Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Blessings, dear brothers and sisters, and all glory to Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come and Who has triumphed and will triumph!  May HE be glorified and blessed and may you be encouraged.

Tensions were HIGH at the shuk (market) today.  It felt like being inside of a pressure cooker even though there were very few people there for a Wednesday.  The train ride from my house to the shuk was heavy as well.  The Har Nof (meaning: mountain view) neighborhood where yesterday’s terror attack claimed 5 lives, is just a neighborhood or two over from the one in which we live. So, many Har Nof residents ride the same train. You could see and feel the weight of their grief.

Although CNN’s original report read: “Deadly attack on Jerusalem Mosque.” Four rabbis and one Druze policeman were axed, stabbed and shot to death during 7 a.m. morning prayers at a quiet synagogue in West Jerusalem.  One of the murderers worked at the super market on the same street, another cleaned the synagogue.

As I have said and will KEEP on saying: “the battle was ALWAYS about Jerusalem, the place where God chose to put His Name.”

On the train, many eyes were red from weeping. The book of Psalms was more evident then the free newspaper this morning.

At the shuk, where the stalls are about evenly divided between Jewish and Arab merchants, the air was quite tense.  Four female soldiers stood at one of the entrances, but I saw no others in spite of the announcement that there would be a large presence of police and soldiers at all public gathering places.  Yesterday, Hamas called for anyone with a car, gun, a stone, a tractor, an axe, or kitchen knife to take them up and kill Jews.

I must admit, although not afraid, I kept that in mind as I passed in front of trucks and forklifts unloading produce.  Greeting the Arab and Jewish vendors that I trade with regularly, I prayed for His Hand to restrain emotions that might be ready to ignite, for their own good, not for mine.

The shuk is a unique place, where people simply work hard, trying to make a living, working together year after year. Yet even here, one spark has often been enough…too often.

I overheard one vendor comment to a customer, “Where are the police? Where are the soldiers? I don’t see ANY!” He sounded more then a bit nervous.

I looked around and discovered he was right. None.  Perhaps they were undercover?  But then again, we were told that their presence would be evident.

I stopped for cucumbers.  One Arab vendor has the crispest and freshest I have tasted outside of a garden so I am willing to pay a bit more for them.  I walked over to his stand and again felt the tension.

“How is it that you ALWAYS have THE best cucumbers in the entire shuk?” I asked the proprietor as he relaxed and beamed at me proudly and smiled.

“I search them out,” he answered.

Another customer lowered the tension even further when she said, “He is also the best man here!”

I smiled at him and said, “I am usually here much later and there are others working.”

We laughed as he said, “Oh, you mean the YOUNGER ones!”

It was good to be able to leave someone with a smile.  It was different at a stand further on.  The young hawker there is known for his loud yelling that his prices are the best.  As others and I picked out fruit, he began his usual call: “Clementine’s.  Only 4 shekels a kilo.”

The woman beside me started to yell at him to stop his yelling. “I have ears that you are hurting and I have eyes to see with.  Stop that.”

He said, “No.  I have to tell others that my prices are better.”

She became unglued. “I have been shopping here since before you were born and we know your prices.  You cannot yell in people’s ears.  Stop it right now!  Have you no respect for what we are suffering here?”

I was surprised at her passion, and so was he.  Obviously her nerves were fraught.  I was also surprised at his uncharacteristic display of sensitivity when he said, “I’m sorry,” and stopped yelling.  He is a rough young Arab man and I was thankful to see him respond so gently.  I will shop there more often.

Heading toward the train again, I thought about the wonderful Bible study that we had the previous night at women’s prayer meeting.  A dear sister had on her heart 1 John 4:7-the end of the chapter.

How wonderfully appropriate, I thought.  God is just so good to feed us with what we need. We had initially arrived at the meeting with much talk about the events of the day and two sisters in particular expressed fear concerning the rapidly escalating situation.  As we turned our eyes on Yeshua again, focusing on the word, which is His Essence, our sister said that she had spent years asking just WHAT LOVE IS?

As she unfolded like a delicate flower the Truths that He showed her, in the midst of them was the reminder that – “Perfect Love casts out all fear.”

There is such peace in knowing that He has numbered our days, the hairs on our heads, hedged our paths, trained our feet, and made our ears able to hear: “This is the way, walk ye in it.” And if that way leads to a fiery furnace, what in the world do we have to fear if we know Him and are seeking to walk in His will.

There is such a great Peace in knowing that He Who made us and draws us to Himself is indeed”LOVE.” Sometimes all that we can do and be here is a vessel for His Presence in the midst of the pressure cooker.

 

Recently my Pastor spoke about something that my heart has been majoring in for a long time, but he said it so much better then I do.  We read Matthew 24, where Yeshua speaks with the disciples about the last days. But when the disciples asked Him when it would happen and what would be the signs, His answer was very clear: “Take heed that you are not deceived.”

