Middle East Monday: “Our gift to the Middle East.”

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There comes a point when the media’s approach to reporting is slander.

The dictionary defines “slander” as “the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.”

I would add “or a nation’s reputation.”

When giving information turns negative, pessimistic, condemning, unkind, insensitive, and fatalistic – when it broadcasts a sense of hopelessness about a people or nation, it is often slander. No one and no nation is without hope. Moreover, fueling vacuous theories, objectifying people on the altar of “news,” and staring heartlessly at the suffering of others, strips life and truth from the borders of souls. It wears on you, and on the listener, and greater than all that, IT WEARS ON THE SOUL OF THE NATION AND ITS PEOPLE.

This is unjust, unkind, and unacceptable. We assert our own priorities of knowing statistics above the day-to-day wellbeing and even LIFE of humans around the world. We could easily invest our efforts elsewhere. We could think together about solutions, real solutions. We could speak well of those people, highlight their strengths, celebrate their successes. We could look with love.

How would you feel if it seemed like the entire world had condemned your nation to a future of war, death, and misery? How would you feel if every night on the news there was another report about one of your personal failings?

~~ Today, Sam really blew it on his latest deal at the office. This creates a 7/10 failure likelihood for Sam. Will he ever get it together? (More at 10pm) ~~

Imagine you are Sam.

Well, we do that very thing about people and nations continuously! For example, we speak about Iraq cloistered in dire straits and endless factions of fighting. We broadcast these images. We drag the name of this nation through the mud. We don’t look harder for the successes. We don’t even bother to really look at the underlying issues (cycles of fear etc). This is not okay. It’s not loving. It’s not helpful. It’s not humane.

Yet, we can change this cultural trend. It starts with you. Learn some positive facts about places mentioned on the news. Share those with others. Don’t spread fear and hopelessness. Look for the pocket of light. Share that.

The article, “Religion Builds Bridges in Ethnically Split Cyprus” has a marvelous example of modeling possibility for the Middle East.

“We have to give a good example to the Middle East,” Atalay told The Associated Press. “This is our gift to the Middle East.”

What is YOUR gift to the Middle East?

It can be as simple as learning a positive fact and sharing it, or turning off the news when it begins to pour out negative reports, or asking a Middle Eastern friend about his/her experience, or praying for the leaders in the Middle East, or giving toward an organization that is directly loving the Middle East, or joining a group like Hope Iraq that purposefully shares good stories. Whatever it is, your choice toward kindness matters.

We can bring healing to the world. Much of that begins with how we talk about it.

Instead of bad reports, share the goodness of a place!

Turn slander into grandeur.

 

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marking two years back in America

On September 6, 2009 an airplane handed me back to my home country. From August 26, 2006 to September 5, 2009 I lived in Israel, mainly in the precious city of Bethlehem -or “o little town” as I often call it. Looking back and looking forward, I am rapturously thankful and awed by the gift of those years in Israel. That season was certainly a bootcamp for my future life in the Middle East. And that was precisely what I needed. It was also overflowing with miracles, healings, surprises, birthdays, friendships, and glory. It was better than I expected, and sometimes worse. Yet overall, most certainly BETTER.

Moreover, these past two years in America have been precisely what the Master Physician ordered: refreshing, regrouping, re-establishing, re-envisioning, and relaxing. Two years of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry has been really restorative as well as catalytic. I am now positioned to return to the Middle East with new strength, perspective, techniques, and SUPPORT. I am reminded of a family Christmas video of me around seven years old in which I say upon opening many of my gifts, “It’s just what I ALWAYS WANTED!” These two years have been that. 

THANK YOU to my friends and family who have supported me and encouraged me when they didn’t understand what I was doing, but miraculously did understand WHY I was doing it. I know your investment in my life and your willingness to stand by me will reap a harvest, throughout the Middle East and throughout your own life. I bless you today with checks in the mail, gifts and surprises, and debts paid off. haha! The delight of the Lord is gushing through the threshold of your home and into every heart therein. It is an honor to journey together. You are priceless; and you are royalty.

<Thank you, Father God for your wisdom made manifest in my life. There’s no one else I would rather have write my story. I’m happy with where we are and I’m expectant for the chapters ahead. Your sweetness is beyond what my skin can hold, my mind can grasp, and my words can tell. I LOVE YOU.>

Here’s to endless adventure and matchless love!

A year ago I wrote this blog post: https://upsidedownbethlehem.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/a-dress-that-made-me-cry-and-other-reflections-on-a-year-back-in-america/  

Here are some of my favorites images from my three years in the Middle East. They are a visual necklace of gratitude framing my voice of praise:

Dawn on rooftop overlooking the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock

Flat Stanley's First Iftaar

Entrance to Saudi Arabia

The Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary (in Jordan)

Dawn atop Mt Sinai in Egypt

wedding in Hussan village

listening to a woman's story in the mental hospital

healing at the birthday party

drama group happiness

merrily down the stairs with Jihad

went to Cyprus to renew our visas, met Andrea's future husband

scuba diving in the Red Sea

Exiting Bethlehem through the checkpoint

blindfolded on my birthday

striking a pose in Jerusalem

rooftop worship in Bethlehem

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall bow down and worship before You, For the kingship and the kingdom are the Lord’s, and He is the ruler over the nations.”

Psalm 22:27-18 (AMP)

lace detectives and a closed well

I always have my magnifying glass close at-hand. A proud member of the Faith Bureau of Investigation. That is to say the presence of faith prompts investigation of the world around me to see what God is up to. I know God wants to move – to heal, to restore, to save everywhere. And from time immemorial, He invited me to be a part. 

On page 41 of T.L. Osborne’s book, “Healing the Sick” it reads,

God never tells us to do something that we cannot do. 

