I know you were all in prayer during the recent violent conflicts in Israel. I feel like I learned a lot during that time due to my communications with many dear friends who live in the Land and experienced the terror first-hand. We are, of course, grateful that Israel was able to take out most of the weapons stash and top leaders of the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization; but who knows when this conflict may erupt again, even from other borders? We must not cease to pray!
Thus I am pasting below a good prayer focus for all of us to keep and remember to pray often. It comes from the CMJ organization in Israel, led by dear and close friends of mine. Below their post I will also paste a link to a brief video made by Frontier Alliance International, which really helps to clarify what this conflict is truly all about. The news so misrepresents what is really happening in the Middle East and who is REALLY coming against Israel and I believe this video gives us a clear understanding of a very complicated situation.
As I wrote back and forth with a beloved sister in Messiah who lives in Israel, the whole terrible war went from just an item on my TV news broadcast to a very real, personal, heart-wrenching picture, being lived out in real time. With her permission I am using some of her words below, as I feel that all of us "soft," spoiled Americans need to hear the heart of our brothers and sisters in Israel and what they are going through. She wrote:
Do people know what it's like raising children in an apartment in the areas hardest hit with explosives or living anywhere, which could randomly become the next target?
Do they have a house or apartment that has been destroyed by a rocket or shrapnel?
Have they ministered to severely wounded people, or mourned for a beloved family member disabled or killed, or whose eardrums burst from the explosion too near?
Do they have a son in the army, who is like a sitting duck, sitting in a sealed tank on the border of Gaza? The tank could be hit at any moment, and the young men will be burned alive, as they were in the 2014, less severe, rocket war from Gaza.
I don't know about you, friends, but my answer to each of her questions is "No." Most of us really cannot imagine how horrific it truly is. Let us continue to pray the prayers below. The link to the video will be below that...and I hope and pray that all these things I'm reprinting here will bless you as you pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
For Your Prayers
What is desperately needed is prayer led by the Holy Spirit, keeping in mind a few obvious points:
Your brother in Christ,
Executive Director, CMJ USA
LINK TO VIDEO FROM FAI - recorded in Israel last week
Today marks a very small but very meaningful milestone in my life. It's the first time I've ever baked a loaf of bread from scratch - even from grinding the wheat! All the Shabbats I've celebrated over the past 15 years with delicious loaves of challah on the table, and until today I had never made one!
A precious 85-year-old friend and sister in the Lord invited me over for a morning in her kitchen, where she taught me hands-on how to grind wheat, and make poppy seed lemon scones, whole wheat sandwich bread and challah. I roll and kneaded dough and spread lemon curd on scones. Flour is all over the counters and flung across the floor! We sit and drank tea while the bread is rising and we talk about her life as a young girl when she first learned to make bread. I am transported back to a time when life was so simple and down-to-earth it is almost hard to imagine!
After tea she takes me into her back yard, where peach, cherry and apple trees are in full bloom, their fragrance filling the air. Her chickens cluck and peck and she finds a couple more eggs for tomorrow's breakfast. We meander around patches of strawberries, beds of radishes, peas and onions, and fences lined with blueberry and blackberry bushes. Everything is budding and growing and blossoming, and one's senses just come alive with the abundance the Creator has brought forth from the earth! As we pray every Shabbat, "Blessed are You, O Lord, who brings forth bread - and so many other wonderful foods - from the earth. He Himself is the Bread of Life!
We make our way back into the kitchen, peeking into the oven, and the perfectly braided loaves of challah are a shiny golden brown. I am so thrilled with my very first loaf! It is such a simple accomplishment, but I realize that the joy is in learning something new, something I have never done before. Why, I wondered. Why had I not found time in the busyness of life to learn to bake bread? Perhaps that's a lesson from this season. Slow down. Discover something you've always wanted to learn and do it. And whatever your hand finds to do, give God glory!
Kelly Ferrari Mills