Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Tag

He who stands alone to worship

 

032814_0437_TheGalilee1.png

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.

___________________

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)

_________________  

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)    

 

 

Lord, may I reflect

DSCN0192 (2)

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.

____________

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.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)   


 

 


Two brothers, two nations, and what divides them

She was hated by one, yet loved by another; the God of the father of her illegitimate child. The Egyptian maidservant approached his tent with trepidation.

Abraham didn’t want to do it, but he had no choice if he wanted to keep Sarah happy. Hagar and Ishmael would be cast out, homeless and destitute, they set out alone in the barren wilderness with no promise of a future, and certainly none of the ‘promised inheritance.’ That was reserved for Isaac, Abraham’s legitimate son and rightful heir to the Jewish nation of God’s chosen to inherit His coveted blessings.

Hagar could not bear to watch Ishmael die, the first-born son of a Jewish father. There was not enough food to sustain them both, so she chose to die, so he could live.

Was it an omen of things to come, a future not yet prophesied? She gave him what was left of the rationed bread, then walked away alone to die. But, the God of Abraham did not walk away from her. He heard her cry, and saw her tears. He spared them both, and the Palestinian nation was born. But, their God was not the God of Abraham.

This story is not fiction, but true. The bible does not give the date and time of this historical event which separated two brothers, and divided a family. Yet, each of these two boys would lead their own to the creation of two cultures and two nations living side by side. It was hate then that sent her away, and it is hate today that divides them still.  

But, although Abraham and Sarah made mistakes then there were other decisive moments later that proved and tested the faith and strength of a man obedient to God who was willing to sacrifice his beloved legitimate son, Isaac on an altar to God. But, God stayed his hand in time before Isaac was slain. A transition and period of time in between events shows Abraham’s strong character and maturity changing forever the direction of his life, his descendants’ lives and ultimately the destiny of Israel’s.

Today, centuries later we see still the turmoil and unrest in the Middle East as reports come almost daily of terrorist’s acts, missiles and rockets fired at Israel, and new threats of war as tensions rise and Iran promising the destruction of Israel, a country blessed by God since its creation. There is no ‘deal’ or treaty that will work to stay the hand of a country like Iran that seeks to destroy another.  

It is not just the prophetic events that unfold before our eyes, but the same hatred and animosity that has prevailed since Abraham’s time. We can pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the Middle East, even the world, but unless the tide of hate turns, and evil is eradicated completely there will always be those who bear the kind of hate and evilness that wishes only to destroy life, not preserve it.    

You can find the stories of Abraham in Genesis, chapters 21: 1-20, and 22:1-14. of the Old Testament, NIV

_______________

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.

_______________

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)

Posted April 15, 2015 by Joyce in Fiction, Flash Fiction, My Writings

Tagged with , , ,

Acid Rain (Part 4)

Tel Aviv, Israel

A loud roar echoed through the dark, narrow passageway deep beneath the floor they’d just descended, the reverberations of missile attacks pitching them against the walls. Sam threw himself over Eli shielding him from what sounded like explosions of incoming missile attacks. Walls shook. The floor above them cracked, split in places weakening the ceiling structure. The sound of windows breaking and furniture knocked about could be heard as volleys of shells were heard exploding in the skies.

“It is what I feared.” Eli said, his voice muffled under Sam’s weight as he tried to regain voice and composure.

“What?”

“I had a premonition…of something coming, from a dream I had. This is just a forewarning.”

“From Iran?”

“Yes. God wants to prepare us for the onslaught that is coming. It is time for Israel to ready, ‘David’s sling.’”

“What do you know about, ‘David’s Sling?’” Sam said.

Eli smiled. “I have my sources, Sam. I may be a retired IDF general, but am still in the ‘know’.  The U.S. president could save himself another embarrassing calamity if he would stop declaring accolades to come out of this lame deal of his. He can’t expect to slow or stop Iran’s uranium enrichment production.”

They donned gas masks and made their way up the steps into the interior to assess the damage of Eli’s home. A part of the roof was blown off. Clouds of black smoke hung like an angry pall over Tel Aviv. The time froze on a grandfather clock, its pendulum stilled at 3:48 p.m., the eve of Shabbat. Lights flickered, then went dark. Glass shards from broken windows, lamps and vases lay scattered through the house from the impact.

When they’d made their way through the mess to the outside they saw traffic lights knocked out, dangling from poles where cars crashed or careened into other vehicles, people or objects. Drivers were slumped over their seats from the impact, doors flung open. Fires erupted. Gas and oil tanks exploded spewing contents released by the blasts. People scurried for cover, pulling gas masks free from bags or totes carried, as common as a jogger with his water bottle.

“Those missiles came from the east.” Sam said, looking at the tails of white plume.

Eli nodded. “Iran. To think those puppets sat around a conference table trying to appease the world’s superpowers when Iran and the Ayatollah had already decided our fate.”

