In this Issue: Are they related? Judgement & Catastrophe | Viewing Katrina from Israel | Oxana: A Russian Immigrant Finds a Home | Arieh comes of age

Are they related? Judgement & Catastrophe - When the Earth Experiences Your Judgments (Isa. 26:9-11)

  Monthly Report: October 2005 Click for PDF

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By Avner Boskey

As we move closer to the return of Israel’s Messiah, our planet is beginning to show signs of stress. (Isaiah 25) Yeshua prophesied that local and global wars, earthquakes and roaring of the waves would be another sign indicating His soon return. (Matthew 25:6-8; Luke 24:25-28) The recent events in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast have shaken everyone whose heart is still able to feel pain. (See Matthew 24:12)

What is the role of the prophetic in such heart-breaking circumstances? When apocalyptic scenarios become last night’s television news, how can a word from the God of Jacob equip, encourage and edify the Body of Messiah? Does God have anything to do with catastrophes that shake the earth? To be more direct, does God have something to say about the catastrophes that are now shaking the earth, and which will soon increase in intensity and severity? At the heart of the matter is the question: does God want to communicate and is He really communicating what He is doing on the earth today to men and women touched by the spirit of prophecy? Why catastrophic judgments?

God does not wish “for anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9) Yet natural catastrophes cause people to perish. Why then does God allow or even catalyze such judgments?

When God shines His light on darkness, a power encounter erupts between two kingdoms. The end result is clear: Light triumphs over darkness. “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overwhelm it.” (John 1:5) Note that John is using “battle terminology,” words of warfare. When darkness in a society takes hold and rises to a certain level, God has often brought the “severe mercy” of natural catastrophes or other judgments to bear. His judgments are a response to evil. They are catalyzed by evil. His judgments also expose evil and destroy evil. The clearest example of such a judgment on an international scale is Noah, who alone escaped the Flood, along with his immediate family.

Yet it is painfully true that innocent bystanders are sometimes caught in the crossfire when such a “battle royal” breaks out. When God judged the nation of Judah, people like Jeremiah and Daniel suffered persecution, imprisonment and exile. Army people use the impersonal military term “collateral damage” in such cases. The sad truth is that when a nation is judged, innocent people often suffer.

Part of the prophetical calling of all believers is “to let our light shine,” to expose darkness by shining what light we have on localized sources of darkness. Of course, that light is none other than Yeshua, the Light of the World who dwells within us. “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them…All things become visible when they are exposed by the light….” (Ephesians 5:11,13)

One judgment, two different responses

Not everyone wants to have “that light” shining on him. One of the reasons Ahab, King of Israel, did not want to inquire of the Lord through the prophet Micaiah ben Imlah was because the prophet “does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” (Kings 22:8) Ahab tried to explain away what the prophet was saying by turning the tables on him suggesting that Micaiah had both a bad attitude and a judgmental spirit. Rather than Ahab humbly accepting that his own sins had brought judgment down, Ahab tried to charge the prophet with presumption, and accused him of not speaking from God but rather from malice. The rest of the chapter plays out the sad ending of this dramatic event.

Actually, the Scriptures do not blush when describing the judgments of God. The Bible also notes that not everyone will learn what God wants to communicate through His judgments. Over 2,700 years ago the prophet Isaiah explained, “When the earth experiences Your judgments, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9b) Natural catastrophes are meant to draw men’s attention to consider what is on God’s mind and heart. Some men and women hear His voice roaring “out of the storm” and above its din: Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm and said, ‘Now gird up your loins like a man. I will ask you and you will instruct Me. Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified? Or do you have an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like His?” (Job 40:6-9)

Isaiah continues this message in the next verse, adding that the wicked just don’t get it. They do not see the hand of God in His judgments. Though the power and kingliness of the God of Israel is revealed through natural disasters, the wicked man refuses both to recognize God’s hand of judgment and to turn toward the Light. “Though the wicked is shown favor, he does not learn righteousness. He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness and does not perceive the majesty of the Lord.” (Isaiah 26:10)

History reveals that this pattern is part of God’s dealings with mankind. The Lord reveals His mighty arm and His holy nature through catastrophic judgments. This offends the minds of mankind and reveals the thoughts of everyone’s hearts. In the end most people don’t understand what God is doing. But those who do understand are described as men and women who are learning God’s lessons about righteousness.

It is worth meditating on these matters in the light of John 16:8, where Yeshua describes the ministry of the Holy Spirit: “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sins and righteousness and judgment.” But repentance is the key which is “knockin’ on heaven’s door” and it will open up the floodgates of rescue and safety.

Faulty Towers and Unrepentant Hearts

Throughout the ages Jewish prophets echoed certain themes, including the guilt of Israel and the world, and the need of personal repentance. When Messiah Yeshua taught in Jerusalem, He also reiterated the same point. “Do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:4-5)

Yeshua was not saying that no one was allowed to know why the tower fell. Nor was He saying that the 18 men killed in its collapse were guiltless. He Himself ended His teaching with a prophetic and time-sensitive warning of soon-coming judgment to the entire Jewish nation. (Luke 13:6-9)

Yeshua stated that there was plenty of guilt to go around the 18 were guilty, but so were the majority of Jerusalem’s inhabitants. Yeshua linked the tower’s casualties with judgment on sin. And He did not consider such a link simplistic or primitive, for He was speaking in the name of His omniscient Father, the God of glory whose voice thunders over the many waters. (Psalm 29:3-4) The teaching was an exhortation to His listeners not to think that they were more righteous than those being judged. As Paul said, “For all have sinned…” (Romans 3:23)

What Yeshua wanted His hearers to understand is that, even though catastrophic events are due to sin, they are meant to be a tool in God’s hands to shock all of us into repentance. If we do not recognize that God’s hand is somehow in the catastrophic event, we will not humble our hearts and soften our spirits before the God of Israel. We will not learn what He wants us to learn. We will not move into repentance. We will move against the prophetic spirit of God.

Judgment and the King

The connection between sin and judgment is part of a biblical worldview. The awareness that God will punish sins even in the “here and now” is supposed to motivate us to bow low before His footstool in the fear of God. (See Isaiah 11:1-5) But the Bible also teaches us that it is not always the fault of the individual who is directly in the crosshairs when God’s judgments roll like thunder across a nation. Sometimes God brings judgment on a people due to the sins of their leadership.

One such example is found in II Samuel 24 and I Chronicles 21. God was angry with Israel for some sins which are not directly described in context. He allowed Satan to influence David into taking a census. Even a rough and tumble soldier like Joab discerned that David’s census was contrary to God’s own heart. Perhaps this is connected to Deuteronomy 17:16-20 where the Davidic king is called to base his “State Department” policy on strict obedience to the covenants and not to lean on his own wisdom and power. Or perhaps it ties in with Deuteronomy 8:10-20, wherein Israel is warned against “trusting in chariots” depending on its own strength to save it, instead of following the promises and heeding the warnings of God’s covenants.

