Beit Lehem and Glue (10)

(“Back to Beit Lehem”    |    The Jordan Journey, part 10    |    May 21-22, 2018)

Before leaving Israel, we collected 12 stones, hoping to find a resting place for them in Jordan. Well, we were still carrying them on our way back. I wanted to put them in the water, in the wound itself. To use them to build a little altar, pour some of the salt and the Balm of Gilead we were carrying with us from day one, and declare some more healing. So driving up and down the valley, down and up through the wound, we tried to find the right spot. In vain. Apparently, most of it is guarded by soldiers, either Jordanians or Israelis. After all, this river is the longest border between the two countries.

It was disappointing to come back home with the stones in tow, but it also made it clear that our journey is not over yet.

Tian Jie coined for us the term “Ripple Effect”. She felt that this journey is the first fruit, and that it will multiply; that what we birthed through prayer had stirred the waters, so wave after wave of this truth will go forward!

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She said: “Recalling every detail of the journey, I recognized an important principle. It is not that we are always good at following Him, but He is a good Father who is good at leading. As soon as we recognized His leading, we all followed and things happened! The Chinese song which echoed from the valley opened the cervix in time for the birthing [and since than had seen dozens of earthquakes, that are still happening a couple of times every week]. The Lord allowed me to travail for the widow’s broken heart, and for the pain of the Arabs. Sarah and Ishmael clung to each other as a Mother’s heart was birthed. In the spirit, it healed an ancient wound. And all of that was done without man’s hands!”

“Israel, you are a mother nation,” she declared. “The nations are waiting for you to show the kind of compassion that comes from the Father’s heart! Please, come on! We pray that the heart of compassion will increase until Israel, the mother nation, will come into full maturity! At this 70th anniversary, at this turning point, you need to change your perspective when you look at the nations. Look at them through the Father’s perspective. You have enlarged the capacity of your heart to embrace them all! Not only Ishmael will come to your breast, but all the nations will come home too!

“The nations are waiting for you to start blessing them. Once you align to the Father’s plan and heart, every nation will align with the Father and with one another.”

House of Bread

Equipped with our Balm of Gilead, bread, wine, salt and our 12 stones, we headed the next morning to Beit Lehem – Naomi’s destiny and resting place. This is where she was restored, where her exile ended, where she met again the redeemer.

This Israelite town was very small at the time of the Judges. It had since changed its geopolitical face and today is a sprawling Arab enclave with Christian and Muslim residents. No Jews.

We knew from the get go that our journey had to end in Bethlehem, in the “House of Bread”. But we also knew it would be illegal for me to enter it. I find that interesting, since back in the days of Ruth and Naomi, Ruth (the gentile) had no right to live in Beit Lehem, had she not joined the Israelite widow. Today, I – a Jew – am not allowed to enter it. It is illegal for Israelis to cross over the city limits.

But because of what I have been carrying in my heart and spirit, and due to an invitation I received a week earlier from a senior elder in Beit Lehem, I knew that I am safe. That the spiritual gates are open for me. That I can walk through the city and declare a change of status for her and for my people. That I will be welcomed there and that some form of relationship need to be established again between the two ancient “widows”.

Jesura could not join us in Jordan, but had planned the whole day for us in Beit Lehem. She found a beautiful park at a side entrance to the city, where we could sit and pray.

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Solomon’s pools at the back entrance to Beit Lehem

Three Arab leaders from Jerusalem joined us, eager to hear about our whereabouts, as for many years they have been carrying the burden of deep and true reconciliation between the two peoples.

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Trying to sort the important details
out of what we experienced in these short-long four days

We thanked God that both sides are finally able to converse openly about the wound, and prayed that we will be able to touch it with love, with tears and with His blood.

I prayed that as we march down the streets of Beit Lehem during the next few hours, we will carry with us the spirit of that young virgin, Mary, who did not ask too many questions, but simply said, “let it be to me according to your word”, and than  gave life to The Bread of Life.

Something impossible in the natural realm had happened through our journey, as an old wrinkled widow with a dry womb had turned into a mama. We prayed for that womb to be kept open, so that Israel will align with the identity that comes from the womb of Mary. We proclaimed that Beit Lehem will once again become a house of fresh and new bread. That Naomi will cease to be the bitter Mara, and resume her position as a nursing pleasant figure, a caregiver, an instructor of truth (Ruth 4:16).

One of the Arab leaders repented that the Star of David is ridiculed and mocked in the very streets of Bethlehm, the city in which that Star was born. “God, turn this city once again into a womb, into a city that travails in order to birth Obed, the one who serves God,” she prayed. “We welcome King David back. This is your home.”

