Love is Patient by Patty Juster

The old man stroked his beard as he stood in the middle of the road. His eyes squinted in the bright sunlight. It appeared that he had done this many times before as his eyes were deeply grooved with wrinkles. Evidently, he was waiting for someone to come walking down the road. The neighbors could be heard from time to time gossiping about this old man’s foolishness. It had been 15 years since his son had left him, and never had he heard a word from him. He could be dead, for all they knew. Yet, this old father faithfully stood at the crossroads every morning and night, leaning on his wooden staff. Every now and then you could see a trickle of water run down his sun worn cheek. After a few minutes he would turn around and slowly shuffle his way back to his stone house. The appearance and style of the house reflected the great wealth this old man had. Many fields of olive trees and grapevines surrounded his estate. He owned much fertile land and it bore him an abundant yield. Yet, in spite of all the comfort his money could buy, his heart was heavy. His friends taunted him and said his son would never return and that he deserved to die for treating his father in this fashion. But the old man would not listen. He knew in his heart that his son would one day return.

With such depth of kindness in his voice, the old man would often retell the story again and again of how his son grew restless. But he would never dishonor his son and tell others how his son no longer wanted to be stuck at home and be told what he could and couldn’t do. He and his father had had many conflicts and his father never saw things his way. The young man thought for sure that his father favored his older brother more than him and he felt that he could no longer trust him.

Feeling a deep isolation from the rest of the family, he thought that the only recourse would be for him to leave home and experience real life away from all those who would seek to control his life. He somewhat boldly approached his father and asked for his inheritance early. The wise father knew that he couldn’t demand that his son stay with him, as he was a man now. Though the father knew in his heart that his son’s decision would bring him to ruin, that he would spend his money foolishly, he had to release his son to follow his own heart. By giving his son freedom the old man knew he willingly took on the grief of daily bearing the concern for the well being of his child. He would suffer the consequences of his son’s choices and when his son hurt, he would hurt. Such is the cost of love, and the price of freedom.

The father grabbed hold of his son and hugged him strongly, speaking quietly into his ear that he will always love him no matter what he did. He told his son that he was always welcome to come back and live in his house. As the young man walked down the road, he never even turned to wave good-bye. The old man just stood there with tears in his eyes, and seemed to stoop over as he pounded his chest, “my son, my son, why have you forsaken me?”

Now, fifteen years later, before the sun was fully up, the old man once again stood in the road and stroked his beard, leaning on his weather worn staff. This time he saw movement, someone walking far into the distant. Slowly, the man moved closer and the old man’s face began to quiver. He threw down his staff and began to run toward the man walking toward him. Yes, it was his son…he knew that one day he would return. As they approached each other his son fell at his feet and wept. “Oh father, I have sinned against you and against God in heaven. I do not deserve to even be a servant in your household. Please forgive me and allow me to come be your slave. I was such a fool and have wasted your money and threw my life way through sinful living. How could you ever forgive me?”

“O my son, you were dead but now you are alive! Come, here is my ring and put on this robe. I more than forgive you, I embrace you fully as my son. You will eat with me at my table.”

“Servants,” he shouted back towards his house, “kill a fatted calf and prepare a feast for my son. He was lost, but now he is found.”

“Let me look at you,” his father cried, “I have waited for this day and now it is here. You have really come home.” Then the old man with tears running down his face could not stop kissing his son.

Sirens Blaring by Patty Juster

Sirens blaring, wildly proclaiming
Evil has unleashed her fury and people cry
All wonder, “Is it my child, my friend now dying?”
Now wounded, now maimed, they’re chosen not knowing why.

Beneath the angry stares of the nations railing
A people stumbling, searching, what brings this hatred
How do they deserve such reproach, no place resting
They wander, looking upward, where to put their bed

A flicker of light, an ancient memory once strong
Now darkened by years and buried deep by sorrow
Faintly a sound is heard breaking through as a song
Recalling a day when they marched boldly o’er their foe

Twas a time when HaShem his shining face felt
Perhaps but dreaming, for pain causes them to doubt
As they await the next bomb, their nerves in fear melt
Will they be there in the morn, to see the sun shout?

