Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

We are sorry that it has taken us so long to write again. Many of you have been praying fervently for us and we really appreciate it. We write this time from the United States. The Lord has seen fit to bring us to the States for a few weeks. There are many things that we believe He wants to do with us here, but we also need to rest. Please pray that the Lord would use us mightily in our time here, but also that we would be able to get some much needed rest. Callie is having a wonderful time showing off her pregnant belly to her family and eating some of the food she has missed since moving to Israel. Israel has wonderful food, but there is no substitute to the food you grew up with. We made the long drive from North Carolina to Ohio with little difficulty. Please pray that the Lord would continue to protect us and bless us as we travel.

We leave Israel in a very interesting time in it's history. Since the "peace process" began with the Palestinians, I don't believe there has been such as time of flux as there is right now. In the past, the process has been either moving in one direction or another. Now, it seems like Israel is teetering on the edge of something big. From week to week, something happens that seems to tip it one direction, and then something else will happen that will tip it the other direction. No one really knows which way it will go, and it seems like the world is completely preoccupied with another Middle Eastern country. Iran has completely refused the deal the West was proposing, essentially saying that they will do what ever they want. Israel will soon be in the unbelievable place of deciding whether to preemptively strike Iran or not. This is a the situation we left, and we are praying fervently for our nation and our people. Please pray that the Lord would cover this situation and bring His Will to bear on it.

The Lord used the last few weeks of work before our trip to the US to speak to some encouragement into my heart about life in Israel. The bible is full of scriptures commanding us to "build homes and plant vineyards," or to "rebuild the ancient ruins." As an architect in training, I've been blessed to be part of this prophetic fulfillment in a literal way. Currently, our office is working on a project in the old city just across from the Wailing Wall. I've been part of the design process since Devin and I were engaged. More than a year and a half later, I would have expected this project to begin construction, so one day I casually asked my boss how much longer he thought it would be before we'd break ground. His almost sarcastic laugh spoke more clearly than if he had simply said, "Not any time soon!" He then explained that we needed to get an "OK" from the clients, the Old City Architect, the archeologist, the Temple Mount Rabbis, and the Municipality before we could move ahead. This particular project has been redesigned once already because we couldn't achieve unanimous agreement, so the time line remains undefined.

Juxtapose this conversation with one we had earlier in the week. The same boss brought in a beautiful poster of Jerusalem from the late 1930's. It was an ariel view of the YMCA, the King David Hotel, and the surrounding olive orchards that were present in Israel's early days. My small group of colleagues and I sat together at lunch gazing at this poster, amazed at how much this small nation has developed in such a short amount of time!

After the short conversation with my boss, I turned and looked at that poster and thought, "Lord, with so much work required to get things done here, how in the world did this city grow so fast?" Then I paused for a moment and realized how easy it is to become discouraged if we focus on the details of a problem with out realizing the bigger picture of the work the Lord is doing. He built Israel-Jerusalem- by His Spirit, even with all the headaches required to get a small project completed. He works out His will in our lives as individuals the same way. The Lord is doing something much greater than what we can see day by day. If we focus too much on our circumstances, without seeing it in the context of God's greater plan, discouragement can come in like a flood. I pray we could all lift our eyes up more often and see the Lord's greater plan at work all the time. Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sweet Poem

My lovely friend, Lisa, sent me this sweet poem the other day. It was perfect for me, given how very much I've been in a daze of love for our little baby ever since our wonderful second trimester ultrasound.

“Ultrasound” by A.E. Stallings

What butterfly—
Brain, soul, or both—
Unfurls here, pallid
As a moth?

(Listen, here’s
Another ticker,
Counting under
Mine, and quicker.)

In this cave
What flickers fall,
On the wall?

Spine like beads
Strung on a wire,
Of our desire,

Moon-face where
Two shadows rhyme,
Two moving hands
That tell the time.

I am the room
The future owns,
The darkness where
It grows its bones.

(From 32 Poems.)

