Monthly Archives: June 2014

Learn How to Pray Effectively in 59 Seconds or Less (Part 4)

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One of my favorite preachers was R. W. Schambach who always closed his radio programs by saying, “You don’t have any troubles! All you need is faith in God.” Schambach held crusades and preached the gospel in over 200 nations before his death in 2012. On one radio program, he told about a crusade his ministry held in India before 50,000 people.

“I was preaching up a storm,” said Rev. Schambach, “when a blind man interrupted me by walking out onto the platform and asking for prayer so that his eyes would be healed. He didn’t even want to wait until the end of my message.

“I turned the man toward the crowd and said, ‘I’m going to pray for this blind man in the name of Allah.’ Do you know what the crowd did? They laughed.

“I next said, ‘I’m going to pray for this man in the name of Buddha.’ The crowd laughed again.

“I then said, ‘I’m going to pray for this man in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.’ The crowd kept quiet as every eye watched us.

“After I prayed for the blind man and the Lord healed his eyes, 50,000 people came forward for salvation and healing prayers.”

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus all believe their gods exist. That’s the supposed reason the people follow them.

But our God is the only God that rewards those who diligently seek Him.

So, if we want effective prayers, we need to pray in faith and believe that God is going to reward our prayer efforts by answering our prayers. Otherwise, why pray them?

(Continued in Part 5)

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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 …

Greetings, dearest sisters and brothers in Yeshua.  May HE Whom we love be blessed and glorified and listened to and worshipped and adored…and may we His body be built into His glorious temple for His glory alone.

As I write, the train has stopped and shrill sirens fill the air as yet another fire, a very large one, burns out of control, apparently between the Jerusalem forest, Yad v’shem and Ein Kerem, right here on the outskirts of the city.  Large plumes of thick smoke billow upward, darkening the sky, punctuated by the acrid smell of burning trees.  The sheer number of fire trucks, water planes, police, and many ambulances are quite worrisome.

Our largest hospital, Hadassah Ein Kerem, is in this area. Many if not most of the fires like this are purposely set by Arabs.  Sad but true.  See photos of the ongoing fire here.

We are surrounded by “sad but true” events much more then we would like to admit.  The relief comes in rare, special moments.  There was one of those moments on the train coming home from work today. Actually the first time that I have had an experience like this on the train.

A small Haradi man got on the train with an old accordion. The man was a rather good looking gentleman of about 55, distinguished, neat, and intelligent. His accordion had flowers painted on it and designs that I haven’t seen since I was a child when accordions were more popular.

The train was as usual quite crowded, but some relief comes at the Central Bus Station stop (tachanat merkezit in Hebrew). Many get off the train and a collective sigh of relief comes from those of us finally able to find a seat.  As the train took off again I thought that I heard the lovely melancholy strain of the accordion and turned to look.  The man with the accordion was sitting and two other, much older Haradi men were standing beside him. Others gathered.

He was playing some old Russian Jewish songs, beautiful ones that spoke to the heart.  The lady sitting beside me started humming.  A young man called out, “Where are you from?”

Strain and fatigue left every face in the car and soon everyone was humming and smiling.  The man just played quietly with such a lovely expression on his face and we all smiled.  Each one thanked him as we got off at our respective stops. He simply nodded.  It was a delightful and peaceful interlude in the midst of tension and pain.

The three kidnapped Israeli teens remain the prominent issue in every heart here.  Billboard sized signs are displayed on the buses: Bring Back Our Boys.  The responses by other countries of the world have been filled with concerns for the Palestinians being upset over our search efforts. This compounds the hurt in the hearts of the Israeli people.  Perhaps it is a cultural difference.

In an interview on local news, US envoy Dennis Ross made the point that the place of the child in the Jewish family is unique and that each child is celebrated here as a special treasure. This fact is not something understood by everyone.

Over the years, I have been struck by how much cultural differences influence our perceptions of everything, even The Word of God. That is until The Holy Spirit truly becomes our translator. Then there is hope.  How wonderful that through The Holy Spirit we can REALLY fellowship and communicate.

