In my latest conversation with brother Talal, we discussed the week or relative quiet experienced due to the temporary pause in the war between the Hamas terrorists and the Israeli Defense Force. During this time, Hamas required an exchange of three Palestinians for every hostage released. The hostages released were primarily women, elderly, and children. The prisoners also were women and children, although the female Palestinians released were by no means innocent, having been guilty of serious crimes including the stabbing of Jews. The “children” were young men in their late teens who had also been guilty of serious crimes including attempted murder, etc.
One of the difficult things slowly being made public now is some details of the inhuman treatment most of the hostages received, no matter how young or old they were. It is absolutely despicable and there is much information being withheld due to family members still being held by the terrorists! It has also been revealed that the hostages were made to take the drug Clonex (Clonazepam) before being released in order to give the impression they were in good spirits and happy — even waving at their captors at the time of their release. It was an example of the way Hamas has always used propaganda as a means of deception. We have seen an abundance of this in the past weeks since October the 7th.
As most everyone knows by now, Hamas broke the temporary truce within a few days and the IDF is more determined than ever to eradicate Hamas entirely. One additional problem that the IDF is having to deal with is embedded terror groups within the West Bank and other Arab population areas. Israel, especially after the genocide experienced on October the 7th, has had enough of the attacks on their citizenry. These attacks have come via indiscriminate stabbings, shootings, explosive devices, groups of Jewish civilians or tourists being rammed by vehicles driven by Palestinians at bus stops or other public places, etc.
On account of today’s skyrocketing hatred of Jews around the world, ever larger numbers of Jewish people are leaving their home countries for Israel, in spite of the ongoing war between Israel and its enemies. Jewish people are beginning to feel they have a greater chance of survival in Israel even while it is embroiled in war than in foreign lands that are turning against them — just because they are Jews. This gives the Israeli government even more incentive to root out terrorist factions within its borders.
As the true remnant of believers today look at the increasing volatility between Israel and its enemies, a conundrum of sorts is becoming a source of division within the Body of Christ. One side is critical of Israel for responding in such a violent manner, which of course will always cause collateral damage, including innocents losing their lives. The feeling is that war will not solve anything. The feeling is a bit like the American hit song in 1967 by the Young Bloods, which included the lyrics: “Come on people now; Smile on your brother: Everybody get together; Try to love one another right now.” If it were just that easy! Israel has tried, to no avail, for the last 75 years! On the other hand, there are those who understand that Israel must do what it is doing for its own survival. Presently there are 22 Arab nations and 57 nations with a Muslim majority. There is only one Jewish State! The Old Testament is full of stories where Israel had to go out and fight with their swords.
The subject is a difficult — especially since a high percentage of Christian Churches, worldwide, including the Roman Catholic Church, see no special spiritual significance for the nation of Israel today, no matter what its tribulations or persecutions — being of the opinion that the Jews have been permanently rejected by God and has replaced Israel’s original place in God’s plans with the Church. This is called “Replacement Theology” and is a fallacy sternly rebuked by many Scriptures, not the least of what the inspiration of the Holy Spirit pointed out through the Apostle Paul in Romans 9-11.
That being said, however, it is the Biblical charge to the followers of Jesus to preach the Gospel to the entire world — even to those who might persecute and even murder the very ones who are sharing the Good News of God’s love for them. The Great Commission stands until the day that the Lord calls us HOME. This, however, is not the charge of national governments. One of the most important responsibilities of any government is to protect its citizens from all enemies, foreign or domestic. Israel today is dealing with both, and I believe prophetic Scriptures make it abundantly clear that the wars God’s chosen people are facing here at the end of the age have just begun. It will get worse…much worse. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! In doing so, you are praying for the soon return of the Prince of Peace. That is the only way real peace can ever come to this world!
This brings me to today’s House of Blessing update.
