Making the ascent to Jerusalem, “the City of God” is truly thrilling. The city is just as the Bible describes, a city compacted together, set on a hill. Right here, in this city, the last days will be played out, and Jesus will return planting His feet on the Mount of Olives. God engages with Jerusalem – it is His city – the Bible says so! With the lands of the north colluding, the nations and natural earth reeling, and lawlessness breaking out throughout the earth, watch and pray - Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled. We bow our knee before God in awe and reverence. How close is it to the Lord’s return?
Spiritual battle is a daily reality in Israel. Of necessity, every believer has to learn how to battle, donning the armour of God. It is a natural warzone, but it is also a spiritual warzone, because Israel remains at the heart of God’s end-time plans. We hear wonderful testimonies of God revealing Himself to Jew and Arab. However, the “spirit of the age” rules and the culture are far from holy – sadly lawlessness reigns. Taking a car on the road, you soon find out how every lane, line, light and law of the road is tested, challenged or abused. The land is indeed holy – because God is holy, but the people are far from holy - “separated unto God” – much like our own nations. You can feel abused every day stepping out into their world of dust, dirt, aggression, shouting, push and shove and selfishness. This is the reality in Israel. Pray for Israel – pray for God’s chosen people – pray for the peace of Jerusalem. How lovely that the Holy Spirit always leads in a counter cultural way – with peace, gentleness, joy and self-control.
Once again, we have had special encounters with the Lord and His people, the Jews. It seems that God has particularly purposed for us to “bump into” British Jews. Needing a B&B in the Galilee to make some pastoral visits, we booked at Ma’ale Gamla on the Golan Heights. Later we found out they are British Jews! On another occasion we took Mintie’s little doggie, Tikva for a walk around the village of Poria – high above the Sea of Galilee. A couple in a golf cart stopped to greet the dog! They are British Jews who made Aliyah home 12 months ago and are struggling to settle in Israel. God used us to encourage them. God is bringing His people home to the Land of Promise.
The precious Holy Spirit has helped us be in the right place at the right time to bring comfort, consolation and encouragement to Saints working hard here in Jerusalem and the Galilee. Their work centres on caring for Holocaust survivors, medical ministry and supplying the needs of Russian, E European and Ethiopian Jews who have returned to Israel with very few belongings - mercy ministries. We are here to give support to the workers – nearly all of whom are deeply weary. Sometimes the needs overwhelm - but we know to keep our eyes fixed on the glorious One who can break shackles, pierce darkness and set captives free. You have been praying for an anointing upon us and for a “word in season” for each – God has been answering your prayers. Although we feel utterly inadequate for the task and things people share are way beyond our experience or spiritual ability, in the midst of it all, we hear His voice - His counsel - and it always satisfies and answers the situation in hand. The weekly meetings in our apartment on a Thursday evening are an oasis of blessing. We cook a meal, share a special devotion from the Word and pray together. Thank you for praying in all this regard – God is hearing and answering your prayers. Our safe place is His “secret place” - and He has covered us there with His hand! Psalm 91:1
Continue to pray for our health. We are well now – but Jan has had a chest infection and Mintie food poisoning. It is a battle – but again one in which we are promised victory. Tikva has had to play nurse! Thank you for your prayers. Each day we know God’s grace and mercy. Back in the UK 29 December 2016. Much love from Jerusalem! Jan & Mintie