This week we have brought our focus back to America, Israel and the Church, knowing the three are inextricably linked. A strong America begets a strong Jewish state. God used the church to build America on a strong foundation so we would be in prime position to support Israel. God’s divine purpose for Israel (as seen through His promise to Abraham) is to bless all the families of the earth. Do you see how the three fit hand-in-glove according to God’s plan?
Yesterday’s discussion centered on the relationship between Jews and Arabs, and the tremendous work that has been done over the past 20 years or more to build bridges. The church has played a major role in reconciliation and bridge-building. Sadly, the recent war between Israel and Hamas did a number on those relationships.
Prior to the skirmish on Temple Mount that ignited the conflict, Hamas (backed by Iran) had already begun to sow tension between Jews and Arabs living in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, particularly in a neighborhood known as Sheikh Jarrah. Small groups of Hamas-backed radicals initiated violence there, near Damascus Gate, and in other areas around the Old City. That tension grew, resulting in conflict on Temple Mount, rockets began flying into Israel, and Jews and Arabs who typically lived peacefully together, suddenly found themselves embroiled in conflict with one another.
“Antifa-like” mobsters and BLM backers are confirmed to have infiltrated into Israel to add fuel to the fire, and violence toward Jews spread to Jewish-Arab cities and neighborhoods throughout Israel.
One such city is Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. Today, the city is predominately Arab, but both Jews and Arabs have lived and worked together there for years. Great strides have been made by pastors, reaching out with the hope of salvation and the message of peace. Now, they find the fabric of their city torn in places as strife increases.
During our EXPERIENCE ISRAEL TOURS, one of our most impacting stops is a visit at Home of Jesus the King Church, pastored by Saleem Shalash. As an Arab Christian, Pastor Saleem shepherds his congregation to be the hands and feet of Jesus, as they reach out in love to Arabs, Jews, Palestinians and other people groups in and around Nazareth. It is an incredible display of God’s love, proving that the true “church” is not a building with walls, but the hearts of people willing to die to themselves in order to spread the love and grace of Jesus Christ with all of whom they come in contact.
Home of Jesus the King (HJTK) and other churches now must go about the business of rebuilding bridges, and Pastor Saleem is a leader in that effort! With great passion he posted the video below following the conflict that literally drove a wedge between those in his community. Listen, as the passion flows to revive broken relationships between Arabs and Jews, and reconstruct bridges!
Friends, pray for Pastor Saleem and other pastors who are now picking up the pieces and striving to rebuild bridges. Our prayers mean so much to them. Also, take a look at HJTK’s website and be amazed at the ministry that happens through that congregation. (Consider sending a financial gift if you are looking for great ministries to support.)
Be sure to join us tomorrow for a special devotional, related to our discussion. It will bless you!