Israel Facing Worst Drought in Almost 100 Years

Image result for sea of galilee droughtIsrael is entering the 6th year of a major drought, with no relief in sight.  As a result, the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s primary source of water, is approaching a 100-year low.  In fact the water level is dangerously close to the level in which intake pipes of water pumps will be above the water line, making it impossible to pump needed water out of the Galilee to neighboring farmland and orchards.

Fortunately, about 70% of Israel’s drinking water now comes from desalination plants along the Mediterranean Sea.  If not for that fact, Israel would quickly be out of water.  Regardless, water needs are such that authorities are warning residents that water consumption may be limited within a year or so.

I am reminded of a time when water will not be an issue!  Zechariah 14 describes that glorious day when, after gathering the nations against Jerusalem, Jesus steps foot on the Mount of Olives to take care of business!  A mighty earthquake will split the Eastern Gate wide open and He will enter.  Then, notice:

And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.
~Zechariah 14:8

Plenty of water will flow from Jerusalem (of all places!)

However, today’s drought is real, and I hope you will join me in praying for the Lord to bless Israel with significant rainfall.  But there is a greater need.  Jesus described Himself as “Living Water” in John 4:7-14.  Then, in Revelation 22:17, He says:

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

A greater drought is occurring in the heart and soul of the Jewish people.  Spiritually, they are thirsty, and we (the bride of Christ) join with the Spirit of God, saying “Come…drink from the Living Water!”  God will take care of physical drought conditions, but only Jesus can rid the spiritual drought.

As we’re “about our Father’s business” in these last days, let’s engage in the task before us.  Let’s pray for Jews and Gentiles alike, who are experiencing spiritual drought.  We know the solution!  Are we sharing it?

HAPPENING NOW: Flare ups on Israel’s Northern and Southern Borders

Israel artillery fire into Gaza (photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)

Over the past few hours things have heated up on Israel’s northern and southern borders.  An IDF soldier was hit by sniper fire, the IDF is carrying out operations on the Gaza border, stray missiles from the Syrian conflict landed in the Sea of Galilee, Israel is also taking action on the northern border.

The Jerusalem Post has posted a running timeline of events.  You will find it here:

Two Front Flareup: IDF Strikes on Northern and Southern Borders

Pray for wisdom and the Lord’s protection of Israeli troops and leaders, and for safety of civilians caught in the midst of conflict.

Arab Christian Pastor Thankful to be an Israeli

Image result for israel 70 and strong

We were blessed with so many fantastic speakers at the ICEJ/ACLI Conference earlier this week, and I want to share about one of the most interesting speakers of the event, Pastor Saleem Shalash.  Pastor Shalash is an Arab Christian living in Nazareth (Jesus’ boyhood hometown), shepherding Home of Jesus the King congregation.

His gratitude for salvation is clearly obvious, as is his love for Israel.  Only 1% of Christians in the Middle East live in freedom, and the vast majority of those are in Israel.  He humbly recognized that he has more rights than Jewish Israelis, including lack of mandatory service in the IDF (as a Christian Arab), though having the same right to subsidized medical care.

Additionally, he confirmed what is known by mamy: the Arab-Palestinian cause is very lucrative.  Monetary and humanitarian aid given to the Palestinians could be used to build dozens (if not hundreds) of schools, hospitals, government facilities and much more, yet those resources flow right into the pockets of Palestinian leaders.  Founding leader Yasser Arafat, current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas leader Khaled Mashal are all worth over $1 billion…while the Palestinian people suffer.

Saleem fully recognizes the stark contrast between his fellow countrymen and himself, calling it “the difference between heaven and hell.”  Whereas Arabs and Palestinians, in general (particularly in the Gaza Strip and West Bank), live in turmoil, he enjoys peace and relative prosperity in Israel.

Regarding his homeland (Israel), he stated unequivocally that it is the prerogative of the Israeli government to determine its capital.   With great excitement and energy, Pastor Shalash exclaimed that the move of the US Embassy was not just history, but HIS story…God fulfilling His covenant with Abraham to use Israel to save the world. (See Israel: God’s Vehicle to Redeem the World and Israel: God’s Vehicle of Eternal Salvation)  Indeed, He is!

In closing, Pastor Shalash used a familiar Bible account to illustrate God’s work in Israel today.  In Luke 5:1-7, Jesus was standing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and found two boats on shore and fishermen (Peter, James and John among them) cleaning their nets.  Jesus got into Simon Peter’s boat, cast out a short distance and began teaching the crowds on shore who had followed Him there.

When He finished, He instructed Peter to put out into deep water and cast the nets.  Peter was a master fisherman and had just spent a very unproductive night fishing, had gotten the nets cleaned up for the next day, and was perhaps a bit indignant at being given fishing lessons!  You see, it was the wrong location.  Fishing in the deep was not what they did!  They knew the fish stayed in more shallow parts of the lake.

Not only was it the wrong location, but it was also the wrong timing.  Fish don’t bite in the daytime!  On top of that, it was the wrong tools.  Their nets were not made to fish in deep water.  Wrong location, wrong timing, wrong tools.

Yet, they obeyed and the nets were so full of fish they needed help hauling them all in!

Comparatively, many would say Jerusalem is the wrong location in Israel for embassies!  After all, not a single nation’s embassy has been in Jerusalem since the 1980’s.  Some would say the timing is wrong.  Though the US Embassy was the first to move (on May 14, 2018), there is outcry that it will result in extensive regional conflict, which some nations and people groups have vowed.  Still others argue that moving embassies is the wrong tool.  Do something different…just don’t move embassies to Jerusalem!

You see the parallels.  However, God chooses foolish things of the world to confound the wise!  (1 Corinthians 1:27)  His thoughts are also higher than ours.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
~Isaiah 55:8

We were truly blessed by the boldness and contagious joy of Pastor Saleem Shalash, but we were even more grateful for the evidence that God is indeed calling all people to Himself.  Pastor Shalash sees the Light and is a Lightbearer to his fellow countrymen.  The love of Jesus to all mankind is shining brightly into the Arab community in Nazareth Israel and beyond as Saleem takes his message of Christ’s love and redemption around the world.

Praise God His love isn’t reserved only for a small group of people, but for the entire world!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
~John 3:16

Lessons of Peter on the Shores of the Galilee

I have stood on the shores of the Sea of Galilee at Tabgha and wondered what it would have been like the day Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow him. (Matthew 4, Mark 1, Luke 5)  See Tabgha and Jesus’ Disciples.

Peter is one of my favorite Bible characters.  In many ways, we are so much like him, and we can learn so much from how the Lord used an imperfect vessel to ultimately become a true disciple of Christ.  Some of the most important lessons were taught to Peter on the shores of Tabgha.

A few days ago, during a live tour of Israel, Amir Tsarfati delivered one of the most poignant teachings I’ve heard from those shores.  Settle in and enjoy the 17-minute onsite teaching.  You will be blessed!