Inside Israel – Cloud Bursts and Sukkas

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel, as J of Jerusalem shares about one of her favorite times . . Sukkot! Thank you for coming and praying for Israel and J and her family!  Now, here’s J . . .

Thank You Lord that You reveal Yourself through Sukkot!  My FAVORITE holiday!  Sitting, vulnerable, in a hut with date palms and willows for a see-through roof, walls of material and a woven rug to cover the dirt floor, we are commanded to be able see the stars through the ‘roof’…so that we can REMEMBER Who is to lead and care for us…and to give thanks for all of the abundance that He has given, is giving and will give…and to pray for rain, which comes from Him alone.  On Friday at ifi prayer meeting, Eliyahu reminded us that NOW is the beginning of the prayer for rain, and when I came home from kehila last night, suddenly our daughter ran in ‘Is that RAIN I hear??’  We ran outside barefoot to see the first rain and to thank Him!  It was just a cloud burst lasting less then a minute, but a BIG one, and quite dramatic since we have had no rain since perhaps the end of April.  Everything smelled so good!  Having been deeply moved by the Word shared at kehila last night, I rose very early to seek Him without any distraction or pressure, and suddenly, around 4am, there it was again…the sound of RAIN!  I ran out to praise Him in another cloud burst, returning with my wet bare feet to seek Him some more…and may this be the year of ABUNDANT RAIN OF HIS SPIRIT as well as the natural rain! 
Our sukka is MOSTLY ready for the beginning of Sukkot at sundown tonight, but I still have a great deal of preparation ahead of me in this short day, so this note will also be short, hopefully followed by a fuller one.  I will run to the shuk, where the stalls are full of eye dazzling assortments of the good of the land…the fresh fruits are bursting with color and fragrance: there are stalks of fresh dates and bins of dry ones…there are huge red pomegranates, stalks of home grown bananas, green mandarins, mangos, figs, grapes of all colors, each, the size of plums, and plums and apples of all colors as well.  Nuts and dried fruit, sweet pastries peculiar to the Middle East are there dripping with honey, halvah, breads and oils.  He has been good to us.  I will decorate my sukka with flowers and some of these fruits and put many in bowls on the table in the midst.  I have the commandments from scripture pinned to the ‘walls’ in both Hebrew and English, as we are hoping to have many visitors to our sukka and many who are unsaved…my prayer being that the scripture will draw them into questioning.  Sukkot is the one feast also celebrated by the Christians (who call it the Feast of Tabernacles), so there are MANY international convocations, conferences and meetings going on right now as well as the celebration in the land.  WHEW!  TALK ABOUT ACTIVITY!  Can you imagine Christmas and Chanukah taking place together FOR A WEEK, and EVERYBODY coming from around the world to celebrate both together in YOUR city?? Invitations go out to visiting friends from overseas, the local body, neighbors, people from work, just about anyone you meet “COME AND BLESS US BY COMING TO OUR SUKKA!” as the sukka is OPEN and meant to welcome one and all.  And, by the way, the city is COVERED with sukkas of all shapes and sizes.  They line streets and sidewalks are on balconies, roof tops, in back yards and open squares.  Every restaurant has them. It IS a colorful holiday, if not a nightmare time in traffic…and I for one must work during this holidayL.  Being one of the 3 ‘appointed feasts’ (where all are called to Jerusalem to present themselves with an offering) there will be a day of Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall (a day in which traffic is GRIDLOCKED!) and there is also the Jerusalem March…as the people who made their way to Jerusalem march in a colorful display of…well…thanksgiving.  This march is one of the greatest ways in which we have seen the Christians from the nations touch so deeply the general population as their show of love and faith moves the crowds in an uncanny way. 
AT THIS RATE I WILL NOT HAVE FOOD IN MY SUKKA AT SUNDOWN L  So, inspite of the fact that I so want to stay here and write…I MUST move on.  May The Lord lead and guide and may NOTHING be done out of flesh…ALL for His glory and by His leading for the purpose of revealing HIM and WORSHIPING HIM!  I wish you were here…and for those of you who ARE…GIVE ME A CALL SO WE CAN GET TOGETHER?  Lovingly, your sis
ani b’derek
Published in: on October 28, 2012 at 7:17 am  Comments (2)  
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Inside Israel – from Jerusalem

“Hi” and blessings today as you take a look inside Israel. I’m sharing this personal letter from J of Jerusalem, a Jewish believer. Since I received this letter, J has been in the hospital, so your prayers for her and for Israel are always so appreciated! Thank you! Now, here’s J . . .

