Inside Israel – Last Message About Yom Kippur

Hi and welcome back to another look inside Israel, as J of Jerusalem shares about what is happening around her and in her heart, there where Jesus walked.  Thank you for praying and encouraging the people of Israel and J too!  Now, here’s J . . .

“Now in the place where He was crucified, there was a garden…” John 19:41
As I sat with The Lord at this scripture, my heart was jarred with the sense that, really, all ‘nature’ bares witness!  I hope that doesn’t sound strange, as I am not expressing it correctly, but surely NOTHING is done that is not seen…no words uttered that are not heard…and indeed we read that the stones cry out and Abel’s blood still speaks.  Although we understand this, it suddenly became a profound truth to my heart and reminded me that when He brought us here He made plain to me that He wanted me to be a ‘faithful witness’ to the body of what I see and hear here.  How odd to think of the extreme ‘drama’ of the cruel crucifixion of The Lord juxtaposed upon a ‘garden’!  A garden speaks to me of peace, quiet, healing and life…so silent and so restful…and it was a garden – not a desert place or a wilderness place that witnessed this moment that changed both my life and yours, and all of history. 
A faithful witness; His choosing, His timing…each of us really are called to be faithful witnesses to Him, to the yet-unsaved, to our families, to one another. 
The first letter that I wrote from Jerusalem was 18 years ago today and I could not but bare witness to the sights and sounds that surrounded me, and now, even though I have sent too many things to your inboxes this week, I feel pressed to describe to you again, the sights and sounds of Jerusalem on the day of Atonement, and remembering some of things leading up to the day.
I mentioned last month that already people were preparing their hearts for this day, a day taken very seriously by even the minimally ‘religious’ and literally despised and distained by (whom I call) the ‘religiously secular’. (meaning those who practice their secularism as if it were a religion!) There was a solemnity on the public transportation as people read portions of scripture or rabbinical teachings.  A harsh word was often met with ‘Brother…it is nearly Yom Kippur.  We must think.’ or something to that effect.  Every morning the synagogues have been full, and there is a ‘tradition’ that takes place here in Jerusalem; from all over the country large groups of people, young people, even children, gather and go to synagogues through a sleepless night of study and observation.  I find them crowding the shuk at 6am getting some pita or sweet rolls (rugelach or borekes) and coffee and discussing the experience that was impacting them from their night.  Repentance and soul searching goes on for the month preceding Yom Kippur, but it is only after Rosh h’shana that the ‘offering stands’ and ‘shuk h’kaporah’ are set up.  As I described the ‘offering stands’ where people give an offering for their soul last week, I won’t elaborate again, but there have been changes to the shuk h’kaporah; it has been hidden more deeply in ‘Mea Shaarim’ (very religious neighborhood bordering on the shuk) and screened from view.  You might recall that the shuk h’kaporah is the place that people come to in order to sacrifice a chicken, which is then (some do it first before the sacrifice) swung over their heads while prayers are recited.  The ceremony is described with pictures on this (and other) web site if you are interested: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/989585/jewish/Kaparot.htm  or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapparot or others.  Although the place for the ceremony had been just behind the shuk since I arrived, it was moved this year because of animal activists disrupting the activities for the past several years.  For a number of years I would stand outside and pray for the people partaking, so desperate for the ‘way to God’, knowing that the blood sacrifice demanded by the law could no longer be offered…but NOT knowing about The Blood of The Lamb shed for their sins!  How to tell them…!  Last year I stood there praying and found that I was being identified as an animal rights activist!  Times and seasons change!  I wonder if the opportunity that I had to share with the collector of money this past week was part of a result of those prayers. 
The shuk has also been the scene of much shopping as Rosh h’shana runs into Yom Kippur (and how we are afraid that we might starve to death from a 25 hour fast! Yes…an extra hour ‘just to be sure’) and the break-fast meal must be prepared…abundantly!  AND OF COURSE…Sukkot begins this coming Sunday at sundown and that includes MUCH sharing of food. 
Yet, set in the middle of the feasting and thanksgiving is THIS DAY. 
Outside of my window it is now perfectly silent.
Yesterday at noon, the airspace over Israel was closed and all flights ceased, as did all rail travel.  At two, all buses stopped running and stores closed.  By then radio and television (including cable) was also shutting down.  A last dinner was prepared to be finished by 4:30 as sundown was set at 4:56 for Jerusalem and kitchens must be closed and cleaned.  (Our clocks were set to ‘winter time’ this past Sunday) By then there were no more cars at all.  (Only ambulances can run on Yom Kippur) It always amazes me how much noise traffic makes.  You don’t realize it until it stops.  Doors opened and people dressed in white mainly began streaming outside and into the synagogues.  Simultaneously, a tradition that I personally dislike, began.  Children (and secular) took to the streets on bicycles and anything with non motorized wheels until way into the night.  The silence was stolen away by yelling and laughing.  Call me a ‘Scrooge’, but I was raised in a ‘traditional’ Jewish home, meaning that we were not very religious, but we did keep shabat and the holidays.  From my earliest memories (and mine begin as a tiny child) I fasted and could only play very quietly on the floor during Yom Kippur.  I was taught that this was a solemn day.  It saddens me to see children being taught that this is a ‘play day’ and I wonder how they come to a ‘fear of The Lord…the beginning of wisdom’… but… please forgive me for being critical about this.  I am a ‘witness…a ‘stone’.  It is difficult to fall asleep with all of the street noise from the children and then teenagers, but so very special to wake up early to such profound and deep silence! It is a day to read and pray…to lift The Word before The Lord and remind Him of His promises for this people, this land, and inquire of Him for deeper understanding of His Word and deeper searching of my own heart.  The children are quieter today. 
Some people stay in the synagogues all day, others come home to rest mid day and re-gather toward evening.  I am well aware that our Prime Minister is seeking God in a synagogue this day as I remember with awe the day our older daughter and I went to sit there and pray…and found out that BB Netanyahu was there.  In that synagogue the men and women were separated and the ‘women’s gallery’ was on the second floor above the men.  My daughter and I were seated directly above our Prime Minister and were able to pray for him fervently.  We both noted that he was obviously seeking God with deep cries of purpose and need. We were awe struck when, right after the fast, he opened the (now famous) Western Wall Tunnel in the Old City (a number of you receiving this have toured these).  These excavations revealed the huge stones of Solomon’s Temple, and he knew that opening it up would cause Arab riots.  He was right…but…our daughter and I were there to WITNESS the fact that he had SOUGHT THE LORD!  This is my prayer for him today as well…that he will do NOTHING without seeking The Lord diligently, and that The Lord would show favor and lead him.  We have many examples in Scripture of The Lord judging Israel by leading them move presumptuously.  May God have mercy upon us! 
We have…hum…NOT QUITE A ‘GARDEN’ but more of an ‘alley way in which we have planted flowers and see many trees.  We sit under our clothes line and make believe it is a lovely garden, and that is where I have spent much of this day today, so it was a vivid picture to me when I read,  “Now in the place where He was crucified, there was a garden…” Crucified…our kaporah…our perfect sacrifice…the pure Blood that covers our sins…spit upon, mocked, torn and nailed to the cross…here in Jerusalem…“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kills the prophets, and stones them that are sent unto you; how often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen does gather her brood under her wings, and you would not!” Luke 13:34…for THIS people “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it” Luke 19:41…yes for us, stiff-necked, rebellious, seeking our own righteousness and denying His, blinded by God…UNTIL!!!   I CAN ONLY CLOSE WITH THIS: (highlights are mine)  GOD BLESS YOU!  Your sis, a stone in Jerusalem

