Tag Archives: Israel

US Embassy: This Year In Jerusalem

The following article appeared as a guest column on World Net Daily two days ago:

US Embassy: This Year in Jerusalem

Exclusive: Larry Nevenhoven says God placed Trump in office for “such a time as this”

President Donald Trump repeatedly promised during his presidential campaign that if he were elected, he would move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

His counselor, Kellyanne Conway, backed up Trump’s words last December in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, “That is a very big priority for the president-elect, Donald Trump. He made it pretty clear during the campaign…”

Vice President Mike Pence revived President Trump’s promise in March 2017 at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee convention in Washington DC, “After decades of simply talking about it, the president of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

But is President Trump really a man who honors his promises or just another political hack, blowing smoke into the ears of Evangelical Christians and American Jews to garner their support?

The modern history of Jerusalem dates back to the armistice signed after Israel’s war of independence in 1948 when Jerusalem was partitioned into two parts. The western half of the city became part of Israel, while Jordan controlled the eastern half, along with the Old City. West Jerusalem became Israel’s capital with the nation’s executive, legislative, and judicial branches set up there.

This East-West partition remained in effect until Jordan attacked West Jerusalem on the second day of the Six-Day War in 1967. The bloody fighting ended with Israel capturing and annexing all of Jerusalem and the entire West Bank. The city has been unified under Israeli control since 1967.

In 1980, Israel passed a law stating Jerusalem was the “complete and united capital of Israel.” The United Nations declared Israel’s law was a violation of International Law and ruled it was null and void. The UN also called upon member nations to withdraw diplomatic missions from the city.

American politicians soon entered into the Jerusalem dispute with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush backing the moving of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem during their respective presidential campaigns in 1992 and 2000. Both showed their true colors when they reneged on their promises as soon as they entered the White House.

In 1995, Congress joined the cause by passing a law, which declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and required the US embassy to move its offices to Jerusalem by 1999. Failure to comply would cause the US State Department to lose half of its budget. The law allowed presidents to waive its requirements for six months at a time if it was determined to be in our nation’s best interests. Clinton, Bush, and Obama have dutifully signed waivers every six months since the passing of the law.

President Trump will face his first six-month waiver deadline in June.

Now, there’s no doubt Trump is up to his hips in alligators as he attempts to drain the swamp in our nation’s capital. Obamacare, building a wall, sanctuary cities, immigration issues, judicial court overstepping, budgetary problems, job creation, and so forth are more than enough monsters for any administration to handle. Yet, let’s be honest about these issues, okay? Trump needs the help of Congress and the Senate for significant changes to occur with these issues. And there’s no guarantee this will ever happen in today’s political climate.

Even so, it’s my deepest belief that the Lord placed President Trump into the oval office for one main reason: moving the American embassy to Jerusalem. Has the Lord ever done something like this before?

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

Over fifteen hundred years ago, the Lord set a Jewish girl named Esther into a leadership position as the Queen of Persia. She risked her reputation and life to fulfill her divine destiny by standing up for the Jews. Esther’s legacy still stands today as a shining example for government leaders to follow.

What are the legacies for the two presidents who defaulted on their promises to move the US embassy to Jerusalem? President Clinton is a convicted liar and President Bush is forever labeled with these words: “Bush lied and thousands died.”

It is tough to look in the rearview mirror to gauge the what-ifs of history, but let’s do it anyway. What might have happened if the two presidents had kept their promises about moving the US embassy to Jerusalem? It’s my opinion the Lord would have honored His promise in Psalm 122:6 by somehow covering their mistakes.

Clinton and Bush are forever cemented into their presidential legacies, but President Trump doesn’t have to make the same mistake that they did. He can honor his promise by moving the American embassy to Jerusalem now.

Let’s pray he does.

Larry Nevenhoven is a Christian author/businessman who has written over 1,400 articles on his Larry Who blog (www.larrywho.com) and published 13 eBooks on Amazon. His letters to editors have appeared in major newspapers from the LA Times to the Virginian Pilot with a dozen or so published on WND.

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Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Gifts of the Spirit, Israel, Jerusalem, Kingdom of God, Politics, President Trump, 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 Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of Aviv (spring); for in the month of Aviv you came out from Egypt.  “All that open the womb are Mine,…. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. “And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.  “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.  “And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end.  “Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the Lord God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.”  EXODUS 34:18-24

Beloved brothers and sisters, cleansed by The Blood of The Lamb, called into His kingdom for such a time as this, may you be blessed and encouraged and may THE LORD ALONE be glorified and blessed.

Shalom, from a city at the center of history and geography, which is…well…cleaning!