“Have I offended you?” O. asked me at kehila (fellowship meeting) a few weeks ago. The question took me by surprise for several reasons. First of all, I hadn’t heard that question in a very long time, from anyone. Secondly, O. and I hardly ever talk to one another. I thought back to when (and how) we first met. When we used to rent a larger place for our meetings, I was a ‘doorkeeper’ and that included greeting people. I remember the first day that she and her family came and I greeted them, asking if they were visiting and their answer made it obvious to me that they were ‘leaders’ and I had no need to greet them. During subsequent weeks I greeted them and usually received a minimal or no response. That did in fact, ‘pinch’. I wasn’t one of the ‘important’ people from their circle. How did I deal with it? I struggled…but finally forgave them and put it aside until I could pray for their blessing as well, when I prayed for the members of the kehila. I thought for a moment, and said, truthfully, “No, O., you have not offended me. Did something make you think that you had? ”Then she thought; “No…I just wondered and didn’t want anything between us.” I hugged her. “No. I don’t either! God bless you!”
I went home thinking about the encounter. I was blessed that she was sensitive to care if she had offended someone and had humbled herself to ask. Her husband (who speaks once a month at our fellowship) has been out of work for quite awhile and has suddenly had a job offer in China (!). Obviously this is a big decision for them (they have a large family) and it was wonderful to see that they wanted to make certain that everything was in order spiritually so that they could hear from The Lord clearly.
That got me thinking about “Offense”, “Forgiveness” and the gift of “Repentance” afresh. God is just SO incredibly good to us to give us His ‘low’ way. It’s so low that the shortest and youngest of us can ‘reach’ it, even little children. It is not difficult for a tall person to stoop down, but for a short one to climb up can indeed be hard. He has made provision.
Back in the 1970s I heard a message given by Campbell McAlpine that was to change my life. He spoke about the offended person becoming a betrayer! Now that startled me. ‘I thought that the offended person was the victim!’ Indeed, I listened closely as he took us through the scriptures…beginning with Cain and Abel…going through Joseph’s brothers…and ending, shockingly at Judas! I was frightened and I wept and sought Him as I knew that I was a particularly touchy and easily offended person, very opinionated. Oh, it was ‘colored’ nicely ‘She is SO sensitive!’ people would say, but…now… I knew the Truth about myself! The Lord had shined His revealing Light into my wicked heart, and (to quote Amy Carmichael) I stood “confessed outright undone”. I kept the verse from Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love Thy law and NOTHING shall offend them” above my kitchen sink for years, praying it and asking God for help. Some years later I did a Bible study concerning forgiveness that gave a LONG list of awful sins followed by scriptures that pointed out just how deep those sins run (for example ‘if you look on a woman with lust, you have already committed adultery’). At the time I was dealing with a nasty sin of unforgiveness in my heart toward a sister in The Lord who simply didn’t like me, and constantly ‘set me at naught’. I looked at that LONG list of sins and realized that I was guilty of most of them because I ‘hated my sister without a cause’. Oh yes, she was setting me at naught, BUT…had she ever stolen our food? Or caused harm to our children? Had she killed my loved one?…but I found that the ‘hurt’ in my heart had turned to anger, and the anger to hatred…and that made me a murderer and a betrayer! Talk about a ‘holy fear’! I was terrified and disgusted as I fell to my knees and cried out repenting! Did I get the victory immediately? No way! I struggled, and lifted it before The Lord over and over and OVER! Until I COULD put aside all of the ‘slights’ and become her sister again! Then I suddenly understood what a horrible thing the enemy does in the body through stirring up ‘slights’ and magnifying differences and causing us to take offense, causing ‘silent’ rifts in the body…the holy body of Messiah!

There was another time during which ‘The Word of God tried me’ in this area…and it nearly killed me! A leader in a fellowship that I was part of and loved, accused me of an awful sin and ‘forbid’ others to fellowship with me. The Lord told me to ‘be silent and discuss it with nobody’, and I obeyed Him. During that season, I was afraid that I was lost. There have been some very hard times in my life, but that was the hardest. That trial lasted 7 years and the biggest battle was to forgive. My husband and children all stumbled through that trial…and still I had to forgive…and silently. I told The Lord that ‘Someday I believed I would be able to thank Him from my heart for the trial’, but during those long, agonizing years I could only thank Him for it ‘by faith’.

And now…I can, and do, thank Him with my WHOLE heart for that experience! No, I never saw that leader again, nor do I know what became of it all…but I know that I have forgiven and my heart is free. And I feel bad for the leader because others were caused to stumble.

And that is the other side of the coin…not CAUSING offense. James said that in ‘many things we offend all’ but Yeshua said ‘woe to him through whom offense comes’! What a responsibility!! BOTH to forgive, AND to not cause offense! Oh Lord! This FLESH dies HARD!

So O., in her great tenderness, asked me if she had offended me! I COULD have said ‘Yes, O. When we met, you always looked through me and made me feel as if I wasn’t ‘good enough’ for you’…but you know what? There was no need. I had already forgiven that. It was under The precious Blood!
Sometimes people comment on how ‘spiritual’ I am…but BELIEVE ME, I’M NOT!! All of us are the SAME flesh given the same opportunity to take up the cross and carry it…by applying the cross and The Blood…and the Living Word to our hearts and minds. My flesh, without His grace, is FAR smellier then yours!

And so, God IS building His Temple HERE…with imperfect stones touched by His anvil…and that includes me,…and that includes O. It is Jerusalem day as I write this, and it is a proper time to think about the building of His temple. I am thankful to be a small stone, built together with each of you. God bless you! May He build His temple and fill it with His glory!

And now…I am given the painful ‘opportunity’ to illustrate what I wrote, and fully believe. I need to ask you to forgive me. The last letter that I sent out was concerning Jerusalem Day, after the fact…and I did want to share it with you. But these letters that I send are not intended to be ‘my own’. I write them as an observer and a ‘translator in the breach’, a person who has been called to stand in Jerusalem, and to simply bare witness to what I see so that others can pray. That CAN’T be done in the flesh or it only brings forth, produces flesh! I must confess to you that just before writing the last letter I had had an argument with my Husband and I was angry! I knew that I should not write until I had repented, but I could not imagine getting another time to write…so…I wrote and sent it…being unrepentant of the anger that I was nursing. I gave The Lord an unholy offering. I have received The Lord’s forgiveness, but now I must ask you to please forgive me, because I shared that unclean offering with you. As I have prepared to send out this letter (written earlier) concerning forgiveness, The Lord began to deal with my heart and show me more about the depth of the filth of unforgiveness. It IS a spiritual issue, bigger then I understand. Isn’t He good in that we must be partakers of what we think we know!

May God bless you this week with a double portion of His Spirit as Shavuot (Pentecost) approaches. Lovingly, your sis – may we glorify HIM and finish the work!

ani b’derek

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

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