Sam pulled out his cell phone, and tried calling his commander. There was no signal. He checked messages. “They’ve blown out our cell towers, and communication satellites.”

Eli tried unsuccessfully to reach emergency military operations on a command communication device.

“Internet service, power and wireless; all of it, knocked out. They’re trying to isolate us. I’ve got to get back to my unit.”

“I’m coming with you. I’m re-enlisting myself, voluntarily.”

As they made their way through blocked and crowded streets they saw the injured, the dead and the destruction so great Eli knew where he was needed most.

“Sam, go ahead. I am going to stay here, and help with the injured and the…diseased. Go. God speed. Be the soldier Israel has trained you to be.”

They embraced, each with their own thoughts, not wanting to express aloud their concerns.

_____________

This is a continued story, part 4 of 5 parts. Comments and feedback are always welcome. Parts 1-3 can be found under the heading of, Acid Rain.,   Acid Rain, Part 2,   and Acid Rain, Part 3

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

Posted April 9, 2015 by Joyce in Fiction, Flash Fiction, My Writings

Tagged with , , , , ,

Acid Rain (Part 3)

Scan_20150324 (2)

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.

__________________

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.”

__________________

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 2)

Present day – San Francisco, Ca., U.S.A.

Boom! Bang! Swoosh!

People watched, their eyes fixed on the skies, waiting and expectant for each explosion of color that mushroomed in the sky. Huge spheres of dazzling light fell like ribbons cascading to the ground. They cheered, clapped and celebrated. Short minutes later small rockets became chemical weapons exploding after launch emptying their contents on victims as they succumbed to their fate. Not until the first victims went down did anyone suspect something had gone terribly wrong. The ground turned white, smoldering from the burning hot ash. Those closer to the impact lay writhing, screaming from the pain. Their flesh and hair burned from the falling ash raining from the smoke-filled skies. Victims with their eyes shrinking back into red swollen sockets, stinging with pain stumbled as they tried running from the horror. Shrapnel embedded into skin and scalp became deadly darts of death as the poison imploded.

______________________

Tel Aviv, Israel

Sam laid in bed, asleep as the images swirled about in his head.  Subconsciously his hand went to his sweating brow, eyelids twitching. His eyes snapped open. He laid, staring up at the ceiling fan’s blades turning quietly, above him. But, he could still see the images. Because they never went away.    

Now qualified for special op missions, he served with a recon team, given the name, DAVID, for Defensive Arms Validating Israel’s Directives by their Orthodox Jewish general who believed David from Old Testament times was empowered by God. Under David’s rule as commander, and king of Israel they won wars with enemies twice the size or strength of the Israelites. Most memorable was their victory over the Philistine army giant, Goliath that came against Israel when David was a mere shepherd boy. But, theirs was a new kind of army, today; one that counted on the stockpiled arsenal they’d built up, but held back from using. Until now.

“Sam! Grab some coffee and bagels, and take a copy of the brief. We’ve got a lot to cover. You look washed out. Get enough sleep?”

“Yeah. Sure. I’m on adrenalin overload, you know?” His team members laughed.

“OK, let’s get started. Here’s what we’ve got so far.” Jon, their team leader briefed them for the next two hours as they went over all the latest intelligence reports concerning their unit and their mission.

When rocket fire erupted again over Israel the Jewish state responded swiftly with a more aggressive counter strike to the Palestinians’ refusal to disarm and honor a cease-fire agreement.

There was little empathy for Israel when they destroyed much of the West Bank in Gaza. Anti-Semitism was on the rise, everywhere. But, the U.S. administration promised to remain supportive.

Many of the old Hamas would not agree to any peace negotiations. They wanted only the destruction and annihilation of Israel altogether, much like Iran, so Hamas joined their larger, more organized terrorists’ cells active in Europe, the Middle East, even the U.S. They recruited pro-Islamic and pro-Palestinian fighters from all over. Although many countries, including the U.S. waged their own war against ISIS it was only a part of a much larger terrorist organization now operating under one, known as, ‘Goliath.’ The smaller factions under Goliath competed for control in their own regions.

Sam served with the task force in Israel who hunted for, ‘Goliath’s Head.’ With the increased terrorism globally the U.S. and Israel would now come together as one, against Iran where they believed ‘Goliath’ operated.

“The U.S. teams have confirmed the recent rocket attacks in the U.S. are related, and the result of the shipment of arms or bombs that were on the, Black Dragon. None of that shipment has yet been found, located, nor the ones involved, apprehended. The U.S. team believes they wanted to hit the U.S. because of their support for us.” Jon said.

______________

To be continued…

This story is only a work of fiction.  Part 1 of Acid Rain was previously posted. 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 finds a home and lurks about in the lives of those who invite it in, and when that happens there is death, destruction and chaos. But, if we turn our eyes and hearts to God in these times and ask that He give us strength, courage and wisdom in all things and show us how to love others, and those whom He blesses He will bless us.   “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)

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

%d bloggers like this: