Archive for the ‘terriorism’ Category

Brothers Divided

Hagar approached Abraham’s tent, Ishmael following after his mother with little concern for what was coming. Abraham had no choice if he wanted to keep Sarah happy. Hagar and his first-born son, Ishmael would be cast out, homeless and destitute in the desert of Beersheba with no promise of a future, and certainly none of the coveted inheritance. It would come through Isaac, Abraham’s second son, born to Sarah. He would receive God’s covenant blessing and favor, and all future generations of the Jewish nation after him. But, the God of Abraham did not turn away from Hagar and Ishmael. He heard her cry, and saw her distress. He would spare them both, provide for them, and through Ismael many nations would be born. (Paraphrased; Genesis, chapter 21 in the Old Testament Bible NIV.)

The above story is true. When I read about Sarah, Abraham, Hagar, Ismael and Isaac I think about the division, hate, and turmoil in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians, and people and cultures of other Middle Eastern countries with the ongoing conflict. One might think that what was written centuries ago and recorded of stories like Abraham’s might be of little consequence to us today. But, what was written back then by those who lived and recorded their stories is relevant to our lives today. It comes back, bigger, more profound. The two most basic things we need most are love and acceptance. They can unite and bind us, but. if we have neither only divide and separate us. The characters in the story below are fictional, but their situation and circumstances could be real. It is not just their story, but one in places all over the world.

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Tel Aviv, Israel – present day

“Why did you wait till now to tell me?”

“Gamal, your father deserted us. I never saw him again after that. I felt shamed, as if it was all my fault. So I left, moved closer to the settlements and just tried to blend in.”

“Like a Jew.”

“I had to find work, to support us…even though…” Sahar said, through her tears.

“Even though you were pregnant with a bastard’s son.”

Sahar shook her head, overcome with the emotion coursing through her like a hot iron.

“What about Sam’s father?”

“I was working in Jerusalem at a shop on Haifa Street when I met him. He was serving in the Israeli army then…At first I wanted nothing to do with him. He was Jewish. He came in often, was kind, and gentle…”

“And he married you.”

“Yes. We were married by a clergyman from another faith, because the Jews would not accept me, nor my people him.”

“So he captivates the pretty damsel, and off they ride into the sunset with her bastard son in tow.”

Sahar screamed at him. “Stop calling yourself that. You’re not! I never thought of you like that.”

“No? But, I was the curse that came with the shame of a sordid love affair with a man from Gaza…”

“We were a family. I tried to raise you both the same. I loved you. I never told Sam’s father anything…about your birth, or father. He accepted you and was willing to raise you as his own. He was not Orthodox so my past was not an issue with him. Then, one day…while on duty…with the military, rockets came. He was out there, trying to pull people from that carnage, but there were…Palestinians out there, shooting at them, and he was hit. He died, soon after.” Sahar’s shoulders shook, her cry intensified with every breath.

“And Sam? What does he know?”

“He only knows about his own father, how we met, how he died. Nothing about yours.”

“Then why tell me now, mother, after thirty years, making me believe I was Jewish, instead of…the son of a Palestinian?”

“Because your ties with Israel’s enemies affect your relationship with Sam, and his position in the army. You are brothers for God’s sake.”

“For God’s sake?” He laughed, sarcastically. “Your God does not care about us.”

“Gamal! What are you saying? The God of Abraham and Isaac is our God! We have no other. He is God to all.

“We come from different people, mother. Or have you forgotten that?”

“I don’t serve Allah!”

“But, I do!” He said, his eyes glaring at her, cold and dark. “Goodbye, mother.”

Gamal! She yelled after him, but he did not listen. He was gone, slamming the door behind him, shutting himself off from her, Sam, and all that he knew.

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

Footnotes: Last year I posted short fictional stories under the title, Acid Rain, the first one under the title of Brothers Divided where Sam, a Jewish Israeli defense officer comes against those in the Arab nations set on destroying the Jewish people and the country of Israel. You can find those stories here. The above story is fiction also, and the prequel to Acid Rain.