Yesterday while crossing a large street in the center of town, I had to jump out of the way of one of those one man riding street sweepers who was stopping for no one and seemed determined to clean the patch of street that I was on.  I jumped aside and he went intently on about his work, brushes whooshing away.  I chuckled.

“So this day shall be to you a memorial, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations.  You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.  On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses.  For whoever eats leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel…On the 14th day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread , until the 21st day of the month at evening.  For seven days no leaven shall be found in your house…whether he is a stranger or native of the land…”  Exodus 12:14…20

I don’t know about you, but the older I get the more I realize that all people are certainly NOT alike, not in taste or opinion or habit. Yet if I love someone, I REALLY WANT to please him.  I have noticed when I make a meal that pleases my husband, I save that recipe or if I wear something that he comments on I make note of that.

When I was a young believer, I made note of the things that God said He loved or abhorred and I still do that.  In no way did I think that my SALVATION was purchased or that I was any higher up on His list. If I did it, or any worse if I did not, but I WANTED to do things that pleased This One Whom my heart loved. So I took note of what He wrote.  I still feel that way and I don’t really understand the argument against doing what The Word says by His Spirit.

On the train coming home from the shuk, I looked over the parcels piled on the floor and laps of my fellow travelers. Every space was covered.  An older woman along side of me had a drying rack.  This is a simple, clever device for drying wet clothing in limited space, inside our outside.  It folds to slim flat and can be anywhere from 3 feet to about 6 feet long when folded.  I have noticed that the ones available at Pesach are plastic rather than the usual aluminum with clotheslines.  Why?  I still don’t know.

When I do find out I will likely shake my head.  Anyway, it wouldn’t occur to me that my clothesline might not be kosher for Passover, but I guess it should because another woman called over to my neighbor from across the train. “How much did you pay for that one?”

Immediately I heard: “65 shekels.  Some people are fanatics but I am not one of those.  65 shekels is enough.”

The woman across the train nodded in agreement.  “That’s a good price.  I found them 2 for 135 shekels.”

I thought, “Huh!  I would never have thought to replace my DRYING RACK.  Does it have leaven?”

But as I see the array of plastic sink and pipe liners, and stacks of new…everything, I try again to adjust my focus on Exodus chapter 12…

Our daughter came by today to help with a few things. As we discussed what was kosher for Pesach, she told me that her husband’s family gets rid of EVERYTHING and will eat no food unless it is marked “kosher for Pesach 2017” by a rabbi whom they approve of.  They even throw out all of their spices. Yes, salt, pepper, sugar, coffee, tea and all of the expensive exotic ones as well. They are Algerian Jews by background and culture.

It surely helps you to have a very clean house and also to keep free of loving things!  When you replace everything you own once a year, your items are limited by necessity.  They empty the apartment of everything and then take a large hose and hose down the entire apartment. They are SURE that there is NO LEAVEN.

Each time my focus gets off base and I start to feel anxiety to keep up with my cultural and generational expectations, I return to Exodus chapter 12.  Verse 3 says “…On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb…”

That is this coming Thursday or TOMORROW here.  I cannot take a lamb, but I HAVE taken THE Lamb, and as instructed in verse 6 “Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month.  Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.” 

Yes, this I DID do.  I was responsible.  I nailed Him to the cross. I was guilty of killing The One Who died for me, to set me free, and yes, I am FREE.  Free from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, but more importantly, free to serve Him in love.

The time is moving quickly and I seek to keep my balance…HE is first and yet there ARE necessities.  Shopping is much more hectic with the crowds, and choices must be made as this is a major holiday and many places will be closed, not only for the holy days themselves, but some for the entire week.  I chuckle to myself…none of us will starve, that is for sure!

 

My thoughts drift to Esther and I lift her up in prayer.  A couple of weeks ago as I waited to see a doctor in an area that I’m not very familiar with, I arrived early and went into a small toyshop.  It was a tiny hole in the wall but piled HIGH with the most wonderful and creative toys. A truly amazing shop.

“If’shar la’aksor?” (can I help you?), an older woman asked.

I told her that I only had a moment and wasn’t from this area but I was a Grandma and couldn’t resist.  She nodded and said, “I can help you find anything.  I know everything that is here and where it is and can find the perfect gift for each child.  I can do that because my husband and I bought every one for more than 50 years.  We were together every moment of every day and chose each toy together, but he is gone now.”

She burst out crying and fell into my arms to the dismay of (apparently) a relative and husband who were helping her unload new stock.  I assured them that it was ok and they should leave us alone.

“When did he leave?”  I asked.

“It has been 4 months now,” she wept.

“Oh, this is so new and hard, I’m so sorry!” I said, hugging her tighter.  “Was it a surprise?”

