Inside Israel – “Why Can’t Change Be, Well, Easier?” Part 2

Hi and welcome to this Sunday’s look inside Israel, through the eyes and heart of our sis in Jerusalem, J!  This is the second half of the letter I posted last Sunday. God bless you and thank you as you read and pray for Israel, J and her family!  Now, here’s J . . .

Although the weather is still oppressively hot, there is a sure feeling of changing season in the air.  The seasons changing in nature ALWAYS speak to me of God’s seasons and His faithfulness.  Yesterday I saw birds flocking for the first time since they arrived in the Spring.  But what lies ahead of this small country in the season that approaches?  God knows.  To the rest of us it is only a question.  I’m sure that you know of the changes in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.  Suddenly, all of the chatter about war with Iran, (going on for years now!) seems to be more then just chatter.  ‘Something’ has changed.  What is it?  I don’t know.  It is like the wind…where IS its source?  Yes, recently there is a sudden pressure on the citizens to get our gas masks renewed and just as suddenly, new and remarkably easy to use distribution centers have opened all around.  Also ‘suddenly’, we had a new emergency government ‘sms (cell phone) message system’ inaugurated and checked with messages going to all citizens in 4 languages…for the first time since we are here, one of those languages is also English!  – It is awfully nice to have something ‘easy’ happen for a change (English! It will always be my ‘mother tongue I guess)!  These and other subtle preparations are taking place ever so quietly, but none the less, they are taking place.  And other trials rear their heads; the price of government subsidized bread rose a whopping 6% this week!  That was immediately followed by an announcement that we needed to be prepared for a major rise in food prices…17% between now and the end of the fall feasts (end of Sept-beginning of Oct).  That would include fruit and vegetables, milk products, eggs, chicken, and grains.  Well…there you have our local diet!  HOWEVER…we were warned that the prices may rise as much as FIFTY PERCENT before the end of the year!  No one really said ANYTHING!  We are just too much in shock.  Belt tightening time.  Again.  And fires…there have been quite a rash of fires…over 1,000!  They were intentionally set (by Arabs).  On the other hand, a new phenomenon has arisen; there have been several awful attacks upon Arabs by Jews.  This just ISN’T done.  It goes against the heart of the people…the ethics of the religious foundation that the nation stands upon…and it shocks the people.  ASSUR LANU!  (This is forbidden to us!)
Change…instability at the foundations.  I am SO THANKFUL that my foundation is The Lord Yeshua h’Meshiach, Jesus Christ, in whom I stand, but not me only!  The very plans for all that lies ahead are also founded in Him!  NOTHING takes Him by surprise!
Personally, we are smack in the middle of great pressure and change as our oldest daughter and family are in the final stages of moving out of their house to our apartment before their move to America for 5 years.  L  The movers are to come and pack their shipment on the 28th (our Granddaughter turns 7 on the 27th…same day school begins.  The children plan to go to school for the week or two).  Then they will move in with us for about 2 weeks until they leave.  We are still short one bed…and…we have one bathroom…so…I am praying for grace peace, joy, unity in Him, LOVE and for Him to reign in our midst for His glory!  THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS!
Our younger daughter, who was just married on the 20th of June, is in Orange City California now, however we have not heard from her in some time and I find a great need to battle for my soul to STAND FIRM in the command; “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jn 14:27 – “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6,7
He KNOWS where they are, and I have been praying for Him to “pursue them unto Himself”, so there just IS NO PLACE for fear and worry.  Boy, we just don’t get a break in this school of faith, do we?  May we all mature into the gold and precious jewels that He desires!
THANK YOU for your love, your grace and mercy with me, and your prayers for our nation, people and even our family.  Lovingly, your sis (please remember to NOT use our names when you write to us?  THANKS!)
ani b’derek
Published in: on September 16, 2012 at 7:52 am  Comments (8)  
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Inside Israel – Bits, Pieces, and Thoughts Part 3

Hi and welcome to another look inside Israel, as J of Jerusalem shares what He places on her heart for us!  Thank you so much for your prayers for Israel and J!  God bless you.  And now here’s J . . .

And now, before I share the prayer points from the IFI meeting I would like to share something WONDERFUL that I heard at work this morning!!  Some of you may remember a prayer request from years ago already, for a sabra named Amos BenMenachem, whom I had gotten to share my testimony with and who was really seeking God.  He was in the office today and I felt deeply impressed to invite him to our fellowship.  He whipped out a piece of paper and asked me ‘’where and when’ and said that he had really been wanting to go.  WOW!  I told him that I was thrilled and that I really felt that he would like it.  Then he said ‘Since I started believing Yeshua is Messiah I have needed a place to go.’  WHAT???  I was TOTALLY taken aback…particularly since I knew from his wife that he had pretty recently fallen into shocking sin.  ‘Amos!  When did this happen!  How??!’  he was surprised.  ‘Didn’t I tell you?  It has been about 2 years now…and somehow I feel LONELY inside…as if I need to go to one of these meetings.’  My memory ran back to my beginnings as a believer and how The Lord had SO much ‘cleaning up’ to do and how gently He did it, as I knew literally NOTHING!  I listened to Christian radio back in those days and there were many testimonies shared.  One was sharing who was also, like me, an ex-hippie, Jewish girl.  She shared how she got saved and SOO loved and wanted to please The Lord.  As she read The Word, she kept reading the word ‘fornication’ and it would jump out at her.  One day she said ‘I had better look up that word.  Maybe it is something I need to know.’ And … when she did…she fell on her knees and said ‘Oh Lord!  You mean THAT is a SIN??!?’ Yes…new believers and perhaps particularly new Jewish believers can have a lot to learn.  I see that Amos is a new baby left floundering for the past two years.  Would you please join me in prayer for him as I suspect that all of the temptations available to the enemy might be thrown at him before he can make it to kehila?  (He said that he can’t come tomorrow but will come next week)  I am filled with joy over this news! 
And, finally, before closing I also want to thank those of you who blessed us by sharing our joy over the marriage of our younger daughter as I shared in my last letter, and sharing my deep faith that they WILL INDEED come to Him, and SOON!  Thank you SO much for your prayers!  I will close with the prayer points for those who use them.  Lovingly, your sis
Published in: on July 16, 2012 at 1:04 am  Comments (10)  
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Inside Israel – Independence Day 2012

Hi sweet friends and thank you for stopping by for a look inside Israel though J of Jerusalem’s eyes and heart. This was sent to me on April 25/26, so it’s a little late, but I thought you would still appreciate reading it. God bless you as you pray for Israel and for J!  Now, here she is . . ..