He who stands alone to worship

 

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The Sea of Galilee in Israel; Photo taken May, 2001 while touring Israel just four months before the 9/11 attack on the U.S. Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

 

 

The shepherd struggled to his feet. Smoke rose into the sky as winds carried the smell of death and destruction of Bethlehem to the hillside.

The annual  pilgrimage of thousands who came each year to see the place where the Christ child was believed born was only a trickle this year in the wake of all the terrorist attacks.

They are the smart ones, who stay away. The Palestinians did not fear the Jews, or their retaliation to the missiles and suicide bombs, but instead the much darker force of evil who controlled the region destroying and desecrating all historic or religious sites. Like a plague of death their victims fell to their swords, and their black flag now flew over Gaza.

Hassan heard a soft bleat.

One has survived.

He made his way through the carnage to the sound growing weaker with every step and found him half buried under rock and debris carried by the blast. Bleeding, legs broken, but alive his eyes pleaded with silent cries.

As the night grew dark, and now quiet the shepherd tended after the lamb. He supposed the rest of his flock was now dead, or scattered. Like all the nights before when the stars came out he looked up, searching, studying those that never failed to shine their bright light upon the hills of Bethlehem.

A glow penetrated the cave dwelling. A star has fallen!

“Hassan! It is I.”

He shook with fear. Where did that come from!? 

“Hassan, you alone have survived. Don’t be afraid. I will be with you. Worship me, Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ sent to save the world from its sin. I came so that you may have eternal life. Believe only in me, and you will be saved.”

He had no understanding or comprehension of what had just happened, or what he had heard. Yet, a calm came over him, seeping into his very soul. Food and water appeared mysteriously before him. Provisions?

He ate. Taking the lamb he rose and walked to where the destroyed grotto now lay in ruins.

It is only a shrine.

Lifting his voice toward the heavens he cried out. “If I stand alone to tell my story I will tell how you came to save me, and that I live to worship You.”

One by one the scattered sheep came back, compelled by the sound of their shepherd’s voice.

It mattered not that he alone survived the attack, but that he was no longer alone. His time remaining he did not know. He was alive. He had this moment now.

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Footnotes: The above story is only fiction. Thank heaven for that. Literally.  🙂 Bethlehem was one of the places we visited while on our tour of Israel in May, 2001. Although the U.S. has seen much of its own terrorism (the 9/11 attack and the one most recently in San Bernardino, Ca.) and those in Paris and elsewhere I remain very thankful I live in a free country, and can still worship the living Savior who came to this world born of a virgin, went to the cross to die for the sins of this world, and was buried and resurrected so we can have eternal life. The real story (a much happier one) of the shepherds and Jesus’s birth can be found in Matthew and Luke, chapter 2 of the New Testament Bible.

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46 (NIV)

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)    

 

 

Lord, may I reflect

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Lord, may I reflect

a heart of love, full of grace,

and my words a balm

to comfort a hurting soul,

like a refuge and safe place.

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There are times when we are at a loss for words to say, or to help someone when they are overcome with grief and sadness. As the world has watched, and Paris has witnessed the death and destruction from this last weekend’s events we can only stand in quiet, mourning with them in their loss.

We can pray for those surviving these attacks, those who witnessed the carnage and death of friends or family that they will be comforted in their grief, that they will receive the needed support and help as they struggle to make sense of such chaos and confusion. I think to myself, What more can I say or do, but pray for those affected, in Paris or wherever it happens, here or abroad. God can give us a word for one when it is needed; a word or message of hope, encouragement, comfort if we reflect His image of love, trust and kindness in us. But, ultimately above all it is our prayers that count most, because prayer is what changes everything. It can change a heart, a life, a people, a nation, a world and its outcome.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)   


 

 


Acid Rain (Part 5, conclusion)

The plan to neutralize Israel generated by Middle Eastern countries, Europe and the U.S. inside Goliath’s network had worked, their propaganda spreading hate and distrust throughout the world. Israel’s allies and friends pulled their support, creating boycotts, unrealistic tariffs and embargoes, cancelled tours, conferences and events scheduled, all of it designed to decimate Israel’s economy.  They hacked Israel’s communication and broadcast systems by creating a cyber-wall preventing all communications inside Israel from contacting those they counted on for military support.