Announcing hope, reminding them of covenant
Giving them assurance, his love will ne’er depart
His promise secure, he will slay the defiant
Victory is his, his great plan from the start

Oft others broadcast Israel is not their own
The violence would stop, to be safe their land release
A growing loathing, a pressure to stand alone
A deep groan, a faint sigh, will there ever be peace?

Wailing is heard, a hurting heart that will not flee
Oh, the punishment severe, can’t express in words
Yet, heavens declaring comfort, they’ll soon be free
Lifted up above the fray, carried on wings of birds.

With their own eyes they’ll see Him coming from afar
At last they will know, salvation belongs to Him
They’ll cry, “Blessed are you, the bright and morning star.”
With arms opened wide, they’ll believe and be welcomed home.

Written in response to the latest Tel Aviv Bombings while we were sitting at the Ben Gurion Airport on January 5.

Love Weeps with those who Weep by Patty Juster

A large crowd of women and children were huddled together, trying to keep warm. Their thin coats provided little protection against the late autumn wind and rain. Many could be seen striking their folded arms against their bodies to try to stimulate blood flow. The gray sky accentuated the bleakness of the occasion. The Gestapo had rounded up the women and children from several barracks to witness the punishment of three young boys who had stolen bread from the camp kitchen. Several women could be heard whimpering softly so as not to bring the wrath of the guards down upon them. None of them chose to be here this morning. But these were the “lucky” ones, depending on how you look at it. Many of their train mates were herded down the road to the showers and to “better” barracks, so they were told. But these women knew better, they had heard rumors about the gas chambers and crematoriums. The daily stench never let them block these thoughts from their minds.

This morning, just like every cold morning, they have dealt with these horrors the same way that their bodies dealt with the cold. They became numb on the inside just like they were becoming numb on the outside. Shouts could be heard coming from some guards off in the distance. Apparently, some women had refused to be a part of this scene and now were suffering the consequences. There were a few screams, a couple of shots, and then there was silence. No one flinched. They were used to this by now. These outbreaks were a daily occurrence.

It seemed like they were standing out in the cold forever that morning while they waited for the guards to bring the three boys. But, finally, they could see them coming around the corner of one of the barracks. These poor boys had hardly any meat on their bones…just like the rest of them. It was not fair that any of them should have to experience such evil and degradation. Their eyes were glazed over and it appeared they were already dead inside. What was about to happen only solidified what already happened months ago when hope disappeared.

The guards pushed the boys on ahead of them until they reached the gallows in front of the crowd of women and children. They all knew what to expect, they have seen this before. Each boy was put on a chair, then a noose was slipped over his head, and with sordid pleasure the guards kicked the chairs out from under each youth. The noose soon tightened around their necks and they began to gag and gasp for breath. They did not die quickly, as their necks were not broken as they were in usual hangings. Their mothers, in witnessing their agony, fell to the ground. They yet had enough life left in them to grieve bitterly for the loss of their child. One mother could be heard groaning, and shaking an angry fist at God, “Where are you?” Somewhere in the crowd a voice called out loudly, “God is right up there hanging with your son.”

Yes, this was true. God knew that in creating man with a free will, it would cost Him as well man great pain and suffering. He was willing to bear this pain and suffering that would result from the evil choices made by fallen man. The holocaust represented the price of freedom. The cross represents the cost of love. Within the heart of God, before man even set foot on this earth, God bore the pain of all the sinful choices, and yet, knew his great power was able to bring all of creation history into conformity with glorious purposes. The Lamb of God was slain from the beginning of the world and sits in the center of the throne. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has triumphed. Because God weeps with those who are weeping, great glory can be brought out of great tragedy. We do not grieve as those who are without hope. We have a savior who identifies with our every tear. How great a love the Father has for us in that he sent His only son to hang on a tree for us. We do not suffer alone.

Love is a Gift by Patty Juster

THE COST OF LOVE, THE PRICE OF FREEDOM

A small boy pressed his nose against a frost-covered windowpane, trying to get a closer look.  He had smelled the odors of fresh pastries and roasting turkey wafting from the house and it stirred memories of days long ago.  Fragrances of love and family that’s what they were.  How he longed to be a part of this scene he viewed from afar.  There they were, a father and a mother sitting on a bench before their upright piano.  A gleeful young lad sat on the man’s lap while the mother played and sang Christmas carols.  And there stood a proper young girl dressed in fine pink silk and lace.  She had her arm about her mom’s shoulder and was trying to blend her delicate voice with the tones of her parents.  In the distance he saw a table set with the best china, goblets and colorful red napkins.  He just knew that this was what he wanted for Christmas…a family.

