Shalom from Jay & Meridel,
Jay is presently in Greece, living with Josh, both are working. Jay is writing Volume 3 of our story and learning Greek. Josh in high tech can work anywhere. Daniel and I are here in Israel. I am also writing. Jay just sent this to thank you for your help and I share it with you. Love, from Meridel “The Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am READY to perform My word.”
Each year at this time, the hills and valleys around Jerusalem are dotted with white and pink blossoms. They are the almond trees. It is a very beautiful sight, especially after enduring several months of cold and rainy and sometimes snowy winter days in Israel. These trees are a sign to everyone that spring is on its way. But there is also a message in these lovely blossoms. It reminded me of something that happened to us a couple. I was writing this story yesterday for Volume 3 – Timeless Secrets – Miracles in the Land of Israel and decided to share it with you. Here is the quote, Photo above: The first almond blossoms in our garden.
“During the early months of 1980, Meridel and myself were invited to join a Jerusalem prayer group started by Jan Willem and his wife the late Widad Van der Hoeven. It consisted of several international couples and a few single believers all of whom had deep commitments to Israel and strong convictions that the Lord was ready to bless His nation in powerful ways. We didn’t know how but we would soon find out. It was called the Almond Branch prayer group. We met once a week. We had no agenda but to simply wait on God in prayer and to see what He was saying to any of us individually and or to all of us corporately. The name Almond Branch was derived from the instructions given to the young prophet Jeremiah when he was called by the Lord. Here is how the Bible records it in Jeremiah 1:4-12
4 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
6 Then said I: “Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
7 But the Lord said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.
9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant.”
11 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.
12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am READY to perform My word.
In this last verse, the word ready in Hebrew is “shaqad” which means watching, waking, awake, alert, vigilant, anticipating, on the lookout, to care for watchfully. This significance of this reference may be best understood by seeing the difference between “Shaqad” meaning waking and the word “Shaqed” meaning almond or almond tree. The almond is considered the “waker” in Hebrew thought because it is the first tree to blossom, each year, always watching alertly to be able to blossom. In a way, this tree heralds that spring is on its way and thus it stimulates all the other trees and plants to “wake up” from winter to enter once again their life-giving destiny.
Little did we know that soon events would happen that would cause us to enter our eternal destiny regarding Jerusalem, Israel and all of our futures.
On July 30, 1980, the Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law stating that Jerusalem is the eternal undivided capital of the nation. This reality goes back three thousand years to King David’s time when he moved the Tabernacle to Jerusalem.
However, the Arab oil-producing nations went ballistic when Israel made this move. They then placed an embargo on oil for any country that had an embassy in Jerusalem. They said that if these nations didn’t move their embassies to Tel Aviv then they would be forbidden to purchase oil. With the cold winter in Europe on its way all 13 countries moved their embassies out of Jerusalem. (except Costa Rica)
That was the moment that we opened The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. (ICEJ) on September 20, 1980. This initiative hit the headlines of all major press organizations around the world. I was the Press Secretary at the time. Praise God. Today the ICEJ is the largest Christian Zionist organization in the world because God Himself was READY at that moment to “watch over and to perform His Word.” Amen! Please be encouraged because He is always ready to perform His Word for you and yours.
In His Love, Jay.
This 2019 we Rawlings are on the move. Jay and Joshua are working on a new project in Greece. Chris is busy in Helsinki in high tech and very kindly does all of my website work and the work for Change Action Nepal free of charge. David and wife Adi are in Budapest as I write, and Daniel and I and our office staff are here holding the fort.
A garden is a perfect place to still one’s mind and to quiet down. I love to seek out any changes day by day. The fig now has just the tips of new leaves, the roses are in bud, the limes are ripe and the crafty raven hides it’s bread up high in the palm. My garden is a safe place, and habitat of many migrating (photo above: aloe in bloom) birds. I am comforted. What we sowed 20 years ago faithfully bears fruit. The universal law of sowing and reaping. After a walk, it’s easier to relax. I have learned to receive the flowing thoughts of the Still Small Voice; like a young child needing her mother’s reassurance. I am hungry for that ‘life-giving’ voice, even as I awaken first thing every morning. But… yesterday I ran outside! A fire was raging in our tinder dry papas grass located on the eastern border of our property. While my co-worker and I fought the blaze, a jogger passing below on the fire road called the local fire department. It was scary until the fire was out. Later in the day, we found a thunderstorm and torrential rains very comforting. We were glad to be dry and safe.
Today I awoke to crystal clear skies and bright Jerusalem sunshine 14 C. Come, for a short stroll with me. Surprise! The very first delicate creamy and pink almond blossoms have burst forth after the wild storm. I see them as a gentle reminder of Aaron’s rod that budded. “This shall be a sign to you… and the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant.” Isaiah 37: 30a, 31, 32a.
May each one of us continue to be fruitful for the Kingdom. Tiny practical help makes it easier to believe that: God’s mercies are new every morning! He helps me too in quiet content.
I am humbled and blessed because you have blessed us. May you be repaid in ways you need the most as you receive my prayers and blessings from heaven above. With gratefulness for the HELP! Meridel