Inside Israel – Bits and Pieces, Part 1




Hi and welcome to another look inside Israel!  Today in part one, our sis in Jerusalem shares what was going on  there right after Easter.  Thank you for reading and praying!  God bless you!  Now, here’s our sis . . .

Greetings dear sisters and brothers in Yeshua, HE HAS RISEN INDEED and I pray that He will use each of you (us) that has this precious Gift and understanding contained in earthen vessels to glorify Him in whatever way He leads, for fruit in His kingdom!
SO…This special day, the commemoration of the most pivotal and important event in all history, the resurrection from the dead of Yeshua, our Savior, has pre-empted the letter that I had already begun (ever so slowly) to write to you.  I will share it as a ‘second part’ although it was written first, but today is fresh in my mind and heart. 
Today is Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, and also the last day of Pesach is settling upon us as the sun begins to go down.  Can you imagine the amount of intense spiritual activity in this city!  Whew!  May The Lord ‘condense’ my words to an acceptable portion… perhaps you would like to read this letter in parts. 
This morning very early I found myself reading the last chapter of each Gospel, and I suddenly remembered hearing some Jewish theologian being interviewed on the news several nights ago, concerning ‘how the new Pope would be affecting Jewish Christian relations’.  Perhaps you remember that I have explained that Jews are generally as confused about Christian denominations as Christians are about Jewish ones.  I listened as this esteemed ‘expert’ explained in detail how ‘The church used to accuse the Jews of killing Jesus based on one erroneous verse in the writings of Paul, but that was changed through a church edict during [one or another] a convocation some time ago…and all is still ok.’ I ‘felt’ a ‘collective sigh’ among the Jews.  ‘Whew!  THAT blood libel is past!’ I didn’t pay much attention but it stuck in the back of my mind and came flooding in this morning.  A number of years ago I studied the scriptures in depth to know how to answer people on this question and I saw, beyond a doubt three things; 1) that we the Jews, our leaders, demanded His crucifixion, 2) the Roman soldier carried it out and 3) NO HUMAN HANDS TOOK HIS LIFE…but that He laid it down at the command of His Father, and as He came to do.  I also saw that it HAD to be through the Jewish priests that The Lamb of God was chosen and killed for the sins of the world …because this was how the sacrifice for sin was prescribed in the law by God!  As I studied these things, I was amazed at the intricacy of the plan and also amazed at the sheer amount of scripture speaking directly to this subject!  In other words, the scriptures leave no doubt that He laid down His life for us…chosen of Abba Father for this very purpose…and He again took up His life – with the lives of His followers wrapped in His!- as He said He would!
So…as I thought about this theologian speaking so authoritatively on our news, and how many people listen and believe what they hear, and how often these ‘untrue truths’ are spoken, I again had to worship Him that His Name is TRUTH and that He offers us unmixed TRUTH…if we will hear; “Let him who has ears hear…”  Dare I share that I am of the opinion that TRUTH is being sacrificed ever so quickly with the rapid advent of technological communication, delivering to our itching ears ‘comments’, ‘sermons’, articles (yes, this one too.  PLEASE NEVER take ‘my word’ as ‘authority’! I try to be faithful witness to what I see.  Period.) and films at the expense of the revealed Word of God read through in context with The Holy Spirit as our teacher, and under whatever spiritual authority God Himself has lead us to sit under, according to His order?  This means so much to me for two reasons: first, I live in an area that is the subject of wide spread lies told over and over again until they are believed;  and secondly  because before I was saved I did not believe that there WAS ‘Truth’.  I thought that everything was relative and subjective.  When I met The Lord and He showed me that very first night that there was absolute Truth, my life was overturned!   I want that Truth, even if it slays my most beloved ‘thought’ and ‘premise’.  But it must be HIS Truth…which is first of all MERCIFUL.  He is so patient and kind with us as He turns our hearts in His Hands as on a potter’s wheel.  How incredibly PRECIOUS is that balance between Merciful Patience and Truth!  ONLY by His Holy Spirit can we handle Truth mercifully! 
