Inside Israel – Fast Moving Events

Hello and welcome to a look inside Israel. Today J of Jerusalem helps us understand the need for prayer as many gather to protest the anniversary of Israel becoming a state. Thank you so much for stopping by and lifting up J and Israel in prayer! Now, here’s J . . .

NAKBA. Like the word ‘intifada’, it has a sound to it that causes one to hold their breath and tense up a bit. It is the Arabic word for ‘disaster’ and has become used by Palestinians to ‘commemorate’ the day that Israel became a state. Like ‘jihad’ and ‘intifada’ it has evolved into a ‘rallying’ word.
With the recent advent of the ‘facebook’ and ‘twitter’ ‘revolutions’ (? Insurrections?), the eyes of many in the middle east have turned toward the Palestinians; ‘When will YOU use this WONDERFUL means?’ Pages began arising (I am told) originating NOT here but in America, Europe and other Arab countries, calling for united uprising… a third intifada. May 15 was chosen. That is the date on the Western calendar that Israel became a state. (It is celebrated here according to the Hebrew calendar) Developers of the ‘social media’ began putting together a fiery campaign – NAKBA! It has become highly organized, apparently, and holds much potential for serious trouble here…BUT GOD! BUT GOD, Who is rich in power, mercy, wisdom, justice, purpose…holds the key and the outcome!
At this point, my understanding through our media is that it is actually beginning today with prayers and preaching at the mosques, and is planned to culminate on Sunday with mass marches (…‘peaceful…’) toward Haifa, Jaffa, Ashkelon, through Jerusalem and TO ALL OF OUR BOARDERS … and THROUGH them…by those within the country as well as those from Gaza, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon and Egypt (!) ‘back to their ‘homes’!’ Unless you know well the history of the wars, it is difficult to fully appreciate the amount of propaganda that has distorted the facts over the past years. It is not hard, however, with the help of the web, to research our modern history…not to mention our FULL history: It begins…
Gen 15:18 “In the same day The Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates…”
That was AFTER He had already told him:
Gen 12:6 “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, (Shechem) unto the plain of Moreh (Moriah). And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the Lord appeared unto Abram and said, ‘Unto thy seed will I give this land: …”
I don’t have to lead you through the scriptures, the promise of God, which stands true and firm, continues throughout scripture…throughout the punishment of dispersion…throughout each book of the prophets who said ‘You will be judged and scattered for your evil’…but EACH book ends with the promises of ‘AND YOU WILL BE BROUGHT BACK AND PLANTED’.
It might be easy to be fearful in these times, but I KNOW that God does not lie! Our eyes may see evil, but His purposes WILL come to pass. No, I am NOT afraid.
The potential for great chaos and war – even disaster in the world’s terms – stands before us, BUT…so does The God of Israel and His faithful Word…Yeshua, Who waits, like Joseph, to reveal Himself to His brothers after the flesh. This isn’t taking Him by surprise and I am trying to find the place before His throne to enter in to effectual prayer.
I will forward to you the ifi notes, as well as my Pastor’s, when I get them (as wise prayer tools). I was at the ifi prayer meeting this morning and, for the short time that I could be there before leaving for work, we focused on praying into this that lies at the door. INTERESTINGLY, the weather forecast is for unusually cold and stormy weather…even thunder storms! God bless you, dear brothers and sisters!
AND…you would probably be interested to know that the atmosphere on the bus this morning was VERY lively, for the first time in quite awhile. Perhaps because this comes right after our 2 remembrance days and Independence day. Through the ceremonies there is a collective renewing of the will and vision of the people…the nation. Perhaps that helped. Our bus driver was engaged in a lively conversation with some policemen on their way to work concerning the plans for the day and the history of the city…Jerusalem…Jerusalem…where God put His Name…forever. I stop at the shuk at 6am before prayer to get my challa (shabat bread) and some fresh vegetables and saw the Arab vendors not tense at all, but friendly, and was thankful for those who would NOT participate. My son-in-law recounted to me a discussion that he had with an Arab co-worker; ‘What do YOU think about the two state solution?’ he asked. He was surprised by the answer…but I have heard it before; ‘I HATE it! I wouldn’t give up my Israeli citizenship for anything!’ My son-in-law was surprised. ‘Why?’ he asked. ‘Because here we are free. There may be problems, but we can work on them from within, I can be whatever I want here. I can study what I want here. Do you think that it is that way in Egypt, or Jordan or what it would be like under Palestinian rule??’ Two of the patients in the doctor’s office where I work were happy to meet there today as they were old friends but hadn’t seen each other in a long time. Both are Arabs. I looked on as the tiny waiting room held also two ultra orthodox Jews and a few secular ones. The Arab patients were (who usually speak Hebrew to us) were enjoying one another loudly in Arabic. I looked to see if anyone was reacting and was thrilled to see not a single negative response.
Please pray with us over these next few days. May the plans of the enemy be heartily defeated, and may The Lord be glorified, reveal Himself to many and further HIS kingdom! May He give us wisdom and anointing on our knees and watch over His Word to perform it! God bless you, dear brothers and sisters!

ani b’derek

Inside Israel – Passover is Near

“Hi” and welcome to a look inside Israel as passover nears. J of Jerusalem shares about passover from her perspective and also a letter from her pastor. Thank you so much for standing with Israel at this time and praying for J too! Now, here’s J . . .

