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
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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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Pesach Preparations 3 – Speeding Up

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel during the Passover preparations.  I know it’s already past, but our sis in Jerusalem sent all these lovely letters prior to Passover and I wanted to share them with you!   Thank you and God bless you and yours!  Now, here’s our sis . . .

Beloved sisters and brothers in Yeshua,
Blessings and greetings in Him Who is our Peace…the only sacrifice that can wash us from sin and set us free to have real PEACE within.  May all of His blessings be found abundant in you through His promises so freely given.  Wow!  We are so incredibly blessed!
Preparations for Pesach are gathering speed and it is in times like these that the fact that the blinders that have been ripped off of my spiritual eyes becomes even more wondrously precious to me then ever. Because of His great mercy I have access to Him Who is all in all and I don’t NEED to walk in the shadows.  Do I have all light?  Ofcourse not!  But I DO have access to the One Who does!  Halleluyah!
So…I couldn’t sleep. L  It was two a.m. and I was suddenly wide awake.  I was NOT happy about this.  Four thirty (when I USUALLY get up) comes soon enough on a work day, but on Fridays I leave even earlier then my regular 6:30.  I leave at 5:50 so that I can be at prayer meeting by 6:30 for a half hour before running to work at 7 for a very intense day.  I tried to fall back to sleep but could not get the thought of “the death of the firstborn” – the final plague upon Egypt preceding Pesach – out of my head.  It was a loosing battle.  I got out of bed, resigned myself to a strong cup of coffee, and went to my Bible. 
Preparing the heart is definitely the most important part of Pesach preparations. I have been reading in Prophets, Psalms and the Epistles so had not been reading about Pesach. Since I had this extra time, I turned to Exodus 11 on, and looked for last plague; the death of the first born.  I was immediately enraptured, caught up by His Word into His ways.  “Then Moses said, ‘Thus says the Lord: “About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt’ and the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all of the animals. Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.  But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.’” Wow!  NOT very politically correct, is it!  But this is The Lord God Almighty speaking.  It brought me back to something that I have seen along this path of His.  His Word DIVIDES.  We seem to have a choice all along the way…either it is ‘Yes Lord…let it be done to me according to Your Word’…or to squirm under the ‘unfairness’, the ‘inhumanity’ of His judgments.  ‘Humanism’ becomes more ‘just’ then God…more ‘merciful’…I mean…how can He command the death of the first born of innocent animals?  Why would He make a distinction between the Hebrews and the Egyptians?  Over and over, with increasing frequency, I hear these arguments and my heart shivers. I thought of the disciples turning away when He spoke of eating His body and drinking His blood…they could not understand…so they walked away.  I am so thankful that somehow by His mercy I have sought for and been given (in not great enough measure yet) a fear of God.  I truly believe that His ways and thoughts are higher then ours.  I have come to understand that sin is costly and painful in ways far beyond my pea-brain understanding, but that a truly righteous, just and merciful God DOES in fact, need to judge these things.  As I read on through chapters 12 and 13, scripture after scripture jumped into my mind, flooding me again with the intricacy of His Truth and Way.  “…and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your house to strike you.” (12:23)  I flipped to 1 Corin. 10:1-13, on through Hebrews, scripture after scripture and back to Exodus; “So this day shall be to you a memorial, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generation.  You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.” Again and again He clearly lays out the directions.  They are simple really.  “For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land…”  The blood of the lamb saved them…The Blood of The Lamb still saves…for HE IS THE PASSOVER LAMB WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD! 
Five fifty came too soon.  I didn’t want to leave the wonderful Light of The Word and His Spirit to plunge again into the swirling drama of daily life here, but I had no choice.  The day was oppressively hot…our first sha’arav heat wave of the year arrived as the Tel Aviv marathon took place inspite of strong health ministry warnings against it: sport must go on, right?  The runners began at 6am but by 9:30 one was dead and about 30 hospitalized as a result of the extreme heat.  The locusts continue to invade from the south.  The war in Syria on our northern border continues to press southward.  Iran runs toward nuclear weapons and US President Obama is scheduled to arrive here on Wed, paralyzing the city until he leaves on Friday.  He plans to ‘meet the people, rather then address our government.’  Hum.  As of last night we finally have a government …or at least, we will have once it is sworn in tomorrow (Monday). 
And in the midst Pesach draws near. 
People scurry around purchasing gifts, food, cleaning products.  We have one more week.  Next Monday night at sundown the order of the table will be set and a last breath will be drawn in as the subtle change takes place and the drama unfolds … again.  According to scripture on the 10th of the month of Nissan (which this year falls on Thursday the 21st) the lamb was to be taken into the home – a lamb for a household – and kept for four days until it was sacrificed at the Passover.  We are preparing. 
Perhaps you would like to take a fresh look at the first 13 chapters of Exodus. It truly never gets ‘old’! 
Having so little time to write and then finally writing when I am tired is very sad to me, but it is what I have and I offer it to Him – the Lord, the Lamb, Yeshua, with love…and to each of you, dear brothers and sisters.  I am so thankful that we are one in Him!  Blessings to you, your sis in Jerusalem
ani b’derek
Published in: on March 30, 2013 at 7:28 am  Comments (15)  
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Inside Israel – 8th Day of Chanuka

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today. I didn’t receive a letter from our Sis in Jerusalem this week, but had an older one that hadn’t been shared yet, from back in December.  Thank you and God bless you for reading and praying. Now, here she is . . .

“The entrance of Your Words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.”  Psalm 119:130
We have just lit the final candles on our Chanukiah…all eight lights are gleaming, lighting up the room so brightly.  It is beautiful and peaceful and ushers in the final day of Chanuka. We went to a wonderful Chanuka shabat meal last night at my pastor’s home with most of our congregation and we sang about The Light of The world.  When we came home we heard about the tragic shooting in Connecticut USA where so many little ones were killed.  How distinct Light is from darkness, and how grievously evident its fruits!
I want to share with you that I got to share about HIM and His Light and peace this Chanuka, and I would like to tell you a bit about the young woman with whom I shared, hoping that you will pray for her.  Her name is Molly and she is a new secretary who works along side of me several days a week.  When I met her it was a little bit of a shock.  She is big and tough looking, (not what you generally expect a dr. secretary to look like) and in her early twenties. She was a police woman and I found out that she is now studying criminology.  Wow!  That is quite a subject.  As I thought about it, I wondered what it is like to stare at criminal minds and study them.  I spend my life studying the mind of Yeshua… staring at Him, knowing that as I fix my eyes on Him I am changed more and more into His likeness.  I remember having a good friend in California years ago who was a police man.  He had told us that he and his wife went on required ‘psychiatric retreats’ periodically through his work to ‘debrief’ them.  He said that after awhile you see so much evil that it affects you and you must be brought back into balance and reminded that all people are not like that.  I found myself thinking quite a bit about Molly’s line of study, so I brought it up again several days later.  ‘Molly, I was thinking about your studies in criminology and thought how you must have to guard your heart as you study.’ (The word that I used was not ‘heart’ but ‘nefesh’… a Hebrew word that is more like a combination of your heart, soul and spirit) She was interested; ‘Well, I know and I try to.  I actually study it because most criminals are depressed and I have been very depressed and there is much depression in my family.  As a matter of fact, we have learned that depression is a severe problem in Israel.’  This had really opened a door!  ‘I have noticed that Jewish depression seems to be an ancient problem’ I said. I wondered if this would lead to speaking about how turning from God to sin and darkness brings such depression.  I told her that I get up every morning at 4:30 to ‘Study God’…to read His Word and to stare at Him.  She was interested and it opened a door.  ‘My father died very suddenly 5 months ago and I could not get out of bed I was so sad.  I quit my job and would have killed myself but I couldn’t do that to my family.  I am the oldest of 4 sisters and our father had a heart attack and went into a deep coma.  For one week we all sat by his bed and our Mother cried.  It was awful.  We were so sad.  I prayed and said ‘God…if you are real…please either heal my father or take him home but don’t let him live this way.  Then, right away, he died.’  Suddenly I knew with a deep ‘knowing’ that I had to tell her about The Lord.  Thankfully, the office was miraculously quiet. ‘Molly…I want to tell you something about myself that I don’t usually share here at work.  I am a messianic Jew.’ She said ‘What is that?’ I was hoping that she would know.  ‘I believe that Yeshua is our Messiah.’ I said. ‘Oh! yeshu!’ This is a bad word for HIS Holy Name.  ‘No.’ I said…’His Name is YESHUA.’ Thankfully she did not seem shocked or upset. She asked ‘Are you still Jewish then or are you now a Christian (Notzrei) and not Jewish?’ I told her that I am still Jewish and am a disciple of Yeshua.  All of my parents and Grandparents all the way back were Jewish and so I a, as well…but I follow Yeshua.’ I began to share my full testimony with her…including how I was hospitalized having been (among other things) suicidally depressed and how He came to me Face to face when I had never heard about Him and how He changed my life and flooded me with joy and peace.  She looked at me deeply.  ‘The way you believe in Yeshua is how I believe in God.’ She said.  ‘When my father died and I prayed, when God answered my prayer, He did that to me.  I suddenly was flooded with peace that I knew was Him.’
At this point the office suddenly got busy again, effectively ending our conversation, but – again – I was flooded with peace and His Light seemed to fill the room.  Later that day Molly said to me ‘I am so happy to be working with you.  I have never been this happy to work with anyone.’  I do not know how this will continue, but I pray for her salvation.  Although my words were awkward, His ways are perfect and I know that His Word will accomplish what it is sent to do.  Should The Lord press Molly into your heart, please lift her in prayer, that she would be set free to turn her studies to The One Who is Light?
Having much to share and knowing that you are all so busy during this season of LIGHT, I pray for each of you to be blessed by His Presence. How precious is His Light in this darkening world.  May His priorities be yours daily.  I miss you.  Lovingly, your sis
 

Inside Israel – Blessings!

JerAtNight1

Hello and welcome to a look inside Israel today as our sis in Jerusalem shares about Christmas amidst those who are yet waiting for Him to come!  God bless you and keep you, as you read and pray!  Now, here’s our sis . . .

Dearest sisters and brothers,
Shalom from Jerusalem where we are being blessed by a sunny day in the midst of floods of blessed rain.  Perhaps we shall have an end to this long season of drought…the rains have been plentiful, the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is filling at a good pace, and we are thankful.
I approach this letter each December with a sense of joy and trepidation.  We all have our views, opinions and convictions based on both our experiences, and they way that we have been led by The Lord along our individual and collective ‘journey’. In Jewish Israel there basically IS no Christmas holiday.  Over the years I have noticed that some people whom I have written to find this hard to grasp, but if the birth of Messiah was denied, if it is believed that Messiah has not yet come…then there is no birthday celebration.  Christmas is a day of work, as usual…no gift giving, no trees, no decorations, no songs, no gatherings and no rejoicing in the knowledge of salvation.  BUT! (I have grown to LOVE that word when it is used to mean ‘BUT [the intervention of] GOD’!)  We Jews are incredibly curious people by nature, and Israelis are FASCINATED by Christmas!  ‘What do these ‘gentiles’ (because most Jews do NOT understand the difference between simply gentile – or non Jew – and Christians) DO?  And WHY?’  Now, enter in to the scenario LOTS of variables.  Here in the land you have Arab Christians (usually Catholic, Russia or Greek Orthodox, Coptic, or one of the other similar groups).  You have a fairly large group of gentile Christians who have ministries here and are ‘expatriates’, maintaining their national culture and identity.  And then you have the Jewish believers, and those who have joined themselves to us. Among the Jewish believers – of which I am one – there are what Chuck referred to at yesterday morning’s 6:30am ifi prayer meeting, the ‘humbug’ believers and the ‘non-humbug’ believers. Most ‘humbugers’ have come from the west where they took a strong stand against the materialism, idolatry and roots of the origin of the modern celebration.  This is VERY legitimate. Then there are those who have incorporated natural Jewish curiosity with the unique opportunity to share the gospel openly on this day. There are also some of us who share our homes with spouses who have particular cultural needs.  When I met HIM, as I have told you before, I was amazed, actually overcome, by the message sung in the Christmas Carrolls! I had never HEARD them before, and there it was…the message that He had been born, being proclaimed openly in commercial areas, on street corners and in homes of people who didn’t know HIM!  I couldn’t get over it!  In the meantime, my own husband didn’t yet know Him so I busied myself with much prayer and preparation to find a way to turn my husbands head toward the wonder of His birth.  I seemed to know right away that this date was only a symbolic date of His birth and that the trappings were so not of HIS kingdom, but The Lord seemed to show me how to make a ‘display’ of HIM in my heart and actions, and to truly celebrate HIS birth.  In those early years I was blessed to be able to see many come to HIM on that day and to sow many seeds.
After we made aliyah – immigrated here – my husband would sink into a dark hole as Christmas approached and he wished for an ‘American Christmas’…although I’m so aware that he wished really for the joy of childhood!  Yearly I have sought The Lord for a creative way to bring HIS comfort to my husband through The Word made flesh. But THIS YEAR…all of our children and Grandchildren are GONE!  ‘Oh Lord!  What do I do?’ Once again He has been so good to us and has opened a number of doors that I know His blessings are behind.  First of all, my boss informed me that I still had 4 days ‘vacation’ left and needed to use them before the 1st of Jan. Up until now I have ALWAYS used my vacation days to help with needs of some sort.  I went online and found a cabin (‘tsimmer’) down in the desert (Sde Boker – the kibbutz that Ben Gurion is from – you can see it here http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g2009122-d2558019-Boker_Valley_Vineyards_Farm-Sde_Boker_Southern_District.html ) just north of the beautiful crater, Mitzpe Ramon, and booked it for 2 nights (the 26th and 27th) by faith!  Believe it or not, we have been together for more then 40 years and we have NEVER done ANYTHING like this alone!  We never even went on a honeymoon!!  I took the step and told my husband and we are now both very excited.  I would so be blessed knowing that perhaps some of you prayed for my husband to return his heart to The Lord, and also that we would be blessed with rest and refreshing that we do seem to need desperately.  And after I took that initial step of faith?  The provision appeared the following day!  He is just so good!
Meanwhile, a young couple with a two year old son from our fellowship invited us to breakfast at their house on the 25th and my husband is very happy about that. This is the young woman whom I recently took to lunch to encourage.  In the past, on Christmas Eve, we used to attend a service in the old city at Christ Church.  This is the main Protestant Church that has some serious outreach on the night of the 24th and we have seen many amazing things there as much prayer goes into the preparation of the very evangelistic service.  The Church is packed with Jewish ‘site seers’ along with the believers who come to worship and to share.  The Gospel messages are all available in Hebrew and as people listen we have seen them visibly shaken and stay for prayer and counseling.  It is truly a unique and fruitful outreach. In all of this, there is only one purpose: that The Lord Yeshua h’Meshiach, The Lord Jesus Christ would be recognized, glorified and given His place as Lord and King in each of our hearts. As to HOW we do this, I think Paul addressed it perfectly when he said:
 “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike.  Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.  He who observes the day, observes it to The Lord, and he who does not observe the day, to The Lord he does not observe it.” Rom. 14:5,6 
Below is a short, interesting interview from the perspective of an ‘expatriate’ Christian in a large ministry here.  I thought that you might enjoy it.
Frontpage Jerusalem Radio
Word From Zion, December 17, 2012
ICEJ Executive Director, Dr. Juergen Buehler, shares on his experience of celebrating Christmas in the Holy Land, while outlining some of the wonderful promises fulfilled in Christ’s birth.
However you are led to spend the 24th and 25th, I pray that it will be blessed and full of worship and the joy of The Lord.  I pray that HE will be glorified and find HIS rest in each of your hearts and lives.  I count you each a gift in my life.  I am thankful for you.  Many of you I have known since the days that I first met HIM and others are new friends, many of whom I have never met.  HE has brought us together and knit us together into HIS body, and I find that I LOVE YOU IN HIM!  “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”! I bless you sisters and brothers out of Zion.  May Yeshua h’Meshiach, The Lord Jesus Christ alone be glorified!        Lovingly, your sis
ani b’derek
Published in: on December 23, 2012 at 6:35 am  Comments (9)  
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Inside Israel – quick update and prayer requests