Romans 11

New King James Version (NKJV)
11 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”?[a] But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[b] Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.[c] But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written:
“God has given them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes that they should not see
And ears that they should not hear,
To this very day.”[d]
And David says:
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
A stumbling block and a recompense to them.
10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see,
And bow down their back always.”[e]

Israel’s Rejection Not Final

11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!
13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
16 For if the first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness,[f] if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved,[g] as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”[h]
28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”[i]
35 “Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”[j]
36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
 
ani b’derek
Published in: on October 21, 2012 at 8:08 am  Comments (6)  
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Inside Israel –

 

Hi and welcome to this Sunday’s look inside Israel.  This letter is dated from Sept. 21, 2012, but I hope it is still a blessing to you, as J of Jerusalem shares what has been happening in her life and country lately!  God bless you as you pray for Israel, J and her family.  Now, here’s J . . .

Dearest friends, sisters and brothers,

Shabat before Yom Kippur is just coming in and there is so much to reflect on from this week.  Greetings in The Name of Yeshua h’Meshiach, Jesus Christ.  May The Lord be glorified and blessed and may you be blessed! 
My heart is bursting with wonder at just the small part of The Lord that I know…can you imagine what it will be like in heaven, when our capacity is enlarged to know and understand and see and the shadows and limits flee away! 
I had a wonderful experience this week at the shuk.  Before aliyah I was a rather bold witness.  I don’t think that I often went through a day without speaking to someone about The Lord.  It was different after aliyah.  First, there were threats and real danger of being deported and loosing our citizenship…and that brought fear.  Secondly, people here don’t respond to the type of sharing that I was used to…and with limited language skills, I felt such a lack of anointing to share effectively.  Since no one shared with me (I met Him Face to face) I could see how I would scoff at a witness the way it was given in the West, and I did not want to be the cause of someone, God forbid, hardening their heart and rejecting Him…so … slowly I became pretty quiet. 
I have told you in past years about Yom Kippur and how, without the temple sacrifice, there really IS no scriptural way to provide atonement for our sins…UNLESS we know HIM Who freely paid the price.  Over the centuries since the destruction of the temple, our rabbis have come up with ‘prescribed ways’ to ‘be redeemed’.  One (which I have shared about in much detail) is the sacrifice of the chicken at the ‘shuk h’kaporah’ (the ‘sacrifice market’).  Another is through sacrificial giving of money (could that be considered ‘buying your soul’? I often wonder).  All this past week, orthodox men sat offering redemption through the collection of money.  So many people sit with them…fill out the form…are prayed for…enclose a large gift for the poor…it breaks my heart! 
On Tuesday I was at the shuk, wending my way past the ‘soul savers’, when a Haradi (ultraorthodox man with side locks in black and white) man of about 50 pleaded with me to take my soul seriously and ‘buy redemption’.  I looked at him and, unexpectedly the words began to pour out of me; ‘Thank you for caring about my soul, but I already know that I HAVE redemption and I have been redeemed for free by The Blood of Yeshua h’Meshiach!’ He stared at me, his face really quite tender and open. ‘How do you know this?’ he asked me.  ‘I have opened my heart to Him, Yeshua the Messiah, and asked Him to live in me and He has washed me and I am free!’ I answered.  He looked longingly at me; ‘I do not understand.  Are you a Jewish woman’?  I answered ‘Yes’.  He looked intense ‘Then how can this happen to you?’  His eyes were so hungry.  ‘Yes I am a Jewish woman, but it is US whom He came for FIRST.’  I was not able to share much more, but the boldness with which I shared shocked me…I believe it really WAS HIS SPIRIT sharing with this man, who’s eyes remained so soft and hungry.  As I left he blessed me and smiled and I prayed that the very small seed planted would take root and grow and produce fruit 100 fold for the kingdom of God. 
