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From Jerusalem • June 27, 2006

Shalom, from Jerusalem,

“Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).

And mine have been here over a week now. I said in the brief letter before leaving Kansas, that I’d send a newsletter as soon as I was past jet lag and had gotten a handle on things here. Well, I’m finally over jet lag, but the “handle” keeps slipping out of my hand!

I was preparing some news items this past week-end and then events have eclipsed them. You may have heard something about the attack from Gaza. - The attacks haven’t stopped since the disengagement. One Israeli town in particular has been getting many rockets. - But this latest was an attack on an Israeli military base - most unusual! The Arabs came through a tunnel Israel hadn’t located. In the first attack, 2 of the infiltrators were killed. One of them was wearing explosives that would have killed a lot of Israeli soldiers if he had reached his target. Then in a second attack two Israelis were killed and one taken captive. Now negotiations are going on for his release. Hamas is demanding Israel release prisoners in exchange for the wounded soldier, but so far the government has refused. Israel has massed tanks, etc. at the border and may have to go in after him.

And take Gaza back again? That was predicted at the time Israel pulled out last year.

God’s Word says, among many other promises to His people, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19) Elmer and others have said that the “standard” is God’s Word. We are here to do our little part in lifting that standard up.

My Russian “daughter” came to see me. And the other day while shopping, I gained another “daughter”. She is from Iraq. Our personalities clicked in friendly conversation. She told me of how crazy she was with worry when she thought her son was on one of the buses here that was blown up by a suicide bomber (not lately). He always called to let her know in those times that he was all right. This time he didn’t and she was almost certain he was on that bus. Hours passed as she screamed and paced the floor. The phone lines were jammed. But finally, he called and was OK.

But many others weren’t OK and families and friends are suffering. I think of Ezekiel 32 where FIVE times the Lord says what will happen to those who “cause terror in the land of the living”. I reminded my new “daughter” that all the prophets had encouraging words for these trying days, and our strength lies in daily reading the Bible. We exchanged phone numbers and promised to see each other again. I invited her to the apartment when we have a midrash. She said she would come. Many hearts are bleeding here and minds are worrying over what may happen. To those I meet personally, I feel my part is to try to do what Isaiah said in chapter 40, “Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God. Speak you comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she has received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”

And I find in such passages as Isaiah 61:7 that the Jewish people are to have double joy for their defamation.

At the time of this writing I have been in touch with Terry Distin via Instant Messenger on our computers and learned the magazine has come from the printer and they are busy getting it ready for the mailing. Terry’s mother and father are visiting from Illinois and are helping with the labeling. “The Lord gave the word; great was the company of those that published it” (Psalm 68:11). A special word of appreciation to them and to you who help us keep on keeping on!

May you be guided and strengthened daily in His Word and may the joy-bells ring in your own heart.

                    In His Love,

                  Chris Josephson