These past months, we have been studying the Book of Romans on Shabbat. Paul’s teachings on the doctrines of righteousness and justification by faith, God’s everlasting covenant with His people, Israel, and life in the Spirit are among the deepest in the New Testament. By the time readers arrive at the last chapter, it’s tempting to quickly glance at all the greetings and commendations and move on! But Chapter 16 is full of rich treasures as we discover the “hidden heroes” who are mentioned.
On Shabbat, July 4th, Pastor Dani spoke about the men and women like Phoebe, Andronicus, Epaenetus, Rufus and his mother, who are among the many on the long list of names that most of us can’t even pronounce! We were inspired by their stories of faith and how God used each one. Learning more about who these people were enriched our understanding that God has a purpose for every life. His kingdom functions best when every member of the body is doing what her or she has been created to do. They may never be seen publicly, but are faithful to fulfill their calling each day. They work for the glory of the Lord and the building of His kingdom.
As we look around our own ministry on Mt. Carmel, we see many of those “hidden heroes” in our midst who may not necessarily receive a great “reward” according to this world's standard, but they are storing up treasures in heaven. Their Father in heaven sees all they are doing and will receive them one day with much joy!
These days are especially critical ones as Israel has been experiencing a new surge of corona cases. For the first time, our city of Haifa has been affected. We had begun congregational gatherings of 50 people, but with the spike in covid cases the government has again imposed tighter restrictions, and another lockdown is always being debated. It is not a time for us to be frustrated or fearful, but to rise up and be strong and vigilant in prayer! Israel still faces daily threats from our enemies, especially Iran, and we need a wall of protection around our borders, as well as around our own community. We are confident in our Lord and His promises!