Since the Lord had given David much, He would now hold him responsible for much. God’s judgment on David would be most severe. (See Romans 2;4-11; Amos 3:2; Isaiah 40:2) Through the words of the prophet Gad, God gave David three choices of judgment three years of famine, three months of military invasion, or three days of plague. David chose the shortest possible judgment, declaring that it is better to fall directly into God’s hand of judgment than into that of Israel’s surrounding neighbors!

The prophesied plague sent from the Lord fell on Israel, and 70,000 men died within only a few days. This judgment was accepted by David as coming from the hand of the Lord. He humbled his heart. He did not reject the prophetic word. And he wept.

“Then David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heavens, with his drawn sword in his hand, stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, covered with sackcloth, fell on their faces. David said to God, ‘Is it not I who commanded to count the people? Indeed, I am the one who has sinned and done very wickedly, but these sheep, what have they done? O Lord my God, please let Your hand be against me and my father’s household, but not against Your people that they should be plagued…’ Then David built an altar…and he called to the Lord, and He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. The Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back in its sheath.” (I Chronicles 21:16-17, 26-27)

The biblical principle here is that judgment on a nation can be due to the sins of the country’s leadership. This scenario actually happened with David, a man after God’s own heart, and with Israel, God’s chosen people. The principle was commemorated in the Bible, a record of God’s dealings for all time. Today the same dynamic may play itself out in your country, or in any country.

When God brings judgment on a nation for the sins of its leadership, our 21st century minds may get offended. Please don’t get offended! Press on through to the other side. The God of Jacob is testing our hearts and revealing our thoughts. He is calling us to repentance and to acknowledge our nation’s sin.

When any nation’s leadership actively campaigns and brings pressure to bear to shrink Israel’s borders, this is a national sin. These actions eventually bring national judgment (See Joel 3:1-2) and this sin requires national and identificational repentance.

When Israel sins before God, He may even reveal His displeasure by temporarily trimming away land from her. (See Judges 2) Even so, the nations which threaten and pressure Israel into shrinking her own land border will also be judged.

When silence is dangerous

As the Jewish sometimes-prophet Bob Dylan has remarked in his remarkable voice, “The times, they are a’changin.” The God of the Old Testament is the God of storms and earthquakes. (See Habakkuk 3) And His handiwork is beginning to show up as the lead story on the nightly news. The God of the Exodus is incrementally revealing His mighty arm at present. Part of the reason He is doing this is buried in the pages of the Hebrew prophets. He is letting the superpowers of the world know that He is “exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion” and that He is “very angry with the nations who are at ease; “for while I was only a little angry [at Israel], they furthered the disaster.” (Zech. 1:14-1)

The God of Israel wants the superpowers of the world to have a revelatory experience - to experience that “he who touches [Israel] touches the apple of His eye.” (Zech. 2:8) The Lord wants the nations to know that any person or nation who says “It‘s only Zion; no one cares for her!” (Jer. 30:16-17) is in danger of having himself, his family and his own land plundered, devoured and exiled - curse for curse, just like the superpowers in times past (and present!) have allowed these things to happen (or even encouraged them) in regard to the Jewish people and their land.

As events barrel forward, God’s eyes are roaming to and fro throughout the earth, looking to strongly support those whose hearts are completely His. (II Chronicles 16:9) Now is the time to seek God’s face and to dedicate ourselves afresh for His service and His kingdom. Now is the time, as Isaiah says, (See Isaiah 58:1) to cry out loudly and not hold back, raising our voices like a shofar and declaring to the House of Jacob (and to all the families of the earth) their sins.

Avner Boskey lives with his wife Rachel and four sons near Beersheva. They oversee Final Frontier Ministries, a ministry dedicated to stirring up the creative arts, worship, intercession, evangelism and the prophetic within a Jewish and Israeli matrix. http://www.davidstent.org/

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Viewing Katrina from Israel

By Shira Sorko-Ram

We have always linked the wars and disasters in Israel with the sins of our Israeli people - the reason being that the whole Bible persistently makes that connection. That is why we have consistently maintained that the only hope for Israel’s survival and victory over those who hate her and seek to destroy her, is for the Israeli people to first receive victory over the enemy of her soul.

It is not at all easy in this 21st century to talk about national sin being the direct cause of national disaster. The West has had deep revelation concerning grace and forgiveness of sin for the sinner, and hundreds of thousands have come to the faith because of the outstretched arms of Yeshua. On the other hand, sign-toting preachers on the street corner crying, “Repent! The end is near!” doesn’t preach, doesn’t attract seekers.

Today pastors throughout the U.S. are encouraging Christians to show the love of God in practical ways to those who have lost everything. They are right on! Love precedes all, and through this love, no doubt, multitudes more will receive eternal life.

But the message is incomplete if the sheep do not understand that sin costs. “The wages of sin, simply put, is death. Perhaps many believers automatically connect that “death” with judgment in the next world. Again they are right.

But the whole message must include the fact that individuals, cities and nations often pay for their sins in the here and now. Because God’s calculations of sovereign intervention is so different than our human reckoning, we can never second-guess God. But when He does manifest Himself and His power, it is critical that we sit up and take notice. And of course, the first place we must head for is the Bible.

The most dramatic destruction of a city in the Scriptures is of course that of Sodom and Gomorrah, of which Abraham was told, “Their sin is exceedingly grave.” (Genesis 18:20) Moses describes Sodom as a city of morally depraved citizens; the whole city had become a habitation of homosexuals and perverts who surrounded the home of Lot along with his visitors who happened to be angels sent to investigate.

“The men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house” and were attempting to break down the door to rape the men inside. With that, the angels told Lot,

“We will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the

Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” (Genesis 19:4,13)

The prophet Ezekiel reveals more of God’s heart toward Sodom:

“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom. . . arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

New Orleans, the Big Easy. What are her sins? Alas, they are so easy to list; both national observers and local New Orleans dwellers can give you a list without end.Her leadership is some of the most corrupt in the U.S. And that’s saying a lot!

  •  Her local government is steeped in corruption, violence and bribes
  • Corruption of the police and local government is a defining symbol of the city. When disaster hit, a third of the police force disappeared.
  • Though New Orleans is an important port, many large corporations have fled the area, relocating in places like Houston, Atlanta, etc., because of the lawlessness and chaos of public corruption.
  • That left mainly tourism to sustain residents with low paying jobs, mostly in restaurants and hotels.
  • The city had only one thing going for her: The most depraved, unrestrained and wanton public debauchery found in the country - for example, the yearly Mardi Gras’ lewd carousing that mockingly anticipates the remembrance of the death and resurrection of Yeshua.
  • Other public depravity is the “Southern Decadence 2005”, the planned yearly orgy of 100,000 perverts that were primed to commit unspeakable acts in the open. This annual parade is permitted by the city because of the $100,000,000 the event brings in.
  • New Orleans has had the great misfortune to be the U.S. center for worshiping false gods through the voodoo religion that is rampant there, with all the accompanying curses involved in voodoo.
  •  Moreover, as is written of Sodom, New Orlean’s local government’s has demonstrated an off-the-scale lack of care and concern for the poor and helpless urban dwellers of New Orleans.
  • It has encouraged legal robbery of the local poor by allowing casinos to swindle the desperate, the indigent and poverty-stricken and adding billions into the pockets of local government and its officials.
  • The destitute people have degenerated into a drug-ridden, alcoholic, crime-dominated society. The New Orleans murder rate is 10 times that of the national average. (The New Republic, tnronline.com)

But we must remember the words of Yeshua which paraphrased might be something like this: “Do you believe that the people of New Orleans are more sinful than others! No! But unless you repent, you also shall perish.”

