“And behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me to give every man according as his work shall be.  I am Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”  Revelation 22:12-14

Dear Intercessors for Israel:

Happy New Year!  Marylois and I flew from Israel last month to spend a delightful Christmas and New Years with family in the United States. We are now at Engeltal for a few weeks before returning to Jerusalem.

Every New Year, we celebrate new beginnings, new opportunities, and perhaps even seek to make some New Year’s resolutions to do better or change.  Some people party while others attend New Year’s services and pray in the coming year.  This New Year 2018, Marylois and I were at our daughter and son in law’s home, in Asheville, N.C. We were kept in by icy roads and inclement weather, safe and warm, with no plans to venture out.

My thoughts were drawn to the Word of God and to Christ’s words in Revelation 22:12-14, “… behold, I come quickly…”  This year could very well herald his return.  Are you ready?  We must live as each day was our last, as we would see the King.  It is He who is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last in all things and in our lives.  Nothing matters except that we as believers seek to do His commandments.  That is my New Year’s resolution, that I may be obedient, find His reward, and enter into the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem.  Marylois and I have a tradition to pray over the New Year.  We take a calendar and pray over it “month by month, day by day.  It doesn’t take long, but we desire to do His desires, day by day, that He would lead us, protect us, and guide us.  Find a calendar, whether on your phone or paper and ask the LORD to bless your steps as you enter into this new year.

Mortar Attacks against Southern Israel
Hamas terrorists have been carrying out sporadic missile and mortar attacks against Southern Israel.  This week three mortars were fired towards the Eshkol region in Southern Israel bordering the Gaza Strip.  Israel responded with the IDF counterattacking two Hamas military sites in the Gaza. Last week, Israel’s Anti-Missile system “Iron Dome” intercepted and destroyed two rockets fired into Southern Israel while a third exploded in an Israeli community, without injuring anyone.  Even so, these sudden missile attacks are a nuisance, forcing Israelis into their bomb shelters with less than a minute notice, disrupting sleep, farming and dairy industries, and canceling schools.  Pray that the LORD God be a wall of fire around His people.  Pray that those who seek to do evil against Israel: “shall flee unto the pit” (Pr. 28:17).  Pray that these Iranian supported terrorist organizations in the Gaza be “made desolate” (Ps. 34:21).

“Let Asher Dip His Foot in Oil”
Moses long ago prophesied over each Tribe, speaking of future blessings.  And of the tribe of Asher, he spoke:  “Let him dip his foot in oil” (Deut. 33:24). After years of fruitless searching for oil reserves, large quantities of it were recently discovered in the oceans near the ancient tribal territory of Asher, where modern Haifa and Akko (Acre) are located. Israel has been quietly developing these hidden resources ever since.

The country’s first offshore gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, Yam Thetis, came online in 2004, followed by the much larger Tamar field in 2013. Both are majority owned by a partnership between Israel’s Delek and the U.S. firm Noble Energy, and almost exclusively supply the domestic market.

The real game changer, making Israel potentially a natural gas player, was the discovery of Leviathan field in 2010. It is estimated to hold at least some 500 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas and is expected initially to be able to produce 12 BCM annually starting in 2019( www.cnbc.com ).

Israeli Oil Development Threatened
The Nation of Lebanon has for years sought to claim the oil reserves that Israel is developing.  As a nation they have appealed to have the sea border redrawn.  Now Hezbollah, an Iranian supported terrorist army which controls much of Lebanon, is making threats to destroy Israel’s Oil producing platforms.

The Israeli military has taken steps to publicly warn this Islamist group (Hezbollah) that it risks starting a third Lebanon war if it fires its GPS guided rockets at offshore natural gas platforms in the Mediterranean. Senior Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) officers announced that they were aware that Hezbollah had acquired rockets capable of hitting platforms off the coast, but that firing them would amount to a declaration of war.  “The other side also understands that hitting the gas platforms is the declaration of a third Lebanon war,” they said. (www.Haaretz.com)

This caution from the IDF follows warnings from Hezbollah over the gas installations, which Lebanon claims fall within its own economic zone. The country does not recognize Israel as a state with rights over natural resources in the Mediterranean.  “Lebanon is capable of defending its gas and oil resources, and anyone who lays a hand on its assets, we’ll know how to treat him,” declared Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Pray against any plot, plan, strategy, or maneuver by this group or any other Satanic inspired threat against Israel’s oil development.  The Nation of Turkey, which controls Northern Cyprus, also wants the sea borders changed so it too can “dip its foot in oil.”  Pray that Asher and only Asher (Israel) will dip its foot in oil.