Reluctantly, the boy pushed himself away from the window.  It had begun to snow and the wind started to pick up.  The night was bleak and wintry blasts of cold slipped down his neck.  With determination, he pulled the collar of his thin coat up over his ears.  Quickly, he shoved his bare hands back into his pockets.  The cold felt like painful knives coming through the holes in his coat but all he could do was scrunch his shoulders up into his head and bow low into the gusts as he walked.  He trudged steadily towards town in hopes of finding a store open where he could receive warmth. 

About three blocks down the road the lad found himself on Main Street and sure enough, a department store was all lit up.  He took a moment to look at the Christmas displays in the windows before going through the revolving doors.  There was Santa standing by his sleigh with his faithful reindeer peering back at him as if to question, “Now?”  Numerous elves appeared to be scurrying about, getting ready for the big night.  Multi-colored presents lay everywhere as if waiting expectantly for little arms to gather them up.  Fake snow covered everything.  Even this moved the boy into deeper sadness.  Glancing toward the door, he decided to risk being caught and sneaked into the store.  Luckily, no one was watching.  He went straight for the toy department.  How good the heat felt and he began to relax his shoulders and to stomp his feet to get the blood flowing again.  Crowds of parents with young children in tow shoved their way forward to get a chance to see Santa.  Just maybe he would be blessed and be able to sit on Santa’s lap like the other children.  Maybe Santa won’t notice that he was alone.

The line moved slowly, but he didn’t care.  At least he was out of the cold.  He did not notice that almost an hour had passed before it was his turn.  With head bowed low, the boy slowly crept up on Santa’s big lap.  It felt so good to have his big arms embrace him.  Then he spoke those magical words that he longed to hear.  “What do you want for Christmas, son?”  Yes, those words touched his deep loneliness.  Quietly he whispered into Santa’s ears, as he did not want anyone to find out that he was an orphan. “I want a family to love me…that is I want more than anything in this whole world.  Can you find someone to love me?”  The jovial smile slipped from Santa’s face as he looked at the ragged boy on his lap.  His sandy hair was unkempt and his face was smudged with aged dirt.  Santa could still feel the cold coming from deep within the lad.  What could he say?  His heart overflowed with compassion and knew that he did not have the power to grant his request.  Santa drew the boy even closer into his chest and turned the boy’s face towards his own so he could look deeply into his eyes.  “My son, love is a gift.  It cannot be bought. You or I cannot make someone love you.  Love is only love if it is given freely.  But, it is a gift you already have in your heart.  You do not have to wait to find someone to love you, but you can give this gift right now.  It is a choice you can make…you can choose to love the way you want to be loved.  When you love, then you are no longer alone.  The coldness will go away.  You will know when you have found love when you hurt.  When you love someone so much and they do not love you back, when you love and nothing comes back to you, then you must make a choice.  Yes, it hurts, but do you keep on loving or do you hold unto your gift because it hurts too much to release.  If you do not love, then you will return to being cold.  Love is a gift but it will cost you everything.  It is not something you can turn on and off.  You must keep on giving love and never turn back.  Once you plant the seeds do not dig them up to see if they are growing.  Then one day you will find that the seeds of love you have sown will sprout, and you will find a family of love.”

The lad wiped a small tear from his face and wrapped his arms around Santa’s neck.  It seemed like he would never let him go.  Somehow, he did not feel quite so cold anymore or quite so alone.  Carefully he slipped off Santa’s lap as he joyfully thanked him.  He left that store with a new flicker of hope.  Yes, loving others would be worth the pain.  He couldn’t wait to get back to the orphanage to try out this newfound secret.  The boy had some gifts to give, some seeds of love to plant.

Love Hurts by Patty Juster

The emergency room of the hospital bustled with too much activity.  The noise and confusion seemed too intense for so early on this Sunday morning.  Huddled into a corner sat a young mother and father.  They were sitting facing each other with heads bowed and hands grasped tightly together.  The parents were visibly upset and they looked like they needed treatment themselves.  Both had dried blood on their faces and cuts and bruises on their arms. 