In fact, Yeshua made known that if the miracles He had done in Capernaum had been done in Sodom, that city would not have been destroyed at all! That means to me that a lot of people in Sodom would have repented and turned to the Lord had they had the chance. And then the shocker! Yeshua reveals that a nice, prosperous city like Capernaum will have a far heavier judgment than the licentious city of Sodom! (Matthew 11:23-24)

But this is not the end. In wrath there is mercy. The New Orleans evacuees are now scattered around the United States, creating unprecedented opportunities to bring salvation and healing to these people, many of whom may have never had a real opportunity for an encounter with the Living God.

Franklin Graham said on Fox News a few nights ago: “There are 360,000 churches in America. If each congregation would take in one family, pay for an apartment for them, help underprivileged children be successful in school, assist the adults in finding jobs and even career-training, and show them the love of God, they could change the city of New Orleans forever! Many who choose to return to New Orleans as born-again believers would become vibrant, effective workers in their communities, in their reconstructed churches and brand new churches, and New Orleans would rise up out of her spiritual and physical ashes!

We believe it is even now happening. The last figure I heard was a month ago, when Pastor Rick Warren stated that already churches and faith-based organizations were housing a quarter of a million evacuees. May the men and women of God in America take hold with all of their might this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! And may God guide the leadership of America to bless Israel and not curse her.

Eerie Coincidences

- August 22, 2005, under international pressure, the last Jewish evacuees are forcibly removed from their homes in Gaza - part of the land promised to Israel, the apple of His eye.

- August 23, 2005, a tropical depression forms near the Bahamas and in six days, the eye of Hurricane Katrina hits the Gulf Coast and destroys an area the size of Great Britain, and over a million people are forced out of their homes.

- The Road Map designed by the U.S. and Great Britain plans for a Palestinian state on Israel’s homeland. The motivation is partly to secure safe Middle East oil supplies.

- The U.S. oil refineries and New Orleans port which transfers the oil, are badly hit.

- While 8,500 Jewish evacuees find refuge in hotels, shelters and tents in Israel, within a few days U.S. evacuees are finding refuge in hotels, shelters and tents in America.

- The Jews are evacuated in sweltering heat, under supervision of police and army.

- Residents of New Orleans and the Gulf are evacuated in sweltering heat, under supervision of police and army.

- Israeli dead are exhumed from their graves is Gaza to be reburied in another place.

- American coffins are seen disinterred from their resting place and lying in water.

- Business lost to Gaza coast Jewish evacuees will cost Israel many millions of dollars.

-Business lost to Gulf Coast evacuees will cost the U.S. many billions of dollars.

- Israeli homes and communities along the coast of Gaza are utterly destroyed.

- Many homes and communities along the Gulf Coast are utterly destroyed.

Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day. . .who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar…the Lord of hosts is His name: If this fixed order departs from before Me, declares the Lord, then the offspring of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever. Jeremiah 31:35-36

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Oxana: A Russian Immigrant
Finds a Home

I was born in Russia, in Leningrad - now Saint Petersburg - in 1960. From a very young age I knew that I was Jewish but sensed that this was not something to boast about. I experienced much ill will at school because I was a Jew, especially when the teacher deliberately inquired about my race in class. At times when I would have arguments with other kids, they would say, “You, Jew, go to your Israel!” I hated hearing about Israel, perhaps because of the constant propaganda against it in the media.

Actually, I just wanted to be like everybody, a normal Russian girl.

My parents were totally secular. No one ever talked to me about God, and my only knowledge of Him came from books or pictures that I had seen in museums. From these I had learned that in previous generations there were people who believed that there was a God. I thought that these were very narrow-minded people who had never studied about evolution and had never read any books apart from the Bible.

At the time of my birth, Russia was still communist; there were no churches and no believers that I had ever heard of. There was an official synagogue which some older people attended during the holidays, but anyone caught going there would be kicked out of their university or lose any good job opportunities. My father was a member of the communist party and a manager of a big bookstore in the city center. My mother worked in a factory, where she was a manager of the supply department. They were poor and much of the time was spent arguing about money matters.

My parents did not have moral values, but I somehow thought that when I decided to marry, I would live according to higher moral standard. But after two years of marriage, my husband and I were no longer faithful to one another. I was lying nonstop and never felt remorse. I had a lifestyle of partying, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, telling dirty jokes, watching pornographic films and laughing and talking about them.

I had a good job representing the government in trade and commerce exhibitions, but in 1989, when Jews were being let out of the Soviet Union, we seriously started to think about leaving for the USA. At that time it was a major event if someone left the country. Only Jews were permitted to do this, because of international agreements (the right of return of Jews to Israel), and those who left were considered traitors.

We received permission pretty quickly and then started to prepare everything for our departure, knowing we would have to start a new life in a new place, acquire new friends, new language, new values, new jobs and even a new mentality.

The government fined us 500 rubles for leaving (the average wage at that time was 120-140 rubles per month) because of our “bad behavior”. They took away our Russian passports since we were no longer considered citizens of Russia. Instead they gave us a piece of paper with our picture glued on it, our names and dates of birth and that we were Jews. This was the only I.D. we had. The government “very generously” permitted us to take with us $147 per person, the only money we had when we left.

We journeyed through Austria to Italy. When we arrived in Italy we met many Russian Jews who were stuck there waiting for visas to enter the U.S.A., and we joined them but soon found ourselves without even food. I learned Italian very fast and after four months I was speaking almost fluently. I accepted any job that came my way, teaching Russian, working in a Pizzeria, ironing, cleaning and working in the market.

One day we noticed an advertisement that in the “American Club” they were going to show a free movie in Russian called “Jesus”. The Jewish “Joint” Organization in charge of Jewish immigrants in Italy which had been giving us a small amount of money, warned us not to go to the “American Club” because there were Christians there.

In spite of the warning, we decided to go, not because we were so interested in this film about Jesus, but because, being refugees at that time, we could not afford to go to the movies or the theater. So for us it was like tasting normal life again.

During this time the American consulate was quite selective. They did not give a visa to everyone and as the criteria for visas was unknown to any of us, it was just like a lottery. We were sure that we would get our visas since we were young with good skills and good health. However, we were unlucky and were refused visas, leaving us to an unknown future.

The only country in the world that wanted to accept us was Israel. The Jewish Agency representatives tried to persuade us to go to Israel; even promising to supply us with a house, work and money….but I was stubborn and self willed. I told my husband that even if I were to endure hunger in Italy, I would not go to live in Israel. I had my heart set on America or Canada or even staying in Italy. But we were at a loss. We couldn’t just continue to be in limbo without citizenship or any rights.

