Recent Posts

Ears, Eyes, Heart

“It is time, Lord”, I declared this morning, as I meditated on Isaiah’s cry: “How long, Lord? Until when?”

Isaiah just wanted to tell everyone of the Glory he had witnessed, but instead was commanded to proclaim a severe punishment upon our nation, the punishment called “Hidden Faces” (Isa. 6:9-10).

How can one ignore an ultimate Truth when  it is right in front of their eyes? How can we not hear and see the real thing, even when miracles are happening? I tended to think it is impossible – to be that deaf and blind… until I checked my own heart and realized how common this phenomenon is.

I have been battling an ear infection this past week. The pain started going up towards my right eye and down towards my jaw. Since I was preparing for an adventurous journey to Jordan that starts today (will share more with you when I come back next week), I wanted to get my health restored quickly. So I begged the doctor to prescribe some antibiotics. But he would not agree. “I can’t find anything wrong. Both your ears and throat are clear, so I cannot prescribe anything!” Ouch!

This morning I finally got the point. It’s my spiritual ear that is battling with infection, not the physical one. No wonder the doctor could not find anything.

I realized that God was pointing towards my own spiritual deafness, and also using the pain to recruit me to pray for the eyes and ears and heart of my nation. This week is a powerful and exciting one for Israel. We are 70 years old (plus a few thousands), we dealt so professionally with an Iranian threat from Syria, America just moved its embassy to Jerusalem, and we even won the Eurovision contest.

The line seems to tend in our favor in many other fronts, but does it transform our hearts? Does it put an end to our dulled ears and closed eyes? I would love to believe it does, but I think I should better recruit your prayers specifically for that.

Enzo Montano: I manichini di Monaco – Sylvia Plath

In face of everything that is happening now, it is time, I believe, for the heart and eyes and ears of the Jewish nation to soften, to look at the real reality, to see His mighty hand pulling the strings and to listen to His heartbeat.

Answering Isaiah’s painful cry, God gave him a historic time line, that explains when we will see and hear and understand:

“Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land” (v. 11-13).

Indeed, our land laid in ruin for centuries, her children were in exile, she was like a widow – forsaken and in waste. Now this old oak tree is being revived as the holy seed is being restored. This is the time we live in.

I am choosing to turn a soft, listening ear, to the Beloved of my soul. To align my heartbeat with His, and not to focus on my own beat and plans. “What is it that you are saying now, and I am struggling to hear?” I asked.

I think He is saying: “It is time!”

Will you pray with me? The Feast of Pentecost will be celebrated this coming weekend. In the synagogues they will be reading the book of Ruth, so once more let me use a couple of images and symbols of this timely account, as I recruit you to pray…

  • That the wrinkled, old, bitter widow – Israel – will soften her heart and will incline her ears and eyes to see the Redeemer in the story.

And in preparation for the journey I am about to start, I would ask you to pray for the relationship between Israel and her surrounding neighbors:

titled "Buck Up Buttercup"

  • That we will reconcile with the various Ruths around us.
  • That these nations will wake up to their true calling, and choose to be a part of the Big Story of Restoration.
  • That they would not insist to remain an “Orpah” – the one who turned her neck towards the destiny of Naomi and went back to her comfort zone, but out of the story.

 

I Will Tabernacle Inside You

tab2

Tabernacling? Is this even a legitimate word? My automatic proofreader does not seem to like it. “Dwelling” or “Abiding” is probably the term you are more familiar with. But the Hebrew noun and verb, used in verses like Zech. 2:14-15 and plenty of others, mean something so much more tangible and powerful than “dwelling in our midst”. It means the same structure Moses and his craftsman erected in the desert, God will build inside each one of us. Our part? To provide Him the right materials (spoiler, these would not be our wits and strengths) and put each piece of furnishing in its right location. He will then descend with His glory and fill up the very shameful spots in our personality and conduct, all those weaknesses we work so hard to hide.

I witnessed that happening time and again, as people present to God their broken and thorny “acacia woods” (various areas of major struggles in their lives), versus covering them with layers of deeds and works.