Passover Preparations…2011 –

I GREET YOU IN YESHUA’S NAME! MAY HE BE BLESSED AND GLORIFIED…AND MAY YOU BE BLESSED!

*YOFI! (That means ‘wonderful!’ or ‘beautiful!’ or ‘great!’) Once again I waited long enough before finishing this to include an excellent prayer letter by my pastor. Much took place since I began writing yesterday and he covers it better then I would, but it is just what I would have written if I could have. Please take time to read his, even if you don’t read mine. I will close with it.*

PASSOVER…everyone is cleaning, most are almost done…all except for me. I haven’t even begun and I am despairing of the fact that it WON’T be done this year…only – hopefully – in my heart. With The Blood of The Lamb over the doorposts of my heart, I will do what I can do and know that I am safe within. Oh, I WILL get rid of all of the leaven on my shelves, according to the scriptures, but the traditionally toothbrush-clean-house will, alas not be ours this year as the situations of ‘life’ have really been crashing in on me for a good steady while and I am exhausted. I’m not even home long enough to clean, it seems…only to make meals and eat.

Passover…Pesach in Hebrew…the first of the Spring Feasts…one of the three High Holidays commanded in scripture to be ‘observed perpetually’ – a time when all of the men were commanded to ‘come up to Jerusalem’ and worship in the temple.

Chapter 12 of Exodus is the clearest exhortation and description of the holiday, but it is mentioned over and over in scripture…and its fulfillment is the central theme of the Gospels…The Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world, the pure sacrificial Lamb, Who’s most precious Blood is still, today, put over the doorposts (of our hearts) to keep us marked ‘do not touch’ from the death angel. To me there is a sense of awe and a hunger to see clearly the beautiful plan.

The sedar meal itself (which will be the night of Monday the 18th this year) is, to me, so well described in Psalm 78

.”…That which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told…We will not hide from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of The Lord and His strength, and His wondrous works that He hath done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, even the children that should be born; who should arise and tell them to their children, That they might put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments;…”

The Psalm goes on to re-tell the Exodus and other parts of our history. This is what we attempt to do at the sedar. It is really geared to the children crowded around the table (and it is rare to find a table without many children! Sedars are BIG meals and people gather together house to house, so rarely is there a very small group. I will prepare most of the food for our sedar meal but for the first time we will be bringing it to our older daughter’s house, which has a larger table then ours) Most of you probably know all of this, but for those who don’t, ‘sedar’ means ‘order’ in Hebrew and there is a ‘specified order’ to the sedar, varied according to traditions passed through the generations, but generally there is a ‘haggada’ used…a small book that everyone has, and we read together. It is more then just reading…it is a discussion handbook…it has songs…it has directions (for example: now eat some matzo with bitter herbs and remember the bitterness of slavery)…it has lessons. Many people write their own or adapt them, and we, as disciples of Yeshua, have done the same. I wrote ours a few years ago and adapt it yearly. But the basic Truth does not change. The Lamb, the pure Lamb, was sacrificed for sin…for Life…to keep us from perishing. It is only GOD Who can deliver us from bondage…and to Him we give thanks!

I didn’t intend to write this much about Pesach in this letter, but, well…here it is. Yesterday my husband and I had to leave work early and travel down to Be’er Sheva where our landlord has lived for years…but it was not to see him. It was to see his two children as they were ‘sitting shiva’. This is the week of mourning when one sits in the home and everyone comes to comfort. Our landlady died last year during Pesach year…and now our landlord 2 weeks before Pesach. (yes…this may alter our housing situation, and it is a care I am casting on Him) While we were down there, just a bit further south, a school bus was attacked by antiaircraft fire from Gaza. Miraculously nearly 50 children had gotten off the bus at the previous stop, but one 16 year old remains in critical condition, fighting for his life. The fighting has been escalating rapidly all day. At this writing it is being reported that 16 mortars have landed in the western Negev today and a school was evacuated. (I wrote that yesterday and there were over 50 rockets reported. The young man is still in critical, fighting for his life)

I have grown used to an unusual amount of dramatic events taking place during the holidays, particularly Pesach. You may remember that the last intifada began during a Pesach with a horrific bombing of a sedar up north.

In the midst, we sit down to ‘remember’ Him and His mighty deeds. May the eyes of our people be open THIS YEAR to the Pascal Lamb of God…Who has come to take away the sins of the world…AND those of His natural birth nation as well.

(Several have asked for a personal update. Thank you. I request prayer for the whole family. Like with our nation, major battles appear on every front. Thank you for praying and caring!)

Prayer Priority Update
“I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also”
1Corintians 4:15

*

Hatred Unleashed

Yesterday, in a vicious attack, Hamas launched an anti-tank missile from the Gaza Strip, at a clearly marked school bus. Thankfully, most of the children had just been dropped off. However, the one remaining child was critically injured. (The bus driver was injured lightly.)

Immediately afterward, Hamas launched close to 50 mortar shells and rockets. Thankfully, a grad missile was destroyed in mid-flight by the new Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

These are clearly acts of war and crimes against humanity, but don’t expect the NGOs, or the nations, or the UNHRC to make resolutions against Hamas, or call for an investigation. Hatred of Israel and the despising of the Jewish people have become the norm.

Today the attacks continue; about 16 mortar shells were fired from Gaza at the Negev (southern part of Israel) this morning, and five more this afternoon. The shelling continues as I write. For all practical purposes, Israel’s south is in the midst of a war.

This comes on the heels of a deadly terror attack in Itamar in which two parents and three young children were brutally murdered, and a bombing in Jerusalem which killed an English missionary to Togo who was in Israel to study Hebrew.

A Perpetual Hatred

“Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:” Ezekiel 35:5

“Edom has acted against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has incurred grievous guilt, and avenged themselves upon them,” Ezekiel 25:12

“…in your anger and according to the envy which you showed in your hatred against them….” Ezekiel 35:11

“They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, And consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You:” Psalm 83:3-5

While the Palestinians and the Arab nations are not the direct descendants of Edom, surely the same spirit has overcome them, fanning within their hearts the flame of that same ancient hatred and desire to destroy the Jewish nation. But God thinks differently!

An Everlasting Love

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.’” Jeremiah 31:3-4

Contrary to the thinking of the Arab nations who see it as the U.N.’s “fault” that the Jews were allowed to come to Palestine, it is God who has drawn the Jews back to the Land of their forefathers. It is God who is building the nation again. And it will be God who will save us from our enemies, and from our sins, by doing an amazing goodness, never before seen on such a scale.

Unleashed Love and Grace

“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name— after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid. When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 39:25-29

“And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.” Jeremiah 33:8-9

A Goodness to tremble at

Although rockets are raining upon us and the situation may get much worse in the near future, God has promised that it would be the nations who tremble and shake for fear, as they see the power of God’s goodness when it is unleashed from heaven upon Israel.

Another Passover

What a shock was Israel’s exodus from Egypt! No power, human or otherwise, could stop it. The more Egypt resisted, the worse their own situation became. Unfortunately, it ended with their destruction at the Red Sea, as they continued to pursue Israel in order to enslave them again.

There is no power in hell, on the earth, or in the heavens that can stop God from fulfilling His plan and purpose for Israel and for the nations. Yeshua has gained mastery over every principality and power at the cross.

We can stand there, in that very “spot”, and pray and believe for God’s counsel to be fulfilled in our days.

The first exodus, the Passover, will be celebrated on April 18th, this year. Let us stand before God during this Passover season, in a renewed faith in our mighty God, to again, by the blood of the Lamb, rescue His people from their enemies and from their sins. The first Passover was exactly that: a deliverance from bondage and a deliverance from the enemy.

Praying for Israel at this time

– Stand by faith on the finished work of Messiah on the cross. Take time to thank Him for the blood of the Lamb; take time to renew your own faith in what has been accomplished at Calvary.

– Give thanks for the mighty, delivering power of God in the Messiah, from anything and everything.

– Stand by faith before the Lord for His Goodness to be unleashed upon Israel, as He has promised.

– Pray for God’s protection and for His own involvement in the warfare over Israel just as He undertook to fight the pursuing Egyptians then. “The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14

– Pray for a mighty revelation of Messiah to His people. Pray for God to open the spiritually blind eyes, and remove the veil cast over this people.

– Pray for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon Israel, and the Body of Messiah in the Land.

– Pray for the Presence of God and His Glory to fill the Land again.

– Pray that God will give much Glory to His own name through the restoration of Israel.

Ezekiel 38:23, “Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.”

May we see the power and wonder of God this Passover season!

Shabbat shalom,

Ofer Amitai

Israel Prayer Center, Jerusalem

Inside Israel – For His Glory

Hello to all who have come by for a look inside Israel. J of Jerusalem takes us along with her for encounters with Yeshua and those He would place in her path. God bless you as you pray for Israel and J today! Here’s J . . .

(It has NOT been without difficulty that this letter comes to you with love and blessing in The Name of Yeshua! I began writing:…)

“Yesterday, 15th of Jan 2010, was my 36th birthday in Yeshua! He found me, 36 years ago, in the mud, washed me in His PRECIOUS Blood, and has kept me these many/few years and I want to worship Him with you for that. He has done the same for you. WOW! Worthy is The Lamb that was slain and lives forever! May we be a blessing to Him, living for His glory alone! AMEN!

I have a story (or two) to share:

Israelis are very direct and to the point. They don’t like to waste time or beat around the bush. They want ‘truth’ and they want it NOW! This characteristic is often misinterpreted by non Israelis as ‘aggressive behavior’ but I have come to admire this blunt directness. It says to me ‘We are stressed and desperate. We have no time to wait. We need the Truth NOW!’

But HOW to communicate that Truth effectively is something I passionately seek…and yet sometimes, I confess, shy away from. It is like being an archer…you either hit the target…or you don’t. Each word is weighty and important. What a responsibility!

I generally get a ride to kehila (fellowship) with Marin, the woman whom I asked prayer for a short time ago. She is newly widowed. Rudy (whom you prayed for and who asked came to Him at the last minute) was her husband. Our kehila rents a space in a large building and if no one is at the main door to let us in, we ring a bell and a guard comes down. We get varied reactions from the building guard who must ask where we are going. Yesterday, however, two policemen were entering the building when we arrived so we waited for them to open the door. One asked ‘Where are you going?’ We answered, giving the name of our congregation and the floor number and he asked ‘What is that?’ I said ‘We are Jewish believers in Messiah. It is a Messianic congregation.’ He scowled and said ‘I have a big problem with that.’ Marin asked ‘What is your problem?’ He responded ‘I believe in One God … “Hear o Israel, The Lord your God is One God, The Lord your God is One”. (He was quoting the ‘Shma’…the most important prayer in Judaism) You believe in a man who is Messiah. I have the same problem with Habad. They also believe that a man can be Messiah.’ (Habad, or Chabad, or Lubavich is the ultra orthodox sect that, like the Haradim, wear almost only black and white and extreme clothing and believe that this rabbi or that is or was Messiah-VERY brief simplistic description!) Marin began to answer and I was thankful because his statement addressed things that my Hebrew wasn’t deep enough to answer. Our elevator ride was short, but I suggested that he come to our floor and ‘observe’. He seemed shocked ‘Oh! I couldn’t do that! I don’t want to be one!’ He was scared. ‘We are not missionaries’ I explained. ‘You are welcome to just see who we are and what we believe and no one will accost you.’ When they left the elevator Marin bemoaned ‘How will one like him ever be reached! We must pray for him!’ And that IS EXACTLY the answer! That is also the ONLY way that I was reached in the deep mud pit that I was in…through prayer touching the Heart of God…because no man was used to touched me…I would have listened to no man. How wonderful that He cares and how we must pray…how I must pray!

(NOW…THAT IS WHAT I WROTE ON THE 16TH. THIS IS THE NIGHT OF THE 19TH….LETS SEE IF I CAN FINISH THIS)

And…I GOT TO SHARE AGAIN TODAY! At work we have a bit of a crisis. It takes 4 secretaries to keep the Dr. office working. I’m the ‘mama’ of the pack as they are usually young girls. Well…the last 3 young girls quit at the same time…it’s been… STRESSFUL! A new girl was hired this week. She’s 23 and sharp as a whip! The daughter of doctors, they made aliyah from Russia 8 years ago. Her Hebrew is perfect, unaccented. Finally today we found some time to talk and I surprised myself by sharing with her immediately that I was a believer. She was totally accepting and told me that she had no problem with this…but didn’t know what it was. The door was open for me to share and I was thankful for the grace to share in Hebrew more easily then usual. Our time was short before work poured in upon us again, but her name is Ala (a Russian girl’s name) and I do ask for prayer for her.

Sundown tonight ushered in the celebration of Tu b’shvat…’the birthday of the trees’. It’s a lovely celebration marked by songs, planting of trees and the eating of dried fruits and nuts and giving of flowers. It is a time of being thankful for the miracle of the cycle of growth (this is the time that the seeds, particularly of fruit trees, swell in the ground and sprout…when buds form on the trees, fruit forms in the flowers) and a thankfulness for the fruitfulness of the land that God has given us. (I am NOT able to do this letter justice…I am SO tired…but if it isn’t finished tonight, it won’t be…so please forgive that it’s unraveling a bit…) The shuk is loaded with fruits and nuts and my Grandchildren are singing delightful songs and dancing with flowers in their hair. It’s lovely!

BUT…the joy is NOT reflected on the buses this year…oh no it isn’t! You may recall some of my descriptions of the construction of our ‘lite rail system’. It seriously defies description…but I’ve tried. You see…this is year NINE of construction…or is it ten. OBVIOUSLY it has been the subject of HEATED public debate through the entire time, and no place is it more heated then on our buses. The bus riders are your least ‘powerful’ people in our society; the people with no cars. We are a perhaps colorful, but rather voiceless ‘mass’, and the ‘lite rail construction’ could easily be considered ‘bus-rider-abuse’ as our routes have been changed, lengthened, increasingly crowded and expensive as the roads used by the buses are also the route of the train. WELL…Saturday night, Jaffa Road, our main artery, was officially and permanently closed to all motor vehicles and city buses were permanently diverted to new ridiculously long routes which turned narrow one way streets into two way BUS traffic streets! The word ‘belegan’ (which loosely means ‘chaos’) was indeed created for this! I thought the BUS DRIVER would have a stroke on Sunday morning as he maneuvered his way down Agrippas (a narrow street in the back of the shuk) at 6am stuck behind trucks unloading at the shuk. My normally 1 hour ride to or from work now takes 1 and a half hours (or 12 minutes by car…) I think that this was the first time that I heard the DRIVERS actually ANGRIER then the riders! The riders have been angry for 9 or 10 years now while the bus drivers shook their heads. Right now it’s the riders shaking our heads as the drivers yell. There is STILL no ‘lite rail’ running, by the way… but they still do tell us it WILL happen. But there was no dried fruit or nuts being passed around the bus as it has been in the past. I had ample opportunity to pray for my OWN spirit to be quiet this morning in light of the situation, and as I gain the victory I will be praying for my fellow riders as well. I look forward to telling you of the victory and hope that we are soon singing on the bus again.

Well, with all of the important things happening in our country and around us, I have shared none of it. I also have some serious prayer requests to share…and will only ask right now for prayer for our older daughter who is about to give birth and is exhausted (they just moved and have all been down with stomach virus). She was quite ill with serious post partum depression 4 years ago, and I ask you to remember her this time for victory…ALL of the family. I ask specific prayer for our 7 year old Grandson.

With SO much more to write I am falling asleep. God bless you. I can not tell you how much each of you mean to me. Very lovingly, for His glory, your sis

Inside Israel – A Jerusalem Story

Hello everyone and a very happy new year to you! Today, I have an earlier e-mail from J of Jerusalem to share. You will love reading how God orchestrates in His one of a kind way. Thank you for coming by and praying today, for Israel, Jerusalem and our sister in Christ, “J”!

Some things seem truly unique to Jerusalem…just as things are unique to each place (isn’t God wonderful to give us each that piece of His fingerprint!). But since I am here and you aren’t, I love being able to share these sometimes curious events with you.

This one is a word picture of sorts, because you really do have to ‘picture this’!

One of the patients at the doctor’s office where I work, Tzvi, is a rather gruff man from Australia. He can have quite a ‘mouth’ on him! Eventually our conversations led him to meet my husband and become a customer of his at his barber shop. They enjoyed one another.

Last time Tzvi was at the doctor’s, he invited my husband and I to ‘his concert’. I was a bit surprised and told him that we would be interested, questioning what it was about. It turns out that he is a tenor opera singer and that the choir was performing a ‘Rossini Mass’ at ‘The Church of The Messiah’ (Christ Church) in the Old City. Usually things like this would be at one of the traditional Catholic churches, so I was quite surprised. I was ALSO surprised by the fact that my husband ACCEPTED the invitation as his first outing since his accident on the 25th of Oct. He said he just HAD to see Tzvi singing opera! I was taking account of the strange picture forming in front of me: a Jewish Israel foul mouthed builder singing a mass in a Protestant Church … and my HUSBAND attending. This was BOUND to be interesting and I made it a matter of prayer to see what God had in store.

Meanwhile, the murder of the hiker took place…and she was a volunteer at Christ Church. The memorial was scheduled for today. The stage was set.

Since my husband is still on crutches, last night we took a taxi to the Old City. My husband and I have not been ‘out’ like this in YEARS! I was excited. I was curious to see who would be attending such a performance. There was not a kippa (yarmulke, small ‘hat’ worn by religious Jews) in the bunch…and the only language heard was Hebrew. So this was to be a secular Israeli audience…in a Protestant church attending a mass the day before a particularly solemn memorial, just before Christmas …and here we are in the midst. What ARE You up to, Lord? I picked up the libretto and found that it was in Latin and Hebrew. Thankfully, I could read the Hebrew and was blessed to see that it was the life of Yeshua, from his birth, anointing, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection and eternal reign…similar to ‘The Messiah’. The words were wonderful! Alive and full of life…all worship and praise and proclaiming His Lordship! As is the custom of Christ Church, there were piles of new testaments in Hebrew in the back of the church for the taking and I was thrilled to see many people taking them. The ancient church itself is very special and cameras were flashing all around as people pointed out much scripture in carved in wood, glass and stone, all in Hebrew around the church. Yes, they were classical music and art buffs, but they were being touched!

I found myself seated next to a younger-then-I woman who came from Ukraine some 20 years ago. There she had studied opera, but hasn’t sung in years. I could see it was something she had loved. We hit it off quite well and she soon told me how much she liked me and we began to share more deeply. I asked about her family and she stopped shyly and said ‘I feel you would understand. It is my 24 year old son and I now. He is in the army. He trains dogs. It is good for him.’ She was quiet. Then sharing from so deep within she said; ‘My son…he was 8…was killed in a terror attack…he and my Mother…his Grandmother. That was 8 years ago.’ I remembered the attack well! I had still have the newspaper photos of those killed during the intifada…these two faces came immediately to mind. They had been at a shopping mall together…Grandma and Grandson. She continued; ‘I am now dead inside. There is nothing…no joy…no life.’ Her eyes looked deeply into me. I began to share how the words that were in this libretto pointed to The One Who had changed my life and filled me with Life when I was ready to die. She listened deeply. Our hearts touched. Just then, the head of the choir came out to share a word about the death of Christine, the woman who had been killed, and to thank the Pastor for allowing the use of the church at this sensitive time…and to offer all of our condolences. There was a moment of silence and then the opera began.

The performance went on for two hours. My husband had become quite uncomfortable in his wooden chair so we left as soon as it was over, but not before my seat mate and I promised to be in touch with one another. Although her name has slipped my mind, I would like to ask you to pray for her salvation, and her surviving sons. He knows her name and I will share it when she calls.

The moon was full when my husband and I went out to look for a taxi home. He was NOT impressed by opera, although it did impress him that Tzvi was doing such things…and Tzvi was touched that we came. The moon was full and extremely bright on this, yet another cloudless night, and we spoke what we had just witnessed; a secular Israeli group in a Spirit filled church picking up new testaments, listening to words of worship…and I wondered how many veils were being rent…or BEGAN to be rent. And then there was my seat mate…so needy and in so much pain…sitting beside me…freely I have received…that I might freely give!

Life in Jerusalem is NEVER dull! May each of you be wonderfully blessed! Lovingly, your sis

ani b’derek

Inside Israel – The First Chanuka Light

So glad you could stop by today and get a glimpse inside Israel, as J of Jerusalem shares about the first Chanuka light. Enjoy and God bless you and your families!

Chanuka 2010 1 Dec 2010

As our younger daughter and I lit our first (of 8) Chanuka candle tonight, we thanked God for His Light…Yeshua, Jesus, The Light of the world…the light that shines in darkness and pierces it…for whosoever will. Thank You, Lord for lighting my darkness and joining me to Your family of those lit by Your Light!

I traveled home from visiting my husband in the hospital today hoping for a fast trip…perhaps 20 minutes. But as the rest of my day went, so did my ride; I arrived home almost 2 hours after I went to the bus stop! The sky was dark by the time I alighted from the bus and many of the public Chanukah’s were already lit. I had a long time to think about something The Lord impressed upon my heart earlier today after running my third failed errand this morning. Dropped into my heart, as I was fretting over wasted, precious time were the words ‘There is no such thing as ‘wasted time’. It is all victory if you walk it patiently and graciously. Remember…it is how you walk the path’. ‘But Lord, I am so very tired, and I have more to do then I CAN do.’ No. I dare not protest! Do I know more then HIM?? Does the pot say to the potter…why?? ‘Yes, Lord. Teach me.’ So, on this final bus ride home He continued to point out much to me. This bus runs through a very religious neighborhood and there was not one complaint voiced on the bus although we stood in gridlock traffic for so very long. That alone was a wonderful and unique experience…no complaining!

The hospital that my husband has been in for the past 3 weeks is an interesting one…different from the one that he was in for the first 2 weeks. This hospital, besides being a rehabilitation center, is also a geriatric and psychiatric hospital. It is one run on mercy. It sits adjacent to the Jerusalem cemetery (har h’minukhah), Mountain of Rest. Years ago my husband and I were horrified to pass an old age home named ‘Fare well rest haven’. It was right next to a cemetery and we thought that was incredibly cynical. But we found this hospital, with it’s placing, very peaceful.

