Encouragement Blog

Welcome to my encouragement blog. My name is Jan Whitmore

Jan 429873 Author picture Janice Whitmore

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. NKJV 

 

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  1. DSC_0325Sit among Christian believers and raise the question of Israel and you will witness various strong views expressed, often with a dash of acid mixed in. Pro-Jew / pro-Arab or pro-replacement theology and pro-Zionist - all reflect a positional bias. And, when “pro” is used, another positional bias is strongly implied – “against”.

    “Jan, are you pro-Israel or pro-the two-state solution?” I smile. “Neither”.

    “Well, are you pro-Jew or pro-Arab?” I smile. “Neither”.

    “But isn’t that sitting on the fence?”

    “Yes, God’s fence. I’m pro-God and His Word”.

    A while ago, God began teaching me that His sovereign view must become my view – even if I disagree with His words (pride), or I cannot see how His words can be practically worked out today. I remember the day when He said, “Jan, my truth is still truth whether you believe it or not. And I don’t need your help to uphold it!”

    So, I am committed to His Word becoming my word. His loving and merciful heart becoming my heart. What He loves, becoming what I love. And, that means, there are many times when I have to get off my high-horse and surrender my opinionated soul (mind, will and emotions) to Him. The Bible says, my mind is darkened, I lack wisdom and I don’t know how to pray. These days, when “the fire” has swept through my life, I understand more and more that this is true! It is a liberating discovery. “I need Thee every hour”.

    I now realise that I cannot even hear Him speak all the while I have “made up my own mind” over world matters or indeed the Jew and Arab conflict. My worldview and belief-system was largely formed and guided by the BBC, CNN, ITV and other media outlets. With the best will in the world, they boast “unbiased coverage” but inevitably veer down one side or the other, according to what makes the best headline on a given day. Plus, their “coverage” is not based on God’s worldview, as recorded in the Bible and revealed to our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Sadly, it is evident everywhere, that many believers would rather believe and even propagate the views of the media, than God’s eternal and unchanging Word. They swallow the view of the ungodly and unbelieving media. Why? Default really. If our Bibles are made redundant, we don’t care, and we are not diligently seeking the Lord through the Word of God, then the TV, newspapers and magazines shape our minds and opinions. Then our minds will be full of unbelief; this is sin against God.

    I’ve been there, but no more! I am fighting back to burn off my spiritual flab! I’ve taken up a daily exercise program in the Word and in prayer that continuously informs, shapes and transforms my mind, heart and actions. I’m learning to love the presence of God above all other. It is exhilarating and utterly refreshing to gain God’s thoughts / opinion on the matters in His world. How could we be so dumb as to think we know how to run His world? Therefore, many opinions that I thought were reasonable and fair, have been tossed out in favour of God’s higher thoughts of eternity, love, care, mercy and justice. And, in that regard, my thoughts and opinions of Israel have had some radical adjustment, seeking to come into line, and in step with God and His heart (Romans 12 : 1-2).

    Let me come back to the beginning of this blog. Is God for the Jew and thus against the Arab? Is God pro-Palestinian and thus anti-Semitic? Only our carnal and broken minds think like that. God has made an eternal and loving plan which is fully-inclusive of both. Is God for a two-state solution or against a two-state solution? God’s sovereign and covenant plan to give the land of Canaan to the Israelites was not a statement of being for the descendants of Isaac and against the descendants of Ishmael. There was no “for” and “against” – read of God’s loving attention given to Hagar and her son Ishmael in Genesis 16.  Read what God said to Hagar about Ishmael and his descendants in Genesis 16: 11-12. However, also read how God gave the rightful custody of the Land to the Jews, with provision for others (foreigners / aliens) to live in the Land among them – under God’s kingly and sovereign reign.

    To possess the Land and to share in the Land requires that the same terms and conditions are met by all parties – that all bend their knee before the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, forsaking the ungodly ways of the surrounding nations, and worship only Him. This is where Jew and Arab part company, not only with each other, but with God Himself. The evil and deceitful human heart will not bow down in humility to serve the only true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or indeed serve each other. Both want their own way and the ungodly ways of surrounding ungodly nations – both East and West. They will not bow their head, bend their knee and say, “O God, You are my God”. On that ground, and on that ground only, peace and reconciliation take place.