As it happened, we heard that a Pastor Joe and Caroline from the “American Club” helped many to find sponsors in the U.S., Canada and other countries. So we decided to draw on their help too. As a result, we started going there every Sunday and participated in their Christian events. I even learned their songs of praise to God. I was singing there and playing my guitar! All this in search of a solution to our situation.

We felt that these sweet people had something unique and they expressed so much love for us. They took a picture of us and put it in a Christian magazine, and also asked a Christian radio station to broadcast our story in North America and to explain that we were in need of sponsors.

Time passed quickly and we were already in Italy for nine months. It seemed as though there wasn’t any hope. In the meantime Pastor Joe was preaching in his Sunday meetings: “God has a plan for you. You are stuck here for His good purposes in your life.” I didn’t like this explanation. I was fed up with this kind of life and wanted to know what was going to happen with us. I wanted to start living a normal life.

And then one day Pastor Joe and Caroline came to us and said, “Congratulations! You have sponsors! You are going to Canada! There are some Christian believers that heard on the radio about your situation in Italy, and have decided to sponsor you.” WOW! This was so exciting!

A few months later we arrived in Vancouver, where we met this precious family, a not particularly rich couple with three kids. They gave us a place to live together with them in their house. They helped us with everything, cared for us as though we were their children. I was amazed at their kindness and hospitality. They simply said: “This is what we felt God wanted us to do; we just wanted to obey Him and follow His Word.”

In Canada we also met other believers that had a love for Israel. Though they were not Jewish, they were celebrating all the Jewish Feasts; they were even fasting on Yom Kippur. I can simply say that I learned from them how to be a Jew. Their love for Israel was beyond anything I had experienced, and in one year their love infected me!

When I finally visited Israel to see my parents, I was so excited that my eyes filled with tears whenever I saw an Israeli flag. Something in me had changed. Now I know that God just turned my heart towards Israel and planted a great love for my ancient homeland in me.

I was not yet a believer and still quite a sinner. But I was discontent and restless inside. Finally, I decided to immigrate to Israel in 1991 and arrived with just two suitcases. For the next four years, I went backwards and forwards between God and the world. I wanted to be godly, and yet I was still not ready to give all aspects of my life to Yeshua.

Then one night I was attending a Bible study and we were studying the book of John, when somehow I finally got a very strong revelation that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah. That He is the Light of the World, the Bread of Life, the Only Way!

I called Pastor Joe and Caroline, who had since moved to Israel, and told them that I was ready to be immersed in water. Joe said that we should wait a little, as there could be others who might want to join. My reply to him was that I couldn’t wait at all, that I wanted to be immersed as soon as possible! He wondered at my impatience, but I knew that I had received the fire of God directly into my heart, and since that moment it is still burning within me. I am a changed woman, and serve in many activities in my congregation, Tiferet Yeshua.

My CD, “The Power of Words” that I have recently produced is just one fruit of this fire that the Almighty has put in me. Hallelujah! I have been writing songs since I was a young girl. But as an adult who was far from God, I wrote many vulgar songs for fun and jokes. In 1996 I wrote my first song in Hebrew for the Lord!

My congregation and Maoz was able to help me with one-fourth of the cost for this CD, and the rest I just paid by myself. Altogether, it took me almost 3 years to complete this project.

The recording was made in the tiny private studio of Reuven Hayun (not a believer). During our work, we had a lot of opportunity to witness to Reuven. The atmosphere in the studio was magical; the “Ruach HaKodesh” (The Holy Spirit) was there and we all felt Him!

During the work with Reuven we realized he had a wonderful voice and he was very happy to sing and play the guitar. So we incorporated him into our project! I am still praying for his salvation.

This CD is an expression of my deepest heartfelt thanks to Him who in His Love saved a wretch like me. To HIM, and to HIM alone is the Glory!

Since this CD is completely in Hebrew, we wondered if our Maoz partners would enjoy the music.

A few days ago, we played one of the songs for two visiting pastors of one of the fastest growing churches in America, and they LOVED it.

In fact, they asked to take our copy back to the States with them. We decided that if they were that enthusiastic about the CD, many of our partners would be too! So we offer it to you as our gift this month! The Hebrew songs are written out in English, so that you can follow the meaning of all the songs. So please enjoy the very first music CD to come out of our congregation - “The Power of Words”

 Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram

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Arieh comes of age

Arieh immigrated in the year 2000 along with his mother and brother from Belarus. As is true with so many FSU immigrants, he comes from a one-parent family, and their acclimation into the country has been economically difficult.

 Arieh’s mother and brother received Yeshua as their Messiah while still in Belarus, and Arieh has blossomed in his faith since he began attending our Congregation Tiferet Yeshua. During a congregational picnic, he followed His Messiah Yeshua into the waters of immersion.

On the following Shabbat, we celebrated his passage to manhood on his 13th birthday at his
Bar Mitzvah. As always, non-believers attend all of our special events. It is their first introduction to a congregation of born-again Israeli Believers.

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October 2005

Dear Maoz Partner,

In these incredible times when the unthinkable is happening, our eyes are upon the Lord and His soon return.

When the disciples asked, “What will be the sign of your coming?” the Lord

“This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.” Matthew 24:14

Israel is to be a prominent vehicle of this salvation. Her reconciliation to her God will be “life from the dead” for the Gentiles. So said Paul.

You might ask, “How can I, living in my own country, help you there in Israel to ‘preach the Gospel?’”

We only know how to state it simply. You can help us publish books that preach the Gospel. You can put them into the hands of our Israeli people.

As the end times close in upon us, you can help us translate some of the greatest books available into Hebrew, print them, and distribute them in Israel - books that can change lives.

These books will nourish the core group of Messianic Jewish Israelis a group that is destined to grow into an “exceedingly great army,” according to Ezekiel and the prophets.

And while your gift may not seem like a significant amount to you, together we will be able to fulfill our part of the Great Commission in Israel.

If you and all our other partners will give, we are convinced that the end result of publishing these books will be very significant.

Last year, for instance, our partners gave over $60,000 to help us produce Hebrew books - most of it in small gifts.

So you see, $25 or more might not seem like a lot, but through your act of graciousness, their faith will be strengthened, giving them power to impact their community.

And you and I both know that Israelis, like all human kind, need all the encouragement, fortification and knowledge of the Word of God they can get in these terrifying - but opportunity-laden - times in which we live.

We hope you will help us make The Hebrew Book of the Month Fund grow!

So please send your gift of $25, 50, $100 - or more if you can.

What can touch the God of Israel’s heart more than seeing that you care about the nation who gave the world His Word and His Son! Now we can bring the Word and the Son back to His people that He has promised to save

We offer you our deep gratitude for caring about and loving Israel. And God bless our faithful partners who have already joined the Hebrew Book of the Month Club!

For Israel’s salvation,

Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram

P.S. One more very important point: 100% of the money given to the Hebrew Publishing Fund will go directly towards translating, printing and distributing books.

And don’t forget to request your CD, The Power of Words!

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In this Issue: Are they related? Judgement & Catastrophe | Viewing Katrina from Israel | Oxana: A Russian Immigrant Finds a Home | Arieh comes of age

Are they related? Judgement & Catastrophe - When the Earth Experiences Your Judgments (Isa. 26:9-11)

  Monthly Report: October 2005 Click for PDF

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By Avner Boskey

As we move closer to the return of Israel’s Messiah, our planet is beginning to show signs of stress. (Isaiah 25) Yeshua prophesied that local and global wars, earthquakes and roaring of the waves would be another sign indicating His soon return. (Matthew 25:6-8; Luke 24:25-28) The recent events in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast have shaken everyone whose heart is still able to feel pain. (See Matthew 24:12)

What is the role of the prophetic in such heart-breaking circumstances? When apocalyptic scenarios become last night’s television news, how can a word from the God of Jacob equip, encourage and edify the Body of Messiah? Does God have anything to do with catastrophes that shake the earth? To be more direct, does God have something to say about the catastrophes that are now shaking the earth, and which will soon increase in intensity and severity? At the heart of the matter is the question: does God want to communicate and is He really communicating what He is doing on the earth today to men and women touched by the spirit of prophecy? Why catastrophic judgments?

God does not wish “for anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9) Yet natural catastrophes cause people to perish. Why then does God allow or even catalyze such judgments?

When God shines His light on darkness, a power encounter erupts between two kingdoms. The end result is clear: Light triumphs over darkness. “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overwhelm it.” (John 1:5) Note that John is using “battle terminology,” words of warfare. When darkness in a society takes hold and rises to a certain level, God has often brought the “severe mercy” of natural catastrophes or other judgments to bear. His judgments are a response to evil. They are catalyzed by evil. His judgments also expose evil and destroy evil. The clearest example of such a judgment on an international scale is Noah, who alone escaped the Flood, along with his immediate family.

Yet it is painfully true that innocent bystanders are sometimes caught in the crossfire when such a “battle royal” breaks out. When God judged the nation of Judah, people like Jeremiah and Daniel suffered persecution, imprisonment and exile. Army people use the impersonal military term “collateral damage” in such cases. The sad truth is that when a nation is judged, innocent people often suffer.

Part of the prophetical calling of all believers is “to let our light shine,” to expose darkness by shining what light we have on localized sources of darkness. Of course, that light is none other than Yeshua, the Light of the World who dwells within us. “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them…All things become visible when they are exposed by the light….” (Ephesians 5:11,13)

One judgment, two different responses

Not everyone wants to have “that light” shining on him. One of the reasons Ahab, King of Israel, did not want to inquire of the Lord through the prophet Micaiah ben Imlah was because the prophet “does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” (Kings 22:8) Ahab tried to explain away what the prophet was saying by turning the tables on him suggesting that Micaiah had both a bad attitude and a judgmental spirit. Rather than Ahab humbly accepting that his own sins had brought judgment down, Ahab tried to charge the prophet with presumption, and accused him of not speaking from God but rather from malice. The rest of the chapter plays out the sad ending of this dramatic event.

Actually, the Scriptures do not blush when describing the judgments of God. The Bible also notes that not everyone will learn what God wants to communicate through His judgments. Over 2,700 years ago the prophet Isaiah explained, “When the earth experiences Your judgments, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9b) Natural catastrophes are meant to draw men’s attention to consider what is on God’s mind and heart. Some men and women hear His voice roaring “out of the storm” and above its din: Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm and said, ‘Now gird up your loins like a man. I will ask you and you will instruct Me. Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified? Or do you have an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like His?” (Job 40:6-9)

Isaiah continues this message in the next verse, adding that the wicked just don’t get it. They do not see the hand of God in His judgments. Though the power and kingliness of the God of Israel is revealed through natural disasters, the wicked man refuses both to recognize God’s hand of judgment and to turn toward the Light. “Though the wicked is shown favor, he does not learn righteousness. He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness and does not perceive the majesty of the Lord.” (Isaiah 26:10)

History reveals that this pattern is part of God’s dealings with mankind. The Lord reveals His mighty arm and His holy nature through catastrophic judgments. This offends the minds of mankind and reveals the thoughts of everyone’s hearts. In the end most people don’t understand what God is doing. But those who do understand are described as men and women who are learning God’s lessons about righteousness.

It is worth meditating on these matters in the light of John 16:8, where Yeshua describes the ministry of the Holy Spirit: “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sins and righteousness and judgment.” But repentance is the key which is “knockin’ on heaven’s door” and it will open up the floodgates of rescue and safety.

Faulty Towers and Unrepentant Hearts

Throughout the ages Jewish prophets echoed certain themes, including the guilt of Israel and the world, and the need of personal repentance. When Messiah Yeshua taught in Jerusalem, He also reiterated the same point. “Do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:4-5)

Yeshua was not saying that no one was allowed to know why the tower fell. Nor was He saying that the 18 men killed in its collapse were guiltless. He Himself ended His teaching with a prophetic and time-sensitive warning of soon-coming judgment to the entire Jewish nation. (Luke 13:6-9)

Yeshua stated that there was plenty of guilt to go around the 18 were guilty, but so were the majority of Jerusalem’s inhabitants. Yeshua linked the tower’s casualties with judgment on sin. And He did not consider such a link simplistic or primitive, for He was speaking in the name of His omniscient Father, the God of glory whose voice thunders over the many waters. (Psalm 29:3-4) The teaching was an exhortation to His listeners not to think that they were more righteous than those being judged. As Paul said, “For all have sinned…” (Romans 3:23)

What Yeshua wanted His hearers to understand is that, even though catastrophic events are due to sin, they are meant to be a tool in God’s hands to shock all of us into repentance. If we do not recognize that God’s hand is somehow in the catastrophic event, we will not humble our hearts and soften our spirits before the God of Israel. We will not learn what He wants us to learn. We will not move into repentance. We will move against the prophetic spirit of God.

Judgment and the King

The connection between sin and judgment is part of a biblical worldview. The awareness that God will punish sins even in the “here and now” is supposed to motivate us to bow low before His footstool in the fear of God. (See Isaiah 11:1-5) But the Bible also teaches us that it is not always the fault of the individual who is directly in the crosshairs when God’s judgments roll like thunder across a nation. Sometimes God brings judgment on a people due to the sins of their leadership.

One such example is found in II Samuel 24 and I Chronicles 21. God was angry with Israel for some sins which are not directly described in context. He allowed Satan to influence David into taking a census. Even a rough and tumble soldier like Joab discerned that David’s census was contrary to God’s own heart. Perhaps this is connected to Deuteronomy 17:16-20 where the Davidic king is called to base his “State Department” policy on strict obedience to the covenants and not to lean on his own wisdom and power. Or perhaps it ties in with Deuteronomy 8:10-20, wherein Israel is warned against “trusting in chariots” depending on its own strength to save it, instead of following the promises and heeding the warnings of God’s covenants.