Last week we (Dana and I) did it with a small group of tourists, who came to Israel almost entirely for this purpose: to learn how they can turn their brokenness into a Sign and Example of God’s glory. For nearly 9 intensive days we coached them through each piece, pressing in and walking through, burning what ought to be burned, washing our understanding to align with His Word, allowing His light to clarify our chaos and darkness, devouring His truth to replace our lies, etc.

the-holy-place

At the Lampstand God’s light sheds into the dark roots of our battles, exposing our core lies

tab5

Some touching glorious moments of worshiping together

Dana (my partner in this project) and I built Tabernacles inside our own hearts, alongside our participants. As I was preparing for the seminar, I realized God was pinpointing gently towards my tendency to alienate myself from myself, and mostly to bypass my feelings. I always knew I am not easily connecting to my emotions, but only last week I realized how estranged I am from them, and what is the root for that.

I approached the Bronze Altar with much repentance and forgiveness, and when I got to the Basin, I did a thorough study of  key words that translate into “alienation” – all of them from the book of Ruth. Studying these verses in their context started washing my understanding with the water of His Word, and the result was many challenging questions that came up within me.

At the Lampstand, some hidden lies and inner vows were exposed. The one that surprised me the most, the one I was clueless about although now – that it is in the light – I realize what a corner stone this has been in the way I handle almost everything in my life, was: “People can get to know me through my deeds, thoughts, wisdom. Not through my feelings. My feelings are not who I am, and they are very uncomfortable”.

Once this was exposed I rushed back to the Bronze Altar and repented of believing it. I am now heading towards the Table of Shewbread, where I will be looking for a great contradicting truth, a piece of divine bread that will feed my hunger and take over the lie, something that will become a solid rock inside me and will give me the assurance that feelings are good, and that they are a definite part of who I am.

Would you like to join one of our next Tabernacle Seminars? Email me and we’ll send you more details.

 

He Found Her in the Field

create this character:

He found her thrown in the field, wallowing in mire. Her cord was not severed, nor was she washed with cleansing water, rubbed with salt or wrapped in diapers. No one had compassion enough to do any of these essentials for her. Rather, she was thrown out into the open field, for on the very day she was born, she was despised (Ezk. 16).

An Orphan Restored

But then…

He passed by and saw that baby orphan wallowing in her blood. “In your blood you will live!” He promised her. “In your blood you will live!” He raised her up and spread the corner of His garment to cover her nakedness. He entered into a covenant with her, and she became His.

He washed all the blood away and rubbed ointments on her, clothed her with a gorgeous outfit and adorned her with jewelry. He fed her with honey, olive oil and the finest mill.

As her fame spread among the nations, she started trusting in her beauty and using it to lavish her favors on passers by, turning away from Him. She forgot completely the days of her youth, when she was naked and bare, wallowing in her own blood.

 :

After warning her time and again, He eventually gave her over to the greed of her enemies. Many like to think that this is the end of the story. Well, it’s not. Because later on He remembered the covenant He made with her in the days of her youth, and He even went further and established an everlasting covenant with her.

A Widow Restored

She will turn 70 this week (for the third time). This will mark the anniversary of a fascinating process of restoration. However, she still wallows in her blood. In fact, tonight, the day before the birthday feast, she will mourn as a widow, as a bereaved bride, as an orphan, over the blood of her sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, as we commemorate the death of our fallen soldiers on Israel’s Memorial
Day. The soil of this land is saturated with blood. And she will mourn bitterly for the high price that she is still paying, even though she is back home.

And He will look at her with compassion and with stretched out hands, and say once more: “In the blood of your sons and daughters you will live!”

Or more accurately: “In the blood of My son you will live!”

 

Each One Has a Name

F140918YS204__w645h390q80

Upon arriving to Auschwitz, the Nazis imprinted numbered tattoos on those who were not sent immediately into the gas chambers, thus dehumanizing them – taking away the only thing most of them had left – their names.

Approximately 150,000 Holocaust Survivors still live in Israel today. According to latest surveys an average of 40 survivors die daily of diseases and old age. The average age of survivors is 85.

