Israel Shines as 2019 Gets Underway

Image result for isaiah 60 1-6

Christmas marks the birth of the Light of the World, our Lord Jesus Christ! As Christmas disappears in our rear view mirror, let’s turn our gaze to another bright light.

Rejoice! Arise and shine, Israel, for the glory of the glory of the Lord is rising and the light shines through you! The Light of the World is shining through Israel right now! Here are some examples from 2018:

  • Tourism is booming! Over 4 million tourists visited Israel in 2018. Enormous year-after-year increases have occurred since 2006 when only 1.8 million visited. Last year, over a million of those tourists were Americans, squashing rumors that it is dangerous to go there! (It is not!)
  • Israel’s population grew 2% in 2018 to almost 9 million. (74% Jewish, 20% Arab) Not only are Jews returning to their homeland from all corners of the world, but they are also living longer. Life expectancy in Israel is among the highest in the world (84 for women, 80 for men).
  • Israel’s light continues to shine all around the world. Israeli technology was used to rescue young soccer players from a cave in Thailand, and to deal with the drone problem at Gatwick Airport (in the UK) during the busy Christmas season. “Operation Good Neighbor” provided free medical care to Syrians fleeing civil war atrocities. Innovations in conservation, medicine, agriculture and technology were shared with the world, making life a little better for people everywhere.
  • Positive attitudes toward Jesus by some Israeli media. Interestingly, a stunning number of articles and other media sources in Israel are beginning to reflect very favorably on Jesus and His life. In fact, an entire documentary entitled, “Christianity in Israel,” was released, calling for greater appreciation of the Christian community in Israel. Significant shifts in attitude toward Jesus seem to indicate the centuries-old rift between Christians and Jews has taken a positive turn!
  • A growing number of Messianic believers. Very conservatively, there are now at least 30,000 Messianic believers in Israel. (There were less than 30 in 1948 when Israel was reborn.) The true number is likely much greater than that, as many are young people, unable to identify publicly for fear of being disassociated by their families. Additionally, evangelistic videos produced by One for Israel have been viewed 90 million times! 25 million of those views are in Hebrew versions…almost 3X the population of Israel, the only nation where Hebrew is spoken regularly.

Indeed, the Light of the World is shining upon His chosen land and His chosen people! The Light has come and the glory of the Lord is rising. One day, when the partial hardening is lifted from the Jewish people, all Israel will see the Light and will be saved! (Romans 11:25-26)

That hardening seems to be lifting (if only slightly), which begs the question: How soon will the fullness of the Gentiles come? (Read Romans 11!) Yet again, we see evidence that time is short!

Some day the very last Gentile to acknowledge Jesus as Lord will bow the knee to do so. At that moment, the time of the Gentiles will end as Jesus comes to take us to live with Him forever. That day is coming soon. If you have not invited Jesus to be the Light in you world, it is time to do so. We are all sinners, we cannot save ourselves, yet Jesus (through His death, burial and resurrection) paid a debt for our sins that we could not pay. He wants to be your Lord and Savior…the Light of your life. All you have to do is ask!

Click here to learn how to know Jesus personally and spend eternity with Him. Blessings, dear friend!

PS: Jews and Gentiles are saved the exact same way…by putting their faith in the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus)!

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

~Isaiah 60:1

“Operation Good Neighbor” Comes to an End

Prior to the Syrian civil war, the border with Israel was relatively quiet, with a small UN peacekeeping unit nestled in a buffer zone between the two.  It was one of Israel’s most peaceful borders.

After war broke out, rebels fled many parts of Syria and gathered in areas near the Israeli border.  Gradually, Assad’s forces pressed in, making life very isolated and difficult for Syrians living inside Syria, but on the border with Israel.

So, in 2016, the Israeli Defense Forces made a bold decision to launch Operation Good Neighbor, providing humanitarian and medical aid to Syrians in need.  Tons and tons of good were shipped into Syria over the past couple years, medical teams were escorted deep into Syria under cover of night, and hundreds were treated in emergency rooms set up on the border.  Some were even transported to Israeli hospitals where they were treated at no cost.

But recently, Assad’s forces conquered the rebels in southern Syria, and now control the very areas that were benefiting from Israeli aid at the border.  Operation Good Neighbor has run its course.

However, OGN certainly left a positive mark on the Syrians they served.  One Syrian said:

“I wish you all the best, and I thank you very much for your help and for supporting us. In God’s name, this deed will not be forgotten, and we will teach our children of what you have done.”

What an incredible witness to the world of God’s grace and goodness shown through His chosen people.  As we say farewell to this marvelous mission, let’s take a look back at the work of the IDF:

 

Fatemeh’s Story: An Iranian Tragedy

What is life like in Iran?

Today, with the help of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, I want to give you some insight.  Find out what life is like through the eyes of 15-year-old Fatemeh:

Beyond simply unveiling the reality of what life is like for many Iranians, my point is this: On every front, Israel is reaching out to her enemies to free the people of oppressive regimes.  Here is what you need to know about Israel and her enemies:

  • Iran, Israel’s single greatest enemy, is experiencing terrible drought conditions, yet Israel (the world’s #1 recycler of water) offered to help.  Unfortunately, the Iranian regime rejected help and said, “Mind your own business!”  So, Israel got creative and launched a website (in Farsi, Iran’s native language), accessible directly by the Iranian people, which provides tips on how to conserve water, recycle waste water and improve water usage for crops!
  • Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and his tyrannical dictatorship plunged Syria into a multidimensional civil war that has absolutely crushed the citizens of Syria.  So, in 2013 the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) began treating ill and wounded Syrian citizens at field hospitals set up on the border.  That developed into Operation Good Neighbor in 2016, a multi-faceted humanitarian relief effort to provide food, medical care and daily living supplies to citizens inside Syria.  More recently, partners such as Frontier Alliance International have joined forces with the IDF to provide specialized medical aid deep within Syrian territory.
  • Recently, the IDF has promoted #FreeGazaFromHamas, tearing away the veil to reveal what is really going on in Gaza.  Here is one of their videos:

Israel seems to understand the difference between dictatorial regimes and the oppressed citizens those regimes control.  Responses from those citizens are amazing, as they acknowledge and thank Israelis.  Love and care are much more powerful than political solutions, so let’s pray that efforts to befriend and assist citizens in “enemy nations” build important bridges of peace.

The Heart of Israelis for Syrians on the Golan Heights

Photo courtesy of Golan Regional Council

Shabbat Shalom, friends!  Let’s enjoy a “feel good” story as we move into the weekend.

The secret of who has been supplying some of the aid to Syria is out of the bag!  As you may know, the Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Good Neighbor, a humanitarian initiative to help Syrians, in June 2016.  Since then, 1,524 tons of food, 947,520 liters of fuel, 7,933 diaper packages, 54 tons of baby food, 24,900 boxes of medicine and medical equipment, 775 medical equipment units, 250 tons of clothing, 13,920 hygienic products, and more than 300 tents have been provided to Syrians living under the oppressive Assad regime.  That’s a lot of tikkun olam!

But where did all the aid come from?  Yes, we know the IDF has played a huge role in delivering it, but did you know those items have, for the most part, been donated by Israelis?

There are likely other groups that contribute to the cause, but one such organization was recently uncovered.  Israeli Flying Aid has provided goods to Syrians for years, and their story is inspiring.  Take a few moments to read the heartwarming account of their love, acceptance and generosity toward Syrians in need.

Israeli Residents Go Public with Heartfelt Aid to Syrians

Blessings friends…and may we all embrace the idea of loving our enemies