“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” I Peter 5:7-9

Dear Intercessors for Israel:

Greetings from Jerusalem. Last Tuesday, the missile alert sirens wailed at 3:40 AM, breaking the stillness of the night encompassing the Israeli city of Beersheva.  Awakened by this warning, single mother Miri Tamano quickly roused herself from her sleep, left her first floor bedroom and ran upstairs to wake her three sons, ages 9, 10 and 12.  Two of them did not want to leave their beds, so she had to physically drag them into the safe room, while coaching the other to hurry and find shelter inside it.  Seconds later, a Russian made Grad rocket with a 44-pound warhead, fired by Hamas terrorists stuck their home, plunging through two concrete floors and exploding, completely destroying the house, except for the security room.  Miri and her children were left unhurt, but in shock.  Trembling, they had to be rescued from the debris.

Many Israelis said it was a miracle they survived.  The city of Beersheva is only 25 miles from the Gaza Strip.  A rocket fired from this location needs a little over a minute’s flight time to hit its target. The IDF quickly responded and destroyed some twenty targets. The mayor of Beersheva, also canceled school classes that day.  Egypt quickly stepped in and brokered another cease fire, thus preventing an escalation.  And in so doing, the sporadic violence which afflicts this area ceased for another brief season.  Yet, this on-off warfare and terrorism has played exactly into Hamas’ strategies of harassment and terror.  Many of the residents in the Israeli cities and towns near the Gaza border suffer from psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorders.  One of Miri’s neighbors has a 29-year-old handicapped son.  Upon hearing this alert, the father rushed into his son’s bedroom and carried him into the bomb shelter.  Interviewed, the neighbor told reporters:  “We live in fear, all the time, but we cannot stop our lives.” (www.jpost.com)

Regarding this most recent attack against Israelis by Hamas terrorists, the head of the Eshkol Regional Council Gadi Yarkoni expressed disappointment at Israel’s lack of significant military response against Gaza’s Islamic terrorists (Israel’s leadership is concerned about incurring negative world opinions and boycotts against its retaliatory actions). While disavowing further military escalation by the IDF, Gadi reminded Israel’s leaders that:  “You don’t have to go on the ground in Gaza, but you need to have the leaders of Hamas afraid to walk down the street” (www.worldisraelnews.com ).

Pray for those Israelis who live near the “Gaza envelope” (areas vulnerable to rocket attack).  Pray that they not have a spirit of fear, but “power, love, and a sound mind.”  Pray that they may know peace and place their trust in the God of Israel who neither slumbers nor sleeps.  Pray that the terror which comes from the Gaza Strip cease. Pray that Israel’s leadership would seek and employ God’s perfect plan against those who would plot to harass and destroy its people.

Complacency Kills
When I was in the U.S. Navy, there was a phrase we frequency heard and sought to practice: “Complacency kills.”  Complacency is a feeling that everything will be all right.  You are satisfied and content with yourself in an existing situation.  Complacency is telling yourself that one ought not to worry about potential dangers or pending trouble.

Would you have rolled over in your bed, and gone back to sleep, after hearing the warning sirens of an “incoming rocket alert.”  Would you have said to yourself, “It’s a false alarm” or “Beersheva is a pretty big town and the chance of it hitting my house or apartment is negligible?”  Or would you have risen up like Miri and rushed to save your loved ones?  Living in Israel, it can become easy to ignore the obvious.  Last week, I too was awakened by the same incoming missile alert, which had sounded on my phone.  It was at the same hour — 3:40 AM.  Like other Israelis, I checked the location and saw we were in the safe zone.  But what if it had been Jerusalem? I would have to make a choice to either ignore it, or move quickly and awaken the whole household, rushing them into our “saferoom.”

Be Vigilant
The lesson I want to re-emphasize is that this is an hour to remain vigilant, ready, awake, and prepared; spiritually, physically, mentally, and in your labors.  Peter warns us to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”  We as believers do not have to become “lion food.”  James counsels us that we are to “Submit ourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee.”  We are to be more than conquerors, but only if we are vigilant.  Jesus warned his disciples that “If the Goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through” (Lk. 12:35-40).  We are to be watchful servants, ready for the Master’s sudden coming, and alert to the devil’s schemes..

Fish Discovered in Dead Sea Sinkholes
Recently, fish have been discovered in the sinkholes around the Dead Sea.  This news is nothing but a miracle.  Where these fish came from and how they can live there is a wonder. Ezekiel prophesies that “It shall come to pass, that fishermen shall stand upon it, from Ein-Gedi even unto En-Eglaim:  they shall be a place to spread forth nets:  their fish shall be according to their kinds as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many” (Ezek. 47:10).  Perhaps the first signs of this ancient prophecy are coming to pass. The Dead Sea while shrinking is also bringing forth life (www.breakingisraelnews.com).  New “life forms” have also been discovered along the bottom of the Dead Sea.  Dozens of giant craters spewing fresh water and brimming with bacteria have been discovered (www.nationalgeographic.com).

The Nation of the Philippines
Just this week, I have returned from the Philippines after an intensive two-week outreach to Negros Island in the Western Visayas region. We found open doors wherever we went.  Peter Snyder, John Bailey, and I were able to preach and minister the gospel in schools as well as in churches.  We were blessed to have a meeting with some 40 local pastors.  I want to again thank you for your prayers and offerings.  We were able to bless many.

Then, two days later in the morning, I found myself passing through Manila’s airport security.  The very instant I approached the airport security detector, the guard began to softly hum a few notes from Matt Redman’s hymn: “Ten Thousand Reasons.” If you know the lyrics, the words of the song say “The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning.  It’s time to sing Your song again.  Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.”  God is so good!  He guides and reassures you in so many ways.  If I had been passing through that gate a few seconds later, I would have missed his song.  I just knew then, in that instant, that my journey and arrival to Israel was going to be blessed!

Then, eleven hours later arriving at Ben Gurion airport in Israel, I found cause to “be singing when the evening comes.”  Questioned by border security as to my avocation and reason for entering the land, I felt prompted to show the man, a photograph of me teaching Filipino teachers about Israel.  In the background, I had placed the Star of David on the blackboard and the name “Israel.”  Seeing this, the man, quickly approved my visa, handed it to me and said “Welcome, sir.” Once again I was allowed to enter into Israel.

God is so good.  I found myself “singing when the evening comes.” Ask God to fill you with His praises, so that you too can be singing in the morning and again in the evening, regardless of whatever may pass and whatever would lie before you.

Shabbat Shalom,
Gene and Marylois,
House of Peace