Monthly Archives: November 2014

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 you be blessed and encouraged and may The Lord be glorified and blessed and hear our heartfelt praise. For HE ALONE IS WORTHY. Yeshua − The Lamb of God.

As the huge winter storm dumps a year’s worth of rain on our dry thirsty ground in 2 days, effectively ending the drought that has been with us for the past 7-10 years, I remember the words to an old song: “It’s a happy day, and I thank God for the weather.  It’s a happy day, and I’m living it for my Lord, Halleluiah…”

Some of you may remember a lesson that I learned during my first days in our homeland during ulpan (language class).  That year, 1994, was also an extraordinarily rainy winter. Monsoon floods made the daily wet trek to class uncomfortable and learning while shivering in wet clothing for 5 hours in the unheated stone rooms made it difficult to be thankful.

One day there was more then the usual murmuring along with the chattering teeth in the classroom. The teacher, who was a religious lady, taught us, with an inner authority. “THANK YOU, LORD, FOR THE RAIN.  THANK YOU FOR THE WATER FROM HEAVEN AND YOUR MERCY TO US.  ALWAYS BE THANKFUL FOR THE RAIN AND NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT IT LIKE YOUR ANCESTORS DID. REMEMBER: WE LIVE IN A DESERT AND THE RAIN IS A GIFT.”  I have not forgotten that particular lesson.

I was able to repeat that lesson MANY times today at work.  I must admit that I dressed like a snowman this morning to swim to work against the wind. Many others forgot to dress warmly.  Nonetheless, each time a patient grumbled their way into the clinic this morning, they got to hear the lesson I learned twenty years earlier.  They didn’t get to leave until they were thanking God for the gift of His blessing of rain.  And THAT, my friends, is from a people who don’t celebrate American Thanksgiving.

BLESSED Thanksgiving to all of my dear American friends.  I miss this wonderful day set apart to be thankful, but I have learned the lesson and have chosen to be thankful with every breath.  HE IS WORTHY.

HE IS WORTHY and we must be thankful in the storms of life.  It is incredibly stormy here both within AND without, that is for sure.  As the record storm outside rages, and the basement of our building fills with water, which reminds me of the wise man building his house upon the rock. I then wonder how this nation can stand so much and not blow apart as a stick house built on the sand in a tornado. It FEELS as if we are inside a whirlwind.

Is there one country in this world that is not frothing at the mouth against us, more and more openly each day?  Yes, I DO know that there are many believers who stand with us, so please don’t feel as if you have to apologize.  I understand and it DOES have to be this way for it is written, but it is astonishing to see the rapidity with which antagonism is turning into deep hatred. Or is it just that the hatred has been hidden and is finally coming to the surface?

But it is not only from outside of our borders, and I am not even referring to the riots, murders, attacks, uprisings and the increasing battle for Jerusalem. The government is in crisis as the frustration and constant attacks from outside strengthen the opposition within. Our Knesset meetings look more like a boxing arena with members of Knesset (Parliament) being ushered out for causing disruptions, even fist fights. I do not know how our Prime Minister is able to withstand this magnitude of criticism being hurled in his face.

My constant question to The Lord is: “How do YOU want me to walk in the midst of these troubles to bring You glory?”

I MUST trust Him with the progression of events too large for me, but HE has called me to walk in the midst of this. And we are told to Glorify HIM in the midst of the fires and ALSO the flood and the whirlwind.

Well, I KNOW that we are called to “Look away unto Him” and to “Worship Him” and to “Know Him” and to “Walk with Him in His Spirit.” This brings me to the topic that has been very much on my heart to speak about: the Jewish Roots and or the Hebraic Roots movements.

FIRST of all: I need you to KNOW that I KNOW NOTHING OF THESE MOVEMENTS PER SAY.  I am NOT an expert for sure.  But I have a front row center seat to observe some of the storms that appear to be raging about them, and even then I would not have commented.  Oh boy! Lord, please help me choose the words so carefully.  It is a two edged sword that comes out of the mouth of The Lord in the Revelation to John. That two edged sword divides asunder between soul and spirit, bone and marrow and is a divider of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  He tells us to contend for the Truth that was once given…

I never had any teaching about Jewish roots etc.  I never went to a Messianic congregation.  I am Jewish.  I was born Jewish and raised in traditional, but not Orthodox Judaism.  I was taught the basic Bible stories and knew that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Job, and Jonah were ours, but Jesus was NOT.  Yet, at the darkest moment of my life, I met Him − this forbidden Jesus − face to face. And I was drawn up out of the miry clay pit into His wonderful Light and davka (wouldn’t you know it?)  There was Jesus and He was Jewish.  Now THAT changed my life.

Yes, I thought I was the only one that this had ever happened to.  I didn’t know where to turn. So I turned to Him and He told me to read The Bible. So I did, from beginning to end. Well, actually, I started with Job because that was the only book name I recognized, but what a place to start! In His wisdom, it was the right place for me.

THEN from beginning to end, again and again. All along the way I asked Him how to proceed and He led me in tender faithfulness.  My DEAR first Pastor, Jim Hill, taught me a great and precious Truth: that our Lord IS Perfect Balance.  “Balance is extraordinary.  It is NOT something that comes naturally to me. My nature and my flesh can be extreme and emotional, but He is BALANCED.  YES LORD,  I WANT THAT in my life.

And so I prayed (and still do) that He would balance me.  And I found out that The Holy Spirit IS Balanced, so when I am filled with His Spirit I am also filled with His Balance.

So what does His Balance have to do with Jewish Roots?  A lot!  You see, now I was a Jew, but I believed in Jesus.  How can this be?  How do I walk?  I went to a wonderful Church and each time we moved to a different area He led me to the Church for me to continue to grow. Yet, I was ALSO a Jew. Balance?  Where Lord?  I found that as I kept reading His Word from beginning to end, and as His Spirit grew within me, I UNDERSTOOD things that I hadn’t understood.

As I followed Jewish observances (holidays for example) when I was with my family growing up, they were a shadow, not just to us children but to the adults as well. I know because I asked later on. But suddenly the meanings for them were GROWING in me. So I could partake of them, not because I HAD to, but because I LONGED to in my heart. It was wonderful and brought me joy. I felt that I was worshipping Him and bringing HIM joy, too.  When I shared these things with my Gentile brothers and sisters, it wasn’t for them to BECOME Jews, but to share because that is what His Light does. It spreads and shares.  His light, just like plants, causes us to grow.

I had MANY identity crises as I grew up, and it didn’t quite end when I became a believer.  Identity crises are part of our fleshly lives perhaps, but NOT a part of the kingdom of God. There HE is our identity and, in this kingdom, His identity is neither Jew nor Gentile, man nor woman etc.  Now we KNOW that in the flesh there are many crises.  It is foolish to say that there aren’t because we are men and women, Jews or Gentiles, in the flesh, and yes, we live in the flesh.  But as I see it, the key to walking in BALANCE is found in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24:

17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. 18 Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. 20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.

And 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:

19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

When it comes down to it, it is not who we are that matters, but it is Who HE is and to be found IN HIM, we need to be looking at Him.  Yes, I believe with all of my heart that ALL of His Word reveals who HE is, so as I see it, it seems sad that some would miss or even REJECT learning about what He has to reveal of Himself through His holidays and directions (laws) when He gave them to us to lead us to Himself.  But it is also sad to see some try to shed the gift of who they were made to be, to try to become someone else. This could be through pride or even to embrace man’s traditions that have kept those men from finding Him as He is. And that in doing so without balance, some even sow discord and rebellion in the body, unintentionally I’m sure. BALANCE.  Oh, blessed BALANCE.

I am afraid that I may not be sharing in a way that is clear, and this is such an important topic because it IS touching the apple of His eye and the very heart of what He is doing now in this time and this age with the Jews, with Israel, with the world and the Church.  We have got to find HIS heart. There appears to be not much time left to be neutral or “on the fence.” AND LORD KNOWS THAT ISRAEL AND THE JEWS NEEDS THE TRUE CHURCH TO STAND WITH US. FINE-TUNED AND MATURE AT THIS VERY TIME.  THIS IS THE TIME!  THIS IS THE HOUR!

You have no idea how thankful I am for each of you.

Lovingly, and for His glory,

your sis J in Jerusalem, where the battle has begun.

 

Click on to see MyGFA site.

Click on to see MyGFA site.

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Islamic Terrorists Versus Radical Christians: New War. New Rules. (Part 8)

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How to be a Radical Christian. (iii)

For I am not shamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Romans 1:16)

Have you ever shuddered or cringed a little when someone mentioned the name of Jesus to somebody? Maybe at work or a ballgame. Maybe, you thought to yourself, there are proper places and times to talk about Jesus, but not here, not now.

Well, have you heard the tradition surrounding the apostle Paul’s last few moments on earth? Talk about bad timing and bad places.

Emperor Nero arrested Paul for insurrection and threw him into prison. The apostle’s first stay in prison had resulted in most of the guards and many in Nero’s household converting to Christianity. So this time, Nero made sure that Paul had little contact with people or visitors.

On the day of Paul’s execution, Nero allowed just a few spectators and only the most hardened, veteran soldiers to escort the apostle to the execution site, outside Rome on the Tiber River.

Paul was unfazed by his fast approaching martyrdom. He preached the gospel as he walked along. His words touched the hearts of more than one soldier, and they also were executed with Paul that day.

Just think, Paul so believed in the life-giving message of the gospel that he was willing to seal the fates of any last-minute converts to the same death that was pronounced over him: beheading.

Now, that is a radical love for the gospel.

And that is what every radical Christian must have. A love for the gospel that can only be extinguished by the death of the believer.

(Continued in Part 9)

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Tuesday’s Prayers for America (11/25/2014)

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What’s the main difference between believers in America and the believers in North Korea, China, India, and Somalia?

We have options.

For instance, when American believers are sick, we pray and ask the Lord to heal us. Then, if we aren’t healed right away, we go to a doctor or a hospital. This is true for when we’re hungry, need rent money, or whatever. We have numerous avenues of hope to consider, besides just waiting on the Lord and His answers.

Let’s now consider the believers in North Korea. They have one option: God. If God does not show up, the North Korean believers might die or starve or be thrown into prison. God is their only hope.

Okay, who has the greater level of faith and trust in God? We believers in America or those in North Korea/China/India/Somalia?

Actually, it’s a no-brainer, right?

Somehow, we American believers have to develop our faith and trust levels in God now…before the bad times hit our communities.

Today, I prayed:

Lord, help us American believers to actually trust in You with all our hearts, to not lean on our own understanding, and to acknowledge You in all our ways so that You will make our paths straight. (Based on Proverbs 3:5-6)

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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Why Should we Care About India? Don’t We Have Enough Problems in America?

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When Count Zinzendorf and the Moravian Church began sending out missionaries to the West Indies in 1732, did Germany have any problems? Are you serious? Germany was in a constant state of war. Young men were being killed by the thousands in various battles throughout Europe.

Christian leaders even accused Count Zinzendorf of sending young missionaries to die in distant lands when they were needed in Germany and Europe. Zinzendorf took so much heat that he went into exile and traveled for a few years.

But still, between 1732 and Zinzendorf’s death in 1760, the Moravian Church sent out 226 missionaries to Greenland, Lapland, Georgia, Surinam, Africa’s Guinea Coast, South Africa, Amsterdam’s Jewish quarter, Algeria, the native North Americans, Ceylon, Romania, and Constantinople. They endured terrible hardships and many died in desperate circumstances. These missionaries came out of a group of believers, which never numbered more than 600 members.

Why did Zinzendorf and the Moravian Church send out missionaries? They believed the Lord wanted them to do so. The fruit of their obedience is still being harvested today.

Why should we care about India and Asia, especially since America has so many problems?

I believe the Lord has shone His light on India, China, and all of Asia at this particular moment in history, directing our focus there for missionary outreaches. We can either put on our blinders and ignore what God is doing right now – OR – we can join with Him.

If we choose to join with what God is doing, we may end up reaping fruit for the next three hundred years, just like the early Moravians have done.

And guess what?

If we are faithful to pray, fast, and give for the work God is now doing in Asia, He will help us with our problems in America. You see, God will honor our faithfulness as a fragrant offering before Him and will supply our needs here in America for our families, neighbors, and communities.

Click on to see MyGFA site.

Click on to see MyGFA site.

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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 …

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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