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Soli Deo Gloria is the writing and teaching ministry of Baruch Maoz in Israel. Baruch is engaged in writing original commentaries on the Bible, and theological and practical works in Hebrew. Some of his books are available in English. His Critique of the Messianic Movement, Come Let Us Reason Together: The Unity of Jews and Gentiles in the Church, has been published by P&R, and his Devotional Commentary, Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Distress by Crossbooks. Both are available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon while Shepherd Press produced his Devotional Commentary Jonah: A Prophet on the Run.
Baruch has written a series of commentaries in Hebrew on Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, Jonah, Nahum and Malachi,Romans and Colossians. He has written an Introdution to the Life and Epistles of Paul, an Introduction to Systematic Theology, an Introduction to Systematic Theology, and edited a modern translation of the Bible into Hebrew. He is also translating the New Testament into Modern Hebrew and engaged in other writing projects. In the pipeline are books on church life and structure, How to Preach and Listen to Sermons, and daily Christian disciplines. To date, Baruch is the only author writing Christian literature n Hebrew.
Baruch and Bracha are Israeli Jewish Christians who have served in Israel for 5 decades now. Between April 1974 and December 2006 Baruch served with Christian Witness to Israel, most of that time as Israel Field Leader. Betwen May 1975 and December 2008 he served as Pastor of Grace and Truth Christian Congregation in Rishon LeTsion, Israel. Our website reflects the experiences gained in the course of that time.
Our monthly newsletter, MaozNews, is available for the asking, with back-issues to be found on this website (Baruch's Writings/News From Israel). To subscribe, click address at bottom of this page. His faceBook and Linkedin pages serve as blogs and provide almost daily information on the scene in Israel. His postings are also avaialble via Twitter @BaruchMaoz
November 23, 2015
Said the robin to the sparrow, "I would really like to know why these restless humans being rush about and worry so."Said the sparrow to the robin, "Well, I guess that it must beThat they have no heavenly Father such as cares for you and me."
Distance, the passage of time, affords perspective. God's providences are often incapable of proper view except from a distance. His will is always -- but always! -- good. He loves his children better than any earthly father because he is wiser, more competent, and loves with a purer love than earthly fathers could ever muster. "Behold, the Lord God comes with might,and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom and gently lead those that are with young" (Isa. 40:10-11).
You, our friends, have followed God's providence in our lives over the course of the last year or so. You have witnessed the loss of about 50% of our monthly support with the termination of a pension faithfully and generously provided by a major supporter. Then, in the process of downsizing our home, you saw the market price of the home we sold drop below that of the much smaller home we bought.
Later, while we were visiting the US, our new home was broken into, extensive damage inflicted to the house, our safe and its' contents, including all we had for the final payment on our new home, were stolen. Prior to the break-in, our security system failed due to incompetent installation. As a result, not only did the robbers have a free hand in the house for most of the day, but our insurance company consequently claimed it was free of obligation for our stolen property as well as for the damage.
While engaging in repairs of the damage inflicted we discovered that our home had been very poorly built, contrary to regulation and in some cases with premeditated neglect: our electric circuitry was flooded with water, as was the ground floor under the hardwood flooring, windows did not fit their openings and, in some cases, would not open, plumbing was blocked and roof insulation was peeling -- all in a home whose construction had just been completed.
Then, Bracha was diagnosed with cancer and required surgery, my glasses broke and our car was totaled in an accident.
We staggered under these repeated blows, seeking not to discover God's intentions in these providences, but the grace to glorify him by our conduct and by our deepest hearts' attitude. We feared, trusted and feared again while God sustained our spirits without fail.
Some time has passed and, although we still have to deal with many of the results of the above described realities, distance has afforded us some perspective. We have discovered afresh how kindly, wisely and competently our heavenly Father has loved and cared for us.