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While in Jordan, around a table loaded with a double-portioned dinner, my Ruths presented me a bejeweled Star of Beit Lehem, as if saying: “welcome!”

Rania asked God to reveal the Angel of the Lord once more to the locals, exactly where He was born in the flesh.

Solomon’s Pools

When we first entered the park we saw this:

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A little artificial island, surrounded by two mini streams,
that integrate and flow towards a bigger source of water, called Solomon’s pools

How touched we were when we found out that the streams that embrace this little island eventually pour into the Dead Sea, and mingle with the water coming from the Jordan river. That meant that we were still sowing healing into the rift.

We pulled out our 12 stones, and in front of the Moslem guards and gardeners, who were watching us carefully, we started building an altar of peace.

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We stepped into the water and started praying and declaring

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Cleaving vs. Gluing

When Orpah kisses her mother-in-law for their last goodbye (going back to her comfort zone and out of God’s story), Ruth chooses to cleave unto Naomi. That word – cleaves – means “glued herself.” It’s the same Hebrew word used in Gen. 2:24 to describe the relationship between a man and his wife. Once this “gluing” takes place, the two become one flesh. From that moment on, any separation will involve tearing of the flesh, shedding of blood, and much pain.

“Return the glue, Lord,” we begged. “Ruth produced glue when she cleaved to Naomi. The one (Ruth) had the glue and the other (Naomi) the legal inheritance. We therefore spread your glue.” We blessed that glue – that unity of Jew and gentile, especially in this torn city.

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Finally, we put those stones to rest, with salt and wine and Balm that have been poured on them, mingled with faith that it will birth a binding power, the glue of a Family!

We than joined some of Beit Lehem leaders for lunch, visited their church, prayed with them, and did our best to carry with us what God had birthed in us. It is not simple to minister or live in Beit Lehem. We got a closer glimpse of the wound as we listened to the stories and challenges, and were filled with compassion mingled with much hope for a brighter day, when The Star of the Son of Jesse will shine again over that city.

Sleeping Beauty (9)

(“Back to Beit Lehem”    |    The Jordan Journey, part 9    |    May 20, 2018, late afternoon; May 21, morning)

One more place on our list, and then we were heading home. Tishbie, Elijah’s hometown. “Mar Elias” – as the Jordanians call it.

Yes, I am back to the Jordan series. I left you hanging a few weeks ago with all my open questions to Sarah (see Where Were You That Morning, Sarah? (8)), and now I am ready to finish this series.

We hopped in our van and hit the road. Every few miles we saw these colorful fruit shacks on the side of the road, and decided to stop at one of them.

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Delicious produce presented on the road side in an artistic manner

Empty crates piled on the side. As we walked closer we saw this heart clenching picture:

asdfasf10 months’ old baby, Mohammed,
sat in one of the crates and sucked on a bottle of milk

The mama in all of us wanted to just envelope him, create a more comfortable spot for him, understand why he is sitting in a box designed for vegetables. His father approached us with a big smile, and told us the sad story. His wife died at childbirth, and he was raising little Mohammed by himself. Yes, there are aunts and grandmoms in the picture, but Mohammed would not let anyone near him. Only his abba. His dad is the only one who can feed him, bathe him, put him to sleep.

Our hearts were stirred even more. What a great picture just before we get to the home village of the prophet, who will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest God would come and strike the earth with a curse (Mal. 4:6)!

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Mohammed in his abba’s arms

When we finally arrived at Mar Elias, the sun was setting. We looked silently at the beautiful valley bellow us. By now we had so many imageries to use in our prayers.

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Down bellow in the valley, between the pine branches,
you can see the small village of Tishbie, hometown of the prophet Elijah

“Father, bring that Spirit of prophecy again over this place, so that young men and women would start aligning with you, and speak to the ‘woman’ beyond the mountain, who has not heard the voice of a prophet in centuries,” we prayed.

“Restore the hearts of kids who grew up in believing families and have gone astray. Breathe forgiveness into these relationships. Restore the broken fathers. Create a bond so strong, that they would desire the presence of their fathers just like this little Mohammed.”

“God,” Hermana asked, “You promised that you would send the Spirit of Elijah and he will take hearts of stone out and turn them into flesh. We welcome the prophetic voice. We need the dreams, visions, words and oracles of God. Raise up the Deborahs – the prophetesses, the judges, generals and mothers.”