Obtaining the fulfillment of His promise is more a matter of obedience than of conscious faith. Faith is doing what God tells us to do, then expecting God to do what He tells us He will do.

Noah built the ark  – God flooded the earth.

Moses stretched out the rod – God parted the waters. 

Joshua marched around the walls of Jericho – God pushed them down.

Elijah smote the waters – God parted them.

Elisha threw the stick in the river – God made the iron to swim.

Naaman dipped seven times – God healed the leprosy. 

Jesus said it is the believer who may lay hands on the sick. It is God who will make them well.

James said that the believers may anoint any sick with oil, and pray the prayer of faith on their behalf. He says it is the Lord who shall raise up the sick. 

God says, “You do a small thing; I will do a large thing. You do a foolish thing; I will do a wise thing. You do something that only a human being can do; I will do something that only I, God, can do.”

Do what God tells you to do, then expect God to do what He said He would do. That is faith. 

AMEN! 

haha! And so, it was that I found myself in Lefkara, Cyprus holding my spiritual magnifying glass inside a lace store. (The city is known for lace-making.) There was a replica of a postage stamp in the window that drew me in. It mentioned Leonardo Da Vinci visiting Lefkara. I went in to ask what this referred to, but already that mysterious pull of the Holy Spirit was upon me. The man explained how a pattern of lace from Lefkara was, in fact, seen in the famous painting, “The Last Supper” and how Leonardo had visited Lefkara hundreds of years ago and then used their lace pattern in the “Last Supper” tablecloth – which he then pointed out in “The Last Supper” they had sitting on a shelf. 

And I saw it – not only the hard-to-detect pattern on the lace, but the skin-tone elastic brace on the man’s wrist. “What is your name?” I asked. Dem________s, but people just call me ‘Demos'” he said. “Demos, What happened to your wrist?” I queried. “Oh, I hurt it years ago… and it still hurts when I move it” – sleepy resignation covered his words. “Well, I’ve seen God heal a lot of people – just last week he healed the cracked fingers of the woman next to me on the plane.” “Yeah?!” he was stunned and silent – as if I’d shoved 10 marshmallows in his mouth in a sudden desire to play the famous youth group game, “Chubby Bunny.” “Could I pray for you?” I asked. “Um, uh, well, yeah, I guess…” he replied, nervously scanning the store. 

So, Andrea, who was nearest Demos, prayed. She didn’t even touch him (I think years living in the Middle East have trained us not to touch men. : ) ) and then I asked him “how does it feel?” He moved it – gingerly at first, and then, dumbstruck, he swivelled his wrist like an owl would swivel its head. His face was frozen. Then really GLAD. “I don’t feel any pain! Really! it always hurts when I move it… and it doesn’t hurt at all. Really. Whoa.” haha! I laughed. Dilgesh burst out, “yeah! I was Muslim and now I’m Christian and Jesus healed my stomach!” “Really? what?!” Demos was clearly utterly astounded and unable to process any more of our words. So, with that we turned, and I said, “enjoy your new wrist!” And we bid farewell to Demos and his wiggling wrist. 

As we laffy-taffy, loose-limbs ourselves, bounced our way out of the shop we began to pray that God would make Demos like the Samaritan Woman was for her city – that he would lead the whole city to Jesus, the Living Water. The three of us were quilting our prayers together with joy and victory, when something caught my peripheral vision: in the back of a large store was an open courtyard with a stone well! haha! I pulled my drippy, happy, drunk in the Spirit self into the store, staring at the well. I asked the storekeeper, “can I go back there?” “Yes. sure.” And back we went. 

As we stood around the well, he explained it had been closed for some time because of concern of kids falling in. And I couldn’t help but notice the closed well was surrounded by CACTI – plants that don’t need water. huh. I also couldn’t help but think the church there also closed up The Well, for fear of its “danger” and then attempted to content themselves with becoming plants that don’t “need” water. How sad to give up luscious plant life for a garden of poky cacti (not that cacti aren’t lovely to look at, but next to a well?). 

With that revelation in our own spiritual buckets, we prayed for the Lord to uncap the well in Lefkara! Yahooo! Let nothing but Living Water satisfy! May Demos’ wrist testify to the power of Living Water! 

<Wells, OPEN in Jesus’ name!>

Beautiful. I love the leading of the Lord. And YES, His words are true.

“They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:18)

 

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! FULL RECOVERY for Lefkara, JESUS! May she walk upright and whole into her destiny!

the last supper

Welcome! / ! أهلا و سهل

Hey friends.

As many of you know, a lot has shifted in my life this month. I returned to Bethlehem after 3 months in the USA. Two days later, my ministry partner and housemate of over 5 years, moved to Cyprus.

It is a NEW season.

One of the most powerful, catalytic prophetic words I received right before my return to the Middle East was,

“Your life is like a slingshot. Up until now it has only been pulled back, it has yet to be released. And it is about to be released.”

In my own words, “It’s time.”

God told me about a month ago He was giving me “balloons” and “mixing cement” to take back to Bethlehem with me. “For what?” I asked. “Building foundations with joy and celebration” was the reply. And the Holy Spirit tickled me as I sat there in an armchair in California. I giggled. I like God’s words so much.  And that image is powerful.

So, in this new time, I’ve closed my myspace account in favor of a private blog. People have asked for years that I blog, but due to the region I live in and those I work with, it is better that I have a private blog. Plus, I can be more forward with my words.

I am glad you are here. Thank you for being on the journey with me. Your encouragement is a prism reflecting rainbows of His promises. You are gorgeous. I love you SO much!

the Holy Spirit sent invitations to my birthday picnic to this family of ten

Holy Spirit sent invitations to this family of ten for my birthday picnic in October of 2008