Please note: CFI are at New Wine over the next two weeks. 

We will attempt to write a report during this time; however this may not be possible.  See more below.

The Word:  Therefore if you have been raised with the Messiah [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.  (Colossians 1:1-4)

This is what everyone faithful should pray at a time when You can be found. Then, when the floodwaters are raging, they will not reach to him. You are my hiding-place, You will keep me from distress; You will surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.  (Psalm 32:6 &7)

*      Pointers for prayer:  As we come before the Lord in prayer, specifically for the nation of Israel, the Jewish people, but also the church at large, pray we would be filled with the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit), that He would lead and guide us through all the issues relating to this report, and that He would fill us with all needed gifting and grace, but also to be able to discern.  Pray that the Lord would give us all the authority over the enemy, and those people who are influenced by them.

*      Please bring this word before the Lord and test it out – both for the nation of Israel, and for each Believer in the Lord.  Sometimes we can focus too much on the negative; on Islam/Palestinian issues; on the problems that Israel faces; upon terrorism; upon even our lack of faith and other troubles.  All these issues are highly important to the Lord and I have no desire to ‘belittle’ them, however sometimes I need/we need to be reminded of the Truth of God, and come against any spirit of fear.  “My waters cover the earth (Habakkuk 2:14), and majestic mountains rise up out of the sea, declaring My strength, My glory. The skies and heavens are spread out like a canopy over the earth, and so I cover you this day, this moment. The winds move at My command. The rivers and seas are held within their banks at My word. All things are held together within bounds by My power. I am the beginning and the end of all things (Revelation 21:6). Nothing is hidden from Me, and all is held in the palm of My hand (Hebrews 4:13). Every molecule has My attention. How much more, then, do you have My heart and affectionate attention? In light of this, the circumstances you are experiencing are but drops in the sea of My capabilities. I use them as opportunities to instruct, removing the enemy's plan to discourage you from the way I have chosen for you to walk.”

Seeking His covering    As I mention above, I will be working at New Wine over the next two weeks (along with other CFI staff and reps – more on this shortly).  I will attempt to write a report during this time; however this may not be possible, so if you do not receive any reports over the next two weeks, this will be the reason.  However I will attempt a report at some stage over this period. 

In my last report you received, I stated that some would say, ‘Doomsday is approaching’, and one would think so by all the negative press we have been reading/viewing from the media regarding the recent EU vote of Britain leaving Europe.  Since then, we have seen various terrorist attacks and uprisings, not to mention a new Government in the UK (again more on this later).  Three weeks ago, after sending out my last report, my wife and I took a two week vocation – one that was greatly needed – to recuperate and seek God’s refreshing.  One of the Scriptures I’ve been reflecting on over this period is from Sha’ul’s (Paul) letter to the early Messianic Community in Colossae from Colossians chapter 3.  This was due to a lovely encounter I had at a small cove on Cephalonia (Kefalonia).   

I’ve always had a fascination with the ocean and the amazing colours and intriguing shapes of coral and fish still excite me when I get the opportunity to dive in clear warm waters. The wonders of the sea are another testament to me of God's beautiful creations!  Busy feeding the large variety of fish with bread I’d carried out, the undersea world was awash with an amazing sight.  On these occasions, I love diving as deep as I can, and allowing the buoyancy of the water to slowly allow me to float up through the bubbles and streams of light cascading through the sea.  However on one occasion I realised that the strong current was pulling me into a small cove.  It was the tiniest of beaches under a cave.  As I scrambled to my feet, I was suddenly sitting alone in this small cave as the sea washed up, lapping at my feet. 

The first time I went to this place, I must have sat there for 30 minutes, thanking the Lord for this beautiful isolated location.  And as I sat, reflecting on the beauty, I felt a sense of deep peace, knowing that this is just how the Lord wants to hold each and every one of us – hiding us in His wings (He will shelter you with His wings; you will find safety under His wings. His faithfulness is like a shield… Psalm 91:4), or of being ‘hidden’ in Messiah (Colossians 1:3) – after all, He is our ‘hiding place’ (Psalm 32).  Not that God will keep us from the battle, but that He will be our rest, and or protection – if we allow Him.  As Charles Spurgeon once stated, “The Spirit of God testifies to and confirms the simple, but almighty, security of the life that “is hidden with Christ in God.” Paul continually brought this out in his New Testament letters… It is the most secure thing possible, because it has Almighty God in and behind it. The most dangerous and unsure thing is to try to live without God.”

