices closed, leaving many to open shop in their homes. I remember the moment after I had unplugged my computer from my office at ANM and re-plugged it in a small room in the corner of our house. As soon as I did I heard that still small voice say;

Come, my people, enter into your rooms And close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while until indignation runs its course. (Isaiah 26:20)

I had no idea what that meant, but I sensed the presence of God moving me to my knees to pray. There is another verse in that chapter that describes what I experienced next.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. (26:3)

From that day on, I would log the things that God laid on my heart. I had no idea that it would be a cohesive work, which in turn became a published book–Inappropriate.

After two-plus years it appears that the indignation, which can mean annoyance, exasperation, or outrage, has run its course. It hasn’t left us with solutions. It has not been a return to normalcy. In fact, no one seems to know what that even means. I will tell you what I think it is, though.

By God’s design, it means that people will treat each other kindly.

Kindness is the way we want others to treat us. (Prov. 19:22 NKJV) ). It is also a gateway to the heart. When we exercise kindness, it opens the door to sharing the Gospel in a personal way. I have experienced this repeatedly, especially in Israel where resistance has been so common for centuries. So many seem eager for conversation and interaction. For the Messianic community, this is an opportune time to act. They are the ones well suited for the job, as they know the language and the culture and the daily stress that other nations don’t experience.

Sadly though, Israel is losing the information war. So much mis-and disinformation is promoted from the West that makes Israel appear like the oppressor. That is one reason the believing church needs to be informed and respond by coming alongside Jesus-loving believers in the Land. This is according to the eternal purpose of God, which is the theme of my book.

When the day dawned and masks came off, it became clear that fear and anxiety had left many scars. People remain hidden behind a less visible mask of fear and uncertainty. As believers, we can carry with confidence the hope that the world lacks, and deliver it by God’s leading to those silently screaming for help.

God told Joshua three times; Be strong and courageous!” before he went to battle.

 In Hebrew, those words mean far more than human strength and bravery. It is God’s message for all who truly believe and comes with His promise to be with us.

“Be confident and determined!”

We face a different battlefield, but we are well equipped to go forward. We must take ownership of what we believe, and express it without fear, but with renewed sensitivity, through our words and our deeds.  The results are God’s.

This is our new normal.

Israeli man I met on top of a lookout in S’derot, the city closest to Gaza with the most bomb shelters in Israel.

He was the only person there and seemed quite unsettled. He could not believe there could be a loving God, so I told him about Yeshua. After offering him some food, I asked him,

“What is it that you do believe?”

He answered,

“The most important thing in the world is when two people are kind to each other.”

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