Found here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

It seems like winter has finally arrived here in Israel. For the past few weeks, we have been experiencing a heat wave unlike any I have ever seen here in October. The Lord was gracious to cause this heat to break and the rain to begin. Please continue to lift to the Lord the desperate place Israel is in regards to water. The Sea of Galilee (Israel's main source of water) needs to go up about three meters to become full again. It would be a miracle to see the five years of drought reversed in one winter, but all of us here are praying with hope. Israel also continues to feel the threat of a possible nuclear Iran. "Talks" continue with no hope in sight, and it seems as though governments are beginning to resign themselves to having a nuclear Iran. There is no telling just how long Israel is going to be able to wait before taking action; and that is something that no one wants to even think about. Please pray that the Lord would intervene and soon!

Callie and I are in the final few weeks before we head back to the States for a visit. It has been a very interesting, yet wonderful time here in Israel. Building a life is one thing, but building a life in Israel is a completely different thing. Callie and I have been challenged by the reality of life in Israel together. The Lord's grace has been in it all and I see how he is bringing us closer together, so that we might reflect His glory in this nation. Please pray that the Lord would continue to show us how and where He wants us to build here. There are many things we could throw ourselves into, but we need the wisdom to know how we should devote our time. The baby is healthy and kicking up a storm lately. We can already tell he will be a mover and shaker for the Lord! Please pray that the Lord would bless our little son's development.

How many of us are living out our believing lives as if we are ok with just sliding into Heaven? We are saved by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony, but is that where we put things on cruise control? Callie and I have been going to a bible study since we got back to Israel in March. We have been going over the Book of Revelation and it has really been great. One of the things that is thematic in this amazing book is the idea of overcoming. In the letters to the seven congregations, Yeshua talks about what will be given to the over-comers. This idea of an over-comer gives me the picture of mountain climber in a snow storm who continues to climb until he reaches the top. The climber won't let anything get in the way of reaching the goal. How many of us, if we were climbing that mountain, would find a nice cave to sit in hopes that the storm would blow over? At least, we could say we started the journey and got fairly high, right? Yeshua is looking for those would will have the heart of the over-comer. We don't have the ability to overcome the world ourselves, and that is why He took it upon Himself to do it. The simple truth that He overcame the world takes away all of our lame excuses about feeling inadequate or too weak for the task. We just need to have the heart of the over-comer in us and rely on His adequacy to carry us until the end. To me, it will never be enough to simply "get by" in the kingdom of heaven. If our Lord is willing to give us more abundantly than we can even ask or think, why wouldn't we give our heart, soul, and strength to His purpose? May the Lord infuse us all with the desire to truly be over-comers for His kingdom. Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Growing Belly

Well, here's the latest belly photo! I'm sorry we haven't posted more.... my camera disappeared from my suitcase on the way home from our honeymoon, and Devin's just recently died, so we're stuck with photobooth for now. But fear not! With a baby on the way, we'll definitely be getting a new one soon! ;)

This is me at 20 weeks and a few days with our precious baby boy!

We're definitely growing!

What's going on at 20 weeks? Well, I'm still wearing my non-maternity jeans thanks to Hannah who sent me the very cool and useful belly band. My shirts are beginning to get a little snug, so I'm busting out the maternity gear, which is kinda fun! I'm feeling much much better, dealing only with some ligament pains in my back and sides.

Feeling the baby move around has been wonderful and encouraging. Devin and I were both able to tickle his tiny feet the other day, as he stretched out his legs leaving some little round lumps on my stomach. We've been enjoying the second trimester! I'm regularly amazed at how much I already feel like a mom! Devin and I feel incredibly blessed that the Lord would trust us with a new life! :)

Related Posts:
Oh Big Baby!
Ity Bity Baby Bump

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

The holiday season in Israel is over and the city is finally starting to settle down again. I don't know how many of you have been watching the news, but things were pretty tense here in Jerusalem for a while. During the Feast of Tabernacles, many Palestinians were incited to riot in Jerusalem and there were talks of a 3rd Intifada. Praise the Lord that did not happen! I believe with all my heart that the Lord is preparing to pour out His Spirit upon this nation in a new way. Please continue to pray that the Lord would bring this forth. We in the Messiah know that only in Yeshua can true Salvation be found. Pray that all Israel would come to a place where she will cry out to the living God for salvation.