IDF ground forces positioned themselves along the perimeters of all its borders facing their neighbors to the north, south, west and east of Israel creating barricades. Their central command center monitored all activity, militarily and otherwise in and out of the country using their own inside secure system of communication that was set in place after their recognition of statehood in 1948. The Israeli air force were forced to engage themselves in defensive skirmishes over their territorial air space. Their navy still patrolled the waters to the west on the Mediterranean Sea.

Sam’s unit made their way across Iraq, and into Iran, under deep cover and a dark, night sky with no more than a sliver of light from the moon. It had to be a precise hit, the coordinates exact, no margin for error. When they located the bunker using the Intel they’d received from their sources inside Iran they regrouped and prepared to move in.

With the stealth of a predatory cat Sam moved with his team as if a part of a perfectly orchestrated and choreographed practiced ballet number during rehearsal.

A hand signal and the repeated gesture moved down the line as they approached, wary but prepared for any surprise attack or ambush that would jeopardize the mission. They had only one chance to gain access by taking out all those guarding Goliath’s network inside the heavily protected bunker. With the swiftness of an angry nest of pythons they lunged at their targets taking everyone down by knife or silencer. When they’d secured the outside leaving some of their unit to cover their flanks the rest moved in with quick precision and timing overtaking all those sitting at a command center or watching video feeds on computer screens. When all targets were down the unit commander and techs quickly accessed the Intel on the screens, hacked into the system, then transferred all onto flash drives. Once done they disabled all monitors and computers with their weapons as if at target practice. They left as hurriedly and as quietly as they’d come and once back into Iraq were quickly airlifted out on a military helicopter under the disguise of an Iraqi transport.

The Intel on the flash drives was rushed to Israeli commanders and the PM to be analyzed. It revealed the plan for ‘Israel’s annihilation.’  Iran would never be given the chance to carry it out.

At precisely 5:00 a.m. Israeli time, the Israeli’s launched the first of their own missile attacks on the country who wanted to, ‘wipe them off the face of the earth’ as once quoted. When Iran quickly struck back launching their biggest and most effective nuclear warheads with a range of over 200 kilometers, the ‘Magic Wand’, aka, ‘David’s Sling’ was launched intercepting Iran’s nuclear strike. Israel struck back with their own, ‘David’s stone,’ taking out all of Iran’s capabilities, the uranium enrichment plants, command centers, all military operations, their air force, airports, and bases housing, manufacturing and maintaining all.

The Intel received included a list of all the countries, governments, political or influential names of presidents, kings and prime ministers in Goliath’s network supporting Israel’s complete annihilation, and the plan to carry it out. Those included were the countries of Iran, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, and many others Israel was not surprised to find. What was a surprise was finding one listed near the top; that of the current U.S. president.

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Footnotes: This has been a work of fiction throughout. This is the concluding part. Fiction though it be, prophetic it may certainly be one day if those who don’t stand with Israel as a friend will fall with those who don’t support her, and her right to defend her nation and people. All the previous parts to this story can be found under the heading of Acid Rain with each part posted separately and found in my archives.  “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all people on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:3 (NIV)

Thank you for reading and following. Comments and feedback are always welcome.

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Acid Rain (Part 3)

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Tel Aviv, Israel

 

After the hijacking of the Chinese freighter, Black Dragon security modifications were made on freighter and cargo lines. Swat teams and undercover agents were posted to every ship, cargo and cruise line for all scheduled crossings. The impact was felt in the once friendly skies of air travel, too. Ticket sales were down. Airlines reduced their fares significantly to entice travelers with bargain deals, but people were afraid to fly. Trains were routinely checked and swept for devices, bags, even trash disposed while on board. Railway and Amtrak routes were routinely checked for bombs or devices hidden under or near tracks.

There was no exact number to determine how many active terrorists’ cells were in the U.S., Middle East and Europe, but estimated to be in the thousands, all trained, committed, and devoted to their mandate; to kill any and all not converted or sympathetic to Islam, whether Jew or Gentile, American or otherwise. Educated and highly skilled in chemical, biological and nuclear explosives, experts were brought in to train teams sent out to places wherever opportunity existed, all under the command and ‘head’ of one, known as ‘Goliath’.