One could not mistake the reason for their consternation…they were facing death. 

A few hours ago they were happily on their way back from visiting her parents.  The weather forecaster never mentioned the prospect of freezing rain.  Why didn’t anyone know and warn the holiday travelers?  Maybe they could have avoided traveling home last night and instead left that morning.  But the speculation was futile.  The unavoidable happened.  Their car skidded out of control and flipped over several times before coming to a stop. 

All of them were thrown out of the car even though they all had seat belts on.  How could this possibly be?  Slowly the man and woman found each other and were so relieved that neither of them was seriously hurt.  But, where was their son.  Frantically they searched the ground near the road.  It was so dark along that country lane.  Then they heard a moan coming from somewhere behind them and they quickly found their three-year-old face down in the cold wet mud.  Blood was oozing from his mouth.  They were in shock and disbelief…not their precious son!

Fear seized them…what could they do.  The mother stayed with her boy while the father ran to flag down a car to get help.  Fortunately, the driver had a phone and called for an ambulance.  The ten-minute wait seemed like an eternity.  Medics ran to their child and started to check him out.  They didn’t even take time to put him on a stretcher but scooped him up into their arms and rushed him into the ambulance.  Despite the parents’ pleas to ride with their son, the medics refused them entry and slammed the ambulance door in their face.  The waiting police whisked the mother and father away in his patrol car.  Now they found themselves alone, waiting for news of their son. 

Over four hours passed before one of the nurses came to take them through the emergency room doors into one of the small conference rooms.  They were told to wait for the head surgeon, who had worked on their son. The parents looked intently into the nurse’s eyes to discover if their son had made it through the surgery.  But, she was cold and calculating as she carried out her duties and her countenance did not reveal any news.  However, it was only a few minutes before the doctor came in and that ethereal nurse scurried out.  He had not even taken time to change his scrubs…they were splattered with blood.  The doctor could not even look the mother and father in the eyes…then they knew.  Collapsing into each other’s arms they let out an unearthly wail.  Their son, their precious child, gone…so quickly.  They never even got a chance to say good-bye or give him a hug.  The doctor clumsily asked if there was anything he could do.  He said they tired everything they knew to do but his injuries were too severe.

The same nurse that led them to this room came to lead them to a special room where they could view their son and hold him.  Thankfully, she left them alone and they were able to handle their shock and grief in private.  They reached over to touch the still form of their son.  It was already cold.  The mother didn’t know if being in this room was such a good idea as her boy was greatly disfigured.  His mangled appearance only added to he trauma. 

Maybe this body was not really her son.  Maybe he was back by that road calling for them.  Yet, there was not mistake.  On his neck a small red birthmark marked him as their own son.  How they hurt.  They touched him, but he did not wake.  He did not respond.  Unrequited love, the worst kind of pain.  They hurt because they loved.  Many children die everyday, yet not one of their deaths affected them like this…not even coming close.  In fact, it never even crossed their minds to grieve over the losses of these other children.  But why did they hurt so over the loss of their own son?  It was because of love.  The greater the love one has for someone, the more the pain of loss when love can no longer be returned.  How much God must hurt when His love is not returned. 

The Saint’s Hall of Fame by Patty Juster

Sorrowful, yet you are always rejoicing
Oft struck down, slandered, yet going on living
Naked, put to shame, but ne’er without clothing
In sadness tearful, found with soul singing
SO…
With warm embrace my arms will welcome you home
My Holy Name on your heart has been engraved
Your love for me proven, fills many a tome
Your presence, my Bride, in my Hall of Fame saved

In awe of me, hearing my word you tremble
Oft thinking this day you cannot rise to face
Pouring out your heart, made weak, you are humbled
Yet behind the veil you’ve cried through to my grace
SO…
With warm embrace my arms will welcome you home
My Holy Name on your heart has been engraved
Your love for me proven, fills many a tome
Your presence, my Bride, in my Hall of Fame saved

With great courage you hug the next one hurting
No one to share your pain oft you walk alone
But feeling hope, the warmth of my face smiling
Each day you march onward, your life not your own
SO…
With warm embrace my arms will welcome you home
My Holy Name on your heart has been engraved
Your love for me proven, fills many a tome
Your presence, my Bride, in my Hall of Fame saved

As a drink offering you pour out your life
Into a soul, their wounded life you invest
Yet that one you love turns, being filled with strife
Against you they speak claiming you have not blessed
SO…
With warm embrace my arms will welcome you home
My Holy Name on your heart has been engraved
Your love for me proven, fills many a tome
Your presence, my Bride, in my Hall of Fame saved.