“Oh, he had the cancer, a bad one, but he did not want any treatment. He wanted to be happy.  And he was for 3 years, we almost forgot that he had it, but the last two months he suffered.  He told me that he had lived more than 85 years and that had been such a gift and that it was enough, but here I am and I miss him so much!’

I asked her if they had children and grandchildren and although I have forgotten the number it was a HUGE tribe.

“What a blessing.  They must be a comfort.”  I wanted so hard to comfort her, but I had the feeling that just listening and hugging was what she needed right now.  No one could take his place and I understood they had been married more than 60 years.  “I will pray for you and ask others to as well Esther.”

And that is what I’m doing now.  This Pesach will be so hard for her and for others all around left behind by loved ones.  Perhaps you will remember her too?

Pesach.

What IS it really?

The older I become the more mystical it gets in my eyes.  Each time that I begin in Genesis (Beresheet in Hebrew) and walk on into Exodus (Shmote in Hebrew), it is as if I am reading it for the first time. The immense wonder of it all only gets larger as I see things that I never have seen before, the way it ALL fits together. The MASTER PLAN laid out both plainly and in code, a weaving begun of a most beautiful symphony.

And here WE, of ALL people are in Jerusalem, joining the throng, heeding the call of “come UP to Jerusalem, the city where I have put MY Name and I will meet you there.”   

Psalms 120-134 (some include 119) are the Songs of Ascent because they were sung as the tribes gathered on the way, going up to Jerusalem for the feasts of Passover, Shavout (Pentecost or Weeks), and Sukkot (Tabernacles): the three feasts when all males were commanded to come up to Jerusalem.  Yeshua (Jesus) was part of this and sang these songs when He was a child and came up to Jerusalem with His family for Passover as described in Luke 2:41-51.

And still, many visitors come up during Passover/Resurrection season – up to Jerusalem and to the feasts of The Lord. It is a time to visit with beloved friends – both old and new.  It all mixes together and I wish you could all be here and see it and partake.  BUT NOW WE SEE YESHUA, JESUS, THE RISEN BREAD OF LIFE, THE FULFILLMENT OF ALL OF THESE AMAZING PATTERNS AND PROMISES…HE IS THE LIVING MANA…HE IS ENOUGH… HE IS THE LAMB…HIS IS THE BLOOD ON THE DOORPOSTS OF OUR HEARTS…HE IS THE WAY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS…HE IS THE FIRSTBORN…HE IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE….

AND IT IS JUST ALL SO BEAUTIFUL THAT I MIGHT BURST…

But first, I do have to finish cleaning. So, I will just go and sing while I clean.

May the blessings of His Presence be ours.  May we glorify The Lord and finish the work that He has given each one of us.

Lovingly,

your sister J

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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 —

Blessed greetings dear sisters and brothers, in The Name of Yeshua – Jesus – King of kings, Lord of lords, may He alone be glorified and lifted up and may you be blessed and edified.

Passover may well be the central theme song of Judaism. Although still three weeks off, here in Jerusalem it feels as if it is fast approaching.

As a child there was a sense of holiness and a sense of weightiness mixed with the excitement of the preparations:

 “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part…” (1 Corinthians 13:11, 12)

When I was a child, I watched my Mother prepare our apartment, particularly the kitchen, meticulously hiding away the everyday dishes, cutlery, pots, and pans in a box way in the back of the uppermost cabinet shelf. Carefully, lovingly,  unwrapping the Passover item, the special dishes saved only for this most special holy time.  The dishes had been my Grandmother’s dishes. My sister and I would look at them with wonder.

Since immigrating to Israel I have learned of the traditions of some of our other ancestors who had been dispersed to different ends of the earth when God’s Hand of righteous Judgment came upon our people. We became the wandering Jews, ( having been well warned by the Prophets and written Word and The Spirit of God).  I learned that the Jews from Ethiopia, for example, would break all of their dishes and have the potters make new ones for Passover each year.  Others would bring (still a custom here in Israel) their dishes, pots, and pans to huge boiling caldrons set up on various street corners where they’re submerged into boiling water for a specified amount of time before being pronounced “kosher for Passover.”

The shuk is also filled with ‘ahat pa’ami’ or disposable tins and dishes that many use during Pesach (Passover).  I remember pulling out the haggadot –  special soft covered books that contain the story of Passover, songs, directions for the order of the service, and an awful lot of cryptic teachings this and that Rabbi said.

My favorite part were the illustrations, often woodcuts, dramatic depictions of the Biblical events.  Even when we couldn’t understand the words, we would gaze at the pictures in hushed tones of reverence.

There was the great challenge for the youngest children: the four questions.  We had to memorize them, sing them in Hebrew (or English if we couldn’t yet master the Hebrew sounds). The questions:  “Why is this night different from all other nights?”