To know that we have been redeemed and that our salvation is sealed and that we are acceptable and even pleasing to the Lord through the Blood of the pure Lamb is such a gift!  My brothers and sisters seek to be pure in His sight by keeping the law and yet lack assurance…because they have NOTHING clean enough to offer for their soul!  May many hungry hearts find Him this Yom Kippur, Lord! (Please see IFI notes below)
My husband and I have entered a new period in our lives, or so we thought.  Suddenly it was just he and I…for the first time in 37 years!  No calls from our girls, no bulging of our happy noisy dinner table…we came to this moment with some trepidation, but I, for one, had a determination to cross this bridge ‘well’, and to that end I have been praying.  Over the past 10 days, since the last of them left, I have been making special dinners and making real TIME to listen and to just ‘be there’.  We even went to the beach together early one morning and plan to walk to the Old City tomorrow.  We spoke about facing the potential upcoming w_r (remember…I leave the tell tale ‘a’ out of that word to beat the computer system!) together and what it would mean…what preparations we should be making.  I have also been encouraged by the meals that we have been sharing with others from the body, as my husband has been out of fellowship for so long. 
So far so good, right?
But our ‘genetic makeup’ seems to contain a ‘crisis’ gene!  I finally heard from our younger daughter.  Generally with this daughter, silence does NOT signal ‘all is well’!  You might recall that she had a cornea transplant several years back.  Actually, the first one rejected but the second one has done well…until now.  About a month ago she apparently contracted a nasty infection in the eye.  She and her husband are young and are in the America (Canoga Park California these days) without health insurance.  She tried treating it herself and finally had to go to a clinic where she received antibiotics.  They didn’t work.  She has been in a great deal of pain, not working, home alone…getting depressed.  We spoke at 4am this morning (our time) and are sending her a ticket home to come and see her eye doctor.  She is to arrive at 1pm on Sun and the eye clinic closes at 3. Please pray for favor and that the transplant does NOT reject.  She is very unhappy about leaving her husband behind and he is quite tearful about her leaving (he is working.  They ended up with a ‘start up’ business so are not even clearing their rent yet), but the eye doctor told us that if this transplant rejects she could be permanently blind in that eye.  Please pray for wisdom all around…for grace (for my husband in particular), for an inexpensive ticket, for safety but most of all for HIS Salvation to come to both her and her husband.  Thank you for praying for our family! 
Our nation awoke to a surprise call up of both the northern and central command and other armed forces for a war drill on our Northern border during Rosh h’shana.  Today one of our soldiers was killed on our southern border with Egypt in a well planned terror attack.  The 20 year old young man, Natanel Yahalomi (Natanel meaning ‘given to God’ or ‘given by God’- and Yahalomi meaning ‘from diamond’), was from an ultra orthodox religious family.  He had joined a special top notch unit that studies Torah and serves the nation according to the call in the book of Nehemiah.  He was killed among soldiers who went to give water to African migrants stopped at the border fence.
There are many wonderful ‘blogs’ out there…some excellent writers, strong discerning believers, wise, knowledgeable people and I have often thought about recommending one or another…but today I do want to recommend a very special site written by a friend called The Two Spies (bringing a good report from Israel). http://the2spies.blogspot.co.il/  We are friends from IFI Friday morning prayer meeting and I am so edified by this blog…it is accurate, discerning, gives an accurate, un-embellished picture of life here as believers, and I think that you would also be edified by it.  The articles are short and easy to read, and include many photos.  Enjoy! 
I must close and see to some necessary matters here.  PLEASE CONSIDER JOINING WITH OUR PEOPLE AS THEY FAST – SEEKING REPENTANCE AND REMISSION OF SINS.  PLEASE PRAY FOR THE LORD TO BE REVEALED TO MANY MANY AT THIS TIME.  Again I apologize for such a fragmented letter.  May The Lord, Who has our days in His hands and even our hairs numbered, be blessed and glorified.  I miss you my friends, my family!  Lovingly, your sis