I had the opportunity to sit yesterday in a most wonderful and unique facility that I have described before, called Yad Sarah.  Yad Sarah is unique and wonderful.  It was started by a young Haradi boy who rode a bicycle around the neighborhood. He saw that a neighbor needed a hospital raised toilet seat. His family had one.  He strapped it to his back and brought it to the neighbor.

Then he found a walker − and wouldn’t you know it − another neighbor needed one. He strapped it to his back and took it to him.  Soon people began hearing about the boy who could get you hospital equipment to use at home for free.  Some donated and others borrowed. An old bus shell became the first storage shed.

Well, time, vision, and a big heart began to do its work. And Yad Sarah was born.  It is a 100% volunteer nationwide organization that not only supplies wheel chairs, beds, canes, walkers you name it, but dental care for the elderly, hearing aids, legal help, and so forth. Well, why am I telling you??  See for yourself here.

So, as I sat there, I noticed a young Chinese man with a kippa (yarmulke or skull cap) atop his head talking to a counselor.  The conversation was in Hebrew, English, and CHINESE.  Yep, the Israeli volunteer spoke Chinese.  As I listened, my heart went out to them.  They spoke for well over the hour. They were there when I came and still there when I left.  It seemed from what I heard that the young man had made aliyah fairly recently.  He seemed to be experiencing what I have come to recognize as a trauma particular to immigrants: having functioned as a competent adults in their old country, they are now helpless children, even needing to learn how to speak again.

It is a terrifying and confusing experience.  Growing up in NYC I have known and witnessed this phenomena all of my life but only found out what it felt like myself nearly 20 years ago when we made aliyah.  It HURTS!

I listened as the counselor said to this young man, “Ok, so you go to the shuk (market) and you will hear people say mah nish mah? (how are you?) What do you answer?  At one point they discussed how to make a doctor’s appointment and then the young man took the phone and made one while the counselor coached him in the background.  It was so touching. He patiently encouraged the panicky depressed young man, so gently showing him how far he had already come.

Soon my turn came.

Ok, I have NEVER had a problem like this before.  You stood with us in prayer through our move and I KNOW that The Lord brought us to THIS apartment with its challenges and lessons. But I have never had a neighbor call the POLICE before and file a complaint that we were too noisy. Certainly not at 4:30 in the morning when I was asleep.

“Let none of us suffer as an evil doer.”

Oh my, this was a pickle.  It will not glorify The Lord to go into full detail, but my heartbeat was thrown off by these incidents. Our stress levels went through the roof as we became afraid to even MOVE.  I received very wise counsel from my Pastor who told me that I needed to consult a lawyer and find out our rights and responsibilities. Just get some legal advice.

“Lawyer!”  The very word struck fear into my heart. EXPENSIVE…scary…”agree with your adversary quickly”…yada yada yada.

Well, Yad Sarah offers free legal help for those over 65 years (yep, that’s me) or under certain income (yep here, too) so I made an appointment with a volunteer Lawyer. I received not only advice, but A LOT of sympathy and a forceful letter stating that her client has been harassed and intimidated to the detriment of health. And if it continued she herself (the lawyer) would prosecute to the full extent of the law.

Wow!

She suggested that I give the letter to the upstairs neighbor immediately, but I will simply hold it in case of further trouble.  We were told that we must be free to live normally and NOT to allow ourselves to be intimidated. This was then made clear to me by The Holy Spirit.  Under HIS Authority we are here and HIS boundaries are also here.  I am continuing to thank The Lord daily for this apartment AND to pray mercy for my neighbor and SALVATION.

I must close and make dinner, but I have been re-reading the old book, “Of Whom The World Was Not Worthy” by Marie Chapian. It’s an incredible testimony of a praying godly family in WWII Yugoslavia.  Perhaps because war is such an ever present tangible here I see afresh the great value of watching someone who lived through great atrocity by fixing their eyes upon Jesus, Yeshua h’Meshiach The Lord and seeing His Hand move in impossible ways to navigate His sheep through fire and flood.

