After 36 years of marriage and seven children, my wife Katya says her only regret is that we did not have more children. We came to faith in the Messiah in 1972, in the midst of what the media dubbed the "Jesus Movement." It actually was a dramatic and genuine movement of the Spirit of God which saw thousands of young people (many of them Jewish) swept up into the Kingdom of God. Its origins were in the latter 1960's after Israel's amazing victory in the Six-Day War of 1967.
In Luke 21:24, Yeshua said Jerusalem would be trampled under the feet of the nations until the times of gentile domination over Israel's eternal capital was fulfilled. This would be a sign of God moving in a new and dynamic way with His people. At the end of those dramatic six days, Jerusalem was back in the hands of the Jewish people for the first time in millennia. Since then, the number of Jews coming to faith in Yeshua has dramatically increased like no time since the first century. These new Jewish believers have an awareness and commitment to their identity and destiny as a unique people in the purposes of God.
Our daughter Leora was 4 months old when we became believers. Our son Isaac was born about 4 years later. Those years were intense and filled with "end-times expectations." We wanted to have more children, but just couldn't seem to get a clear answer from the Lord. In our naivety we thought that perhaps having more children might not be the best thing considering that the "end of the world as we know it" was at hand. However, eight years later Katya became pregnant. God did not seem to think that bringing forth children in challenging times was a bad thing. Perhaps these very children that the Lord gave us to train up will one day lead the next generation of believers.
I had a startling encounter with the Lord sometime near the end of Katya's pregnancy. We were in the middle of a home group meeting when I had a strong impression to lay hands on my wife and pray for her and the baby within. As I did, the Holy Spirit said, "You are carrying a son and his name is Judah." Not long afterwards, Judah was born. His name, which was told to us by God at that home group, is very much a reflection of our son's nature. He is one who praises God. He is extremely gifted musically and has written many worship songs in Hebrew that are very popular among Israeli believers.
Several years ago Judah formed a worship band (Korban Chai - Living Sacrifice) with our younger son, Rami, Marc Chopinsky's son Eli and two young immigrants from the former Soviet Union in our congregation. They cut a CD and were very much in demand among Israeli youth. However, they did not have the luxury of being together for a very long time. Back in the 1940's, there was a song called, "Those Wedding Bells are Breakin' Up that Old Gang of Mine." In the case of Korban Chai it could have been said, "Those Draft Notices are Breakin' Up that Old Band of Mine."
All five young men entered the Israeli Defense Force one after another. Judah was the second one to enter and he has just finished his time of service. He was released two months early in order for him to leave for the States to prepare for his wedding with Jen, also a very gifted singer and worship leader. They will return to Israel in about a year, after Jen completes her music degree at university.
Judah told me that his time in the army was a very important part of his life. His army experience was essential in making him who he is and preparing him for what he will do in the kingdom of God. When he finished his basic training he was honored as the best soldier in his division of 120 men. He went through a commander's course and was given oversight of about a dozen soldiers. He was often pressured by those over him to go on to become an officer. However, he believed that the Lord was asking him just to serve where he was and in the capacity given to him.
He learned much in the areas of leadership and responsibility and was at times in potentially life-threatening circumstances serving in Gaza.
In the latter half of his service, Judah was responsible for overseeing the organization and distribution of supplies. Whether blankets or bullets, Judah was in charge. Judah's quartermaster responsibilities honed his organizational skills and taught him the importance of delegation.
While Judah was unquestionably ready and eager to serve our nation in the military, he was not always enamored with the army. Part of the challenge of army life is being thrown together and intertwined with so many soldiers from all sorts of different backgrounds. In spite of some difficulties learning to deal with unpleasant people, Judah forged very deep and lasting friendships with many of his comrades.
All that God has built into my son will be put to use in the kingdom of God. Our prayer is that our children should be all that God has made them to be; that they would find their place in His plan for them. May we not be apprehensive about each succeeding generation, but believe that they will go deeper in the things of God than the generation that preceded them. III John 4 says "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth." No matter how long and faithfully we have walked with the Lord, may all our children walk more boldly, purely and victoriously than we have.
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Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Dan Juster: The Quest for Jewish Authenticity|
|Marty Shoub: Alla's Journey|
|News from Revive Israel|