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 dear, beloved brothers and sisters in Yeshua h’Meshiach, Jesus Christ. May The Lord be glorified and blessed, and may we hear in that day: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, enter into the joy of your Lord.”
“We HAVE no stamps.”
That was the answer that I received at the Post Office this week when I asked for 6 stamps that would be appeal to my Grandchildren. This happened after I had just paid the electric bill, the phone bill, and the water bill there. Our Post Office is a far more multi-tasked operation then those in “my old country.”
It is a bank (postal bank) payment center, sales center, and so very many other things that I sadly don’t understand. But STAMPS? I mean, FIRST of all, it is the Post Office. Even here!
“What?” I asked, raising my eyebrows incredulously. “NO STAMPS? What do you MEAN? First the bank has no money and now the Post Office has no stamps?”
The poor postal clerk lowered his head. “We’ll have them NEXT week, I hope.” He spoke the last two words more quietly though, not giving me much confidence. “We ran out.”
I left the post office and the title of the classic book, “Brave New World,” came to mind. I didn’t feel very brave at that moment.
Having read and mediated through Revelation many, many times in my now 41 years of walking with Him, especially concerning “the mark of the beast” and other last days events. It always gave me pause to pray that we would have eyes and ears to recognize it and the grace and courage and fullness of THE HOLY SPIRIT, sufficient to go through whatever was needed to remain faithful, but that was hypothetical. Suddenly it seems so real, so near, and more than a bit scary.
It seems easy to see how the current “world order” could collapse over night. Then a starving world might be fed with limited supplies administered through a simple implanted chip bar code. Not an id card that could easily be stolen or forged. Food and shelter could be allotted to the masses on earth through the UN or whatever.
Well, that’s my “simple case scenario.” I do not want to be paranoid or a false prophet or even an imaginative one because it is a serious matter of following The Lord THROUGH whatever lies ahead. And THAT can’t be done if I have gotten used to the world’s ways. My focus NEEDS to be on Him. My heart NEEDS to be His. My spirit needs to be worshipping Him.
I begin each day SO aware of that, but then, there I am − out in the streets of Jerusalem for the rest of the day.
I have now used my Caspermat card successfully and made a paycheck deposit AND a rent withdrawal of cash directly from the machine. The lady standing alongside the machine to help us helpless ones gave me a patient and pleased smile. I had succeeded in avoiding being given a credit card. That’s right. I personally do not choose to use them. So my card is only for deposits and withdrawals.
Is the postal system planning something similar? I put that vain imagination aside for now. As we see “the day approaching,” 2 Peter reminds us to be “found of Him in peace.” Thankfully we have such a cloud of witnesses cheering us on who have PROVEN Him faithful through the worst of fires and floods and He IS, perhaps above all, FAITHFUL.
Part of my “touchiness” about these things definitely stems from the fact that I briefly mentioned in my last letter: my immigrant limitations. Yes, I DO speak Hebrew and understand it. That is, about 70%, unless it is in a totally new area. It makes for heightened vigilance in any given situation where I am about to have something explained or someone giving me directions.
For example, we had to buy kerosene today and I am thankful that I finally have the routine down fairly well. In America, I remember well buying kerosene for our kerosene lamps. I would bring in a gallon container and knew the price. The tank marked kerosene was clear and I would fill it up and pay. Simple. Now we buy neft in something approximately like a 18-20 liter container.
Well, this is what happened today. We pulled up to the neft tank and opened our containers. I went into the station and said, “Neft, bevakasha. Slosh me’ot shekel.” (Kerosene please. 300 shekels.) No problem.
He said, something, and I nodded confidently (knowing the routine I thought) and went out to tell my husband he could fill the containers.
“It isn’t working,” he said. “He hasn’t turned it on.” Back I went.
“Tif’toe’ ach et h’neft b’vakasha?” (Open the kerosene please?) I asked again, thinking maybe he had been distracted.