 Yom ha’atzmaoot – Inedpendance day  25/26 April, 2012
Psalm 30:11, 12 KJV
“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”
 A dear sister who knows this land well, sent the verse to me concerning the current cycle of observances that so defy adequate description. How do they ‘pull this off’ every year?…I simply do not know.  I see it…I live it…I witness it and I stand in growing wonder as the years pass: the entering of grieving, collective memory with the memorial day for the Holocaust…the pensive week leading to the grieving, collective memory for the soldiers and victims of terror…and the moment, perhaps as mysterious as birth itself, as the minute passes drawing the nation from mourning to rejoicing for the rebirth of the nation promised by God to a rebellious, wandering, peculiar people. 
 The extraordinary ceremony that closes the season of collective grieving and opens, with a strange combination of honor and wonder, the Independence Day ceremonies, take place on Mount Herzl, just several blocks from where we live.  This mount shares its face with Yad V’Shem (the Holocaust memorial), with the Zionist museum and center, and with the Mt. Herzl military cemetery, where all of the country’s leaders are buried as well as soldiers from the area of Judea.  As I write, I hear the ceremony from outside my window as well as on the television, where I can see it clearly.  The ceremony tonight was opened with the reading of Psalm 1, followed by an Israeli song calling upon us all to praise God with one voice and to live for His praise.  I wondered how the ceremony would proceed, if indeed it was going to, because it was in question this year.  One week ago, as the soldiers were rehearsing for tonight’s events, a structure collapsed in the strong wind, and a beautiful young soldier, Hila Betaleli, was killed.  Only with much heart wrenching discussion was it decided that tonight’s ceremony would be held, but with changes, including that instead of the head of the Knesset lighting the opening torch signifying the bridge between the grave and the birth, Hila’s parents would light it.  I sat in tears watching them, so bravely, stepping forward before the entire nation to, none the less, give glory to the fact that this nation survived 64 years; to stand as perhaps the newest family to have given one of their beloved children for this country.
 I watch as 12 individuals come forward to light the 12 torches that represent the twelve tribes of Israel.  This year’s ‘theme’ is ‘water’.  We have had so many years of drought…this land that has seen the promise come to pass…the desert blooming.  Water is indeed precious here and each one who lights a torch this year has contributed to the wise and creative use of water for the good.  Yes, water is precious and recognized as a gift from God.  The entire theme of this year’s celebration seems to have placed recognition of God at the center. 
Will this be the year?  Perhaps the year that the ‘type’ becomes the ‘Reality’?  That instead of the symbols (as touching as they are) that the veil is removed and The Precious Face of Messiah, Yeshua, Jesus The Christ, is recognized?  That the prophecies will complete full cycle and instead of seeing through a glass darkly, we shall see face to Face?  There was glory with the first covenant, but it pales to The Light Who IS the second!  I long for the day that His Face is revealed to my people.  You know, I share with you the things that I see and hear and smell here, and they DO bring a sense of wonder: a nation re-born in a day…a nation that truly IS  God’s promises for His purposes.  But it is like a pregnancy in many ways.  The baby is there and the pregnancy has it’s glory…but it isn’t the final result.  The baby must be born, and I trust, that, as with a pregnancy, there is a ‘set time’ ahead when His Face WILL be revealed AND embraced as we read in Zech 12… in Romans 12… and reflect in our prayers. 
 And so I send off another poor offering.  I KNOW that many of you would enjoy some of the very revealing articles in ynet this week http://www.ynetnews.com/home/0,7340,L-3083,00.html  or the Jerusalem Post  http://www.jpost.com/  May The Lord be glorified and may you know how precious each of you are to me.  His body is a true wonder!  Lovingly, from Jerusalem, your sis
ani b’derek
Published in: on May 20, 2012 at 6:58 am  Comments (10)  
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Inside Israel – Pesach comes to an end – April 13, 2012

 

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today! J of Jerusalem shares with us what she is seeing and experiencing as a believer in Yeshua, in the land of His earthly birth.  Thank you for reading and praying for Israel and J!  Now, here’s J . . .

 