Since the Lord had given David much, He would now hold him responsible for much. God’s judgment on David would be most severe. (See Romans 2;4-11; Amos 3:2; Isaiah 40:2) Through the words of the prophet Gad, God gave David three choices of judgment three years of famine, three months of military invasion, or three days of plague. David chose the shortest possible judgment, declaring that it is better to fall directly into God’s hand of judgment than into that of Israel’s surrounding neighbors!

The prophesied plague sent from the Lord fell on Israel, and 70,000 men died within only a few days. This judgment was accepted by David as coming from the hand of the Lord. He humbled his heart. He did not reject the prophetic word. And he wept.

“Then David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heavens, with his drawn sword in his hand, stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, covered with sackcloth, fell on their faces. David said to God, ‘Is it not I who commanded to count the people? Indeed, I am the one who has sinned and done very wickedly, but these sheep, what have they done? O Lord my God, please let Your hand be against me and my father’s household, but not against Your people that they should be plagued…’ Then David built an altar…and he called to the Lord, and He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. The Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back in its sheath.” (I Chronicles 21:16-17, 26-27)

The biblical principle here is that judgment on a nation can be due to the sins of the country’s leadership. This scenario actually happened with David, a man after God’s own heart, and with Israel, God’s chosen people. The principle was commemorated in the Bible, a record of God’s dealings for all time. Today the same dynamic may play itself out in your country, or in any country.

When God brings judgment on a nation for the sins of its leadership, our 21st century minds may get offended. Please don’t get offended! Press on through to the other side. The God of Jacob is testing our hearts and revealing our thoughts. He is calling us to repentance and to acknowledge our nation’s sin.

When any nation’s leadership actively campaigns and brings pressure to bear to shrink Israel’s borders, this is a national sin. These actions eventually bring national judgment (See Joel 3:1-2) and this sin requires national and identificational repentance.

When Israel sins before God, He may even reveal His displeasure by temporarily trimming away land from her. (See Judges 2) Even so, the nations which threaten and pressure Israel into shrinking her own land border will also be judged.

When silence is dangerous

As the Jewish sometimes-prophet Bob Dylan has remarked in his remarkable voice, “The times, they are a’changin.” The God of the Old Testament is the God of storms and earthquakes. (See Habakkuk 3) And His handiwork is beginning to show up as the lead story on the nightly news. The God of the Exodus is incrementally revealing His mighty arm at present. Part of the reason He is doing this is buried in the pages of the Hebrew prophets. He is letting the superpowers of the world know that He is “exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion” and that He is “very angry with the nations who are at ease; “for while I was only a little angry [at Israel], they furthered the disaster.” (Zech. 1:14-1)

The God of Israel wants the superpowers of the world to have a revelatory experience - to experience that “he who touches [Israel] touches the apple of His eye.” (Zech. 2:8) The Lord wants the nations to know that any person or nation who says “It‘s only Zion; no one cares for her!” (Jer. 30:16-17) is in danger of having himself, his family and his own land plundered, devoured and exiled - curse for curse, just like the superpowers in times past (and present!) have allowed these things to happen (or even encouraged them) in regard to the Jewish people and their land.

As events barrel forward, God’s eyes are roaming to and fro throughout the earth, looking to strongly support those whose hearts are completely His. (II Chronicles 16:9) Now is the time to seek God’s face and to dedicate ourselves afresh for His service and His kingdom. Now is the time, as Isaiah says, (See Isaiah 58:1) to cry out loudly and not hold back, raising our voices like a shofar and declaring to the House of Jacob (and to all the families of the earth) their sins.

Avner Boskey lives with his wife Rachel and four sons near Beersheva. They oversee Final Frontier Ministries, a ministry dedicated to stirring up the creative arts, worship, intercession, evangelism and the prophetic within a Jewish and Israeli matrix. http://www.davidstent.org/

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Viewing Katrina from Israel

By Shira Sorko-Ram

We have always linked the wars and disasters in Israel with the sins of our Israeli people - the reason being that the whole Bible persistently makes that connection. That is why we have consistently maintained that the only hope for Israel’s survival and victory over those who hate her and seek to destroy her, is for the Israeli people to first receive victory over the enemy of her soul.

It is not at all easy in this 21st century to talk about national sin being the direct cause of national disaster. The West has had deep revelation concerning grace and forgiveness of sin for the sinner, and hundreds of thousands have come to the faith because of the outstretched arms of Yeshua. On the other hand, sign-toting preachers on the street corner crying, “Repent! The end is near!” doesn’t preach, doesn’t attract seekers.

Today pastors throughout the U.S. are encouraging Christians to show the love of God in practical ways to those who have lost everything. They are right on! Love precedes all, and through this love, no doubt, multitudes more will receive eternal life.

But the message is incomplete if the sheep do not understand that sin costs. “The wages of sin, simply put, is death. Perhaps many believers automatically connect that “death” with judgment in the next world. Again they are right.

But the whole message must include the fact that individuals, cities and nations often pay for their sins in the here and now. Because God’s calculations of sovereign intervention is so different than our human reckoning, we can never second-guess God. But when He does manifest Himself and His power, it is critical that we sit up and take notice. And of course, the first place we must head for is the Bible.

The most dramatic destruction of a city in the Scriptures is of course that of Sodom and Gomorrah, of which Abraham was told, “Their sin is exceedingly grave.” (Genesis 18:20) Moses describes Sodom as a city of morally depraved citizens; the whole city had become a habitation of homosexuals and perverts who surrounded the home of Lot along with his visitors who happened to be angels sent to investigate.

“The men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house” and were attempting to break down the door to rape the men inside. With that, the angels told Lot,

“We will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the

Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” (Genesis 19:4,13)

The prophet Ezekiel reveals more of God’s heart toward Sodom:

“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom. . . arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

New Orleans, the Big Easy. What are her sins? Alas, they are so easy to list; both national observers and local New Orleans dwellers can give you a list without end.Her leadership is some of the most corrupt in the U.S. And that’s saying a lot!

  •  Her local government is steeped in corruption, violence and bribes
  • Corruption of the police and local government is a defining symbol of the city. When disaster hit, a third of the police force disappeared.
  • Though New Orleans is an important port, many large corporations have fled the area, relocating in places like Houston, Atlanta, etc., because of the lawlessness and chaos of public corruption.
  • That left mainly tourism to sustain residents with low paying jobs, mostly in restaurants and hotels.
  • The city had only one thing going for her: The most depraved, unrestrained and wanton public debauchery found in the country - for example, the yearly Mardi Gras’ lewd carousing that mockingly anticipates the remembrance of the death and resurrection of Yeshua.
  • Other public depravity is the “Southern Decadence 2005”, the planned yearly orgy of 100,000 perverts that were primed to commit unspeakable acts in the open. This annual parade is permitted by the city because of the $100,000,000 the event brings in.
  • New Orleans has had the great misfortune to be the U.S. center for worshiping false gods through the voodoo religion that is rampant there, with all the accompanying curses involved in voodoo.
  •  Moreover, as is written of Sodom, New Orlean’s local government’s has demonstrated an off-the-scale lack of care and concern for the poor and helpless urban dwellers of New Orleans.
  • It has encouraged legal robbery of the local poor by allowing casinos to swindle the desperate, the indigent and poverty-stricken and adding billions into the pockets of local government and its officials.
  • The destitute people have degenerated into a drug-ridden, alcoholic, crime-dominated society. The New Orleans murder rate is 10 times that of the national average. (The New Republic, tnronline.com)

But we must remember the words of Yeshua which paraphrased might be something like this: “Do you believe that the people of New Orleans are more sinful than others! No! But unless you repent, you also shall perish.”