Most of the financial losses remain such. On the financial level we are almost completely washed out. Our savings are gone, we have not been able to replace the loss of our monthly income and still owe a great deal of money to the bank, to the contractor, to the gentleman repairing our home and to the hospital for Bracha's surgery and post-operational follow-up. But we are beginning to identify some of the hallmarks of God's kindness toward us in the events he chose to bring into our lives.
Above all else, God has sustained our spirits, succored us by his grace and reminded us of the passing nature of earthly possessions in contrast to the stability of those things that no rust, moths or thieves can affect. Our security is not in material things. It is in him who loved us and gave his Son up for us to save us from our sins and bring us to himself. He numbers the very hairs on our head and stores each of our tears in a bottle.
We have been succored by the outpouring of love we experienced from God's people. Prayers, cards, telephone calls, gifts, expressions of sympathy, words of encouragement and exclamations of joy have buoyed our spirit and sustained us as we sought to deal with each of the events as they came our way. Our lawyer amazed us by offering to loan us hundreds of thousands of Shekels in order to enable us to meet our obligations, no strings attached (we declined the offer). Our bank does not accord mortgages to persons our age but has agreed to convert our debt into a 7-year mortgage, at a very reasonable rate.
Our insurance agent went out of her way to persuade the insurance company to assume responsibility for our losses, even if t a limited extent (it has agreed to do so). Without our knowledge, the agent also persuaded the insurance company to undertake about 10% of our medical bills although Bracha's operation was not covered by the policy we purchased.
The gentleman repairing our home worked for three months with very little by way of renumeration (we've since made a payment).
None of the three are Christians.
The US insurance company covered most of the cost or a replacement for the car that was damaged and I was able to purchase eye-glasses at a quarter of the cost we would be required to pay in Israel. We intend never to purchase glasses in Israel again.
Had the break-in not occurred, we would not have known of the state of our home until we had actually moved in, and then would have faced an all-the-more-difficult situation, with nowhere to live while repairs were being carried out.
Had the break-in not occurred, Bracha would not have been able to have the surgery in the US and enjoy our family's loving support, the family would not have had the pleasure, privilege and opportunity to function as such in a time of crises, nor would Bracha have had the quality of care she received at the University of Washington Medical center and the hands of the dedicated staff there.
For the first time in years, Bracha and I were accorded a lengthy time with our children. It has been a time of precious love and affection. Moreover, the children helped us, especially me, discover an area in our lives that called for meaningful change. We are -- I am -- grateful to God for a loving family that did not hesitate to challenge us persistently and with much affection. Parting will be all the more difficult this time. Our tears will be bitter-sweet.
These challenges have drawn Bracha and me all the more closely together. We've had especially sweet moments of prayer, conversation and sharing.
Looking back, we have indeed suffered a series of blows. But God has sustained us through them all and, while we do not yet see our way through those which remain, we are confident that our loving Lord will guide and that, come what may, he will glorify himself to the praise of his glorious grace. Our confidence is not misplaced. Isaiah knew what he was saying when he described God's mercies to our people: "In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them" (Isa.63:9).
Bracha and I are thankful to God and to the many of our friends.
"Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart in the company of the upright, in the congregation. "Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; "The Lord is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. "The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!"
Bracha's health has improved and her strength is being steadily regained. God willing, we plan on flying on December 9th to Pennsylvania to spend a week with our daughter and family; then flying to London on the 15th where Bracha will have a day to regain her strength, and flying home on the 16th, arriving in the early hours of the following day. By then work on our home is expected to have been completed and we will begin to settle back into our normal routine. We thank God for his goodness, and for each of you.
Baruch and Bracha Maoz
In light of previous postings, it is important to clarify:
It can easily be demonstrated that so-called "radical Islam" is nothing less than Islam consistent with itself: When true to itself, Islam has no regard for humanity; no appreciation of freedom; no grounds on which to develop a civic society or conduct scientific study of the material world.