So I followed my husband this morning to the 5:30 train as we made our way to the Garden Tomb, near the Damascus gate of the Old City, for the sunrise service that I have described to you in years past.  It is mostly attended by people who come and visit from the nations around the world and perhaps some of you watched it broadcast this morning.  Even after these years, it seems so strange to watch the some 1,500 worshipers make their way there and back again amidst the crowds going to work and about their daily tasks.  I suspect that it was the same way on the day when He arose…that life went on as usual through out much of the city…that silently He came into the world, born in a manger and noticed by shepherds and a few old people, Simeon and Ana… And silently He meets each of us, ‘alone’… one by one…called to Him.  But we are called NOT to be silent.  May each of us be sent from our knees to those whom we pray for, and may we bare fruit 100 fold for His kingdom! 
We have been so very blessed by the presence of old (and new) friends from Alaska this year, and we joined them for (a FANTASTIC!)  breakfast that they hosted.  We were doubly blessed that our dear friends and my prayer partners were with them also for breakfast, and soon the morning turned into a deep time of reflection and learning. Again the issue of TRUTH presented itself as my friend shared the fact that the popularly held ‘view’ in the church of an upcoming ‘Joshua generation of young people’ was based on error; just how old was Joshua?  Considering that he wandered in the wilderness for 40 years AFTER he had been one of the 12 spies, and THEN stepped into the shoes of Moses…he was at least 80 years old!  I had never thought of that and I was so thankful to have my eyes open!  May The Lord open our eyes to what is good and true!  Our friends who had been here on tour were asked ‘What had most struck them about their time in Israel.’  These were all first-time visitors.  Oh how good it was to hear their answers for me as it reminded me of things that I now take for granted.  One spoke of how surprised he was at the proximity of Jew and Arab…Jewish village and Arab village across the street from each other…joined by the same road; how very tiny the country is and how (as they went to the borders) we are so closely surrounded (within and with out ) by those seeking to destroy us.  Another mentioned that ‘This was the Bible!’ and that it just brought the Bible to life.  A third spoke of the intermingling of spirit and flesh in every day life…that spiritual things are ‘naturally’ a part of everything…that tour guides quote the Bible, as do signs on buildings etc.  Another spoke of the desert blossoming… how the land is so productive and green.  Another spoke of the peace…the lack of fear…the peace in the people.  These and more observations served to remind us of what has become every day life.
So, with that still in mind, as we drove home thorough a MONSTER traffic jam, my husband and I tried to look at the city through new eyes…as we saw it when we had first arrived…and it WAS FUNNY!  One of the things that we had forgotten (became used to) was the traffic signs.  They are NOT ‘normal’!  At any given corner, cross walk, or simply for no reason in particular, there are strange and confusing cacophony of signs giving you ‘directions’…each one meant to ‘clarify the other’.  Picture (if you can) a stop light with red, yellow and green, and a ‘caution’ light blinking.  Over the stop light there are THREE separate signs: a left hand arrow, a right hand arrow with a line through it, and two double arrows going straight…but in opposite directions.  UNDER the stop light is a U turn arrow with a line through it.  Next to the caution sign is a yield sign and in the midst of it all (just to make sure) there is a ‘STOP’ sign.  Oh…and a ‘do not enter’ sign as well.  We have become used to these signs but at the BEGINNING?  OY!!  Today we decided that they are that way because they are designed by people who use A LOT of words…then trying to translate into signs.  You really have to see it to believe it.  We looked with fresh eyes at people talking on 2 cell phones…at the same time; at Moslems in traditional dress, religious Jews in traditional dress and secular people having picnics side by side, their kids playing together.  We laughed again at drivers alone in cars waving their arms at WHOEVER they were talking to on their phones as they drove.  It was fun to be reminded of how much we have adapted to culturally.   
___with love, your sis________________________________________________ 