It was dark when we headed back to the hotel. Our last day in Jordan. The next morning we would pack and cross the border, zigzagging (“Hebrewing”) through the rift once more.

Crossing Over as a Mama

Things felt so different for me on the way back to Israel. This time I did not carry so much the burden of the widow Israel. Armed with the new language God had given us through this short yet rich journey, I felt more like a mother. And then it hit me.

She (Jordan) needs a change of clothes to replace her present gown. I called our driver to stop and let me out. He pulled over by an old garbage bin. I grabbed a plastic bag and started collecting the trash I found around us. I felt such an urge to take care of its soil like a mama, that would dress Jordan with new garments. I wanted to clean her pores, to let her soil breathe.

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My companions watched me from the van, not sure what to do about this strange urge of mine. Than Hermana and Tian Jie joined me.

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Tian Jie later wrote: “[at first] I did not understand why Orna wanted to get off! Than I realized she was picking up rubbish from the ground. At that moment I saw a true Mother’s heart, with love and compassion manifested towards the land of Jordan. It was like a mother visiting her daughter’s house and assisting with the cleaning. She does not expect to be treated as a guest! As I picked up rubbish with Orna, I felt such strong compassion from the Father.”

Jordan had captured my heart, and reminded me of Sleeping Beauty, who is not even aware of how much the Prince of Peace wants to kiss and awaken her. I started cleaning that spot because I wanted to awaken something in this beautiful piece of land, to symbolically touch her and call her to wake up. To remind her of her destiny; although she may have been napping for decades, she is so worthy, and she carries a huge place in God’s magnificent plan.

I realized that I do not look at Jordan anymore like she was a land of the enemy. I look at her with the eyes of a mother with a broken heart. So borrowing the words Isaiah used to wake up Zion (52:1), I beg Jordan: “Awake, awake! Put on your strength, Jordan, put on your beautiful garmentsShake yourself from the dust, arise and loose yourself from the bonds around your neck. You have a major part to play these days, you have hope, and a future and a plan.” 

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Just before leaving the gorgeous mountains of Gilead, we stopped
once more on a mountain top, to overlook into the rift

What a sight! What a sigh! Briskilla and I held on to each other, flooded with emotions.

He had Set Eternity In Their Hearts

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Sukkot party with our local group of Holocaust survivors was touching. We served lunch, sang a few songs, and than took them one floor down, to Bezel-El studio, where they used recycled materials and dried flowers to create a picture, while listening to a short explanation about perishable matters versus eternity.

Think about the Israelites in the desert, taking apart their personal booths each time the cloud moved, and watching the Levites as they took apart the Tabernacle. And when the cloud rested, they would set it all up again. Their perishable booths (we are so used to see tents in most pictures that portray Moses’ Tabernacle, but a more accurate depiction is actually of booths, not tents) set up again, and a glorious cloud resting on the Tent of Meeting. What an opportunity to think about things that decay and require ongoing maintenance, versus eternity and God’s glory.

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Back to our precious group. When everyone arrived downstairs, a beautiful working area was prepared for them, with colorful materials. Eagerly they each found a spot, and started working.

With great worship music in the background and just the right environment, we read some verses to them.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Psalms 91:1-2).

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8).

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

At this point we explained that God is eternal, and that He had put something of that image inside us. Upon hearing that, one of the men stopped working and looked up. You could tell it touched a deep and tender spot in his heart.

“But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, the Messiah Yeshua, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

This powerful truth from 2 Timothy 1:10 was paraphrased to them gently, and than they were asked if anyone is interested in that eternity and immortality.

One lady and her caregiver responded immediately. And when that verse was explained again, most of them, if not all of them, joined the “Amen” with a loud voice.

It was touching to see them use the dried flowers, choose their materials – being engrossed in their work.

Later, around coffee and some delicious deserts, we set up their works for display.

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Everyone wanted to have their picture taken with their art, before they all hugged and kissed goodbye.

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Did they fully understand what we shared? Maybe. Maybe not. We are so thankful for every seed of Truth sown into them, and for every “Amen” their shuttered hearts echoed, and also for any glimpse they get into the riches that eternity in His bosom has to offer them!

A Rainbow, a Bridge and a Genocide

Armenia! The gorgeous mountains. The sweetness and earth-like taste of its fruit and vegetables. Armenia does not have many natural resources, but it can pride in its soil and water. Clean and rich, which is why its harvest is soooo tasty.

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Most fruit are dried in a natural process,
with no preservatives or chemicals. They are huge and so sweeeet

I have a feeling it affects the people who grow up on that same soil. They are sweet and well connected to the soil, the ground. The Armenians I met have a noticeable depth and their hunger for God is tangible. A few months ago God graciously breathed new hope into them, as a result of what they call “The Velvet Revolution.” I will let Wikipedia fill you in on the interesting details [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Armenian_Velvet_Revolution; or http://euromaidanpress.com/2018/05/10/armenias-velvet-revolution-told-by-armenians/]. Bottom line: the entire nation marched to the streets for a whole month, and brought a radical change with zero casualties! That in itself tells a lot about their make up as a nation.

I was invited there to hold a Tabernacle Seminar for 70 leaders of “Young Life clubs,” who minister to teenagers throughout the former Soviet Union. These young adults are so sincere and tender. I was impressed with the way they embrace truth wholeheartedly. I loved giving them what God had given me, and seeing many of them apply it right there and than.

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My general impression was that their knowledge of God’s plan for Israel and the nations is in its diapers. But quite a few of them mentioned that now, having met a Hebrew lady who believes in Yeshua, they want to hear and learn more about us. They keep corresponding with me, asking to learn about our traditions and culture.

The Armenian Genocide

While praying in one of the churches in Armenia, I saw in my spirit’s eyes a huge rainbow stretching from Mt. Ararat (Armenia) all the way to Israel. On its green arc a ram was walking from Armenia towards Israel. A figure (not sure if it was one person or a few) was following it. On the blue arc I saw a few figures leaping joyfully from Israel towards Armenia.

Ararat in the winter, as seen from
the balcony of Abovyan City Church, pastored by Vazgen Zohrabyan

It looked like a bridge that needs to be built between these two nations. Armenia has gone through a cruel genocide (1915-1918), initiated by the Ottoman Turks. Three years ago they needed Israel to vote for recognition of that genocide, but sadly, we did not stand with them for various reasons. This opened a wound that requires repentance and forgiveness. It felt to me like the Armenians are ready to extend it. They hurt, but somehow it did not evolve into bitterness. They are stretching out open arms, so I pray that our politicians will wisely choose Armenia as an ally, and even establish diplomatic relations with them. I pray too that God will reveal to the Armenian church His heart for Israel, and His end time plan for them as well. They need it! We need it!

Israeli Arabs

This weekend I met in Nazareth with a group of Arab young adults. Once worship started, it took them just seconds to deeply engage and enjoy God. I was moved!

I came there to teach about the Biblical feasts. I chose to do that through the angle of God’s hidden Faces. It is important to understand that God had set in His calendar many opportunities for us to meet Him. As if He pulled out His calendar, and marked regular dates for us to deepen our intimacy with Him, go on a date and enjoy each other – once a week, once a month, and at least seven more times during a regular year. They are even called “meetings, dates.” The Hebrew word translated into “Feasts” is “Moed,” meaning – a meeting. But through the years we distorted the calendar, forgot the original purpose of each one and turned it mostly into a gastronomic celebration.

Those Arab young adults are surrounded by Jewish culture, but they don’t necessarily understand it. Rania, their leader, meets with them weekly and teaches them about the importance of blessing Israel and praying for her. For some of them, hearing about the Hidden Angel of God’s Faces helped them understand a huge enigma.

One guy commented that he never realized how much he misses by not reading the Bible in Hebrew (a language he knows). “I would really like to start doing it,” he said. I also saw in some of them a sense of relief, realizing the Jewish nation is still under a punishment, which might explain some of our ignorance and hostility towards them. Others loved hearing that they have such a crucial part in the story. That we need them! That God needs them!

After meeting them, and with the deep feelings stirred within me in Armenia, I can clearly say: The Middle Eastern Ruth is waking up. And she is being prepared to take her part in the story, her redeemed and righteous place.

How Can you Pray?

  • Armenia was the first nation to become Christian (301 BC). They have a rich heritage, and it is so obvious that there is a purpose hovering above them. Pray for that rainbow-bridge to be built between past and future, connecting two nations that seem to have a lot in common. Pray that the bridge will be built spiritually, between the Body here and there, but also on other levels: diplomatically, politically, etc. I pray that Israel will go as far as opening a consulate, even an embassy, in Yereven, their capital.
  • Pray for more teachers from Israel to travel to Armenia, and teach them about their place in God’s plan.
  • And pray for Armenia to become a “Sheep Nation” (Matt. 25:31-46).
  • For the young generation among Israeli Arabs. They are hungry for solid teaching, that is based on the Biblical narrative and not on various distortions. Let us pray that God will raise up from among them teachers who can study their Bible in Hebrew, and bring it to their own people.