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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Inside Israel – 15 Jan. 2012 from Jerusalem

Hi and welcome to our Sunday look inside Israel. Today J of Jerusalem shares about her “birthday”,  transportation, and more! God bless you and thank you for your prayers for Israel  and for our sister J!  Now here’s J . . .

The 15th of January is the date that I look forward to more then any other day of the year.  Perhaps it is selfish…but it is my true Birthday…the day of my second birth…birth into Yeshua…birth from the flesh to The Spirit…birth from death into life.  For me today is an alter to the event that began me on this path 37 years ago tonight when The Lord, Whom I didn’t believe in, (although I had NEVER heard His claims…nor the ‘story’, the offer of His Life) stepped into my life which I was about to end by my own hand, and laid claim to me…may I never cease to praise His Holy Name!  THANK YOU LORD!!
So…I’m celebrating this day, most special to me, by writing to you…which is an answer to prayer.  The prayer that I have been praying for the past 3-4 weeks as I was laying these letters out before Him and seeking to know if I were to continue writing them…if they were glorifying HIM Alone…if they were really His will for me to write.  I put them on the alter as He seemed to me to be restraining my hand from writing and examining my motives for writing them.  I believe that He is releasing me to continue writing and I am happy to begin again with this ‘birthday’ letter.
Although the specter of Iran and events in our region hang like a heavy cloud above us, this is NOT the main subject of conversation in Jerusalem right now.  It is the weather…and the public transportation belegan!  The weather is COLD and wet.  The wet is wonderful (although we need it to continue manifold!) but the COLD… is a problem.  Those of you who know where I come from might wonder why it would be any problem for me, or for my family.  Well…where we come from we had warm houses, wonderful wood fires, suitable clothing of fur and skin and down.  Here, the stone houses are quick to retain the cold.  We are not alone in living in an older building with inadequate heat.  We receive central heating from about 3pm until 9 or 10pm, but my morning it is FREEZING in the apartment.  Brrrr!  My boss told me that when he was in the army he asked a friend from Siberia, why in the world the cold bothered him of all people.  He answered ‘Siberia is cold…but nothing like this!’  We agree!  So…the ‘cold’ is the first topic of conversation! ‘Cold!’  comes the comment.  ‘Cold!’ comes the answer.  So we greet one another.
But it isn’t long before we launch into topic number 2…yep…transportation!
It is almost poetic justice that the ‘new system’ was officially cast upon us in total on Friday the 13th.  I will reprint an article below from an English speaking local web site.  English tries to make things user friendly.  If you think that THIS is ‘strange’, you should see the directions in HEBREW!  Have a taste of this with me…pay attention and do try to follow along:
There are significant changes to bus service in Jerusalem effective Friday, January 13, 2012. Click here  to see maps showing the new service pattern.
Jerusalem Bus Map Version 5.0 has been RERELEASED in light of changes to Routes 28 and 39 at Shaare Tzedek Hospital that were not included on the first release
Changed routes: 5, 9A, 12, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21/21A, 23, 24A, 27/27A, 28/28A, 33, 39/39A, 50, 104, 150

Discontinued routes: 24 (see route 14 for replacement service), 26/26A (see routes 9A, 20, 21, new route 24, 24A, new route 26, 27, 27A, 33, new route 69, and the light rail for replacement service)

New routes: 13A, 24, 26, 69 (NOTE: The new 24 and 26 are entirely new routes and have no relation to the routes previously using those numbers)

In addition, the following routes have new numbers, but the routes themselves are not changing:
29 >>>> 54
40 >>>> 36

49A >>> 59 
Ok…did you get that??  OFCOURSE…it turned out that these were only PARTIAL changes.  (please note: I highlighted in yellow the most humorous changes:  there were 5 lines –not just the 3 posted- that did NOT change route…but…just so that no one felt ‘left out’ of the belegan…their NUMBERS were changed, just to confuse you a bit more!  This is really quite a sight!  We all have little, cryptic booklets that were handed out for us to study the changes.  Also…there are maps and signs at every bus stop.  UNFORTUNATELY… none of us can really understand how in the world to apply it all to ‘real life’, so there are confused mobs of people gathered everywhere.  When it gets really bad, we just find a kiosk, sit down and have a cup of coffee until we gather the strength to confront it all again.  There are many creative activities springing up.  On Friday morning I noted that a mentally retarded young woman whom I know from my bus stop, was collecting all of the booklets that people had thrown down.  Today as I stood with her trying to answer the questions of another woman who was completely lost trying to find her way to work, this girl reached in her bag and said ‘Would you like a map booklet?’  She was so pleased to be helpful.  It was really quite resourceful.
But has the lite rail ‘helped’ the situation, you might ask.  Well…let’s see.  One man at work told me that he used to take bus 27 to the hospital.  He now needs to take a bus to the train and then the train to bus 27.  That means instead of waiting for 1 bus he waits for 2 buses and 1 train.  Hum…PLEASE PLEASE do NOT share any of this information with our enemies.  All I can say is thank GOD we are not existing by our own wits, but by the strength and mercy of The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!  Perhaps this whole mess is to help drive us to Him!
Doubtless this is a small thing in the total picture, but in the daily life of Jerusalemites it has proven an exhausting turn of events…including mine.  I have good stories to share, but for tonight I felt to share with you the overview.
Next week the yearly ifi (Intercessors for Israel) prayer conference begins.  This is the one conference that I participate in yearly (as I also attend the Friday morning meetings).  I am usually only able to attend a couple of the conference meetings but this is always so encouraging to me as it is truly a “prayer” conference where we spend much time in prayer and I am greatly encouraged praying with sisters and brothers from around the world.
It is very late now and I must go to bed, but I would like to ask for prayer for our son in law who has been waiting for 5 years for his citizenship.  Tomorrow he has a meeting with the ministry of interior to begin the final stage of his application.  I am asking for prayer that there be no hang-ups or delays and that he is given real and evident FAVOR and a speedy judgment with full citizenship.  Thank you!
I know that this letter is a very awkward one, but it is written with exuberance and love…mostly love toward Him Who calls us, confirms us, equips us, walks with us, conforms us to His Image for His glory, may HE ALONE BE GLORIFED!  And may we be His faithful witnesses.  Lovingly, your sis
ani b’derek
Published in: on January 22, 2012 at 8:51 am  Comments (6)  
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