“It IS open!“ he told me …and then he repeated the part that I’d nodded to again. “Uh…lo he’vanti…” ([duh…I don’t understand…)
Then came the (oh! immigrant!) hand signals which I UNDERSTOOD.
Put the nozzle back in the pump and then take it out again. These are NOT words in my vocabulary. I made a mental note to commit the process to my oh-so-overloaded memory.
Words and language! SUCH a mirror of cultural differences and they leave so much room for one culture misinterpreting another.
I had to laugh yesterday morning on the train as a new sign got me thinking about all of this. On the trains, the many signs are posted in Hebrew, Arabic and English. (I am thankful for the English as for our first many years here there were NO English signs and it was all guesswork and dictionaries. Directions were available in Hebrew, Arabic and RUSSIAN. Over the years there have been also some Spanish, French and Amharic [Ethiopian] as well. But lately there are also more and more English – for better or worse…I’m still not sure)
Since the trains started running, the sign on the driver’s door had read in English: “Please do not distract the driver in any way. Thank you.” By contrast the Hebrew read: “It is forbidden to talk to the driver!” And sadly I can’t read the Arabic.
It soon became evident that this was a useless sign as all of the RELATIVES and friends of the driver came by constantly to bring him food or news or a newspaper. So now a new sign appeared. The English reads: “Please kindly refrain from using your cell phone or speaking loudly near the driver. Thank you!” The Hebrew reads: “It is FORBIDDEN to talk on your cell phone near the driver. Do not do this!” And the Arabic looks even more forboding.
Israelis generally have a fascination with the fact that English speakers use please, thank you and have a good day! They LOVE this! It tickles their funny bone as ‘quaint’ and they take every possible opportunity to say these phrases to English speakers.
The bus, on the other hand, does not pander to English. Off the train and on to the bus stop, I encounter young Egged (that is the name of our bus company. אגד in Hebrew with NOTHING to do with eggs) workers handing out pamphlets, which can only mean that there is a CHANGE. Boldly I asked if there were any in English. Then I bravely took my Hebrew one and tried to decipher the message. It was apparently explaining the mysterious boxes that appeared on some buses shortly after the first knife attacks. We all felt re-assured at the time, thinking they were there to observe passengers and alert someone of an attack. Wrong! These new boxes are to enable those of us with travel cards to enter the bus through any door (not just the front door) and press our card against one of these screens, thus paying. Simple? NEVER.
There is a nice big screen, but it only seems to record the card if a small area of card is pressed at a particular angle way at the bottom. This enabled the wonderful Israeli “innate helper characteristic” to emerge. As soon as one passenger mastered the new process, he would proceed to teach everyone else. Helpers multiplied until we were a veritable busload of teachers vying for students.
Before I got off at work, any poor unsuspecting new rider would enter a bus of piranhas. Have you ever seen how piranhas attack its prey? We can get that way here: “I want to help him!” “No, no! It’s MY turn!” “Let ME help him!”
Well, I am exaggerating a bit, but through my early morning eyes, this little comic strip played out for me to share with you. We as a people, love to learn and in turn, love to teach.
Before work on Friday, I went to the IFI (Intercessors for Israel) prayer meeting. We are currently preparing our hearts for the annual conference beginning this year of January 25th. It is the one conference that I attend as much as I can during a workweek. Yesterday, the first of the annual speakers and helpers began to arrive and joined us for the 6:30 a.m. weekly meeting.
It was a strengthening joy and delight to see friends from the past, still walking strong with Him. I sense something fresh from Him. This is what we need: an intensifying of His Presence and a clean fear of Him and recognition of His Absolute Holiness. This in the face of the sanctions lifted today from Iran.
I suspect that we do face a brave new world indeed.
BUT THE BEST NEWS IS THAT WE ARE NOT OF THIS WORLD!
Oh how I love what He said in John 16 — “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” And so, WHERE will I focus my eyes. They had BETTER BE ON HIM…OR I’M SURE TO LOSE MY WAY HOME.
I send you much love dear sisters and brothers.
God bless and keep you in His will,
Your sister J