As I watch events being played out across the world stage, particularly what appears to be the increasing marginalization of America and the daily ratcheting up of the outcry against Israel to make even more concessions to those who would destroy Her, I am left with an ever increasing sense that time is short. It is almost as if the "birth pains" are now increasing in intensity by the day.

As the world looks on with dismay and perplexity, we as Believers need to focus our attention more and more on the "author and finisher of our faith," the Word, and the need to take inventory of those things in our lives that may hinder us from "running the race that is set before us."

And as we focus our attention on those things that are above and not on the temporal, may our Yahweh instill in our hearts a sense of urgency to redeem the time, that we may serve Him boldly and that our lives may in every way glorify the King of Glory.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cease Fire?
Here we go again… yet another cease fire.  The cycle of one-sided adherence continues. The agreed upon cease fire went into affect nearly 10 hours ago. In the first four hours of the so called “cease fire”, more than 20 rockets were fired into Israel by Palestinian terrorists. So what happens now?  Do we return to the prewar normalcy of the one or two rockets a week? One must ask, “What now?” as the outcry of “disproportionate response” ceases and Hamas once again rebuilds their smuggling tunnels for the fresh supply of Grads and Fajr-5 rocket that will be fired once more at Israel. Is this the “state of normalcy everyone insisted on? Do the pleas for, ”maximum restraint” carry on  as the rocket  continue to be fired into Israel? The Home Front Command has issued instructions to keep schools in southern Israel shut on Thursday and stressed that it instructions to residents had not changed. The courageous men and women of the IDF staged and ready on the Gaza border remain and wait. We hope… we pray… we remain ready.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hope For Sderot Is On Facebook

Due to the large volume of reports and information coming out of Israel my friends at Hope for Sderot have opened a facebook page for update purposes. Please Visit them at; Hope For Sderot | Facebook and show your support.

Voices From Sderot

The following was written less than a week ago just prior to the current operation. It has been posted with permission by MC. Again, a unique and first hand view of the reality on the ground.

News from Front Line Sderot

It’s Sunday morning and I am just a bit on edge, I was woken up this morning to a chorus of “Sever Adom” echoing across the town. Our culture was about to be enhanced once more.

Last night there was a condition red but nothing happened, this morning the explosions were too close for comfort, the house shook, the windows rattled, the town went silent, just the natural noises of the wind.

The “life enhancing” qualities of Islam will be at work today while the emergency teams at magen Dovid adom get to work on the inevitable victims, trying to save life and limb, but nobody can save mind and demeanour.

As usual it is school time, the children are on their way; and vulnerable. The shelters are about a hundred yards apart, 12 seconds for a six year old 50 yards from the shelter.

Me, I am crippled, I cannot move fast, I stay put, if Yehovah wants to bring me home then so be it, but I would rather not be maimed any more; Abba, all I ask is make it fast.

This is a mind battle, we work for a small humanitarian aid organisation called “Hope for Sderot”, we mainly give out food to the now poor families in the area, our local cultural enhancement experts in Gaza have driven out many of the employers, and with them go the jobs and the wealth. The battle is to keep Sderot alive, the enemy wants to make life so uncomfortable that the town is abandoned and they have won. We work in the front line, doing what we can to make life in Sderot workable.

As we say goodbye to the Jobs, so we say hello to debt crisis management, no job means that the mortgage does not get paid, the loans cannot be serviced, the gas, electricity and water have to be juggled; get it wrong and the children get their food cold.

To qualify for aid, our clients have to do a means test, this is a heart rendering process, made worse by bank and government inflexibility. Many clients see what little money they get eaten up by compulsory repayments;, clothing and equipping the children for school becomes a matter of scrounging what you can. We keep supplies of nappies (diapers) and unused children’s underwear so that if we see a need, we can fill it.

But it all costs money, I flew in from Vienna a few months ago, girl’s knickers had been at half price in the local supermarket so I got a hundred euro’s worth, my bag was opened at the airport security and there, on top were all these packets of pants, the official gave me a very strange look!

Added to all the local cultural enhancement, The Joshua Fund (Christian) has just removed our $10,000 monthly grant after four years, we are too “Jewish” for them, they want our (Jewish) boss to go to church in Beersheva (40 Kms away) on Saturday instead of keeping (Jewish) Sabbath. We thanks the Joshua Fund for their past support, and we are slowly breaching the huge gap that their decision has left, but it IS difficult not to be angry at the pettiness of it all.

If I might put in a ‘beg’ here, you can contribute at our website all money goes to counter the Jihad being waged directly against us.

