Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

Two big birthdays were celebrated this week! Israel turned 64 on Thursday and I (Devin) turned 31 today (4/28). When I look at these two events, I am just amazed at how faithful the Lord is. Israel should not have survived the first week of her existence as far as the world is concerned. Yet, here we are 64 years later. We can see that despite everything that happens, the Lord has been faithful to His Word that says He will plant the Jewish people back here with all of His heart and all His soul (Jer. 32:41). Just as an aside, this passage in Jeremiah is the only place in all of scripture that the Lord says He will do something with all His heart and all His soul. Pretty amazing! I also see the Lord's wonderful faithfulness through my own birthday. Each year brings new challenges, but I can look back and see that the Lord has been with us through it all. We still covet your prayers as I run full into my new job and while Callie is finishing her Master's Thesis. Callie is in the final stretch now and we look forward to when she will complete this work the Lord has given her to do.

Israel is still facing a looming threat from the country of Iran. There are nuclear "talks" going on right now which are reported to be very positive. The only problem with this is that talks have been reported as positive before. Every round of talks has resulted a wonderful stalling period in which Iran could continue to do what they wanted unchecked. Israel's window of time is closing fast before Iran has nuclear capability. Please pray that the Lord would act sovereignly on behalf of this nation. Nothing would be better than seeing an act of God swallow up these nuclear facilities. Please pray as well for the leaders of Israel. They are given the enormous task of safeguarding this people against all those who would seek their destruction. They need wisdom to know what to do and when it needs to be done.

As a father, I am continually struck by the huge responsibility it is to "raise a child in the way he should go". Proverbs says that if we do this, the child will not depart from good direction he is given. I don't know about any of the rest of you parents, but this starts to worry me if I think about it too much. The thoughts run through my head, "Well, what if I don't handle a situation correctly and it affects him for the rest of his life!?" These are those little freak out moments that I think everyone has from time to time. I take my relationship to my son very seriously and I try to weigh all the decisions I make concerning how to raise him. Callie and I are united in this and we have had a lot of conversations about it. I paused when I started to think about this in relationship to how our Father in Heaven considers our welfare. I as an imperfect man, take very seriously the raising of my son and all the decisions that we make for him. How much more is the Lord mindful of us and care for every single aspect of our lives? He has a plan for us that is so unique and so intricate that it would astound us if we could behold it all. We struggle so much sometimes against the Lord that it is amazing that He just doesn't give up on us. Being a father myself now, I can get a glimpse of this love. I would never give up on Aviel, no matter what he does. The Lord never gives up on us and He promises that He never will. We are His children ad He is mindful of every detail in our lives. It is about time that we all stop the struggle against the Lord and what He wants for us. Because in the end, what ever we want for ourselves, could never come close to the magnificence that He wants for our lives. Seek first His kingdom, and all else will be added to you. Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Devin, Callie, and Aviel

Abba and Aviel under the Israeli flag in Shiloh.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

This Year in Jerusalem!

At only two years old, Aviel has now celebrated three Passover feasts!

His first one at the home of friends in a settlement called Kedar. He was only 18 days old.

The second one was in Ohio with our family.

During the feast, it is common to say, "Next year in Jerusalem!" We were glad to be home, to be able to say, "This year in Jerusalem!"

This year we celebrated Pessach, as we say in Hebrew, with a dear friend in the Jerusalem neighborhood, Ramat Beit HaKarem . Its believed that this neighborhood is the historic location where the Levites lived. Its a beautiful place and we always enjoy our visits.

Here's Ima and Aviel on our host's beautiful merepeset, or balcony. She has quite the green thumb.

Our little guy loved running out there.

...and jumping into his Abba's arms.

This was the lovely table setting.

Here is the Seder Plate. On the plate you will find bitter herbs, specifically horse radish to symbolize the bitterness of slavery; the lamb shank bone, to represent the lambs that were slain; an egg, remembering the festival sacrifice in the temple; karpas, or green vegetable symbolizing the hyssop that was used to cover the door post in blood; the bowl of salt water which represents the tears of Jewish people while enslaved; and haroset, a combination of apples dates and nuts that symbolizes the mortar used for bricks.

If you are new to the Passover Seder, we celebrate by reading through the haggada, or the telling of the Exodus from Egypt. Each one of the elements from the Seder plate is eaten as part of the story. The haggada also includes four cups of wine. Each cup has a meaning from Exodus 6:6-8

1. I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians
2. I will deliver you from their bondage.
3. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.
4. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God.

And because I like to tie the Holy Days into the life of Yeshua, its important to note that in the New Testament, the Last Supper was a Passover Seder meal.

While they were eating, Yeshua took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. Matt 26:26-27 NASB (italics mine)

The bread that was broken was the Matzo eaten during the meal, known as the afikoman, and the wine that He shared was the third cup of redemption. He did not drink the fourth cup because we will share that one with him at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb!

The symbolism of the Seder is so rich with meaning, both historically and prophetically. We are so thankful for Yeshua, the lamb who was slain so that death might passover us!

Related Posts:
Holy Days

Monday, April 9, 2012

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

Passover is always a wonderful time of the year to be in Israel. Jerusalem nearly doubles in size as people come to celebrate the feast here. It has been great to see the country step away from the difficulties that are always present here, and take some time to what God has done for us as a people. It is incredibly important to remember all the Lord has done for us, because the reality we face in the region needs some divine intervention. Please take some time during this week to ask the Lord to intervene on behalf of this small nation again. The UN "ceasefire" in Syria came to to nothing and the violence is continuing with no signs of stopping. Egypt is going through a reorganization in their government that could see a man become president who would desire to nullify Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. Iran is continuing to play a smart game of stalling with the West that has allowed them to continue there push towards nuclear weapons. Israel needs the Lord desperately! Please pray that the Lord would give wisdom to our leaders who are facing this impossible situation. The Lord is faithful to His Word and to His people, so please pray that the Lord of Hosts would defend this small nation.

The last time we wrote, I mentioned that there was a job possibility I was praying about taking. Thank you so much for your prayers concerning this! Last week, I accepted a new managerial position with the Anglican School here in Jerusalem. We have been praying for months, asking the Lord to open a new door for provision for us here, This job offer felt like it fell out of the sky for us and we know the Lord's hand was in it. The position will give us more provision, but the job doesn't start in full until September. Please pray that the Lord would meet all of our needs from now until then, because things will be pretty tight. Callie continues to push towards the finish line in her thesis. Please pray for her as well to have all the strength and focus she needs to complete this task before her.

Recently, I was doing a bible study here on Psalm 110. I had read the verse before, and I knew that Yeshua quoted it, but I really didn't know how significant it was. It is the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament, because the understanding that it spoke about the Messiah was very strong in Yeshua's time. It declares the position of the Messiah is to be at the right hand of the Lord. The position of the Messiah at the Lord's right hand is significant to us, because it is a place of honor, strength, and intercession. Yeshua sits on the right hand of the Father so that He can intercede for us! I don't know about you, but it gives me great encouragement to know that someone is petitioning the Lord on my behalf. So many times, I feel discouraged and beat down by the things that are happening in my life. It is sometimes really difficult to seek the Lord at all when I feel discouraged. It is good to know that Yeshua doesn't wait until I feel strong to intercede for me. He is there interceding for us through our hilltops and valleys simply because we are children of the kingdom. We often talk about the finished work of Yeshua on the cross around this time of year. Yes, He finished all that the Lord asked Him to do on this earth, but thank God it did not mean He finished working all together! He is at the right hand of the Father right now interceding for all of us. Blessings to you all.

In Yeshua,

Devin, Callie, and Aviel