In the past years calls have been made repeatedly to the Israeli authorities to act in order to correct the injustice inflicted upon the survivors, so many of which live in deploring poverty and daily need. As I mentioned in a previous post, in a report filed last year by Israel’s State Comptroller, he was quoted saying: “Time is running out. The state should continue to make improvements and strive to solve the existential distress of all the needy elderly in the country, including Holocaust survivors. The survivors who experienced the events of the Holocaust are entitled to live the rest of their lives with dignity and to receive the recognition they deserve.”

It is shameful. We are called to remember these people, to land a hand, to try and make these last few years of their lives just a little bit better. Have they not suffered enough? I am still amazed at the way these survivors chose life, although at times, death could have been a much easier solution. I try to put myself in their place. If I was being shut behind fences, starved and abused, I think I would have chosen to put an end to it as soon as possible. I may not have taken my life by my own hands, but I probably would have tried to escape, knowing that most likely someone will shoot me and end my life. Anything to make that suffering end. But not so with these survivors – something burned in their hearts, and they chose life. Sanctity of life, knowing that life is a gift only given to us once, was stronger than all the unfathomable suffering they had experienced.

We need to remember them. We even hold an annual commemoration day in their honor, but throughout the year, not much is done in the way of assisting them or improving their state. Though millions of Israeli Shekels were allocated for the benefit of holocaust survivors in the past years, only a fraction actually made it to the survivors themselves. Red tape. Part of their needs are not met in any government office, while others are handled by several authorities simultaneously. This inefficiency, apathy and irritating waste should summon us all to pray and intercede for them. One of their greatest need, is a need for companionship; for someone to come, if only for a short visit and land an ear, show that they care. This is where we try to pitch in.

This week we visited M. She shared some of her story with us. She does not always remember what happened just recently, but her memories of the distant, so horribly painful past, are fresh and vivid.

M. sharing her story with us with much emotion. To maintain her privacy, we have chosen to blur her face.

As Israel commemorates today and tomorrow the memory of the millions killed by the hands of the Nazis, let us lift the widowhood of Israel in this area before the Throne of Grace. Let this embarrassing realm be washed clean by the glory of God. Pray for the various authorities that are supposed to make life easier and better for these precious souls. Pray that the hearts of the officials serving them will soften, and that treatment of their needs will rise to the top of the list of priorities, so that they can live the few years they still have with dignity and in peace.

Those who survived have a name, a face, a story – join us in bringing their name before the Throne, praying that they will one day call upon the Name that can replace the horrors they have been through with hope, mercy and grace. Pray for M and the rest of the survivors we are in contact with. And pray for us, that we will be a beacon of light, a source of kindness and mercy in their lives, a vehicle to reveal the Hidden One to them in the short time they still have with us.

 

 

 

A Great Opportunity Missed

God had set plenty of special opportunities for us in the Biblical calendar to meet with Him. They are called Mo’ed or Mo’adim in Hebrew, meaning a specific Date. Each one with its unique rituals and significance.

Had we kept them according to His original design, they would have pointed towards the Messiah, and each one would have revealed a different aspect of His work on our behalf. But soon after our nation entered the Promised Land and settled it, most of these special dates have been distorted. Even when we celebrate them today, it is so far removed from the original plan. And thus, more opportunities to see Him are missed again and again.

Passover (Pessach) is certainly one of these. God’s invitation to meet with Him this season included three separate Mo’adim (Pesach, The Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of the Waving of the First Fruits). Within time we lost all distinction between these three, and now, their hints of a hidden Angel who brought us out of Egypt (e.g. Ex. 14:19), of the sinless Messiah or of the waving of the first born Son towards heaven, have been completely drowned in some man made traditions.

In the mind of the average Jew, Passover is mostly a splendid meal for a multitude of participants and reading of the Haggadah – a booklet that was written centuries ago by rabbis, and is centered around their arguments. Haggadah means telling. Indeed, the Bible instructs us to tell our children the story of exodus. However, the traditional Haggadah has hardly anything to do with the Biblical account. Moses is not even mentioned in it.