In fact, Yeshua made known that if the miracles He had done in Capernaum had been done in Sodom, that city would not have been destroyed at all! That means to me that a lot of people in Sodom would have repented and turned to the Lord had they had the chance. And then the shocker! Yeshua reveals that a nice, prosperous city like Capernaum will have a far heavier judgment than the licentious city of Sodom! (Matthew 11:23-24)

But this is not the end. In wrath there is mercy. The New Orleans evacuees are now scattered around the United States, creating unprecedented opportunities to bring salvation and healing to these people, many of whom may have never had a real opportunity for an encounter with the Living God.

Franklin Graham said on Fox News a few nights ago: “There are 360,000 churches in America. If each congregation would take in one family, pay for an apartment for them, help underprivileged children be successful in school, assist the adults in finding jobs and even career-training, and show them the love of God, they could change the city of New Orleans forever! Many who choose to return to New Orleans as born-again believers would become vibrant, effective workers in their communities, in their reconstructed churches and brand new churches, and New Orleans would rise up out of her spiritual and physical ashes!

We believe it is even now happening. The last figure I heard was a month ago, when Pastor Rick Warren stated that already churches and faith-based organizations were housing a quarter of a million evacuees. May the men and women of God in America take hold with all of their might this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! And may God guide the leadership of America to bless Israel and not curse her.

Eerie Coincidences

- August 22, 2005, under international pressure, the last Jewish evacuees are forcibly removed from their homes in Gaza - part of the land promised to Israel, the apple of His eye.

- August 23, 2005, a tropical depression forms near the Bahamas and in six days, the eye of Hurricane Katrina hits the Gulf Coast and destroys an area the size of Great Britain, and over a million people are forced out of their homes.

- The Road Map designed by the U.S. and Great Britain plans for a Palestinian state on Israel’s homeland. The motivation is partly to secure safe Middle East oil supplies.

- The U.S. oil refineries and New Orleans port which transfers the oil, are badly hit.

- While 8,500 Jewish evacuees find refuge in hotels, shelters and tents in Israel, within a few days U.S. evacuees are finding refuge in hotels, shelters and tents in America.

- The Jews are evacuated in sweltering heat, under supervision of police and army.

- Residents of New Orleans and the Gulf are evacuated in sweltering heat, under supervision of police and army.

- Israeli dead are exhumed from their graves is Gaza to be reburied in another place.

- American coffins are seen disinterred from their resting place and lying in water.

- Business lost to Gaza coast Jewish evacuees will cost Israel many millions of dollars.

-Business lost to Gulf Coast evacuees will cost the U.S. many billions of dollars.

- Israeli homes and communities along the coast of Gaza are utterly destroyed.

- Many homes and communities along the Gulf Coast are utterly destroyed.

Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day. . .who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar…the Lord of hosts is His name: If this fixed order departs from before Me, declares the Lord, then the offspring of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever. Jeremiah 31:35-36

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Oxana: A Russian Immigrant
Finds a Home

I was born in Russia, in Leningrad - now Saint Petersburg - in 1960. From a very young age I knew that I was Jewish but sensed that this was not something to boast about. I experienced much ill will at school because I was a Jew, especially when the teacher deliberately inquired about my race in class. At times when I would have arguments with other kids, they would say, “You, Jew, go to your Israel!” I hated hearing about Israel, perhaps because of the constant propaganda against it in the media.

Actually, I just wanted to be like everybody, a normal Russian girl.

My parents were totally secular. No one ever talked to me about God, and my only knowledge of Him came from books or pictures that I had seen in museums. From these I had learned that in previous generations there were people who believed that there was a God. I thought that these were very narrow-minded people who had never studied about evolution and had never read any books apart from the Bible.

At the time of my birth, Russia was still communist; there were no churches and no believers that I had ever heard of. There was an official synagogue which some older people attended during the holidays, but anyone caught going there would be kicked out of their university or lose any good job opportunities. My father was a member of the communist party and a manager of a big bookstore in the city center. My mother worked in a factory, where she was a manager of the supply department. They were poor and much of the time was spent arguing about money matters.

My parents did not have moral values, but I somehow thought that when I decided to marry, I would live according to higher moral standard. But after two years of marriage, my husband and I were no longer faithful to one another. I was lying nonstop and never felt remorse. I had a lifestyle of partying, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, telling dirty jokes, watching pornographic films and laughing and talking about them.

I had a good job representing the government in trade and commerce exhibitions, but in 1989, when Jews were being let out of the Soviet Union, we seriously started to think about leaving for the USA. At that time it was a major event if someone left the country. Only Jews were permitted to do this, because of international agreements (the right of return of Jews to Israel), and those who left were considered traitors.

We received permission pretty quickly and then started to prepare everything for our departure, knowing we would have to start a new life in a new place, acquire new friends, new language, new values, new jobs and even a new mentality.

The government fined us 500 rubles for leaving (the average wage at that time was 120-140 rubles per month) because of our “bad behavior”. They took away our Russian passports since we were no longer considered citizens of Russia. Instead they gave us a piece of paper with our picture glued on it, our names and dates of birth and that we were Jews. This was the only I.D. we had. The government “very generously” permitted us to take with us $147 per person, the only money we had when we left.

We journeyed through Austria to Italy. When we arrived in Italy we met many Russian Jews who were stuck there waiting for visas to enter the U.S.A., and we joined them but soon found ourselves without even food. I learned Italian very fast and after four months I was speaking almost fluently. I accepted any job that came my way, teaching Russian, working in a Pizzeria, ironing, cleaning and working in the market.

One day we noticed an advertisement that in the “American Club” they were going to show a free movie in Russian called “Jesus”. The Jewish “Joint” Organization in charge of Jewish immigrants in Italy which had been giving us a small amount of money, warned us not to go to the “American Club” because there were Christians there.

In spite of the warning, we decided to go, not because we were so interested in this film about Jesus, but because, being refugees at that time, we could not afford to go to the movies or the theater. So for us it was like tasting normal life again.

During this time the American consulate was quite selective. They did not give a visa to everyone and as the criteria for visas was unknown to any of us, it was just like a lottery. We were sure that we would get our visas since we were young with good skills and good health. However, we were unlucky and were refused visas, leaving us to an unknown future.

The only country in the world that wanted to accept us was Israel. The Jewish Agency representatives tried to persuade us to go to Israel; even promising to supply us with a house, work and money….but I was stubborn and self willed. I told my husband that even if I were to endure hunger in Italy, I would not go to live in Israel. I had my heart set on America or Canada or even staying in Italy. But we were at a loss. We couldn’t just continue to be in limbo without citizenship or any rights.

