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________________________________________________ 
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Inside Israel – Sukkot part 2

Hello and welcome to a look inside Israel through the eyes of believer, J of Jerusalem. J has blessed us again, sharing as He leads her about what is happening around her. Thank you for coming and praying! Now, here’s J . . .

Sukkot, as I said, is my favorite holiday. OF COURSE…I have to qualify that by the fact that I love most of the others as well…and they are nearly ALL my ‘favorites’ at one time or another. Our sukka has been very busy this year as we have been BLESSED to have guests for almost every meal…and at three of those meals our table in the sukka was filled with old (and new) friends from Alaska (a different group each time)…SO encouraging and edifying! Such a gift to us! Last year I was able to attach photos of our sukka for you. If you are still vague as to what they look like, http://realjerusalemstreets.wordpress.com/ is a lovely site by an amateur photographer who documents Jerusalem in her photographs weekly. This week will be full of different types of sukkas…and you can also catch a view there of our ‘lite rail’…which is something that none of us could do today!!!

Yep! As our streets are FULL to overflowing with worshippers, and celebrating Israelis from all over the country and tourists from all over the world…our brand new rail drivers went on surprise strike! The resulting traffic nightmare was a real test of the character that The Lord planted in me as it took me over an hour to get home from the shuk (!) with many buses so full that they passed us by.

And speaking of ‘tourists’, that is one of the highlights of sukkot… the filling of Jerusalem with BELIEVERS, CHRISTIANS from all around the world, pouring in to celebrate the ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ at any one of a number of Christian ‘feast conferences’ going on during this time. The city is ‘relieved’ by His Light in them flooding our streets, and our loads ARE lightened and it is a great blessing! On my crowded bus I got to speak to two young Christians from Hong Kong…so sweet and their sweetness overflowed to me. As they got off, two BIG guys got on bedecked with black leather vests and black tee shirts stating; ‘DISCIPLES! JESUS IS LORD! Motorcyclists for Jesus…Norway’. They looked like wrestlers and I had to giggle watching everyone look at them in amazement. Oh Lord, BLESS those who come and those who couldn’t come but pray! Let this city be flooded with Your Light and testimony…and bring forth fruit to Your Glory!’

The Jerusalem March is usually the biggest and most encouraging event where the Christians are able to so encourage the country, but this year’s march will not be what it has been in years past…for it is taking place on Tuesday…and Tuesday is a day that will sum up the mixed emotions that are playing out all around us…for on Tuesday is the scheduled prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit.

Approaching this subject is difficult for me as it is so charged with emotions larger then I feel that I have the ability to express, and those emotions are currently spread out, raw, over the country…pouring out into the streets and burying deeply into each heart. There is not one Israeli who is not happy that Gilad Shalit is coming home…and we are praying that it will not be in a box, (as were our last three, though we expected them to walk out of the waiting car at our Northern border).

I told you that the ‘ransom price’ being paid for Gilad is 1,027 prisoners, including some several hundred with ‘blood on their hands’. As the list of prisoners has been printed, details are coming out…and being relived. I guess that this is the anatomy of ‘trauma’ or ‘post traumatic stress’…and it is very real. Please see http://www.ynetnews.com/home/0,7340,L-3083,00.html to help understand some of the emotions.

Mine broke when I heard that the killers from the lynching in Ramala in 2,000, at the very beginning of the intifada, were being released. I had never seen anything like that…I had never seen such blood thirst. I had never seen a man pulled apart with bare hands, and pieces of him thrown out of a window while crowds cheered…I had never known what that felt like…and I relived that horror as I simply heard the announcement. And as the crimes were spoken of again…each one re-produced that ‘tightness’ in my chest and knot in my stomach. And I remembered the attack that I was at on Jaffa Road.

The first inkling of what the response was going to be came late last week when a 25 year old man went to the Rabin memorial in Tel Aviv and, with onlookers as witnesses, poured white paint on it, wrote ‘price tag’ and ‘free Yigal Amir’ (the assassin of Prime Minister Rabin who was responsible for the ‘Oslo ‘peace’ accords’). When he was taken into custody and asked why he did this he said ‘You are releasing those who murdered my parents’ … and it was obvious that his grief was being relived. He was released. They are reliving their grief…both the mourners and those who were injured…and those who were near…and those who watched on television…the entire nation is reliving the horrors of the murders committed. Please watch the 15 Oct 11 video interview with the woman responsible for the Sbarro Pizza attack that killed 15 mostly young people and children. http://thisongoingwar.blogspot.com/ She is being released.

So…I can not write about why the parade will not be well attended this year. Most people will be glued to their televisions waiting to see if Gilad Shalit is alive…and so many…too many…reliving horrors deeply engraved in their hearts as the families of the killers of children rejoice.

Yet they are not being released ‘just for one soldier’…they are being released for ALL of the soldiers…who count on the government…the country…to do whatever it takes that ‘not one left behind’- the motto of our armed services – will be reality. We count on our soldiers and they must trust us. What a price!

Please hold the nation in prayer at this time. It is terribly emotional. I am not ‘wise’ enough to give you prayer points, but The Holy Spirit IS. He might have you pray for the government to be able to withstand this painful process…or for the children who lost their parents and siblings,…or the parents who lost their children…or for Gilad Shalit’s mind and spirit, or for his family…or for the salvation of our nation…or any manner of way that The Holy Spirit, Who searches the hearts of men, can lead…for He KNOWS the needs far better then I do.

And in the midst…it is Sukkot…and HE COMMANDS US TO REJOICE…and I WILL for I know the end of the story!
God bless you DEAR sisters and brothers. I cherish you. You are HIS! May He be blessed and glorified in each of us.

ani b’derek

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