Wanting to quit, but My love can’t be shaken
A lost sheep crying, your heart again opens
Risking anew the pain of being forsaken
My life you have followed, the cross you have chosen
SO…
With your last breath a confession you will make
“God is good, from me His love will ne’er depart.”
And I’ll call, “Come my beloved, for my sake,
Enter my Hall of Fame, your home from the start.”

Trust by Patty Juster

After four years of preparing for our daughter and her family to move in with us, it finally happened last Saturday.  Since arriving, we had to take their youngest child by ambulance to the emergency room as she had become comatose from dehydration due to a stomach virus.  We felt God’s presence and his favor every step of the way.  What could have been a very traumatic situation turned out to be an amazing experience of touching the best of the Israeli heart.  Keturah received the best of care and everyone went out of their way to be helpful.  Words cannot express the lessons of trust we learned yesterday.  Then, after returning home we were confronted with reality of the brewing war in Gaza, and had to apply what we learned about trust.

I woke up this morning with the sound of chirping birds welcoming the morning sun and I was reminded of the Scripture of admonishing us not to worry.  The birds are never concerned about where their next meal will come from or whether there will be a place to live or even whether they will be safe.  As humans we are “cursed” with the ability to worry but we are told that we are worth more than the birds of the air. If our Father takes care of them, won’t he take care of us?  True peace is found not in the environment of no conflict but is found in the midst of the storm.  Though there have been hundreds of rockets fired into Israel the last few days and we are on the verge of a major war, the birds woke up singing! 

Last night we had our first experience of running into our bomb shelter.  This happened right after we instructed our grandchildren about what to do if the sirens go off.  Rarely do rockets reach Jerusalem but I sensed it was time to get ready.  We showed them how strong the metal window closure was and how strong the door was.  We made this as non-threatening as possible but one of our grand children became traumatized with fear after our foray into the safe room.  He was so scared that he wanted to sleep in bed with his parents.  He wasn’t content to just sleep on the floor next to them but wanted to be touching them in bed.  That was his place of safety.  When my daughter told me this I was in wonder of how just being close to his parents took away his fear and he was able to sleep peacefully!  And then I thought about the spiritual parallel.  Will we trust God and believe that he is right there with us every moment?  We are commanded not to fear for he is with us.   We must “snuggle up” to him in the Spirit for this is our place of safety.  He is our strong tower, our fortress in which we dwell.

Trust was lost in the Garden of Eden and we live a lifetime working to get it back.  Not just circumstances like accidents, natural disasters, being born into poverty, etc. that are beyond our control wound us, but people who break their promises, lie to us, or who physically and verbally abuse us, damage our “truster.”  As we grow we learn that the world is a very dangerous place and our life is spent trying to make it a safer place through our own human powers.  But the very thing we fear, being out of control (that is not being able to prevent pain), becomes not the real problem but the fear itself.  Panic attacks and feelings of trauma are themselves feelings beyond our control, so we think, and are horrible emotions.  The terror produces more terror as we spin out of control on the inside and even in our bodily reactions.  But, we can be healed and set free from these fears that plague us.  Our God is in control!