Published in: on October 14, 2012 at 8:05 am  Comments (13)  
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Inside Israel – erev Yom Kippur – 7 October 2011

“Hello” and welcome to Inside Israel! Today we are still looking at what J of Jerusalem had to share about Yom Kippur even though now it has been Sukkot. I just couldn’t pass this up, so please forgive me for the time warp thing going on here so often! 🙂 Maybe we could talk J into blogging herself? Thank you for your prayers and love for Israel and our sister in Christ there. Now, here’s J . . .

I couldn’t make it to the ifi prayer meeting this morning as I wasn’t feeling very well and barely peeled myself from my bed. Being erev (the evening entering into) Yom Kippur, I was disappointed, as I had wanted to be in corporate prayer for our people. I got on the 6:30am bus instead of the 5:50. As the bus passed the area nearest to the Old City, a number of bleary eyed young (and older) people boarded. They looked very tired, but also ‘content’.

A group of young men spread out near me and they were speaking English, so my listening didn’t need to be very acute to hear what they were speaking about (although it took awhile for my ears to understand the one with the Australian accent). These were apparently a bunch of yeshiva students from abroad and part of their study program was to experience the full impact of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem.

They had been up for two days and nights; studying torah and mishna during the day and the night before last they had been at the Western Wall for a night of ‘slichoot prayers’. These are prayers of repentance (‘slach’ meaning ‘forgive’. You OFTEN hear on the street ‘Oy! slicha!’ when someone bumps into you or runs over your foot. That means ‘forgive me’ or ‘I’m sorry’.) Then last night they had spent praying in the ‘mikva’…a ritual bath house for ‘cleansing’ rather then ‘cleaning’. I knew that women partake in a mikvah during various stages of life, but I had not known that men do also. One boy curled up on a pair of seats and went right to sleep, but the young man from Australia seemed the most affected by the events. He was the one that I learned most from.

