Is there a connection between repenting and blessing the needy? The Jewish people think so! In the month of Elul, leading up to Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), there is a great emphasis on making things right with God and with our fellow men. Interestingly, one of the things emphasized is the need to care for those less fortunate by giving charitable gifts.
Yeshua (Jesus) also agreed. In Matthew 25 He says that the nations (the word in Hebrew is goyim which means Gentiles—non Jews) will be judged by how they treat those who are hungry, thirsty, in prison and in need of clothing. James 1:27 says that pure and undefiled religion is taking care of widows and orphans.
All over the world Christian leaders, including Bridges for Peace, are calling the people of God to repentance. Many are fasting and praying as they seek the face of God. Like the psalmist we “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore!” (Ps. 105:4).
What does the Lord say about fasting? “Is this not the fast I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn. And your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’…If you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness…” (Isa. 58:6–10).
Caring for the Needy
At Bridges for Peace we take these things seriously. Every month we show God’s love and mercy to more than 26,000 people. They are alone and in poverty—Holocaust survivors, sick, new immigrants, widows and orphans.
One of the ways we help is by assisting those who are afflicted and in pain. One such person is Osnat. We recently helped her by paying her electric bill, providing food and helping to buy a special medical brace. She wrote us saying:
“My name is Osnat. I am a 50-year-old handicapped woman, living here in Jerusalem. I have battled breast cancer and suffer from ALS, a muscular disease. Two years ago I underwent surgery for breast cancer, but still have not regained my appetite or my weight. I take a lot of medicine for the pain, and suffer greatly. Unfortunately, I have no family to help me. I have a long history of pain, and the bills from the hospital have left me dry.
Now, I haven’t enough money to pay the electricity bill. I am so very thankful for the kind people who connected me with Bridges for Peace. Bridges for Peace paid my electricity bill worth 4,000 shekels (US $1,060). Not only that, but when I had need for a belt [brace] that allows me to sit in my chair properly, I did not have enough money because the belt cost more than 10,000 shekels (US $2,600). You fought the price down to 6,000 shekels (US $1,590) and, on top of that, you kind people paid half of that as well. I am so appreciative. Bridges for Peace has brought much joy to my life by helping me in this way.
3Thank you very much. May God bless you with good health and many blessings!
Respectfully yours, Osnat”
In the process of helping Osnat, we got to know Alush Yacov, a specialist in orthopedic belts that allow people like Osnat to sit and be upright. Alush visited us. We shared about our work as Christians in Israel. He was overwhelmed with what Bridges for Peace is doing for the poor and needy in Israel. He had never before heard of Christians who go out of their way to care for and comfort Jewish people. As he was leaving he asked for some of our brochures, saying that it would be impossible to be quiet about what he had seen and experienced firsthand here at our center.
This is just a glimpse into our work. Osnat is one of more than 26,000 touched by the love of our Christian staff members each month. While socialized medicine covers basic medical needs, many items like dental work, medical devices (wheel chairs, braces) and a percentage of the cost of medicine are not covered. Osnat didn’t have enough money to buy food or pay for her utilities. Her monthly income only covered her rent and medicine. By ministering to her, we are fulfilling the call of Scripture to meet the needs of those without assistance—the widows and orphans.
As you repent, as you seek the Lord, as you fast, don’t forget the words of Scripture. Pure religion meets the needs of others. True fasting divides our bread with the needy. As Yeshua said, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matt. 25:40).
Will you join with us to show Yeshua’s love to the people of Israel? Your gift to the needy in Israel will bless God and bless those He loves. Your gift to our Dental and Medical Fund will help us reach out to others like Osnat who suffer alone.
Blessings from Israel,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO