Of Good Cheer

source - Wikipedia

source – Wikipedia

“But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.’ ”  Acts 23:11 NKJV

Paul had been brought into the barracks and detained.

Thank You, Lord, for being with us and helping us see our circumstances differently.  And here’s a simple poem . . .

I am
with you

so be of
good cheer

for you will
bear witness

so others
can hear.

God bless you as you are of good cheer today!

Published in: on March 31, 2015 at 4:59 pm  Comments Off on Of Good Cheer  
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With Great Joy

tabathastinyinspirations.wordpress.com

tabathastinyinspirations.wordpress.com

 

“Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.
And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.”  Luke 24:51-53 NKJV

I love how Jesus returned to reassure the disciples before being carried up into heaven.

Thank You, Lord, for Your loving patience with us.  And here’s a simple poem . . .

All that I
have told you

you will
one day see

with eyes
of understanding

and a mind
that’s set free.

God bless you as He reassures you today.

Published in: on September 20, 2014 at 12:53 am  Comments Off on With Great Joy  
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It Shall Come To Pass

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, The LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.”  Zechariah 14:16 NJKV

I understand why people often read the end of a book first.

Thank You, Lord, for telling us the whole story, so we can be prepared, can persevere, and praise You always. And here’s a simple poem . . .

 

It shall come to pass

that everyone left

 

will go up

to worship the King

 

for He is worthy

and wonderful

 

the Lord of hosts

and everything.

 

God bless you as you worship Him now.

Published in: on August 18, 2014 at 4:35 am  Comments Off on It Shall Come To Pass  
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God With You

“Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek The Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.”  Zechariah 8:22 NKJV

Israel is indeed His Holy Land.

Thank You, Lord, for determining to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. (Zechariah 8:15). And here’s a simple poem . . .

 

We will say

let’s go and pray

before the Lord

in Jerusalem

 

grasping the sleeves

of Jewish men

because we’ve heard

God’s with them.

 

God bless you as you pray and seek Him!

 

 

Published in: on August 10, 2014 at 6:57 am  Comments Off on God With You  
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Apple of His Eye

“For I,” says the LORD, “will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”  Zechariah 2:5 NKJV

Rockets, riots and rage continue to rain down on Israel.

Thank You, Lord, for keeping Israel and Jerusalem as the apple of  Your eye.  And here’s a simple poem. . .

 

I will be a wall of fire

all around her

and the glory

in her midst.

 

Sing and rejoice

O daughter of Zion

for in you I’ll dwell

and be blessed.

 

God bless you as you support Israel.

 

Published in: on August 3, 2014 at 1:27 am  Comments Off on Apple of His Eye  
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Inside Israel – Memorial Day

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to another look inside Israel as our sis from Jerusalem shares today about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua.  Thank you so much for praying for Israel and our Sis!  Now, here she is . . .

Greetings, brothers and sisters, from the city where God chose to put His Name…just as He chose to put His Name in your hearts.  May you be blessed and may He be blessed and glorified.

Once again we are in the ‘cycle’ of ‘spring’ with it’s unique ‘appointed times’.  As I thought about it this year, it hit me for the first time how much these appointed times remind me of the cycle of life…and the events of spring remind me of birth.  Of course we see birth as the earth itself buds it’s first swellings and births into bloom, but the hagim (holidays) themselves remind me of ‘labor’ in that they gain in intensity and ride waves of changing emotions before the produce and exhausted but fulfilled ‘end-of-cycle’.  Those of you who have read these letters over the years may remember Pesach signals the beginning of a series of events.  We hold on to the wonder of the miracles of the deliverance of this people that we celebrated at Pesach as we walk to stand beside the gaping grave of the Holocaust.  One week later the sirens will again signal the shared mantle of grief as we observe our Memorial Day (Yom h’zik’a’ron)(this year 15 April) for the fallen soldiers and terror victims.  Then the – dare I call it – mystical transformation from grieving to rejoicing will occur again as the page dramatically turns from the price paid to the promise gained and we enter our Independence Day(Yom h’atzmaoot)(this year 16 April) …this year will be the 65th birthday of the resurrected state of Israel.  Following Independence Day there is a nearly two week break before Lag b’omer(this year 29 April) is celebrated with bon fires and ten days later we dance in the streets and rejoice at the fulfillment of yet another promise: the 1967 restoration of Jerusalem to Israel  on Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushaylem)(this year 9 May).  AND…exactly two weeks after that is Shavuot (Pentecost)(this year on 16 May) marking the end of the spring cycle.  Beginning with Pesach and ending with Shavuot is the ‘counting of the omer (not to be described today).  Now… these are a LOT of holidays to bare witness to, and any of you who have been through labor and birth of a baby can likely identify with the intensity of these ‘compressed’ events. OF COURSE (you remember…just to complicate things) that our holidays begin at sundown the night before (our ‘day’ is measured from sundown to sundown) and the dates are according to the Hebrew calendar, so they change yearly in respect to the Western calendar.  J  Are you following me? 