Callie and I have been thoroughly blessed in many ways over the past two weeks. Callie's father came to visit us and we had a wonderful time showing him Israel for the first time. He is the first from Callie's immediate family to come and visit us here in Israel. We were so blessed to have him and we hope the rest will come soon. In the middle of his time here, my parents both arrived in the Land and we were blessed to all share a Shabbat dinner together. We were also blessed by a few new things with our baby. We learned on Monday that we will be having a boy and I was able to feel him kick for the first time yesterday! The Lord's creative power is truly amazing! Please continue to pray for the Lord's protection of our child as he develops.

I have been struck recently by the astounding number of people within the Body that deal with a fear of rejection. Whether it is from the pains that we have felt in our personal lives or the hurt we received from the Body itself. Believers, like people in the world's system, are not immune to this fear and the havoc that it causes in our relationships. I would go further to say that sometimes it can be the most damaging when it is allowed into the Body of the Messiah. We are supposed to be brothers and sisters in the kingdom of God who should be willing to lay our lives down for one another. This closeness has the potential for great blessing, but also great hurt when we act in our flesh. I believe this is one reason why many congregations in the west are like community centers rather than an expression of the Lord's kingdom on the Earth. It is much easier to have a superficial gathering that does not ever gets close enough to be hurt by a brother or sister in the Lord. We keep ourselves at a distance for fear that we might be rejected. The good news is that Yeshua embodies all we need to overcome this fear.

First, we can know that we are 100% accepted by Him and we never need to fear that He will reject us. We are accepted by God for who we are and we can get as close as humanly possible with no fear of rejection. Our feeling of acceptance needs to be based on that and not what people do or say. Yeshua also spoke about walking in forgiveness. It is not enough that we are secure in OUR acceptance, we must carry the attitude of forgiveness so that our brothers and sisters will never feel rejection. It may be hard to believe that this could be possible, but we come again to the example of Yeshua. Yeshua walked for 3 years on this earth with one man who would deny Him and one man who would betray him, all the while loving them like brothers. We are the expression of His Body on the Earth and we must shed this unholy fear of rejection before more damage is done. We are in perilous times, and it will be the Body around us who will support us through them. Blessings to you!

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

Callie was playing with her belly the other day and she was surprised when the baby kick back for the first time! It is incredible to see how quickly this little one is developing in its mother's womb. I consider myself to be blessed among men to have such a wife who is carrying the promise of a new life that will glorify our Lord. The longing that is there in the lineage of every Jew, to live in Israel and bring forth children, is being fulfilled in front of my very eyes. I am blessed that this child will be the first of my family born here in Israel. The Lord has given this Land to Abraham and His descendants as an everlasting inheritance. Our child is now a part of that great covenant in action. Praise God for His faithfulness to those who will trust in Him!

Succot (Feast of Tabernacles) has come to Israel again and all over the city we see sukkot (booths or tabernacles) have been built. All of Israel will eat in these booths during the week and many will actually sleep in them. Israel is reminded through this that during the Exodus from Egypt, they lived in temporary dwellings with the promise of home in their own Land. Metaphorically, the booth represents the fact that even though we live now in temporary dwellings (or physical bodies), we look to the time when we will live in our promised dwellings (our glorified bodies). Sukkot also carries with it a sobering message for Israel during this time in it's history. While in these booths, there is not much protection. Israel sees the mounting threat of Iran and knows that there is not much protection for them. Their only hope is that the God of Israel would defend them as He has promised to. Please pray that the people of Israel will turn to their God and truly cry out for His salvation. Pray that as they cry out, Yeshua woujavascript:void(0)ld appear to them as their one and only, true Savior.

