As you have probably guessed by now, I’m not Debbie, but since she’s taken a sabbatical, I will host Inside Israel where we will 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 …
Greetings to you with love. May you be blessed and may THE LORD be blessed and glorified! The ‘stories’ FOLLOW my ‘babblings’ this time, so if you want to skip down…the letter is divided into parts.
Life is NEVER boring here…not that I have ever been ‘bored’, but it would be awfully nice to have some less intense times. NEVERTHELESS…God, Who really does encompass our paths and hedge us in if we are His, does not give us more then we can handle as we seek His Face first. His rest and peace in the midst of the storms is more then theory, and I feel an increasing urgency to learn that lesson firmly NOW.
Planes have been flying overhead through out the day and night for the last several days and what we know is that tensions on our northern border (Lebanon and Syria) are rapidly heating up. There has been increasing tension on our southern border with Egypt as well, but it is the North that has seen the most recent border skirmishes. Both Iran and Hezbollah have seemed to try to unite the Syrian people by calling for a full scale assault on the Golan Heights (our ancient region of Bashan which was allotted to both the tribes of Gad and Joseph – Ephraim and the half tribe of Manasseh), so our northern areas have been on particularly high alert.
As our country watched with sadness the devastation of the violent tornado in Oklahoma USA, we also saw a local gunman enter a southern bank and shoot 4 innocent people before killing himself. He had been denied a loan of 6,000 shekels (about $1,600) and he saw no end to his financial situation. This is virtually unheard of here in Israel even though many many are suffering from the economy. There are suicides, but rarely this sort of violence. It stunned the country at the same time as the tornado. Intensity seems to be increasing in all areas of life, doesn’t it; in the weather…in politics…in moral areas…Intense, extreme and polarized seem to me to describe our times…or is it just from my vantage point?
I think that I mentioned that about 6 months ago The Lord stopped me in my ‘devotions track’ one morning and seemed to say to me ‘I want you to change the way that you read.’ Those of you who have known me for a long time may remember that when I first met Him I said to Him ‘This is Your Book. Will You please tell me how You want me to read it?’ and He did. He told me to begin in Genesis 1 and Matthew 1 and to read at least a chapter in both places, consecutively, every morning (in other words a chapter in the first covenant and a chapter in the second, from beginning to end over and over) and NOT to change that pattern ‘until He told me’.
Well…for more then 38 years now I have followed His wonderful lead and so was really thrown when it felt as if He said to change. Was it the enemy?? But no…He said to ADD a chapter of Psalms daily. Now, I get up at 4:30 to be able to have at least a full hour with Him…so I said…’Ok…but it may cut in on my prayer time…’ A week later He said ‘I want to change how you read.’ … ‘Uh oh…is this really YOU?’ I wondered. ‘I want you to add a chapter of the Major Prophets daily.’ Wow! That means that I am reading in FOUR places each morning. Here I go. Well…I was ok until I was in Ezekiel and suddenly came to the end of my first covenant readings that lead up to … the major prophets. ‘Do you want me to skip and go to the minor prophets?’ I felt confident that OF COURSE He did. ‘No. Read right through.’ So I found myself in Isaiah AND Ezekiel…Psalms and the new covenant. Then it was Isaiah, Jeremiah …then Ezekiel and Jeremiah… and each morning I have been begging Him for (and receiving, I believe) BALANCE and His Spirit to hear what He wants me to hear…because I would NEVER recommend that ANYONE be so heavily involved with the major prophets on their own…the sheer weight of the message and battle is enough to challenge anyone’s balance it seems to me.
So…I was moving along and this week I also came to … Jude! ‘Revelation comes after Jude! Tomorrow I will be in Isaiah, Jeremiah AND Revelation! WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY TO ME, LORD?’
Well…I must admit that I feel as if I am getting a general picture of what He is trying to say to me; and that is that I am learning a great deal about ‘God’s ways in (times of His) judgment’. He is NOT ‘pressing me’ to stand up like a prophet or to be fearful or even to do more by way of preparation then we here normally do, but I am seeing how, over and over again He commands His people to ‘glorify Him in the midst’ and to ‘look to Him’ and to ‘rest in Him’… He is ONLY merciful…even in the midst of judgment.
BUT…although THIS is what is going on with me, I know that most of you would rather hear about things that are taking place here…
So I will begin with:
‘Meeting Rivka’. As I went to check in for a doctor’s appointment, an elderly (more even then me) lady pressed ahead of me and told the secretary that she didn’t have an appointment but needed to see the doctor. This is the kind of thing that makes both doctors and patients that do have appointments, groan. As I went to sit down, the lady went to the coffee machine and fiddled with it. ‘Do you know how to use this? Could you help me?’ she asked me in English. I went over and figured out what she wanted, but when she handed me the money it was barely half of what was needed, so I just made up the rest. She was somewhat feeble and walking with a stick, so I suggested that she take a seat and I would bring it to her. She was very thankful and I sensed that she was lonely and somewhat ‘lost’, so I sat next to her.
Rivka (who is 84 I found out) began her story with ‘My husband died 4 weeks ago and I don’t have an appointment.’ I looked into her deeply sad, panicky eyes and took her hand; ‘Oh, I’m so very sorry. Was your husband ill for long?’ I asked. The story began to pour out. It was not always coherent but it was powerful. Rivka was from Germany and she was about 9 years old she thinks on Kristallnacht. If any of you are unfamiliar with the event, it is well described here:
On November 9–10, 1938, the Nazis staged vicious pogroms—state sanctioned, anti-Jewish riots—against the Jewish community of Germany. These came to be known as Kristallnacht (now commonly translated as “Night of Broken Glass”), a reference to the untold numbers of broken windows of synagogues and, Jewish-owned stores, community centers, and homes that were plundered and destroyed during the pogroms. Encouraged by the Nazi regime, the rioters burned or destroyed 267 synagogues, vandalized or looted 7,500 Jewish businesses, and killed at least 91 Jewish people during the two days. They also damaged many Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes as police and fire brigades stood aside. Kristallnacht was a turning point in history. The pogroms marked an intensification of Nazi anti-Jewish policy that would culminate in the Holocaust—the systematic, state-sponsored murder of Jews.
She told me that she remembers that her father couldn’t walk and her mother wouldn’t leave him but arranged for Rivka to be put on the ‘kinder transport’ which was a project that rescued Jewish children and brought them, mainly, to England. That was the last that she saw of any member of her family. She remembered being in a convent in Riga Russia. She recalled being in France and finally with a wonderful family in London. She beamed as she spoke of them with deep loving appreciation.
Somewhere along the line she fought in the underground in France and knew Menachem Began. She met and married her husband when she was 15 to enable him to escape from Germany. So much of her story ‘floated’ in time and was confused, but I very soon saw that it was not due to Alzheimer’s or dementia, but to serious post traumatic stress…this precious lady was traumatized by her life. She told me that her granddaughter wants to write her story, but that she has never even told her children because she ‘mustn’t talk about it.’
There was such deep pain in her eyes and I could see that the death of her husband had lit a match to her smoldering memories. I touched her again; ‘Rivka, you have been so incredibly brave! My, your life has displayed such valor and courage, but you can not keep all of this pain inside. Let others hear and share…and let others help you.’ We talked for about an hour before I was called, but I told the doctor to take her first.
‘Please come and visit me!’ she requested. ‘Please give me your phone number.’ Her need is so great. Did I share The Lord with her? Only in that I sat with her, and touched her hand and asked her to open her heart. I felt no anointing to share Him in words but perhaps you will pray for her? This is something that we see here a great deal and Israel, sadly, is ‘professional’ at knowing how to help these people; people who came out of the holocaust and were brave and productive…almost ‘normal’…until the end of their lives when ‘yet another’ trauma, like the death of a spouse, stirs the ashes and the pain comes to the surface. Perhaps you will pray for Rivka, whom I could not share with?
And perhaps you would pray for Naomi and Dan whom I did share with but under strange circumstances. Dan is a very famous lawyer…ruthless…a sad man. Naomi can be really annoying. They are not ‘easy’ people to like. Inspite of all of their ‘worldly successes’ they also have their grief; they have an institutionalized schizophrenic son. Asaf is about 40 and has never given them anything but pain and they are heartbroken. In spite of the fact that I find them difficult to like, they seem to LOVE me!
So…Dan had the LAST appointment on Friday at the doctor’s office that I work in. Friday is a hard day and I feel like a race horse at the gate as the work day comes to a close. I am not always ‘happy’ to see latecomers. Just as I was getting ready to close up, Dan walked in late, with Naomi who announced ‘I know that I don’t have an appointment, but I don’t feel well.’
My heart was NOT feeling particularly compassionate; Naomi NEVER ‘feels well’…and it was getting toward shabat. My boss, Yosi, asked them to sit and wait while he made some phone calls, so I sat down with them just to talk for awhile. ‘Where did you go for Shavuot?’ I asked her. ‘Oh, we just stayed home. We didn’t do anything. What about you?’ she asked. ‘We went to a friend’s house in Na’alay.’ I answered. ‘We had a WONDERFUL time. It is so beautiful out there.’ Naomi and Dan are very curious about our background so she asked ‘Oh, are these American friends?’ I told them ‘No, they were born here.’
They were very happy to hear that we have sabra friends and she immediately wanted to know where I knew them from and HOW I knew them and WHEN I see them…so I finally said ‘Well, we are all in kehila (congregation) together.’
Now, you have to picture this. It is a very small room and my boss is there on the phone. Naomi doesn’t hear very well so she speaks loudly. Perhaps you remember the saga of me trying to tell my boss about my being a disciple of Yeshua and how all doors have been closed. So here is Naomi shouting ‘Congregation? Are you RELIGEOUS (they are NOT!)? What KIND of congregation? WHAT WHERE HOW??’ I took a deep breath and prayed quickly, saying as quietly as I could ‘I am a Messianic Jew (Yehudi Meshichi) ’.
She looked at Dan ‘What did she say? What is that? What does it mean?’ My boss was preoccupied on the phone – ‘She believes in yeshu’ he said. I corrected him; ‘His Name is Yeshua.’ ‘yeshu’ means ‘may his name be forever blotted out and it is like using The Lord’s Name as a curse. It is how HE is generally referred to here. ‘yeshu??’ She asked loudly? ‘Is that what you believe?’ Dan nodded and I said ‘Yes. I am a disciple of Yeshua h’Meshiach.’
My boss got off the phone and called them in. I felt wonderfully elated and not fearful. I have wanted to tell my boss for years, but the door kept slamming shut. Would this be the day? Would I loose my job? Had a door been opened for Naomi and Dan to hear? ‘Lord! Use this awkward seed for Your glory!’ I left before they came out and my boss has not mentioned it to me, once again. I believe that he knows who I am but chooses not to confront me and then need to fire me.
Naomi and Dan? They will ask! They will be majorly curious now and I am excited. May The Lord anoint me to lead them to The Well of comfort for their hurting hearts!
I am thankful for every opportunity that I get to share Yeshua with someone and I pray that He prepare the hearts that no seed would fall to the ground, but that it would bring forth fruit for the kingdom.
God bless and encourage you. Lovingly, your sis