So we are currently preparing for Yom h’zikaron (Memorial Day). 

Yesterday the first flag was placed across the grave of the most recently fallen soldier and now the placing of the rest of the too many flags continue.  Films about our history are increasing daily on the radio and television as are stories in the news.  They are fascinating and often poignant, touching and even miraculous.  I encourage any of you who might wish to read along to check some of the web sites noted at the end of my letter and before my Pastor’s prayer update, which came to us today and so I am including.  At this time of year, our young soldiers, who constantly go through an enviable education process that often grows them up, are taken in large groups to visit different memorials and learn of those who fought before them, just as they visited Yad V’Shem (the Holocaust Memorial museum) last week.  I watch these young faces on the bus and train as they absorb the weight of the legacy that has gone before them and is being turned over to them…learning of other young people who have paid the ultimate price for this tiny nation…and yet at the same time they are also beginning to understand that this nation stands by God’s protection alone.  With the intensity of our surroundings and history comes an innate challenge…perhaps a challenge presented by God Himself: HOW has this happened?  WHY has this happened?  WHAT will happen?  WHO… May that question ‘WHO’ be the one that is answered THIS year in the hearts of many!  Oh Lord, BE GLORIFIED!  BE RECOGNIZED!  BE WORSHIPPED!   

I hope to share with you as each event presents itself.  For those of you who wish to follow in our local news here are some sites…but please be blessed by my Pastor’s ‘offering’ copied below.  I send much love, your sis

http://www.jpost.com/    http://www.idf.il/english/    http://www.jerusalemonline.com/    http://www.ynetnews.com/home/0,7340,L-3083,00.html   http://www.israelnationalnews.com/    http://blogs.cbn.com/jerusalemdateline/

 

Published in: on May 5, 2013 at 7:58 am  Comments (12)  
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Inside Israel – Sirens For A Season

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to another look inside Israel today!  This is from an April 8th letter our sis in Jerusalem sent as she shares about the time leading up to Holocaust Memorial Day.  Thank you for praying for Israel and our sis there!  Now, here she is . ..

The air already carries a grey mantle of mourning.  The television stations are shut down showing only several powerful Holocaust movies over and over and interviews with survivors interspersed with history.  In an hour and a half the opening ceremony will begin at Yad v’Shem, our Holocaust memorial, and we will again share the grief as those who lived through the horrors open their hearts and their memories.  They can’t bare it alone, so the nation bares it with them…and there is healing in that.  Somehow it works.  Somehow it acknowledges that they walked that impossible path and they can go on through another year. 
Tomorrow at 10:00am the soulful siren will sound and bring the country to a silent, still 2 minutes of remembrance.  Places of entertainment and restaurants will be closed.  Do I get ‘used to’ this?  No.  It brings tears each year.  The news announced that there has been a 30% rise in violent anti-Semitic acts in the Western nations this year.  Right now, this will have to be VERY short as our nation is the subject of an active ‘cyber-attack’ and I don’t want to leave my computer open.  I will enclose an article that I found a real blessing.  Perhaps it will be safe to write more tomorrow.  God bless you all! Love, your sis
Palestinians visit Yad Vashem: ‘A tragedy beyond words’

Bassam Aramin, whose 10-year-old daughter was killed by IDF rubber bullet, visits Jerusalem’s Holocaust museum, says ‘I surely can identify with feeling like a refugee – humiliated, weak, lost – but the tragedy of the Holocaust is very different’
Noam (Dabul) Dvir

Ahmed al-Jaafari, a 43-year-old Deheishe refugee camp resident, stands opposite the list of Jews who were sent to the Sobibor death camp. At a certain point, he turns to the guide, Roee Hanani, and asks “why did they keep such an organized list if they planned on killing them all along?”

 
Hanani replied him in Arabic “the Nazis were very organized. They believed that they were solving a world problem and wanted to take pride in what they did.”  
As part of a unique “Combatants for Peace” trip to Yad Vashem, eight Palestinian Authority residents visited the museum to learn of the fates of European Jews during the Holocaust.
 
“This was a jolting experience for me,” said al-Jaafari. “I saw the reactions of people who were here and wanted to experience it for myself. I heard and read about and saw movies on the Holocaust, but nothing comes close to a visit in which I can see it with my own eyes. I don’t understand how the world conspired a crime like this.”  
Al-Jaafari continued by making a few comments with which Jews can identify, but likely to cause Palestinians to become irate. “When you look at the background of the Jewish nation, you can try to understand your anxiety and fears. A nation that went through something like this cannot live without scars. I don’t agree with the comparison between the Holocaust and the situation in the territories, and people who make this comparison make it out of pain and anger.”
 
“Combatants for Peace” was established by a group of Israelis and Palestinians who participated in what they call the “circle of violence” in the region,” and have now abandoned their weapons in favor of peace and coexistence.
 
However, not all the Palestinians who registered for the tour, made it to Yad Vashem. This is due to the difficulties they had attaining entrance visas into Israel.
 
No Arab Righteous Gentiles
Upon arrival to the station dedicated to the Righteous Gentiles, Hanani told the participants about a devout Muslim couple that hid the Jewish Habilio family in their home in Sarajevo. The couple also took the father in, who managed to escape a labor camp. The Habilio family immigrated to Israel in 1984 and turned to Yad Vashem; bringing recognition to the Hardega family as Righteous Gentiles.
 
The story did not end there. During the civil war which saw the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Sarajevo was under massive attack. Yad Vashem and the Joint Distribution Committee brought Zaynba Hardega to Israel with her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. Zayba has since passed away, but the rest of the family still lives in Jerusalem.
 
Hanani explained to the group that there are still no Arab Righteous Gentiles, but the relevant committee is currently discussing a few cases in which North African citizens saved Jews during World War II.
 
“I began taking an interest in the Holocaust 20 years ago when I saw the movie ‘Schindler’s List,’ said Bassam Aramin, who organized the tour on the Palestinian side. “Since then, I have seen it four times.”
 
“Less than a month ago I was at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. When you arrive at a place like this, you forget who you are. This is a tragedy that cannot be described in words.”
 
Some five years ago, Aramin’s 10-year-old daughter was killed by an IDF rubber bullet. When he hears comparisons being made between the territories and the European Holocaust, he becomes indignant.
 
“This is a big mistake. These are very different things. As a person who lives under occupation, I surely can identify with feeling like a refugee – humiliated, weak, lost – but the tragedy of the Holocaust is very different,” said Aramin.
 
Nabil, another participant, said that he didn’t think twice about joining the tour. “As soon as I was called I said I was coming. I heard a lot about the Holocaust and wanted to see Yad Vashem with my own eyes. I am not afraid of reactions from the Palestinian side. I think that everyone needs to come here and see it with their own eyes.”
 
Published in: on April 28, 2013 at 7:16 am  Comments (12)  
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Inside Israel – Bits and Pieces, Part 2

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to another look inside Israel.  This is the second half of last week’s letter from our sis in Jerusalem.  Thank you so much for reading and praying. Now here’s our sis . . .

(And (since I am going to bed now) here is the second part of the letter…which was really first)
 May He be glorified and blessed, and may you be blessed and encouraged.  A dear local sister and I encouraged one another over the phone this afternoon, simply sharing what we were receiving from The Lord during our private times of devotion.  She told me that she has been focusing on the Passover and Resurrection and shared some wonderful insights, one of which touched me deeply.  She shared about the body, all gathered together around Jesus, at the ‘last supper’, the Passover seder, just before He laid down His life for us.  She had thought about how close the disciples were that Peter could see how John was leaning on The Lord’s chest, (at the seder, all ‘lean’ together) right against His Heart, and how he could ask ‘Who is it, Lord’.  Because He was right against The Lord’s heart he could hear immediately the answer.  What a precious picture this was to me of ‘the body’; you and I and all of those who dine with Him, leaning on one another, sharing and caring about what HE has to say.
 
So it is Friday evening now and I am preparing for the shabat and thinking about this week.  The days of the eating of the matzo between the first and last Pesach seder are called ‘col ha’moed’ and are ‘half holiday’.  ‘Col’ means ‘all’ and ha’moed means ‘the appointed feast’ or ‘meeting’.  They are days of rejoicing and joy here in the city of Jerusalem with many events.  Schools are on vacation and so are government services and many small shops owned by the religious are also closed.  People are actively ‘vacationing’ so most that remains open during these days are open ‘half-time’…except for restaurants that are ‘kosher for Passover’ (in other words, that are totally free from leaven).  For the past few years most of the museums in the country have been free during this time (free admission for the country being donated by the banks) and it is fun to watch Israelis literally explore every inch of the country that they love…their own!  Ofcourse…for those of us who ‘like our space’…this is a difficult season and EVERYTHING is crowded; museums, shops, nature reserves, roadways, restaurants, sidewalks, seaside, mountain trails, … not to mention the trains and buses!  NOBODY is in their homes.  Remember the word ‘belagan’?  It applies here!  Somewhere, mid holiday, there is the ‘blessing of the Cohanim’…the priestly blessing, which is given BY the descendents of the priestly tribe to the rest of the house of Israel, who gather at the Western Wall of the Temple in the Old City.  This Passover it was on Thursday as the area in front of the wall filled up – the Cohanim covered with their prayer shawls, stretched out their hands over the crowd and recited the blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless thee and keep thee, The Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.”  Since many people come into the city for this event, the streets and restaurants afterward are full to capacity!  Since my husband and I needed to work all week, we met downtown to try to accomplish something on Thursday afternoon.  What a mistake that was!  My husband got off of the jammed train and walked, arriving at the same time as the train. 
Also on Thursday, Catholics in particular celebrate ‘Holy Thursday’, so large crosses were mingled with the crowds.  These are more pronounced today…on ‘Good Friday’, as many walk the Via Delarosa with large wooden crosses commemorating the walk to the crucifixion.  At early morning prayer meeting today, Chuck pointed out something very interesting.  In his own words
 
This week’s prophetic portion is Ezekiel 37:1-4 – the vision of the valley of dry bones. This section is always read on the Shabbat during the Passover/Unleavened Bread week. What is most interesting is that this Shabbat during this Passover season is the Shabbat when Yeshua was in the grave. So in synagogues throughout the world, Jews are reading about the resurrection of the nation of Israel and the Church is waiting for the first day of the week to celebrate the resurrection of Israel’s King Messiah, the world’s Savior Yeshua!
And my dear sisters and brothers…least I continue on and on and on…I will close this very fragmented letter…call it ‘bits and pieces’ – it may be ‘confusing’ but in a way that helps it catch the flavor of this VERY condensed season… moving on so quickly!  I am too tired to tie it all together and polish it, so please accept what ever scrap of this offering that might encourage you.  Believe me…it comes with LOVE!  May the risen Lord bless you! 
Lovingly, your sis
ani b’derek

Inside Israel – Bits and Pieces, Part 1

 

 

JerAtNight1

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________________________________________________ 

Pesach Preparations Over – The Day Is Here

JerAtNight1

Happy Resurrection Day!  🙂   And welcome to another look inside Israel and our sis in Jerusalem shares about her Passover this year.  Praying you are blessed by her letter and by your Lord!  Thank you for praying and reading. Now, here’s our sis . . .