‘That was the most awesome experience I ever had!’ he told his friends. ‘Why?’ another asked. ‘Don’t you feel it? I mean, I feel so clean…so spiritually clean. The whole thing is just so amazing.’ I thought I heard one say ‘I’m just tired.’ The excited one continued ‘To see all of those men with nothing on their hearts but to be cleansed inside… all together in one place like that. It was just the most spiritual night I have ever had! ’

Obviously this was funny to at least one of the young men, but I began to think about it afresh; Through out the city, streams of people of all ages, pressing in with all degrees of intensity and really, various reasons…to be clean before the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. Yes, some do it for religious reasons, for tradition, mindlessly mouthing prayers. Others do it to ‘win points’ with God. Others to be seen of men; but there are those who long for the reality of Him and His Presence and to stand ‘right’ before Him! That is what Yom Kippur is about and it is like an open door in heaven, and what a wonderful time to pray that His full revelation will shine into the hearts of our people!

Yet I had my day before me, short, though it would be. The morning news broadcast announced that all public transportation would end by 2:30. As happens yearly, our clocks were turned back an hour last weekend; always before the Yom Kippur fast. That means that the shabat horn will sound at 4:30 this evening, yet the end of the fast will not be until about 6 or 6:30 tomorrow. I asked my boss for leave to go home early so I could pick up a few last minute things for tomorrow’s meal and do some cooking.

And now, all is quiet already. Television and radio has gone off the air. Airports have closed down. It is 3:30 and shops are sealed tightly…and the AIR changes! I am serious. The very air tangibly changes. I know that it is becoming a ‘hacked expression’ with me, so…when it hit…I began thinking about it and lifting it in prayer.

‘What IS it Lord? It really FEELS like a ‘mantle’ or a ‘blanket’ that settles over this land every time there is a special ‘called apart’ time. What IS this? It is NOT a blinding, thick cloud, or something threatening, but something comforting…like a talit (prayer shawl that men wear during prayer) being wrapped around us…coming from You.’

That is it! You encircling us! I took out my concordance and began looking through scriptures describing ‘coverings’. He Himself made coverings for Adam and Eve. He gave very intricate commandments concerning the covering of the ark, the tent of meeting in the wilderness, and the temple, the succa. Coverings are spoken of so much…His Blood is our COVERING FOR OUR SIN…and yet my people still have a ‘covering’ over their eyes and hearts. Perhaps TODAY that covering will be removed by His Blood?

And now I will go and, along with our people, prepare a supper before the fast and cover the table with a white cloth… and the full silence will fall and a nation will search for approval of our God. What lies ahead in the next 24 hours?… The potential is amazing… it is all His plan, and we know that His plan is for good and not for evil, for a future and a hope.

May He cover us, His body, with a spirit of prayer to enter into the prayer of His Heart for His Glory.
Blessings from Jerusalem

ani b’derek

Inside Israel – 1st Installment of Yom Kippur

Hello again! Please forgive me for sending another post out today, but J of Jerusalem had much to share lately. Here is one of her letters about Yom Kippur. God bless you and lead you on, as you pray and worship Him! Now, here’s J . . .

Having come down with a nasty case of bronchitis just before our Rosh h’ Shana dinner, it seems as if the days of this ‘week of awe’ have been compressed. As I have shared before, Yom Kippur is the holiest and most solemn day in the Jewish year; the day of repentance…of atonement…of searching for ‘approval’ before a Holy God. (Exodus 35 – Deut 16:29-34, Levit 23:26-32, Deut 16, just to list a few of the many scriptures) Where as last week the joyful greetings filled the air ‘Shana tova omevorach!’ (Good and blessed year!), this week, in contrast, the hushed greeting is voiced between friends and strangers alike “Gamar khatima tova” (may you finish [your repentance and fasting] with a ‘stamp of approval’ or ‘good signature). It is loosely translated into English as “May your name be found in the book of life” and it is a very serious desire. I am very uncomfortable with this greeting and have searched for years for appropriate alternatives. I have tried to say that I KNOW that I am engraved in The Lamb’s Book of Life…but am I saying this for my benefit or for theirs? What does it mean to the hearers? “Amen! L’col am yisroel!” (Amen! And all of the house of Israel!) I have been answering this year, but my heart aches for my brethren, who wonder and agonize and work to attain. (this under 5 minute video sent to me by a sister will help you understand how deeply Jews seek to understand real repentance – repentance from a modern Jewish view: http://www.aish.com/h/hh/yk/theme/Yom_Kippur_Partner_Track.html Does God really care about the nuances of my life?)

