Greetings, DEAR Brothers and Sisters, in The Name of Yeshua. May He be blessed and glorified, and may you be blessed!
As significant events seem to run faster and faster, does it seem to you (as it does to me) that The Lord is calling us to ‘the quiet’ of His Presence more and more? It is almost as if He is giving ‘practice drills’ of entering into the safety of The Rock, as practice drills take place around us. And surely there can be nothing more urgent then knowing how to respond, even ‘automatically’, when the crisis suddenly appears…and it most certainly will appear ‘suddenly’ as we are told over and over again in the scriptures.
In the natural too, practice drills have been abundant lately, in this fiery Middle East. We are still in the midst of major ones, as a matter of fact. You probably know that Israel and the US are carrying out massive joint exercises this week which include all streams of armed forces from both here and America. While those are going on, we have had our first ever nationwide earthquake preparedness drill, with the aid of experts from other countries. And if those two sets of drills with all of their sirens and airplanes aren’t enough, a number of specialized ‘intensive volunteer emergency ‘courses have been taking place (several of you that I know of have been here participatingJ). These are really amazing programs as a large percentage of the volunteers are born again Christians from the nations! These are people who volunteer to come and help in Israel in case of national emergency, thereby freeing up other emergency professionals for the battle stations. Some of these training programs are for professional (medical, fire fighting and the like) while others are simply for the willing and able bodied who will offer themselves where ever needed. These people amaze the country, offering their time at their own expense, knowing that they would be called upon in the most dangerous situations. What a witness!
So this is what has been going on in ‘post holiday’ Israel; emergency preparedness. Simultaneously, The Lord has been faithfully waking me in the night and calling me to Himself and to His Word. How wonderful when The Holy Spirit takes up the sharpening stone and sharpens us!
Along with the personal sharpening (and yes, ouch! It can hurt!) He has been marvelously opening doors for me that have remained shut for so many years here…the doors of boldness and sharing.
I had a rather extraordinary exchange at work this past week with a man of renown in the Jewish world, and I’d like to share it with you. Feldheim /Pomerantz book company is a very old one which (perhaps 100 years?) is one of the cornerstones in the production of Jewish holy books, scriptures, prayer books as well as books on every topic of concern in Judaism. The company is established both in America and Israel. Mr. Feldheim is one of the patients at our office. He was born in America but made aliyah 51 years ago. He is an authoritative Rabbi whose advice is sought around the world. I would have never dared, in the natural, to challenge him!
The Lord has His mysterious and surprising ways! I asked Mr. Feldheim about a particular edition of an interlinear Hebrew English book of Psalms that I was looking for and our conversation took some very interesting turns. ‘Psalms! It is an almost impossible book to understand…the words are so hard to grasp.’ He said to me. I was surprised…and even more surprised when I blurted out ‘Do you really think so? Why I find that it speaks right to my heart and flows like fresh water.’ He was surprised and followed with this story; Many years ago (perhaps 100? From what he insinuated) Mr. Pomerantz was asked by a Southern Baptist Church to come to a service for the express purpose of reading Psalm 137 (“If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning…”) to them in Hebrew. They longed to hear it in the Hebrew language. Mr. Feldheim continued ‘As he began to read it, the entire congregation burst out weeping and could not stop…just hearing the Hebrew!’ Mr. Pomerantz was so deeply moved when they explained how the Psalms spoke directly to their hearts, the Heart of God.’ I smiled ‘Yes, this is how I feel as well. I am very surprised that you do not.’ I am not sure how our conversation took so many turns, it was quite fast moving, but at one point I bemoaned the fact that so many streams of Judaism forsook the Scriptures and he challenged me. I told him that my own beloved brother in law is a rabbi, and yet does not believe in God, but believes in Judaism. He asked me what other areas I thought Judaism was departing from scripture. Our words seemed to be moving in a dream and I was not choosing what I was saying. Things that I wasn’t thinking of were coming out of my mouth; “Jewish yoga!” I said. ‘This is a contradiction of terms and yet it is being taught all over! The scriptures expressly speak against going to the East and embracing their religious practices, and yet we justify it.’ He thought and nodded reluctantly in agreement. ‘And what about HALIBUT!?’ I asked him. ‘What do you mean?’ he wanted to know. ‘Well, I have brought this up with many rabbis. Halibut have no gills and no scales and the scriptures say that only fish with gills and scales are kosher. Rabbis have told me that the day they are born they have gills and scales and so that is enough. I am from Alaska and I have NEVER seen a halibut with gills and scales, nor a new born halibut…which we wouldn’t eat anyway! How can this be justified when it is so simply stated?’ Suddenly Mr. Feldheim became very angry with me and his voice rose; ‘Who do you think you are? You are exalting man’s reasoning over the truth of God!’ To my absolute shock I heard myself say ‘No! It is our traditions that have exalted themselves over God’s simple Truth!’ Who said that? ‘You dare question the sages of history?’ he retorted. My answer taught me ‘No, Mr. Feldheim, I wouldn’t dare, however I believe that God KNEW from the very beginning (it is written!) that we would sin and be dispersed around the world, and that is WHY God set down the law so very very SIMPLY…so that the most SIMPLE of us could understand it and find our way back to Him and please Him even from the very ends of the earth! He made it simple and NOT complicated…because He loves us!’ Silence. My heart was strangely quiet as well. He looked down and said quietly; ‘You have a point…yes…you have a point.’ At that moment He was called in for his appointment and I left work before he came out from the doctor. I believe that our interchange was significant. Please pray for this very influential and yet gentle and humble man. May he, who really does love The Word, find The Living Word and embrace Him Who will lead the simplest or the most complicated of us into ALL Truth if we love The Truth.
So yesterday I had an appointment. The train stop was unusually crowded. I groaned, dreading being trampled and smashed for the third time in the same day. A sign flashed on the overhead ‘Expected delays for the next train. We apologize for the inconvenience.’ This is a very common occurrence. I waited another 10 minutes and crossed the street thinking perhaps the bus would come. We USED to have many buses there, but now just one. 20 more minutes…no train and no bus. Restless crowds gathered at both stops. I was late. Reluctantly I flagged down a taxi. I don’t take taxis often, only when absolutely necessary, but when I got in, this driver looked very familiar…could it be? He turned to me ‘I know you!’ he smiled. ‘Yusuf!’ I smiled back. ‘Wow! You remember my name?’ How could I forget! I had fallen in love with this young Israeli Arab man when our older daughter had an emergency and I had to run out to the moshav where she lived and babysit. Since she lived out of town it was a pretty expensive drive, but through beautiful country and it had afforded us a good half hour to get acquainted. I remembered that Yusuf was just 19 years old and one of about 12 kids living out in a small Arab village. I thought that he was Christian, but he was from a Moslem family and yet he LOVED Jews and loved being Israeli. He also loved peace and life. He had such a sweet spirit and we got along famously. He showed me a picture of his Jewish girlfriend and bemoaned the fact that they couldn’t marry. He said that he just wished we could all be happy and have a good life. I LIKED this kid. I shared a great deal about The Lord with him, as he could handle. We parted with a special ‘very warm feeling’ for each other. Here he was again and we were like long lost friends! ‘I can’t believe it is you!’ he said. ‘Do you know what? The last time that I met you was the best day of my life! Really! I not only made more money then I ever did that day but I was so happy all day and everyone was nice that day! I told all of the other drivers about you.’ I reminded him right away that it is ALL because of Jesus, and told him that I had prayed for him. I don’t think that my ‘witness’ has gone very deep, but there is such a sweet connection between the two of us…and well…the ‘chances’ of meeting the same driver TWICE (considering that I so rarely take a taxi and took his from two different areas of the city) makes me suspect that The Lord has a larger plan. So can I ask you to please also pray for this young man as well, that he also will meet his Lord and mine?
I was going to include a personal update with this email, but it has gotten way too late and too long. I will try to do that perhaps separately tomorrow. The Lord is so very faithful, even (or perhaps, especially) in these uncertain days full of personal crises of all sorts. Even with earth shaking changes going on around us…still softly He comes and speaks.
You have no idea how I miss each one of you! God BLESS you! Your sis