Recent Anti-Semitis

Recently, there have been several acts of anti-semitism reported throughout Europe, New Zealand, and the United States.  These include murder, vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and businesses and synagogues, boycotts, and bullying of students by fellow students AND teachers!

Because of the increase of these acts, the Jewish population is scared and beginning to see that Israel is the only safe place for them to live.  As a result, Israel is preparing for an influx of new immigrants. Since 1948, the percentage of the world’s Jewish population living in Israel has grown from about 5% to 55%.  G-d is returning the Jewish people to their homeland!  Let us pray for the Jewish people to return to the Land and that Israel will be prepared to handle the increase in population.

The situation in the world is changing rapidly.  We need to be prayerful and watchful.  We must always make sure that we are in the center of G-d’s will.  That is when we will know how to behave, how to pray, how to help each other, how to witness and how to OBEY the L-rd.

Recently Baruch was teaching in the Netherlands and he made a very important point:

“G-d’s plans will not be compromised by our free will.  He will raise up someone else if you are disobedient.”  

There are many people who believe that for G-d to be Sovereign that He must cause every action. This is false!  G-d does not cause someone to sin, to murder, to disobey.  Man was created with free will.  G-d’s plans and purposes WILL be accomplished, with or without your obedience.

Pray that you will be obedient to be used to further the plans of G-d.

Advertisements in the Netherlands

Baruch and I just returned from a short trip to the Netherlands, where he taught in three different towns and cities.  The people there were very warm and friendly and eager to hear teaching from the Word.  We heard from them that overall, the body of believers in the Netherlands, and throughout Europe, is small.  These people who came to hear Baruch were wanting to hear strong teaching and they asked good questions.

What we heard from them is that there is a huge need there for solid teaching and we are so glad we had the opportunity to be with them.

One family also arranged and went with us to the Corrie Ten Boom house.  I’m sure many of you have heard of her.  She and her family helped hide, in their home and other homes, approximately 800 Jewish people during the Holocaust.  They were eventually betrayed and sent to concentration camps themselves.

One thing which was very moving to me was the room which we were led into first.  This was a sitting/living room in the home, which was behind and above the family’s watchmaking shop.  Our guide, Aty, told us that people met there every day for 100 YEARS to pray for the peace of Jerusalem!  It was very inspirational to be in that same room.

One final thought.  The man sitting next to us on the plane was religious.  When we got off the plane, he took his kippah off and put it away, saying that he was told to take it off when he got to the Netherlands.

Our guide from the Ten Boom home said, “They say, ‘Never again’, but I’m not so sure.”  We must pray for the Jewish people of Europe to wake up and return to Israel and we must pray for fellow believers to have strength in the difficult times to come.

Tu B’Shevat — Rosh HaShanah L’ilanot — New Year for Trees

Wednesday, February 4, 2015, is the Jewish Holiday, Tu B’Shevat.  “Tu” is not a Hebrew word, rather it is the number 15.  Each Hebrew letter represents a number.  “Tet” is the number 9 and “vav” is the number 6.  “Shevat” is one of the Hebrew (Biblical) months.

This holiday is important for calculating the age of trees for tithing.  In Leviticus 19:23-25, we find that the fruit from trees may not be eaten during the first three years.  The fourth year, the fruit is for HaShem.  Beginning with the fifth year, everyone may eat of the fruit.

The tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B’Shevat, so even if the tree were planted 2 days before the 15th of Shevat, it would be one year old on Tu B’Shevat.

Today the holiday is marked by eating fruit, particularly those mentioned in the Torah and are associated with Israel:  grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.  It is also considered Arbor Day for Israel and it is traditional to plant trees.  The Jewish National Fund (JNF) widely promotes this.

Perhaps we can focus on the provision of G-d for us, both physically (providing the fruit of the vine and trees) as well as Spiritual (providing the sacrifice of Yeshua on the tree to provide the way of salvation).