There was a 13 year old boy killed and his father injured on Golan Heights several days ago when someone from the Syrian army fired a rocket at a work vehicle.  The young teenage boy had accompanied his father to work that day because it was the first day of school vacation.  He was an Israeli Arab from a town in the Galilee.

Israel responded by bombing Syria for the first time. We are told that 4 soldiers were killed in our response.  That is in the north.  To the east, Iran and Iraq are looming large.  To our south, Egypt has wrested itself out of the grips of the Moslem brotherhood.  Gaza ferments on the SW and the Palestinian Authority within our borders writhes with anger and hatred.

And a small people, unworthy to be given great promises, has those promises as our only hope.  May The Giver of those promises become our only focus.

OOPS…dinner is late.

I SEND MUCH MUCH MUCH LOVE,

Your sis J

 

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If We’re All Created In God’s Image, Why Must Gays Change? (Part 2)

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Believers love to say, “We walk by faith and not by sight,” but in all honesty, we dislike walking by faith. We would rather view everything as black or white choices, as in drop a ball ten times off the table and watch it hit the floor ten times. Do it a hundred or a thousand times and the results will always be the same. The ball hits the floor. This is called empirical science because we easily observe it with our eyes.

Now, let’s check Jesus’ scientific methods for His healing miracles:

Jesus healed the blind by just speaking to a blind person, by touching a blind person’s eyes with His hands, by spitting on the eyes, and by putting a spit and mud mixture on a blind person’s eyes and then telling him to wash himself in a certain pool almost a mile away.

Jesus healed the deaf, mute, and one with a speaking impediment by sticking His fingers in a man’s ears and spitting on the tongue, and then commanding the man to be healed and by casting a demon out of a young boy.

Jesus said that we believers would do His works and greater ones, but to date, what’s our success rate? Not so good, right?

You would think by now we would have learned that pouring olive oil on a sick person’s forehead and praying a prayer of faith doesn’t always work. But yet, we keep doing it over and over and over again with very few – if any – successful results. Why?

We would rather fasten ourselves to a scriptural practice – sort of a scientific method – of praying for the sick, rather than learning how to walk in the Spirit by faith and doing the works of Jesus.

Guilty! Yes, we’re all guilty of doing this.

And then we wonder why gays mock us, huh?

(Continued in Part 3)

 

 

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Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (6/27/2014)

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The above picture of a street scene in India does not show one person in chains or behind bars. All seem to be moving about freely and carrying on with their lives. But if our spiritual eyes were opened, we would see almost all of them shackled and chained to the power of darkness without any hope of ever being released from the sentences of death upon them.

What can we do to help them?

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)

Two thirds of world’s population lives in the 10/40 Window, which is the rectangular area of North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia lying between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude. This region includes the nations of China, India, Iraq, Sudan, and nearly sixty other nations. The majority of the world’s followers of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism live in these nations.

These nations are the least evangelized of all nations in the world.

Fasting and prayer is always needed for these nations, but so are preachers. Consider supporting a native missionary, like one through Gospel For Asia.

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray that we Americans would pray earnestly to the Lord of the Harvest to send our laborers into Your harvest in the 10/40 Window. (Based on Luke 10:2)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you?

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

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Tuesday’s Prayers for America (6/24/2014)

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Approximately eighteen months ago, I felt the Lord spoke to my heart and said: “Your politicians will kill you.”

Now, we Americans want to think that our political leaders have our best interests in mind. That’s why they are called public servants, right?

But the truth seems to be that almost all of our political leaders are deceived. I believe they have fallen prey to the spirit of bitter jealousy and selfish ambition, the evil principality which I think rules over Washington, D.C.

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder [or confusion] and every vile practice. (James 3:16)

Maybe you agree with me and maybe you don’t.

If you disagree with me, you will probably continue on your way and do nothing. Relax, eat, drink, be merry.

But if you do agree with me in part or in full, then you need to do something now. Why wait until it’s too late?