I was thinking the other day about the mountain of believing material there is available to all of us now. Some of it is good, and some of it is not so good. You would think that after 2000 years, and all the literature available, that the Body would be seen as being close to God. The truth of the matter is, that Abraham did not have all the written material. He did not have all the wonderful testimonies and miracles that were performed in front of his eyes. He did not have a believing community around him to point him in the right direction and hold him accountable. I am not saying that any of these things are wrong, I am merely pointing out the fact that even without all these things, Abraham was called a friend of God (Is. 41:8). We all tend to get lost in our religion and forget about the fact that we are called to be like Abraham. We are called to have such a relationship with the Lord that all who see us would know that we are "friends of God". It does not depend on the material we have (even though it is good), and it doesn't depend on the expression of our faith (which is also good). It depends on our fervent desire to wait on the Lord and act on what He says to us. Many of us are willing to do what the Lord says, but there are very few who are willing to wait on Him. When we are waiting on an answer to something specific, I know that I tend to focus my prayers on that one thing. It is good to persevere in prayer, but it is not good to neglect the other aspects of our relationship with Him, and focus on getting an answer. We as a Body must find again the simplicity of this faith so that those around us can see that we are friends of the Most High God. Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yesterday was Yom Kippur!

Normally I try to do a blog post about the Holy Days before they arrive. That way friends and family at home will know what we're up to and maybe even get inspired to join us from afar. This time it didn't quite work out because I was hit with a strange wave of second trimester nausea the few days before Yom Kippur! I'm still not quite feeling 100%.

Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement is one of the appointed feasts from Leviticus 23. Specifically, the word says:

26 The LORD said to Moses, 27 "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. 28 Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. 30 I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath."

Yom Kippur is primarily celebrated by fasting, so I did a computer fast, while Devin went all out, abstaining from food and drink from sunset the night before to sunset that day. We spent the day reading, painting, and playing games with friends before breaking the fast over a spaghetti dinner. To keep with the "frangrant offering" found in some other passages about this feast, I lit some pineapple scented candles in our apartment. Devin was joyfully amused by my efforts!

Jerusalem takes some unique measures to keep this day set apart. The most obvious of all would be the lack of cars on the streets. No one drives during the time of Yom Kippur, so the roads become quiet, expect for the voices of small children riding bikes around places that normally would be dangerous! It was quite joyful to see so many kids outside playing, and people taking long walks around the neighborhood. And I surely didn't miss the sounds of traffic that are so prevalent in urban life.

Like Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur was not fulfilled when Yeshua walked the earth, and has prophetic meaning for His end time return. Many believe it is symbolic of the final day of judgment. I won't go into all the theories, but I do think its significant to realize Rosh Hashana is the Feast of Trumpets, then follows the Day of Atonement (think trumpet blows, then we're brought into judgment). For those of us who believe, our atonement has already been made through the blood of Yeshua. It is for that reason that we should celebrate this day full of joy and even longing for His return!

Also see:
Lev 16
Num 29

Related Post:
"Shana Tova!" Its Rosh Hashana!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

I wish you all could have been here with us in Israel yesterday. Our congregation decided to have a meal together to celebrate Rosh HaShana (New Years), so we went to a place just outside the city to have a picnic. We were all surprised when it started to downpour rain just as we started to gather. The congregation had to take all the food as fast as we could to a tent that was set up a few hundred meters away. We all got soaked, but we had a fantastic time sharing and praising the Lord together. If you have been receiving these Shabbat Letters for a while, you may remember how I told you that Israel practically never sees rain until after Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). Sukkot starts two full weeks after Rosh HaShana, so having rain at this time of the year is really a miracle. In fact, in all the years I have been here, I have never seen rain come so early. This is truly a blessing from the Lord because the Land did not receive enough rain in the previous years. We are hurting for water as this country, so we are desperate for a good year of rain. Please pray that the rain would continue here so that this beloved Land would truly blossom.

Callie and I are amazed at the creative power of the Lord. I know many of you are parents and have already been through this, but it seems so impossible that there is a baby growing in Callie now. We see the ultrasounds and we can hardly contain ourselves. To have such a wonderful wife who is willing to sojourn with me here, leaves me continually awestuck. Raising a family here, in the Land of my inheritance, is such a wonderful privilege. May the Lord be blessed through us and our children to come. Please pray that the Lord would continue to provide all that we need. He is the Provider and nothing is out of His hands.