    DSC_0353So, no, I do not believe in a two-state solution – I hear about it from the media, it sounds like a reasonable scheme or notion, but do not read about it in God’s Word –the Bible. However, I certainly do believe that the Land, given to the Jews, which spreads far beyond the present borders - from “the river of Egypt the great river, the River Euphrates (Genesis 12: 1-3; Genesis 15: 1 – 21) - is the Land given by God for Israel to possess and govern in a God-fearing way - righteously, thus it is a land of inclusion, provision and care, of both Jew, Arab and foreigner alike. This would be a land of godly government, peace and reconciliation. So, please don’t argue with me over what is the Land of Promise – take that up with God. At this stage, this is also beyond my understanding. However, if truth has changed, then, so has God. I know He has not and never will. If somehow this covenant promise has now changed and suddenly God breaks covenant, He can never be trusted on any promise He has made to us. God never breaks promises.

    Should believers comfort and pray for Israel – certainly, God’s Word says so. Not to do so is disobedience. Is there yet another chapter for the Jews to be fulfilled? Certainly, it is happening right now (Romans 11). The climax of time is close and Bible prophecy concerning the Jews is being fulfilled. Anti-Semitism is uprooting the Children of Israel from among the nations and bringing them home to the Land of Promise. Is God faithful to the descendant of Ishmael? Certainly, and we hear of many having divine visits from Jesus, revealing to them that He is indeed the Son of God – the Lamb of God slain for their sins. I love Jew and Arab because God does!

    DSC_0374God was and is for all humankind! He keeps covenant with Israel and, indeed, with the world. The Bible tells us that when Christ Jesus shed His blood as the atoning Lamb of God for Jew and Gentile, the dividing wall of hostility was torn down; the two (Jew and Gentile) became one (Ephesians 2: 11-18). Just as it is true for all unbelievers, many Jews and Arabs have yet to realise that that redeeming work on the cross was actually for them – to pull down the divide of their inherited differences.

    Jan Whitmore

    Making Disciples International

  2. Time is slipping by so fast and already we are chatting about returning home to the UK – longing to see Tikva – Mintie’s little white ball of fluff. What a reunion that will be!

    Since we last wrote we’ve continued to be responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. By enlarge this has been one-on-one prayer / share appointments in Jerusalem  the Galilee. Personal debriefing appointments with Agency workers have also continued. One Dutch lady said, “I’ve been waiting 22 years for this day of freedom”.

    We’ve been messed about a fair amount with our accommodation in Jerusalem. It has been battle! What should have been one apartment for one month has ended up as three apartments of varying standards, with some days in the month not even covered. It has been a tough experience encountering an unscrupulous landlady – but one in which we have been tested in terms of walking God’s way – with God’s attitude, honouring His name. When you are ripped off you have to come to the place where you accept it is not YOU that is being stolen from, but God – and He can take care of Himself (and you) and His money. Our part in the story has been to hand over justice to Him. Subnsequently we have come to peace.

    DSC_0211Sadly, at the end of last week Jan got food poisoning. She has been very ill, but is now on the mend. Fortunately, this last weekend we have been staying with Rita Kotze in the Galilee, so Jan has been comfortable. What is evident is that we need covering prayer. People are being set free and Satan hates it. Please would you reinforce your prayer for us until we reach home 31 March 2015. Battle for victory in the lives of those we are ministering to.

    One week to go. However, this final week is full of very significant times of ministry and we don’t want to miss out on anything God has for us.

    Two ladies, one South African and the other Dutch have the third of three debriefing appointments – a time when we bring wounds, pain, disappointment, failure, needs and sin to the cross to receive healing and release – forgiving and being forgiven. Burdens carried for many, many years will be rolled onto our dear Lord Jesus.

    Last night we had our final “flock group” meeting with the single workers. We have been studying “Walking with God by faith” and the significance of meditating on the Word of God to achieve that. Stimulating for all of us. Our new book, “Face to Face with God” has been at the heart of what we have been learning. We’re bought-in an evening meal for everyone from a local restaurant. Also, we had prepared a Scripture card and a beautiful gift basket for each one – dates, date honey, preserves and chocolates. We wanted to show our love in a tangible way.

    “Lord, strengthen and equip us with Your Word and spiritual gifts to finish this trip well and return singing Your praises and giving You glory. Amen.”

    Grateful that you are with us rejoicing in what God is doing in Israel.

    Our love

    Jan & Mintie

  3. 8 March 2015

    We safely arrived in Jerusalem at 6am Monday morning (2nd March). What a thrill to make our way up to the city of God – “come lets us go up to the mountain of the Lord”. People don’t realise how high up Jerusalem is. Sadly, there was immediate upheaval as our designated apartment had to be changed due to a building site springing up next door – pile driving, water everywhere, dust and immense noise!!  It is Jerusalem. Our landlady chose to upgrade us!! Yes, once again the Lord was busy attending to our needs. Our first fellowship meeting happened on Tuesday eve. We had rich, rich fellowship. God is certainly with us!

