Category Archives: Jerusalem

Inside Israel

SHUK

The Shuk in Jerusalem

This is little different this week. The following article is from Israel Prayer Center in Jerusalem. It’s the 11/10/2017 prayer and intercession update. I recommend that you go to the website and subscribe to it today.

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind as to the outcome of Israel’s restoration in the last days; it will be glorious.  “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he has prepared for him that waits for him.” Isaiah 64:4

The promises of God to Israel are as good as done, (in that they are sure). For “God is not a man, that He should lie,  Nor a son of man, that He should repent.  Has He said, and will He not do?  Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Num. 23:19

Heaven and earth will pass away but His words, will by no means pass away. Matt. 24:35

But it is this very confidence, that we have, that can lead us into a ‘laid back’ attitude in prayer regarding Israel’s security and current struggle against its enemies (too numerous to list here). 

I have often found a ‘breezy’ attitude among our dear Christian friends who care deeply for Israel and God’s restoration plan for her. It is not uncommon to hear Christians dismiss Israel’s foes lightheartedly citing scriptural precedents and events where God powerfully intervened on Israel’s behalf to save her from her enemies. (See Joshua 10:10-112Chronicles 20Isaiah 37:36-38)    

This kind of attitude unnerves me, to be honest. 

There have been times when Israel’s future lay in the balance; such as in 1973, in the Day of Atonement war. So desperate was the leadership, that Moshe Dayan repeatedly “used a phrase that he would repeat in the coming days to the dismay of all who heard him. “The Third Temple,” he told Peled, “is in danger.”  (“The Third Temple was a metaphor for the modern state of Israel.”) 1

Having lived through this war, and having tasted that war as a reserve soldier, I can tell you that I cannot and will not take Israel’s existence for granted. 

“To envision a failure of the air force on top of a failure of the intelligence services would be pushing imagination to the point of perversity. Even more difficult to imagine was Egyptian infantry stopping Israeli armor. If anyone of these scenarios became a reality, it would pose a major challenge. If all three became a reality—meaning neutralization of the IDF’s intelligence, air force, and armor—Israel faced catastrophe.” 1

There was a failure on all of those three factors. This happened for many reasons which we cannot go into, but the reality was that Israel had failed to prepare for such an existential war that it was facing. Presumption, arrogance, misguided thinking all blinded Israel’s leaders, both political and military, which put Israel in grave danger. 

One would think that Israel learned its lesson once and for all. Not true! We have, in the past, also underestimated Hezbollah as a ragtag enemy that could easily be dispatched, and  we have minimized Hamas as well. 

None of this is meant to depress us or discourage us, but rather to awaken us to earnest in prayer. We must battle in prayer for the Word of God to be fulfilled. We must contend with God in the same manner that many of those who have gone before us have.

In all the biblical events cited above, in which God intervened, earnest prayer was an active ingredient. Joshua prayed while fighting a battle, Isaiah and Hezekiah prayed in the midst of a siege, Jehoshaphat’s prayed in the midst of an invasion. Earnest prayer was lifted to the Lord in the face of a real and present danger. None of these men presumed God would ‘do something’ just because they were God’s people, or because they were God-fearing, God seeking and God-loving men. They prayed and God answered!

Modern day examples of earnest prayer battles abound. Just read “Rees Howells Intercessor”, or, “Samuel Rees Howells, A Life of Intercession: The Legacy of Prayer and Spiritual Warfare of an Intercessor.” 

Interestingly that book recounts the prayer battle the Bible College engaged in, during the Day of Atonement war. 

“In October 1973, on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (as the nation was in solemn contemplation), there was a surprise attack on Israel from her neighbours, who were heavily armed with military technology from the Soviet Union. Samuel called the College back to prayer as the Holy Spirit led through another spiritual conflict characterised by many great miracles. After the great victories of this intense spiritual struggle, Samuel aged sixty-one celebrated the triumph of their intercession, as he read reports of the battle to the College. “In the Yom Kippur War, with Egypt’s greater numbers they should have been in Beersheba within twenty-four hours. The Arabs had more weapons and better weapons. In the early stages of the war, three out of every five Israeli jets were shot down. Israel suffered terrible causalities. Then Egypt crossed into Sinai, and the Syrians took much of the Golan Heights. Egypt and Syria should have beaten Israel.” Then Samuel praised the Lord for answered prayer. “If God hadn’t intervened in the Sinai Desert and if He hadn’t intervened in the Golan Heights everything would have been over. With the arms at the Syrians disposal, they should have been in Tiberias at the end of the first day. Who saved that nation? It was the Lord!” 2

Thank God for those intercessors. While Israel was fighting for its life, the intercessors were fighting for Israel in the heavenly realm. God did intervene; the Day of Atonement war ended with an amazing victory, but we should not forget the huge cost of life for that victory. The failure of the leadership in Israel prior to the 73’ war, was dangerous and extremely costly in human lives and materiel. In the same way, abandoning prayer, or praying without a true sense of the need, or without an understanding of the seriousness of the situation will prove costly. 

God is sovereign, but that should lead us into intercession not into presumption. God is sovereign, but he looks for intercessors (Isaiah 59:16Isaiah 64:7)

We should be as watchmen who are left to guard, to watch and pray while the rest of the city is asleep. We should continually lift Israel and her leadership, before the Lord that they should be awake and make ready to face all eventualities.

May the Lord stir your heart, awaken it both to the promises but also to the dangers Israel faces today. And may you be led to give yourself to intercession and prayer.

Blessings from Jerusalem,

Israel Prayer Center

_______________________________________________________
1 Abraham Rabinovich. “The Yom Kippur War.”
2 Maton, Richard A.; Paul Backholer; Mathew Backholer. Samuel Rees Howells, A Life of Intercession: The Legacy of Prayer and Spiritual Warfare of an Intercessor

Don’t forget go to Israel Prayer Center and subscribe to it today.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Church, Israel, Jerusalem, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

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 —

Beloved brothers and sisters in The Lord, Messiah Yeshua, Jesus Christ, to Whom all blessing and honor and glory and love belong in God The Father, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is THE fullness and truly worthy of ALL praise

First – as briefly as possible- I will let you know that due to an assortment of yet unhealed physical problems, I have had a rather large number of hernias.  I also have bleeding and other blood issues and do NOT respond well to surgical procedures, of which I have already had way too many.

Ten years ago I had an incarcerated epigastric hernia. The dangers of incarceratied hernia include gangrene, much like a burst appendix. At the time I was hospitalized for surgery and laid fasting on my back for 5 days while none of the surgeons who saw me were willing to take the risk of surgery because of my complications. They taught me how to push it in and told me to return to emergency if it became incarcerated again.