Operating in spiritual gifting can be a very tricky thing. There is a real danger of exalting those spiritual gifts and as a result, we see the operation of those gifts at a sign of godliness. We begin to put men and women on pedestals that no one should be expected to occupy. Our spiritual gifts are given to us for service, and it is out of that humility that we should operate. A spiritual gift that doesn't operate out of humility will never achieve what it was intended to be. There are many gifted people in the world, but a spiritual gift, coupled with humility can effect supernatural changes. The opposite end of the spectrum is that some become so skeptical or cynical that they begin to neglect the things that the Lord has gifted them with. I have personally met people who have seen all sorts of spiritual gifts in operation, but they became turned off by the people who they saw operating in them. The "spiritual" men and women were drawing attention to themselves and as a result, these believers were turned off from using spiritual gifts all together. Everything they said was a criticism against all things spiritual and now any gifting they did have is now buried in their own pride and cynicism.

We as a Body must learn how to release people to use their gifts, but have the wisdom to know how to nurture these gifts. The time has come to stop exalting the PEOPLE who have certain gifts, giving them cause to fall into pride. We should be glorifying God that he has given such gifts to Man. Humility, not charisma, must be a prerequisite to operating in the these spiritual gifts, because without it, we are not glorifying God. A Body, humbly serving the Lord with its array of spiritual gifts, would be an awesome thing to see. Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Callie and Devin

Related Posts:
"Shana Tova!" Its Rosh Hashana!

Friday, September 18, 2009

"Shana Tova!" Its Rosh Hashana!

We have now entered into the glorious time of the High Holy Days! Because all Holy Days start at sun set of the day before they are noted on our western calendars, yesterday evening marked the beginning of Rosh Hashana. Also known as the Feast of Trumpets, this Holy day is the Jewish new year!

All around town, we hear people greeting each other with "Shana Tova!" which equates to us saying "Happy New Year!" in English. My bosses brought us gifts of wine, olive oil, jam and honey at work, and several clients stopped by with gifts too! Last night, Devin and I celebrated by feasting with friends who have 5 small children. They blew little shofars, which their dad said had "a strong annoying." ;) It was a great evening! Tonight, we will feast with our kahilah (congregation) on a Moshav (sort of like a community farm).

Rosh Hashana is one of the appointed feast from Leviticus 23. In this chapter, it says:

23 The LORD said to Moses, 24 "Say to the Israelites: 'On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25 Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the LORD by fire.' "

Just as all of the appointed feasts of Lev 23, Rosh Hashana also has prophetic meaning regarding the Messiah. If you remember from other posts on the Holy days this year, Jesus - Yeshua- was crucified on Passover, He rose on the Feast of First Fruits, and the Holy Spirit came on the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (remember the cheesecakes?). This all falls perfectly in line with the Hebrew calendar.

The next three feasts were not fulfilled while the Messiah walked the earth the first time, so it is believed they have significant meaning for the end of the age. Rosh Hashana, for example, likely coordinates with the trumpet blasts described in Revelation. I'm not going to speculate what all this might mean, but knowing that significant events in Jesus' life occurred with the feasts makes me wonder what might take place on this feast in the future!

No matter what, it is a fun Holy Day to celebrate!

Related Posts:

Celebrating the Resurrection in Israel
Need and Excuse to Eat Cheesecake?

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Oh Big Baby!"

Those were the words of our quirky French-Israeli doctor at our last visit! At 6.4 cm, (about 2.5 inches) the baby is hardly big, but Little One has grown a ton since our 7 week appointment! As it turns out, I've grown too!

Here's Baby at 12 weeks and 6 days:

Its amazing how much of a tiny face the baby already has! It moved and wiggled for us too!

I know the Doctor didn't put my name on these images. She didn't last time either! Its our baby, though! I promise! We can blame it on socialized medicine. hehe. ;) We get an ultrasound every visit, so I can't complain too much!