Beloved sisters and brothers,
Blessings and loving greetings to you all as we all stand in the midst of a week that represents God’s great faithfulness. What a joy that we can step aside and worship The Lamb in so many forms, glorifying Him and remembering all that He has done, is doing and WILL do.  As is written in Psalm 126:3 “The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad” for sure!
I had fully intended to write yet one more ‘Pesach preparation’ letter (I did it in my head)…but I’m afraid that the ‘preparations’ gathered speed and took up ALL of the time and energy until the sun went down and the siren sounded throughout the city ushering in the feast of the Passover.  That ‘holy hush’ fell only briefly as soon the streets filled with people making their way to synagogue or to the house of another…and the festive joy in the streets was tangible as strangers greeted one another with big smiles ‘Ha’ag  sam’eh’ach’ (Joyful holiday). Our new neighbor’s children brought flowers to us which comforted us as our own children are not with us.
This year’s celebration was to be different for us and we discussed it excitedly on the way to the lovely home where we were being hosted.  It would actually be our FIRST time at a “Gentile Christian Seder” (as was written on the haggada…the little book of ‘liturgy’ that is used to guide the order of the evening.)  We were being hosted by dear friends who came as a tour group from Alaska and were staying at one of the local ‘Houses of Prayer’.  We were very excited to see our friends whom we had not seen in 19 years, since leaving Alaska.  When we made aliyah (immigrated to my ancestral home land of Israel) back in 1994, Israel was a very far away place to most of the Christians of our area, and except for a rare few, there was very little revelation, if any, concerning Israel’s place in God’s heart and God’s plan for the present and the future.  Indeed, the purpose of Israel, past and current, seemed a vague, at best, history lesson.  One dear elderly worker for The Lord approached me gently one day just before we left and said ‘Dear…don’t you realize that you are a Christian now and you are not a Jew anymore?’  I must admit, that took me aback as it revealed a foundational misunderstanding of ‘who’ the Jews are.  Yes, there is the Jewish religion…but not everyone born a Jew… born to the nation of the Jewish people, follows the religion.  Sadly, there are Jewish Buddhists, Hindus, secular, witches and even moslems …but they are all still considered Jewish.  A common question asked at the time was “WHY is it again that you are going to ‘Palestine’?  Are you going to be m….s? (a word describing people who ‘share’ that I can not put in a letter…a word that we don’t use here…nor by the way…is if found in scripture, believe it or not!  AND…Neither is ‘Palestine’ … except in the maps at the back of the Bible! J) At any rate…there were not as yet teachings in the Churches concerning the holidays.  At our home, we yearly had our own form of seder with our children in which we would read about 10 chapters in the book of Exodus as well as others concerning the fulfillment in Yeshua and ending with the ‘last Passover seder’ … the marriage supper of The Lamb.  Occasionally my mother couldn’t get matzo to us on time by mail and so we would use tortillas as our unleavened bread…asking for grace.  Aside from a couple of seders with my parents, that was our general ‘tradition’. It all changed when we made aliyah and neighbors and friends began to invite us to their seder.  Some were orthodox, some had ‘child friendly’ seders, some were believers …all were Jewish, but each one was different from the last.  Some lasted until midnight (I understand some go all night!!) and some were so full of singing laughing teenagers that our stomachs hurt when we got home from the laughter!  And that is right, because although the SUBJECT of the seder is The Lord and HIS great Faithfulness…the OBJECT is stated again and again in scripture: TO TEACH THE NEXT GENERATION WHOSE EYES HAVE NOT SEEN FOR THEMSELVES. 
My husband and I discussed all of this on the way to our friend’s.  What would a ‘gentile Christian seder’ be like?  (I know from my emails that a number of you are going to one, and others are hosting them…some very big!) Well… I can tell you right now, IT WAS A BLESSING!  It WAS learning.  It WAS a testimony to the faithfulness of God!  It WAS the gathering of a deeper understanding of The Blood applied to the doorposts as a type of our hearts… and we could only stand back in wonder when it was over, my husband and I: “Great things The Lord hath done for us, whereof we are glad.”  Here we were in Jerusalem, being hosted at a seder by old friends from Alaska…wow!