Islam is the cause of the Islamic world's present under-developed state, the great depriver of its own adherents. As such, it is a fundamental cause in the creation of the pent-up frustration we now evidence in the Islamic world, channeled toward the more progressive but increasingly weakening West.
Happily, many Muslims are not consistent; while attached in varying degrees moderated degrees to their religion, they prefer the best of Western values to those of their own. I do not believe, therefore, that the West should declare war against Islam as such, certainly not against Muslims. However, if those "best values" are to survive, they must be defended. First and foremost, they must be defended by the West in the West itself by a renewal of commitment to those (fundamentally Christian) principles that laid the ground for the best of Western values.
The West's humanism is what is eroding Western strengths by dismantling the ability of those principles to create convictions that dare challenge the world at any cost. For the world's sake, the Western world needs once again to hear and heed the Gospel.
With regard to the present "Clash of Civilizations," the West must come to realize that military action, both necessary and justified by present realities, must be engaged in with determination and utter vigor until military victory is won. But military victory is but a temporary measure that will not abide on its own for long.
Above all, the present battle is a battle for minds and hearts, it is a war of perceptions, of convictions that are born and bred in the crucible of religion.Islam's appeal is its power of conviction, the power of serving a higher, more worthy goal, than one's own pleasure.
The West has lost that conviction and, with it, the respect of Muslim nations and the source of its own greatness.Russia and China wait in the wings, expecting to pick up from where the present conflict ends -- or be relegated afresh to the heap of failed philosophies. The church of Jesus Christ should dare not to be anti-islamic; it should be pro-God as he is known in Christ.
It is high time for the church to decry many of the same sins that cause many in the Islamic world to look upon the West with revulsion: its hedonism, its gluttony, its selfish and shortsighted pursuit of happiness as if "happy" is mankind's summum bonum. Self denial rather than self indulgence must be our most visible characteristic.
It is time to turn to God, and then to our fellow-man with love, conviction and fortitude. It is time for us to be once again the kind of church that overcame by the blood the of the Lamb, the word of our testimony and by not loving our lives, even to death.
Tensions with the Palestinians continue repeated stabbing and car-ramming attacks. Most incidents are so-called lone wolf initiatives, with little or not prior planning and no organizational prompting. They occur in Jerusalem and Hebron, where large Jewish and Arab populations are to be found, in Tel-Aviv, Rishon LeTsion and smaller Jewish townships, on buses and at train stations, in markets, shops, sidewalks and synagogues.
Attackers are men and women, boys and young ladies. Those attacked are young and old, civilians, policemen and soldiers.Most attacks are perpetrated by boys and girls under the age of 18. In one case an 11 year-old and his 13 year-old buddy attacked a guard on the Jerusalem light rail. In another, a 13 year-old attacked a child biker. This intolerable situation is the combined product of the hopelessness with which young Palestinians view the future and of violent provocations on the part of a determined minority of Israeli settlers.
Hopelessness was created by the unwillingness of leaders on both sides on the conflict to work sincerely toward a resolution, Palestinian incitement (even at the primary school level) and the Palestinian Authority’s ’s public commendation of terrorists, Israel's policies of encroachment and Hamas’ open encouragement of terror. These all have added to the mix, leading to an explosive situation. Increased Islamic radicalization throughout the Middle East is an additional dominant factor. Frustratingly, the churches in Israel and among the Palestinians remain largely silent.
This is a time of immense opportunity, when we can accord the Gospel a much-needed voice in our respective societies by calling both to the bar of God's justice, for both are sinning. Israeli society increasingly shares in the sense of angry hopelessness that is currently driving Palestinian youth. The Jewish populace is persistently moving toward ever more violent reactions. Arabs and some mistakenly thought to be Arabs have been beaten up in the streets, had their employment terminated or their businesses shunned. In other words, terrorism is achieving its’ goals, polarising relations, increasing tensions and further undermining the possibility of a peaceable resolution.
