The End becomes the Beginning – Jeremiah Smith

(This is the final post from team member Jeremiah Smith as he finishes his 3 month posting to Succat Hallel – a 24-7 HOP in Jerusalem)

Well…  This is it.  My time in Israel is coming to a close.  Tomorrow I’ll be flying back home to Canada.

It is the end, but also the beginning.

I will be leaving behind some of the most ‘sold-out to Jesus’ people I’ve ever met.  They’ve inspired a passion within me to see people know the love & forgiveness of Jesus.  As I leave, many will stay.  I will miss them.

For many the call to Israel is a life-long commitment.  There are no words to express the respect and admiration I have for these people.  Israel is no easy place to live, and yet they’ve committed their lives to Israel, the Jews and Arabs.

Over these past 3 months I’ve seen exactly what it’s going to take to have peace in the Middle East.  Only the transformation of people’s hearts– a work  only Jesus can do– will bring peace.  Thus, the most powerful and effective work in the Middle East is being ambassadors for Gods Kingdom.  The hatred, fear and violence will only be overcome by the overwhelming love of Jesus.

“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Rev. 12:11

As I return to Canada, I feel that I’m a little closer to that verse.  Being here in Israel, participating in 24-7 Prayer, I’ve begun to love God more and everything else less.  I’ve experienced, again (and again), the freedom that comes from the blood of the lamb.

I’ve spent the last 3 months doing what I love, because the God I know has loved me so completely.  24-7 Prayer, without that love, would be a dreadful (or even fearful) duty.  There are people who are afraid of God; afraid that if they don’t “pray enough” or “do enough”, they’ll end up in hell.  Yet, I’ve experienced the complete opposite.  I’ve experienced the absolute mercy of God.  He has forgiven my sins and changed my heart.  Everyday, as I come to pray, I have the joy of communing with the God who loves me,

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”

The love of God changes us.  It’s changed me… again.  The ceiling, these 3 months in Israel, will become the floor when I return to Canada.  The end becomes the beginning.

May the Peace of God, His Shalom, fill you today.

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