We have enough supplies to keep distributing food into January, but our ability to ease the financial burdens are now severely restricted, we have to rely on contributions from our supporters mainly in the USA with some local assistance. This Income has dropped off by about 30% this year (excluding the above).

But above all we must trust in Yehovah to provide, He has His ways of overcoming the stupidity of mankind and to support that which He deems to be GOOD.

In this we are very little different from our cousins over in Gaza about 5 Kms away, but we do not need to defend Yehovah with our swords, and we do not expect everybody to love our Abba as we do. We love Him by looking after His Creation, not by destroying it. Islam is a religion of the desert, and desert is land that has been destroyed. Mark Twain described this land as :-

"..... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent mournful expanse.... a desolation.... we never saw a human being on the whole route.... hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country." (The Innocents Abroad, p. 361-362)

Another ‘sever Adom’ with accompanying wiz-bangs as I sit here writing this.

It is now productive, and even given the limitations and bias of Mr Twain, It has come alive only in the last hundred or so years.

Israel IS the front line, and although it is not perfect, it is here as a bastion against Islamic encroachment. There is mounting resentment against Israel, from the those same sources of cultural enrichment as we are all used to, I would only ask that the world remembers this as one by one, the nations of the world fall victim to Islamification and start to vilify Jews and Israel. Holocaust denial has become rife, and yes, the holocaust has been overplayed in some quarters, but my relatives, left behind in Lithuania and Russia all those years ago, have yet to turn up and make contact, I can only assume that they all died before anyone could let us know what was happening, it is certainly unusual for a whole family of about 20 people to die in the course of a few years, and our family is by no means unique.

It is still eerily quiet outside, the schoolchildren are not singing and playing, they are behind the concrete and steel reinforced structures that pass for school buildings here. Four civilians are casualties so far reported, I am sure there are more to come.

Here we go again, condition red, we had about 4 seconds warning of that one.

I think it is time to put the kettle on and resort to Mr Folger (very hard to get here, we have to ask visitors to bring us supplies).

Please remember us when the chips are down.

"Operation Pillar of Defense" Update

Over 335 rockets have been fired at Israeli communities in the past few days. One rocket hit the central Israeli city of Rishon Lezion, home to over 200,000 people. The Iron Dome Active Missile Defense System has successfully intercepted over 184 rockets launched from Gaza.

IAF aircraft continue to target central terror activity sites in the southern Gaza Strip in order to harm the command and control posts of the Hamas terror organization.  .

Over 16,000 reservists have been mobilized, out of the 30,000 approved by the Israeli government.

The Paratrooper and Givati Infantry brigades have completed the final preparations for a potential ground operation. The forces are on standby, ready to enter should it be decided that a ground operation is necessary.

In preparation for a ground offensive the GOC has now issued road closures.

Road no.232
Road no. 10 
Road no. 4, in the direction of Yad Mordechai. (If coming from a northern direction, turning left is possible in the direction of Be'er Sheba only, there is no entry to the part of the road that runs along the Gaza Strip.)

The Israeli Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz spoke to his soldiers a few hours ago and said, "We are here tonight on the eve of a possible ground operation. This is not our first time in Gaza. We have been through a few days with very significant attacks on the scale of hundreds of daily targets, and have struck with great force and precision.”

A few hours ago, as Shabbat  fell over Israel a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed just outside Jerusalem, Israel's capital city.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Voices From Sderot

We are now into the wee morning hours in Israel and day two of Operation Pillar of Defense, and I can’t help but think about the significance of the name by which the current military actions are known. It brings images to mind of the children of Israel as they were fleeing Egypt and how Yahweh stood between them and the pursuing Egyptian armies as a pillar of fire.  Yahweh protected them, He shielded them, but He also used the pillar of fire to lead them. It guided them when they were to move forward and instructed them when to halt. May Yahweh continue to fill the armies of Israel with courage, strength, and wisdom beyond their years.

The IDF continues to target launching sites as they attempt to impair the rocket launching capabilities of terror organizations in the Gaza Strip and hamper their weapon build up capability. The past 24 hours has seen over 300 rockets fall throughout Israel. Three Israeli were killed by a direct hit on their home in Kiryat Malakhi.

For the first time since the Gulf War in the 1990’s, sirens were heard in Tel Aviv today. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the three rockets fired on Tel Aviv. Three Fajr-5 rockets landed just 15 km south of Tel Aviv. The IDF confirms that all Palestinian terror groups are participating in the rocket fire with Hamas trying to take the lead.