This is not to compare the relative guilt of each of the nations; it is simply to insist that one side's wrongdoing can never justify that of the other. Two nations are fighting for the same plot of land. Each insists on its' own version of perfect justice, persistently refusing to take the other into account. In the name of morality, both are engaging in immoral actions. Both will be called to account before God.
Those who have been the recipients of greater light will be judged with the sterner judgement. We, Jews and Arabs in Christ, know the truth and are aware from the scriptures of God's hatred of sin, both national and personal. We are keenly aware of his command that individuals and nations treat one another with generous kindness. Whatever may be the differences between us on terms of conduct, we both are adding to the guilt that our nations will bear when God calls the world to judgement, and call he will.
At the same time, threats on our respective borders increase apace. ISIS has firmly established itself in Sinai on our southern border and, in cooperation with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Gaza, is engaged in an ongoing struggle with Egyptian forces, threatening Egyptian stability. In the north, ISIS threatens both Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Syrian regime on the Golan Heights.
The Hashemite kingdom of Jordan is likewise under duress due to the enormous number of refugees it is forced to host and to increased pressure from ISIS. Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are threatened. The whole Middle East is likely to be engulfed by turmoil. The probable break-up of Syria into warring counties makes Israel’s presence on the Golan all the more justifiable but no more acceptable to any Syrian.
The likelihood of a collapse of the relatively moderate Palestinian regime and its replacement with Hamas, or worse, render peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority all the less reasonable. And yet, a way out of the morass needs to be sought.
As Christians, we know our duties. The question is: do we carry them out, or are we so engrossed with currying favor with those among whom we live and to whom we wish to continue to belong, that we subvert the Gospel by our silence, or by enlisting it in the service of our people's selfish interests?
True spirituality expresses itself in holiness. Holiness cannot exist where there is no self denial. Self denial, the way of the cross, calls us to go outside the gate, to dare contradict nationalistic tendencies and be Christians at any cost. Until we do that, the message we bear on our lips is denied by the lives we lead.
From an article by Dr. Ronni Shaked in Ynet, November 13:
Brothers Muawiyyeh and Ali Alkam, aged 11 and 13, from the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, will have their names go down in the record book thanks to the dubious title "the youngest terrorists."
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It's sad that at their age, they are already thinking about death. Miserable children who have lost their childhood, and whose lives are drowning in despair, frustration and hatred, which lead them to grab a knife and kill or try to kill a Jew.
The knifing terror is an act of suicide: The children with the knife go out to stab their victims thinking they are about to die, just like the terrorists of the second intifada who blew themselves up on buses and in markets.
But there is one significant difference: The suicide bombers with the explosive belts were filled with motivation to speed up the liberation of Palestine; they headed towards their death out of hope, with joy, believing that they were contributing to their people's struggle through their acts. The suicide was a sort of religious patriotism. The Palestinian society, from then-Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to the mothers, encouraged the suicide bombers, mainly by nurturing the myth of the shahid (martyr) in heaven - which promised the suicide bombers a pleasure-filled eternal life.
This week's attack on Jerusalem's Light Rail. Despair, frustration and hatred are leading children to grab a knife and kill or try to kill a Jew.
Walking towards one's death in the current wave of terror, on the other hand, stems from despair and loss of hope. The helpless Palestinian society supports the acts of the young stabbers and mainly honors them in the funerals, but it can't even give them the hope of the shahid in heaven which the myth promises.
The Palestinian street is hopeless about the ongoing occupation, the Palestinian Authority and its leadership, and the attitude of the Arab and Western world, and is therefore not stopping the children. This is a society stuck in a "psychological lock," in circles of despair which feed the hatred and encourage the youth to grab a knife. It's the only way which they believe will lead to a change in their national situation and personal future.
