Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

I wish you all could have been here with us in Israel yesterday. Our congregation decided to have a meal together to celebrate Rosh HaShana (New Years), so we went to a place just outside the city to have a picnic. We were all surprised when it started to downpour rain just as we started to gather. The congregation had to take all the food as fast as we could to a tent that was set up a few hundred meters away. We all got soaked, but we had a fantastic time sharing and praising the Lord together. If you have been receiving these Shabbat Letters for a while, you may remember how I told you that Israel practically never sees rain until after Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). Sukkot starts two full weeks after Rosh HaShana, so having rain at this time of the year is really a miracle. In fact, in all the years I have been here, I have never seen rain come so early. This is truly a blessing from the Lord because the Land did not receive enough rain in the previous years. We are hurting for water as this country, so we are desperate for a good year of rain. Please pray that the rain would continue here so that this beloved Land would truly blossom.

Callie and I are amazed at the creative power of the Lord. I know many of you are parents and have already been through this, but it seems so impossible that there is a baby growing in Callie now. We see the ultrasounds and we can hardly contain ourselves. To have such a wonderful wife who is willing to sojourn with me here, leaves me continually awestuck. Raising a family here, in the Land of my inheritance, is such a wonderful privilege. May the Lord be blessed through us and our children to come. Please pray that the Lord would continue to provide all that we need. He is the Provider and nothing is out of His hands.

Operating in spiritual gifting can be a very tricky thing. There is a real danger of exalting those spiritual gifts and as a result, we see the operation of those gifts at a sign of godliness. We begin to put men and women on pedestals that no one should be expected to occupy. Our spiritual gifts are given to us for service, and it is out of that humility that we should operate. A spiritual gift that doesn't operate out of humility will never achieve what it was intended to be. There are many gifted people in the world, but a spiritual gift, coupled with humility can effect supernatural changes. The opposite end of the spectrum is that some become so skeptical or cynical that they begin to neglect the things that the Lord has gifted them with. I have personally met people who have seen all sorts of spiritual gifts in operation, but they became turned off by the people who they saw operating in them. The "spiritual" men and women were drawing attention to themselves and as a result, these believers were turned off from using spiritual gifts all together. Everything they said was a criticism against all things spiritual and now any gifting they did have is now buried in their own pride and cynicism.

We as a Body must learn how to release people to use their gifts, but have the wisdom to know how to nurture these gifts. The time has come to stop exalting the PEOPLE who have certain gifts, giving them cause to fall into pride. We should be glorifying God that he has given such gifts to Man. Humility, not charisma, must be a prerequisite to operating in the these spiritual gifts, because without it, we are not glorifying God. A Body, humbly serving the Lord with its array of spiritual gifts, would be an awesome thing to see. Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Callie and Devin

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