Growing up, the food that I identified with Chanuka was ‘latkes’…a deep fried potato pancake which we topped with applesauce, but the Chanuka food here is ‘sovganioat’…a deep fried jelly donut (over the past few years, chocolate, halva, caramel and icing have also appeared). Foods identified with Chanuka ARE ‘deep fried’ because ‘Light’ and ‘oil’ are synonymous in the middle east, where oil lamps still burn. I had stopped at the shuk on the way to the hospital and purchased 12 sovganioat, an inexpensive chanukiah (candelabra for Chanuka) and candles to bring to the hospital to share with the staff … because… you see…besides tonight being the first light of Chanuka, it is also another special day: it is the last day for my husband to be in hospital. He is to be released tomorrow morning!

And THAT is why I was scurrying around today, like a chicken without a head, attempting to jump through all of the bureaucratic hoops necessary for his release.

Chanuka, I know that you remember, is the celebration for LIGHT…for it commemorates the multiplication of the oil for the menorah in the temple after it had been defiled by the Greeks. The Macabbis found only enough pure oil to keep the lamps burning for 1 day, and it required a week to produce the pure oil. God miraculously kept the Light burning…as He still does! Thus the holiday is kept some 2,000 years later with the lighting of special candlestick (Chanukiah)…8 lights and one ‘servant light’, the ‘shamus’ to light the rest – first night we light one candle, the next night 2, and so forth. I have shared the story and traditions many times. This year Chanuka is VERY early, and no one seems quite ‘ready’. It is celebrated on the 25th of the month of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, which is lunar.

As with all of our various hospital stays, the roommates make such a strong impact, and this last stay was no different. My husband, being the youngest resident, (and since he is 65 that is saying something!) was placed with another ‘young man’ (56) who had suffered a stroke. He is a Moslem, and his name is Ruef. When we entered the room his family eyed us suspiciously, so I reached out warmly to them and his wife was the first to respond. She spoke some English, and he speaks Hebrew so we were soon fast friends. It was interesting to see his 3 grown sons enter the room daily, each one approaching him individually and bowing on their knee, kissing his hand and then pressing it to their forehead (as in blessing) 3 times. Today I asked him about it: ‘It has been interesting to me watching your sons greet you’ I began. ‘It seems to me that you are an important man…perhaps you are the village chief?’ I asked. He warmed to my sincerity and smiled; ‘Yes I am.’ he answered. ‘Such power must be used with great wisdom and compassion’ I commented. Again he smiled; ‘This is right and this I have also received. I became chief through my mother and I received her compassion and wisdom. All of the village comes to me to settle problems. There is one thing I do not tolerate; no man may speak badly of his wife. I have never lifted my voice to my wife. I have shown her respect and so she has always respected me. Our children must do the same.’ His words reminded me of an article my I had just read to my husband about the Druze. They follow the laws of Noah and are extremely moral people. I also thought back to the book of Judges and realized that that is what Ruef does… he ‘judges’ his people and he does it wisely.

I brought Ruef a sovganioat just as his family brought us some of their sweets for a recent feast that they had. Hertzog hospital is a religious hospital, but once again, there is no prejudice, and great mercy is shown to everyone. Although I left before the candle lighting tonight, my husband called and told me how several older men came and lead in the blessings of the lighting of the candles and songs. Soon after a group of young people came and danced and handed out more sovganioat. Another group of children came and sang songs. He was very touched by the warmth, as was Ruef. Peace, His peace, is the only thing that can bring peace into the hearts of those caught up in strife. I am thankful to be an instrument of His Peace in small ways. It is a blessing to see that His Light still lights up small corners.

I know that this is an inadequate letter, but I wanted to share the love of His Light…and ALSO…

TWO ANSWERS TO PRAYER: The first you have heard already; my husband is to come home tomorrow! The second is like the first…our older daughter called with the wonderful news that they signed a rental contract today on the top floor of a house in a moshav much nearer to us (although still a bit of a trek). It is on a very pretty, rural moshav that has horses. Thank you SO much for holding our ‘crisis to crisis’ family on prayer. He is SO faithful!

May The faithful Light of the world, Light our hearts and paths…for His glory alone! Lovingly, your very tired sis

ani b’derek

Inside Israel – More Thanksgiving

Hello everyone! I’ve missed you while away from posting for a few days. J of Jerusalem is my guest here today as she describes how Thanksgiving went for her there, inside Israel. Enjoy! And I’ll be back to regularly posting again tomorrow! 🙂

27. Nov.2010

Thankful greetings from Jerusalem!

I thought that you might enjoy some ‘observations’ mixed in with a bit of an update (as I have been SO encouraged and humbled by the amount of prayer and love poured forth on our behalf!).

My husband came home for a ‘vacation’ on Thursday (what a wonderful Thanksgiving gift!) and is to go back to the rehabilitation hospital tomorrow, Sunday.

