Shavuot: A New Season Jackie Santoro
There is no doubt that the heavens are astir. We can feel the changes in the air but we still see as through a glass darkly. The seasons come and go and superficially, it seems as if it’s business as usual but there is an increasing measure of the intensity of the warfare in the spirit realms that we are walking through in these days.
The very difficult and painful time of division and protests were shelved for the Spring Feasts and everyone enjoyed the break from the heated and damaging debates and conflicts in every area. After the holidays, the Knesset reconvened for the summer session and just when the protests resumed against the government’s Reform bill and the budget negotiations were becoming heated to the point of coalition collapse, Islamic Jihad started firing missiles from Gaza. The government ceased all divisive talk and stood in total unity against the enemy. The terrorist group was taking revenge against Israel because of a prisoner who died in jail as a result of a hunger strike.
The Israeli military dealt them a crushing blow, assassinating six of their leaders. Hamas did not enter the conflict as they have their own troubles with Islamic Jihad and probably were happy to have Israel inflict damage.
Thankfully, the conflict was not prolonged and calm was restored. Soon after, the budget was approved to the dismay of the opposition as it gave huge sums to the ultra-orthodox and for the establishment of settlements. The Reform bill is still being discussed and Netanyahu has assured it will only pass if it has a wide consensus among the Knesset members. Protests continue but the intensity is dissipated.
In the midst of all this, we were part of the “Isaiah 62 Fast” for the month of May. There were prayer meetings daily throughout the city for the whole month culminating on the day of Pentecost with a world-wide live-streamed event on the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount. This incredible event was marked by rain which was totally unheard of in the month of May! Seeing it as confirmation from God that the outpouring was indeed coming, we all joined together with one heart to declare God’s love for His beloved Land and people and Yeshua, King of Israel and coming soon!
It was incredible as an Israeli to know that millions of intercessors from the international Body of Messiah were uniting to pray for the salvation of Israel. We could feel the power of the love that was going forth, embracing this nation and our people and our small body of believers. What an honor! What a comfort! What a blessing! Thank you all for whatever part you did to close the gates of hell that shoot spiritual missiles against us and to open the gates of heaven that send forth the plans and purposes of our God.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit as described in the book of Acts actually happened on the Feast of Shavuot. This year, the date on the Hebrew calendar for Shavuot was a few days before the Christian Pentecost celebration of the same event. There was great excitement in the spirit as local congregations gathered together the night before in worship and prayer meetings to pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As a local body, we were encouraged and strengthened by the month long intercession.
The Israeli Body of Messiah also celebrated Shavuot with its traditional annual picnic for all the believers in the Land. It was so wonderful to see the increase, especially with the number of youth and young adults. We see the older generation handing over the baton to young leaders and what a joy to see their passion and commitment to the Lord as they take their place.
We are all excited to see the longer term effects of this incredible month of world wide intercession for Israel. It definitely feels as if we have entered a new place in the spirit in this new season. We know the enemy will be extra determined to thwart all our advances but as long as our eyes remain fixed on Yeshua, the gospel will not be stopped!
Our congregation Ahavat Yeshua is moving forward and we have a strong and committed core of believers. Our group of young and newly married folk is growing in number and it is exciting to see our congregation being pastored with great love and to experience the results of wholeness, stability and truth that is our foundation. Shavuot marked 17 years since we started the congregation and we have come such a long way!
I am hosting the widows meeting in a few days and our beloved Third Season group next week. In addition, I am hosting a bridal shower this Friday for our dear worship leader who is getting married in a few weeks. It my joy to see God use my lovely house to bless others. I know it makes Eddie smile!
I appreciate all your prayers as I continue in all that God has for me. I will be traveling to Kingston, NY on June 12 for two weeks. The plans were made fairly quickly but I am trusting the Lord that it is a significant time to be going back to the place where Eddie and I were married and spent the first 18 years of our life together. I will be there on June 15 which is the day that Eddie took his place in eternity and I feel the Lord guiding me and drawing me closer to Him as I continually leave my comfort zone to press forward!
Please pray always for our government. Pray that PM Netanyahu will hear from heaven and have dreams and visions. It is a miracle that he has managed to keep this government going through all the deep division and turmoil. The situation with Iran is heating up and PM Netanyahu will need supernatural discernment and wisdom.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for hearts of our people to be softened to the truth!
Please continue to pray for our congregation and especially for our leaders. Pray for divine strategy to encourage growth, not only in numbers and new salvations but in love for one another through an undying passion for the King of Kings, Yeshua. May we be bold and unashamed as we proclaim His name in this dry and thirsty Land.
To God be the Glory, now and forever!
With love from Zion,