They infiltrated themselves into society, many involving themselves in civic or charity organizations, churches, or synagogues. On the surface they were Christian or Jew, purporting to be patriots of their resident country. But, to the soul they were fanatical, committed Islamic jihadists. They spoke fluent English or were fluent in the dialect of their assigned location with no prior foreign accent. Those in the U.S. were in fact born and raised in the U.S. They would martyr themselves for Allah.

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Tel Aviv, Israel

Sam entered the home of his old friend and mentor, Eli. Eli was a retired army commander with the IDF. He shook hands with Eli’s bodyguard and was escorted into his study.

“Samuel, it is good to see you my friend.” Eli embraced Sam, greeting him with the traditional Hebrew kiss on each cheek. “You look good, except for the lines of stress around your eyes. I suspect this is not just a social visit, is it? I see it in your eyes. You have something on your mind.”

Sam smiled. “You know me too well, Eli.”

“Sit down. Let’s talk. I sense your current mission has not been going well. I assume your unit is working with the U.S. teams on this stream of recent attacks?”

“Trying to. But, their American president is none too happy with the way we do things here. It has not been determined for certain who carried out the San Francisco attack and hijacking of the Black Dragon. They cannot find those responsible. Their disappearing act was flawless, no trace, but it stinks of Hamas’s hands all over this. I am not so sure we will have the U.S. support and cooperation much longer with the animosity their president feels toward our PM and Israel. The U.S. administration wants to cut a deal with Iran too.”

“Yes. I know.”

They talked for another couple hours.  When it was time for Sam to leave, Eli said. “Don’t go out the front, the way you came in. Let me take you out through another exit from my home. Where did you park your SUV?”

“Six blocks down and two streets over from here. I was careful, Eli. I don’t think anyone was tailing me.”

“Nevertheless, let me lead you out the back way. Then you can switch back, and get back to your car from there.”

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To be continued…

This is a work of fiction and a continued story with parts 1 & 2 previously posted under the same title, Acid Rain  Feedback and comments are always welcome.

Joyce E.Johnson (2015)

 

 

ACID RAIN

Part 1

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San Francisco Bay – 2:00 a.m., present day

 

The fog in San Francisco can always be counted on to hide things in its hanging mist. Tonight it hung over a freighter in the bay’s recessed pier. But it did not hide all in its shadows.

A guard standing watch at the pier’s receiving station noted its arrival. Moisture clouded the lenses on his binoculars, making it difficult to read the name and markings on the freighter.

He checked the vessel schedule, then lifted his phone to his ear, but never spoke a word. When he turned to a sound behind him a black shape emerged from out of the dark. A small canister thrown at his feet spewed its contents into the room. Before he could get off a shot, the black shape disappeared as fast as it had come.

He raced towards the alarm, but his body felt the heat and sting of the combustible discharge emitted. He stumbled. His face contorted, red and blistered. Tears welled up in his burning eyes. Blood dripped from his nose. His throat and tongue swelled up as if he would choke. Smoke filled the terminal. He had to get out. He couldn’t see anything past the fog like fumes. His lungs felt as if on fire stinging with every breath. Collapsing to the floor, he knew he had only minutes to live.

The killer reappeared on the freighter minutes later.

Unmarked trucks backed up to the receiving dock on pier #94. Men on the freighter wasted no time. They worked methodically making little noise. Gaping doors opened to the empty  trucks and loading began. “Speed it up. We’re running behind. I want those trucks gone when we pull out.”

“Sims? It’s Captain Treadwell from Bay Breeze nine. Do you show a freighter due in tonight? Any ships making late night deliveries?”

“Not that I know of, but wait a second. I’ll look. What’s her name?”

“I can’t find one. Can’t see her markings. Can’t raise a response over the radio either. Seems to have evaded our detection. The guard on duty is not answering his phone.” Captain Treadwell waited.

“Captain? I checked this week’s arrivals and departures. All are accounted for except one.”

“Which one?”

“It’s registered to China’s, Sea Serpent Lines under the name, Black Dragon.”