Last Tuesday night I awoke – and it had happened again, and could not be pushed in until 6 hours later in the emergency room. However the surgeon insisted that it HAD to be repaired NOW.

No, I have not had surgery yet.

So, it is now one week later. I again have laid on my back in the hospital while the surgical teams have debated the risks. NORMALLY, this is a rather simple surgery. Plus, I also have had bronchitis, with fever and difficulty in breathing. Yes, my husband had been away until this past Friday, but is now home!

So now I am home and resting for a while. Today, for the first time, I am feeling a bit stronger and able to sit up and write.

I have had a LOT of blessed prayer and am CERTAIN that God has it all in HIS plan and under His control. That’s just Who He IS. And I am surely nobody “special” and definitely NOT more loved than any other believer. JUST ONE OF HIS SHEEP, AND THAT IS OUR PORTION, AND I TRUST HIM FULLY FOR HIS HEALING, HIS TIMING, AND HIS PERFECT WILL.

But HE can make Himself known in hospitals too!

Even when we are feeling far from Him and feeling sorry for ourselves, but if we are willing…

So I have some ‘stories’!

I guess we all have these sort of day-dreams, right?

Since I was very young I wanted to be a Light House keeper, a shepherdess, and a forest lookout station keeper. Yep, I was a loner.

While in the hospital I was having a very difficult time staying focused on The Lord and even reading His Word. This is following two and a half weeks of a rich time with Him in His Word while my husband was away. I was getting more and more fretful seeming unable to stay on Him and to wash in His Word.

Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital sits on a mountain overlooking the Jerusalem Forest, which is surprisingly large. Even the view from the 2nd floor is lovely, but I was on the 6th floor with an expansive view. The new wing of the hospital includes some really lovely secluded sitting areas, fully windowed, with just a chair or two. With a determination I took my Bible on Shabbat and found an empty one.  I settled myself in the chair and looked over the quiet forest and said, “Lord…”and that was about it!

Along came a religious man to recite his prayers. I decided to wait until he was finished. As I waited, trying to focus on reading but not succeeding, I looked up over the forest and just thanked Him for His beauty. As I did, I saw a puff of smoke, followed shortly by an angry plume, coming up in an area between two roads, but nowhere near either of them.

Perhaps campers started a fire, I reasoned, and kept watching. The fire grew and I realized that I was in fact, watching the beginning of a forest fire. The wind was coming up and bringing it toward the hospital.

I ran to the nurse and said, “There is a fire starting in the forest! I do not have the fire department number and I think we need to call!”

The overworked nurse slowly looked up and peered at me skeptically over the top of her glasses. I continued undaunted. “It is heading toward the hospital!”

Ok, that got her.  She skeptically dragged herself toward the window, expecting to find nothing. But then she saw it and realized that is was indeed the beginnings of what could quickly be an out of control fire. She turned and ran back and called the fire brigade.

I settled down into my now deserted corner and watched. From the way that the smoke was moving, the fire was indeed raging, bursting here and there, but after a fair amount of time I noticed that it now seemed contained to one area, and was no longer spreading.  Without being able to see any fire fighters, the smoke became angry as if it were fighting back. Then suddenly, after a half an hour or so, it went out. The whole scene must have lasted little more than an hour, I think.

I sat there for a long time in my corner-turned-watchtower, turning the incident over before The Lord who seemed near again. “Okay, Lord. What was THAT about?  What are You trying to tell me? And what am I supposed to DO with the things that I see?’ I asked Him.

“Watch and tell,” was the sum of what I felt He said to my heart.

May The Lord make us all FAITHFUL in our part. So I will try to watch and to LISTEN (a part of watching)  and to tell faithfully.

And then I met Rasheed.

Perhaps you recognize that as an Arab name, as it is.

In Israeli hospitals, the activity begins on Sunday and the rooms fill up quickly. There is continual pressure and activity. The aim is to discharge as many patients as possible by Friday, before Shabbat begins. On Shabbat the hospital can be pretty empty.

It was on a Thursday that I first met Rasheed. He was heading the cleaning crew and came in with a loud, “Shalom, coolum.”  (Shalom everybody.) He had a big smile.  It was lovely.

I smiled back and he joyfully went about his work. Then he came over for a break and sat down with me. We were soon talking. This is VERY much the Israeli way, in that everyone talks to everyone and nothing is considered too personal.

He was very likeable, warm and inquisitive.  After the initial questions about where I came from and why and many questions about Alaska, I began asking him about himself.

“I LOVE learning.” he said.  “I read in three languages and love to read anything.”

His Hebrew was good, although I’m not the best judge, but his English was weak.

I asked him if he was a Christian.

“No, I am a Moslem,” he answered. “But I have read your Tenach and love the stories…”

I wondered which ones. David bringing the foreskins of the Philistines to Saul? Joshua conquering the land?

I asked him if he had also read the New Testament (Brit h’hadisha) but he was unfamiliar with the word in Hebrew or English. So I said, “The part about Jesus.”

He looked at me in surprise. “Are you a Christian?” he asked.

“I am a Messianic Jew,” I answered. “So, I am Jewish and yes, I am a disciple of Jesus and follow Him.”

His story began to unfold. He is 28 and has six sons − three of his own and three that he had to raise up as seed for his dead. His brother was killed fourteen years ago.

My mind immediately jumped to the fact that fourteen years ago, we were in the midst of a terribly bloody intifada.  He then told me that twelve years ago his father also had an accident and has been unable to work ever since.  Pieces of his story began to emerge:

Rasheed said that he was a teacher but that it is hard teaching in the Old City, so he is back in Teacher’s College now − near our apartment − getting his Master’s Degree. He wants to teach Special Ed as his first son has trouble speaking. So, he is working on a cleaning crew and going for his Master’s Degree, raising 6 sons because of a dead brother and injured father.

When I asked about his wife he told me that she lost her mind and is no longer in the picture so he must care for all of the boys. Plus, he has osteoporosis and fibromyalgia but he must be strong for them and never show them that he is really weak and that SOMEHOW he must keep going. He wanted them to go to he university, but he is so very, very tired.

My antenna went up. He had every reason possible to carry out an attack. More and more of the “lone wolf attackers” have difficult personal problems and use this form of suicide to solve their problems.  First, they are celebrated as a hero, a martyr, which makes them the strongest of the strong and respected. The financial problems of the family are solved as the Palestinian Authority pays the family a very large monthly salary, the price of a “shahid” or martyr.his family is cared for.  Thirdly, it is a way out of his seemingly impossible life.

The whole time we were talking I was looking deeply into his eyes but there was a veil there.  I also saw two fires. One very soft and kind and loving. The other, very wicked and flashing with hatred. Staring steadfastly into the center of his eyes I said, “Rasheed, how do you keep your heart tender and soft?”