    DSC_0085Here is an interesting story. Wednesday morning we prayed together for our day –a simple prayer, “Lord, lead us by Your Holy Spirit.” The debriefing appointment went very well and after lunch we said, “let’s take a walk in the direction of the Garden Tomb and catch a taxi for the part when Mintie’s legs would not go farther”. Outside the King David hotel Mintie realised that she now needed a ride. A taxi was just there. As we got inside Mintie felt the Holy Spirit touch her powerfully. Immediately, the driver said, “Are you believers in Yeshua (Jesus)? I am a Jewish believer (Messianic)!” Thoroughly taken aback at his open and forthright testimony, Jan said, “Yes, we are Christians – we are believers in Yeshua!” Exuberant praise came out of his mouth. He had sat for four hours praying for someone  to need his taxi – “Yeshua send someone, I need work” he prayed, and along we came. The taxi ride led to a time of lively fellowship and mutual prayer. He could hardly keep his feet on the ground as he prayed for us in Hebrew – he was full of the Holy Spirit.

    In 2000 Yeshua miraculously appeared to him in his room and revealed to him that He was the Jewish Messiah. For two more nights Yeshua appeared again telling him about Himself. He had no previous knowledge of anyone called Yeshua. Dramatically, he surrendered his life to the Lord, and is now on fire. His family disowned him but in another extraordinary turn of events his wife and children also received Yeshua. What an extraordinary day. We have prayed the same prayer each morning.

    On Thursday, the morning debriefing was mutually encouraging. To see the spiritual growth of someone you have known for some years is a privilege. After lunch we decided to walk in our area –the  German Colony, before our next debriefing appointment in the evening. Just a few metres along the road we were drawn to a sign, Alliance Church International cemetery. As we entered the beautiful, peaceful haven tucked away amidst the hustle and bustle and dust of Emek Refaim,  a Jewish man approached. Mintie stared into his drawn face. “Are you Meir?” He smiled broadly saying, “Mintie is that you? God has sent you, God has sent you.” In the 1980’s when Mintie was bursar in the Garden Tomb, Jerusalem, Meir married one of her friends, a Dutch volunteer. Catching up was painful as he shared his broken life. The reunion was full of joy and such a comfort to him. He is working in the cemetery as a volunteer, care-taking. Many Jewish people wander into the place wondering what it is. He is able to tell them about Yeshua, because all who are buried are Christian workers sent to Israel by the Lord. He tells their stories of faith and their love for Israel – so many who have given their lives for Israel are buried there in the soil of the nation they loved. He also showed us the graves of Derek and Ruth Prince, as well as Peter Wells who was Mintie’s boss in the Garden Tomb. It was a humbling and moving experience.

    On Friday afternoon a hush descended on the city – it was the beginning of the Sabbath – the stillness in stark contrast to the hubbub, noise, push and shove is something to experience. The city came to an absolute standstill until sundown last night. On Sabbath eve Jewish families gather around the family table to break bread, giving thanks for His creation and the Exodus of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, looking forward to a future Messianic age. They refrain from work and engage in restful activities to honour the day. They enter into Sabbath rest and we joined them. On Friday evening we shared our Shabbat table with a dear friend who has worked in this city for many years. It was a very special time. Yesterday, we walked the southern ramparts of the Old City of Jerusalem, praying for all its inhabitants. So far very good and we are rejoicing in the Lord thanking Him for His marvellous and tender care.

  4. The essence of discipleship is remarkably simple, yet deeply profound – it is learning to walk with God by faith. Not some kind of weak hopefulness, but faith that has a solid and strong conviction and confidence that “God is and a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb.11:6). Faith rises when we know in our experience that God is love, holy, just, sufficient, everlasting, a keeper of covenant and much more besides! Hebrews 11:1-2 tells us that faith operates in the realm of “the unseen” and the “hoped for”. Conviction of “the unseen” - the glorious eternal realm of God, is the bedrock of confidence for things yet to come to pass. Spiritual growth ignites when we allow God to develop within us spiritual conviction and confidence. Walking with God, by the Word and the Spirit, the reality of God’s unseen heavenly realm - God’s spiritual realm – the realm of the Kingdom of God - the realm of the Holy Spirit – comes alive in us. We hear His voice. From my limited travels, Christians all over the world are longing for that sort of inner conviction, confidence and walk in life! Just think, when we pray “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” we invoke that glorious power of the“ unseen” realm into our earthly realm. It is a powerful prayer.