“Have you made contact with China’s ports about their ship’s delay?” asked Treadwell.

“That’s the weird part about it, captain.”

“How so?”

“Well sir, when we contacted China’s port authority to ask about their ship they said they had no knowledge, or contact. They said it left their port on schedule.”

“OK. Check all incoming deliveries and shipments in the last twenty-four hours. Nothing is to be allowed in or out of port until further investigation. Whatever this freighter was carrying, its been unloaded because it has turned around and headed out to bay. Alert the Coast Guard, DHS, Navy and port authorities. Find out what was on that ship and where it’s been taken. And send your ‘welcome committee’ over to that ship, now!”

“Yes, sir. I’m on it.”

A Coast Guard cutter was dispatched, but it was too late. The freighter exploded sending shrapnel and twisted hunks of steel into the sky.  The sounds of sirens wailed and the port came alive as the terror rained down over the skies of San Francisco Bay.

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To be continued.

This is part 1 with upcoming continued parts. All future and continuing parts will be under the heading and category of, Acid Rain. This story is only a work of fiction.  My purpose in writing this story is not intended to frighten, be prophetic or factual. It is only a story to bring to light what does exist. The terrorist threats to our country, the U.S., to Israel and to others as well. Wishing that every country and its people could be at peace, prosper, get along with the rest of the world without hate, and live in harmony would be a wonderful thing. But, that just does not happen and will not happen as long as evil lurks about in the lives of those who invite it in, and when that happens there is death, destruction and chaos. But, we can turn our eyes and hearts to God in these times and ask that He give us strength, courage and wisdom in all things and to learn how to love others, respect their faith, their culture and all that He blesses.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

 

 

A Country Taken (Part 3, conclusion)

It started with a rumble, a sound like a thousand pair of boots trampling, racing across the compound. The skies erupted with loud claps of thunder.

Suddenly, the roof was knocked off its structure with such force as if smacked by an angry hand. A memory flashed before my dazed brain, and I was a child building my fortress and towers with my blocks. Just as quick someone knocked them all down with one fast swoop. My life was then filled with repeated attempts to succeed at all I tried, only to see all come crashing down like my pile of blocks. Never did I really believe God could think me worthy to love when all I did was fail.

The walls and foundation shook till fissures opened wide to the chaos outside. Beams of light poured in with such intensity it came as a shock to my system having become accustomed to this dark place. The noise grew louder, and closer. Everything happened so fast, and yet I was not afraid. Now, as if looking through a magnifying glass the scene before me became crystal clear.  There was a sense of euphoria, an anticipation as I watched in amazement at the battle being fought before my eyes. The ISIS were dwarfed before an army the size and strength of one I could not even imagine. They stood over ten feet tall covered in armor like polished silver. A ruby cross carved into their breastplate with a jewel-studded gold crown at the top was identical to the one on their drawn swords gleaming like early morning sunbeams. The contingent looked like an international army of ethnic and mixed race from countries all over the earth, reclaiming territory, declaring victory. Their eyes were like diamonds, so bright that the brilliance was too great for one to look or gaze upon. Celestial warriors!

A penetrating heat spread through my body from head to feet, and I knew it was not from the fever. The weakness, fever and pain was gone. The bleeding had stopped. I pulled off my bandage; my wounds and abrasions, healed. Adrenalin and strength returned.

I looked at others around me. All were experiencing the same. The presence and spirit of another in the room with us was so powerful I could hardly stand. As His power was unleashed, so great was the impact, I stood in awe, and I believed. There is a God who loves me and it is His Son who came to set us free. His arms reached out encompassing the whole of our little band of fighters, and we passed through the portico into a new realm.

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This story is a work of fiction, but the truths and message are real. There is a God who loves us, will protect us, fight our battles for us and will never let us down or leave us. The book of Psalms in the Old Testament Bible was written by the psalmist, David, a warrior himself, shepherd boy, king of Israel and slayer of Goliath, the giant. Many times he found himself in danger hunted by Saul, the first king who wanted to kill him, but David stayed faithful, persevered and called on the Lord for help. In Psalm 59:16 it says, “But, I will sing of your strength in the morning. I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” NIV

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

 

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