The last night (and day) of Passover is quickly drawing near and once again preparations for a ‘final sedar’ (for some) or ‘festive meal’ for others, are being made.  Outside of Israel an eighth day of Passover is observed, originally because of the time difference between outside of the land, and Jerusalem (before ‘time’ became so ‘digital’ and easily measured, observant Jews were afraid that if they ended the holiday ‘too early’, before it was officially over in Jerusalem, they were perhaps falling short of what was required, and so the tradition came into effect).  In many homes there will be another sedar which focuses on the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea (actually ‘Reed Sea’ – the Sea of Reeds) and the subsequent rejoicing and exalting of God through Miriam’s song…and…cautions NOT to fall into the complaining that so soon followed; a worthy lesson indeed!  However, for most, it will simply be a festive, thankful meal, not without thanksgiving just to get back to a more normal routine! 
There have been times of significant moves of God and displays of His Greatness during Passover, and I long more and more to see Him in His Sovereign Holiness again. I read about the Passover in 2 Chron:30 during the blessed season that Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, and then 2 Chron:35, when Judah was again blessed through having Hezekiah as king.  Both of these wonderful chapters described true revival; and they both took place during Passover.  Ezra 6 also describes a blessed Passover, and then there is Luke 22 (among all of the other references,) when Yeshua brings us again to the Passover…and…becomes our Lamb! 
After reading these portions (just ‘happened’ that way!) while preparing for Passover, God stirred me more and more to look for Him in the feast.  I found myself, instead of searching for the leaven, searching for The Lord, and He never disappoints!  (although we often wait long and are stretched) I learned something fascinating during our sedar this year.  We were at the home of friends, a local pastor and his wife whom we’ve known since we first came.  During the course of the evening we began talking about the ‘afikomen’.   Many of you are quite familiar with all of the Passover traditions by now, having been told by me, or by others, or by being brought up with them yourselves, but since others might be newer to all of this, I will try to explain.  At the beginning of the Passover sedar, the ‘head’ of the sedar (the person leading it) takes 3 matzos and sets them apart.  (This act actually officially begins the sedar) He then takes out the MIDDLE matzo for everyone to see…to see that it is ‘striped’ and unbroken…He then breaks it in half and he wraps it separately (yet in the middle of the 3).  This piece is called ‘afikomen’.  During the several hours of the sedar service and meal, afikomen is hidden, and the service and meal may not be concluded until it is found (it becomes a treasure hunt for the children) – ransomed back by the leader of the service (usually there is a gift or some money set aside for this, or the children have already decided what to ask for)…taken, and divided among all present.  This concludes the sedar.  According to Jewish tradition, it is sort of a mystery, and no one can really say where it originated, but the first sedar that I was at after I was saved thrilled me to the core as I saw the PERFECT PICTURE OF YESHUA…The center matzo…pierced, broken, hidden from all of his brothers (the Jews) until He is revealed and shared at the end of the meal…stating ‘IT IS FINISHED’!  WOW! 
Ok…that was background.  One of the men at the sedar is an Israeli from Brazil, but his family lived first for generations in Syria before the Jewish expulsion from there.  He is an evangelist and a linguist.  We began to speak about afikomen and he said that it was first inserted into the sedar by the early believers.  Although it made so much sense (and the rabbis are clueless as to where it came from) I was skeptical.  Other’s chimed in; “The word ‘afikomen’ is Greek” said one.  Another added that it is the same in Turkish and that all of the Greek and Turkish Jews know that it originated with the early believers!  The pastor (made aliyah from Finland), whose home we were at, verified this, as did others.  (It was a very ‘assorted’ group of people there with a number in active ministry.)  There was a large Israeli family from Venezuela, an Israeli sister who works with CBN Israel, another family, the only non-Israelis, who work with a humanitarian group in the Palestinian areas and teach Bible studies where they explain the calling and roots of the Jews!  Amazing group of people!  One by one they added in their knowledge that in the countries that they were from it was well known that this tradition was begun by the earliest believers (like the sign of the fish).  What a wonderful new dimension it added to my rejoicing in the revelation of The Lord in the Passover, and indeed, in all of the feasts that He has given as a gift to us!
I began to write the above last night, but was unable to finish, so here we are – the last day of Pesach already.  So much preparation, so much intensity…is it something like the end of the age, or the last day that each of us will individually spend on earth?  I mean…we live and run around and do our daily chores and SUDDENLY…we will come face to Face with eternity and The Eternal One!  Wow!  (well…this is how my tired thoughts are running today so please forgive me if it just got ‘heavy’!)
Earlier this week I had wanted to share an encounter that I had that stopped me, and I think I will do that now, at the risk of overloading you:  I had gone for a blood test and sat down in another area to wait a few minutes before leaving.  I was across from a cardiologist’s office, and I heard English being spoken.  My husband is looking for a new cardiologist – preferably one who can speak English, so I asked the man who came out if that was Dr. Gvish (whose name was one of the names on the door).  The man, about 40, surprised me by saying ‘I don’t know’.  Seemed a bit strange to me, not to know the name of your cardiologist, so I asked him where he was from and found that he had immigrated from Calif.  Then he told me that he was a veteran of Afghanistan and had been severely wounded resulting in metal plates in his back and shoulders.  ‘How are you doing here?’ I asked him.  ‘The compassion of the medical profession here is really something!’ he said.  I agreed heartily, and then he added, ‘I have never seen such hard heartedness in my life!  They don’t know anything about pain here!’  What?!?  That shocked me.  I laughed…’I’m sorry’, I said, ‘my experience has been the opposite.  What has brought you to that conclusion?’  He said ‘Well, when I was at Walter Reed Hospital, they just gave me morphine like water and codeine all day.  They would say ‘here’s your candy!’.  Here, they act as if these drugs are poison and I need permission from this doctor and that pharmacy…’ I began to understand: he had become a drug addict.  ‘It is a philosophical difference.’ I began.  Since you were in Afghanistan, you weren’t here during the last intifada, were you,’ I said. ‘That hasn’t been our bloodiest war, but it is the bloodiest thing that I have ever experienced.  Over 1,000 civilians were killed and hundreds of thousands injured with blast injuries aimed to blow people to bits. We learned to treat pain with pain management and post traumatic stress counseling here least we become a country of drug addicts…’ I added a great deal more and asked him if he had tried these programs here.  He told me that he did but didn’t like them.  Then I showed him my burns.  Nearly 30 years ago I received 3rd degree burns and was in hospital for 6 weeks.  He cringed, knowing how painful burns are.  I told him that ‘Since I had been addicted to drugs in the past and was now free, when they insisted on giving me morphine drip I refused it.  (this was in America.) They told me that without it I would go into shock and perhaps die.  I told them that I would not…and I won.  I took one shot before the daily ‘rebreeding’ treatments.  (where dying skin is cut away and scrubbed)  God sustained me.’  He became uncomfortable, so I backed off.  I listened to him some more, my heart full of compassion for him.  Suddenly he said ‘There is my wife.  Nice talking to you’, and left.  Immediately the doctor came out and asked where he had gone, so I went to look for him.  I found him in the lab (perhaps trying to find an opportunity to grab some needles?) ‘The doctor is calling you.’ I told him.  ‘No thanks. I’m done with him.’  How terribly sad.  I am so thankful that this country deals with pain as it does.  Although I don’t have this man’s name, perhaps you would like to join in prayer for him to be set free. 
And speaking of prayer: Baby Netaley is now in the unique children’s’ rehab hospital to help rehabilitate her damaged brain and body.  Please keep her and her parents in prayer.  If any of you want to be inspired and either have, or have or know someone on facebook, (I am not but have followed using our daughter’s) please follow along and encourage them under Prayer for Netaley (open to all).  You can also google ALYN HOSPITAL JERUSALEM to see the AMAZING work of this hospital that is rated the best of it’s kind in the world for young people.  It is worth your time to look at! 
And now…our own personal update.  Here goes.  TODAY, our younger daughter finally arrived in Ypsilanti Michigan USA.  She is to be selling Dead Sea products in a mall.  THANK YOU FOR THOSE WHO WILL BE JOINING ME IN PRAYER FOR HER AND HER FRIEND.  There is more ‘news’ that has been difficult for me to share…quite a month of ‘changes’ for our family!  I’ll do it in chronological order: a couple of days after our daughter left (and us storing her things) we were told by our neighbor that the housing committee of owners had voted to completely renovate (gut) the building that we have been living in for the past 17 years.  In all truth, I can use it: it is BECAUSE of poor state of our apartment that we have been blessed by a rent that cannot be equaled anywhere we have looked.  It looks as if our dreaded move lies ahead of us.  I KNOW that The Lord will go before us and make a way, and it will be His and right.  Right now…it is just a bit unsettling.  This news was followed by another change that is not in our hands; our son in law has applied for his ‘dream job’…in Calif  USA…and it looks as if he will get it.  He must now go for the face to face interview.  A month ago we were a full family here…planted in the land that God DID send us to…now…many changes that are causing me to lift my eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my salvation! My hope is in The Lord; The Lord Who made heaven and earth. 
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS FOR THE LORD’S WILL TO BE DONE IN OUR FAMILY, FOR HIS PURPOSES AND GLORY! 
God bless and keep each of you…my dear brothers and sisters!  Thank you for your grace toward me.  Lovingly, your sis in Jerusalem Israel
 
ani b’derek
Published in: on April 22, 2012 at 6:32 am  Comments (6)  
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Inside Israel – Share my full cup!

Hi dear ones and thank you for stopping by to take a look inside Israel today!  J of Jerusalem shares some of the answers to prayer that she has experienced and her joy in Him.  God bless you and thank you for your prayers!  Now here’s J . . .

 

With two other letters to you still in ‘notes’ form, and having purposed in my heart to answer each one who prayed and wrote, I can not but sit down and write this out today while the joy still builds in my heart. 
I greet you all, my sisters and brothers in Yeshua, Jesus, with a humble heart…thank You Lord for calling us all to Yourself and for keeping us by Your power and allowing us the privilege of being called Your children and serving You and one another!  May this wonder, the wonder of being Your child, not be shaken by events as they unfold in our lives.  I confess to you that mine often is at times when the road seems so dark and steep and difficult.  I determine to walk steadily, but, like Peter it seems, when the waves rise around me I begin to sink way too often.  THANKFULLY, He has promised to perfect those things that concern even me! 
So, today I am encouraged, far more then I had anticipated.  When we made aliyah more then 17 years ago…well… that is a ‘story’, a testimony that I intend to write out fully and most likely send in a snail mail, and I fully expect to happen.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have anticipated all that lay ahead!  I recall the first time that we recognized someone whom we had met before while we were walking downtown.  We were so excited!  Until that moment we didn’t realize how traumatic it had been to re-plant our family (it was just my husband and I and our younger daughter at the beginning as our older daughter, just 18 at the time, had chosen at the last minute to stay behind and study.  Now THAT was a trial for me!) in a country where we didn’t know anyone!  Our younger daughter turned 13 just after we arrived and we were very much on our own.  Our very roots were torn.  We weren’t just visiting, or even serving in another land, but we had changed citizenship and that was to be permanent…and we felt very very much alone!
Today, with the citizenship of our son-in-law being finalized after the long, 5 year process (because he is not Jewish), I bow in awe.  The path has been rough and the beginnings so…hum…IMPOSSIBLE!  Now we are 3 generations planted in my ancient homeland!  This morning I arrived during my normal reading to
2 Chron. 6:6 “Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My Name may be here…”
and wondered at His path for our family.  Who are we that He should have planted us here at this point in history.  I began making other notes this morning from 2 Chron. 5 and 6 toward something else that I am writing to you.  I flipped over to Acts, for the second part of my morning reading, and as usual was amazed at how HIS story continues with out a heart beat being missed…at how all of the Book, from Gen. through Revelation walk as one unbroken sign post to The Way, The Truth and The Light/Life!  Our lives, yours and mine, are part of that. 
And that is why I am writing this: because today it was ‘highlighted’ to me just how much we are ‘ONE’.  We prayed together…we rejoice together…It is that deep sense of the ‘oneness’ of the body that I am left with tonight and doesn’t that bring Him glory…that we would be one, even as He and Abba are One! 
So as I rejoice in a completeness that has been gifted upon my family this day, I joy even more in the completeness of His body as we function together and know that this brings JOY to The Heart of God!  Wow! 
And since you have participated so fully in this prayer and event, thank you for continuing to pray for our little Grandson.  He is not fully out of the woods yet, although he is surely is better then he was.  His Dad is scheduled to teach a 10 day seminar in Italy beginning on Thurs. night and our daughter and the baby have been invited to come as a gift for the first 4 days…meaning that they would fly on Thurs. (our two other Grandchildren will stay with us).  God can do this too, and give wisdom.  Thank you for keeping them in prayer.  I, also am finally feeling better following a couple of weeks of difficulty with my blood again, and treatment.  These are such small things compared to some of the trials that many of you are going through and I am deeply touched with how you stand with us.  May you be blessed and encouraged and nourished in Him!  Lovingly and thankfully, your sis. 
ani b’derek
Published in: on February 26, 2012 at 5:56 am  Comments (11)  
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Inside Israel – Rejoice In His Light