He looked confused, “I do not understand these words, tender and soft.”

In Hebrew I said, “You know the word ‘ka’shey (hard)? Well, soft is the opposite.”

“I never thought about that,” he answered.

“But I think that this is a very important question because you have a very hard life. You could easily let your heart grow bitter and full of hate, this must not happen because love is the source of life.”

He looked surprised. We spoke only a little more and then someone came to call him back to work.  He hugged me and thanked me and told me that he liked me very much and would come back and talk more.

When I was left alone, I became concerned. Yes, for him, but also, being a Jerusalemite, the alarm bells went off in my inner being that this could be a dangerous situation, so I alerted a few for prayer. I lifted him in prayer. Please pray for his salvation.

How grateful I am to Him for His creative opportunities.  May we all be found faithful…wise as serpents, gentle as doves, for His glory.

Lovingly,

your sister J

2 Comments

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Israel, Jerusalem, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

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 —

“Chag Sameach!” or Joyous Holy-day from Jerusalem, dear sisters and brothers.  BLESSINGS IN THE LIGHT OF YESHUA to each of you.  To the Light of His Face may we be drawn and in that Light may we be changed by Him and for HIS glory Alone.  May He be blessed and glorified and may you be blessed and encouraged.

I wondered what I would do.  This year, for the first time, I did NOT seem to have Sukkot (feast of tabernacles) on my mind or in my heart.  WHAT TO DO?

“LORD HELP!”  I prayed.

Since we live in this apartment, it is difficult to make our merepesset (balcony) into a sukka, and with my husband away, the difficulty is compounded.

He left for England to visit our older daughter and family early yesterday morning.  I was up at 3 a.m. to have some time with the Lord and have his breakfast on the table by 4.  We have a system here that I think is great: the sheroot.  Any of you who have visited Israel will likely at this point roll your eyes, laugh, and remember a weird and harrowing ride to or from the airport.

Sheroots are generally 9-11 seater vans that pick you and your luggage up at your apartment for about a third of the price of a taxi. Only, the drivers are humorous and sometimes grumpy total maniacs. It can be scary, downright terrifying for the uninitiated.  The assortment of people, languages, and cultures in any given sheroot can be an education. The cell phones can be maddening.  I find it funny.

The sheroot came to pick him up at APPROXIMATELY 5 a.m. A quick prayer and kiss and they were off…and there I stood.

Alone!

It was still very quiet, except for the garbage truck. At 5:15, the second morning train appears and stops for 10 minutes in front of our apartment until the 5:30 schedule gets flowing. Public transportation here does NOT run through the night but stops at 11 or 12, depending upon the line, and begins again at 5:30 a.m. It also does not run on Shabat or holy days.

As I crossed in front of the train I glanced up to see the driver.  She happened to be a woman and was intently powdering her nose in the mirror of the train. For some reason unknown to me, I began to breathe again and to feel some life come back into me and laugh.

Although I had been up for two hours already, I knew that much lay before me. I wouldn’t see my bed again for at least 15 hours.

One of our very dear brothers at Kehila lost his father on Yom Kippur.  We knew that he was taking it hard. Despite MUCH prayer and sharing, and the fact that he was with his father when he passed, his father had not turned his life over to Yeshua before dying that he knew about. I knew his grief was deep.  It is a common situation here sadly, painfully, to find ONE member of a family who knows Him. It is my situation still as well

I have explained before about the Schiva or the practice of sitting in a place of mourning for 7 days with the door open. EVERYONE comes to comfort you, to talk, share, remember, bringing food and eating WITH the grieving people. They do this so the mourning family can keep their strength up and also are distracted somewhat from focusing on their profound loss.  In this case, because Sukkot is a high holyday, one commanded in scripture, they had to get up from thjeir mourning at noon today, so the schiva was shortened.

Our brother and his family live in Modiin, a town or small city half way between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.  It is over the green line so we need to go through check points.  My dear sister, who is 83, offered to take me because we don’t have a car. I knew it was going to be interesting when she said, “I’m not sure how to get there but you can direct me and read the signs as I can’t see very well.”

I rode with her to Kehila on Shabbat so I know that she has a habit of just stopping in the middle of the road while she’s driving along the highway to decide if she’s going right. Armed with MUCH PRAYER, a 2005 map, and a vague address, we took off into the hills.  An hour and a half later we were stopping people in the town asking for directions.

“Give me your phone, I’ll set up your way (the local GPS) for you,” said one young man when we showed him the map.  He didn’t know what a map was.  We handed him in our phones and he couldn’t figure out what THEY were either.

“I’ll photograph the directions for you,” he kindly told us, “where is the camera?”

The generation gap was physically tangible!

BUT being lost in Modiin had one great advantage.  EVERYBODY and I mean EVERYBODY was busy building their sukkas, the old fashioned way AND I CAUGHT THE VISION AGAIN.

Here in Jerusalem over the years these sort of instant sukkas became more and more popular: either a plywood shack with a bamboo mat cover or pre-fab metal poles that hook together with prepared stamped design material walls. You know, a plastic Christmas tree approach.

When we first came to Jerusalem, everyone had palm frond roofs with rugs and assorted material walls. They were very creative and special.  In Modiin people were everywhere carrying branches and palm fronds and woven rugs made the sides. I smiled dspite the fact that we were heading to a schiva to comfort our brother.

My joy increased as we sat in a full room, off to the side with our brother, and found that The Lord HAD INDEED been encouraging his heart and the victory was all over him.  Our Lord is faithful! We had wonderful fellowship, encouraging one another with the faithfulness of The Lord.   I came home alive, inspired, victorious and exhausted.

But there ARE sukkas everywhere here as well, pre-fab and not. They are in front of every restaurant, alongside the bus stops, at the supermarket, on sidewalks, housetops, in parks, and so forth.  I, along with the other inhabitants of Jerusalem, have been delighted by what the Lite Rail has done, taking school children’s drawings and patterning them like a quilt design, printing them on a long strip like wallpaper. They plastered the ceilings of the train with these colorful rug designs.   It’s delightful.   I love to walk the dog at night and see the lights inside and the shadows of the families, laughter ringing out as they celebrate together in their homes. Many will sleep and eat there for the full 7 days.

Anyone can go into anyone’s sukka and just sit down and soon you are friends with everyone. It is a country of open houses right now as we participate in His pattern to: ‘REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US WHEN HE BROUGHT US OUT OF EGYPT WITH A STRONG OUTSTRETCHED ARM AND WE DWELT IN TEMPORARY, FLIMSY DWELLINGS.”

We get to look up at the vast sky filled with dreams of universes of stars through the God-made network of branches and tree limbs and remember how small and finite we are. He is HUGE and INFINITE!