Living here, many people become caught up in prophecy, eschatology (whatever that is), times and seasons, signs and wonders etc.

One day a brother was speaking about these things to me and what came out of my mouth surprised me, but I listened because it was true:  I said to him, “Oh my! I am still trying to learn to come, hear and obey and to love one another. Once I learn that, perhaps I’ll move on, but right now I will just trust that HE KNOWS these things and will do it all perfectly and will even be able to move me into the right place at the right time.”

So Jesus’ answer to the disciples question about when and how was: “See that you are not deceived.”

Lately I have been getting a lot of questions and comments about the way the Church is or is not embracing the things concerning the Jews and Israel.  I see divisions and hear some amazing things.  I feel that it’s important to address them, and yet who am I to do that?  I am no authority, but I am concerned.  I do have opinions that have been formed through much reading of scripture, prayer and walking, but what I want to ask is for YOU to do something.  I will pray about addressing this a bit the next time that I write, but if you feel that this is at all an issue on God’s heart, will YOU pray about it too?  I have told you many times that I am neither a teacher nor a prophet – just a sheep.  But I am here…set in the heart of Jerusalem and I do see this as an issue close to God’s heart and therefore one that the enemy hates.  I don’t want to touch the subject without prayer preparation.  What do you think?

THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE AND PRAYERS AND PRAYERS FOR THIS NATION – FOR HIM TO BE GLORIFIED.  I send you MUCH love.

Blessings,

from your sis J

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Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (11/21/2014)

Each Friday I pray and fast for nations where Christians suffer the worst persecution around the world. This week I am praying and fasting for:

Eritrea. 5.9 million people with 2.7 million Christians.

The repeated tragedy of migrant boats capsizing in 2013 has drawn attention to the repressive circumstances for Christians in Eritrea. Those in the Coptic Church enjoy relative freedom, but Christians of other denominations suffer house raids, arrests and systematic torture. Gabriella is an influential Christian in the underground church who was interrogated, tortured and kept in solitary confinement – but she never denied Christ. She describes her time in prison as ‘a honeymoon with Jesus’. (Open Doors, World Watch List)

The Eritrean government has banned all Christian groups except the Orthodox Church of Eritrea, the country’s largest Christian group; the Roman Catholic Church; and the Evangelical Church of Eritrea, a Lutheran-affiliated denomination. With the exception of Sunni Islam, all other public religious practice has been banned. Security forces continue to disrupt private worship, conduct mass arrests at prayer meetings and other gatherings, and detain those arrested for indefinite periods without charge. Between 2,000 and 3,000 Christians are imprisoned in Eritrea because of their faith, and most of those have never received a court hearing or been formally charged. Prisoners are tortured and subjected to extremely poor living conditions, often locked in metal shipping containers or underground bunkers. Several who have refused to renounce their beliefs have died in custody. (The Voice of Martyrs)

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray that You send Your light and Your truth into the nation of Eritrea and that You open up the hearts of the Eritrean people to receive the love of the truth. (Based on Psalm 43:3 and 2 Thessalonians 2:10)

Join with me on Fridays to fast and pray for prisoners, according to Hebrews 13:3.

 

Click on to see MyGFA site.

Click on to see MyGFA site.

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Got Goats?

I love Christmas.

Yes, it is an imperfect holiday. Yes, it may not be the exact day when Jesus was born. Yes, the world system tries to derail the true meaning of Christmas every year. Yes. Yes. And more yes.

But I still love Christmas. I love being with my family and giving gifts and laughing and hugging and eating.

Now, let me share one of our Christmas traditions with you, okay?

Two years ago, Carol and I began giving gifts through Gospel For Asia’s Christmas Catalog program.  Because Carol is a quilter, we chose sewing machines as gifts both years. So, today, somewhere in India two people and their families have a sewing business because of our gifts.  Just knowing this, blesses my socks off!

If you want, you can start the same tradition for your family, too. It’s so easy, just click here. Eleven dollars buys two chickens. Twelve dollars buys a blanket. Seventy dollars buys a goat. One hundred and fifteen dollars buys a sewing machine. Or four hundred and sixty dollars buys a water buffalo. Check all the gifts out and see if something catches your eye.

There is nothing quite like giving a gift to a person who can give nothing back in return…except thanks.

 gfa-christmas-catalog-blog-banner(Click to check it out.)

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Islamic Terrorists Versus Radical Christians: New Game. New Rules. (Rule 7)

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How to be a Radical Christian (ii).

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels… (1 Cor. 13:1)

Now, I wish that you all spoke in tongues… (1 Cor. 14: 5)

I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all do. (1 Cor. 14: 18)

Once again, I can hear the groans and the shouts. “Not tongues. Anything but that trivial twaddle. I ain’t doing it. No siree, Billy Bob– no tongues for me. Never!”