Hello and welcome to a look inside Israel through the eyes and heart of a Jewish believer, our sis, “J,” of Jerusalem. Today she gives us an important look at Christmas from a perspective that we may not have considered before.  God bless you and yours as you celebrate and worship Jesus. Now here’s “J” . . .

“He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:33
“וימלך על בית יעקב לעולם ואין קץ למלכותו”    (this is how this scripture appears in the Hebrew Bible)
 
“Christ is The Lord, O praise His Name for ever, His power and His glory, ever more proclaim…. Fall on your knees”  from song ‘O Holy Night’
Last night at our kehila (fellowship) we lit the 5th Hanukkah candle and read John 10:22 “Now it was the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) in Jerusalem, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.  Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him ‘How long do you keep us in doubt?  If you are the Christ, tell us plainly’…”  They had just been arguing about whether HE, The Only Son of God, had a demon or was mad. The Hebrew word ‘Hanukkah’ means ‘dedication’ in English, and we know that Yeshua celebrated Hanukkah …indeed…He Himself, The Light, walked in the temple during Hanukkah and was not recognized…but what symbolism!  I came home wondering exactly how many years Hanukkah had been celebrated before Yeshua was born and opened my computer to search for the information.  Checking my email before the search I found this amazing gift of a note from a dear brother.  I am taking the liberty of sharing it before asking (thank you, Mike, in advance!)
Been thinking about Hanukkah and Christmas coinciding. A true season of light. In December 165 BC (*note by me…this was first celebrated on the 25th of the Hebrew month of Kislev according to Jewish history) the Jewish people threw off the yoke of oppression and defeated a vastly superior force. The Temple was cleansed and G-D showed His sovereign hand by causing the oil to burn for eight days. A people who had been oppressed were not forgotten.
Then 161 years later a young Jewish girl would give birth in Bethlehem. Taking the child to the Temple for dedication a priest took the baby and said “now my life can come to an end, for I have seen your salvation, a light to the gentiles and a glory to the people of Israel” . Looking at the mother he would say ” this child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel and a sword will pierce your own soul too”. This child would become one of the most talked about Rabbi’s in history. Now that’s a lot of light.
He who has ears let him hear. Hope you are having a great Hanukkah and have a very Merry Christmas.
I thanked The Lord for this email arriving at this particular moment!  It was a small but significant ‘sign’ to me that The Lord was hearing me crying out for a personal spiritual need (that has kept me from writing until now) that He has now, in His perfect faithfulness, met!  And I also had my information: Hanukkah had been around for 161 years before Yeshua first entered the temple during this particular holiday, and some 30 years later purged the temple, turning over the tables of the money changers and scattering the merchants…His Purity not being able to stand any longer the defilement of God’s own house of prayer…Emanuel…God with us…had entered His temple, and yet the people of God debated and disagreed over whether HE was Lord, or was mad or had a demon…the religious leaders adding ‘He blasphemies!’.  But Yeshua knew His own, and still does, as He said; “My sheep hear my voice…” in the same portion of John 10
You see, I remain, year after year, both perplexed and in awe as I look around me in this very same Jerusalem…and I want to report what I see faithfully here.  Today is the day celebrated around the world as Christmas.  Last night, Christmas eve, torrential rains began pouring down (they are still with us, thank You Lord! And are forecast to continue until tonight…AND it is snowing on Mt. Hermon) but that did not stop the thousands upon thousands of Jewish people gathering in the Old City to ‘watch’ Christmas eve services.  They gathered by droves, their curiosity pushing them from place to place.  Granted, some were young drunks, and others scoffers, but many many MANY were ‘curious’.  While ‘we’ the believers sit in our camps of ‘Christmas’ vs. ‘no Christmas’, the hungry gathered.  I listened to the English radio news in the morning yesterday and there was a Bishop from Ireland being interviewed…amazing interview for all Jews to hear on our local news as he shared about what it is like to be a priest at Notre Dame (catholic) during ‘Christmas in Jerusalem’, and as he gave the schedule for their Christmas meetings, he said that more then 50% of those attending the midnight services were Jewish, seeking to understand “the wonder of it all”.
After our meeting last night I wished people a blessed Christmas if they celebrated it.  Only one said that she did, and takes the day aside to meditate on the wonder of His coming.  She was on her way to one of these services in the old city.  She said that last year she was asked by the leadership to stand outside of the church with others and sing Christmas carols and at first she was taken aback and a bit scared of repercussions.  But, instead was blessed beyond belief as groups of Jewish people stopped to listen intently to the words, receive literature or come in for the message.  How can I describe it…it is almost a ‘frenzy’ of searching on this night!
Since my husband was not wishing to go out, I returned home after our meeting and was surprised by our younger daughter bringing her boyfriend over for a visit.  I was surprised because the relationship has been a matter of much prayer for me.  He is the oldest of about 10 children in an ultra religious family.  Although he had turned away from religion, he has begun turning back.  Our younger daughter had only recently told him of my faith, fearing his rejection.  He listened but it was not of obvious interest to him….just a bit curious.  However last night at about 9pm they appeared DRENCHED to the knees as the rain was pouring down.  He sat down and asked my husband casually ‘So. Are you going to the Old City tonight?’  I giggled. He so RARELY talked to us.  His English is not strong.  Our daughter offered him a cinnamon bun, which I had made for my husband, and he (setting aside the fact that our home is not strictly kosher) devoured it.  “Delicious!” he said smiling.
What is my point?  Yeshua IS The Light.  He IS The Light of the temple…the true temple…His body…He came to Light EVERY man…  He comes to be Light in darkness…to set the captives free and HE IS HOLY.  I do SO understand the dilemma, particularly facing people in the West and shared by Jewish believers (of which I am one). To an extent, although I was QUITE sheltered by both my background and the rather remote areas that I lived in, I experienced it too when I lived in the ‘old country’.  First of all, I didn’t want ANYTHING that ‘wasn’t Him’ (and I still don’t!): the battle (very real and legitimate) against the pagan and extremely commercial practices of a holiday that was not found in scripture…(although…neither is Hanukkah.)  WHAT IN THE WORLD DO WE DO WITH THIS HOLIDAY THAT HAS BECOME SO WORLDLY AND IS EVEN PAGAN IN SOME ROOTS AND PRACTICES?  What in the world are we to do when people use the birth of Messiah, Holy, Savior, into the world to excuse drunken, mocking parties, santa clauses, debt inducing spending and the like?  Well…in MY very irrelevant opinion, it is a very personal decision in these days…yet NOT ‘each of us doing what he thinks right in his own eyes’, but each of us knowing from The Lord how we are to walk toward it, like we do about all of our activities.  Currently, our decision to keep our version of the celebration is very unpopular with many true believers, but I believe He is both pleased and glorified.  I only pray NOT to be like the Jews in the temple discussing ‘Is This Man Messiah… or a demon…or mad’!
And in the midst…my people search, and those who celebrate Christmas sing the old song as a prayer for my people:  “O come o come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, who mourns in lonely exile here, until The Son of God appears…rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel…shall come to thee o Israel”
May the seeds that have been planted here in Jerusalem and around the world grow to be good fruit, producing `100 fold for the glory of Messiah, Yeshua h’Meshiach…THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.  – Time for me to go and light Hanukkah candles J
God BLESS you all.  Your sis in Jerusalem
ani b’derek
Published in: on December 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm  Comments (6)  
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Inside Israel – Emotional Rollercoaster of Sukkot