Sha’ul (Paul) of course wrote many letters to many different ‘churches’.  Colossae was an ancient city of Phrygia in Asia Minor (now part of Turkey), and was the location of a Messianic community to which the Apostle addressed his letter. Colossae was populated by peoples of Greek and Hebrew origin (according to sources, Antiochus the Great relocated there two thousand Jewish families from Babylonia and Mesopotamia). Phrygia, during the heroic age of Greek mythology, had several legendary kings - Midas who turned whatever he touched to gold and Mygdon who warred with the Amazons (these were mythical woman warriors - nothing to do with online shopping) were just two.  Is there any wonder that when Paul took his Hebraic Christianity to these places, he had to deal with people with a lot of ‘baggage’?

In many ways however, after nearly two thousand years of a Greek/Hellenistic version of Christianity, which never really recovered since Roman Emperor Constantine the Great reigned (306–337 AD), those of us who understand the Hebraic roots (which incidentally has nothing to do with legalism!), have a battle on our hands – and this is just one reason why groups like Christian Friends of Israel need to be at events like New Wine.  As I joked with a friend of mine, after my holidays in Kefalonia, I may need ‘de-greecing’ upon my return – as indeed much of the church does today.  And so, starting Saturday 23rd July 2016, Christian Friends of Israel will be working at the New Wine Festival in Somerset.

New Wine is a movement of churches working together to change the nation through a network of church leaders, National Gatherings, training events and resources. The vision and desire of New Wine is to see the nation changed through Christians experiencing the move of God in their lives.  The New Wine Team long to see churches renewed, strengthened and planted, living out the Word of God in every aspect of life, serving God by reaching the lost, broken and poor, and demonstrating the good news of the Kingdom of God to all. This vision is what every Christian should desire, and many Christians (approximately 30,000 delegates according to statistics) attend this two week event at Shepton Mallet in Somerset and are really blessed by this. However, approximately 80% of the Church in the UK has no understanding of the importance of standing with the nation of Israel, or just why God is bringing back His Jewish people to the State of Israel.

On top of this, I believe the Church needs to understand that standing with Israel is not about politics… but rather, is about the Word of God and the honour of God’s Name. However the political ramifications are extremely important; relevant, and demanding. The issue with replacement theology; the issue of being uninformed with the truth and the issue of the hallowing of God’s Holy Name (Ezekiel 36) are all crucial issues.  And so, if you are coming to New Wine over this two week period, do look out for the Christian Friends of Israel stand and come and say “hello”. However if you can’t make this event, do pray that we would have an excellent response and pray for revelation of the truth regarding Israel for the 80% of the Christians attending that have no real understanding of this issue. Ultimately, do pray that we would know the Lord’s covering and speak only from His leading. (   

Troubles abound   As stated earlier, in my last report I mentioned that some would say, ‘Doomsday is approaching’, and one would think so by all the negative press we have been reading/viewing from the media regarding the recent EU vote of Britain leaving Europe.  Since then, we have seen various terrorist attacks and uprisings, not to mention a new Government in the UK.  Yes, it’s amazing what one can actually miss if one switches off all communication for a couple of weeks.  In Turkey, President Erdogan has tightened his grip on power following the unsuccessful coup, raising fears he will take advantage of the situation to further crack down on political opponents. The uprising left at least 290 people dead and more than 1,400 injured.  Other headlines recently have been regarding further shootings in America, and German axe attack with an Islamic State flag found in a teenager's room.  In the UK, Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May wasted no time in appointing her first cabinet. She entered her official residence at 10 Downing Street and made Philip Hammond the Chancellor and Boris Johnson as the Foreign Secretary (and in charge of MI6).  Boris Johnson immediately attacked the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad stating Assad must go if the suffering of his people is to end.  Few people foresaw the ex-London mayor and lead Brexit campaigner getting such a senior role – however in many ways, it is good news for Israel, as Boris is a strong supporter of the Jewish nation.  No sooner had the new appointments been made when The Commons voted by 472 votes to 117 to renew the UK's submarine-carried nuclear missile system, Trident. Despite renewal being party policy, Labour had a free vote on the issue. The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn opposed the plan while 140 of his MPs backed it – which only adds to the blatant obvious issue that surely Corbyn’s days as leader must be numbered.   

And of course the horrific tragedy in Nice once again brought France to its knees in a third terrorist attack and proves Isis can strike almost anywhere.  Reports state that those believed to be linked to the man who killed 84 people in Nice are now in police custody.  A news agency linked to the ISIS group, Amaq Agency, said: "He did the attack in response to calls to target the citizens of the coalition that is fighting the Islamic State."

The whole world was once again rightly shocked when the Islamic Terrorist, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove a lorry into crowds marking Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais on Thursday before he was shot dead by police. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.  However - there are two issues here that have appeared to be ignored: Firstly, the very style of the Nice terror attack is something that is often carried out by Palestinian Authority ruled terrorists and of which is well known to all Israelis where Arab Palestinians have killed and injured far too many Israeli Jews by using lorries, vans, cars, and tractors by driving them at innocent Israeli civilians. Secondly, although it is right that we hear world condemnation every time we hear of terrorist attacks in every country in the world (barring one)... why oh why is the world silent when the exact same horrific attacks happen to Israelis within their own country? 

In July alone in Israel, Palestinian Arab gunmen opened fire on a family vehicle near Hebron on July 1, killing an Israeli man and wounding his wife and two teenage children. The terrorists attacked from a passing vehicle, causing the victims’ car to flip over. The mother remains in serious condition with gunshot wounds to the head.  A day earlier, a Palestinian Arab stabbed two Israelis in the coastal town of Netanya.  This week, on July 17, Israeli security officials thwarted a major terrorist attack when they identified and detained a Palestinian man attempting to board the city’s light rail with a bag full of pipe bombs. The incident occurred along the busy pedestrian mall on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem.  These of course are only a few of the recent terrorist attacks, but why is the world’s media not reporting them?  And why do the Western Media largely ignore the fact that every year, while kids around the world are diving into swimming pools to beat the summertime heat, some 30,000 Palestinian children and teenagers are being brainwashed as they are trained in the ways of terrorism at Hamas’ camps in the Gaza Strip. The 25 different camps located throughout Gaza, all run by the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, include a wide variety of activities to keep their ‘campers’ busy such as military training with live fire, combat tactics, and explicit religious indoctrination. 

Dear President Abbas   Of course the training of Islamic terrorists mentioned above are all done via Hamas in Gaza, however the Fatah/PLO/Palestinian Authority are no better.  This is the message Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had to give to the PA’s Abbas: “President Abbas, since over the past several years, you have refused to meet me and sit down and negotiate peace, I hope you’ll hear this message. First, your advisor, Sultan Abu al Einein recently called to slit the throat of every Israeli. Three days later, a Palestinian terrorist turned these words into action when he slit the throat of a 13-year-old beautiful girl, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, as she slept. She was a little, innocent girl. She didn't deserve this. I ask that you fire this advisor because advocating genocide is not consistent with peace. Second, your party recently praised a terrorist on Facebook who murdered 24 civilians, innocent Israelis in cold blood. I ask that you to pick up the phone and instruct your party's social media manager to stop praising mass murderers. Impressionable children read these posts. They should be taught harmony, not hate. Such words seriously harm the chances of peace.” 

Netanyahu continues, “Third, next week the Palestinian Authority will dedicate a monument to Abu Sukar. Abu Sukar murdered 15 people by detonating a refrigerator filled with explosives on a busy Jerusalem street.  Rather than dedicate a statue to a mass-murderer, I ask that you consider honouring a champion of co-existence.  This will help educate future generations to love peace over war, compassion over violence.  It will also help convince Israelis that they have a true partner for peace.  Fourth, the PLO currently pays a monthly salary to anyone who murders Jews.  This money provides direct incentive to commit terror.  I ask that you stop paying murderers and instead use this money to fund co-existence education, teach tolerance not terror.  Fifth, every Israeli and Palestinian child deserves a life of hope, of tranquillity and opportunity.  I will continue to work tirelessly for peace.  It’s time that you join this effort.”  You can watch the speech via CFI UK’s website here:

Finally… breaking news from the Golan  According to reports coming in (Wednesday July 20) the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) on Israel’s northern border are on high alert following an incident in which a border patrol near Metulla came under fire from inside Lebanese territory, lightly wounding one soldier. Hours later, reports surfaced that Israeli aircraft struck Assad regime targets in the Syrian zone of the Golan Heights, but a statement by the regime denied this, saying it was rebel factions which fired on the position.  The Golan is a very strategic area of Israel with the borders of Syria (north east) and the borders of Lebanon (north).  With Hezbollah in Lebanon and Isis / Assad’s forces in Syria, Israel have been on high alert for some time.  Do pray for all who have to protect the nation of Israel, and pray that they would know the promises of Psalm 32:7.

David Soakell  

(CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent)  Tweet me @David_CFI

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Christian Friends of Israel UK & Jerusalem, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, & Israel National Radio