 

Hi and welcome to our look inside Israel today. This post is from Nov. 18th and I want you to know how much our sis in Jerusalem is blessed by your comments and prayers, as I forward them on to her. Thank you and God bless you as you continue in prayer for Israel!  Now, here is our Jerusalem friend . . .

Blessings to each of you in Jesus/Yeshua.  May THE LORD BE GLORIFIED!
You might remember the young Arab taxi driver, Yusef, whom I shared about not long ago.  I have been thinking of him and praying for him since this war began.  He and I had spoken so much of ‘keep your heart tender’ and it was about such a time as that that I was referring to.  He is so young that even the last intifada wasn’t able to have an impact on his tender heart, as he was too young for all of the ‘hate indoctrination’ to make take root in him. 
He was on my mind when I reached into the pocket of a jacket and there was his card!  Immediately I dialed his number.  “Hallo!” (The Israeli intonation of ‘hello’ is distinct) I hadn’t prepared what to say, so prayed quickly. “Hallo, Yusef? You probably don’t remember me but you drove me to Ramat Raziel and then picked me up again recently on the street?”  I told him my name and described a bit more.  He still sounded blank and a bit impatient.  I bit my lip and felt stupid.  Suddenly his voice changed: “OH! ____(remember…I don’t put my name on emails)!  OFCOURSE I REMEMBER YOU!!” Whew! “I am sorry that I am not calling for a ride, but I just want you to know that I am thinking about you and praying for you.  Are you alright, and your family?” I didn’t want to speak directly, but just to stir his heart. “I’m ok” he said, still sounding good. “I just called to remind you to guard your heart” I said honestly.  We said a few more words and I just encouraged him to not be influenced to hate.  He thanked me and I hung up with sweaty palms.  I’m NOT a ‘phone person’!  Indeed I put OFF ‘necessary’ calls as well as friendly ones, so that was definitely spontaneous, but I’m glad that I made it.  It is very hard to remain ‘neutral’ on any side in a conflict filled with so much hatred, more or less maintain a balance, even for believers. Thank you for your prayers for him.
But along with your prayers for him, my heart is with our people, our soldiers, and our own hearts.  At prayer meeting the other evening as we were praying for our soldiers my cry was for their hearts and minds as well…that they would be wise, discerning, also tender and merciful.  That war would not harden their hearts – that where they needed to be strong they would not become hard, and be kept from debilitating trauma.  This call up includes more names then I can share.  There are SO many young (and older) Israeli believers on the fronts (Our northern border being very volatile right now as well) that I could not name them all even if it were wise to list their names.  One dear local friend and sister in The Lord, the mother of a young believer on the front sent this and asked me to share it, and I humbly do:
“Please ask people to pray for enough very basic things, material, ammunition, food, water, warm clothes,, but also pray against friendly fire,
no injuries physically and mentally, unity among them in this stressful time, wisdom and Divine insight what and when to do what ,once they are in.
Ask for G-d given revelation for those that have to make decisions in the field.”
Our army IS a true ‘people’s army’ made up of all of the nation that is able to participate.
I have been encouraged to keep these ‘short’ (hard for me…my heart is so full) but I will just share this ‘observation’ as well as a personal prayer request. Our bus drivers right now are being pulled out of retirement as so many of the younger ones are called up.  I also notice a large number of small stores closed and open ones understaffed.  There is barely a family without ATLEAST one person in the army.  Our new son in law’s brother is there…perhaps you will pray that he hears testimony and sees witness of his Messiah and embraces Him whole-heartedly unto salvation?  ANYWAY; Radios are on everywhere and on top of the programming you will suddenly hear a siren and the calm voice in Hebrew superimposed over the slightly lowered song or announcer: “Tsava adom! Tsava adom!” (Red alert! Red alert!)…go to your protected areas immediately! This is followed by a list of towns, villages or cities that are targeted at that moment.  Everyone stops and listens: is Jerusalem listed?  Finally the siren ends and everyone continues what they were doing. It took me a couple of days to realize that the siren was not for us (which was a bit startling when I was in the shuk!) but only for the areas being listed. It happens every few minutes so by now it has become ‘normal’. None the less, the ‘tension’ is tangible all over.
AND FOR PRAYER: it is PAINFUL for us to watch the worldwide media, the lies and disinformation and listen to the constant barrage of ‘diplomats’ invading the region. Please pray that our leaders will see clearly, and be lead by Adonai Tsavaot – The Lord of Hosts – ONLY! 
I just hit the second page so will, for prudence sake, wind up this WOEFULLY inadequate letter, but I do have a personal prayer request: Both of our daughters and families are going to be by themselves this first Thanksgiving for them in America. It was always a big holiday for them and our tables were NEVER without guests. They simply have not had time to make friends and neither of them have cars yet. They are both struggling against their old enemy, depression, as they feel ‘alone’.  Their husbands have jobs that come with a built in ‘social life’ so they are not feeling it in the same way.  Younger daughter in L.A. Calif area is NOT doing well at all.  Older daughter in area of San Francisco also struggling with the lack of friends. They (older daughter and family) have JUST started attending a church but don’t know anyone there yet.  Thank you for your prayers for them.   
As I close with love, I know our pastor shared this in his prayer update, but I first received it from a local sister who wrote:
“I was just checking the news on the Jerusalem Post Web site and was viewing the photographs. One of the photos showed a meeting of some top Israeli military officers, and I noticed on the wall a large picture of part of Psalm 27:3 (in Hebrew, of course): “My heart shall not fear, though war may rise against me.” It was so good to see these words of David as the backdrop of a meeting of our officers!”
 