And now, the political/social world is falling apart before our eyes.  Is there any thing left that can give us hope?  Only a deep confidence in a loving and good God who is in ultimate control of the events on this planet can deliver us from this cycle of fear and mistrust and pain.  The Bible is full of stories of men and women who were on different parts of this journey of learning to put their trust in God.  I believe that when we grow in trust this brings glory and honor to God.  It shows to the world what kind of good and loving Father is watching over us.  He never promised us that we would not go through troubles, trials, tragedies and betrayals, but he has promised again and again that he would never leave us or abandon us.  He admonishes us to not to be afraid as he is with us.  Isaiah 43:2 says: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Last week I had another leap forward in my “truster” meter inside my heart.  Lately I have become so fully aware of those areas in my life where I fall short in this area of trusting God or even trusting others.  Two of the area I fight fear is in driving in Israel and being stuck in a situation where I cannot communicate in Hebrew when I am in a dangerous situation.  On my way to pick up my daughter to take her to IKEA I was crying out to God once again to fix my “truster.”  I am old enough to know that one of the dangerous prayers to pray is to ask God for patience or for the ability to love people.  You know what happens when God answers these prayers…you got it.  You get circumstances that require patience and people who are difficult to love.  So why did I cry out to be able to trust God more?  Maybe because I know that without faith it is impossible to please God and I wanted to bring him glory and honor on earth through my living in peace and rest in the midst of storms.  You can tell where this story is going.  On the way back from IKEA our van was beginning to ascend the famous Jerusalem hills and our car began to rapidly loose power.  Now route 1 is under construction and there are no shoulders to pull off on.  There are only a few emergency pull off bays.  Cars were beginning to beep, drivers getting angry, as my car began to go slower and slower.  Panic set in.  Was I going to be one of those casualties that stop rush hour traffic for hours?  But God was already moving on ahead and made a place for me in one of those pull offs on the side of the road just in the nick of time!  As I waited there I was shaking in fear and my daughter Simcha had to make all the calls.  She was at perfect peace and did an amazing job calming me down.  She was even laughing as she saw into the Spirit what God was trying to do in my life. 

What were we going to do?  We were stuck in a hot car, no water, and the towing company said that they might be two hours, plus Simcha had to get back to pick up her children from nursery school.  This is where the evidence of God already having things under his control began to manifest.  First, Simcha was able to reach one of the workers at Revive Israel who for some reason was delayed from leaving the office.  She was the only one available to dry the Revive car.  A few minutes more and there would have been no one there.  Plus the Revive office was less than two miles from where we broke down.  As she was making preparations to leave we sensed we had to move out of the emergency bay to drive to the nearest intersection and gas station. There was no way we could be towed from where we were parking.  Now, I had to face another fear…merging into Israeli traffic where there is not a merge lane, and counting on the graces of rush hour irate drivers.  I had no idea if the car could even drive or if it would make it to the intersection but I knew I had to trust God and leave it in his hands.  So, I started the car, put my blinker on, waited, stuck out my hand formed in an Israeli style circle, which means “wait,”  until some kind Israeli stopped and let me out!  I almost caused a multi-car pile up but God kept us safe and enabled us to make it to the gas station.  Then, God came through again and made it possible for the tow truck to make it to us within 45 min., the worker from Revive came to pick Simcha up to take her to get her car so she could pick up her children, then Shelli came back to pick me up and take me home!  Simcha was so proud of me, she said that I faced my fears and passed the test!  Yes, I feel different now.  It was kind of a deliverance experience.  God DOES go on before us and he is with us through every trial!

Take courage, God has not left us here as orphans.  He will never leave us or forsake us and we can shout the shout of victory even before we experience it.  He has given us the comforter that dwells within us and all we have to do is to ask.  In fact, he already has gone ahead and has provided a way through the storms.  May I hold onto these truths in the days ahead as the storms around Israel are rising.  Oh Israel, put your hope in God!

Where My Soul Finds Rest by Patty Juster

Where may my soul find rest?  My soul finds rest in God alone.  Day after day our souls are tormented by the unrighteousness all around.  Like pilgrims we become aware more and more that this is not our home.  So, we long and eagerly await  for our home, a home or righteousness.  Home is where our souls can find rest. 

When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden and blocked from eating of the tree of Life, their souls were set on a pilgrimage, which manifested through the lives of every man and woman in future generations.  Shalom, where can we find it?  Is it possible in this world?

A young child puts his hands over his ears when he hears his parents fighting and runs into his bedroom.  He cannot stand strife.  Such a child will become restless and fearful.  Can he ever feel at home in a home where the parents are tormented day and night?

We in this life are trying to find a hiding place like that young child where we can be safe from the strife all around us.  Hide me in the cleft of the rock!  How we cry out for that place where our soul may find peace, a dwelling place.  God is waiting for a home in us as well.  King David was beset with a desire to find a resting place for God and did not want to find rest himself until he built a house for his God.  We both will be comforted when we find a home in each other.  In Revelation the whole human story is summed up when God declares that now his home is with man!  Oh, to live in him and him in me.  That is shalom.  Be still, and know that he is God.  Come unto him all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest…rest for your souls.  I stand at the door and knock.  I desire to come in and eat with you.  I want fellowship with you…I want to share my very heart with you and you with me.  I want to be your friend.