Hi! Welcome to a look inside Israel today. I goofed this weekend and accidentally posted an Inside Israel yesterday. oops. But, maybe that is as it should be, so we could finish up J of Jerusalem’s Sukkot sharings. This last one is so powerful. Praying that it stirs your heart for Him and His as well. God bless you as you read and pray. Now, here’s J . . .

I find myself wondering if you already KNOW what an emotional roller coaster this day has been for us here in Israel. I am assuming that most of you were able to watch the dramatic events that unfolded today as the world media covered it so very widely. The sampling of the foreign media coverage that I caught in between work and sukka guests, was compassionate, generally speaking, but it is hard to experience something like this ‘up close’ and not be softened to some extent, and world media was here in force! I am speaking, of course, about the release this morning of our soldier, Gilad Shalit, ending 5 years and four months of captivity in Gaza, apparently in solitary confinement.

As I wrote last, the events surrounding the release were controversial, dramatic and painful…but all of that took a ‘haf-seka’ today, that is…a ‘break’…everything ground to a halt and emotions other then …hum…what emotion is this HUGE ‘feeling’?? It is ‘love’, ‘heartbreak’, ‘joy’, ‘quiet compassion’, ‘pain’, ‘wonder’, ‘thanksgiving’…all rolled into one. Most people had their tv, computer or radio on by 6am this morning. Although it had been announced that the swap would begin at 11, we know our country and that didn’t mean anything. It turns out that they began shuttling prisoners down to the Egyptian boarder by midnight last night. By 6am we realized that ‘things were moving along quickly’ and every eye turned south. We heard at around 10:30 that Hamas had officially turned Gilad over to Egypt, and a short time later we heard that he was in Israeli hands…and 15 minutes later…back on Israeli soil! That meant only one thing; He was ALIVE! And that was the unspoken collective ‘breath holding’ hinge…would he be another cruel joke and be turned over to us in a box, as were the 3 captured by Hizbolla shortly after he was. But no…he really was ALIVE, and that was the word that went out everywhere: “Hoo HI!” (“He is ALIVE!”)

Someday those words will be spoken about Yeshua…Jesus. Someday there will be the same awestruck barely able to believe wonder spoken at the same moment by the whole country…”HE is ALIVE!”…but it wasn’t about Yeshua- not YET…Today it was about Gilad Shalit…every Israeli’s son today.

Do you need me to describe the events? I doubt it. I suspect that every one of you followed it to some extent or other. If I am mistaken, please ask me to send you information. You likely know that the Egyptian tv interview with him was ‘forced’ and had not been expected. You likely saw how he is so pale and thin and yet happy. We were all told to ‘keep back’ and to ‘leave the family alone’ but the streets were lined with flags and people threw flowers at his passing car. There was dancing in the streets.

At the same time…455 terrorists passed into Arab territory or a third country. They were greeted as heroes by huge crowds…many thousands…rejoicing and celebrating. In contrast to Gilad’s emaciated and pale body, they appeared very well fed and sun tanned. They proclaimed this as a great victory…and yet…on England’s BBC (of all places) an interview took place that took a surprising turn and startled even the interviewer. An Israeli woman, who had survived the Park Hotel Passover night bombing, but lost her entire family, was being interviewed. She was asked about ‘her emotions’ since the murderer of her family was being released. She looked very sad, traumatized, yet said that she was so happy for the Shalit family. The interviewer pushed further; ‘But the killer of your family is released. Aren’t you scared?’ she asked. ‘Ofcourse I am scared, we are all scared, but keeping him won’t bring my family back and now the Shalit’s won’t have to feel the pain that I live with.’ The interviewer was surprised ‘Well that is very generous of you but how can you back such a deal? It is not fair. Aren’t you angry at the government?’ She answered ‘Fair? Listen. One of our people IS worth 1000 of them and they know it and I know it and we have our son back. We honor life…they honor death. The government was brave.’ The interviewer was shaken.

And today this was echoed around the world. It is a philosophical argument. In this world where ‘life is cheap’, Israel paid a heavy price for one skinny boy. Our Prime Minister spoke briefly and quoted the prophet Isaiah 9:2 “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” I wondered if The Light to the nations was shining in hearts…if there was a ‘pause’ through out the world just as there was a ‘pause’ here. Would The Lord use this to speak to hearts in the middle of our chaotic world where right and wrong are turned upside down…could this all speak to hearts somehow for His kingdom?

And…did He answer our prayers and manifest Himself to Gilad Shalit during those 5 years and 4 months? He is a prayer answering God…but it remains our part, to simply pray.

I was at work through out the release and could only follow the events of the day on the computer edition of the printed media (we can not access video media at work) but I watched the patients. One called in to order prescriptions and gave me (literally) a ‘blow by blow’ account of what she was seeing and what was being said on tv. Another 80 year old woman came in rejoicing and telling me that it was ‘her day’ to ‘man’ the protest tent that Gilad’s parents had been living in near the Prime Minister’s office for the past year and a half, but instead she would be hosting a lunch party at her home for volunteers. ‘We call our children to protect us and they are willing to die doing it. In turn we promise them that there will not be ‘one left behind’, and today we restored their belief that we mean it. We have strengthened the hands of the army- our children- today.’ Said yet another.

So I went out into the sukka to read my Bible some more when I came home from work. Several couples from our fellowship came over to ‘sukka sit’ with us, and we took time to pray…sitting in a little tent covered with palm branches for a roof so that we can see the sky…can look up and think of Him Who watches over us and CALLS US to ‘WATCH AND PRAY’… in this little tent all decorated with fruit and flowers and the goodness of His abundance – some say it is like sitting inside a Christmas tree! – we worshiped Him in the middle of Jerusalem and wondered and paused and wondered again. And pray we did; for Gilad and his family – for victims of terror – for the terrorists (yes, we did) – for the government – for the body – for Lord to be glorified and for so much more. Kind of makes you wonder what tomorrow will hold! What a Sukkot!

It’s after midnight and I’m off to be. God bless you, dear dear brothers and sisters. Love, your sis in Jerusalem

ani b’derek

Published in: on October 30, 2011 at 8:06 am  Comments (6)  
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Inside Israel – Promised Letter from Last Sunday

“Hi” and welcome to Inside Israel. Last Sunday, I promised to post a letter that J of Jerusalem had received, that encouraged her. So, here we go . . .

MOST ENCOURAGING LETTER (I edited out only the first pp of personal things)

“Date: September 25, 2011 Prayer log from trip to NYC during Durban III

Dear Friends,
What follows is a prayer-log from my journey to NYC … God bless you as we come into the Feast of Trumpets, the Feast of Ingathering, to be a people of the ingathering, a people of the trumpet blast, a people so filled with the Presence of God that others come close to the Living God to hear His Trumpet blast because of His witness within you. Shalom! Shalom!