Here's Mommy just a few days later at 13 weeks:

A doula friend said she was surprised I'm showing so much on my first baby. I think its the Lord's way of encouraging me because I've been pretty sick! The belly helps me remember why!

Abba had to get in this post too! We didn't want him to be left out!

My sweet sweet husband!

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thoughts on When to Start Your Family

Some of you might remember my review of Steve and Candice Watters' book Start Your family. Just recently they did an interview together about their journey into having children that I found really touching.

While listening, I was reminded that their convictions and passion about this topic truly do come from the heart of walking out this process with the Lord. At one point, Candice says:

"Mary and I were talking and she just said, 'So, are you thinking about having kids?' We’d been married about six months at this point. I said, 'Oh yes, we want kids some day, but we have things we need to accomplish!' She said, 'Well, what are you waiting for?'

I said, 'Well we have all this debt, and I just started this great job. She just looked at me and stopped and said, 'Candice, how do you know that when you decide you’re ready you will still be fertile?'

It was interesting that when I got to the age where we had said we were going to wait I started having some secondary fertility problems. So, I just look at that, and our story and I think if someone hadn’t come along and challenged us there’s a chance we might not have had kids. Or, we might have only had one baby.

Can you imagine having real reason to believe you might have missed out on having children, had not been for the encouragement of others to move forward with forming a family?

On the second part, Steve points out:

"Two percent of people deliberately don’t want any children, but 20% of couples end up not having kids at all. You know its one thing to lose these babies through miscarriage and through still births and other tragedies, but another tragedy is how many lives don’t even get begun because the timeline, the economy, the coach or the pressures around them are keeping them from even being able to pull the trigger to try>

Its a shame that so many marriages are missing out on the blessing of children because of worldly wisdom.

Though they do encourage prudence and not taking the limitations of our bodies for granted, their hearts are tempered by the reality of God's soveriengty and ability to answer prayers, after experiencing a miracle baby of their own. For those details, I encourage you to listen for yourself!

With the direction my own life has taken, delaying my last year of school to have a surprise baby, I have much more peace about this change in plans because of the wisdom I've inherited through their testimony. The Lord has asked me to trust Him with one dream, in exchange for another. I'll admit its been a challenge for me at times, but when it comes down to it, I would much rather open my body to the possibility of having children, and finish school later, than miss this opportunity to see the Lord do such a creative work through Devin and me. We couldn't be more blessed. :)

Please take some time to listen to their interview, and let me know what you think!

Part 1: Should We Have a Baby?
Part 2: Getting Started

Related Post:
Start Your Family - Review

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

Callie and I just got back from a wonderful time in the Negev (southern desert in Israel) where we attended a wedding of a good friend. It was the first time that Callie had seen the Negev and she loved the peaceful spirit that rests on that blessed part of Israel. We were greeted by a herd of gedis (wild goats) who walking around our guest house. The Negev is a place where you truly feel that you are a guest in the wild landscape you see. You feel like you are foreign to it, but it welcomes you to experience its color and its life. The pressure we feel living in Jerusalem fell off when we where there and we were able to relax. Israel is an amazing place and if you have never been, I do hope you try to make the trip. The Lord's Spirit continues to move over this Land, preparing for the time when all the promises made to Israel will come to pass. May it be soon Lord!

Bless the Lord for His times and His seasons! In Ecclesiastics, we read about how everything has its season and I have been blessed recently by reflecting on what that means. Our natural seasons carry with them their natural beauty along with the difficulties you may face. I don't know about you, but the changing of the season for me is always bittersweet. There are new things that we can look forward to, but there are always things that we leave behind with each passing season. It is so important to know how things need to change to meet what the new season brings. If you are caught in spring with only winter clothing, you will have a very uncomfortable time. It also makes no sense to try to use your winter clothes and your summer clothes when June rolls around. As in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. We must know what season the Lord has us in. This is a fairly common preaching within the Body, but the teaching rarely pays attention to this aspect of the season. There are many within the Body who are caught unprepared because we have no idea what season the Lord is bringing them into. They are comfortable with the way this season is going, and they don't seek the face of the Lord to see if He has a new season for them. Settling into the season is one thing, but refusing to leave the season which we find comfortable is another.