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray for American Christians to blow our prophetic trumpets to warn people, call for fasts and solemn assemblies, gather the people from the greatest to the least, and cry out, “Spare Your people, O Lord.” (Based on Joel 2:15-17)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

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

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Learn How to Pray Effectively in 59 Seconds or Less (Part 3)

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“If you need someone to agree with you in prayer according to Matthew 18:19, find a young child who has just become a Christian and pray with him,” said a pastor.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because he will have true child-like faith and will actually believe God will answer your prayers.”

I did not think much about the pastor’s words at the time, but over the years, I have often reflected on them. It’s a sad commentary on our faith.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:19-20)

Almost all of us Christians have misinterpreted Jesus’ mustard seed analogy.

Yes, the mustard seed was the smallest of seeds, but it had just one goal: to become the tallest bush in the garden, growing to a height of ten feet in a single season. Every moment of every day, a mustard seed awaited the proper amount of light and water so it would become the tallest bush in the garden. It never let go of its genetic promises and could lie dormant for over sixty years before bursting forth into its full destiny if the proper growing conditions were met.

Jesus was not referring to itsy-bitsy faith to move mountains, but rather, whole-hearted, one hundred percent faith, which was willing to die before letting go of its promises.

So, if we want to be effective with our prayers, we need to increase our faith. How can we do that?

(Continued in Part 4)

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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 …

Part 1.

In the midst of some huge crises here in Israel, in neighboring countries, and further abroad, I would like to share with you today about a wedding.

This isn’t very spiritual, but it sure sets the scene.  I do not encourage any of you to watch it, but there is a movie from back in the 1970s called Little Big Man, which has often come to mind as a close parallel to my life.  That makes sense if you have seen the movie because of the wild situations Dustin Hoffman found himself in the story. Like Hoffman, I find myself in some of the most unlikely situations. Well, that is what I thought about while my husband and I were being driven at high speeds by our son-in-law in the wedding car on Jerusalem Highway 1 heading to a huge wedding. And yes, we were late.

Now, my husband and I had never ridden in a wedding car before that day.

Where I grew up the cars were decorated with tin cans and had “Just Married” written across the back window, usually in shaving lotion. In Israel, the wedding cars are decorated with veils, huge bows and flowers and lots of ribbon.  Everyone strains to see the bride and groom inside.  In this case I am sure they were surprised to see a rather diminutive OLD couple.

Back up. So, how did we get into this position, and who was getting married?

Well, I told you that my son-in-law is the oldest of 14 children in a very religious Haradi family.

As I have explained before, Jews are generally divided into two ethnic groups: Ashkenazi and Sephardic. The Ashkenazi were dispersed following the Babylonian captivity into the European and Western nations while the Sephardic were dispersed into the Asian, African and Spanish speaking nations.

The Ashkenazi developed Yiddish as a common language spoken between countries and the Sephardic had a common language called Ladino.  My mother was Ashkenazi and my father was Sephardic.  That is known in Jerusalem as a “mixed marriage.”

Our son-in-law’s family is Sephardic, coming from Algeria to France and then finally here.  The two groups usually have different customs and synagogues even within the distinctions of orthodox, conservative or reformed.

It IS hard to explain without getting you MORE confused.

They also generally support different political parties, which have their own rabbinical sages.  The orthodox Haradi Sephardic party is SHAS and our son-in-law’s brother was marrying the leader’s daughter.  This was BIG!

There were over 1,000 people at the wedding and I would not hesitate to venture a guess that I was the only believer.  Besides all of the political leaders, there were chief rabbis, sages and scribes, all identified by different ceremonial garb.

Photos of wedding can be seen here.

 

Part 2.

I must admit that I laughed as I opened a few responses to Part 1. There was one collective question: Where were the WOMEN? Where was the BRIDE?

My original intent in sharing about this wedding was exactly to share some of the interesting differences that you likely won’t see at a western wedding.  Although many things have changed throughout the millennia, but others haven’t changed much.