So … I pray that the things I share in here will bless you in the midst of the chaos of the times we live in. God is deeply and profoundly working, and His Will IS being done! Praise the LORD for His Manifest Presence in our lives!

I went to NYC because God had told me to pray before the UN … to walk around it praying. When I arrived in NYC there was no way to even get near it. The streets were closed for blocks around it. One could get a glimpse of the UN from the side streets, but the police barricades did not allow anybody without a pass to come close. I remembered there was a park with several sculptures near the UN, and I asked several policemen and women how to get to it. They did not want to tell me, but finally, one did, and I went there. From that location I had a good, broad view of the main tower of the UN. It wasn’t the same park I had meant, but this was better than nothing … BUT the LORD had told me to walk around the UN praying, and I wanted to do that. So, I prayed, walking through the park, and wondering what I was to do. The LORD led me to a ramp that went down onto one of the side streets, inside the barricades. I went down it, and the guard did not bother me. I was now able to walk around the UN praying, and I was the only person I saw without an official badge. The LORD made it very clear to me that the Durban III conference would come to nothing: that the true colors of the enemy would surface sufficiently for the conference to lose any credibility, and that is how I prayed. I prayed that the LORD’s WILL would be done in the UN, that the UN would become the United Nations of God, and that the meeting would collapse under the weight of its own evil. I also continuously sang “Am Yisrael Chai” (The People of Israel Live) over all the delegates I saw.

I saw LOTS and LOTS of delegates. They came in motorcades of multiple cars, some of which had their side windows rolled down, and some of which had their back windows rolled down. Snipers were positioned inside those open windows, ready to defend their ambassadors. The cars were all black, with blackened windows, and with sirens. They have NY license plates (wonder who is paying for these people’s protection …) There were snipers positioned on top of the UN. There were policemen who were wearing so much ammunition their shirts were completely covered in ammunition. There were policemen with helmets on. There were lots and lots of policemen, and there were Secret Agents. They stared straight ahead, and looked deadpan serious. They often had ear pieces to communicate with each other. Some policemen escorted motorcades on bicycles, and they rode their bicycles looking in all directions (behind them, to the sides, in front) continuously. Policemen were visually checking for people’s badges at every intersection … not asking people to show their badges, but making sure people were wearing them. Nobody, however, bothered me.

After a while, I felt compelled to go into the Church of the United Nations. You are not allowed into this building without a badge, but they allowed me in to go to both the bathroom and the chapel. Praise God on both counts! In the chapel I met a few other people (from various nations) who were praying for Israel. We became friends. Then, I went back out onto the street, and got back in front of the UN, and kept praying. Eventually, I left, and walked to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and prayed a bit there, and went to join my friend at Times Square Church.

At Times Square Church, they prayed for Israel A LOT, and sang many songs about the Trumpet’s Last Blast. They even sang a Paul Wilbur song, “Blow the Trumpet in Zion.” And they baptized 60 people … pretty special.
I felt, at the end of the day, like I had fought hard for the LORD, and I expected to see dramatic results.

The next day, at the rally, there were about 2,000 people present. It was a lot different than praying individually, because this was more of a celebration. Over 40 churches were involved in organizing this event, and people kept shouting “NOT ON OUR WATCH!” They were committing to support Israel regardless of the cost, and there was great zeal in the crowd. They proclaimed themselves the TRUMPETS of God’s alarm and declared their demands: the nations/people groups must respect Israel. Robert Sterns, an evangelical Christian, one of the main organizers, kept saying that we are the shofars. He encouraged people to not just blow the shofars, but to BECOME the shofars of God. The man in front of me was a Palestinian believer. He was blowing the shofar again and again for Israel. His t-shirt declared His commitment. (see photo) The Bible calls that land the land of Israel, he told me, and never calls it the land of Palestine.

After the event, I was a bit tired, and went back to the park from the day before to rest in the LORD. As I sat and meditated on God’s Presence, I had my Israeli flag with me, and a young woman came up to me to talk. She was from Israel. In a bit, two other people came over to talk. They were from Israel too. We were the only four people in the park! And so … I shared the Gospel with them, and encouraged them. The LORD had me tell the young woman this: that it cost 6 million Jews to buy Israel back for the Jews, and that they won their first war with match sticks, so what were they frightened of now? If they gave up, those 6 million Jews would have lost their lives for nothing. This was God-breathed, and it really inspired her. She was expressing a defeatist attitude, and this shook her up, and re-kindled her desire to fight. She became very, very excited and encouraged, and she was curious about my belief in Yeshua.

Later, I left that park and went back down the ramp, and continued to walk and pray in front of the UN, carrying my flag. Again, even with the flag, nobody asked me to leave. A black man, dressed elegantly, with dread locks down his back, approached me, and I knew he wanted to start a conversation, and I, at first, tried to avoid it. But then, I remembered that slogan, “NOT ON MY WATCH!” and I engaged in dialogue with him. As I suspected, he supported the Palestinians, but he had the logical mind of a lawyer, which he was, and as I explained things to him, he changed his mind. At the end, he explained to me how grateful he was to have talked with me. He said, “This was an excellent conversation. Thank you!” Praise God! I had become the shofar, just like they had commissioned us at the rally, and had spoken up clearly and pragmatically on the LORD’s behalf, in support of my people, and it had worked. Alleluiah! A policeman warned us we would have to leave or be stuck where we were for sometime. I asked him why, and he said, “Because the President is coming by.” Well, I stayed right where I was to watch and pray. About 15 black cars with flashing lights came by, then, about 50 motorcycles, then another 20 or so cars, and then, two limousines. The President waved at me from one of them. (I was singing, “Am Israel Chai” over all of them.) Then about 20 more cars came, and then an ambulance, and then a few more motorcycles. There were also helicopters overhead. Can you imagine living like that?

I went back to the UN to pray, and then, went back into the church, and then went into a park by the UN Catholic church (really, really pretty), and then walked back to where the rally had been. There, I got to talk to Caleb Myers, which was God-breathed, and saw three people actively involved in dialogue, two Christians who were praising God, and a wide-eyed Jewish woman from Russia. When I explained to her that I was a Messianic Jew and explained my relationship with Yeshua, her eyes got even wider. She asked Yeshua to come into her heart, so that she could know Who He Is, and know if she wanted to follow Him. She was excited to do this. She wanted to talk and talk, which we did, and then, we met the next morning to talk as well.

The next morning, after we talked, I went down to the World Trade Center, which is being re-built beautifully, with much love and passion. I prayed I was not looking at an Isaiah 9:10 situation. I prayed, that instead, the buildings would be constructed to God’s Glory. I was both proud, and alerted to the danger of our country’s hubris. May God be our protector, and may we serve Him with all that we do! And may NYC rebuild itself to the Glory of God, and NOT to the glory of mankind. Amen and amen.

I returned to the place of the rally from the day before, and there were multiple rallies in progress. Four different groups were demonstrating about the Middle East: two Iranian groups, and two Jewish groups. One Jewish group was made up of ultra-Chasidic Jews who were shouting that Israel had no right to exist, that it couldn’t exist legally, scripturally (Talmudically actually), until the Messiah came … and so, it should be given to the Palestinians. This was tragic to me. Their faces looked like masks. I actually had to look at some of them a few minutes to make sure they weren’t wearing masks. They would not engage in meaningful discussions, but would simply shout slogans. One Iranian group was rallying for a democratic, secular Iranian government. The man I talked to likes Israel because it is a democracy, and he has Jewish friends and a Jewish son-in-law (or daughter-in-law, I might have gotten that mixed up.) He is a Shiite Muslim who wants his country to be a democracy. The other Iranian group wants the Shah back. The Israeli group was having a mock-circus, because they considered Durban III to be a circus act of clowns, and they had stilt walkers, and unicyclists, and jugglers, etc., and they were all dressed up in clown costumes, singing and dancing … It was quite wild, in general. Israeli and Iranian flags were all mixed up together, and we were talking to each other, discussing our common needs, our differences, and our desires. We were encouraging one another, while the leaders at Durban III were shouting at each other.

I went back to the UN to pray for one last time, and then felt it was time to leave. Yep, it was, for somebody asked for my badge. I left and went into the Catholic church. If you are ever around 44th street, in NYC, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, go and look at it. The artwork is exquisite, and the sculpture of the Risen Savior took my breath away. I just sat on one of the pews and basked in the Glory of Yeshua’s Resurrection. Then, I went back to my friend’s house to watch the Republican debates.

My friends, this is a perilous time we live in, but it is a good time. It is a time we are called to say, “NOT ON MY WATCH!” and to STAND for Israel and for what is right. There are so many people out there who genuinely care and want to do something good, and in the midst of all the chaos, they can be reached. And there are those who are aching to hear the Gospel, and God/Yeshua wants to reach all of them. It is His heart-felt cry that not one should perish, and people are hungry to know truth.

Durban III did collapse under the weight of its own evil. The issue, of course, with Ammas, and the Palestinians, is much more serious, and requires on-going, in-depth prayer, but we are on the winning side. Whatever it costs, we win. Let’s not give up. Let’s not grow weary. Let’s not just “wait for the rapture,” and let the world “go to hell.” Rather, let’s use every breath and step and word that we have to bless the LORD by encouraging people to trust Him and to love Him and to know Him, and, in the midst of the sorrow, let’s keep on rejoicing and resting and praying. He is coming soon! Whenever that will be, He is coming soon!
Shalom! Shalom!”

ani b’derek

Published in: on October 9, 2011 at 7:18 am  Comments (3)  
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Inside Israel – Rosh – h’shana

Hello!

Welcome to another look inside Israel today with J of Jerusalem sharing with us. Thank you for your prayers for Israel, J and her family!
Now, here’s J . . .

“SHANA TOVA OMEVORACH!” (good and blessed new year) “AMEN! VAY L’COL BEIT YISRAEL!” (Amen, and to all of the house of Israel) “AMEN VEY AMEN!” (amen and amen) This greeting has rung through the air as gifts and greetings are exchanged with friends and strangers, and as scouts give out apples dipped in honey and gifts and flowers are seen in everyone’s bundles as they scurry to run last minute errands. The stores have literally emptied their shelves of food as this year Rosh h’shana won’t end until sunset between Friday and Saturday…shabat… so nothing will open at least until Saturday night, but more likely Sunday morning…and Lord knows, we might just starve by then if we didn’t have lots and lots of food in the house! The houses are scrubbed clean and the streets are aromatic with cooking smells…but more then that, there is a solemn feeling…hearts ARE being prepared.

The Rosh h’shana shofar calls to and speaks of a ‘personal repentance’ and time of soul searching and cleaning and marks the approach Yom Kippur…the MOST solemn day of the year…of corporate fasting and repentance in a week’s time.

Soon the sun will go down. Already the streets are quiet except for a few people rushing home. Shops are closed and public transportation has ground to a halt. It is such a special kind of ‘hush’ that descends upon this city…Jerusalem…as a ‘high holiday’ approaches. The shofarim are out and polished, ready to sound loudly following the prayers that usher in the new year 5772. More then a million food baskets have been given out to the poorest of the population by the many non profit organizations; less then usual because giving of donations is down reflecting the economy. There are many large public meals to gather in those who might not have a table to go to.

And there is an air of anticipation as well…what WILL this coming year hold. For those of us who believe…who know Yeshua, are known of Him and know His Word, there is peace; but for those who long for and look for peace in this world? For those of us who know Him there is a KNOWING of His ‘provision’, but for others who don’t know how they will pay the rent of set out the next meal? What a blessing to be free of the anxiety and intensity that is too often ‘normal life’ here. He is so good to us, but our prayers are, of course, for our brothers and sisters after the flesh…and so often our own family members.

I, rather passionately (for it was passionate) requested prayer last week for the situation concerning the UN vote concerning a Palestinian state carved out of Israel. Several friends forwarded to me a letter that they received (I would love to be in touch with whoever wrote it if any of you know) which I will include at the end as it is the most encouraging thing I have read in so long and perhaps someone has not seen it and will also be encouraged. (It is a humbly written prayer journal of someone who went to NYC to pray concerning this debate) Several of you have asked me to share a bit more about what is going on right now here and what my I assessment was of the speeches. It is so complicated that I do it with much fear and trembling. May The Lord help me to share what is helpful toward prayer, and an accurate description:

First, let me share that according to our newly released end of the year census our population has grown to 7,797,400. Note that the year of the Hebrew calendar is 5,772. That counting was begun when the commandments were given at Sinai to Moses and yet the battle over that very fact is was what I witnessed as I watched the UN speeches and listened to the subsequent commentaries and debates in the media. The legitimacy of the state of Israel and our increasing ‘intransigence’ (as they put it) in the eyes of the world is what is being questioned. My personal assessment (as some of you asked for) of the speeches made me wonder if the reporters and diplomats heard the same men speaking. What I saw was a passionate, enraged Mahmud Abbas accusing Israel of the most outrageous lies (‘this apartheid state is killing thousands of our people every day with impunity!’) greeted with standing ovations and deafening cheers from a full audience. My prayer, and perhaps most of yours, was for Binyamin Netanyahu to speak Truth as he had said that he would, and that was what I heard with my ears. My opinion of what I saw (and I continued to pray as we watched) was a nearly broken and humble (not the way our Prime Minister is usually characterized) man speaking Truth to such a degree that it HAD to have taken supernatural grace. (again, I can send copies of both or either speech to anyone who would like) He spoke to a half empty, mostly bored looking auditorium with occasional sounds of light applause (the commentator said that it came mostly from the gallery and not from the delegates, some of whom walked out in the middle. This did not happen with Abbas). I was interested and blessed to see one member of the Palestinian delegation remain and listen and the delegation from Lebanon also appeared to be listening. We had prayed for those with a hunger for Truth to receive mercy to hear. I continue to pray for them.

Following the speeches I turned to a French station that reports in English. In the past, they seem to have been more sympathetic and less virile then British BBC or Sky, or European CNN that are available to us in English. Fox news (also available from the US) was not covering it. To my surprise (and I had to guard my heart from breaking and to remind myself that this is the eyes of the world) they had a round table discussion to debate the speeches and had NOTHING positive to say about us, and only praise for the Abbas speech. As I said, it was difficult to keep from weeping. I could only believe that what I was witnessing was what I had prayed about; the difference between Truth and lies and the fact that Truth can be robbed, twisted and mocked…as it was in The Face of Yeshua on this earth. And that is what I thought of…Yeshua…Truth…crucified. It renewed in me the ‘awe of the cross’ that I had when, more then 30 years ago, I first caught a glimpse of it…when Truth was murdered…oh praise Him that He rose again!! ‘Truth’ has been such a sacred Name to me as I was so very long a prisoner of lies and a child of the father of lies.

And though the world may rejoice at murdering Truth we KNOW that Truth will triumph, and even though we do NOT know what path this will all take(although some claim to…I trust His Perfect Hands to bring it all to a just finale in His Perfect time)and what we may have to walk through and witness, we KNOW that He really DOES, and that The King of Glory, The Just and True Judge, The One and Only Merciful God, will keep each and every one of His promises… and NOT according to OUR understanding, but according to His. (and least any of you think that I am ‘fearful’, please believe me, I am NOT)

How is this playing out ‘on the ground’? Well…the Palestinians have been greatly emboldened and inflamed in general. It feels like being near a bunch of simmering pots. The saddest thing that happened (have ANY of you heard about this??) was a father (about 26 years old) and his less then a year old son who were stoned. Their death was first reported as a car accident (even more tragic since the 25 year old wife is pregnant with their second child) but then, as the wreck was examined, rock holes was found and blood stained rocks within. The bodies were exhumed by the army for autopsy and found that they had been killed by stones. Last night rocket fire resumed from Gaza against our south.

INTERESTINGLY? The UN security council debates begin on Rosh h’shana.
And now, the sun is going down and I will pack the food that we are taking to our daughter’s house. What a blessing! The shofar will sound as it has for 5772 years. He is faithful…may we be found faithful as well.

I am writing this to faithful friend. I send you my love. May His blessing to each of you be found in the Sweetness of His Presence. I am encouraged each time I hear from one of you. God bless you. Your sis here.

(I will post the letter J is talking about next Sunday! Blessings and love, in His name.)

Published in: on October 2, 2011 at 6:30 am  Comments Off on Inside Israel – Rosh – h’shana  
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Inside Israel – The Voice of the Bride and the Bridegroom

“Hi!” and welcome to another Sunday look inside Israel. Today J of Jerusalem takes us to a Jewish wedding with her and He is beautifully displayed there. I hope you are as blessed as I was!
God bless you as you pray today for J and Israel, and as you remember 9/11. Now here’s J . . .

Greetings in The Name of Yeshua, dear brothers and sisters. May The Lord be blessed and glorified and may you be blessed!

As you know, demonstrations, uprisings and revolutions are sweeping across the middle east, and we here have been experiencing our share of protests focusing almost exclusively on our, increasingly unbearably high cost of living. The character of the nation was expressed so well this past Shabat when the government announced that they would increase bus and rail service to the three main cities where a ‘million man protest rally’ was called to begin after shabat ended. Are we the only country that has a protest and the government provides more transportation to accommodate the protestors? J

“You shall know them by their fruit.” Yeshua said. Yes, our character speaks so clearly of the condition of our heart.

I was a guest at a wedding this past Friday, the character of which spoke volumes concerning the young couple and their families, and, for me, since it displayed a taste of heaven, I thought that I would share it with you.

Perhaps many of you have been to Jewish weddings, and even Messianic Jewish weddings. I know that I have described several. This wedding was small by Israeli standards, and I was most blessed to be invited. I arranged my work schedule so that I could attend. It was on a moshav (small rural farming village) outside of ‘Beit Shemesh’ in the hills of Binyamin (Benjamin) and Yehuda (Judah), where David slew Goliath. Today it is a beautiful and peaceful area. The first day of school was on the 1st of Sept. and traditionally, the Friday following the first day of school is one of the busiest for my husband’s hair salon/barber shop, so, since he was unable to accompany me, our older daughter and baby Grandson came. We entered the peaceful moshav and followed the hand written signs to the wedding site. When we first moved here, those signs amused me. I used to see signs all over saying things like “bar mitzvah shel Yair” (Yair’s bar mitzvah) or ‘hatona shel Orli vey Baruch’ (wedding of Orli and Baruch). Coming from the states where street signs in cities are rather regulated, it was fun to see kids running around the city with chairs, sometimes balloons, tying party directions to traffic lights in the middle of town. I came to realize that this is common practice.

We followed the signs to a beautiful vineyard on top of a tall hill. Under the grape arbors, the tables were set up on thatched rugs and there was an area for the ‘huppa’ (or ‘chuppa’ or ‘hupah’, transliteration into English letters is a challenge with most words and is subjective and NOT a ‘science’!) overlooking the hills of Yehuda and Binyamin. The scene was most peaceful and the only sounds heard were either ours or those of nature. The’ huppa’ is a canopy of sorts, traditionally just material (sometimes a prayer shawl, or ‘talit’) attached to 4 poles which are held over the bride and groom by 4 close male friends or relatives. The symbolism of the huppa is multifaceted and beautiful. It touches on the tent of Avraham and Sarah, it speaks of the home that the new couple will make, so fragile and small compared to all of God’s vast creation, it speaks of HIS covering over their heads…and it is small enough to be ‘private’; this is an intimate relationship being sealed in heaven.

This particular couple was very special to me (and many others) as I have loved the young woman since almost the first week of our arrival in the land, when she was just 12, the age of our younger daughter, who was her friend. I watched and prayed as she was seen with a young man who ‘did not yet’ know The Lord. I have watched for seven years. And I rejoiced with our whole kehila (fellowship) when this young man gave his life to The Lord perhaps just short of a year ago. Integrity colored their relationship with beauty as the young girl would not compromise by a relationship with an non believer, and the young man would not come to Him simply to win the woman he loved…it had to be real. And as the believers prayed for 7 years, it is indeed real, this relationship with The Lord! What a beautiful thing to behold is holiness! What a building of character. Glorious fruit!

As beautiful as these things are, they are not unique. I’m sure many of you can share a similar victorious story of young people putting God first, how glorious! But with a Jewish family, there was an immediate reaction, and the young man’s Mother (his estranged Father had died) refused to attend a ‘Messianic wedding’…up until the very last moment. As we gathered none of us knew if she would be there or not. Much prayer went up for her, and finally, there she was, with other family members. Our Pastor who performed the wedding is also the only believer in his own family…yet they attended. The only believers at the wedding were friends, a few members of the kehila and several others. We wondered if there would be anger and a nasty response…it was indeed threatened. Much prayer was offered.

With such grace our Pastor welcomed everyone: ‘I know that most of you have never been to a Messianic wedding, and this is a Messianic wedding and we are not ashamed of The Name of Yeshua h’Meshiach. And we are gathered together to BLESS the Bride and Groom, whom we all love. Please join in to bless them together and partake for their joy’, his gracious words were so gentle that it was as if The Holy Spirit placed a ‘huppa’ over ALL of us. My daughter had taken the Baby to an area where the children could play. She told me that she was the only believer in that area…all of the young couples with her were those who had never been exposed to The Lord. She told me that at that moment they all sat up and gave the ceremony rapt attention. We are believing for FRUIT for the kingdom!

The message that was given to the young couple spoke deeply to my heart as well. The wedding was (of course) in Hebrew and he spoke about the word for ‘love’…ahava. He said that this word is so overused these days and it has to do with the warm ‘feeling’ that is so often called ‘love’…but there is another word that goes deeper: yedidut. This beautiful word, multifaceted as a diamond, has it’s root in ‘together’ and ‘one-ness’…in the same way that God The Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit is One…Yedid… yedidut… he spoke of the deep importance of being true friend for each other… and I realized that this is what has spoken to me so deeply about my Pastor’s relationship with his wife. They exhibit so beautifully this relationship to the kehila in their own marriage.

Just like a ‘Christian wedding ceremony’, so it is with a Jewish wedding. There IS no ‘typical’ Jewish wedding. There is much leeway for personal taste and choice. This one was simply characterized by such great, deep joy and blessing. The hora was danced, the songs were sung, and the sense of having delighted The Heart of The Father was with us.

I know that I did not do this subject justice, I am simply too tired to continue, but I so wanted to share a bit of the joy with you…the joy of the character of God… in a vineyard in the hills surrounding Jerusalem!

God bless you dear, faithful, brothers and sisters. Lovingly, your sis here.

ani b’derek

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