The saga of the Jewish people illustrates this quest for a home.  They were promised a land, a home of rest, if they would walk in obedience to their God.  God promised them freedom from their enemies, prosperity and safety.  He also said that if they turned their hearts after other gods and no longer walked in obedience that they would have to leave their home, the Land of their promises.  During different seasons of their history they were expelled from their homeland and were permitted to return time and time again only to be expelled once again.  The soul of a Jew represents mankind’s desire for a home, a permanent home where they need not be afraid.  By helping Jews return to their home it will help us to enter into our home of rest.  Two tribes of Israel wanted to settle on the other side of the Jordan instead of going into the Promised Land.  They were given permission to do so as long as they helped their brothers obtain their place of rest first.  So too today the nations will not find their rest until Israel finds her rest in God in her Land.  Satan does not want this …it is the battle of the ages.  Once the Jews are in their land, Israel and her God come into proper alignment. This will unleash salvation for the world…shalom.

Many are in dire straits in the world today because of a failing economy.  In Haggai the Israelites were chastised for not caring about the condition of the house of the Lord.  God said that the reason why they have found their labors unfruitful, “You have planted much, but have harvested little.  You eat, but never have enough.  You drink, but never have your fill.  You put on clothes, but are not warm.  You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes.” Haggai 1:6  He that the reason for their houses lying in ruins was because they had neglected the House of God.  In God’s own sovereign ways has chosen Israel, Jacob, to be his chosen inheritance on earth.  Israel is to be his permanent dwelling place on earth.

6 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever

Let cooperate with God so he can receive what he wants.  Let us hasten the day of Yeshua’s return. 


The Holy Bible  : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Eze 37:26). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Through the Pain by Patty Juster

When I ran from you, my pain increased
So covered with sores, I feared your touch would cause me to bleed
You tired to comfort me, but I was angry
I knew my past you could not undo
My disappointments would remain

You promised me protection, and I was uncovered
You promised me provision, and I daily went into more debt
You promised me light, and I had not seen the sun for months
You promised me security, and I was abandoned
You promised me friendship, and I was left all alone

I was raped
I was beaten
I was robbed
I was shunned

In horror my friends turned their backs and ran

You promised me joy, and I have not stopped crying….

Then, quietly, a sound of weeping in the distance I heard
A sound of crying pierced the darkness…I drew near
A man’s painful moans shook my soul
Words not spoken, but understood
A man praying, crying out without a voice:

“How I long to gather you into my arms, but you would not.”

He looked up with eyes so red
A fire burning from within
I saw his hands…they were bloody and torn
He wanted to embrace me, but his dirty hands I knew would hurt
I feared his pain would inflame my own
More than I could bear, I froze

But then, something like scales fell from eyes…I knew it was you
In an instant I felt the fire of your eyes as love piercing my shattered heart
I wanted that love, desperately I fell on my knees
With great effort I crept towards you
In your lap my head I did lay
Even if it killed me…I no longer cared
I needed your love…it became my source of life

Ever so gently you reached out to hold me
Your blood mingled with my blood
Your salty tears washed over my battered body and I cried out in pain
I wanted to pull away…with labored breath I wailed, “Enough!”
But, alas, my strength was gone

You stroked my head and whispered in my ear:

“Peace, be still, my child! Embrace my pain…through my wounds you will be healed.”

The Ruach of God

By Patty Juster

Oh, gentle breath caressing my soul
In coolness, my ache you do soothe
Touching me with whispering softness
The Ruach speaking, love’s note endearing,
“It is I, drink this heaven’s nectar,
From luscious fruit like honey dripping.”

Blessed assurance, your presence felt
Your strength filling my weakening frame
Daily I live by your sweet arm’s embrace,
Your voice encouraging always does say,
“Peace, my daughter, I am with you today.”

Eternity coursing through my veins,
Your life in my life, how can this be
Behind the veil, secretly you lead me
In a crystal sea you let me play.
Glory afresh now covering my shame
At last my feet dancing, for freedom singing.
“Holy, Holy,” your heart does beat my name.
O’er me, in me, I am yours,
Hallelujah,
I’m sealed in your fame.