As it happened, we heard that a Pastor Joe and Caroline from the “American Club” helped many to find sponsors in the U.S., Canada and other countries. So we decided to draw on their help too. As a result, we started going there every Sunday and participated in their Christian events. I even learned their songs of praise to God. I was singing there and playing my guitar! All this in search of a solution to our situation.

We felt that these sweet people had something unique and they expressed so much love for us. They took a picture of us and put it in a Christian magazine, and also asked a Christian radio station to broadcast our story in North America and to explain that we were in need of sponsors.

Time passed quickly and we were already in Italy for nine months. It seemed as though there wasn’t any hope. In the meantime Pastor Joe was preaching in his Sunday meetings: “God has a plan for you. You are stuck here for His good purposes in your life.” I didn’t like this explanation. I was fed up with this kind of life and wanted to know what was going to happen with us. I wanted to start living a normal life.

And then one day Pastor Joe and Caroline came to us and said, “Congratulations! You have sponsors! You are going to Canada! There are some Christian believers that heard on the radio about your situation in Italy, and have decided to sponsor you.” WOW! This was so exciting!

A few months later we arrived in Vancouver, where we met this precious family, a not particularly rich couple with three kids. They gave us a place to live together with them in their house. They helped us with everything, cared for us as though we were their children. I was amazed at their kindness and hospitality. They simply said: “This is what we felt God wanted us to do; we just wanted to obey Him and follow His Word.”

In Canada we also met other believers that had a love for Israel. Though they were not Jewish, they were celebrating all the Jewish Feasts; they were even fasting on Yom Kippur. I can simply say that I learned from them how to be a Jew. Their love for Israel was beyond anything I had experienced, and in one year their love infected me!

When I finally visited Israel to see my parents, I was so excited that my eyes filled with tears whenever I saw an Israeli flag. Something in me had changed. Now I know that God just turned my heart towards Israel and planted a great love for my ancient homeland in me.

I was not yet a believer and still quite a sinner. But I was discontent and restless inside. Finally, I decided to immigrate to Israel in 1991 and arrived with just two suitcases. For the next four years, I went backwards and forwards between God and the world. I wanted to be godly, and yet I was still not ready to give all aspects of my life to Yeshua.

Then one night I was attending a Bible study and we were studying the book of John, when somehow I finally got a very strong revelation that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah. That He is the Light of the World, the Bread of Life, the Only Way!

I called Pastor Joe and Caroline, who had since moved to Israel, and told them that I was ready to be immersed in water. Joe said that we should wait a little, as there could be others who might want to join. My reply to him was that I couldn’t wait at all, that I wanted to be immersed as soon as possible! He wondered at my impatience, but I knew that I had received the fire of God directly into my heart, and since that moment it is still burning within me. I am a changed woman, and serve in many activities in my congregation, Tiferet Yeshua.

My CD, “The Power of Words” that I have recently produced is just one fruit of this fire that the Almighty has put in me. Hallelujah! I have been writing songs since I was a young girl. But as an adult who was far from God, I wrote many vulgar songs for fun and jokes. In 1996 I wrote my first song in Hebrew for the Lord!

My congregation and Maoz was able to help me with one-fourth of the cost for this CD, and the rest I just paid by myself. Altogether, it took me almost 3 years to complete this project.

The recording was made in the tiny private studio of Reuven Hayun (not a believer). During our work, we had a lot of opportunity to witness to Reuven. The atmosphere in the studio was magical; the “Ruach HaKodesh” (The Holy Spirit) was there and we all felt Him!

During the work with Reuven we realized he had a wonderful voice and he was very happy to sing and play the guitar. So we incorporated him into our project! I am still praying for his salvation.

This CD is an expression of my deepest heartfelt thanks to Him who in His Love saved a wretch like me. To HIM, and to HIM alone is the Glory!

Since this CD is completely in Hebrew, we wondered if our Maoz partners would enjoy the music.

A few days ago, we played one of the songs for two visiting pastors of one of the fastest growing churches in America, and they LOVED it.

In fact, they asked to take our copy back to the States with them. We decided that if they were that enthusiastic about the CD, many of our partners would be too! So we offer it to you as our gift this month! The Hebrew songs are written out in English, so that you can follow the meaning of all the songs. So please enjoy the very first music CD to come out of our congregation - “The Power of Words”

 Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram

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Arieh comes of age

Arieh immigrated in the year 2000 along with his mother and brother from Belarus. As is true with so many FSU immigrants, he comes from a one-parent family, and their acclimation into the country has been economically difficult.

 Arieh’s mother and brother received Yeshua as their Messiah while still in Belarus, and Arieh has blossomed in his faith since he began attending our Congregation Tiferet Yeshua. During a congregational picnic, he followed His Messiah Yeshua into the waters of immersion.

On the following Shabbat, we celebrated his passage to manhood on his 13th birthday at his
Bar Mitzvah. As always, non-believers attend all of our special events. It is their first introduction to a congregation of born-again Israeli Believers.

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October 2005

Dear Maoz Partner,

In these incredible times when the unthinkable is happening, our eyes are upon the Lord and His soon return.

When the disciples asked, “What will be the sign of your coming?” the Lord

“This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.” Matthew 24:14

Israel is to be a prominent vehicle of this salvation. Her reconciliation to her God will be “life from the dead” for the Gentiles. So said Paul.

You might ask, “How can I, living in my own country, help you there in Israel to ‘preach the Gospel?’”

We only know how to state it simply. You can help us publish books that preach the Gospel. You can put them into the hands of our Israeli people.

As the end times close in upon us, you can help us translate some of the greatest books available into Hebrew, print them, and distribute them in Israel - books that can change lives.

These books will nourish the core group of Messianic Jewish Israelis a group that is destined to grow into an “exceedingly great army,” according to Ezekiel and the prophets.

And while your gift may not seem like a significant amount to you, together we will be able to fulfill our part of the Great Commission in Israel.

If you and all our other partners will give, we are convinced that the end result of publishing these books will be very significant.

Last year, for instance, our partners gave over $60,000 to help us produce Hebrew books - most of it in small gifts.

So you see, $25 or more might not seem like a lot, but through your act of graciousness, their faith will be strengthened, giving them power to impact their community.

And you and I both know that Israelis, like all human kind, need all the encouragement, fortification and knowledge of the Word of God they can get in these terrifying - but opportunity-laden - times in which we live.

We hope you will help us make The Hebrew Book of the Month Fund grow!

So please send your gift of $25, 50, $100 - or more if you can.

What can touch the God of Israel’s heart more than seeing that you care about the nation who gave the world His Word and His Son! Now we can bring the Word and the Son back to His people that He has promised to save

We offer you our deep gratitude for caring about and loving Israel. And God bless our faithful partners who have already joined the Hebrew Book of the Month Club!

For Israel’s salvation,

Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram

P.S. One more very important point: 100% of the money given to the Hebrew Publishing Fund will go directly towards translating, printing and distributing books.

And don’t forget to request your CD, The Power of Words!

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Related Links

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April 2006, Seven Deadly Sins That Will Bring Judgment Upon Israel

 

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