The Light has come, and the daylight begins to push away the darkness of winter days. Spring must be in the air!
From the beginning till the end of the year, our Lord and God watches over His people and His land! (Dt 11:12) God ‘found’ His Sabbath rest in His Son, who came to bring the old order of things to an end that the light of a new way and day could be brought to mankind.
At our Shabbat service, we celebrated the Festival of Lights, giving priority to the true Light who is eternal that came into the world to push back the darkness, over the temporal Hanukah lights of candles or oil which must be continually watched over to remain lit before they eventually do burn out. As is our custom, we lit all of the candles on the hanukia (the menora or lampstand of Hanukah), as a visual testimony to the truth that the full light of God has come into the world through His Son, and He has made us light in the darkness). The Lord’s Supper was also a wonderful part of the service — remembering Yeshua’s death until He comes.
Being that we have many different cultures and languages among our congregation of Yeshua’s Inheritance, there was a presentation of songs by some of the different groups — such as Hebrew, Spanish, English, Russian, Korean, Burmese. That which began at Pentecost with different tongues all praising the living God together has grown and increased to multitudes of redeemed people from out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation by the blood of the Lamb, singing a new song to Yeshua who was slain to bring us to God the Father. Hallelu-Yah! Amen! (Rev 5:9)
With these two universally known Hebrew words — both of which speak of the true God and Savior (Rev 3:14) — we visited Bethlehem yesterday on Christmas Day with two other families from our congregation, and some medical students and other friends. We went first to an Evangelical Church, where we have been going since 2003 — during the Intifada — as an expression of the reconciliation which we have through the cross, even though our peoples continue to be in a perpetual state of hostility with each other.
At the Arab church there I was asked to share some introductory words from my heart, and spoke of the hope we all have through the gospel, which includes that Jesus will come back again to bring the Kingdom of God to Israel and the rest of the world. Political solutions will not satisfy the need for the righteousness of God, the peace which He gives, and joy in the Holy Spirit. At the end of the service, I was asked to bless the elders and the church with the priestly blessing in Hebrew, the language of the ‘enemy’. I gently reminded the brothers and sisters there to remember that the name of YEHOVAH God is still upon His people Israel, and asked them to pray for the Jewish Israeli people to honor His name and of His Son. Then I blessed them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It was a very special time, and I thank the Lord that the pastor took the risk (and it is a risk!) to ask me for this honor.
After the service, we all (13 adults and 5 children) had a wonderful lunch at his home. Then we went over to Beit Al Liqa — the extraordinary facility of the children’s ministry (of all ages) in Beit Jala. http://www.beitliqa.org/eng/eng_home_page.html There we enjoyed our final legendary hospitality of the rainy day, and were able to see how the work is still developing. It was a very encouraging day, which only the Spirit of Messiah knows how to do!