IMG-20180326-WA0007

Passover marks the beginning of spring.
Just couldn’t resist posting these pictures of the blossoming fields in the park near my house

IMG-20180326-WA0003

Yes, spring is certainly here

IMG-20180326-WA0006

During Israel’s exile in Babylon, the entire Biblical calendar was thwarted. The names of the months have been changed, and we went as far as ascribing a few of them names of Babylonian idols (e.g. Tamuz). Today, the Jewish year no longer starts on the month of Nisan (cir. April), but on Tishrei (September-October) instead.

A complex and brilliant rabbinical calculation, done on the 2nd century, ensured that the new moon would NEVER fall on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday. This shift affects the entire year. Consequently, Passover will never fall on the same day that Christians celebrate the risen Messiah. This was intended to prevent a possible situation where a Jew, who may be waving the sheaf of First Fruits on the accurate appointed time, will never do it on the same day his Christian neighbor acknowledges the risen Messiah from the dead (and thus perceive a possible connection worth looking into). The official explanation has to do with the Fall Feasts, but the main reason is hiding any Jewishness of Yeshua.

I know this sounds complicated and somewhat unreasonable. The longer and more detailed explanation can be found in my book His Faces. For more information click on “His Faces” – new book now available

My point in this blog is to recruit prayer. As the nation of Israel is preparing for the coming feast, you can pray that somehow, behind all the well hidden hints and forgotten original commandments, we will seek the God that can truly deliver, the hidden Angel that brought us out of slavery, the First Fruit that rose from the dead. The time for the Jewish nation to look into the eyes of the One whom we have pierced is drawing near.

There not quite there faces seemed to flicker with every menacing movement

Have mercy on us, Lord. Forgive us for going so far in an attempt to hide you. Reveal the Jewish Face of your Son to us. Open our eyes and our ears, and melt the fat around our hearts, so that we will know and see and understand, and be finally restored (Isa. 6:9-10). 

Your Blood Upon Us and Our Sons

In between all the events that I have shared with you in the last couple of weeks, one more thing happened – a historical one. I am so glad I attended it. 

Reuven and Benjamin Berger are two brothers, who pastor a Messianic congregation in Jerusalem. For nearly a decade they prayed about the need of the messianic body to repent on behalf of our nation, and especially for rejecting Yeshua. Finally, this year, they called a special meeting during the fast of Esther.

IMG-20180301-WA0024.jpg

Repentance in small groups

We are so used to nations asking our forgiveness for their part in hiding His Jewishness from us. But the time has come for us to own our part and repent of the choices we made ourselves.

Pastors and believers gathered at the beautiful Christ Church in the Old City of Jerusalem. As worship began, my tears started flowing. The first song was “Aveenu, Malkenu” – Our Father, our King. It begs for the remission of sins, confessing that we have no deeds we can pride with. This song has been sung in synagogues for centuries. It echoed within me as if something ancient was waking up, like this prayer-song was calling up something that has been dormant for ages and is now paving its way out. I can’t really explain it in any other way.

The beautiful stained glass windows of Christ Church in Jerusalem,
the first Protestant church built in the Middle East in modern days

It was so different than the usual worship – it was some kind of a combination between synagogue music and something else. A cry, a lamentation, a plea for forgiveness.

Reuven than stood and explained how he sees our sins towards Yeshua. He spoke about some points I never thought of before: about the covenant we have made with death when we rejected the Way, the Truth and the Life. About how we drove the Son outside the vineyard (Mat. 21:38-39). In a way, nothing new, but something in the language of all these verses was highlighted to me. And we were all so ready to mourn.

Than the pastors attending were called up front. One by one they approached the mike and repented, each one for whatever was on his heart. Some wept, and some confessed, “Lord, our nation is rebellious and we have acted very wickedly towards You”. One pastor sounded like his heart would burst. Another buried his face and asked forgiveness for our pride.

Then a few women were invited to repent as well. One lady from an orthodox background shared how her mouth was rinsed with soap when she was a child, whenever she dared to say the J-word. She asked forgiveness for the way Yeshua’s name has become a curse in our nation. I repented on behalf of the widow who refuses to see her Husband for who He really is, for not thinking He understands our needs, for not wanting to see His Jewish Face.

A humble Arab pastor from Abu Gosh was then invited to the front. He sobbed in identification with his Jewish brothers, affirming that the land belongs to us and thanking God for us allowing them (the Arabs) to live in Israel. Can you believe that?

IMG-20180301-WA0023.jpg

Pastor Yaser from Abu Gosh

Benjamin led us all in communion. As we were chewing on the round flat loaf and drinking the sweet wine, one leader commented that we should reverse the curse we brought upon ourselves centuries ago, when we cried in Pilate’s court: “His blood on our heads and on our sons’ ”, and thus bringing a horrible curse upon our nation. This leader stated that it is time to welcome His blood on our heads and on our future generations, not as a curse, but as the only thing that can cleanse us from that ancient curse and its ramifications. “Aveenu, Malkenu, wash the curse away, we beg You! And let it become a blessing”.

A fine common line in between recent events

I look at the events I shared with you recently, and I find a thread that runs through all of them all the way back to the Battle Cries that were heard on October 31 [Cooo-eee! In Those Days, At This Time]

100 years ago, on October 31, the ANZAC soldiers paved the way for General Alenby to march all the way to Jerusalem. Where did he enter Jerusalem? On Jaffa Gate. A few months ago the same battle cry was heard in the same location, inviting Yeshua to come back to His people. Two weeks ago leaders gathered to repent for rejecting Him for centuries. Where did the repentance take place? At Jaffa Gate.

Interesting, to say the least!

 

 

Lifting Up the Cross – A Report From Magdala’s Encounter

Just a quick update, to thank all of you who were standing with me prayerfully, and for all the others, who would love to know the outcome.

In preparation to the Encounter we felt that we must be aware of the need to lift up the cross. That there is a risk that forgiveness – the topic for the day – would be lifted up above it. After all, forgiveness is only a tool. A mighty one, but no more than that. I was really glad that the majority of my teaching was taking place in front of a huge cross, over looking the sea of Galilee.

IMG-20180305-WA0000

Why? Because some of the attendants held a mixture of religious and philosophical views, that could have easily taken over the entire environment and discussions. Intercessory prayer has been going on ceaselessly, targeting this. I could literally see some of the prayer taking place behind the glass doors. So what could have led to a lot of tension and confusion, ended up with the cross becoming the focal point.

Each time I taught another principle, Dana stood up and shared how she applied it in her own life. Her testimony starts with much brokenness, but everyone attending could see that this is past history, that she is so different than what she was describing. When they understood that the main reason for that transformation is non other than forgiveness, it inspired them to give it a try.

IMG-20180305-WA0001.jpg

Approximately 30% of the attendants were Arabs. We felt that something important was sown into these hearts yesterday. Once you realize that no matter how much you suffer, there is always something you can do; that you do not have to remain a victim of someone else’s ignorance, cruelty or policy; that holding on to the pain is your choice but not a must, that forgiveness works, it breathes so much hope.

Yes, seeds of hope have been sown in abundance yesterday. With some of the participants you could literally see the change on their faces.

One participant told of a deep sadness that has been filling her for a long time. Though she has forgiven in the past, she is still not joyous. I teach that forgiveness starts with repentance, with inviting God into the wound and asking Hi, to forgive us for holding the pain for so long. When she invited Yeshua into her sadness, she realized that until that moment she was only forcing herself to forgive, but that she did not really want to. Which is why she was still not free from the pain. But once she invited Him into it, her will was easily submitted to His and for the first time she could make a free choice. The difference was evident. Her facial expression changed, her eyes began to shine and some of her friends even commented about it.

Another woman shared about the abuse she suffered since the tender age of 9. The moment she invited Yeshua into that memory, she felt like she was able to handle that trauma and deal with it through forgiveness.

Those of you who felt led to support me in prayer on Sunday – thank you. It was felt down there, by the sea of Gallilee. This was just one event in a chain of mighty things God is doing as He restores His widow and turns her into a Bride. I feel so privileged to be a part of it, and blessed that you see its importance and take the time to be there for me.