    Walls of JerusalemI am in Jerusalem bringing encouragement to God’s workers, watching this play out in and around my life. Wednesday morning my colleague Mintie Nel and I prayed for our day – a simple prayer, “Lord, lead us by Your Holy Spirit.” The debriefing appointment went very well and after lunch we said, “let’s take a walk in the direction of the Garden Tomb and catch a taxi for the part when Mintie’s legs would not go farther”. She has Rheumatoid Arthritis. Outside the King David Hotel, Mintie realised that she now needed a ride. A taxi was just there. As we got inside, Mintie felt the Holy Spirit touch her powerfully. Immediately, the driver said, “Are you believers in Yeshua (Jesus)? I am a Jewish believer (Messianic) Yeshua came to me!” Thoroughly taken aback at his open and forthright testimony, I said, “Yes, we are Christians – we are believers in Yeshua!” Exuberant praise came out of his mouth. He had sat for four hours, praying for someone  to need his taxi – “Yeshua send someone, I need work” he prayed, and along we came. The taxi ride led to a visit to the beautiful Garden Tomb complex and was followed by another taxi ride with the radiant Jewish taxi driver. We met two of his friends and had a time of lively fellowship and mutual prayer. It was like the accounts of the early church in Jerusalem. Our Jewish brother could hardly keep his feet on the ground as he prayed for us in Hebrew – he was full of the Holy Spirit.

    In 2000, Yeshua miraculously appeared to him in his room and revealed that He was the Jewish Messiah. For two more nights Yeshua appeared again, telling him more about Himself. He had no previous knowledge of anyone called Yeshua. Dramatically, he surrendered his life to the Lord, and is now on fire. His family disowned him, but in another extraordinary turn of events, his wife and children also received Yeshua. What happened there? We walked with God to His appointment.

    Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:24)and that precious walk of faith eventually translated him directly into the presence of God, without seeing death. He was taken up. It sounds so good. However, what does walking with God by faith mean? G Campbell Morgan, in his inspiring old book “Triumphs of Faith”, describes it this way:

    • Walking under Divine direction
    • Walking in perfect agreement with God
    • Walking, trusting God about yourself
    • Walking in step with God

    Enoch walked with God. That means he lived under Divine direction. He had personal communication with God. God speaks with one who diligently seeks Him. It is interesting to note that God actually “walks”. However, where is He walking that we must accompany Him? It is a good question! This week, in one instance, we found out. But I think it means much more than walking with God into His appointments. Everything in this world is in transition – it is moving, and if God is standing in sovereign control behind it all, then He is involved. He is working out His purposes in and through world events. He is on the move in the nations. He wants all humankind to be reconciled to Him. God is manoeuvring and moving. So we need to watch and pray so that when He moves we move. Are we walking with Him as He moves? Are we watchful? Are we interceding for the matters on His heart? Are we walking with Him in uncompromising, unceasing and unabated hostility to sin? He marches to war against sin and His campaign is against all forms of evil. General William Booth caught that vision and formed the Salvation Army. Enoch walked with God in His divine purposes and plans.

    Walking with God also means walking in perfect agreement with Him. This is much more than having a general doctrinal agreement with Him – a pally nod of agreement . It means having no opposition to Him or His will in our lives. It means the end of personal opinion. God’s word is His word and, therefore, the final word which we accept obediently. We may praise the Sermon on the Mount and even love it’s words, but not live it. We are not walking with God. Walking with God is the end of personal controversy with Him. For those who accompany Him it is His will and His way. Enoch walked with God.

    Enoch trusted God, that is why he walked with Him. Have you ever tried following someone you don’t trust? Amazingly, God also trusted Enoch; He knew his heart of devotion and commitment. He trusted Enoch for 300 years. They moved in the same direction, in perfect agreement, trusting each other.

    God can only share His heart with those who are close to Him. We are told that the Children of Israel had to wait to see what God would do, but Moses was told beforehand. Why? God trusted Moses. Walking with God is entrusting ourselves to Him. Enoch walked with God.

    Enoch also kept in step with God. He didn’t move ahead with misplaced zeal, and he did not drag his feet in unbelief. Unfettered zeal can outrun faith; unbelief drops behind the pace. A disciple of Jesus neither runs ahead or lags behind. A disciple keeps in step with God all the way. Enoch walked with God.

    We might think that Enoch’s day was easier than today, but it wasn’t. There was abuse and godlessness, and independence from control. As annoying as it is for believers, man was remarkably successful, in spite of rebellion against God. Sound familiar? Yet, even in the midst of that, Enoch walked with God. He stood out from the crowd by his position next to our holy God as He was walking.

    Is it possible in our rebellious day, to move along under Divine direction, to be in agreement with God, to trust and know Him; going step by step, waiting for His movements and accompanying Him on His journey? Yes. This is the path of discipleship.