But the part that always frightened me was the parable of the four sons. The wise son who asks, “What are these commanded by The Eternal God?” The wicked son who asks, “What do you mean by this service?” The simple son who asks, “What is this?”

Which one was I? I did not know.

My sister and I would polish the special silverware used only for Passover, and clean the Passover candlesticks and matzo holder.

Yes, there was in my young mind a sense of something holy, but what it was, I didn’t know.

Now, as I read and re-read again and again, The Books. I come to Exodus, a thrill runs through me.  What is Passover?

Well, there is redemption.  Slaves, sold under bondage, redeemed through the blood of the lamb and the death of the firstborn.  Through works?  No, through mercy by grace in mystery.  Because we deserved it?  No, but HE Who created us all, chose us for this part.

Forty two years ago, when I was Redeemed by The Blood of THE Lamb, I wept with shock of recognition. What a work! Redemption promised 5,000 years ago and The Blood still prevails. A lamb for each house, applied on the doorposts.  The remarkable book of Exodus where we read such clear examples of obedience AND disobedience, of rebellion AND submission, of provision AND complaining, and we are commanded to REMEMBER.

Is THAT the central theme of Passover?

To REMEMBER?  REMEMBER our slavery, REMEMBER our deliverance through The Blood, REMEMBER our trek, our teachings, our rebellion, our stiff necks, OUR GOD, and His overcoming mercy.

That’s the conclusion that I came to quite a while back.  REMEMBER.  THANKFULLY we are told that The Holy Spirit would bring ALL THINGS TO REMEMBERANCE THAT HE HAS TOLD US.  OH HOW WE NEED HIM!

 

As my train passed by the shuk, there they were:  THE GARLIC.

I DID laugh.  Huge piles of freshly dug up garlic, earth still hanging from their big bulbs, were stacked high on palates at the shuk entrance.  Well?  What have we got to complain about NOW that so many of the people leave the land that we have been promised for vacations abroad during this wondrous season?  That was one of our FIRST complaints and reasons for wanting to turn back. We REMEMBERED, but it was the wrong thing.

 “We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic;” (NUMBERS 11:5) 

We have them ALL here now, right HERE, growing wondrously out of this land promised to us. The desert that He makes to bloom and blossom and produce, but the grumbling and complaining continues because only HE can change our very NATURE, just as He is changing the NATURE of the desert into a fruitful field producing all that I have just seen at the shuk.

Yes, in the midst of writing this, I had to stop, since my bread man has begun slicing my husband’s favorite onion bread by 9:30. My husband likes it NOT sliced. My pita people have a spicy flat bread that he likes only AFTER 9:30, on Tuesday, my day off, I stop everything and run down to the shuk, determined to just do what needs to be done and head RIGHT home.

But, oh the richness of what I learn at the shuk and on the train at that hour.  I thank The Lord that HE Who told me, and allows me to “what you see, write”… also shows me such jewels in the midst of each day!

   Pesach – full blast.  Two very old men were engaged in a loudly animated discussion of the Torah readings leading up to rosh hodish (the first day of the month) in this most special of months while a third, enjoying the sheer thought of it all, was singing the synagogue liturgy at the top of his lungs.  Although my apartment is just two stops from where the train line begins, the train was already jammed with religious school girls, university students, shopping wagons, baby carriages, and disabled with walkers. Pesach preparations requires EVERYONE to be on the move.

 

I remembered a day last week that I had planned to share with you when there was a hefetz ha’shood – an unidentified package (thankfully USUALLY someone’s forgotten lunch or shopping) was left at the tracks and the bomb squad had to be called to take care of it.  Everyone groaned as our train stopped for an unspecified length of time and people weighed the length of the prospective walk to their destination against their strength.  I stayed seated as I was still a good 40- minute walk away and had much to carry.  A young Haradi (ultra orthodox – black and white clothing with long side curls) man stood by the door and decided to step outside for a smoke.  He kept tapping the door open to make sure that he could get back on, but, in an unusual move, the train driver SUDDENLY just locked the doors and took off, leaving several outside the train.  When we stopped at the next stop, this young man boarded the train again, red faced, huffing and puffing, having RUN the entire way and to my amazement, grabbed THE BABY CARRIAGE he had left on the train.

Everyone applauded but I pointed up ward, “Toda L’El!” Thank You Lord.  I said and he nodded grinning widely and meekly.

The things one gets to witness on the train and bus. What wonders!

 

Today, the shuk was LOADED with new and wonderful looking produce, crowned, of course, with the fresh GARLIC.  These garlic aren’t dried, but are still moist. The early ones have yet to divide into what we know as the cloves. They are still one large, highly fragrant, moist bulb with very tall leaves.  I resisted and bought just 3 to roast with our chicken this Friday.  By next week the wonderful braids and wreaths of garlic – such a lovely gift to receive or give at Pesach – will begin to be seen.  Although breads and baked products are still available, very soon they won’t be and bakers will receive their well earned vacations.  Many of them still work in old style hot kiln ovens, Middle Eastern style, baking through the night or from early morning.  I am impressed by them, working so hard.  Macaroons and other kosher for Pesach food have already appeared in assigned places for the incredibly diligent who have already cleansed their homes of leaven.

According to my daughter, who married into a Haradi family, what we have translated into the English word leaven isn’t accurate.  According to the interpretation that she has learned, the word means fermented of a sort applying to wheat products.  Since The Lord looks upon THE HEART, my heart is free about the possibilities of the definition.

When a tender soul searching to please a Holy God tries to sift through the multitude of traditions and translations that have come to us over 5,000 years. MAY HE LEAD US TO THE ROCK THAT IS HIGHER THEN US TO SEEK AND FIND HIS FACE AND WALK IN HIS LIGHT.   May we REMEMBER HIM and truly GLORIFY HIM in the midst of all of the preparations that He offered to us as a tool to bring us to REMEMBERING.  HE IS ONLY WONDERFUL.

God BLESS you and keep you and make His Face to shine upon you and give you His Peace.  Lovingly,

your sister J

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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 —

Greetings dear sisters and brothers,

May THE LORD be seen, glorified and blessed, and may you be encouraged and blessed.  May all be for His glory alone Who shed His Blood for our atonement.

Well, after my last rant against the expression of Purim seen first and loudest, I am stirred again by the meaningful side of Purim, the rising expression of which grew louder as the days of Purim came and went out last night in Jerusalem.

I am blessed to be in the best fellowship in the whole world. Our meeting last night set my heart on turning from distractions to focus on what was really in front of my eyes.

Because the battles of yesterday remain until they are finally fully played out in the final days.  Our Pastor pointed out that the human hero-vessel in the drama of the book of Esther is not really Esther, but Mordechai, and all of the other intercessors who STOOD and cried out with long endurance hidden and buffeted, doing their part.  I shifted my eyes to his role and the obedience of all through the ages who have taken their portion and walked faithfully.

Listening to an everyday conversation at the Doctor’s office where I work spoke of the same premise to me: being faithful to the calling in which we are called.

Since Purim isn’t a “commanded holiday, not one that God commanded us to celebrate but one that we took a vow to observe as is noted in Esther chapter 9. It is a half-holiday with schools and public offices closed, but most work places are on what is called a “sabbath footing” or a part day of work.

The other doctor chose to take a full holiday, so we took emergencies only until 1:00 PM.  Two older ladies were sitting in my small part of the office, waiting for their turns to see the doctor, and the talk moved to Purim and how it is celebrated today.  It touched me as I listened and softened my too-quick-to-judge attitude.

One woman was in her late 80s and the other was 90.  Appropriately perhaps, their names were Rachel and Rebecca (Rakel and Rivka in Hebrew).  “I love Purim,” Rakel began.  “I love seeing everyone having so much fun, being so loose and free and not intense but relaxed.” (Huh!  I hadn’t thought of THAT part. We live in such an intense, serious country.)

“I love watching them too,” said 90 year old Rivka, “but they don’t know how to REALLY celebrate it, these young ones.”

I watched as Rakel answered and Rivka shook her head in agreement. “Ah, but we went before them and they watched us and they learn. We teach and they learn and that is what it is all about.”

That is what it is all about, each of these holidays. The passing of the torch, just as Christmas and Resurrection Sunday are used in the Church at large, to turn our eyes toward Him, to remember and worship AND TEACH OUR CHILDREN THAT THIS IS OUR GOD, CLOTHED IN MAJESTY, FAITHFUL, HOLY.

“He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.” (Psalm 103:7) 

May we KNOW HIM and HIS WAYS so that we might teach our children more than His ACTS alone. Yet in these holidays we get to share His acts and pray that it stirs them to a wonder about His greatness and omnipotence.

My husband and I sat with a cup of tea in one hand and in the other, a noisemaker called a rash rash in Hebrew, or a gregor in …ah? Whatever form of Jewish mixture language I grew up with in New York. I was reading the book of Esther to him on Sunday night. (My husband is dyslexic and prefers that I do all reading).

Traditionally whenever the name of Haman is read, the irritating noise from the noisemaker is sounded.  TRUE, most people read the scroll (migalat Esther) in groups and in Hebrew together, but my husband wanted to stay home and read in English this year.  It’s different in the large groups. Talk about making a racket!  The children, all sugared up on candy and decked out in costumes are standing on tiptoe listening for every mention of the name Haman.  I must admit that it keeps them alert to listening.

On Saturday night at our fellowship we read it aloud, a different brother or sister reading each chapter.  There it was read in Hebrew, but my husband and I read it in English.  We talked about the time in which it was written, the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem, and the carrying away the people into captivity. Jeremiah’s preaching. The prophets. The kings. This was the time of Daniel, Nehemiah, Ezra. Indeed Ezekiel was among the captives.  How important each one who obediently fulfilled his purpose was in the intricate puzzle of it all.

 

And here we are today.  We are again facing enemies who want to destroy us. The eternal question seems to be: “Who among us will look to God and trust and obey Him?” It seems to me that what happens depends much on the answer to this question.

So yesterday, I rode the bus and train to work. There were small Queen Esthers and Mordechais, full of smiles and carrying baskets, rushing through the cold wet streets to bless people with a “Purim Se’may’akh” greeting.  At work my desk began to pile up with sweets, fruit and nuts and an occasional tube of hand cream.

Someone even gave me a festive card telling me that a donation in my name had been given.  Kindness like this makes us feel like family and enjoying ourselves.

And that was yesterday.

And today: PASSOVER CLEANING BEGINS. AAAARRRRGGGHHH!

I went to the store and could barely get through the aisles as the “not kosher for Passover” food was being hurriedly moved to one aisle while the other aisles were being thoroughly scrubbed.

AND THERE IT WAS – CENTER STAGE RIGHT BY THE DOOR – THE MATZO!

“ALREADY?” was everyone’s response.

Yep, it’s time.  Scrub out the leaven, both inside and out.  A time to REMEMBER and a time to TEACH and a time to walk and seek Him Who is FAITHFUL through all of these ages, faithful to EVERY promise in His Book. I know that you also have no doubt that HE WILL DO IT.  May we fulfill our part, no matter how small or big.

God BLESS you.  May He draw each of us nearer to His heartbeat and may He Alone be glorified.

Lovingly,

your sister J

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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 —

“And Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.” Exodus 5:2

 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”  Acts 2:36

I greet you with love dear sisters and brothers and with the prayer that this letter will bring glory and attention to The Lord only, and by His mercy, also edify and bless you.

PURIM is NOT one of my favorite holidays.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the book of Esther, which is full of direction and wisdom for all of us who seek to walk with Him.  It is wonderful to focus on the blessed place before the throne and the humility and obedience in God’s chosen vessels.  The book is rich with history as well. A history that repeats itself and so we can learn about the faithfulness of our God, Whose precious Name isn’t even mentioned in the small book, although His Presence and faithfulness is so clearly evident.

It’s also lovely to remember the things that impressed me when we first made aliyah, immigrate to Israel, and to recall the way that the day was celebrated.  Although EVERYONE did not take part in the Esther-fast even back then, it WAS still a big part of the time period.

There was the gathering for the reading of the scroll of Esther (‘magillot Esther’) and the giving of baskets of goodies and fruits.  And living in the Ancient Walled City – or at least in the new part of Jerusalem – made it even more special as WE got to celebrate ‘Shushan Purim’ (the second day of Purim celebrated by walled cities as directed in the book of Esther).  There were children decked out in mostly homemade costumes. So many little Esthers and Mordachais, carrying baskets to give to others.

These things are still here, but not to the extent that they were some 22 years ago.  Costumes of all sorts, cheap shiny costumes designed to make one into super heroes and super NOT heroes, seem to look sexier and grosser with each passing year.  Painted faces begin appearing as people practice for what?  I don’t know! Oh, sort of a Halloween type of exhibition.  I have heard a number of people say, “Purim!  A time to get drunk,” as if this was what it was all about.  Yes, drunkenness was part of the tradition handed down with the holiday, but it has become central now.  I see far fewer Purim baskets for sale, and I am NOT looking forward to Purim this year.

Of course there will STILL be the reading of magillot Esther and there will STILL be some fasting and there will STILL be some baskets given out, but that intangible something has changed. The “party spirit” has replaced the sense of the Holy and it makes me sad.

Perhaps I’m being too hard, critical, judgmental.  Nonetheless, this is what I see building up, even more this year than in past years.  Perhaps next Saturday night (and here in Jerusalem next Sunday night) will usher in a reversal and I will have to eat my words.  I hope so. I really do.  I will pray to that end, especially as new Haman’s rise up around the world in modern form as such a REAL and PRESENT threat.

Perhaps that will sober us and remind us that it REALLY took an Esther and a Mordechai to prevail with God. It WASN’T and ISN’T a given now.   If my observations turn out to be a wrong call, I will HAPPILY let you know!  I am sure that it brings JOY to The Lord to know that many Christians around the world have taken up the mantle of Esther and Mordechai, and WILL be interceding for God’s purposes to be fulfilled!

 

Purim marks something else on our calendar as well and it’s already in the air.  When Purim comes, Pesach (Passover) is NOT FAR BEHIND.

  “And Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.” Exodus 5:2

You all know well that Scripture tells us that GOD hardened Pharaohs heart, and that indeed, he was raised up for the purposes that he fulfilled: that God would display His Mighty power and glory, and that He would have an instrument with which to judge the gods of Egypt.  God’s ways surely aren’t ours.

So over the next month, the entire nation will prepare for Pesach – the CENTERPIECE of who we are as a people and nation. I read this morning  in Acts 2:36:

 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 

and a thrill ran through me!  “…LET ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL KNOW ASSUREDLY THAT GOD HAS MADE JESUS, WHOM YOU CRUCIFIED, BOTH LORD AND CHRIST.!”

ALL the house of Israel!  What a revelation that will be (according to Zech. 12 and so many other places!).  It is really the revelation that the entire Passover Seder is about and represents and perhaps THIS YEAR will be the year for removing the blinders from the eyes of my people to SEE our Messiah.  To LOOK upon Him Whom we pierced and respond with hearts prepared through two thousand years of wanderings. May it be! true this year.

While I waited for the bus the other morning, I was listening to the Church bells in the Old City ringing in the early morning sunrise.  I had the opportunity to be in the Old City one night as I got to meet a new friend there. While I listened to the bells, I recalled a conversation that I overheard.

The Old City is FULL of tourists, and maps and information signs are posted everywhere.  A local tour guide led a small group (3 men) to the entrance of the Muslim Quarter. I heard one of the tourists ask, ‘Why is there so much fighting over the Old City?  Why is it SO important to these 3 religious groups?’

The tour guide pointed to Temple Mount and said, “Well, this area is holy to the Muslims because Mohammed went to heaven on the winged horse from here.  To the Jews, the holy Temple was built here not once but twice.  The Christians…well…it is not so important to them.  They have a few buildings, but it is really only the Church of the holy Sepulcher that is important to them.”

I was taken by surprise. My mind ran to the promises, the history, the battles, the depth and width and length of the meaning of this tiny area that has seen so much bloodshed.  The three men shook their heads.  Ok.  They were satisfied, now they “knew.”  They walked on.  I took a breath.

My older daughter said something that, to me is profound.  She said,  “The stones in Israel are covered with flowers.  That is the definition of Grace.”   

 It truly IS impressive to see the stones of Jerusalem, some massive, some not so, but all compacted together, pressed in tightly, dignifying Jerusalem with a uniqueness that can only speak loudly and clearly of GOD. For He uses stones to teach us so much.  And, yes, coming out of these stones, which will be dry and hot all summer, flowers grow out of seemingly IMPOSSIBLE places.

I was shocked when we arrived in July of 1994 and saw what appeared to be strings of a sort of orchid pressing through the stone, standing alone, not in groups or even two plants together. Each a sentinel of sorts, here and there.  Other flowers, tiny, fragile, breaking through the hard Jerusalem stone, alone, beautiful in their shout of David defeating Goliath all over again.  She was right. They SHOUT ‘GRACE!’

I think that I need a double portion of GRACE as I see Purim approaching this year.

Probably when I see my little 3 year-old granddaughter dressed as Queen Elsa. I will tell her that she is the PERFECT QUEEN ESTHER and melt like a flower pushing through the rock.  GRACE, GRACE, to this mountain too!

Shalom with love from Jerusalem.  Thank you SO MUCH for your prayers and patience.

Your sister in Jerusalem,

J

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Prayers for America (2017)

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Is Israel important to American believers?

“The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. (Jeremiah 31:31 NLT)

The New Covenant, which believers enjoy today, was offered to all of mankind because of Israel and Judah.

But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. (Romans 11:17 NLT)

All of the blessings of the Old Testament and New Testament belong to Gentile believers because we have been grafted into a Jewish tree with Jewish roots. If we want, we can think of ourselves as “grafted-in Jews.”

Thus, we need America to honor its commitments and to bless Israel.

My prayer today:

Lord, remind President Donald Trump of his campaign promises for Israel and that he promised to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Place a wall behind him so he can only go forward to fulfill his promises.

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.

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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 —

Greetings dear brothers and sisters,

May The Lord be glorified and blessed, and may you who are His be blessed and encouraged.

Two weeks in February feel longer somehow then two weeks at other times, but it has actually been three difficult months, months of challenges. I have learned that every challenge brings the choice: will I stand in HIS way or will I look for a different way out.  This time I learned that SOMETIMES I can THINK that I am taking HIS way, but am really standing in the flesh.

I’m am SO THANKFUL TO OUR FAITHFUL AND MERCIFUL LORD Who is willing to bring us into a corner where we are forced to see our flesh yet again and cry out for His overcoming grace.

Hard times are not synonymous with bad times, IF they produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

I made some notes over these past few weeks, things that I wanted to share.  Now I stare at them and try to remember the point.

First I wrote Romans 12. What a challenging chapter to walk through after drinking in His Word.  This is a wonderful chapter as they all are.

I stopped in a shop at the shuk for a new tablecloth.  When I was a kid in kindergarten in NYC we used to have oilcloths.  Do any of you remember them?  I loved them for some reason because they felt good.  Maybe they just felt like a big girl going to kindergarten, but I loved oilcloth.  It MAY be available again in the States now, but for many years, it was an item in the recesses of my memory until we came here.  Oilcloth is still not only popular, but a standard, and it still makes me smile to get a new one for a few shekels every change of season.

The rolls of oilcloth stood on the street like soldiers in front of the dry goods store and I saw one that I liked.  I peeped into the store, which is run by Haradi (religious) twins. “Geveret!  Efo at?”  This literally means: “Maam, where ARE you?” But it is an affectionate way of saying, “Where have you been?”

It makes me smile. “I haven’t needed anything for awhile.  Thank you for missing me.”

We smile affectionately at one another.  It is a warm feeling to know that in Jerusalem a shopkeeper missed seeing me.

It may have been still very cold but there is no doubt that the seasons are changing. The birds changed. The cats howl. The days are longer, and even though we still have citrus fruit, the tomatoes and cucumbers are looking heartier and the red peppers are back.

I decided to take my daughter on a trip that I have dreamed about – back to the mishtala or plant nursery, where she worked before leaving the country 5 years ago.  She had loved working there.  It is a huge, lively nursery across from the Botanical Gardens. The plants for the Botanical Gardens as well as personal gardens, are cultivated there.  It’s a delightful place and was so good for her to work there.

Now that they are home, I wanted to help her to get things growing, working a bit in the earth, putting down roots, and watching things blossom into new life.  She was pleased and even more so when we walked in and the manager shouted out her name. Others came running, hugging her and oohing and aahing over the children.  When she left here 5 years ago, she was still single. Now she was a sprouting tribe and they were all happy to see how she was doing.  Eventually we began picking out starts and seeds and of course some small gardening tools for 3 year old Maya.  I started talking to an older worker who was thrilled to see our daughter thriving.  “Nothing like Grandchildren,” he grinned and we both nodded enthusiastically.

“How many do you have?”  I asked.

“Twenty seven and we all live in the same village.”

I gulped.  How wonderful it sounded as he described all of their homes being around his on the same moshav.  “We aren’t really in each other’s houses all the time but come summer we are always outside together.”

Covetousness reared its ugly head!

And had to be dealt with QUICKLY!

There is no other way to put it: it’s hard for immigrants.

It takes a full generation to plant ourselves into the land, learn the language and the more subtle things of a culture. The generation of the “in between” has raw roots.

I began to thank The Lord for bringing us home and thought of Psalm 90:1 “LORD THOU hast been our dwelling place in all generations…”

My heart was immediately comforted and brought back into His perspective.  HE is our dwelling place…a sure Home and everlasting Abode.  But it’s good to remind those of you who so lovingly and faithfully pray for aliyah, which IS God’s plan, to also pray for the rooting and sustaining of those who come here because of the culture shock. So then a good root system can be formed.

 

On the train the next day I saw a lovely thing.  Two young men, religious boys by their dress, got on the train and without embarrassment called to everyone, “Greetings!  We are collecting money for a young immigrant couple that are getting married and have nothing.  Please share with them?”  They produced water bottles with the tops cut off and began to go along the aisle.  Nearly everyone generously poured change into the bottles.

The woman next to me said, “What?  What did he say?  I didn’t hear him.”  She cupped her hand to her ear.

“It’s for the wedding of a young immigrant couple who have nothing.”

She nodded her head.  She understood.  No one asked to see proof.  I was touched both by their open gesture and by the quick sharing of the people.  It was lovely.  It was Jerusalem.

I recalled the story a volunteer told me recently. It is common here for people to go door to door collecting money for various needs.  This volunteer shared that they had gone to the door of an elderly man and said, “We are here to help with home repairs for those who need help…”

Before they could finish the sentence, the man went to his change bag and pulled out several small coins and gave it to them saying, “Yes.  Please help them.”

They were touched because it was HIM whose apartment they had come to repair.

It’s time for bed.  Thank you for your prayers.  The Lord is faithful!  We are heading toward the beginning of the Spring feasts and the forerunner is Purim: the celebration of the book of Esther.  I will share more next time, but thank you for praying.

God bless you dear family,

Sister J

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