Inside Israel – greetings with love

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel through the writing of our friend “J” of Jerusalem. Praying you are blessed as you read and pray! Now here’s J . . .

How BEAUTIFUL the rainy season is here!  God has indeed fulfilled His promise in Isaiah 35:1 which says (as you all well know)
 
“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.”
 
The wonderful (NOT ‘comfortable’ but wonderful!) rain is forecast to taper off by evening and we have had a few glimpses of sun breaking through the clouds in the past hour.  I glanced out of the window as the sun beamed down on the trees, grasses and flowers outside and had to catch my breath.  Those of you in climates similar to ours will understand.  Back in the early ‘70s we lived in Northern California half way between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe.  I remember wondering how they could have described the hills as ‘golden’ when it looked to me like brown burned up grass.  Like here, the scorching dry heat of the summer would parch the land and the winter rains would cause it to blossom into breathtaking beauty.  But this area that we live in now really WAS a desert less then 100 years ago!  I have a book that I found when we moved here- a rare collection of photographs of Jerusalem taken over the past 100 years.  Outside of the Old City walls it was all desert.  Camels dotted the landscape which was barren… but now is full bloom!  How faithful He is…ALWAYS fulfilling His Word!
 
I wrote the above several days ago…and here it is raining again!  It seems that we are indeed being blessed (thus far) with a fruitful rainy season which we have needed desperately considering this 8 year drought.  I have not found OFFICIAL reports yet concerning how all of this rain is affecting our water situation.  We tend to be conservative about announcing things like that, but I am hopeful.  The unusually cold weather continues unabated however, so I hear people constantly admonishing people ‘not to grumble’.  Sometimes blessings are not the most COMFORTABLE thing to receive…but we have our historical example of grumbling at the blessing of manna and it is a GOOD LESSON TO LEARN (albeit not easy)…not to grumble, murmur or complain!  (see example below  :-\
 
The ‘meeting’ part of the ifi prayer conference has ended (there is a prayer tour now- this year to our southern border- for those blessed to be able to participate).  I was able to make it to the final morning prayer meeting, but not without trial and testing.  There are still some real problems to be worked out of our new public transportation system…for example; we have two tracks.  One from east to west, and one from west to east (it is sort of a ‘loop’).  I have often wondered what would happen when a train breaks down.  My suspicions proved correct.  I found out as I went to catch the train to that last prayer meeting, congratulating myself at having a good amount of time so as not to arrive ‘stressed’.  Wrong!  The train that was due to pick me up had broken down a few stations above me.  The electric sign said; ‘next train 4 minutes’.  I said to myself ‘Wonderful!  What a blessing’.  After about 5 minutes it moved to ‘3 minutes’ and sped on to 2 and 1 and then said ‘Train now in station’.  We all looked at one another and down the track…nothing in sight.  The station was already packed.  Suddenly a new message flashed on the screen ‘Next train 14 minutes’.  I quieted my ‘quick to enter the flesh’ heart and tried to think of alternatives.  Nope.  Buses have been all but removed from our area and to get across town by bus was either an hour plus ride (once I located one) or an expensive taxi.  I decided to take the time to pray and exercise myself in keeping a quiet heart under pressure.  Dear brothers and sisters…I failed.  The murmuring increased as more and more people jammed the station.  Murmuring, grumbling and complaining are so very contagious!
 
When the train finally DID arrive, there was no room to squeeze on.  It passed.  A new sign flashed on: ‘next train 4 minutes’.  Great!  It arrived, with space.  I even got a seat!  But the test was not to pass so easily.  With just two train tracks, the ‘ill’ train was now in front of us…and not doing so well.  Nothing could pass it, so our entire fleet of trains was now backed up one behind another.  It took an hour and 10 minutes to get to the center of town (I can walk there in 20min!) where I finally was able to get off and take a taxi. 
 
Oh, the healing balm (AND chastisement!) to walk into that meeting where everyone was seeking The Lord!  How I LONG to have the victory of walking through the every day battles with unruffled spirit! 
 