This year the fast begins on Friday evening at sundown until an hour after sundown on Saturday evening. The streets will be silent and empty and no cars will be moving. A quiet spirit of …not quite ‘mourning’…not quite ‘heaviness’… would you understand if I say a ‘closet spirit’ (?) seems to rest over us…closet in that it is private, not shared…a feeling that everyone IS standing alone before God, although so often in groups in synagogues.

As believers, most of us join in with the prayer and fasting, but having peace with God, we pray for our nation, after we have searched our own souls.
My personal search began early this year and I am so thankful that God answers prayer and chastens those whom He loves.
And just as I think that I have a measure of victory…He tries my heart and shows me that I must continue to press into His mercy. He did that for me today in an unusual way…for it was on the train this morning.

For those of you who don’t know me…I’m SHORT! For those of you who USED to know me (in the flesh) I’m SHORTER! (under 5’) Age can do that I guess. I also used to be some 90 pounds (40 kilos) larger. When I lived in the ‘old country’, my ‘shortness’ stood out A LOT, but I didn’t think about it that much. Here, I blend in better as ‘short’ is the general stature. HOWEVER…I am at the short end of short, and having lost the weight, I might now be considered rather ‘small’. Sometimes, in crowded buses, trains or in the shuk, I can feel down right diminutive. I get stepped on and knocked into a lot just because, well, I’m not ‘much there’. It can be very trying. I can get annoyed and loose my peace. I can be ‘not kind’, and I didn’t realize to what extent it had become a ‘work of the flesh’. Today I was given a firm reminder in a way that broke my heart.

I was standing in a corner in the crowded lite rail car, holding on to a pole for stability when a young, rather hefty woman in her late 20s or perhaps 30 stood in front of me. She didn’t just ‘stand’ in front of me, but she was about 3 inches from me and leaned against the pole squishing my hand. I didn’t budge. (not that I could have moved back…my back was against the rear door) Instead of moving my hand away I tightened my muscles. She pressed harder. It became a ‘war’. There were other bars and other places to stand. I was tired. I was set against her. This type of event happens daily. This one was about to take a different turn. Suddenly the young woman collapsed onto the floor. She wasn’t having a seizure, but the look on her face was of something awful. She was only partially conscious. I called for a doctor or nurse but there was none in the car. I directed someone near the other door to press the button and call for the driver to send help. This procedure on the lite rail was new to everyone but the driver finally got the message and many of us left the train. I ran to the front window to make sure that the driver knew someone was in need of help and I saw that he was calling for someone. Minutes later I heard the ambulance.

As I began walking to the shuk I was praying for the woman and I couldn’t shake off the feeling of the expression on her face. There was such a deep grief on her face. Working, as I do, in a doctor’s office, I have gotten to help in a number of emergencies and been the first one on hand when someone lost consciousness and needed help, what was different here? Some look very frightened, or pained…but this girl looked grieved and alone. I continued to pray for her. I began to wonder, if I had not been walking in the flesh…reacting to her ‘assault’ on ‘my space’… would I perhaps have been able to discern her need? I wondered if I had been less concerned with my SELF if The Lord might have nudged me to see her … It was just so obvious to me, suddenly, how I was in desperate need of His mercy to die to myself … again… kita aleph… first grade…this is basic, foundational stuff…AND (He reminded me) a glaring answer to a prayer that I had been praying, crying out to Him :…’Lord! Show me where I am not yet dead to self! Show me where flesh still rules me!’ My embarrassment turned to loving thankfulness as I was flooded afresh with joy at His faithfulness to answer prayer…to not only SHOW us our hidden sins, but that He Himself had already opened the door of forgiveness and deliverance wide…and the NAME of that door is the door of repentance; the door of repentance with the precious Blood of The Lamb on the lintels there of! Oh that my people would see and understand! He has left them a picture…a road map…AND A PROMISE! “And so all Israel will be saved…” Romans 11:26

I must be off to bed. This is just a few ‘notes from the day’. Thank you for letting me take your time. May we all be found in Him in (HIS) peace…for His glory. I plan to write more on Yom Kippur if not before. Lovingly, your sis

ani b’derek

Published in: on October 9, 2011 at 9:06 pm  Comments (2)  
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Inside Israel

Thank you for coming by for a look inside modern day Israel this Sunday. J of Jerusalem gives us a beautiful reflection of her heart and His as the people observe Yom Kippur.  Take it away J!

1:03 in the afternoon and Jerusalem is speeding toward silence.