Ofcourse, ‘the last supper’ before the crucifixion, was a Passover seder, so we know that when Jesus, Yeshua, walked the earth, Jews were still fulfilling this commandment.  It has never stopped.  It has continued through out the centuries, through out the persecutions and dispersions, through out the wanderings and the return.  In concentration camps it continued to the best of their abilities.  It remains a testimony to God’s faithfulness…and I can only wonder!
I have a dilemma. The longer that I am here…the more that I see and experience and begin to understand…the more difficult it becomes to write about and explain.  It seems to me that the less I knew…well…it was just less complicated and simple to talk to you about.  Now…having ‘dug down’ layer past layer past layer…the intricacies of the work of His Hands and Heart defy description!  Thank you for the grace to be blessed by my inadequate offerings. 
So today we awoke – tired – to a hot spring day, beautiful and quiet.  No one works on this day as it is a ‘high holyday’.  The house is so clean (the kitchen anyway!) that I just want to stare at it and not use it…and…OFCOURSE I spilled the juice (yes, fresh squeezed orange juice!) spilled all over the table and floor first thing this morning.  DAVKA! (remember?  That word means ‘Murphy’s law’, or ‘wouldn’t you know it!’) But I didn’t get upset … His Presence was still too close.  We ate our matzo (which we will have for 8 days) and went out for a walk in the country.  It was there that we were reminded of the ominous realities of the day in which we live as we ran into some locusts.  Yes, it was a very small swarm, but if they have made it this far north, it is NOT good.  They are laying their eggs in the ground right now…not good at all!  The south of the country is experiencing huge swarms. Not good at all.  We also understood from the news that the Syrian rebels have taken over the area north of our Golan border.  This is also sobering news as they are making a great deal of noise in Arabic about how Assad has been so bad by “not liberating the Golan from the Zionist regime”.  We had 2 cross border fire incidents this past week.  The US pressure following the Obama visit upon our government to ‘make painful concessions’ also became ominously evident this week as we ‘eased the Gaza blockade’, released money to the Palestinian Authority and ‘apologized’ to Turkey for the death of those on their ship who were trying to breach our naval blockade on Gaza.  Lord knows what else is coming. 
BUT GOD…WHO IS FAITHFUL, AND WHO HAS BEEN FAITHFUL, WILL BE FAITHFUL TO GLORIFY HIS NAME!  You know, the longer I live here, the less I know about WHAT He is going to do (and I hear many who claim that they do know!) except for that one thing: HE WILL GLORIFY HIS NAME!  His purposes are about ours and His thoughts and ways are above ours, and to stand in the center of His will is the ONLY safe place!  I think of the Israelites standing between the sea and the Egyptian…how HOPELESS it looked; BUT GOD was planning to glorify His Name.  I also think of Miriam (Mary) and the other disciples at the foot of the cross…and at the tomb…thinking all was hopeless…BUT GOD had plans to glorify HIS Name!  The older I get, the more I simply want to draw near to Him and trust Him. 
Ok…my husband is ready to eat; more matzo! When we lived in California many years ago, we had to be creative with zucchini that was incredibly abundant…In Alaska it was salmon (I know…most of you can’t IMAGINE getting tired of salmon…but after 3 times a day, YES!  You CAN!)…and here we go to the matzo. WE WILL GIVE THANKS AND EAT WITH JOY!  I send much love, May His Presence rejoice your hearts and change you (and me) to the reflection of HIM! 
Lovingly, your sis here.
OOOOPPPSS….Personal p.s.: 
Our younger daughter and new husband apparently arrived at our older daughters’ family last night for 8 days of Pesach together.  I would appreciate prayer for them all. 
It has come to my attention lately a couple of you have sent us things and you did not receive a response from me.  IF THIS HAPPENS PLEASE CONTACT ME!  With VERY rare unavoidable exceptions I ALWAYS respond as I am SO THANKFUL for anyone who thinks of us.  I am seeing that neither snail mail nor email is always getting through – especially from here to you. 
And finally:  I know that it is annoying, but I still need to ask you to PLEASE make sure to keep MY NAME or the names of any member of my family off of email completely.  That means even in your address book (as it shows up on your email).  (Just list me as ‘friend’ or whatever you would like)  This is because my emails are very explicit and could jeopardize us.  Thank you!!!   
ani b’derek
Published in: on March 31, 2013 at 7:42 am  Comments (28)  
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