We have a wonderful service here, free of charge- it is considered a work of mercy; there are ambulance services to transport people in wheel chairs or on stretchers or life support. That way, those who would be confined to home or institution can be transported to family events as well as doctor’s appointments etc. We were quite impressed as ‘our ambulance’ drove up to the hospital to take us home and to transport another lady, well over 90, to hospital for dialysis treatment. We had a fiasco getting my husband’s wheelchair down 3 steps and up 3 others leading into our apartment, but he was finally home and welcomed by our dog and cats and bird and neighbors. Then we got to settle in to the reality of the many obstacles posed by our apartment that we don’t have to face at the hospital.

Since we planned a Thanksgiving meal with our full family for Friday (Thursday being a work day) I had much work to do. For the past several years there has been a large immigration (aliyah) from North America, and so Israeli butchers have become ‘Thanksgiving sophisticated’ (or at least they THINK they have!).

I haven’t been to the shuk for a month, but made a quick ‘run’ on Wed. morning and there, by a meat ‘stand’ was a turkey! Now, mind you, this bore NO resemblance to the first turkey that I purchased some 16 years ago (to the protest of the benevolent butcher who assured me that not only would it NEVER fit into my stove, but no one on earth could eat that much meat!). That first turkey was…well…feathered after a fashion. To be more accurate, PARTIALLY feathered. It was also flat. Well…they probably didn’t have a box that it would fit into so they had SMASHED it into the box. And the skin was pretty ripped up…patchy might describe it. I recall looking at it sadly and asking The Lord to cause it to be pleasing and tasty, ANYWAY. I’m sure He did. Well…this was NOT the experience this year. Oh no! Every butcher stand had a turkey displayed, but this one caught my eye; he had a raw turkey sitting out on a fancy platter perched on a stool. This man had done some homework and had an imagination to boot. Realizing that Thanksgiving was a real ‘holiday’, he thought to ‘dress the turkey up’. So what could be more festive then to drape it with cousbara (cilantro) sprays, some chili peppers, and pour hummus beans (garbanzo beans) all over it? A LOVELY middle eastern display. Wish I’d had a camera J. I also found that when I ordered a ‘whole turkey’, the butcher immediately began speaking to me in rehearsed English; ‘Ah! You wish a THANKSGIVING! So…when IS Thanksgiving this year?’ He asked smiling. ‘Friday’ I said, hedging the question a bit.

Then there was the young secretary whom I work with. I told her that my husband would come home for Thanksgiving and she asked me what ‘Thanksgiving’ was. It didn’t occur to me that she had never so much as heard of the holiday, and I was blessed by the challenge to describe it to her in Hebrew. When I was finished, she surprised me by asking ‘Where is it in the Tenach?’ (Bible), because religious Jews ONLY celebrate prescribed holidays. When I told her that it ISN’T prescribed in the Tenach, she got tears in her eyes and said; oh…so it isn’t a Jewish holiday. The Book of Psalms came to mind…FULL of commandment to Thank, Worship and Praise Him. I don’t know if she was fully convinced, but I will believe I will be able to pursue it; the understanding that all creation is called to thank and praise Him Who is the One True God, and the fact that there are two countries that do this nationally (aside from here) is a blessing and brings Him glory.

One final thing along these lines; Having been raised with the American holiday of Thanksgiving, I am always interested in the comments that I receive from the many friends that I have from other nations. This one thrilled me and I thought that there might be others who would be encouraged to embrace what this family has done. This is sent by a dear South American sister:

“Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. Of course, there is no such thing here. However, our daughter Carolyn and her husband David, set a day aside to celebrate their own thanksgiving, and I think that is so wonderful. They say they are so blessed with their children (all believers) around them. Their eldest, Denise, is now married, to a man whose Christianity goes back to the Huguenot times!! They escaped from France, and yet each generation has kept the faith.”

I know that I had more observations to share, but it is time to make lunch for my husband. I have been negligent to share the ifi notes and hope that some of you do go to their website and keep up that way. For those of you who find web pages a challenge (I’m one of those!), here are this weeks.

Oops…update first. Some have asked – thank you SO much for your prayers! No, our older daughter and family have STILL not found a place to live. They looked at 2 two bedroom places yesterday…but with 3 children (the third due early Feb) and husband needing a studio (he is an artist) I am praying that they can afford a larger place. My husband is healing slowly, but he IS healing and we need patience and a tender, thankful heart. Our younger daughter is enjoying her work in a plant nursery and sales and her eye (which will have the stitches taken out in April) is still doing well. I am SOO thankful!

I owe SOOO many letters and emails…and I DO apologize. If you only knew how much I write in my head…

May He be glorified in our lives…may we look up and worship Him ALL along the path! Lovingly, your sis

Published in: on November 28, 2010 at 7:08 am  Comments Off on Inside Israel – More Thanksgiving  
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