HOW BLESSED WE ARE IN THIS!  Would that we LEARN and bend our stiff necks to worship and not forget…

It was such a short time ago that I wrote to you about the almond blossoms and the tiny first buds of the rimon (pomegranate).  Today as I arrived at work, the trees on the block were full of bursting red, ripe pomegranates.  The almond tree in front of my work is dropping its ripe almonds.

The fullness of time HAS COME!

I am writing now BECAUSE I was alone tonight in my sort-a-non-sukka-sukka.  When I walked the dog, we cut many leafy branches, including a couple of small palm fronds, olive branches, pomegranate branches, fig branches, but I couldn’t make a ceiling nor really hang up sides. So I assembled something leafy. We have a big leafy tree that hangs over our merepesset, so I look up and smile, and give thanks to HIM Who cares so tenderly and is so totally faithful, EVEN WHEN WE WALK THROUGH FIRES AND FLOODS, We must gaze at the gates of death.

So on this, the first night of Sukkot, I am finally off to bed.  Thank you for taking the time to read, thank you for your love, thank you for the encouragement that I receive through many of you, but mostly, thank you for your prayers and for being a delight to Him Who is worthy.!

God BLESS you!

Lovingly, your sis

2 Comments

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Israel, Jerusalem, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

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 —

Greetings with grace and mercy in The Blessed Name of our Lord, Yeshua h’meshiach, Jesus, Lord, Saviour, Messiah, King of kings.  May HE be known, glorified and blessed and may you be blessed and edified.  May we all hunger for Him more and more, and be restored to our first-love.

As I begin this letter to you the world is in such turmoil.  Terror attacks, bombs, destroying storms and fires, wars, a world being propelled out of control.

And yet, some things continue in their cycles, even if the very seasons seem to become more unbalanced.

Yom Kippur is fast approaching, on the heels of Rosh h’shana.  Yom Kippur − the most somber of days on the Hebrew calendar arrives tomorrow, Friday at sundown and takes us through sundown Shabat.

It is “The Day of Awe,” the day of fasting and prayer, the day of repentance − seeking forgiveness for sin.

According to Judaism, The Book of Life is opened on Rosh h’shana, and sealed for the year ahead at the end of the Yom Kippur fast.  It is the time of reckoning, of weighing, of seeking, and of judgment.   It is a time of cleansing and changing and it is an awesome time.

The entire country comes to a full standstill.

NO stores, NO restaurants, NO public transportation, NO PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION. TV and radio broadcasts cease, the airport shuts down, many people neither wash nor wear leather items, the synagogues stay open and the prayer books open. Only hospitals remain open for emergencies. Ambulances make quiet rounds as people will not use phones to call an ambulance if one is needed, so ambulances quietly roam the streets and can be flagged down.

Yom Kippur (the day of the Atonement) is the singular day that MOST Jews, secular as well as religious and traditional all observe.  Statistics report that somewhere between 73%-95% of all Israeli Jews observe the total fast of Yom Kippur.

LEVITICUS 23:27-28 says: “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God.”

LEVITICUS 16:29-31 says:   “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you.  For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.  It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever.”

Perhaps it would interest you to read a bit of one of the sources of information:

When the second Temple was destroyed in the year 3830 from creation (70 CE), the Yom Kippur service continued. Instead of a High Priest bringing the sacrifices in Jerusalem, every single Jew performs the Yom Kippur service in the temple of his or her heart.

Forty days before Yom Kippur, on the first of Elul, we begin blowing the shofar every morning and reciting Psalm 27 after the morning and afternoon prayers. In Sepharadic communities, it is customary to begin saying Selichot (*PRAYERS SEEKING FORGIVENESS) early every morning (Ashkenazim begin just a few days before Rosh Hashanah)—building an atmosphere of reverence, repentance and awe leading up to Yom Kippur.

For the week before Yom Kippur (known as the 10 Days of Repentance), special additions are made to prayers, and people are particularly careful with their mitzvah (COMMANDMENT) observance.

Just as Yom Kippur is a day of fasting, the day before Yom Kippur is set aside for eating and preparing for this holy day. Here are some of the activities that we do on the day before Yom Kippur:

Kaparot (FORM OF SACRIFICE)  is often performed in the wee hours of this morning

We eat two meals, one in early afternoon and another right before the commencement of the fast.

Many have the custom to immerse in a mikvah (RITUAL BATH) on this day.

Extra charity is given. In fact, special charity trays are set up at the synagogue before the afternoon service, which contains the Yom Kippur Al Cheit prayer.

Just before the fast begins (after the second meal has been concluded), it is customary to bless the children with the Priestly Blessing.

Holiday candles are lit before the onset of the holy day.

Like Shabbat, no work is to be done on Yom Kippur, from the time the sun sets on the ninth of Tishrei until the stars come out in the evening of the next day.

On Yom Kippur, we afflict ourselves by avoiding the following five actions:

Eating or drinking (in case of need, consult a medical professional and a rabbi)

Wearing leather shoes

Applying lotions or creams

Washing or bathing

Engaging in conjugal relations

The day is spent in the synagogue, where we hold five prayer services:

Maariv, with its solemn Kol Nidrei service, on the eve of Yom Kippur;

Shacharit, the morning prayer, which includes a reading from Leviticus followed by the Yizkor memorial service;

Musaf, which includes a detailed account of the Yom Kippur Temple service;

Minchah, which includes the reading of the Book of Jonah;

Neilah, the “closing of the gates” service at sunset, followed by the shofar blast marking the end of the fast.

Beyond specific actions, Yom Kippur is dedicated to introspection, prayer and asking Gd for forgiveness. Even during the breaks between services, it is appropriate to recite Psalms at every available moment.

All around me, I observe the above traditions being applied in a myriad of subtle but real ways, both personal and public. I ask God to show me how to walk in the midst.  It is amazing how the secular music on the radios playing on buses and in other public places expresses so poignantly a sincere and naively unashamed cry of the heart to KNOW and be close and restored to God, from Whom we really don’t WANT to stray.  It is not unusual to hear religious songs on our secular radio stations, but I am always riveted when I hear the heart of a secular musician crying out and seeking God through his music.

In my own life experiences, this is unique.  It’s funny in a way because when I first came to Him, one of the first and immediate responses I had toward His love was to turn completely away from all secular music. It represented my past and I wanted nothing to do with it.  It dragged me down to my filthy memories.

Here, in a different language and culture, it doesn’t always hold the same sinful connotations for me and doesn’t stir the same memories and emotions. So it allows me a certain freedom to listen to the words with clean ears and heart.  I don’t know if ANY of that makes sense to you AT ALL, but it gives me a taste of the hearts of the people around me and the ones whom I am praying for or wanting to pray for. I am thankful for that.

So, the music takes on a longing note.  The party stops and people begin to say to one another, “gmar chatomah tova” or “may you end (the fast) with a good signature.”  This means “MAY YOU BE INSCRIBED IN THE BOOK OF LIFE!”  What a greeting, when you stop to think about it!

When we first came I used to answer, “Thank you.  I know that I am.”

But whereas,  I felt good about saying that, it impacted no one, and people would just look at me strangely.  None the less, I couldn’t bring myself to use that greeting UNTIL THIS YEAR.  Suddenly the question came to me, “Don’t you WANT them inscribed in the Book of Life, as you are?”

I thought, “Well…yes I do, but not in a superstitious way, but in reality!” And I thought, “So why don’t you STAND in that as a prayer as you say it? Stand in the prayer for them to be inscribed in THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE?  YES!  So this year I echoed the prayer back to each one, and as I did, I stood in my spirit in the gap for them and their families.  For me it was a liberating experience in prayer and I do pray that it will be FRUITFUL which is all that really counts.

MEANWHILE, AT THE SHUK − The separate section for the shuk h’kaparah is set up. It’s the place where the rather strange old custom of sacrificing a chicken, swinging it over your head while reciting a prayer for forgiveness of sins takes place.  The chickens are then donated to charity.  As animal rights activists have gained more voice over the years, there is now the counter demonstration taking place outside of the cordoned off sacrifice area.  I admit to this being a sometimes bizarre scene and even more surreal as it takes place in the early morning hours. BUT LOOK AT THE LENGTHS THAT PEOPLE GO TO, TO GET TO GOD.  And HOW do I translate His Way to those whom I long to see rejoice at the sight of Whom they seek.

Who would think that a day of fasting for an entire nation would be preceded by such a focus on food!  You would think that a mighty winter storm was approaching if you entered the shuk or the market and joined the throngs stocking up least we starve.  Everyone comments every year:  “Why is it that we need so much FOOD for a fast day?”  I agree.  It’s funny.  Even at this, the holiest most profound day in the Jewish calendar, there is comic relief. QUICK! RUN TO THE STORE!  WE ARE GOING TO FAST!

And fast we do, as a nation, as a people, as believers fasting for the salvation of our people. For the scales to FINALLY come off of EVERY EYE. FOR ALL OF ISRAEL TO BE SAVED AS IS WRITTEN IN ROMANS 11:25-27

 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:“The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;  For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”

AND IT FINALLY COMES TO PASS AS ZECHIARIAH WROTE IN CHAPT 12:10-14

 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.  In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves;  the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves;  all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.

ZECHIARIAH 8:19 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’

HE IS ONLY GOOD AND HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER. May you be encouraged by His faithfulness as you pray for His purposes to be fulfilled in and for the whole house of Israel.  May you be comforted in your griefs and needs and pains by The God of all comfort.  May you be found hidden in Him as we face ever increasing disasters.  May you fulfill all of His purposes for HIS GLORY.

Lovingly,

your sister J

2 Comments

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Israel, Jerusalem, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

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 —

Greetings with grace and mercy in The Blessed Name of our Lord, Yeshua h’meshiach.

May HE be glorified and blessed and may HE anoint my small offering that you may be encouraged and blessed.

Rosh h’shana is here, beginning on Wednesday at sundown.  How in the world did the beginning of the Fall feasts creep up on us so quickly?

Tourists are already flocking into Jerusalem from all over the world. Among them, many are Christians who come to attend one of any number of prayer conferences and convocations held during the hagim (holidays). Rosh h’shana is the first.

The Scriptural commands concerning Rosh h’shana are as follows:

 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.  You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.” (LEVITICUS 23:24-25)

“And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. For you it is a day of blowing the trumpets.  You shall offer a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to the Lord: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year, without blemish.” (NUMBERS 29:1-2)

Also, I personally believe that PSALM 81  is a deep revelation of this feast day. Perhaps, it was written as a worship and meditation for this holiday, which in the Hebrew is called Yom Teruah ‫יום תרועה ” or literally “the blowing of the shofar.

 “Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon,  At the full moon, on our solemn feast day.  For this is a statute for Israel, A law of the God of Jacob.” (Psalm 81-3-4)

So, why in the world is Rosh h’shana (or the “head of the year”) celebrated as the Jewish New year when the Scriptures clearly tell us that the first day of PASSOVER is to be the “head of the year” for us??

I have no idea!

I have mentioned this many times in the past and have asked many rabbis. I have read a number of commentaries (thank you google) and find no reasonable or convincing answer. TRADITION in this context seems to me to have overruled God’s command, but I will leave that one to others as far as this letter is concerned.

The signs of the fall feasts are in the air.

Since the first day of this month of Elul, which will change to the month of Tishrai at Rosh h’shane, the wonderful blasts of the shofar (ram’s horns) have resonated early in the morning in the synagogues. The horns can be heard throughout the neighborhoods, calling the people to prayer and repentance in preparation for these 3 fall feasts: Rosh h’shana, Yom kippur (the day of atonement) and finally Sukkot (Feast of tabernacles).

I love the shofar blast. It sends chills down my spine, Somehow, it is not quite earthly, or perhaps it calls to mind the call from heaven, a sound bridge between heaven and earth.  I LOVE IT!

As I ride the bus and train early in the morning, there is a new crowd.  Those on their way to the Western Wall of the Temple in the Old City for early morning prayers while those heading to work are reading and praying through the Psalms or other prayer book portions, seeking to prepare their hearts.  In many cases, they do it in sincerity.

When I get off of the train at the shuk to continue my way to work. This is now my exercise walk, which takes about a half hour. It adds extra prayer and worship time for me. Many local tourists are crowding the coffee stands and bakeries for an early morning snack.

It is a long standing tradition for the secular, or the inquiring, to visit the old synagogues in the area of the shuk during this season of repentance, to learn and to taste what they normally distain. Perhaps it’s not unlike the crowds that often attend church at Christmas and Easter only.

And now the seasons have indeed changed and the fall feasts are feasts of the ingathering and harvest, the abundance that God has provided is evident.  Grapes the size of plums, all colors and sizes, pomegranates, apples, the new tangerines (Clementine) – green skinned and tart – boughs of new still-yellow dates – dried figs and nuts. What abundance to thank God for!  And, the apples and honey, the symbol of Rosh h’shana.

“Shana tova omevorach omitokah.” (May you have a blessed and sweet new year) This is the greeting.  Honey cakes are baked (I bake mine with apples and almonds, sort of putting it all together) and shared.  Small gifts are given in thanksgiving.

Today I had an appointment at the hospital (Hadassah Ein Kerem) and some young religious girls handed me a lovely little box on which was written “shana ova” with a small honey cake inside.  What a nice way to lighten hospital visits.

And looking around the hospital made me think of you all again, wondering how I could describe this phenomenon that seriously defies words, wondering how I could fit it into a letter about Rosh h’shane, but the little gift cake bridged it for me, because Hadassah Ein Kerem IS a wonder indeed and not like any hospital you have ever seen.

It stands a fortress on a small mountain of its own, built into the rock. I have heard that it is built to withstand nuclear attack, which would not surprise me.  It’s history is worth reading, if any of you would take the time to google it.

It boasts Chagall windows (the famous artist Marc Chagall) and a piano in the main new entry way that someone is always playing. Sometimes an entire orchestra sits there to soothe the patients and doctors alike.  Yes, the patients and Doctors — Arab, Jewish, Druzim, Bedouin, Religious, Secular, foreign, Iraqi, African, and South American. Both doctors AND patients represent all of these groups and more.

The hospital is so huge that no one can find their way around it anymore. I’ve heard that even the doctors get lost if they have to venture into an area they are unfamiliar with, but a kind and friendly hand will always help you find your way.  It has a full service shopping mall, hotel, post office, bank, and heliport. It is a major research center and a leading medical university.

It is built above ground and below ground.  In my opinion, the workers there are kind. If you are ever here, I ENCOURAGE you to avail yourself of a tour of this unique place.  As I was weaving my way through it today, I was thinking how this place was a world within a world, a full service city. But you know what?  The people milling around in a leisurely manner are DIFFERENT.  Some are wearing pajamas, some have I.V.s in their arms and no hair (chemo), some are wearing face masks (transplants), some are pushing tiny Baby buckets loaded with newborn Babies, and others are pushing strollers where small ones are also receiving chemo.

AND MANY BELIEVING NURSES AND DOCTORS WORK HERE.  WHAT A PLACE!  And no one seems to take notice who is wearing a Jewish head covering or a Moslem one or bandages, or no head covering at all…hair or not.

But I’m digressing.  I DO get carried away because in my eyes I want to shout:  Come and see what GOD HAS DONE!

And that brings me again to Tamima Ben Tsvi.

I have spoken of her much over the years.  I love Tamima. Her name means “the simple purity of God.”  She was in the Doctor’s office where I worked several days ago, and we were speaking about our roots.

The newest secretary, Mirav had never heard Tamima’s story.  I was honored to hear yet another portion that I hadn’t heard before.  We had spoken often about her experience when Jerusalem was liberated.  She was very poor and her family lived in a small room built against the Old City walls.

So in 1967, when the fighting was fierce, it was often happening right over their heads.  She had told me that when she heard our soldiers entering the Old City, she ran out of her hiding place and followed them in.  With amazement I listen to her.  But this time I learned that her family was from Iraq and that they left forcibly and with nothing, although they had been wealthy there.  They traveled by foot. She was just a tiny child.

The winter that they arrived Israel was still destitute and they lived in tents, but it turned out to be the coldest and snowiest winters on record — that and the following one.  It was decided by the government that the children could not survive these winters in tents in such poor conditions. So all small children were taken to kibbutzim to be cared for.  Tamima did not yet know Hebrew but she learned by hearing and was warm and cared for during those 2 winters.  She spoke of the loving care given to the children by those who weren’t really much older than they were.  And then we spoke of the wonder of the country growing out of such beginnings.

The wonder of the abundance!

The wonder of the blessings!

The wonder of Israel just BEING again…after 2,000 years!

And so, as the shofar sounds loud and clear on Wednesday night and throughout Thursday. My prayer is that we will HEAR and HEED and LISTEN TO and OBEY the call from heaven;

TO REPENT.

TO REMEMBER.

TO BE THANKFUL TO THE LORD WHO KEEPS HIS WORD.

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

 God bless you and thank you SO MUCH for your prayers,

Lovingly,

your sister J in  Jerusalem

2 Comments

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Gifts of the Spirit, Israel, Jerusalem, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

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 —

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”  DEUT 29:29

” The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.”  PSALM 25:14

Beloved,

Greetings with grace in the mercy of our Lord Yeshua h’meshiach, Jesus Christ, Who is and was and will be and Who Alone is righteous and just.  May HE be blessed and glorified, and may you be blessed and encouraged.

I am scrapping the letter that I began several days ago and praying that The Lord will anoint this one for His purposes.

I want to share what is taking place here from my standpoint (always realizing that it is opinion as everything else that we read.)

This morning is so very quiet and pleasant.  The song birds are singing their hearts out and the trees and flowers are stunning in their full display; it reminds me of a lovely, happy and healthy person in their prime…perhaps 32?  That is how the day appears.  It is Shabbat.  The “settled Shabbat peace” is not deceptive, but it is a comma or parenthesis around the events of the week.

Last Friday, two young Israeli Policemen, Druze (not Jewish) were gunned down as they sat and stood talking to one another at their post by the Lion’s Gate of the Old City, the same Gate through which the City was liberated 50 years ago.  Their murderers came running off theTemple Mount with guns.  This is an extraordinary event.  Israel immediately closed Temple Mount and installed metal detectors.  The result has been: world condemnation and bloody riots. NOT about the murders nor about the fact that guns were smuggled on to Temple Mount, but about the metal detectors.

Daily the Palestinians have called for Days of Rage and riots, which have grown daily, watered by inflaming rhetoric.  As Friday Moslem prayers approached there was much tension and calls from many nations to take down the metal detectors.  They were not taken down and prayers were quiet, but the days of rage organized in surrounding areas were quite violent. Three Palestinian rioters were killed in the battles.

Last night a Palestinian man, incited by his leaders who called for liberating the Moslem holy sites from the infidels, entered a home in a Jewish village and murdered 3 Israelis sitting at Shabbat dinner.  AND THAT IS ALL THAT I WILL SHARE WITH YOU ABOUT THE SITUATION FROM MY STANDPOINT.

It’s been HOT  and we are a hot natured people.

On Thursday I stepped off the train in front of our apartment and was greeted by my husband and our little bouncy dog, along with billowing smoke.  The acrid smell filled my nostrils and the appearance of large snowflakes (ash) falling from the sky cast the hot day into a surreal framework.  No doubt about it, a fire was nearby. A big one and a rapidly moving one.  My husband looked up at the same time. It was just beginning, but oh my, was it moving on quickly!

We may be smack in the center of Jerusalem, but Jerusalem is surprisingly small in size. The Jerusalem Forest begins just 2 or three blocks below us. Stone homes may not burn like wooden ones but they form a perfect oven to cook the contents.  People began to come out of buildings, pointing at the darkening sky.  The fire was very near.  “It’s coming up the canyon right on the street behind our apartment!” my husband yelled.  “We’d better get some things and be prepared to run for it.”

He immediately took off down toward our daughter’s apartment to see if she and the children were safe as they are right up against the Jerusalem Forest. I heard sirens and called our daughter who said that the police were already evacuating the area.  I threw a change of clothes, money and passports, daily medications and my Bible into my agala (shopping cart) and looked ruefully around at family photos and a house decorated with mementoes of our life. I was sad that I felt sad at the thought of them burning up.  I readied my canary for a trip away from danger, but just about then the water and retardant planes began flying over in a masterful display of rescue: birds dancing in the sky to distract the fire breathing dragon.  Rescue and fire truck sirens bounced off of the hills and buildings, and thankfully the fire was put out with no loss of life and little property by nightfall. Such fast and skillful work, but such a reminder of the suddenness with which it all can change.

I know that MANY of you reading this are also in the midst of MAJOR fires (DEAR ones in California!) and other disasters (earthquake in Greece and Turkey)  and this fine-tuned my prayers for you.

And as always – there is a lighter side of life in Jerusalem.

Each day as my bus passes the first station (our old wonderful Orient Express train station turned into historic entertainment area). Seriously, the Orient Express used to come here and part of the line and original cars were still in use when we made aliyah. We got to ride on it!  I have been noticing the merry-go-round on my trip home from work.  I have always loved horses so as a small child, growing up in a big city, the merry-go-round was the closest thing I had to a horse at that time.  My Granddaughter Maya is now 3 and all I could think: “Gotta take Maya to the merry-g- round.”

And I did.

But even that turned out to be an ‘Israeli experience’.

The day was HOT so we left early, not as early as I wanted, but we had fun on the bus and the train.  She was already a bit tired by the time that we arrived so I knew that it would be a short but fun trip UNTIL I WENT TO BUY MY TICKETS.  “It’s only kaytinoat in the morning.  You can come back after 1:30.” 

OF COURSE!  I am Israeli!  How could I not have remembered?  “Kaytina” an Israeli institution that I have described in past letters.  With the very high cost of living here, it is expected that both parents work.  NOT to work is considered a huge luxury and few can even pay the rent on one salary, let alone food, etc. So children are cared for from very young ages in a variety of creative (and usually excellent) ways.  There are gans (or nurseries) for very young children. After school hoogim (activities structured for every possible talent) for older and in the summer there are kaytinot, which are SORT OF like day camps, but not quite.  The variety is HUGE. Art? Science? Play? Legos? Swimming? Sport? Crafts? Drama? Play? Trips?  YOU NAME IT – there is a kaytina available. AND a way to find help to pay for it.  Children are considered our national treasure.

So on that Tuesday, 10 groups of religious girls (kaytinoat), each accompanied by her armed soldier to protect her from unseen events were scheduled to ride the rides and blow the bubbles and play in the gymboree.  Maya looked as if she wanted to cry and so did I.

I looked up at the kindhearted ride operator and started begging as only a Jewish Grandmother can.  Perhaps not your most spiritual or gracious response, but yes, an Israeli one.  He caved in immediately.

Obviously he also had a Grandmother.  I purchased tickets for two rides and he quickly scooted us on to the merry-go-round before the next group of girls could gather.  We picked the BEST horse!  The camp director was furious but the ride operator came to our defense and winked at us.  As the horse began to go up and down Maya’s eyes got as big as saucers. She looked up at the decorated ceiling and burst out in a passionate soprano rendition of “twinkle twinkle little star.”

It was surely a Grandmother moment!

BUT THE ISRAELI MOMENT WAS NOT OVER.

Our benefactor forgot the merry-go-round on our behalf and let it go around 14 times.  When the ride finally ended, we still had one more ride ticket and Maya wanted to go on the miniature train, but no!  The camp director was counting 15 campers to a ride and Maya was not one.  It got hotter.  Tears began welling up.  The ride man looked over and pointed to a long locked container decorated like a train car and signaled for us to go up the ramp and knock on the door.  Ok:  I’m adventurous.

As I got to the door a man about my age walked out and eyed us suspiciously.  “The man down there told us that we could come in here for awhile because we can’t get on the rides and we didn’t know that it was only for kaytinot this morning.”

He looked a bit annoyed but opened the door and asked Maya what her name was.  “Maya.  You can go in if you PROMISE NOT TO TOUCH anything but the buttons,” he said as we entered an extraordinary hidden treasure.

As you know, virtually all Israelis are in the Israeli Defense Forces, some for much of their lives.  The Israeli Defense forces are probably unique for MANY reasons.  I have often noticed that there is a creative and delightful sense of the secret…and we were walking in on one of those “secrets.” The entire inside of the double container had been set up with a miniature world spanning at least a century and connected by a system of miniature trains moving by the upgrade of precision computers, lights flashing, tiny terraced farms operating, villages going about daily life as the trains passed through. IT WAS AMAZING!

The man told me that the oldest and most intricate trains and miniatures were from Germany, about 100 years old.  Some were modern, some things were plastic, but what a tiny world. He had rewired everything to work by computer (he even had a schedule log for switching tracks).  There were buttons that Maya could press to cause a monkey grinder to play music or a Ferris wheel to go around, or farm equipment to operate. I don’t know who was more amazed: she or I.

“I’ll give you 10 minutes.” he told me somberly.  I was delighted, and so was Maya.  It was a day well spent: an Israeli day.  Nothing went as planned, but even better.

On the bus going home I pulled a small finger puppet out of my purse to entertain my Granddaughter, and immediately the woman across the aisle, with 7 daughters, pointed and they all gathered around grinning.  In one big family some moments are happy ones.

BLESSINGS, WITH GRACE AND PEACE AND MERCY AND HIS PRESENCE TO YOU!  Lovingly,

your sister in Jerusalem

2 Comments

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Israel, Jerusalem, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

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 —

Greetings, Dear sisters and brothers.

May The Lord be blessed and glorified and may His blessings and encouragement and breakthroughs be seen in your (and my) lives today.

“I’m traveling for a month.  I’m going to New York, America!”  Hezzi (short for Ezekiel or Ye’khez’ki’el in Hebrew – meaning God will strengthen me or God is my strength) announced to me with a huge, excited grin.

“You have never been to New York, America?”  I asked him.

Hezzi is no longer a 25 year old youngster, but is a 68 year old news man, well known in Israeli radio and television.  He grinned ear-to-ear. “Nope!  I have never been to America!  I am so excited to see New York and Los Angeles and Los Vegas.” He looked like a little kid.

Moshe walked in. “Hezzi is going to America for the first time,” I said.

Hezzi turned around with a big grin.

“America?” Moshe shook his head. “AWFUL place! Stay home and save your money!  The fruit and vegetables taste old and expensive.  A fortune!”  He shook his head and hands at the same time before continuing. “AND YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN IT’S GOING TO RAIN.  I mean…in the SUMMER !  You can’t even plan ahead because you don’t know!  Crazy weather and crazy people!  Stay home!”

Hezzie’s face hit the ground.  Totally deflated and ready to give away his ticket was written all over him.  “Moshe! ” I said, looking at him with eyes staring at him and hoping to make him feel a bit guilty. “Hezzie is excited about his trip and he is GOING TO ENJOY IT. It is JUST HIS FIRST TRIP there and he will come back and it’s going to be GREAT.”

Moshe caught my tone and changed his.  “Oh yeah, Hezzie!  Just a month long trip?  You’ll love it. It’s going to be exciting.  Everything is so big and so different than here.  It will be fun!”

Hezzie perked right back and soon we were both wishing him. ‘Nessiah tova’. (have a good trip)  I hope that he does enjoy it and comes back safe…AND…having heard a few testimonies perhaps.  He has a childlike joy for learning.  It will be fun to hear his report.  I DID make sure to tell him though that NY, LA and Los Vegas are NOT QUITE representative of America.  I think he got it.

 

School is out and Israelis are traveling.  Some can afford it, many young ones or professors find work outside the country, some put their trip on overdraft − the Israeli phenomena where the bank becomes like a credit card. Just go into minus and deal with it somewhere down the road.

Israel can be a tense place to live. Travel is a way that many Israelis let off steam.  We live in a tiny country where all of our neighbors are either at war or hate us and would like to engage us in a war − not to mention tension INSIDE our borders. But we have been given an amazing country, a most beautiful and fruitful one, and I for one, am happy to stay.

Daily I witness acts of mercy and kindness that I have come to take for granted.

Riding home on the train from work yesterday, I noticed the jovial mood among the armed soldiers also traveling for Shabat.  There seemed to be more of them than usual dressed in sandals and casual civilian clothes with their weapons strapped on their backs and then it hit me: Summer.  They are off to guard groups of young people on hikes or gathering for camps, and I remembered the unfamiliar feeling when I first understood this nearly 23 years ago, that the soldiers in our midst, armed with some heavy duty automatic weapons are there to PROTECT us and for no other reason. That was humbling, and still is.

I got off the train in front of my apartment and noticed that the ice cream place across the street from us was jammed with perhaps several hundred young people, laughing and carousing while they ate their ice cream. I was again impressed by the unique character of a nation that has fought to keep their children alive and still cherishes the children.  I know that I have told you this but it bears repeating, that during WW2 there was a very large children’s aliyah. Many kibbutzim were often made up entirely of war orphans but for a few volunteer young adults or a doctor or director who would teach the children how to plant and build and defend themselves.  These were literally communities of children caring for children.  Many of them are still among us and perhaps someday God will give me a clarity of words to describe the relationship that this country has with her children.

In fact, I just found out that this has been designated “the week of the soldier.”  Since the soldiers are all our own kids, it becomes very personal.  I was listening to a description of what was happening this week to try to honor our soldiers.  Seems as if many individuals and organizations spontaneously volunteered to come together and “Bless the Soldiers.”  The ideas were to surprise them: with hugs, with free coffee, meals, goodies, free admission everywhere, spontaneous parties, pizza parties, water park parties and so forth. The public was encouraged to join in with donations, buying tickets and handing them to a soldier. It’s really catching on. But, being a people that can be known for … uh… emotional overkill, I had to laugh when I noticed a soldier on the train today being loved and encouraged by a couple of grandmotherly ladies. They wanted to get up to give him their seat and the like. I had the feeling that his mind was on guarding the borders, and perhaps he had had enough of being pampered.

 

In the light of the news TODAY, and in the Light of the Words that I read THIS MORNING, it is shocking how evident it is that we MUST hold fast to The Anchor that He has given us in His Word, by His Spirit or we WILL be swept away in the overwhelming flood tide.

Probably you know that two UN resolutions were passed: one denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the second, denying Jewish ties to Hebron.  This is, in fact, the world standing and denying the Bible, and we must understand what this means.  The Jewish ties to Jerusalem as recorded in the Scriptures, are far too numerous to begin to record here, and I am sure that you know them.  It is interesting to me that on Shabbat as I read to my husband, we were reading of the purchase by Abraham of the cave in Hebron, Machpelah by name, as a burying place, first for Sarah.  Last night, at kehila, part of our study in the Word included Joshua 14:6-15:

It surely seems to me that we are in a greater battle, contending for the Truth of The Word of God than perhaps during any other time in history.  I keep hearing the serpent in the garden saying, “Has HE REALLY said…?”

 

I glance at the world news – fires, floods, wars, murders, freak storms, rages – and know that each of you is also in a pressure cooker, as the heat under the world is turned up on us all.  I wonder how any of you can ALSO care about Israel…BUT…I know that as we cling to Him and His Word, we LOVE what He loves and our hearts bears what HIS HEART BEARS. So as the days wind down, the focus center in on Israel, and especially JERUSALEM.

It is interesting to note AGAIN that Yeshua and the disciples had ONE BIBLE and that did not include the New Testament. That holds so many implications for us.  HE, Yeshua, Jesus, IS THE WORD.  The living Word from Genesis through Revelation.  All of it. 

As I ride the bus and train, people are immersed in one of two things: their smart phones or the scriptures.  In the morning, the train and bus are crowded with people praying and reading the scriptures.  It is not at all uncommon to see people standing and facing the Temple Mount and praying in the Jewish manner of davening (a rhythmic half bowing), or tying on the tfillin, wrapping the leather strap around their left arm (to the heart) and continuing to secure the small box that has the law delicately inscribed within to their foreheads while committing their hearts and paths to The Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

On the 18th of this month, it will be 23 years since we received our citizenship!  It remains amazing to me…”The Lord has done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” I would have NEVER GUESSED the path that my life has taken.

At work I get to speak with many people nearing the end of their lives.  They are afraid and I ask The Lord, “How do I speak?  How do I share with them when I can not share Your Name?”

He directs me to His creation, the doors that we entered through into this life and I find myself speaking to and comforting many with hugs and words that I can only PRAY direct them to HIM.  It would make ME feel wonderful if I could share His Name, but without His door to the heart, it just hardens their hearts and I learn from Him how I am to share and pray for His increase.

And while daily life continues here in Israel, from our Northern Border with Lebanon, we have received the alarming news that Iran (Persia) has succeeded in supplying Hezbollah with much stronger and abundant weapon power and enabled them to build deep underground storage facilities as they prepare for the winding down of war in Syria and focusing on Israel.

We appreciate your prayers as always,

Your sister J in Jerusalem

2 Comments

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Gifts of the Spirit, Israel, Jerusalem, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare