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 —
Oh LOVING GREETINGS DEAREST sisters and brothers – beloved – chosen to follow The Lamb and then choosing to follow Him,
May you be encouraged toward Him, blessed and edified and may The Lord, The Light of the world, The only begotten Son of The Father, The Lamb, MESSIAH, The Word made flesh, THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, THE GREAT I AM, MAY HE ALONE BE GLORIFIED, blessed and comforted in His children today.
Greetings! As the year draws toward a close. Greetings as we choose, TODAY, HIS LIGHT.
The eight candles and the shamas, the middle, lifted up servant candles, are freshly lined up in our Chanukiah, waiting for my husband to come home from work. It is the last light of the 8 day celebration tonight.
Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. (John 10:22-23)
The Light of the world, walking in His Temple during the feast of the dedication…the feast that celebrates re-dedication of the temple after its desecration by the Greeks who (among other atrocities) sacrificed un-kosher pigs (Also the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud; you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses. Deut 14:8 and Levit 11:7 for just two examples) on the holy altar of God. Modern Chanukah celebrated the triumph of the Maccabees over the Greeks, but the most important part to mea nd the part that I grew up hearing about most and wondering at was that when the filth was cleaned out of the temple and the Priest went to light the menorah – the eternal lamp – there was only one sealed flask of the prescribed oil. Enough for just one night!
The oil took a week to prepare. So by faith he lit the one lamp BUT GOD! WHO WAS RICH IN MERCY THEN AS NOW, MULTIPLIED THE OIL NIGHT AFTER NIGHT. FOR 8 NIGHTS THE LAMP BURNED UNTIL THE FRESH OIL HAD BEEN PREPARED ACCORDING TO THE DIRECTIONS THAT MOSES HAD BEEN GIVEN BY GOD AND DELIVERED TO THE PEOPLE. Chanukah! The festival of Light, of multiplied Light! And THE LIVING LIGHT WALKED IN THE TEMPLE.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me… (John 10:27)
He said during Chanukah in the temple, the temple that was His. What a picture!
But He is STILL walking here and where you are as well and STILL reasoning with those who will listen and still speaking to all who will hear. I think about that in the hustle and bustle of the packed train and bus. At least I TRY to think about that, to remember that for THIS cause He came, NOT because we were righteous, but because we are filled with sin and darkness. Yet Abba created us for Himself and He still reaches out and loves us.
I looked around at the faces today on the packed train. When I left for work at 6 this morning I was surprised to see the train full. Usually on my way to work it is reasonably empty but today it was jammed and I wondered what was going on. Perhaps they were all going for their flu shots? Influenza is particularly virulent this year.
I didn’t have much time to wonder because once at work I was surrounded by throngs of sick people who had NOT gone for their flu shot and were now at the doctors with influenza. It was a BUSY day! Coming home, traffic was at a standstill. It took me 45 minutes to get to the train by bus. So many big families, baby carriages and twin strollers crowded the aisles of the train as little ones peered out of the windows with small happy faces.
This year, it didn’t seem as if as many locals were stuffing themselves with sofganiyot (the traditional oily jelly donut), latkas ( a sort of potato pancake) bunuelos or sfenj (sort of like sofganiyot, a more middle eastern traditional fried sweet dough). None- the-less, the tasty fares were everywhere as Jerusalem hosted a record-breaking number of tourists this year and they wanted to taste it ALL. So our bakeries weren’t TOO impacted by the health concerns of the locals.
Large electric Chanukiahs dot the city neighborhoods and at sundown people gather around them as they are lit and sing traditional songs. It is a festive time. We used to have one of these large public Chanukiahs across from our apartment but there was none this year. When we first made aliyah, they were gas lights. I loved watching them and their flames flickering in the wind. Now they are electric bulbs. Times are rougher now. People are rougher. And times change all things.
A friend drew my attention to comments made by Israel’s IDF (military) Chief, Aviv Kochavi this week as he spoke before the conference at the Interdisciplinary Center in Hertzliya. They were sobering. He spoke of our now open and undercover operations in Syria and around the area against Iran, which have been far more frequent and brazen,”even at the risk of war.”
He warned Israeli civilians to “mentally prepare, for heavy fire will be directed against our home front….I’m looking people in the eye, and saying, there will be heavy fire. We have to recognize this and we have to prepare for this…We have to prepare for this militarily… the civil hierarchies have to prepare for this… and we have to prepare for this mentally.”
Yes Lord. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me…”
We trust You Lord, through whatever fire we must pass that You will lead us and that Your rod and Your staff and Your Voice WILL lead and comfort us and enable us to walk in a manner that will glorify You.
My mind turns to another local news article that I saw: “11 Christian men executed in Nigeria by Isis as retribution for the death of their leader…’
I thought about those 11 Christian men who were chosen because they were Christian, and went with Him into the fire, and came out the other side into His Presence. ‘Prepare us mentally, Lord, to be part of Your solution and not part of the problem!’.
And time has run swiftly and now it is the eve of 2020!
When we made aliyah, this was definitely a day NOT mentioned. It was a distinction made on the Western calendar – observed in the west – and NOT on the Hebrew calendar. NOT observed here! If someone said, “Happy New Year,” everyone around him frowned in obvious disapproval. We made aliyah during the days of the Russian aliyah, and the secular Russians celebrated New Year (Sylvester) the way that secular westerners celebrate Christmas. Yes, it was frowned upon.
It seems to me that the major foreign languages that I hear today on the trains and buses are French and English. The Hebrew and Arabic/Russian signs have been replaced for the most part by Hebrew and Arabic /French / English. Is it the dramatic rise in anti-semitism in the west? Perhaps.
With the rise of western immigration, the New Year according to the western calendar has pressed through. I hear of and see signs announcing restaurants celebrating, balloons appear with 2020 written on them. Among the western young people on the train I see a party excitement and listen to their plans, somewhat in dismay. Is it my age? I think about how He had come into my life just before I was 30 and am thankful that He gave me direction that these poor sheep do not have yet.
And so I pray.
And I pray to pray because I don’t pray enough and can get weary in well doing.
But my people stand at the door of what? Eternity for sure! And how can I but pray??
Lovingly, your sister,