In the orthodox traditions, men and women are separated.  The women are kept from the eyes of men so the men can avoid temptation and distraction.

I am so thankful for The Holy Spirit Who leads us into clean paths.  Years ago, the Holy Spirit began teaching me that holiness was more than not sinning.  If I guard myself from all temptation so that I do not fall into sin, I may open the door to legalism.

He showed me that the purifying work of The Holy Spirit takes place in the hidden rooms of the heart, replacing my nature with His, so that He in me is repulsed by the sin that my flesh loved.  Entering into victory is a work of His Spirit and so, of course, we flee temptation.

But that evening we were separated into different areas for the reception, by a thick curtain. Men on one side and women on the other.  The dancing is traditional circle dances. Women with women and men with men. The dancing men were displayed on a large screen on the women’s side, but the women were not displayed.

I must back up a bit though.

The wedding itself took place outside at the traditional time: just before or just after sunset. It was under the chuppa.  a wedding canopy held by 4 poles and often the poles are held by 4 young men.  I looked around at the crowd and was afraid that I was the only woman present aside from those in the wedding party, but I spotted a few others scattered around. So I felt safe about staying.

This wedding took place the night before our Knesset elected a new Israeli President for the country, but even though it was such an important political event, I was saddened that during the ceremony itself, few of the distinguished guests were praying or paying attention. They spoke with one another or on cell phones. It grieved my heart as the political wheeling and dealing swirled around me. So I prayed.

There are 7 blessings read at the end of the ceremony. Famous rabbis and sages proclaimed these blessings for the couple.  The groom broke the wine glass, sealing the covenant, and more rabbis examined the papers of the couple before signing the ketuba or wedding contract between the couple and before God.

The happy couple and their families finally came down from the chuppa to shouts of “mazel tov” (good luck). But the couple did not yet join the guests, as it was necessary for them to first consummate the marriage before being presented to the waiting guests.  If it is necessary for the marriage to be annulled, it is my understanding that it would happen at this time.  There is a separate little room for the couple to go to while the wedding guests wait.

When the bride and groom emerge, the rejoicing and dancing begin, and it is a most joyful time.

Sephardic tradition is known for its passion, warmth and fiery emotions, whereas Ashkenazim are known for more reserved, intellectual, and cultured ways.  The wedding atmosphere displayed this somewhat.  A few years back there was a HUGE wedding here in Jerusalem in the Ashkenazi Orthodox community.  (You can see it here.)

If I remember correctly there were more then 25,000 people at that one.

So, to answer your question:  the women and the bride WERE there, but you won’t see their photographs.

 

Right now we are praying that the 3 kidnapped teens will live and return to be blessed at weddings of their own in the future.

I share about these issues because I write to a wide variety of brethren, some very knowledgeable about world events and others less so.  Thank you for your patience.  There are many prayer gatherings here for the safe return of these three, nationally, on smaller group levels and in our Knesset.  The worldview, sadly, is decidedly different.  One such opinion can be seen here.

In the years that I have lived here, I have watched the fulfillment of scriptural prophecy progress rapidly, and things that appeared far off just a few years ago now seem to be knocking on the door.  Israel standing alone seems far more real in spite of wonderful pockets of believers who know and stand with us, recognizing God’s purposes. But from my perspective in Jerusalem, it seems the groups are getting smaller and smaller.

There seemed to me to be a time of grace and learning and opening of doors of hearts and understanding, but time has so sped up that suddenly we may be shocked to look around and find ourselves in a completely different, hostile environment.

Brothers and Sisters, I have such a sense of our need for watchfulness.  When I say that, I believe that it means us individually.  If we are watching, He is well able to show us the larger picture as need be for each of us. IF our hearts are steadfastly watching and waiting, we can be prepared to be used by Him at a moment’s notice.

Oops…I turned melancholy again.  Not really melancholy, but serious.  My portion is to share what I witness.  Thank you for looking through my window.  I send much love.

Your sis in Jerusalem, the pressure cooker at the center of the world,

J

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