Inside Israel – Notes With Love

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today!  I hope you don’t mind as this letter is from April 8.  J of Jerusalem shares about her Resurrection Day experiences there with family and friends.  God bless you today as you worship and pray!  Now here’s J . . .


Halleluyah!  He is risen INDEED…alive, and expressing His Life still!  May He be glorified and blessed as each of us follow Him according the calling with which He has called us to Himself, and may you be blessed and encouraged!
It is Passover, and it is also the day that the Resurrection is celebrated.  Our family has been confronted with some huge changes over this past month, and as I prayed concerning our path, I felt firmly impressed to invite my husband to come to the sunrise service in the Garden Tomb this morning.  This is unusual for a number of reasons.  For one, I was not planning to go, but even more so, my husband has not been walking with The Lord for a number of years and, were it NOT The Lord, I was really risking some ‘backlash’ by asking.  (those of you in similar situations may understand)  My husband accepted the invitation and I was further impressed to call a couple whom we love dearly, (they were elders in our fellowship when we attended as a family) and they also surprised themselves and accepted.  So, 5:30 this morning found us waiting for the first train to arrive.  Passover is a ‘high holiday, one of the three prescribed ‘pilgrim feasts’ when all of Israel is commanded to come up to Jerusalem and present ourselves to God there (here).’  The inbetween days (the week between the first sedar and the final sedar) are called ‘col h’mo’ed, and although children are off from school and many places of business close down or operate ‘half time’ they are also normal working days for many others (me included.  I work tomorrow).  This first train was already pretty full of sleepy workers heading off to their jobs…we felt like infiltrators!  The garden tomb is located near the old city toward the east, and we got off train at Damascus gate and walked,  joining throngs that seemed to appear from nowhere, streaming in through the narrow stone opening to the garden.  Over the entry to the tomb itself is the sign that reads “He is not here-He has risen”, and that is why we had gathered!  If it were NOT for the empty grave, the triumph over not ‘only’ sin, but death, our salvation would be questionable…but it is sure!  Death does NOT have the final word…does not have the victory…and is not a door closing after us, but a door opening!  Halleluyah!  We sat and stood and sang and prayed with people representing more then 60 nations, faces shining, listening to the message of Life, and as the birds sang their morning song and the leaves and flowers were bursting open, I saw again, the stirrings of THE SPIRIT at work in my family and I was encouraged to remember that there simply IS no mountain too large for Him.  He IS God over EVERY situation!  I want to encourage you as you encourage me.  Isn’t that how it is: we press on encouraging one another. 
We left the service and enjoyed coffee with our friends, speaking of the way that The Lord has brought our families.  We kept stopping to greet friends and neighbors and my husband commented on how many friends we have made in the nearly 18 years since we arrived.  We moved on from there to have breakfast with Alaskan friends, here for a tour and visit…and again we were ministered to as a family, hands and arms strengthened, hearts encouraged.  So many verses run though my mind.  I think of my life ‘before’ and how ‘fellowship’ like this was perhaps THE most prominent part of our daily lives.  Since coming here and working in the world as well, fellowship is so rare, so precious, a true gift.  I am more thankful then I can express!  I was very interested to hear our Alaskan friends share their impressions after their first tour of Israel (for most of them).  A number of them felt the ‘pressure’ here, and the ‘urgency’ of life. We were so encouraged through the ministry of the body to us! 
And before we knew it we were out on the street again.  Pressing our way back to the apartment through traffic I remembered ruefully that I must work tomorrow.  Reluctant to enter into the ‘fast lane’ again, I tried to savor the richness that the day’s fellowship had brought to me and the nurture the newly rekindled spark glowing in my husband.  A neighbor knocked on the door to borrow some matzo meal…I had to run to the store for something to put in my lunch for tomorrow.  Keeping the gifts from The Lord can only be done through pouring them out, and I must do that in the morning…go back on the bus and the train; answer the phones at work, may I do it with the grace given to me, although I am reluctant to and would rather just stay here and savor them. 
Well, perhaps this is not a very ‘inspirational Resurrection note to you’, but who am I anyway except a friend who speaks from her heart, and this is me, speaking from my heart to my friends.  Thank you for being one in the body for His kingdom that really IS eternal!  And, oh yes…I did see the tomb today and it IS empty!  Lovingly, your sis.
ani b’derek
Published in: on April 15, 2012 at 6:16 am  Comments (8)  
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Inside Israel- to those who “do” and those who “don’t”

“Hi!” and welcome to a look inside Israel. Today J of Jerusalem shares about how He has the power to rent the veils of traditions. I hope and pray this encourages you in your faith. God bless you and thank you! Now, here’s J . . .

HE IS RISEN, INDEED! (I am in Jerusalem, and I am living proof…trying to be a living witness to that fact here among my people)

When we left ‘the old country’ more then 16 years ago now, the traditional holidays were evolving among many (not all) ‘real’ Christians. It was happening spontaneously all over the country and in other countries as well as some tender souls became saddened by the commercialization of some traditions and often an exposure of ‘roots’ of traditions that didn’t fit the way they wanted to express their love for The Lord, for their wonder at His birth and resurrection. I know that many of you no longer celebrate them in the traditional ways, AND, that others (EQUALLY AS SPIRITUAL) do…so it’s funny, but I find myself ‘torn’ by wanting to wish those of you who ‘DO’ the blessing of finding HIM in the midst, and perhaps a way to share…while not ‘offending’ those who DON’T. WHEW! Did you follow that??)

Now… I, personally, do NOT celebrate them according to tradition, but because my husband has deep roots in some of those traditions (and currently NOT deep roots in Him Who it is about), I look to Jesus who “A bruised reed shall He not break and a smoldering flax shall He no quench; He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” Isa 42:3

All of that said… it is always a TOTAL WONDER in me that certain days have been set aside to recognize HIS miraculous, silent, birth…and HIS triumph and victory over death and the grave! Much of the world ‘stops’ … and some people are curious and others people, like my husband, are just a bit more tender at that time…what an opportunity!

With all of that in mind, I rose early and read the last chapter of Luke before waking my husband. I doesn’t matter WHAT day I read the last chapter of Luke…it is ALWAYS full of wonder! Since my husband’s heart attack he leaves the house at about 6:30 to get to rehab for exercise by 7 and be back to work by 9. Since I don’t work on Sun, I went with him today (in vain) HOPING that PERHAPS he would agree to go to the Garden Tomb after rehab since it is ‘along the way’ and I was hoping it would stir him. While I waited for him at rehab, I was confronted by the ‘silent’ tv screen. It was a Christmas movie. Humorously, many of the movies on tv this week were Hollywood versions of Christmas. I was saddened by how totally secular it appeared to be. Still thinking about that, after rehab I went to the shuk, since today is a ‘duel holiday’ (I love when that happens!) – the last day of Pesach and once again a festive meal will usher in a full day of rest. As I said ‘hag semach!’ to so many vendors and fellow shoppers, I could picture their joy at learning ‘He is risen indeed!’ and pray that day would be soon.

HOWEVER…something struck me on the bus. Two young women sat in front of me, either tourists or foreign students from the west. They were happy and I was wondering if they came from the Garden Tomb, or another early morning service. As they got up to leave I saw that one was carrying a bag of meat and the other, without a bag, two loaves of bread. It stood out starkly at the culmination of Passover. First of all, because she didn’t have the bread in a bag…but mostly because it was ‘bread’. It is Pesach and there is no bread available in the Jewish part of Jerusalem… and it is an offense to most people to see it during this time when Exodus 12:49 says “One law shall be to him that is home born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you”. It actually has the same effect as seeing a person nude in the street.

I DO have a point in this long diatribe. Seeing those girls with the bread made me think again about the Christmas movie that played this morning…and the other Christmas movies that Israelis seem so intrigued by. How SAD that this is their perception of Christians (AND Resurrection day apparently)! With the limited exposure that most of my people have to our Messiah, how SAD that the enemy takes such occasion to again and again slander His Name before my people whom He came to save. If these girls were ignorant of or didn’t care about the Passover… couldn’t they at least be sensitive to the culture of the area that they were visiting?



How much bigger He is then all of our limitations!

So…whether you celebrate holidays traditionally, or not at all…I am sure that we can all rejoice over the fact that HE IS RISEN INDEED! May He SOON (now!) reveal Himself to my brothers and sisters in the flesh! God bless you all. May we be ‘wise as serpents and gentle as doves’ for His glory.

ani b’derek

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