I understood quite awhile ago, that this ‘day to day walk under constant pressure’ was God’s school for me at this season.  As with all of His schools, it is a good one, and He gives us His best teachers to bring us to His desired goal.  I have learned also that 90% victory is not Victory.  Do any of you find this every day walk as challenging as I do?  When I first met Him, among MANY other things that He had to change in me, I was a hermit.  I didn’t ‘do life’ well at all and had totally retreated from people.  I loved to live in the wild and found that people only put pressure on me.  Once I met Him, I LOVED my new found life of worship, prayer and reading His Word, and since I lived in a secluded cabin, a mile from the next human, I was beside myself with the joy of my New Life in Messiah!  One day I was roaming the forested hills singing and worshipping The Lord and I said to Him something to the effect of ‘Lord!  Thank You for letting me live in such a place!  I will worship You forever!’ I was filled with rapture and wonder when He said to me so clearly, with a sad lilt to His Voice; “J__, I did not die for the trees.”  I stopped still in my tracks!  ‘Oh no! PEOPLE!’  The dread of it settled in on me.  I was born in NYC, but from my very earliest memory I hated the noise and frenetic movement of city life.  When I was just six or seven I used to curl up by the radio and listen to “Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, with his trusty dog Yukon King’ and I would dream of the day that I could leave the city and go and live in the Yukon. (Maybe some of you also bought a square foot of territory from him and got your ‘deed’ too?)  I had indeed succeeded in finally fleeing that city that so stifled me and had lived since my very early 20s in the country, (at one point for more then a year on an Indian Reservation with Indians,..AS an Indian).  I knew how to live off the land and was happy with wild meat and eggs from my own chickens.  I would never again live in a city!  That is…until I learned “Not my will but Thine be done!” 
 
In His deep love for me…for each of us…He just will NOT allow me to fool myself into thinking that I have overcome the flesh and am living a victorious life in The Spirit!  He WILL faithfully boil out all flesh no matter how much I kick and scream!  You may THINK that Jerusalem is a ‘spiritual’ place to live (and it IS…don’t get me wrong!) BUT…it is also a great crucible for the flesh! Everything in me that would like to masquerade as ‘spiritual’ is unmasked!  Thank You Lord!  What You begin You also promise to complete.  He does not leave us without HOPE!
 
And speaking of masks, before the Purim holiday that is rapidly approaching, when we celebrate the triumph of God over the enemies of the Jews according to the book of Esther, within the next 2 weeks we get to celebrate  ‘Tu b’shvat’ –  often called ‘the birthday of the trees’.  It is a lovely minor holiday, and although NOT a scriptural command, it’s roots apparently originated in the scripture however, according to the time for tithing certain of the fruit of the land, the fruit and nut bearing trees.  Oral tradition and the Mishna went on to elaborate it, and today in Israel it is celebrated as a day of ‘fruit bearing,’ fruitfulness, and planting of trees.  Students in schools will all be planting trees and people from all over the country go to the national forests and join in the tree planting ceremonies.  There is also the giving of fruit baskets full of fresh, but mostly dried fruit and nuts to one another.  It is a breath of spring in the midst of winter and if it is not rained out (wouldn’t be the first time) it is a lovely day.  The name of the holiday is actually the name of the date according to the Hebrew calendar- (tet vav  pronounced ‘tu’[15] of the month of shvat. In Hebrew that looks  like טייו בשהט )
 
I must go to bed but am so thankful for those of you who do keep us and our nation upheld in prayer, as The Lord lays us on your hearts.  I would like to let you know that our younger daughter continues in the day care program that I had requested prayer for, which seems to be a good one for her…although some days have been quite a crisis here due to the nature of it all.  Thank you so very much for keeping her in prayer!  Our youngest Grandson…our sabra…our first fruit in the land, turns one tomorrow J and their (our oldest daughter) little family seems stable in the midst of the many struggles that they face.  I am so thankful to be able to be a ‘hands on Savta’ (Grandmother) but just pray that my strength holds out.  My health has been borderline, so I would LIKE to say that I am doing fine…I just have a strong feeling that I need to enter into ‘rest’ with more diligence.  My husband will pass the one year mark since his heart attack in another week and he is doing well, although I think neither of us expected that growing older would present this many challenges…hum…I’m sure SOMEONE told us! 
 
You have no idea how much your prayers and friendship and encouragement means to us.  May The Lord be glorified!  Lovingly, your sis in Jerusalem
ani b’derek


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Published in: on February 5, 2012 at 8:42 am  Comments Off on Inside Israel – greetings with love  
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