The following is posted here with permission from the author. I thought my readers might find the first hand experiences of those living in the midst of all this interesting.  Real people sharing their unique take on what is happening there. These are the “Voices of Sderot “.

The following was written prior to the start of Operation Pillar of Defense and it is MC’s observations of the effects of tens of thousands of rockets falling on the community of Sderot for the past decade.
This article arose from an email to Her Ladyship concerning the BBC reporting of an event in Gaza and the implication that the Israeli arms blockade was causing starvation in the strip :-

Her ladyship pointed out that my asides were a story in themselves and invited me to indulge in some beeb bashing:

I live in Sderot a small city in Israel about 3 miles from Gaza, there, my wife and I are volunteers at a charity that supplies supplemental food to poor and unemployed families in the city and surrounding area.

We hand out the food in supermarket bags which have to be packed the day before.   Somehow it is usually when doing these sessions that one hears “Sever Adom” on the loudspeaker system that covers the whole city.  The internal alarm also triggers, and the blood pressure peaks.   At this point we officially have 15 seconds to get under cover, often however, it is more like 4 seconds.

S rushes to the lavatory at this point and locks herself in, I her husband, goes outside to see if there is anything to see.   The rest of us stay out and wait for the bang.   There is not enough time to get to a shelter (all the bus stops are bomb shelters) and being caught out in the open is not healthy.

Y knows this, he is permanently crippled from the one that exploded about a yard away from him, there was a brick wall in between and he still carries some of it around with him, too deeply embedded to be removed safely.

Sderot was built in the 50’s when Jews had to flee from North Africa in the aftermath of the 1948 war.   It started as a tent city on the periphery of the Negev desert, later, rows of prefab housing were erected, they can still be seen.

S. the lady of the loo, was from North Africa, as a 3 year old she was doused in petrol and set alight.   She survived, but grew up carrying the scars.  

Bible scholars will remember that the Amalekites attacked the tail end of the Israelite column as they were leaving Egypt.   In this  rear part were the families, the old and the infirm.   These are the soft targets, and there is little risk but great terror potential in attacking babies.   Several hundred years later King Saul was commanded to wipe out the Amalekites, lock, stock etc.    But the barrels proved too tempting and he failed so the problem of Amalekite hatred of the children of Israel continues to this day.

As the first missiles fell on Sderot some dozen or so years ago, those who could afford it moved out, along with the factories that provided the jobs.    Notable exceptions being Nestle’s, Amdocs and the Israeli food company Osem.   With the resulting unemployment came poverty and exploitation.

E one of the volunteers is a Sabra, a native born Israeli, she speaks Hebrew, English and French and works for a cleaning company at minimum wage.   They require her to work 20 hours a week, but only pay her for 12.   If she works more than 12 hours she loses her welfare payment, but jobs are so scarce that that E has to do the 20 hours.

G is in debt to the bank, his unemployment cheque is also paid into the bank (he has no say in this), he sees very little of this money, we feed him and his children.

K was badly crippled by a qassam  missile, he cannot now do any physical work, his wife left him soon after the injury happened taking his two daughters with her.   The state pays most of his benefit as child support, K is left to live on a pittance.   He needed an operation a few weeks ago, to remove shrapnel , the hospital would not operate until someone put up a bond in case the insurance would not pay (it was a war injury).  We were able to find the money for that.

The rain of missiles is from our peace loving ‘cousins’ in Gaza, each warhead is lovingly filled with nails and rat poison (promotes bleeding)  and are cynically aimed at our children when they are going to school or coming back.

Gaza has some of the finest beaches in the Mediterranean an area famous for its beaches.   It could be a major tourist destination, but no, the spirit of the Amalekite is with us, killing and maiming Jews is more important.

The BBC article in question uses  a seventies lefty trick that I recognise from my student union days, 

“Some 80% of families in the Palestinian territory are said to receive some sort of food aid from UN agencies and other international organizations.  

Although there have been some previous incidents of Gazans setting fire to themselves because of hardship, this is thought to be the first fatality.

The UN has been highly critical of the blockade on Gaza which Israel and Egypt tightened when Islamist group Hamas seized power in 2007, the BBC's Jon Donnison reports.”

You will note the non sequitur insertion of the UN sentence, this is designed to link in our minds the otherwise unconnected ideas of hunger, unemployment and blockade.   The BBC is telling us a lie whilst telling us the truth. 
I would disagree with the beeb, Hamas and Islamic Fundamentalism are the prime cause of the dire problems in Gaza, and also it’s painful consequences for the innocent people of Sderot who just want to get on with life.    But the BBC obviously do not care for truth, they are, after all, a propaganda organisation, paid for by the people of the UK, but representing whom, we don’t know, maybe those that would want to rule for a thousand years.  

