Inside Israel – A Time of Sharing / Part 1


Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel! Today our sis in Jerusalem shares more of what she has been seeing and walking out.  Thank you for reading and praying!  God bless you! Now , here’s she is . . .

Dear Sisters and Brothers, friends,
I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
You who fear the Lord, praise Him!   All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
I wasn’t sure how to start this letter…except in my heart.  As I began to search the scriptures for the words “bless The Lord”, the verses welled up my heart and overflowed, but this one from Psalm 22:23,24 stood out in particular: I declare YOUR Name, Yeshua h’Meshiach, Jesus, in the midst of the assembly of my brethren.  Those who fear The Lord and all of the descendants of Jacob are exhorted to praise HIM.  It is an exhortation to me, and so prayerfully I begin to write in the hopes of glorifying Him, edifying His children, and being a faithful witness of those things and events around me.  Bless The Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His HOLY NAME! 
And that is exactly why I HAVEN’T been writing; I have been stuck in a nasty pity party pit and it is IMPOSSIBLE to be a blessing to The Lord from there…and we are not much good to our brothers and sisters either!  The Lord has forgiven me and I ask you to forgive me too.  I will share more personal stuff at the end of the letter
Yesterday, (Friday) on my early morning trip downtown, I finally found a blessing in connection with the train: It was warm and no one could get on and open a window!  That’s right.  Our ‘train’ is so modern that it has an automatically set ‘climate’ (along with everything else) and no windows that can be opened without a sledge hammer.  Along with everyone else, I was NOT happy about having vehicles with windows that couldn’t open, but this winter I am blessed by them.  I tend to suffer a great deal from the cold.  Added to that our apartment is cold and so is my work place.  I have suspected that one way in which The Lord tries me with this, oh so common scenario:  I have been waiting at the bus stop and am cold.  The bus finally arrives and I get on and…ahhh!  It is warm!  None of the windows are open (atleast not near me) and it is cozy! I am able to sit down and, davka, at the very next stop someone gets on and announces ‘Mah zeh!  Hom meod poh! Ain avir!’ (‘What is this? It is so hot in here! There is no air!’) and immediately they begin to open windows, beginning with the one in front of me. Now I am stuck with not-too-nice thoughts…and the battle is on; flesh vs spirit! Does my ‘nah nah nah’ win out or can I be like Paul and Silas, who must have been pretty uncomfortable bound in jail?  I am sure that we all fight this particular battle.  Funny, but it is one of the few things in our lives over which we really DO have any actual ‘control’: How will we respond to what is in our path. Daily, minute by minute, we have this choice and I continue to fight this battle. I listen to far greater more spiritual brethren discussing passionately the times and the seasons and I am still trying to walk through daily life with His Peace characterizing my every word, action and thought! Kita aleph (grade 1) perhaps, but I dare not move on to the next until I get THIS one down!
The battle of the mind; As I was passing through the shuk last week, a man carrying a huge wooden tray of fresh pita on his head rushed past me.  This is a common occurrence which I usually take no note of anymore, but I was very suddenly reminded of how unique it looked to me…how ‘picturesque’…when we first arrived.  I began looking about me and noticing afresh what people here wear on their heads.  In the Middle East it is often easy to know much about a person’s probable lifestyle by what they have on their heads.  I began to list them: there were kippot’ (the small ‘cap’, ‘beanie’, ‘yarmulke’ worn by religious Jewish men but what stream of practice they follow can be identified by many things: is the kippa ‘knitted’ or is it material? Is it satin or velvet? Is it black or colors? There are religious women with all manner of head coverings, each style also identifying her with her practices.  There are some with scarves, some with hats, some with wigs, and some with turbans.  Moslem women have their style of scarf, tied differently then the way that the Jewish women tie them.  Then there is the keffiyeh that Moslem men wear, the checked head wrap, also distinguishing identity, position and belief by the color of the check and the twined rope used to hold it.  I am not even going to begin to mention beards and hair styles, also prescribed for different groups of both religious Jews and Moslems.  Add to this mix the secular, who often distinguish themselves by proudly shaving their uncovered heads (both in the case of men and women) if being simply uncovered isn’t distinct enough.  I thought about head coverings a great deal during this wonderfully rainy season too, as I noticed afresh one day all of the Haradi men (I neglected to mention them in the ‘hat list’.  They wear black hats…velvet, fur, felt, again identifying much about them…and their hats, being very expensive, are a specially prized possession.) dressed in ‘plastic bags’. Yes, I mean that literally.  When it rains the hats are covered with a plastic bag from the market.  It works…but I was reminded how ‘funny’ it looked to me when I first arrived in the country. I was also reminded of how we used plastic bags in Alaska to line our boots and it was a wonderfully practical addition (particularly to ‘moon boots’) both for dryness and warmth.  I know that many people, when finding themselves suddenly exposed to the weather here, will line their coat with plastic bags.  I have done this myself and realized that it is surprisingly good insulation. 
So much for a ‘winter survival lesson’! 
This began with what was going on INSIDE of my head, where it counts.  No matter what manner of hat we dress ourselves in it won’t change what is in our heads and hearts. Funny…it might ‘identify’ us to one another, but God has eyes that see through all of that. 
It is now 17th Feb…my birthday in the (swiftly aging) flesh and it is a real joy to be spending this time with you!  I want to continue with the thought I left off with last night…about what was going on INSIDE of my head…and I wondered how different we are then those who identify themselves by their ‘head covering’.  What IS ‘my head covering?’ I wondered.  Am I as ‘kind’ as I appear?  As ‘nice’?  As ‘wise’?  As ‘spiritual’? Are these ‘coverings’ or ‘identities’ misleading or announcing me to be someone whom THE LORD does not see me to be when He uses His ‘searchlight’ in my spirit? Wow…that is heavy.  I am reading through both Isaiah AND Jeremiah and tremble when The Lord addresses those who do things in secret and that in the temple!  That is what we are…His temple…and what is done within the secret place of my thought life…am I sure that it is not offensive in there? 
All of this came about from ‘head coverings’. May our heads be covered with grace and filled with minds washed by the water of the Word, letting this mind be in us which is in Him!
your sis in Jerusalem
continued next Sunday . ..
Published in: on February 24, 2013 at 9:02 am  Comments (10)  
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