And another change compared to the second intifada is that the current violence evolves from a knife to a vehicular attack, without a leadership or headquarters, without orders and instructions, without direction and without a political goal. It is driven by the power of collective emotional orientation of anger, rage, hopelessness and a strong desire for revenge.
Dr. Ronni Shaked, Yedioth Ahronoth's former correspondent and commentator on Palestinian affairs, is a research fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at Hebrew University.
In This Issue:
Travel Plans and Challenges – An Update, pg. 1
Israeli Realities, pg. 1
A Clash of Civilizations, pg 2
Ministry and Family News, pg. 4
Baruch Available for Preaching, Conferences
Further details re my availability:
Bracha and I expect to remain in the US from October 5 to the end of November (final date not yet determined). In the course of that time I expect to be both in the East and the west Coast and in mid-November in Colorado. I will also be able to travel elsewhere by car or by air and am available for preaching engagements in the course of that time.
Interested churches are invited to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Palestinian Bar Association, whose heads are Fatah members and which receives funding from the European Union and the United Nations, announced yesterday that it would award an honorary law degree to Muhannad Al-Halabi, a Palestinian law student who was killed after he stabbed two Israelis to death in Jerusalem's Old City on October 4, 2015.
The association's announcement said: "The Palestinian Bar Association decided in its meeting today [October 10] to award an honorary law degree to the martyred hero Muhannad Al-Halabi and to hold its next [bar] swearing-in ceremony in [his] honor."
The announcement also noted that "the martyred hero Al-Halabi was an outstanding student at the faculty of law," and that the head of the association and members of its board had visited his family to convey their condolences and inform them of their decisions.
The Palestinian Bar Association receives substantial funds from the EU, as stated on the former's website. For example, in 2010, the EU allocated €4.7 million for developing the association and supporting the Palestinian judiciary and general prosecution; in 2012 it allocated €1.4 million to support the association and train attorneys in the PA territories, and recently it allocated another €1 million to the association.
The Palestinian Bar Association also receives funding from other bodies, such as the UNDP, UN Women and others.
(From The MEMRI Daily: October 12, 2015, Special Dispatch No. 6184)
Multiple Terror Attacks in Central Israel leave Two Dead.
A Closer Look at Palestinian Propaganda
I have deep respect and love for Baruch Maoz, and the work that he is carrying on in Israel, despite obstacles and opposition. He has been a dear friend for many years. I’ll never forget doing a conference for him in Israel several years ago. I pray that God may use his sound theology, helpful preaching, excellent books, and numerous gifts for the conversion and spiritual maturation of thousands of Israelis and for the abundant glory of God. Rev. Joel R. Beeke, Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation, Author
Baruch Maoz has been a minister of the gospel, author, publisher, and voice for believers in the land of Israel for four decades. I have seen firsthand the fruit of his ministry and I cannot recommend it too highly. Baruch’s preaching, teaching, and writing ministry should be supported by all who care about the gospel and its impact in Israel and beyond! Pastor Jerry Marcellino, Audubon Drive Bible Church, Federation of reformed Evangelicals – Laurel, Mississippi
Knowing and embracing our Lord’s clear directive to bring the Gospel to the “Jew first” I, along with BPC have been extraordinarily blessed to work in partnership with the effective biblical and faithful ministry of Baruch Maoz. His ministry of evangelism, discipleship, along with his strategic and insightful writing/translation projects, only enhance my opportunity to recommend him and his ministry. Rev. Harry Reeder, Senior Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA), Birmingham AL
Tom Ascol of the Founders Movement writes: "Baruch and Bracha Maoz serve in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Baruch has served as a pastor, publisher, author and church reformer in his homeland of Israel. He has ministered several times with our Grace Baptist Church family in Cape Coral and our people have come to love Bracha and him dearly. I highly recommend his and his ministry to any church that values expositional preaching and the gospel of God's grace." Dr. Thomas Ascol, Grace Baptist Church (SBC), Founders Movement, Cape Coral FL
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