There are others who are trying to take the things with them that were useful in a different point in their walk, but have absolutely no use now. Their season has changed, and they want to walk in the new season, but they don't want to leave behind the things the Lord provided for in the previous season. When someone gets married, they must leave the season of "singleness" behind. All the independent decisions, social life, and single living tendencies need to be left behind so that the married couple can truly act as "one flesh". Two people within this union who are still acting as though they are single will eventually devastate the relationship. The Lord is taking us all on a journey through His set seasons that He has ordained for us. We must be willing to enter fully into the new season when He tells us it is time to change. We must also take on the new things He has for us and leave those things He is calling us to leave. Blessings to you!

Devin and Callie

Related Post:
Our Messianic Wedding

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mike Huckabee's Israel Visit

Just within the past few weeks, Gov. Mike Huckabee embarked on his 11th visit to Israel. Yesterday morning Devin and I watched a video clip of Huckabee's commentary on this most recent trip, and we were very pleased with his perspective. Huckabee provides a few brief and concise historical facts, he chose great people to interview, such as our seriously productive Mayor, and video provides excellent footage of our hometown, Jerusalem.


Part 1

Part 2

As always, anyone reading this via our Facebook RSS will have to go here to see the video clips. :)

callie m.

*Originally aired on Fox News, August 24, 2009.

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Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

Thank you all so much for the prayers you have been lifting up for Callie and me. We are continually blessed to see how the Lord uses your prayers for us as we walk out our calling here in Israel. The Lord has been gracious to us in so many ways and we can't wait to see what the future holds. Please keep Callie in your prayers as she closes in on the end of the first trimester. Her first trimester has been quite difficult and it has taken a lot of perseverance to get through it. I personally have felt very helpless at times, knowing that I can't do anything to take away her discomfort. The whole thing has taught us both a lot about relying on the Lord and finding rest in Him. Also, please pray that the Lord would show me which direction to go with His call to teach English here. Hearing the voice of the Lord concerning the business has always been crucial, but I feel increased pressure now to press in for an answer. Whether it is my own anxiety or the Lord impressing on me the need, I feel now an increased urgency to press into Him.

From the time Callie and I returned in April this year, I have been working with an intercessory ministry here in Israel whose call is to raise up prayer for Israel and the Jewish people. There are so many things happening in Israel week by week that sometimes I can feel overwhelmed by the need. Israel is in a very difficult place right now and it will take wisdom greater than Solomon's to lead this nation through it. Please pray that the Lord would make His salvation,Yeshua, known to the leaders of this nation. This is the only real way there can be hope. As we all have seen again and again, faith in politicians never really finds its fulfillment, but faith in our God always does. Please pray that we as a nation would turn to the Lord in this treacherous time.

The crumbs from the Lord's table are better than the all the honor you can get in this world. It is so difficult sometimes to keep that in perspective, and be ok with what this means. We think so much of ourselves sometimes, that we forget our position before the Lord. Even within our congregations we love to receive the honor of our brothers and sisters. We yearn for the attention that can be gained through the outworking of our anointing or calling. Our calling, many times, ceases to be a means by which we can serve the Lord, and becomes a means by which we can have status among our brothers. We have often seen people start to identify more with their ministry than they they do with their Messiah. Paul said a few times in his writings that he sees himself as a drink offering poured out before the Lord. Paul was willing to be despised and rejected for the Lord's sake. When we look into the Body of the Messiah now, how many of us would be willing to be despised by our community if it meant the Lord would be glorified? How many of us would be willing to be completely poured out as a drink offering, so that the world could see who our God is? Yes there are promises of spiritual authority and gifting in the Word, but when spiritual "ambition" (seeking to gain ascendancy through our spirituality) gets in the mix, that Godly calling can become the worst source of pride there is. The dispute that the disciples had about who was the greatest among them has been taken to the next level in our congregations. (See Matthew 18:1-5, Mark 9:33-35, Luke 9:46-48)The dispute has been given free reign by exalting our "spirituality" and forgetting to exalt the One who has given us spiritual rebirth. When we truly exalt Yeshua in our midst, nothing else is seen, and nothing else is important. Our status and even our spirituality is nothing in the presence of our Savior. The world right now sees a Body of Messiah where its members continue to jostle for position. It is time we show them Yeshua, and nothing else. Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ity Bity Baby Bump