ani b’derek

Inside Israel – quickly written update

 

Hello and welcome to a look inside Israel today! Thank you for being here and thank you for praying. J of Jerusalem has been sending daily communications and I may just add extra Inside Israel posts each day, for those who want to read what she is experiencing there in Israel, first hand.  God bless you!  Now, here’s J . . .

Greetings, dear friends, in The Name of The Lord Yeshua, Jesus.  May HE be exalted, glorified and blessed, and may each of you be blessed!
I am writing this with the news on in the background, as events here in the Middle East are moving so quickly and we have been encouraged to keep informed.  I checked each of the English speaking news channels emanating from both America and Europe, but they are all covering the Obama speech.  On our channel I am watching the beginnings of “Operation Pillar and Cloud” (מבצע עמוד וענן  is how it looks in Hebrew).  It is a good name…God Himself was in the Pillar and the Cloud, leading, protecting and separating us from the enemy as He led the children of Israel out of Egypt into the Promised Land. The cloud always represents The Presence of God…and His Fire…
 A million Israelis are watching this from shelters in the South right now. School is cancelled for tomorrow. This ‘exchange’ began with more then 110 rockets and missiles raining down on our south from Gaza this past weekend.  A short lived, Egyptian brokered ‘cease fire’ was announced on Monday but did not stick. This evening, after receiving more rockets, our air force carried out a successful targeted attack on the leader of the hamas’ ‘military wing’ who was directly responsible not only for coordinating these attacks, but for the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. It will be morning before we understand which way this is leading, but the implications are huge. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4305343,00.html  We are now surrounded by a new ‘reality’ since the ‘Arab Spring’ showed its true colors.  This past week we fired on Syria for the first time since 1973 when ‘errant shells’ from the Syrian war fell in Israel.  (note that when ‘errant shells’ fell in Turkey, there was an extremely harsh response from Turkey). The militant rebels have now taken over the villages in the south of Syria on the Israeli boarder.  This is a very serious development.  At the same time, uprisings have begun in Jordan to our East. Egypt, on our Southern boarder, is spouting more and more aggressive rhetoric toward Israel…and Iran watches and gloats. There is NO doubt that these events are all coordinated. 
So what is our response to be as believers living here? Several scriptures have spoken to me loudly over the past few days.  David said to Jonathan when Saul was determined to kill him “…there is but a step between me and death.” (1Sam 20:3) That arrested me.  David was to be so ‘fine tuned’ by God to be able to walk in the step of ‘life’ and not be snared into the ‘step of death’.  “ONE STEP”!  How incredibly circumspect one would have to be to walk in such a tight space for so long as David did.  This is surely God’s training…”This is the path…walk ye in it”  Psalm 99 also spoke volumes to me and as I look at it right now I get the chills to see verse 7 “He spoke to them in the cloudy pillar”!
These are the lessons before me as I go about my daily life, called to live in Jerusalem and pray for her peace and until she be made a PRAISE in all the earth!
And it poured rain this week, for which I give thanks!  It was good, so good to see the water freely drenching us and the thirsty earth.  HOWEVER…it magnified something that had been concerning me; we have no heat.  The dwellings here are all made of stone, and believe me…it gets COLD!  It is a bone chilling cold that soaks into the stone and radiates out.  We have a ‘cold water flat’.  A couple of times a week we heat water with an electric hot water heater so that we can take a shower.  Other then that we heat water on our stove for washing dishes etc. Heat was, in the past, provided to our apartment by central heating from the first of Nov through April.  It is turned on once a day at about 4pm and turned off at about 10pm.  It feels SO good while it is on and we really look forward to it.  This year there has been a dispute over costs and November first came and went…and cold began to set in.  We spoke to our neighbors.  They all had some form of auxiliary heat, but we don’t…so I prayed.  That was Sunday morning.  When I went for my weekly blood test I mentioned the situation to the lab technician (when you have your blood taken weekly for years, you become good friends). “Oh no!” she commiserated…’but wait!  We have an old ‘tanour neft’ (kerosene heater) on our porch.  We don’t use it.  You can have it if you want.’  What an answer to prayer! The next night we brought home our heater and are in the process of setting it up.  Meanwhile, the building committee presented us all with bills today to get the central heat going again.  It is double what it has been before!  It looks like we have a battle brewing inside as well as outside.  There is a bumper sticker here (in Hebrew) that says ‘TO BE ISRAELI IS TO HELP ONE ANOTHER’.  As I look at our kerosene heater I have to agree and marvel at how quickly people are willing to help with any problem.  As the situation heats up again, there will be ample opportunity to help one another. 
I see I am too tired to write any more tonight.  I am afraid that I have been struggling in a far deeper way then I ever expected concerning the departure of our children.  Yesterday I had to face the fact that I am struggling against depression and need to take a strong stand against it.  Thank you for your prayers. 
 
J of Jerusalem
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Published in: on November 18, 2012 at 8:18 am  Comments (16)  
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Inside Israel – His Open Doors

 

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today! Thank you for joining J of Jerusalem as she shares what is happening around her, and for praying!  Now, here’s J . . .

 

Greetings, DEAR Brothers and Sisters, in The Name of Yeshua.  May He be blessed and glorified, and may you be blessed! 
As significant events seem to run faster and faster, does it seem to you (as it does to me) that The Lord is calling us to ‘the quiet’ of His Presence more and more?  It is almost as if He is giving ‘practice drills’ of entering into the safety of The Rock, as practice drills take place around us. And surely there can be nothing more urgent then knowing how to respond, even ‘automatically’, when the crisis suddenly appears…and it most certainly will appear ‘suddenly’ as we are told over and over again in the scriptures.
In the natural too, practice drills have been abundant lately, in this fiery Middle East.  We are still in the midst of major ones, as a matter of fact.  You probably know that Israel and the US are carrying out massive joint exercises this week which include all streams of armed forces from both here and America.  While those are going on, we have had our first ever nationwide earthquake preparedness drill, with the aid of experts from other countries.  And if those two sets of drills with all of their sirens and airplanes aren’t enough, a number of specialized ‘intensive volunteer emergency ‘courses have been taking place (several of you that I know of have been here participatingJ). These are really amazing programs as a large percentage of the volunteers are born again Christians from the nations!  These are people who volunteer to come and help in Israel in case of national emergency, thereby freeing up other emergency professionals for the battle stations.  Some of these training programs are for professional (medical, fire fighting and the like) while others are simply for the willing and able bodied who will offer themselves where ever needed.  These people amaze the country, offering their time at their own expense, knowing that they would be called upon in the most dangerous situations.  What a witness! 
So this is what has been going on in ‘post holiday’ Israel; emergency preparedness.  Simultaneously, The Lord has been faithfully waking me in the night and calling me to Himself and to His Word.  How wonderful when The Holy Spirit takes up the sharpening stone and sharpens us! 
Along with the personal sharpening (and yes, ouch! It can hurt!) He has been marvelously opening doors for me that have remained shut for so many years here…the doors of boldness and sharing. 
I had a rather extraordinary exchange at work this past week with a man of renown in the Jewish world, and I’d like to share it with you.  Feldheim /Pomerantz book company is a very old one which (perhaps 100 years?) is one of the cornerstones in the production of Jewish holy books, scriptures, prayer books as well as books on every topic of concern in Judaism.  The company is established both in America and Israel.  Mr. Feldheim is one of the patients at our office.  He was born in America but made aliyah 51 years ago.  He is an authoritative Rabbi whose advice is sought around the world.  I would have never dared, in the natural, to challenge him! 
However…:
The Lord has His mysterious and surprising ways!  I asked Mr. Feldheim about a particular edition of an interlinear Hebrew English book of Psalms that I was looking for and our conversation took some very interesting turns.  ‘Psalms!  It is an almost impossible book to understand…the words are so hard to grasp.’ He said to me.  I was surprised…and even more surprised when I blurted out ‘Do you really think so?  Why I find that it speaks right to my heart and flows like fresh water.’ He was surprised and followed with this story;  Many years ago (perhaps 100? From what he insinuated) Mr. Pomerantz was asked by a Southern Baptist Church to come to a service for the express purpose of reading Psalm 137 (“If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning…”) to them in Hebrew.  They longed to hear it in the Hebrew language.  Mr. Feldheim continued ‘As he began to read it, the entire congregation burst out weeping and could not stop…just hearing the Hebrew!’  Mr. Pomerantz was so deeply moved when they explained how the Psalms spoke directly to their hearts, the Heart of God.’  I smiled ‘Yes, this is how I feel as well.  I am very surprised that you do not.’ I am not sure how our conversation took so many turns, it was quite fast moving, but at one point I bemoaned the fact that so many streams of Judaism forsook the Scriptures and he challenged me.  I told him that my own beloved brother in law is a rabbi, and yet does not believe in God, but believes in Judaism.  He asked me what other areas I thought Judaism was departing from scripture.  Our words seemed to be moving in a dream and I was not choosing what I was saying.  Things that I wasn’t thinking of were coming out of my mouth; “Jewish yoga!” I said.  ‘This is a contradiction of terms and yet it is being taught all over!  The scriptures expressly speak against going to the East and embracing their religious practices, and yet we justify it.’ He thought and nodded reluctantly in agreement.  ‘And what about HALIBUT!?’ I asked him.  ‘What do you mean?’ he wanted to know.  ‘Well, I have brought this up with many rabbis.  Halibut have no gills and no scales and the scriptures say that only fish with gills and scales are kosher.  Rabbis have told me that the day they are born they have gills and scales and so that is enough.  I am from Alaska and I have NEVER seen a halibut with gills and scales, nor a new born halibut…which we wouldn’t eat anyway!  How can this be justified when it is so simply stated?’  Suddenly Mr. Feldheim became very angry with me and his voice rose; ‘Who do you think you are?  You are exalting man’s reasoning over the truth of God!’ To my absolute shock I heard myself say ‘No! It is our traditions that have exalted themselves over God’s simple Truth!’ Who said that? ‘You dare question the sages of history?’ he retorted. My answer taught me ‘No, Mr. Feldheim, I wouldn’t dare, however I believe that God KNEW from the very beginning (it is written!) that we would sin and be dispersed around the world, and that is WHY God set down the law so very very SIMPLY…so that the most SIMPLE of us could understand it and find our way back to Him and please Him even from the very ends of the earth!  He made it simple and NOT complicated…because He loves us!’  Silence.  My heart was strangely quiet as well. He looked down and said quietly; ‘You have a point…yes…you have a point.’  At that moment He was called in for his appointment and I left work before he came out from the doctor. I believe that our interchange was significant.  Please pray for this very influential and yet gentle and humble man.  May he, who really does love The Word, find The Living Word and embrace Him Who will lead the simplest or the most complicated of us into ALL Truth if we love The Truth. 
So yesterday I had an appointment.  The train stop was unusually crowded.  I groaned, dreading being trampled and smashed for the third time in the same day.  A sign flashed on the overhead ‘Expected delays for the next train.  We apologize for the inconvenience.’  This is a very common occurrence.  I waited another 10 minutes and crossed the street thinking perhaps the bus would come.  We USED to have many buses there, but now just one.  20 more minutes…no train and no bus.  Restless crowds gathered at both stops.  I was late.  Reluctantly I flagged down a taxi.  I don’t take taxis often, only when absolutely necessary, but when I got in, this driver looked very familiar…could it be?  He turned to me ‘I know you!’ he smiled.  ‘Yusuf!’ I smiled back. ‘Wow! You remember my name?’ How could I forget!  I had fallen in love with this young Israeli Arab man when our older daughter had an emergency and I had to run out to the moshav where she lived and babysit.  Since she lived out of town it was a pretty expensive drive, but through beautiful country and it had afforded us a good half hour to get acquainted.  I remembered that Yusuf was just 19 years old and one of about 12 kids living out in a small Arab village.  I thought that he was Christian, but he was from a Moslem family and yet he LOVED Jews and loved being Israeli.  He also loved peace and life.  He had such a sweet spirit and we got along famously.  He showed me a picture of his Jewish girlfriend and bemoaned the fact that they couldn’t marry.  He said that he just wished we could all be happy and have a good life.  I LIKED this kid.  I shared a great deal about The Lord with him, as he could handle.  We parted with a special ‘very warm feeling’ for each other.  Here he was again and we were like long lost friends! ‘I can’t believe it is you!’ he said.  ‘Do you know what?  The last time that I met you was the best day of my life!  Really!  I not only made more money then I ever did that day but I was so happy all day and everyone was nice that day!  I told all of the other drivers about you.’ I reminded him right away that it is ALL because of Jesus, and told him that I had prayed for him.  I don’t think that my ‘witness’ has gone very deep, but there is such a sweet connection between the two of us…and well…the ‘chances’ of meeting the same driver TWICE (considering that I so rarely take a taxi and took his from two different areas of the city) makes me suspect that The Lord has a larger plan.  So can I ask you to please also pray for this young man as well, that he also will meet his Lord and mine?
I was going to include a personal update with this email, but it has gotten way too late and too long.  I will try to do that perhaps separately tomorrow.  The Lord is so very faithful, even (or perhaps, especially)  in these uncertain days full of personal crises of all sorts. Even with earth shaking changes going on around us…still softly He comes and speaks. 
You have no idea how I miss each one of you!  God BLESS you!  Your sis
ani b’derek

Inside Israel – 10 September, Part 1

 

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today!  J of Jerusalem is our sis in Him, living and sharing from a unique place , for such a time as this!  God bless you as you read and pray for Israel  and J!  Now, here’s J . . .

10 Sept 2012
Praise The Lord Who is Faithful to all that He is and all that He says! 
I greet you in the Holy Name of Yeshua h’Meshiach, Jesus Christ, and I particularly thank those of you who remembered to or were called to pray for us during this time (NO condemnation at all to those of you who didn’t!).  The mighty Grace of The Lord has been abundant!  Over and abundantly more then that which I could ask or think… and WHY did I ever quiver at the mountain before me when all I have to do is look back at those behind.  As a matter of fact, as I sat with my Bible just before leaving for work following an all night marathon before the 4:30am plane (this is the first time I have stayed awake ALL night, without even a ‘cat-nap’ in far more years then I remember) I was thanking The Lord and wondering at His faithfulness and power to keep my heart at such peace during intense, emotional and painful time that this has been, and He gently reminded me of the 6 weeks that I was in isolation in the hospital with 3rd degree burns back in 1982. I was cooking chicken soup in my pressure cooker on 28th of Dec…still nursing our youngest daughter…and I took the lid off too soon, soaking my right arm and chest in the scalding soup. I can not take much pain meds due to abusing drugs before I knew Him, but at the hospital they insisted that I be drugged as they told me that the intensity of the constant pain could kill me through shock.  I told them that The Lord would keep me and we struck an agreement that as long as I would take one shot before the ‘debrieding’ treatment daily, they would watch me, but they would give me shots by force ‘when’ I began to go into shock.  BUT GOD IS FAITFUL, and He so met with me there and so ministered to me that I was able to share Him with many people and I count those 6 weeks as a chosen fire in which He proved Himself faithful to me in the midst of much physical suffering…HE IS ABLE!  ‘And if I were faithful then, why would I not be the same God to you now?’ He seemed to chasten my heart with these words. So many other memories began pouring in of His faithfulness to keep my heart and mind through painful trials, and I could only praise Him and then go on to work…again embraced by His power as I worked hard with vigor that was not naturally mine.  As I sat again with my Bible before bed I realized that He had answered a prayer, unanswered for 18 years…one I prayed on our El Al flight into what was then the unknown… moving to Israel…making aliyah…having never been here and knowing nothing of the land to which I was going… and leaving our precious oldest daughter, barely 18, behind at her last minute decision to stay.  I thought my heart would break and I prayed and cried during the entire long trip that God would “sanctify my emotions!” All of these years since as I ‘inspected the fruit’…there they still were…’extreme emotions’!  I prayed again and again…18 years. THIS DAY I PROCLAIM, I HAVE EXPERIENCED MY EMOTIONS SANCTIFIED, AND THE FRUIT IS SWEET!  PEACEABLE! It has been a very difficult two and a half weeks, but He has been present and I trust that He will complete that which He has begun in our family.  Thank you for your prayers!  I will not have an address for our children for atleast a month (12 more days in England then 2 weeks in hotels to search for apartment in the Berkley Calif area L ).  Nor do I yet have an address for our younger daughter…now in Canoga Park Calif (LA) I will let you know when I do. (many of you have asked)
And while our little family went through our personal deep waters, turbulent waters swirl all around us and people silently begin to store up stocks of water and food and prepare their ‘safe rooms’ or shelters.  I felt ‘steel enter my soul’ during this season of trial, and as I look around me that is what I see; people ‘steeling’ themselves toward what lies ahead before us.  Will there be w­_r (I leave out the ‘a’ there because it is a word that computer ‘spies’ pick up) or not?  Everyone has their opinion…but it is the main topic of conversation here. It is less then a week until the high holydays begin with Rosh h’shana, the new year or the feast of trumpets.  It begins at sundown this coming Sunday night and lasts for two days.  For the entire month according the Jewish calendar, people have already been seeking God, searching their hearts, preparing. Rosh h’shana is followed quickly by Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, of chastening one’s soul…the day that the books in heaven are open and judgment scales are seen…the day of awe… of fasting and prayer.  Shortly after that, our week of Thanksgiving begins…Succot…Feast of Tabernacles…when we sit in the ‘succa’, the small structure outdoors and eat and share and rejoice and sing and give thanks. (I will share scriptures references in my next letter, Lord willing) What a time to be alive.  Thank You Lord for the gift of life… something that I thought that I would never thank You for…having hated life before knowing You…I am more thankful for it the more that I grow to love You…life…and expression of Himself! So the scurrying begins (actually is in full progress already!) – preparing food for so much feasting…as much as possible ahead of time.  The whole nation visits and eats together…first at your place and then at mine.  We are thankful…and the year is new…and we are forgiven…or…are we?  May THIS be the question foremost in the hearts of the people this year, this week, this day:  “WHERE IS THE LAMB??? WHERE IS THE SACRIFICE FOR MY SIN?? Is it this chicken when The Lord our God called for A LAMB??”  Pray with us…pray for our Prime minister to KNOW HIM WHO IS WISDOM as he is making decisions that WILL affect the entire world.
J of Jerusalem, continued next Sunday!
Published in: on September 23, 2012 at 8:35 am  Comments (7)  
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