"Operation Pillar of Defense" Update

Nearly 18 hours have passed since the initial actions of the IDF in response to the recent days of unrelenting rocket attacks that have reigned down terror on Israeli civilians living in the southern communities.   

 A pinpoint air strike killed Ahmed Jabri, the head of Hamas' military wing, in the Gaza Strip. Jabri was a senior Hamas operative who served in the upper echelon of the Hamas' command and was directly responsible for executing terror attacks against the State of Israel in the past number of years.

The IDF has targeted a significant number of long range rockets sites and storehouses including the underground sites that housed the Iranian Fajr-5 rocket. The Fajr-5 has a range of about 75 km and is most likely what was fired at the Dimona nuclear reactor on Wednesday. These rockets have the capability of hitting Tel Aviv and threatening nearly 3.5 million people. The aim of targeting these sites is to impair the rocket launching capability of the terror organizations in the Gaza strip and damage their further build up.

IDF infantry brigades have been deployed to the Gaza border ahead of a possible ground offensive. Schools and universities with 40 km are closed and Gaza border communities within 7 km are in lock down with residents ordered to remain in their homes. The IDF has dispersed leaflets over several locations in the Gaza Strip. These leaflets warn the residents of the Gaza Strip to stay away from Hamas and other terror organizations' operatives and facilities that pose a risk to their safety.

Earlier today as I scanned the western media sites I was not surprised by the fact that little coverage was found or that what was available focused mainly on the effects of the aerial strikes on the residents of Gaza. There had been very little written in regards to the days of relentless rocket fire into Israel.

As I press into Yahweh my heavenly Father and draw strength and encouragement from His Word I find peace and comfort in the knowledge that HE REIGNS! I was reminded this week of a 2500 year old letter written by Jeremiah the prophet to the children of Israel. The Jewish exiles were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar and forced to live in Babylon. A false prophet named Hananiah came to them and told them that their time of exile would only last two years. And so Jeremiah wrote a letter to the exiles.

I am sure that you have heard a part of that letter recited many times. I wear a bracelet with the words from Jeremiah 29:11 on it.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares Yahweh, "plans
to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

For me it is a constant reminder that whatever happens, good or bad, it is all filtered through a loving Father. It is one of the most commonly quoted passages in the entire Bible. Unfortunately, this passage is mostly taken out of context and delivered as a "feel good" word that everything is going to be O.K. We often miss the point that the plan that Jeremiah's letter was referring to was exile. The Father's plan for His children was exile.

“This is what the Lord says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you "

Exile was the plan…

"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart"  was the goal.

As I think of the events of the past eighteen hours in Israel and that the land and people I love are now at war, I realize that all that Yahweh does in our lives; all that He allows is to one single purpose; to restore us to Himself.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

11/14/12 "Operation Pillar of Defense" Day One

Israel has launched "Operation Pillar of Defense". I awoke this morning to the first reports from Israel indicating that it was at war. Because I am currently in the States, I called my contacts back home in Sderot, Israel to confirm what I was beginning to see from the ME news sites. Apparently, after weeks of increase rockets attacks aimed at innocent civilians who live in the southern districts, and a failed cease-fire, Israel has launched an air offensive.

Over and over again Israel has seen an escalation in rocket fire until the militants in Gaza need to restock or they believed that Israel's response was about to be ratched up. They would then attempt to negotiate a cease fire. Time and time again the rockets would continue during and after the cease fire was agreed upon. This past week while the lastest rounds of negotiations were being discussed, the terrorists in Gaza were smuggling more Grad rockets through the tunnels on the Sinai border. 

Approximately 24 hours ago, and after the cease fire was agreed to, the terrorist fired five of those Grads at Be'er Sheva. That action led to Operation Pillar of Defense.

Prior to the round of air strikes that killed Jabari a senior Hamas operative who served in the upper echelon of the Hamas' command, citizens were given prior warning. IDF warnings and instructions were issued telling citizens that they should stock up on food, water, candles ect. and to remain in or near their safe rooms. Shortly after that the Israeli miltary reserves were called to active duty. The first of the air strikes began shortly after that. The PA has stated that Israel's actions are considered a "declaration of war". 

I will continue to be in contact with those who are there on the ground and will be posting updates daily to the blog. Please join me and all those who stand with Israel in prayer. May Yahweh's shalom cover His people Israel.