Monthly Archives: February 2017

Prayers for Healing and Deliverance (2/14/2017)

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Maybe you don’t like the spiritual gifts and think, “Yuck! Who wants this Pentecostal/Charismatic phoney baloney spiritual gifts-type of stuff. Not me!”

Relax. Take a deep breath. Now, continue reading.

Let’s say that you and your wife take your daughter to the mall. She is three years old and dressed up in the cutest Bambi t-shirt and jeans outfit. Everyone looks at her and smiles. She’s a doll and you adore her, and would do anything for her.

But because you were in a hurry when you left home, you did not use the restroom, and you need to go – now. You tell your wife.  She rolls her eyes and says, “Oh honey, use the one in Macy’s Department Store. We’ll wait here for you by the kids play area.”

You rush to the restroom, do your duty, wash your hands and leave. As you walk back from the store, you see a flash and hear an explosion from an Islamic terrorist’s bomb. It knocks you down. Glass particles and debris cover your body.

Brushing yourself off, you run to where you wife and daughter were waiting. When you get there, you see bodies all over the floor. Somehow, you find your wife and daughter. They’re dead with blood all over them.

Now, what are you going to do?

Are you going to call the police? Or the doctor? Or your pastor? Or the funeral home? Or are you just going to fall down and cry?

You see, at this disastrous moment, you need the gift of faith, the gift of healing, and the gift of miracles to try and raise your loved ones from the dead. And I guarantee that you would do anything to have these gifts at that time, wouldn’t you?

So, what’s stopping you from seeking the spiritual gifts? Pride. Bad teaching. Laziness. What?

(Taken from Islamic Terrorists versus Radical Christians: New Game. New Rules by Larry Nevenhoven, which can be read in its entirety here.)

My prayer today:

Lord, help us American believers to pursue love, and desire Your spiritual gifts now. (Based on 1 Corinthians 14:1)

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for new revelations on healing and deliverance for Americans NOW.

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Geezer Up (Part 11)

Jane

The adrenalin rush I felt at Dylan’s defiance in the courtroom soon burnt itself out, leaving me drained. I collapsed into the chair next to Shira who put her arm around me and stroked my shoulder with her left hand.

I watched Dylan’s lawyer, Artie Chin, walk with him to the holding pen, pat Dylan on the back, and turn around, heading back toward the defense table where he picked up his briefcase. The wiry prosecutor motioned with his hand to meet with him for a conference. Artie walked over to the prosecutor’s table. The two talked for a couple of minutes with Artie nodding his head at the end. Then Artie walked toward us.

“You must be Jane,” Artie said, offering his hand. “I’m Artie Chin, the lawyer Jacob called to represent Dylan.”

I shook his hand. “Thanks for helping my husband.”

“Let’s go out into the hallway and talk.”

J.C., Shira, and I followed Artie out of the courtroom, through the walnut paneled doors, and out into the almost empty hallway. He waved for us to follow him to an alcove with two wooden benches abutting each other. He sat down and patted the seat next to him. I sat down while J.C. and Shira seated themselves on the other bench.

“The prosecutor wants to settle the case right away. So, all Dylan has to do is offer some type of apology, even a feeble one, and the charges will be dropped. Dylan would be released almost immediately. What do you think?” Chin asked, his dark eyes revealing little of what he really thought.

I reached down with my left hand, smoothing my yellow dress, which allowed me to ponder his words for a few seconds.

“I know my husband,” I said, shaking my head. “He will never agree to watering down the gospel by being ashamed of speaking the good news to others.”

“I figured that might be the case, but you need to hear the rest of the story. The prosecutor stated that if Dylan refused to apologize, the City Attorney’s office was willing to go after your husband with an all-out effort, which could result in Dylan spending time in prison. It might even end up being appealed to the California Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court. All of this may take months or years.”

My hands rushed to my mouth.

“Months? Years?”

Artie nodded. “Justice moves slowly and will not take into account Dylan’s age.”

“Well, I’m going with what Dylan decides to do. So, when will I be able to see him or talk with him on the phone?”

Artie blew out a deep breath.

“I will be able to meet with him tomorrow morning. He can call you tomorrow afternoon, but you won’t be able to meet him until Saturday and then again on Sunday.”

“Okay, until then I will seek the Lord on what we should do.”

“Yes, ma’am, I will be praying also.”

Artie gave me a hug, stood up, and walked away. His footsteps echoed in the hallway making me feel so alone. What should I do? I wondered.

“Jane, what do you plan on doing next?” asked J.C., snapping me out of my thoughts.

“I don’t have a clue, but I think…it’s time for me to begin a new career, maybe in TV and radio.”

“What?” asked Shira.

I shrugged my shoulders, slapped the bench with both hands and stood up.

“Let’s roll,” I said.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 12…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Inside Israel

SHUK

The Shuk in Jerusalem

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, planted by the rivers of waters by The Master Husbandman.  May we bring forth much fruit for His glory. May you be blessed and encouraged, and may HE ALONE be blessed and glorified.

Today is Tu b’shvat: the birthday of the trees, the celebration of the fruit, a day for planting trees, eating fruit and singing. Another opportunity to give thanks to The Lord, The Giver of all good things and to turn our eyes UP and say heartily to HIM, “THANK YOU.”

It is not a commanded holiday and the stories of the roots of the traditions are varied, as well as the carrying out of them, but it is ALWAYS good to stop and take notice and thank Him. That is what we do here today.

All through my growing up years in the diasporia, which for me was America, a FIRM Jewish tradition was to “BUY TREES IN ISRAEL” for every occasion, but especially as a memorial to a loved one.  I still have framed here in my apartment a tree certificate from 1947 when my family planted trees in memory of my Grandmother.  Planting trees in Israel IS something we all did.

The name tu b’shvat is simply the date, the 15th of the month of Shvat.  In Hebrew, numbers are traditionally the letters of the alphabet (or, aleph bet) and tu (written ‫טו in Hebrew) stands for the 15th.  For the sake of living in the modern world, Hebrew ALSO incorporates numbers, but in scripture and on the calendar, the letters are still the rule.  That is one of the reasons that Israelis often SEEM ignorant when a Christian is seeking to share scripture with them and perhaps referring to “Isaiah 53,” when to a Jewish person it is familiar as Yeshi’a’hu  nun gimel. Ah, the joys of communication!

Back to tu b’shvat.

Coming home from work on the train yesterday I wondered at the different atmosphere.  Usually, on Friday afternoon, the train is full of Yeshiva students from English speaking countries traveling to their host homes for Shabat. It can be NOISY and BOISTEROUS!  I looked around and wondered at the more pleasant atmosphere. Where were they all?  AH YES!  Tu b’shvat!  They were likely at ceremonies in the forests, planting trees and learning about the sacredness and the history of the land, the promises, what the trees do and how  they are to be treated according to scripture.  One example is found in Levit. 19:23-25:

“When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten. But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the Lord. And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase: I am the Lord your God.”

This ordinance is still observed today, even on many of the secular kibbutzim.

At Shabat dinner last night, with our daughter and family, my husband and I recalled our first tu’b’shvat here in the land after our aliyah.  We were both in ulpan (language class) and so along with the 5 months of intensive language learning we are also taught our history, geography, culture, and every other thing that you can think of.  On tu b’shvat  we were piled onto buses and taken to the forest to a tree planting ceremony.  We took pictures of one another as each one planted our first seedlings into the soil of our ancient homeland: Eretz Yisroel – The Land of Israel.

It was quite an emotional moment as I prayed also, silently, that our family would be well planted and bear fruit for HIS kingdom here, rooted beside the living water. It was at the beginning of our journey.

You know that Israel has gone from desert to GREEN in the years since 1948 and that the distinction between Israeli territory and Arab territory is actually called “the green line.” It is easy to distinguish that “green line” as one drives along.  I have mentioned before that God is indeed God of the living and is life giving.  It is a blessing to be reminded of this in the bursting forth of the abundant white almond blossoms filling the countryside right now.

 

I made my usual Friday morning stop at the shuk to pick up a hot challa for Shabat dinner, although I did not make it to IFI prayer meeting due to not feeling well.  I hadn’t yet gotten dried fruit to give as gifts, so stopped at a dried fruit and spice shop and picked out an arranged plate of various fruits and nuts, prepared for tu’b’shvat.

“You are my first customer of the day,” the sales man grinned at me.  “I included these special raisins here. They are better than the Kazakhstani ones.  You will like them.  AND, I will only charge you 60shekels instead of 65 since you are my first customer,’ he said proudly as I gulped at the price.

It’s always fun to be the “first sale of the day” and to wish them a day of blessing.

We read of the early rains and the latter rains in the scriptures and we have now entered them time of the latter rains – even as we pray for such spiritual LATTER RAINS.  The rain now is softer. The ground rich and able to absorb it and with the sun bursting forth more strongly than it has all winter, you can literally FEEL the earth coming alive again, stirring, swelling with new life.

Some of us are physically past the time of bearing fruit, but we never pass the spiritual time of bearing. No vacation from His work in us, thankfully NOT for us to weigh and measure the bushels or we’d all likely give up.  HE does the producing and HE does the assessment AND the multiplication AND the feeding of the multitude AND the dunging.  We get to ABIDE.  But we also get a stern warning that is so appropriate for the day we live in. Oh I take it to heart for I’m SO easily deceived through the weaknesses of my own nature:  Matthew 7:15-20:

 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.   A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.   Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.   Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

I pray for you and for myself this tu’b’shvat that we will ABIDE in The Vine and bare much GOOD fruit for His glory.  May we be thankful for the fruit in and through one another and trust Him to bare that fruit through us as we gaze at Him.  Thank you for your prayers, your gracious care, your thoughtfulness.

Lovingly,

Your sister J in Jerusalem

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Geezer Up (Part 10)

Ching! Ching!

My iPhone’s text tone brought me back to earth. I stood up, realizing I had spent the whole night on my knees in traveling clothes. What time is it? I thought. I picked up my phone from the nightstand and clicked the power button − 6:15 a.m.

The text was from our lawyer Jacob: “A good lawyer and close Christian friend of mine, Artie Chin, has agreed to represent Dylan. He will be at the courthouse for the arraignment at 9 a.m. Let me know if you need anything else.”

I need to get ready now, I thought. Help me Lord!

 

J.C. and Shira drove me to the San Francisco Hall of Justice Building on Bryant Street, parking the BMW at an underground parking lot. The Justice Building resembled a drab concrete rhombus designed by second graders who were given cardboard boxes and told to create a building out of them. No ionic columns. No domes. No frills. No inspiration for those of us searching for hope.

A short walk later, we stood in a chrome elevator, heading to the fourth floor.

“Darling, why did you dress up so much? You look like you’re meeting the mayor,” whispered Shira, wearing blue jeans and white top.

“This yellow dress is Dylan’s favorite dress of mine. And the yellow heels? They add height and confidence, which I really need right now.”

“Well, this should be over soon and you two will be on your way to Tahoe,” said J.C., patting my shoulder.

“That would be great, but I have doubts.”

“Doubts?” asked Shira.

“This could be a long drawn-out battle with today just being the opening skirmish.”

“Do you know something we don’t?” asked J.C.

I shrugged. “Maybe.”

The elevator bell signaled our arrival at the fourth floor. We stepped out into a narrow hallway and walked toward the courtroom. A tall policeman directed us to remove our rings, watches, necklaces, pocket items, cell phones, place them in a silver bowl, and walk through a scanner. We passed our inspections and then rearranged ourselves before entering the courtroom.

The courtroom, unlike the boring building’s exterior, was almost lavish with its rich mahogany paneling, mahogany judicial bench, mahogany attorney’s tables, and black padded seats. There was seating for forty spectators, but only twelve or so awaited the arraignment proceedings. We sat in the second row, near the aisle.

At nine, a chubby bailiff, standing on the right side of the judge’s bench, announced, “All rise for the honorable Judge Esther Strong.”

Everyone stood as the thin female judge with dark hair swooped in and sat down on the bench. We followed suit and seated ourselves. The ruffling of clothes echoed throughout the courtroom.

Five Latino defendants with dark tattoos were arraigned for murder cases in a rather cut and dried fashion with very few comments from the judge, attorneys, or the attorneys. Bails were set at a million dollars each and all were remanded to the county jail.

Next, the bailiff announced, “The People of San Francisco against Dylan Matthews.”

I gasped when I saw Dylan approach the defendant’s table. His face looked like a Mafia hit man had worked him over with a baseball bat. His nose was swollen and both eyes blackened. What have those bullies done to my sweetheart, I wondered.

My ears tuned into the proceedings as the attorneys spoke and the judge then asked Dylan what he would do if she set him free on his own recognizance. Dylan’s words of defiance and his announcement of a fast stirred my heart so that I wanted to jump up and shout, “Hallelujah Gunsmoke, I’m with you,” but I bit my tongue and kept quiet.

I am not sure if he heard me say, “Dylan, Dylan, I love you,” when he left the courtroom, but the bailiff did. He pointed at me and shook his head at my outburst.

Oh, how I wanted to stick out my tongue at the bailiff, but I kept my lady-like composure by inwardly visualizing the action in my mind. The rebellious thought reminded me of my teenage years.

Oh well, I thought, now what?

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 11…the full series to date can be read here.)

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O Lord, I’m 71 Years Old Today!

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The rootin’ tootin’ square shooting’ young hombre riding his imaginary steed and wearing black KEDS sneakers has turned seventy years old  today. O Lord!

The Searchers, starring John Wayne, Jeff Hunter, Ward Bond, Vera Miles, and Natalie Wood, is one of my favorite western movies. It tells the story of Ethan and Martin tracking down fifteen year-old Debbie, who had been captured in an Indian raid years earlier. But a side story holds my interest today.

Mose Harper, an old Indian scout for the U.S. Calvary, had one hope for his senior years: sitting in a rocking chair on a front porch so he could watch time pass by. Mose eventually got his wish at the end of the movie.

Well, I’m not a Mose Harper.

The passion the Lord placed in my heart almost thirty-two years ago has not lessened in the least. Oh, it’s been contained and hidden on the back side of the desert for years, but it’s still ready to explode forth for the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

You see, my heroes are not John Wayne and Jeff Hunter, but rather, Paul the Apostle, General William Booth of the Salvation Army, Hudson Taylor, and every believer who has advanced the Kingdom in his generation without regard to his own welfare.

“When the Apostle Paul traveled to a city, a riot or a revival was the end result.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

So, hopefully by my 72nd birthday, I will either be stirring up believers or in jail.

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Geezer Up (Part 9)

Jacob Cohen (J.C.) Bates and his wife, Shira, waited for me in their BMW outside San Francisco International Airport in the passenger arrival zone. I noticed J.C. packed on twenty extra pounds to his five-foot seven-inch frame, but it did not detract from his rugged good looks. Shira stood a couple of inches taller than him, but the difference seemed even greater because of her model-like figure. Both were Messianic believers and servants of Yeshua the Messiah.

“Shalom, Jane,” said J.C., jumping out of the car and greeting me with a hug and a kiss. “Here, let me put your suitcase in the trunk.”

“Thanks and shalom to you, J.C.,” I said, handing him my black suitcase.

“Even though this may not be the best of times for you,” said Shira, standing outside the BMW’s passenger door, and also hugging and kissing me, “I was so excited to see you again that I went out and spent J.C.’s money on this new black sweater. But as usual, you win the fashion prize with your blond hair, Levi jacket, and khaki slacks. You look fabulous.”

Her gracious words should have reddened my face, but instead, I broke down and wept. Shira hugged me even tighter.

“God will turn your mourning into dancing,” she whispered.

“I sure hope so.”

“Let’s keep moving,” shouted a stocky TSA agent, walking toward J.C.’s car. He pointed at us with a black baton to emphasize his point.

We obeyed and took off for their home.

 

If you have ever wondered what type of home three million dollars would purchase in San Francisco, J.C. and Shira’s condo on the fourth floor of a prestigious address in Nob Hill would be the answer. Twenty-three hundred square feet, three bedrooms, two baths, hardwood floors, gourmet kitchen, formal dining room, large family room with stone fireplace, and captivating views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge through floor to ceiling windows. The furniture and decorations looked like they had been selected by a top Bay area interior decorator.

Shira served a tossed salad with grilled chicken for dinner, but I only moved the food around on my plate without eating much. As soon as possible, I excused myself and headed for the guest bedroom. There I unpacked, hung up my clothes in the closet, and sat down on the bed without changing out of my traveling clothes. Somehow, I closed my eyes and dozed off.

Then, I had a terrifying vision.

In it, I stood before the Judgment Seat of Christ. I wasn’t alone because hundreds of other believers stood there in numerous rows, waiting for the Judge − Jesus − to appear in front of us. I watched Him off to my left walking down my row with a torch in His right hand. He stopped in front of each believer, looked down, and lit piles of what looked like grass and sticks at the feet of each person with His torch. The piles burst into flames. Then, the piles quickly burnt out to reveal gold, silver, precious stones, or nothing but scorch marks on the ground. Those who had precious metals and stones bowed down and worshipped the Lord. Those who had scorch marks wailed and screamed like they were in hell, even though they were in heaven.

I looked down at my feet and saw a puny pile. I knew this small heap represented all of my works done on earth for the Lord. Not much for a whole lifetime, I thought. A holy fear enveloped me.

I turned and looked at the person next to me and realized it was a successful Christian businessman, whom I greatly admired. He was an elder at Jedidiah Smith Community Church, Sunday school teacher, weekend street evangelist, and well-known benefactor. The newspapers were always reporting on his philanthropy and many works.

I watched Judge Jesus bend over and light the businessman’s pile with His torch. The pile quickly burnt out to reveal nothing but scorch marks on the ground. The businessman fell to the ground and wailed at the top of his lungs. His screams echoed through my mind.

Oh no, I thought. If this businessman’s life did not please the Lord, how will mine be any better?

The Lord stood in front of me.

I looked into His eyes and knew His love was not on trial, but mine was at that moment. He bent over, ready to touch my puny pile with His torch.

“Lord, give me a second chance,” I pleaded.

He looked at me without straightening up. His torch remained close to my pile. “And what would you do differently?”

“I will serve you night and day without complaining. If need be, I will crawl on my knees across San Francisco on streets covered with broken glass to be Your ambassador. I will gladly carry cups of cold water to people and minister to them as Your servant.”

He straightened up and looked me squarely in the eyes. His love melted every hindrance in my heart. “Remember to do your works to please Me, not to please other people like the businessman did during his life. He received his reward on earth. Go and be My servant.”

I woke up and immediately slipped off the bed onto my knees. I worshipped the Judge, King, and Lover of my soul − my Lord Jesus.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 10…the first 9 parts are reruns and can be read here.)

 

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Prayers for Healing and Deliverance (2/7/2017)

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Martin Luther struggled for years as a monk. He fasted, prayed, went on long pilgrimages, and confessed his sins often in the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation, but he had no inner peace.

One day, he prepared for a lecture at Wittenberg University. He read the first chapter of Romans and the Holy Spirit enlightened one verse to his heart.

For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

This one verse sparked the Reformation through Martin Luther. He realized the key to salvation was not giving indulgences to the church or even charitable acts, but rather, faith in God.

We evangelicals now take this verse for granted, but in 1513, it was a profound truth inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The Apostle Peter made an interesting point in 2 Peter 1:12 −

For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. (NKJ)

The Holy Spirit has revealed various truths to the Body of Christ throughout history. Martin Luther had the revelation of salvation by faith. John Wesley had a different one. So did George Fox, Charles Finney, Charles Seymour, and countless others who proclaimed revelations to their generations.

These revelations became the “present truths” for their time periods and thereby advanced the kingdom of God. Many endured tremendous struggles and persecutions to pioneer their truths. Yet, we now accept the revelations without even an eye blink.

I believe the following scriptures are a “present truth” for Americans right now:

Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble, the Lord delivers him; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; and do not give him up to the will of his enemies. The Lord sustains him on his sick bed; in his illness, You restore him to full health. (Psalm 41:1-3)

Excerpt from Giving to the Poor: What’s In It For Me by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)

The Lord has a myriad of ways for us to seek Him AND for us to be healed. One of them is giving to the poor.

My prayer today:

Lord, help us to walk in Your present truth to seek You for our healing and deliverances.

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for new revelations on healing and deliverance for Americans NOW.

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Why I Support President Trump and Why You Should, To!

 

4 minutes and 1 second of video which can be reduced to one word. That one word contains enough blessings to help power our economy for the next few years and to prepare us for the following years.

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Inside Israel

SHUK

The Shuk in Jerusalem

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 —

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May you be blessed and encouraged…and O Lord, please be glorified and blessed.

 

Mountains of garbage, sometimes life feels like that and sometimes it is right outside your window. Thankfully they are collecting it now, but there is nothing quite like a garbage strike in Jerusalem and the symbolic timing of it seemed perfect to me.

I haven’t been feeling too well lately, so I groaned as I came downstairs in time for the 6:30 a.m. train, 15 minutes later than the train that I would take if I were planning to walk part way to work. My morning exercise.  But the groan passed through my lips as I read the moving sign (in Hebrew, Arabic and English) which said: “Due to disruptions on the tracks, there will be no train service between the Central Bus Station and Damascus Gate.” That means that I would have to find a bus at the Central Bus Station and weave my way to work.

I joined the other disgruntled early morning passengers in wondering what the disruption was this time. Rock throwers? Unidentified packages for the bomb squad to dismantle? I pray for the security workers to be kept safe.  At the Central bus station another groan arises as we see that the next bus is still 18 minutes away.

The morning is cold and rainy and the bus stop already full when our train arrives.  Three more trains will arrive and deposit yet more displaced travelers every 6 minutes.  When the bus finally does arrive, I am thankful for the fact that age is honored here and younger people generally rise for their elders. So, on this very crowded bus I have a seat, and I praise God for it, and thank the young man who gave it to me.  The seat affords me a good view of the piles of garbage.

As we snake our way toward the Shuk, the piles become mountains and the mountains become slimy with crushed fruit and vegetables melting in the downpour. It’s ghastly.  I had tried to make sense out of this particular city strike, which we had heard rumblings about for a while.  No one seemed to know quite for sure WHAT the gripe was, but the city was claiming that a large amount of extra budget grant promised had not yet been paid.  It was not designated for any particular project that I could discern, nor was the problem paychecks, and certainly not for the garbage collection, so it sounded to me like coercion.

I understood later that there were plans (carried out a bit later because at 6:30 the disrupted tracks were still clear) to pile the train tracks in the Shuk area with garbage.  By the time that I returned home the tracks were indeed covered with tomato/banana/orange volcanoes.  Yech!  The whole city, called His by God Almighty, was filthy and that saddens everyone.  I know that when my home is messy it is hard to come before The Lord and I thought about what a blessing cleanliness and order are.  It is easy to hide an explosive device in the disarray of garbage.  I find that if I am cluttered, the enemy of my soul has an easier time hiding and attacking as well.

But thankfully, before I finished writing the above two days ago, the garbage strike ended and the army of sanitation workers labored through the night to restore order to the city.  My “garbage-meditation” ended with several days of cleansing rains and cold winter weather. The sun broke out, clear and clean through the newly washed air, bright, crystal clear, revealing what the summer dust storms had veiled.

Rain, sun and yes even fertilizer…and the inevitable happens. The branches begin to swell and small buds press their way into the tips of branches.  The older I get, the more years I see it, the more WONDERFUL it is, HIS FAITHFULNESS no matter what our own personal devastation is, the upheavals of death and war and horrors, the seasons reflect His faithfulness THROUGH IT ALL. It blows me away EVERY TIME!

Two mornings ago, I heard the first morning bird wake the dawn.  My, it’s COLD out and yet the morning bird knows his season and returns.  My husband looked out the window later the same day. “Hey! There’s a PARROT in the tree outside.”

He was right.  We have these smallish wild parrots here, several kinds actually and I love watching them.  They are green and have a wonderful song.  Another first sign that the cold winter WILL eventually pass.

 

In the Shuk, the price of strawberries has not come down this year.  Come to think of it, none of the prices have.  We are blessed with amazing strawberries and different kinds of Clementine’s and other citrus throughout the winter.  Winter grapes, apples, and this year persimmons still fill the Shuk stalls.  Soup pots boil with wonderful fragrant vegetable and bean soups, lentils, barley, roots and all sorts of spices blending to design the beautiful Middle Eastern tapestry that I admire and give thanks for. He has been so good to us, in spite of our unfaithfulness.

The Middle East. I often have to shake myself and remember that, yes, I live in the Middle East.  I hear the minarets’ shrill electronic call to Moslem prayer at least in the morning hours when the traffic is not yet causing all sound to blend into a dull roar.  I see the streets full of children running in large groups, laughing, as crime against children is not an issue here thankfully.  I see the general public sitting at outside tables lining the streets in all weather, cold or hot, wet or dry, drinking coffee or eating yummy salads, shakshuka, or an endless array of healthy Middle Eastern food or ice cream.

Soldiers run up to one another like piles of puppies, jumping on one another and hugging, uzzis (weapons) bumping, backpacks full of dirty laundry, which means they are heading home. Clean means they are heading back to base. The trains and buses full of young soldiers, girls and guys. Yes, it’s my home now and I do find that I take it for granted and forget that this scene is so unique.

The Shaheen family was in the Dr. Office where I work.  I’ve mentioned before that we have a number of Christian Israeli Arab families who come to the Doctor with whom I work.  They know that I am a believer and I greatly admire them.  They are such a small minority in the midst of rabidly growing Moslem extremism.  They come against dangers from Moslems and are not fully part of the Jewish society. They stand alone, and generally their faith is more of a traditional faith then a deeply rooted one in The Word and Spirit.

I watch their children struggle (very often a similar struggle to the children of Jewish believers here, as we are also a small group) with the temptations to be accepted and become radicalized.  They are generally very patriotic to Israel and often the children find themselves in a love relationship with a Jewish partner and the problem deepens. I ask the Shaheens how their children are doing.  I can see the worry in their eyes as they tell me that two are studying in France.  France has become a strong radical hotbed.  Their other son, Rami, is here and he is a joy, but he is not finding someone, a good girl, to marry.  The name “Rami” is also a Jewish name and Rami has been raised well.

My heart goes out to these and prayers for God to honor them with godly spouses.

The Kobti family has successfully raised their children.  All are doctors or professionals in other lines, and most married Christian Arabs who were living in other countries, but one lovely young man’s wife has become an Israel basher to the grief of the whole family.  I often think of this faithful group of people knowing that it is God Who walks with each one of us through the paths of His own choosing.

On another subject, a long time ago I remember explaining that city land taxes (called arnona) are paid by renters here, sort of a double whammy.  When we first made aliyah going on 23 years ago, we found that our life savings wasn’t enough to buy an apartment.  It is EXPECTED here that citizens will own an apartment and not rent.

Immigrants from many countries receive an apartment grant but from the richer countries this is not so.  We were among those who fell through the cracks, and so we have rented for all of these years, and will continue to do so, unless He chooses otherwise.

I remember when we first made aliyah, we were told IMMEDIATELY that you do NOT plan to do more than one bureaucratic chore in a day. For example:  You need to go to the post office.  Do NOT plan to also go to the bank.  AND if you should need to go to City Hall or Bituach Leumi (sort of national insurance office) figure two days at least per chore.  I laughed back then.  I THOUGHT that it was a joke.  Wrong!  Well, I have gotten used to this now, but had to laugh at a text message that I just got from a friend, a dear sister who is a volunteer here and is renting her own apartment and learning the ropes.  Her plan was to go to City Hall today and straighten out her arnona bill.

Her text read: “Not today…computers down.” I had to chuckle and wonder if the City is continuing its strike action. Please forgive me sharing these inside jokes with you.  If our enemies knew how things are run here,  I suspect that we might be in trouble, but perhaps that is the beauty of all of the belegan (uproar, confusion, mess), the fruit reveals the Merciful Hand of God Almighty Who put us here and certainly not our own efficiency.

But some things are particularly fun.

I just checked the Jerusalem weather on our nifty little local site and it showed a lighter jacket and a CLOTHES PIN, meaning: yes, it’s a good time to dry clothes.  I love it!  When we first came the morning weather report would be complete with “open your windows and air out the mold” and “don’t forget to take a sweater today.”

AND there was an elderly man at the bus stop who scolded our (then) slightly rebellious 13 year-old daughter, “TIE YOUR SHOE LACES YOUNG LADY!  THAT IS SLOPPY!” She dutifully bent over to tie them.  It is not considered interference here, it is considered “family.”

Thank you for truly being my family.  I am encouraged through you.  I would ask for prayer for many things, but one in particular, I have been deeply exhausted lately, more than usual.  I KNOW that He is The Source of all strength.  I thank you for prayers.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Lovingly,

Your sister J in Jerusalem

 

(Below, I am enclosing an article from the Jan. issue of HERALD OF HIS COMING that touched me deeply for those who might be interested)

God Has A Word For This Hour

This is a tremendous hour in human history.  There are ominous movements in the world.  But I am constrained to ask, Has the Lord no plan for this hour?  Has the church no message?  Is there no word from the Lord concerning the spiritual recovery of this hour?  If not, then this is the first time in history that a major crisis has arisen under a silent heaven.

Before God destroyed the earth with a flood, He put His message of warning in the mouth of Noah.  When God judged Egypt, He sent Moses and Aaron to Pharoah with a divine pronouncement on their lips.  God raised up Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah in times of crisis in Israel and Judah.  They had God’s word for the hour in which they lived (Heb. 11:7; Ex. chaps. 5-14; 1 Kgs. 17:1).

And God has a word for this hour!

A Call to Repentance!

People are awakening to the fact that we are living in a solemn hour, and that our nation’s greatest need is a revival that will bring us to God.  There is a swelling tide of intercession to God – pleading for God’s intervening mercies and for a new Pentecost upon the churches.

What was true of Israel of old is true of us today.  Whenever declension of ­spiritual power is felt, the root cause is sin in the church.  Whittled down a little closer, the root cause of conditions in the world is the sin of individual Christians.  This is a time for flaming messages, inspired of the Holy Ghost, preached fearlessly by men who do not fear the consequences – calling men everywhere to repentance!

Unconfessed Sins

In God’s program for this hour, repentance must begin with Christians, who must turn in penitence from their worldliness, prayerlessness, indifference, and the dangerous sloth and sleep.  They must repent of their carnal strivings for position and place, and of their deadly church quarrels and denominational jealousy.  The unrepented, unconfessed sins of God’s people have chilled the atmosphere of the church until people are driven away.

It is high time for the pulpit to thunder and burn with the power and fire of the ancient prophets and apostles of our Lord!  It is high time for God’s people to awake from their Laodicean slumber, and strip themselves from their love of the world and love of self, and from the deceit, sham and hypocrisy of their shallow professions – and to turn to the Lord with all their heart, with fasting and tears, and with contrition and confession and restitution.

Where is the church “terrible as an army with banners” (Song 6:4)?  Where are the Lord’s people whose prayers, like John Knox’s are the terror of evil rulers like Bloody Mary, Queen of Scots?  Where is the Gospel being preached with such unction and power from God that the enemies of God say, “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6)?

Why are not these things true of us today?  Because of the failure of God’s people, because sin is tolerated in their lives and hugged to their bosoms.  It is not perhaps great, blatant sin.  It may be only a multitude of little chiseling sins which have cooled off our love for Christ and our passion for lost souls, and dulled our spiritual ears so we cannot hear the voice of the Lord, and dimmed our spiritual sight so we have lost the vision of a world ripe for harvest, and palsied our hands and made us unfit for His service – leaving us carping and critical Christians (Song 2:15; Eccl. 10:1; 1 Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9).

“By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them” (Matt. 7:20)

In the Song of Solomon, which contains wonderful church truth in figurative language, the Heavenly Husbandman says:  “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes” (Song 2:15).

If we are to see a great harvest, we must take out the little foxes.  They seem innocent and harmless but they kill the fruit.  The little sins and compromises with the world, the flesh and the devil – these kill our usefulness.  They must be taken out of our vineyard of the Lord.

 

Let us confess and forsake all. We will be amazed to find how greatly we need a spiritual housecleaning if we will let God search us and the Spirit probe us to rock-bottom (Psa. 139:23-24; 1 Chr. 28:9).

Some of us will find we have not put God first in our lives but rather we have given place to personal ambition, carnal comforts, and have yielded to the demands of friends and relatives and made God second.

Some of us have sinned directly towards God by rebelling against His known will and stopping our ears to His call to lay down our lives in His service.

Then there are the gross sins of the uncrucified self-life – self-will, self­pleasing, self-glorifying, self­seeking, self-pity, self-confidence, selfish affections, desires, motives, choices – all of which grieve the Spirit and unfit us to answer the call of the Lord to His people in this hour.

 

Some of us readily get angry, pouty, irritable. There is among us an unforgiving spirit, jealousy and envy (Jas. 3:14-18). With others there are secret and presumptuous sins – but they are not hidden from God (Psa. 19:12-13). There are also the deadly sins of gossip, backbiting, talebearing (Jas. 3:2-13; 2 Cor. 12:20). All of these God hates (Prov. 6:16-19). They close His door of blessing and hinder His answer to our prayers for our home, our community, our nation and the world.

   “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear….  Your hands are defiled…your tongue hath muttered perverseness.  None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth” (Isa. 59:1-4).

We need God!  We tremendously need a revival of the supernatural.  Nothing but a great visitation of the grace of God can in any wise redeem these present perilous hours.  Impending disasters warn us.  God’s Word warns us.  The Holy Spirit warns us.  “It is time for Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void Thy law” (Psa. 119:126).  “Revive Thy work in the midst of the years” (Hab. 3:2).

 

I believe this is God’s hour for the Spirit’s outpouring. But God’s great present purposes in grace are dependent upon the whole-souled response of us – His people.

Therefore it is of vast importance to us whose hearts have been stirred about a visitation of God – that we leave no stone unturned in ourselves, meeting conditions for revival in our own heart, in our church, our community, our nation and the world.

Even if we cannot find in Scripture a specific promise of God’s mercies to us in this hour, there is, in almost every divinely sent message of judgment, the promise of salvation and deliverance if men and women will humble themselves and seek the face of God in repentance and in faith.

Think of the salvation of Nineveh, that wicked heathen city of ancient times.  God’s prophet Jonah was sent with the message of doom, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jon. 3:4).  No mercy was promised.  But the king and the people must have reasoned like this, “If God had no gracious thought toward us, He would not have sent us this warning.”  So they repented in sackcloth and ashes and with fasting cried mightily unto God, and God was moved to mercy and revoked His edict of judgment (Jon. 3).

If the God of all mercies would do so much for heathen Nineveh, when she repented, will He not do as much for His own people, if we repent and turn from our worldliness and selfishness to seek the Lord till He come and rain righteousness upon us  (Hos. 10:12)?

Plus God

The annals of sacred history are filled with accounts of God’s undefeatable minorities.  To the worldly-wise they appear foolish, weak, contemptible.  But – plus God, they have become mighty, invincible, unquenchable and triumphant!  They have time and again altered the course of history, and changed the face of nations.  Without strength, they have wrought prodigious works.  Without influence, they have transformed their generation.  Of such was the Apostle Paul, Luther, Wesley.  Thank God their tribe has not perished in these – our times.

What would happen today if Christians would cease to trifle and go all-out for God?    What if we would obey the Lord and fast and pray day and night, that we might be avenged of our enemies (Luke 18:7-8)?  What if we would get right with God, and with each other?  Without doubt this would bring a visitation of God.

I pray you do something today about the evils and dangers all about us.  It is a time for fasting and tears and prayer unceasing.  Begin today!  If you will, we shall have one of the greatest visitations of all time!

Revival Is the Beginning of a New Obedience to God

“If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain (revival) in due season, and the land shall yield her increase …and ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you…And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight” (Lev. 26:3-8).

– Selected.

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Geezer Up (Part 8)

Because of my standby reservation, I was the last person to board the Virgin Airline’s Airbus A320. One hundred and forty-five other passengers walked ahead of me to their seats. I looked at my boarding pass − Row 24 Seat B − and tried to look over shoulders and heads for my seat, but my five feet three inches of stature hindered my efforts. I eventually arrived at my seat, lifted my black suitcase into the overhead storage compartment, and squeezed past the outside passenger’s long legs into the seat.

The young sailor with a shaved head in Seat A by the window looked up from his iPad and nodded at me. The lanky man to my right, sitting by the aisle in Seat C, paid no attention and opened his iPad, connecting to the Internet through Virgin’s free WiFi service. Both put headphones on as soon as the plane taxied toward the runway.

I reached down and pulled a Michael Connelly paperback novel out of my purse, but the Harry Bosch story failed to hold my interest for long. My mind kept wandering back over Dylan’s and my off-the-beaten-path spiritual journey.

It all began when Dylan walked out of Jedidiah Smith Community Church on that first Sunday in June three years earlier when the new pastor preached his first sermon. Dylan explained that he couldn’t listen to another sermon while he ignored the Lord’s voice telling him to branch off into a different type of church ministry. That different type of ministry ended up being a home church, which we called Last Chance. Two senior couples joined us in the new venture: Phil and Faye Strawmeier and Vinnie and Gracie Nguyen. Both couples had been four of our closest friends for years. Others joined our house church so that the original assembly now numbered eighteen people.

But it was Pamela Walter’s words to Dylan and me just before she died which stirred Dylan’s heart. “The Lord wants the Last Chance groups, like yours, to spread all along the West Coast, from San Diego to Seattle. He wants to use senior citizens as His last chance army to touch millions of people −” she said.

Dylan interrupted her and explained we didn’t know how to do something like that.

I still remember her words: “Shush! Of course, you don’t, but He knows how to do it. Fast and pray and He will show you.”

Then, she died.

Dylan focused his life on obeying Pamela’s prophetic words to us from that moment forward. He fasted, prayed, studied the word, and continually sought the Lord on what we needed to do. His seeking led to three new groups being started: one in Hemet, Lake Elsinore, and Corona.

I went along with whatever Dylan wanted, not because I heard the Lord’s voice for myself or even felt impressed to do so. I just trusted that Dylan had heard the Lord’s voice and followed him. Maybe I caved in too easily rather than seeking the Lord on my own, but that’s how I handled it.

But when Dylan said he felt the Lord wanted us to plant Last Chance home churches in San Francisco, I was shocked. As he spoke his vision to me, I comforted myself by figuring it would be years before we reached the Bay area. Yet, two days later, he received an invitation to speak at a Business Men’s Fellowship luncheon in China Town. He left a week later, hoping doors would open for Last Chance groups in San Francisco.

I watched him leave and waved at him, but in my heart, I prayed nothing special would happen. I hoped it would be a nice trip for Dylan but nothing more. Nothing more at all.

Maybe you think I’m selfish and maybe I am. But I am seventy-three years old and so is Dylan. I want to get off this spiritual merry-go-round and enjoy life again. I want to travel to Branson, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, and even Paris or London. I want to enjoy our sunset years without worrying about jail or confrontations or planting more home churches. Why not? We deserve it, don’t we?

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 8…the first 9 parts are reruns and can be read here.)

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