Brother Omar related a story involving a man named Jamaal. Omar and Jamaal had been like brothers but Jamaal in the past had rejected the Good News of the Gospel that Omar had tried to share with him on several occasions. After some years, Jamaal looked Omar up and asked him to share the story of Jesus with him again. As Omar shared and as Jamaal listened, God’s Spirit began to fill Jamaal with a genuine desire to be free from his old life and accept Jesus as his Savior and Lord. Omar then prayed for him again, this time by laying hands on his head. As he did, the Holy Spirit freed Jamaal of multiple demon spirits which visibly manifested themselves as they vacated Jamaal’s body! Note: For readers that might question the validity of demonic entities possessing or oppressing human beings, be assured that what is described in the Scriptures as happening during the ministries of Jesus and the apostles, is just as real today as it was then, although more open and visible in third world nations. After having accepted Jesus and being set free of the demonic influences that had ruled Jamaal’s life, it was time to baptize him. The brothers then dug a casket sized hole in the ground, poured water in it, and baptized him before many witnesses. Praise God for another human being made in the image of God who has been freed and whose name is now written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
The story of Jamaal then continued in a special way after his baptism. Brother Talal told me that Jamaal was a jeweler and as Jamaal told the story, he had had a customer that had bought a significant amount of gold but then failed to pay his debt. By now, the debt had been owed for so long that Jamaal had given up hope that he would ever be repaid. As unbelievable as it may sound, the customer who owed the great debt looked Jamaal up in the last few days and paid every bit of his debt. Jamaal was so overjoyed with the unexpected blessing and also so grateful to have found Jesus as his Savior, that he donated $10,000 to the House of Blessing to help meet the great needs of this hour! Can anyone doubt that our Abba Father had this all perfectly timed?!
It is amazing what God has done over the years. As many pages of testimonies as I have sitting in six notebooks in my office from the past 11 ½ years of writing these updates, I am sure that the stories that have been shared over the years are a very small percentage of what God has done through the ministry of HOB. An example of this is something Talal shared with me that I had never heard. Years ago, when Pastor Rashid went over the border from Israel into Jordan, he was contacted by an Amish man from Kentucky named Daniel. Apparently, Daniel and his 11 sons traveled to the Middle East for a time — not only to help financially, but to also help with the ministry that had been started in Jordan. This is just one of those untold stories! My point is this: God has taken the much seed planted and has brought about an abundant harvest of souls! And, the work goes on as I write this update…
I shared in the previous update that HOB is going from tent to tent sharing the true Christmas story as they have done every year. It is amazing how, among the people they minister to — who are predominantly Muslim, they are so open to the Christmas story! It seems, almost everyone is anxious to hear the real story! The women of HOB’s Widow Sisterhood share with many women and even more children who are quite content to sit on the floor for however long it takes, and listen to the story. It is amazing! Incidentally, December is known as the month of Jesus in the refugee camps!
Talal mentioned to me that many of the HOB community is still grieving over the death of Pastor Rashid — especially the widows. Pastor Rashid was very caring with these brave women. They had hoped P. Rashid would be able to continue until the Lord calls us all home, but that was not God’s plan. So, they have learned to grieve as for one they are sure to see again real soon, and continue the work of the harvest.
Thank you to all who have prayed so fervently for the House of Blessing and many who have generously shared financial gifts. You all know who you are. Again, thank you from all of the House of Blessing. It is a special blessing at the Christmas season when HOB tries to do what they can to make Christmas and the biblical story of Christmas real to those they are sharing the story with. Our God loves to bless! Whether large or small, all gifts are multiplied by our Heavenly Father to meet the needs at hand!
In closing, I have one last item. I found out from brother Talal that there are apparently more believers in Gaza than I was aware of. I mentioned in a previous update that author Joel Rosenberg, the founder of the Joshua Fund estimated that there were about 1,000 believers scattered throughout Gaza, most in hiding at this point. Talal, through HOB contacts, told me that they estimate there are between 2,000-3,000 believers belonging to the HOB community of believers in Gaza. Many are trying to get out, but there are others who insist on staying in the enclave for the sake of evangelism. HOB has a way to get help to them in spite of the strict border policies and is going to do what they can to send aid to them. This is in addition to what HOB is presently doing across the Mideast. It seems that the ministry begun in Gaza by Pastor Rashid some years before I connected with him has continued to bear fruit! Praise God!
Thank you again for your prayers and support. If anyone has questions as to how to help, please feel free to contact me at my email address: [email protected]..
Forever in His Service,