Okay, relax. Take a deep, deep breath. Hold it for a minute or so. Now breathe out. Continue reading.

Let’s return to the same scenarion as Part 2. Your family is staying at the luxurious Berverly Wilshire Hote (where Pretty Woman was filmed), just off Rodeo Drive in Berverly Hills, California. Your wife and daughter are enjoying the shopping spree, and you are carrying enough plastic cards to pay for everything.

Then, three Mumbai-type terrorists enter the hotel lobby, AK-47′s blazing away and hand grenades exploding. Chaos and confusion reigns as dead bodies hit the floor.

Somehow, you grab your wife and daughter, and hide in a first floor cafe. As you crouch behind a table, you hear the sounds of people begging for their lives. But then, bursts from the AK-47′s lets you know that mercy is not a part of the terrorists’ makeup.

You hear their footsteps approaching the cafe. It will only be seconds before they enter the door. You look at your wife and daughter, tears stream down their faces; they don’t want to die. They want you to do something. Anything. Just do something.

Are you going to pray? If so, how?

Now remember, your mind will be a pile of mush. You will have thoughts about wishing you would have stayed home, or should have gone to Hawaii instead of California, or about spending a nice sunny day anywhere but not where you are at that moment. Plus, fear and total confusion will envelope you.

How will you quiet your mind to pray at that moment?

Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which can not be uttered.

Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8: 27-28)

I am prepared to pray in tongues when desperate situations happen to me, but what about you?

Remember: Radical Christians do not care what others think. They swim upstream against the religious current.

(Continued in Part 8)

Click on to see MyGFA site.

Click on to see MyGFA site.

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Tuesday’s Prayers for America (11/18/2014)

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Ferguson, Missouri, is a powder keg waiting for a spark to set it off. If that happens, many lives could be ruined or destroyed. When will we learn that we can’t win spiritual battles with acts of the flesh?

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray that Your spirit of wisdom and revelation will enlighten our understanding so that Satan does not take advantage of our emotions in Ferguson and other inner cities of America. Open our eyes to the power of forgiveness. (Based on Ephesians 1:17-18 and 2 Corinthians 2:10-11)

What do you think and did the Lord speak to you today?

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for America.

Click on to see MyGFA site.

Click on to see MyGFA site.

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Learning How to Pray Effectively in 59 Seconds or Less (Part 17)

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As a new  Christian in mid-1985, I felt the Lord had called me to write and start a large publishing company. This made sense to me at the time because I was the president of a farm publishing company. I was thirty-nine years old, full of energy, zeal, and strength. Whatever obstacles might have faced me, I was ready and willing to plow over them.  In the name of Jesus…of course.

Now, it’s twenty-nine years later.

Most men my age are enjoying their twilight years by traveling or fishing or playing golf, but I still get up each morning a couple of hours before sunrise to seek Him. I still pray some of the same prayers that I have prayed for twenty-nine years: “Lord, I thank You and praise You for the publishing company that touches the nations of the earth in Your name and for Your glory.”

How many books have I successfully published so far? None.

And to be honest, being a successful author and publisher is no longer the driving force within me that it was fifteen or twenty years ago. I have long since laid every book and every writing idea on His altar. If He wants me to give all of them away or to delete them, I will instantly obey without argument or complaint.

My desire is to know Him. Everything else seems insignificant compared to that.

Would I consider myself a failure if the words about being an author or a publisher did not come to pass in my life? No, not in the least. You see, it’s not up to me to make His words come to pass. It’s up to Him and His strength to make it happen.

So, if you think this sounds weak on my part, you are absolutely correct because I am weak.

And my weakness of ambition before Him allows His grace to work in me so that the power of Christ may rest upon me when I pray.

(Continued in Part 18)

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Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

May THE LORD be glorified, magnified and blessed …and may you be blessed and encouraged.

We live here in the midst of the struggle between Isaac and Ishmael, between Jacob and Esau, and between The God of Israel and His enemies. This struggle has re-surfaced with five being rammed by cars and two more stabbed to death. Riots are increasing in number and intensity. Our level of alert has been raised once again.  The presence of soldiers and police is both comforting and alarming.  Alarming because we know that the need is great, comforting because they are there to protect us.

I pray for all of them. For their salvation first, but also for their safety and for them to have wisdom and gentleness WITH discernment.  It IS a tense time!

But this was what I expected.

If you have read my letters for any length of time, you will remember me saying often: “It is all about Jerusalem.” It is NOT about the settlements (a very poor translation of a word that would better be interpreted village then the word settlement).  It is NOT about occupation.  It is NOT about rights or jobs or finances, although all of these issues have been exploited as steppingstones to get to this point.  It has ALWAYS been about JERUSALEM. The burdensome stone. The place where God chose to put HIS Name. The city which HE chose in ISRAEL to plant Himself and establish His seat for His purposes. And it is precisely because HE chose it that the battle has always been over it.

Years ago when the peace negotiations were far younger, the west laid out their strategy of dealing with the easy issues first and ease into the thorny ones: Judea and Samaria (called the west bank by the west), the so called “right of return” and JERUSALEM.

I said at the time, “Uh oh. This means giving up land, arming the Palestinians, tying our hands, and THEN plundering the rest of the land.”

But you see, it isn’t our land to give.

GOD SAID that this is HIS land and we do not have the RIGHT to touch it and to divide it.  On Yom Yerushalaym (Jerusalem Day) each year, I speak of the promise made before God by this nation – when Jerusalem was restored to Israel for the first time in 2,000 years – that we would guard her and that she would never again be divided.

But there is a different kind of tension right now because there is also rioting among the Israeli Arabs and not just the Palestinians.  Palestinians, you might remember, are NOT Israelis by their own choice.  They did not accept Israeli citizenship. They are the ones who want half of Israel (actually, all of it).  But there are a good number of Arabs who DID take Israeli citizenship at the formation of the state, who stayed on the land, who became full citizens, who live and work and play here and some of whom serve in the armed forces or other branches of service.  They vote and have full medical and educational rights etc.  They have every right that all Jewish citizens have, but in an incident last week with a riot, an Arab Israeli boy was killed.

I was in the shuk (market) on the following day. During the Gaza War, good relations existed between Arabs and the Jews.  It was always business as usual.

There are two Arab vendors in the shuk that I trade with on a weekly basis. They are always kind, but not that day. There was tension, which took me by surprise.  “Guard your heart and keep it soft,” I said to one young man in particular. He didn’t answer, which was unusual for him.

The Moslem mufti’s are calling for a Jerusalem intifada, and indeed, the Hamas leader said in his first statement after the Gaza war: “We have won in Gaza. ON TO JERUSALEM!”

That call was echoed across the Moslem populations world wide.  THEY KNOW THAT IF THEY WERE TO DIVIDE JERUSALEM, or worse, to take her, THEY WOULD BE STABBING THE JEWS IN THE HEART.

BUT GOD, WHO IS RICH IN MERCY AND KNOWS HOW TO GLORIFY HIS NAME, IS NOT TAKEN BY SURPRISE.  He is not sleeping and His purposes will not be thwarted.  His great Name WILL BE GLORIFIED!

I read both 2 Chronicles 20 and Ezekiel 16 in the same day and was touched by the fact that it is all so simple – the way to Him and the way away from Him. This message is foundationally the same from Genesis through Revelation: turn FROM Me and I will turn from you.  Turn TO Me and I will turn to you. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He has made the way straight, and narrow and also simple.  How great is our God.

 

While riding the lite rail, my attention turned from my thoughts as the doors opened and a family boarded.  A carriage with a tiny baby, pushed by an older brother, a small Mother carrying another little one with 4 small boys of graduated height following closely at her skirt as she said clearly and persistently, ”Shhhh!  Shhhh!”

That admonition, heard by the whole train, was repeated gently but firmly, as if she were breathing it, through the entire trip.  An older sister authoritatively held the hand of a smaller one as the thin father brought up the rear.  All heads turned with the regular rise and fall of the “shhhh! Shhhh,” which, by the way, was obeyed.  I began to count and learned there were nine small noses in all and two parents.

Eleven train tickets is a price not easy to come up with, explaining the children’s delight about being on the train.  They were all neatly dressed in homemade clothes, a bit worn, but still clean. The girls had their hair modestly braided.  The parents were also neat, and although very thin and tired looking and obviously poor, they looked strong and functioned as a peaceful unit.  I watched as the excited children remained well behaved and heeded the constant reminder of “shhhhh! Shhhhh.”

It was interesting to notice the responses of the other passengers.  Although Haradi families, and even full and large ones are a common sight, you don’t often see a family much larger then 7 on the train, if for no other reason then the cost.  There was obvious disdain and disgust on some faces.  This is the liberal, left wing reaction to religious families. Period.  They simply do not believe in large families.  It is an ideological issue.

Other parents on the train looked on with awe and admiration.  Some of the rambunctious young people watched and became less rowdy and a bit more aware of their own behavior. Religious families ARE in fact usually larger then secular ones because they take seriously the Biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply and believe that children ARE the blessing of The Lord.  In fact, they have turned it into a command.  At any rate, it is fun to see this type of Biblical battle lived out on the streets daily.

Thank you for your prayers both personally and for this nation.  May His kingdom come and His will be done both in our small private lives as well as in our nations,…His purposes for His glory.

Your sis,

J

 

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