U.S.  threatens to defund Palestinian Authority
President Trump announced last week that the United States was paying the Palestinian Authority hundreds of millions of dollars a year “for nothing,” and complained that the US received “no appreciation or respect” in return.  US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley also threatened to cut off funding to the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, if the Palestinians refused to engage in peace negotiations.

US Assistance to the Palestinians
According to the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, the United States has been the largest donor of aid to the Palestinians since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1994. This aid has totaled around $600 million annually in recent years, and can be roughly divided into three categories.

The first is USAID, the conduit by which the State Department provides aid to countries across the world. The second is the economic support for law and order in the Palestinian Authority. These two categories were perhaps the aid that Trump had in mind, though the president did not specify. The third is the US support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, as addressed by Haley.

Since 1994, Washington has provided the Palestinians with more than $5.2 billion through USAID. This money is used for developing and sustaining the Palestinian Authority, including support for debt relief (such as helping to pay the medical debts of Palestinians in Israeli or other foreign hospitals), sanitation, economic development in the public and private sectors, infrastructure development, education, governance, health and essential humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip.  Another $55 million budgeted in 2016 includes training and supplying equipment to the PA security forces and the police force, firefighter training, rehabilitating courtrooms and training judges as well as lawyers.

Congress has been working as well to freeze assistance to the Palestinians until the PA discontinues its practice of paying monthly stipends to the families of terrorists who kill Israelis. In its 2017 budget, Ramallah allocated nearly $345 million for the stipends. In total, it expected $693 million in foreign assistance for the 2017 fiscal year.

UNRWA Incitement Against Israel
Netanyahu, in statements last year to his cabinet, accused the organization of inciting against Israel while doing nothing to help the plight of Palestinian refugees. He asked why they needed a specific body, when the UN High Commission for Refugees has helped tens of millions of displaced persons since World War II.  “The time has come to dismantle UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.) and have its parts be integrated into the UN High Commission for Refugees,” he said. UNRWA has long been the target of heavy criticism for its anti-Israel rhetoric promoted at its schools and for turning a blind eye to terrorist activities taking place at its facilities, including the storing of rockets and hidden tunnels belonging to the Hamas terror group. Pray that those who work mischief against Israel and the Jewish people be exposed.  Pray that those who foment rebellion and evil against Israel be stopped.  Pray that those who teach hatred against Israel be silenced.  Pray against corruption in the United Nations.

The Former and Latter Rains
Israel has been undergoing another “dry winter” and is in the midst of extended drought with little or no rain falling during its winter rainy season.  Last week an appeal was made for prayers for rain.  Many gathered at the Western Wall, Israel’s holiest site to ask God for rain.  This week rain has fallen throughout the country but even so, much more is needed to replenish the Lake of Galilee and Israel’s water aquifers.  Pray for the former and latter rains to fall in Israel.

Prayers for Prime Minister Netanyahu
Please pray for Israel’s PM Bibi Netanyahu as he is still under several police investigations. We are including these prayer points from Intercessors for Israel prayer points (ifi@ifi.org.il)

  1. Pray to sustain PM Netanyahu by the LORD’s grace (Zechariah 4:6-7).
  2. Reveal Yourself to him as his shield and exceedingly great reward (Genesis 15:1).
  3. Expose only the truth in these investigations (Psalm 85:11).
  4. Bless all investigators who are involved in this for righteousness sake and not for political reasons.
  5. Help Attorney General Mandelblit make a righteous decision on whether to indict Bibi (Isaiah 1:26).
  6. Please quickly clear up these investigations against Bibi and also his wife, Sara (Luke 18:4-7).
  7. At some point, Netanyahu will no longer be Israel’s leader. Lord Would You please reveal to us Your replacement so that we can surround this person in prayer even now (Amos 3:7).

Prayers for Samuel
Friends of ours and former staff members of Succat Hallel (Jerusalem’s 24 hour prayer/praise center) are asking for prayers for their son Samuel, age 13.  He is battling cystic fibrosis and is hospitalized with an infection and has only 31% breathing capacity in his lungs.  Pray for Samuel.  Pray for the Lord to touch him and give him a new set of lungs.  Pray for healing for this boy.

Shabbat Blessing
Marylois and I would end this first prayer letter of the New Year with a blessing.

“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee.  The LORD make his face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Num. 6:24-26).

Shabbat Shalom,
Gene and Marylois/House of Peace