Monday, May 24, 2010

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

For the nine years I have lived in Israel, I have always loved this time of the year. I tell people all the time that May is the time to come to Israel if you want great weather. But, I love the spring here because of all the celebrations and holidays happening. We just celebrated Shavuot (Feast of Weeks aka Pentacost in the church calendar). It is always amazing to think that 2000 years ago, just down the road from where we live, the Holy Spirit fell on that small group of believers. I wonder sometimes what they would think about what the Body has become today. Callie, Aviel, and I had a great time celebrating this holiday together for the first time. It is incredible to experience these holidays for the first time as a father. They have taken on a whole new meaning for me. I can not believe how much the Lord has blessed us. Thank you all for your constant love and prayers that you pour out for us. They mean more to us than you will ever know. Please continue to pray concerning my work situation. I really need the Lord to speak clearly about which way He wants me to move. I am also going to help lead a prayer conference in Scotland beginning on June 8th. I will be helping the two leaders of the ministry I work with here (Intercessors for Israel) as well as speaking twice. The conference will go for a week so please pray that the Lord would cover Callie and Aviel as I travel. The Lord seems to have provided someone to stay here with them while I am gone, so please also pray that everything would come together.

Israel is in an interesting place right now. Syria and Hizbollah are declaring often (without citing examples) that they will not stand for any Israeli aggression. This is usually a signal that they're looking for an excuse to cause trouble. At the same time, Israel has been roundly pressured by the US into starting talks with the Palestinians. The media back and forth about what is being "promised" is already in full swing. Fatah has also already declared it's willingness to begin armed struggle should the talks fail. There is no way to know what all is happening, but we can know for sure that the pressure on PM Netanyahu is immense. Having already been treated so poorly by President Obama on his last visit to the States, there is sure to be all kinds of manipulation being carried out by the president now. Please pray that the Lord would guide and strengthen Netanyahu. There is no way this man can stand under the pressure unless we do.

I think it is true to say that we don't spend enough time thinking about the greatness of what the Lord has done for us. We get caught up in the rush of life and tend to think about it only once in a while. I know this has been my experience and this week the Lord took my breath away. I was sitting with Aviel and listening to him "talk" to me, when I suddenly started to weep. I looked at our only son and I suddenly was overwhelmed by thinking about the Lord giving Yeshua for us. I have great love for my son, but it pales in comparison to the love of the Lord. Just thinking about giving up my son for someone else caused me to tear up. But, I especially couldn't fathom giving up my only son for someone who was full of sin. That is exactly what the Lord did for us and in that moment, I was swimming in a pool of emotions just THINKING about having to give up Aviel for someone. Of course, this is not something I believe the Lord would ask of me. But just thinking about it, and the pain it would cause me, brought me to a new depth of understanding about what God did for us. Our Father has the ability to love more deeply than we ever could. This means that the pain He felt watching His only Son die for sinners is equally unknowable. It took becoming a father for me to start realizing this truth. We are SO busy and many times we have good reason to be. But, if we really sit down daily and think about the amazing things the Lord has done for us, these types of revelation would come more often. Our appreciation for Him would continue to grow with each day. This is a place where I believe we all need to be before our Father. Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Devin, Callie, and Aviel

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

How time flies when you have a baby! Aviel is growing so fast, it is hard to
believe that it has been almost two months since he was born. I used to mark
time In days, months, and years, but now I mark time by the new things my son
does. Callie and I have been blessed by such a wonderful outpouring of support
during this whole process. Thank you all so much for your prayers. They have
been wonderfully answered by the Lord and we covet your continued prayers on our
behalf. There are still so many unanswered questions that we need the Lord to
speak into. We are still working on settling both Callie and Aviel's status
with the government here. Please pray the Lord would open doors for us that no
man would be able to shut. Callie needs clarity on what needs to happen with
the rest of her Masters Degree. We know the Lord has a plan for it, but at this
point, it is hard to see what the Lord has in store. I also need some real
guidance about what the Lord wants me to do about work. The Lord has provided
for us abundantly, and I have no doubt He will continue to do so, but I really
need the Lord to speak to me about where I should go from here.

Israel continues to be a focal point for much of the world's anger. It
continues to astound me that so much of the world can be angry with such a small
country. We know that in Zechariah, it talks about all the nations coming
against Israel, but having lived here for 9 years now, it is still hard for me
to believe. Why would so much of the world be so upset at such a small country?
When I hear some of the commentators and world leaders speak about Israel, it
seems as though all the world's problems originate with this small country. The
only explanation for this much attention is that we are seeing the fulfillment
of Zechariah before our eyes. The nations haven't come up to wage war against
Israel yet, but we can definitely see how attitudes around the globe have turned
against her. Please pray that the Lord would defend this small nation He has
chosen for His Purpose. Pray that the Lord would reveal Himself through His Son
Yeshua to the sons and daughters of Israel. Finally, please continue to pray
that the Lord would lead Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and show him
how to navigate the dangerous political waters he is in.

There is a question that well meaning believers have not directly asked us, but
which was very clear from their conversation with us: Why would you start a
family in such a dangerous place like Israel? The simple spiritual answer is to
say that the Lord called us and we went. For many, they would outwardly accept
that answer, but at the same time be saying to themselves that we are crazy
people. The question has to be asked though, "Where do we find our security?"
This week, some things happened in the States that had everyone holding their
breath. When the stock market started to plunge nearly 1,000 points in minutes,
people around the country could see their future falling to pieces. Sure it
turned out to be a set of odd circumstances, but for that moment, a piece of our
personal security was taken away. How did it affect us as believers? How did
the would be bombing in Times Square affect us? We as believers in the God of
Israel must understand that our security can only be found in our Savior Yeshua.
The Lord is our Rock and our Fortress in a time of trouble. We sing great songs
about this truth, but we need to do more than that. We need to make it
something we live everyday. There will be many unbelievers in the coming months
and years who will need to find security because they haven't found it in the
world. Will they see a Body of Messiah that is looking for worldly security
just like them? Or will they run to Body of Messiah because they know we have
found our security in Yeshua? The Lord who has called us to life in Israel will
secure our family. Trying to raise a family anywhere else would put us at more
risk because it is not where the Lord has called us to live. There are many
things that unknown for us here and many times I tend to see my problems more
than my Rock, but can anyone honestly tell me they knew these things would
happen in the States this past week? Our security MUST be in Him and it is time
that we, His Body, makes it a reality. Blessings to you!

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie