Monday, April 27, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

It is always so nice to be in Israel during this season, because of all the holidays and days of remembrance. This week, Holocaust Day was remembered here in Israel and around the world. Every year it is very moving to be in the Land. A two minute long horn is sounded from the top of the country to the bottom, and people every where stop what they are doing in order to remember. People even get out of their cars on major highways so that they can stand and honor those lost in that tragic piece of history. Israel is an entire nation that was born out of the most horrific genocide in history, and it is something she promises never to forget. As generations continue on, it is becoming more important to mark this day. The first hand accounts of what really happened are dying with those who came through the fire, and it seems like each year more Holocaust deniers appear. Living here, seeing the numbers on men's arms, listening to the stories of how many family members died, I am dumbfounded as to how one could deny such a horrible thing happened. I pray that I would continue to honor the memory of those who died by speaking truth where ever I can.

Please pray for us as we continue to seek the Lord's face concerning Callie's status here. I am not free to give all the information of what is going on, but I can say that we need real wisdom from the Lord. We need to be taking some significant steps soon, but there are so many things to consider before taking them. In spite of the important things that must be decided, the Lord has really planted us solidly here since we arrived. Callie is really enjoying her work and there are many exciting projects she is working on. I am starting to get acquainted with the ministry I will be working with as well as getting ready to teach English in this coming week. Thank you all for your prayers regarding our entry into the Land, because we are seeing the fruit of them daily.

The Lord has had me stuck in Jeremiah for a while and I am really getting a lot from the book that I have never gotten before. The man did not have the kind of ministry that many of us feel like we are "called" to. I don't believe there is a man of God in scripture who spit on more that Jeremiah. All of the other men of God had rough times, but at least they got some honor at some point in their lives. Jeremiah was really not listen to or honored by anyone. How many of us would want this ministry? He also spoke in a particularly bad time in Israel's history. The world is literally falling down around him. The "wise men" of the kingdom all wanted him dead and the king was a weakly who would not do what Jeremiah said out of fear. Jeremiah knew what would save the people, but instead of being listened to, he was thrown in a pit and then later in prison. With all of these terrible circumstances, he did something in chapter 32 that struck me. He bought a field because the Lord had told him that the sons of Israel would again be back in the Land, growing food. He was acting on the promises of God. The circumstances in the world today are grim and they don't seem to be getting any better. We see things happening we never thought would happen and we see our wealth disappearing. It is now that the promises of God are vital for us. Like Jeremiah, we must act on the promises of God, because we know He is faithful. I am not saying everyone should go out and buy a house. I am saying that there are promises in His Word that speak about what will be. The Spirit of God WILL be poured out on a massive scale and there WILL be a harvest in the face of growing evil. Every knee WILL bow and every tongue confess that Yeshua is Lord. These are promises of God(to mention just a few), and we need to act as people who believe them. We need to invest in Yeshua's kingdom that WILL come to it's fulness on this Earth. I pray we would all fix our eyes on what God has promised and make sure our actions are in line with them. Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Friday, April 24, 2009

Adventures in a Stalactite Cave

Over Pessach, Devin and I went hiking through Soreq Cave, just outside of Jerusalem on western slopes of the Judean Hills. The family of fallen Soldier, Avshalom Shoham, provided the funding necessary to open the cave as a state park to honor the memory of their brave son. Soreq Cave is not a biblical site (but can you really say that about any place in Israel?) , so most of the visitors are native Israelis. This made it a unique and interesting experience for us.



Here we are waiting for our group to be allowed in the cave




Inside the cave.




These are our friends Mike and Vered with their granddaughter. Vered was one of Devin's professors at Israel College of the Bible and Mike is one of Devin's running buddies.



Cool shapes.




This is one of the few zoomed out photos that actually turned out ok. The lighting was stunning in the cave, but not the best for cameras!



Posing for a photo in 90% humidity.




The Lord is an amazing artist. Beautiful.




It takes a long time for the stalactites and the stalagmites to finally touch; although, problably not quite as long as the scientist think! ;)

After our hike, we went outside and had a nice picnic. It was a fun day and so nice to get out of the city for a little while!

callie m.

Related Posts:
Our Resurrection Adventure

Adventures in the Shuk

Every Yom Shi Shi (Friday) Devin and I go shopping in the Shuk (Hebrew for market) to preprare for Shabbat and the following week. I love the Shuk because it reminds me of buying fresh produce from the Fruit Stands in Rosewood, only at a much larger scale...

And...



Devin and I first met at the Shuk on my first trip to Israel in May, 2007. He was eating a sandwich at the restaurant in the image above.

Although it was four more months before we really developed a friendship, it still makes the shuk a special place for us! We always look forward to our weekly shopping outings!



Slicha! (Excuse me!) Most parts of the Shuk are as densely packed with people as this. We literally have to shove our way through.



Here I am checking out some lemons.




Dried fruit.








Devin selecting some nice ripe cucumbers. We eat cucumbers almost everyday.



Yummy red peppers.




Devin with our "Potato Guy." His potatoes are the best in the Shuk. Aren't they beautiful?



This is the halva stand. Halva is an Israeli snack made from sesame seeds and its actually really really good!



This photo is for my Mom. I always take some tea back to North Carolina for her and this is where I buy it. They have every tea imaginable from black tea, to chai, and fruit and herbal mixes. :)


I hope you all enjoyed our Adventures in the Shuk!

Thanks to Devin for allowing me to make us look like tourists on an everyday Israeli outing!



Related Posts:
Our Resurrection Adventure
How Long To Date

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hosea 3

The media rarely portrays Israel well, and many in the church have adopted replacement theology, in simple terms, the idea that the church replaced Israel after the new covenant was established. Between the two, it is easy to become confused about what the truth is concerning the Lord’s heart for this nation.

As political climates become more and more shaky, it's important for us all to have a firm understanding of how the Lord loves Israel, and what His word speaks of this chosen nation. Of the passages that address the Lord’s prophetic plan for Israel, Hosea 3 is one of my favorites. It is a clear and concise description of the Lord’s redemptive plan for this nation and how it relates to the second coming of His son, Messiah Yeshua. Much of it has already been fulfilled.

Hosea 3 begins after Gomer has left Hosea for a lifestyle of harlotry.

Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes."


The Lord compares Gomer’s adultery to the Israel’s inability to keep the covenant He established with them, yet rather than acting out of judgment, He show’s mercy.

So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley.


This is Hosea’s second marriage to Gomer. The silver and barley are the bride-price Hosea paid to again receive Gomer as his wife. Yeshua paid a bride-price of His own life for His beloved.

Then I said to her, "You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you."For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or household idols.


After Gomer was purchased as Hosea’s bride, she was sent into a time of seclusion. This is a prophecy of Israel being exiled into the Diaspora, after she was purchased by the blood of her Messiah. In 70 AD, nearly 40 years after Yeshua’s resurrection, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews were forced into exile for nearly 2000 years, as a people without a land, and without a place to sacrifice.

Through out the centuries that the Jewish people were in the Diaspora, they were accused of being “cursed” for their unbelief in Jesus, and even blamed for His death. Antisemitism and violent persecution resulted out of this mindset by gentile Christians. In this passage, Lord clarifies that this lack of belief has been His intention to harden them in part until the end of the age.

Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.


In 1948, for the first time in 2000 years, the Jewish people again occupied the land of Israel as an established nation. The “sons of Israel” have returned to the land, fulfilling the first part of this verse. The second part indicates a great move of the Holy Spirit to come on this nation as the Jewish people come “trembling to the Lord,” knowing Yeshua as their Messiah.

callie m.

Related Posts:
Our Ressurrection Adventure
Sojourning: Homesickness

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

It was so wonderful to be here during the Passover season. I love how this city transforms whenever there is a holiday. It was a new experience for Callie to be celebrating Passover with a whole nation the way Christmas is celebrated in the States. Passover is particularly special because of all the significance we see in this biblical feast. For Believers, Yeshua is the true Passover Lamb whose blood has saved us from wrath and destruction. This truth brought new significance to us as we were immersed in the holiday as a new family here in Jerusalem. Each household was supposed to sacrifice it's own lamb so that everyone in the house would be protected. The covering of the Lord has taken on a new dynamic for us as we have become a separate household from our parents. We must be even more diligent to place ourselves under his protection and guidance each day. The added spiritual responsibility to listen to and do what the Lord tells us is tangible. Please pray that the Lord would continue to knit us together in His love and that He would show us how to build a house that would glorify Him.

Israel seems to be caught in a very difficult place right now. Israel has always faced difficulty, but there has always been support, however small, for this nation. In Israel, people are beginning to see how useless and destructive the peace process has been. Not one thing has been accomplished over all this time and now we are looking at a radical Hamas that is far stronger than it has ever been. With the complete failure of all of the "peace plans", Israelis from the far Left to the far Right are talking about new approaches to achieve peace. There is a growing agreement that continuing to regurgitate the same old plan (with subtle changes) will bring more destruction. The sad thing now is that the present administration in the US has declared it's support for the Saudi Plan. With this endorsement, the US has declared that it will not support any new ideas, condemning Israel to relive the cycle it has been living for 20 years. Where is the hope for Israel and the Israeli people? Please pray that we would, as a nation, run into the arms of the One who can save us.

The Lord has been really showing me lately how careful we must be about what we allow into our houses. What things are we allowing to operate in our midst as believers? I am not simply talking about music, movies, or TV which many people would assume right away. I am talking about the spiritual things we are allowing to operate in our houses because of what is going on in the world. There are SO many things happening right now that it is very hard not to be affected spiritually by them. It would be easy to see the financial trouble and be affected in a number of different ways. Fear of losing security might drive us to ignore what we hear from the Lord about how we should use our assets and look simply for a way to secure profit (giving greed free reign). Fear might cause a hoarding spirit to come into our midst and cause all generosity to vanish. Worry about the international situation might cause us to turn around from going to a place God has called us to go thus giving a spirit of self-preservation freedom. We in the West have been far too comfortable, far too long and we have no idea how to respond to the perceived lack of security. I have seen spiritual things operating in people that I could have sworn I would never see in them. We must come quickly back to the reason why we live. We have never lived for ourselves. What has changed from then until now? The money we have, the house we own, the life we live has never been ours. Why have things changed now? We were fine saying these great spiritual things as long as in the back of our minds we were sure we would never lose them. To say that the Lord can take everything away from us (because it is all His anyway) is scary because now there is more chance of that happening. Brothers and sisters where is our faith? Faith needs to be the thing operating in our homes. Faith in a God that we know is there. Faith in His Son who has saved us from a life separated from God. Faith that no matter what storm is raging around us, we know that we are anchored to the One can bring us to safety. Come let us hold fast to what we know to be true. He is God and there is no other. He loves us and will never forsake us. Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our Resurrection Adventure

Jerusalem offers many opportunities to celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior in a unique context. Many believers in the city gathered at the Garden Tomb for a sunrise service. This sounds great, but we didn't want to wrestle with the crowds of tourists so early in the morning.



After some thought and consideration (because its quite a hike!), we decided to go to the Mount of Olives. I had never been on the Mount of Olives before but have always wanted to visit because it is the place where Yeshua's feet will literally touch down upon His return. So, my loving husband took me on an adventure.


We walked down to the Old City from our apartment, then followed the Via Dela Rosa backwards to the Lion's Gate. We left the Old City, crossed over the Kidron Valley, and began the hike up the giant hill that is the Mount of Olives. On the way, we stopped and observed a giant Jewish Cemetery and then spent some time admiring the 2000 year old olive trees at the Garden of Gethsemane before finally reaching our destination.

With only a hotel and some viewing platforms, the top of the Mount of Olives isn't necessarily an exciting place, although the view of the Old City is spectacular. Anytime I view the Mount of Olives from Jerusalem, and even that day while we were on its 'sumit,' I find it awe inspiring to know that it is the place where Yeshua left the earth when He ascended into Heaven, and it is the place He will return when He comes back.

At the top of the Mount, Devin and I found a place to sit and opened our bible to Zechariah 14:

4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south...

8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. 9 The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.


We walked to the North a little so we could have a better view of the Eastern Gate. The Eastern Gate is the closest in proximity to the Mount of Olives and has been sealed by the Muslims for about 2000 years, likely fulfilling the words of Ezekiel 44: 1-3. Many believe it is the gate Yeshua entered during the processional of His Triumphal Entry. It is also believed that this is gate He will enter Temple Mount through when He returns.

As we were viewing the gate, a Modern Orthodox tour group stopped at the viewing platform in front of us. The tour guide explained the same passage from Zechariah that we had read just a few moments before. Devin interpreted his Hebrew for me, but I was able to feel the passion this man had when talking about his Messiah without my husband's help. May his eyes be opened to know it is Yeshua!

As we gazed upon Jerusalem, we prayed for the calling on our marriage and for the salvation of Israel. We praised the Lord for His resurrection so that we might know Him and His father, and that He will one day soon return.



*I'd just like to note that we forgot our camera that day so I googled and found some images of the things we saw. I think the story is better with photos!


Related Post:
Celebrating the Resurrection in Israel

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Celebrating the Resurrection in Israel

As I learn more and more about Judaism, one of the areas that I'm consistently awed is how the Lord used the Hebrew calendar to mark the significant events of Yeshua's life. Or to say it differently - how Yeshua fulfilled the covenants found in the Holy Days on the Hebrew Calendar as the Jewish Messiah.

Take Passover, for example. This is the festival that celebrates the Exodus from Egypt. Anyone who is familiar with the story knows about the plagues that Moses released on to Egypt and the blood of the slain lamb that caused the angel of death to 'pass over' the homes of Jewish families so that the lives of their firsts born would be spared. It is easy to see the prophecy of Yeshua in this story. He is the slain lamb whose blood allows the judgment of God to pass over all who believe at the end of the age.

Beyond simply being able to see Yeshua's prophetic fulfillment of this story, very few people know that he actually fulfilled it during the celebration of Passover on the Hebrew calendar. This is primarily because in the 3rd century AD the council of Nicea "gentilized" Christianity, removing belief in Yeshua from the appropriate Hebrew roots. The celebration of the resurrection was moved from its place on the Hebrew calendar, to a pre-existing pagan Holiday, Easter.

The meal that we always refer to as "The Last Supper" is actually the Passover Seder. Yeshua and his disciples were participating in the traditions of the Seder as he introduced what the church refers to as communion. He was arrested sometime after the Seder, tried, crucified and then resurrected all within the week following passover, known as the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. (See Matt. 26)

Devin and I are committed to celebrating the resurrection within the week following Passover. Although this is a more biblically accurate time to celebrate, it is not out of legalism that we have made this decision, but rather because we believe it testifies before our non believing Jewish neighbors that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah, and sustains Devin's heritage as a Jewish believer in Yeshua. Keeping His resurrection connected to this time on the Hebrew calendar, also preserves a great deal of the meaning of Yeshua's actions that have been lost by separating the resurrection from passover.

By celebrating the Resurrection with Passover, we will often acknowledge this profound event at a different time than many of our friends and family. Uniquely, this year Easter fell within the week of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, so we went on a Resurrection Adventure in a very crowed Jerusalem, full of both Jewish and Christian tourists.

More on our adventure in my next post. ;)



Resources:

Your People Shall Be My People by Don Finto
Homecoming: Our Return to Biblical Roots by Chuck and Karen Cohen


Related Posts:

Pedestrians in the Desert for 40 Years?
Shabbat Letter Tisha B'Av

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pedestrians in the Desert for 40 Years?

This evening marks the beginning of Pesach, or Passover, the Jewish festival celebrating the exodus from Egypt. This is the first time I have celebrated Pesach in Israel, and Devin and I will spend most of the day cooking, removing all leavened bread from our apartment and preparing for the Seder.

My office closed for the week yesterday, so I am officially on vacation! At lunch, my co-worker, Nellie, made an interesting statement. Nellie is an architect who made Aliyah with her family from Russia. She has been teaching me to speak Hebrew (with a Russian accent) and I have been teaching her English (with a southern accent). Last summer, one of the words we exchanged was 'pedestrian.' I was very pleased to see that six months later, she still uses it regularly.... and creatively. We all had a nice giggle yesterday when she commented,

"The Jewish people were pedestrians in the desert for 40 years. That is why we celebrate pesach."


To which my boss replied,

"Yes, Nellie, we were pedestrians in the desert for 40 years."


Pedestrians? Maybe it wasn't the perfect word to describe the plight of Israel during that season, but it does put it in a different light. Especially for anyone who has been a pedestrian for an extended period of time, who knows the ache of sore feat, and the dependency on others to offer a ride!



Chag Sameach and Blessings to you on this Pesach season!






Resources:
For more information about how to celebrate a Messianic Seder, I found websites here and here.

related posts:
Sojourning: Home Sickness

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

This past week was loaded with things happening here in Israel. Every year at this time there is a lot of activity with Passover on its way. With the government finally getting sworn in, it just seems like there has been an abundance of activity in this country that is rarely seen. God has given us such a wonderful blessing to be able to slide in the country with all of this activity. He has been ordering our steps and we are really enjoying watching the Lord work. There are still many things that we need some divine help on, so please pray that we would be able to sit in the Lord's presence and listen. In this world, it is so hard to quiet our hearts before the Lord in order to listen to what He has to say. It seems like the cares of the world have somehow doubled over the past couple months and it is becoming harder to be still before the Lord. We see how important it is for us to do this and I pray the Lord is showing you this as well. Nothing is so essential as spending time with the Lord and yet so easy to forget about when the cares mount up. I pray that the Lord would make your path straight before you and I would ask you to pray the same for us.

Israel is at a point of decision. I almost sound silly saying this, because we just had an election. Israel's decision now is how she will respond to the enormous pressure now being heaped upon her by the international community. No other nation in the world is being told what they need to do as much as Israel is right now. The world community is scared about what this new government in Israel might mean, and they are making preemptive moves to pressure Israel to go the way she "should" go. Please pray that the Lord's hand would be heavy upon this new government that He would reveal Himself to His people.

What did Jeremiah do when he was sitting in that mud? This is something I have been thinking about and thinking about on this Shabbat. It seems to me that if I were in his place, I might be saying to God, "So I do your will, and this is what I get. No one believes me, and pretty much everyone wants to kill me for saying the truth. Why exactly should I continue in this life?" When he was finally drawn out of the mire, he was brought before the king again, and basically said the same thing that got him thrown in the mud in the first place. Would I have been so faithful to God who didn't seem to care for me? I think I might have just told the king what he wanted to hear and then quietly left the city. If they didn't want to listen, why should I care anymore? Jeremiah cared, because He had a real encounter with the Most High God. He continued to speak, because of that encounter. It was something that He couldn't deny. It is something that he couldn't just throw away when it was convenient. There is a challenge being laid at out feet in these days. When we speak the truth according to the Word of God, I assure you, we will be thrown in the mud. The world wants nothing to do with what we have to say. Some will listen, but the majority will go along with the spirit of deception that has been released on this Earth. Why should we continue if most people won't listen and will just throw is in the mud? This is where our true encounter with Yeshua should compel us to continue to speak and live the truth. It is because of HIM that we live, move, and have our being. He is the substance of our being and without Him we would exist without purpose or meaning. This is what we cannot deny and this is what must be planted deep within our spirits. When it is planted in us, we will get out of the mud only to proclaim the truth again. Blessings to you on this Shabbat.

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Friday, April 3, 2009

In Israel. In Love.

Devin and I have been in Israel for just over a week now and it has been so good. We've been busy running bureaucratic errands, visiting with friends, and working on our apartment. We are in a season on nesting and we love it!

As we are experiencing an abundance of joy, we're both keenly aware that life in Israel is not easy. Devin likes to say we have to "take the land by force." Though he has completed his required army service, and we do support Israeli military efforts, the force my wise husband is talking about is not a militant force. Its a personal, spirit lead effort, and one that requires an incredible amount of endurance.

I'm thankful that he passed on this idea to me last year. My engagement season was full of stressful scenarios that I never anticipated. Prior to my arrival last summer, a close friend and mentor received a word from the Lord that a great wind was blowing in my face. She knew before I arrived that I was in a war zone. As we were preparing for this trip, I had some anxiety about whether or not I would experience the same pressure, but since we have settled in, my experience has been the exact opposite!

I have a great sense of peace and freedom in this new season. I am overjoyed by finally being in our own apartment, a place where we can plant some roots. My architecture job is going really well. I love spending time in Jerusalem's City Center (they are having a great sale on boots... everywhere), seeing how much all of our friends' children have grown and I'm basking in my husband's love. The Lord is so good to have given me everything I have hoped and dreamed for. I hope I will serve Him well here in the land!

It will be several more weeks before our shipment arrives, so please keep our furniture and wedding gifts in prayer as they travel across the Atlantic. After everything arrives and we're able to unpack, I'll post some images so you all can see how great our home is, (thanks to the generosity of so many who love us and were willing to sow into our marriage with wedding gifts)!

Love and Blessings!

callie m.

related posts:

Shabbat Letter Tisha B'Av 2008 Read about the great wind that was blowing and how Yeshua rescued me in one of our Shabbat Letters.