All public transportation will stop at 2:30 this year, including our airport.  Most shops are already closed, although people can still be seen scurrying here and there making last minute purchases at food shops.

The fast begins, officially, in Jerusalem at 5:07pm.  People are preparing meals now for both this evening and the breaking of the fast at 6:17 tomorrow.

But this most holy day on the Hebrew calendar is not about food.  Nor does it center around ancient traditions, although there are many.  This is the day of aweyom kippur…the day of the atonement, or sacrifice…the day “to afflict your soul” as it says in Levit 16:29-31:

This shall be a statute forever to you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you.  For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls.  It is a statute forever.” In verse 34 Moses adds “This shall be an everlasting statute for you…”

And so, for more then 5,000 years…our people do this.  It has continued in caves and in palaces.  It was kept during the holocaust and the dispersions and in hiding from country to country.  It is kept here in modern Israel and by Jews around the world.  I was a small child when I was first taught by my parents to observe this solemn fast.  Indeed, most Jews do, even if they observe little else.

“…that you will be cleansed from sin.”

I ask myself; ‘ Do I truly comprehend and value the fact that The One Who is The Final Atonement, in His great mercy, revealed Himself to me?  While my people afflict their souls and bless one another with the words ‘cha’tee’mah tovah’ (‘literally: ‘signature good’ but meaning ‘may you be found inscribed in the book of Life’), do I feel the weight of the precious price that was paid for me that I might rest in the fact that I know I am inscribed in The Lamb’s book of Life??  I want to feel that weight and let it press me to my knees in prayer for my people.  I want it to press tears from my heart for my people who seek a cleansing, and freedom from their sins.  What a great gift we have!

I have written in the past about the ‘shuk h’kapara’ (the market of the sacrifice), where chickens are slaughtered and swung 3 times over the head while prayers are said, as a ‘cleansing for sin’…about the giving of ‘tsadaka’ (alms, or literally ‘righteousness’) to atone for sin…and about the throwing of sins into the river.  And ofcourse there are different degrees of desperation with which people seek Him for this cleansing.  Indeed, some do it just to ‘do it’…because ‘it is what we do’…because it is ‘tradition’, to be seen of men; but others seek deeply…my boss for one.  He has been at the western wall every morning at 4:30am for a week, saying the ‘slichoot’ (forgive me) prayers.  His heart seeks The One Whose Name is still an offence to him because the veil is still on his eyes.  Lord, give me the true heart of an intercessor for him!

Today I read an interesting ‘blog’ in our newspaper written by a young woman who had been seeking…examining the claims of Judaism, her ancient roots calling out to her.  She seems to be ‘newly religious’ (bal h’troova) and she wrote about how she had dreaded Yom Kippur in the past.  She said that the word tshuva (‘repentance’) meant this to her:

Repentance is a drek-filled word if there ever was one. It is full of punitive and shameful connotations: its link to Yom Kippur evoking memories of insanely long days standing in uncomfortable shoes at synagogue, where we obligatorily beat on our chests, commiserate about how awful we have been and silently debate how much longer we must suffer this self flagellation before returning home to starve till sundown”

But as she studied with the rabbis, she suddenly realized something that we, as believers, had to have revealed to us (what a privilege!) in order to become His: that repentance is not just hating our sin, but a call to ‘return to Me, saith The Lord’. When she understood that, she went on to say:

“This concept knocked my socks off it was so resonant. Hashem (God) is so wild about us that He set up a yearly date with us; indeed created the world in such a way that every year we must do Tshuva, or ‘return’ to Him and in so doing, to our highest selves.                                                                                                 What a love story it is between Hashem and the Jewish people! “

And how blessed we are to know that this “love story” He did not limit to the Jewish people, but that at Shavuot (Pentecost) He began to send His Spirit out to the nations…to work out His plan of salvation to the world.  Peter took it first to Jaffa…and there the door opened to the Gentiles.  Actually, it opened on the cross.

I have often quoted from Rom 9, 10, 11…these amazing, often mysterious chapters that send chills down my spine:

“For I do not desire brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved…Concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.  For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable….that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy…” Rom 11:25, 26, 28, 31

The streets are almost quiet now and the chicken in the oven smells cooked.  It is 3:07 and I did want to write to you and perhaps stir you to Him…to pray for this people and this nation, getting ready to sit before God…God! yet hidden by the veil!  May that veil come off during this yom kippur.  Thank you for praying with us.

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