This week I've noticed some changes in my stomach. Today, in particular, the zipper on my skirt wouldn't quite make it to the top. Since my food intake has been rather low, I think this is the first sign of the baby bump.

Here's how I'm looking at 9 weeks. :)

Related Post:
The Sweetest Thing

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Mom Met Beth Moore

A year and a half ago, the March before I moved to Israel, my mom shared with me that she was planning to attend a Beth Moore conference. Her bible study had just completed Beth Moore's Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman series, so she was excited at the prospect of hearing Beth speak live. As we were speaking about the upcoming conference, she shared something with me.

"I think I'm supposed to meet Beth Moore when I go."

I remember thinking, "Hmm... for some reason that makes sense."

It was one of those unexplainable moments where I totally agreed with my mom, without knowing how many people would be attending the conference or what situations might be set up for Meet'n'Greets. As simple as it sounds, in my heart, I truly believed the Lord had a plan for my mom to meet Beth Moore.

Nearly five months later, (and at this point, about a year ago) lo and behold, my mom did in fact meet Beth Moore!

Beth Moore is the in the center with a yellow jacket. My mom is just below her, squatting in the center on the first row.

Yay for Beth Moore... and her hair!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

Paul, in 2 Corinthians talked about boasting boasting in the Lord. He of course write that we shod boast in ourselves, saying "Look at what I have done in the Lord!" He wrote that, within the sphere God has put us in, we can boast in what the Lord has done. The Lord has done a great many things in my life. I speak in the singular now, because I want to give glory to the Lord for what He has done in my life, and Callie is one of the greatest things He has done for me. For the Lord to give me a wife, who would follow the Lord with me in a place that was not her home, is truly amazing. Callie is now courageously looking at living here and giving birth here so that we can give glory to God through the raising of family together. There are so many things that we need the Lord's guidance in, and I can sometimes get lost in these things. But I, like all of us at times, needed to stop for a second and boast in what the Lord has done for me. Please pray that the Lord would sort out all the questions and needs we have right now. There are some doors that only the Lord can open for us and we need to have the discernment to know how to move forward. Thank you so much for your loving prayers.

Please continue to lift up Israel in your prayers. The existential dangers here in the Middle East seem to be growing by the day, and Israel will need the protection of the Lord. Amazingly, there are many voices out of the US administration that are supporting the isolation of Israel. I say amazingly, because the States has been such a close ally for so long and this sudden shift has left Israel with political whiplash. On the other hand, we see in scripture that all nations will rise up against Israel in the end so this move is not so astounding. The US has all but said that a nuclear Iran is inevitable and cannot be avoided. Israel, unlike the US, does not have a half a world separating us from Iran. Please pray that the Lord would fulfill what He has promised many times in His Word, and undertake for Israel.

I can't help to wonder what plans and purposes the Lord has stored up for my little child who He is forming right now. It is so easy to think about hopes and dreams when a chid is in the discussion. When is it that we stop believing that the Lord has these things stored up for us as well? The young one is now at the beginning of its journey in this world, and all that it is going to be has yet to be discovered. It is wondrous to think about the possibilities that this child will have. At some point we stop believing that the Lord has new and amazing things for each of us. Maybe we think we have gotten to old and set in our ways. Maybe we look at the mountain of responsibility in front of us and think that we don't have the time for anything else. Maybe we think that we have made too many mistakes and the Lord must be finished with us. We forget that even now, all creation is groaning with the pains of childbirth (Rom. 8:22). We are waiting for the ultimate redemption that will happen when the Messiah comes back. If we believe in Yeshua, we are part of God's redemptive plan for he world. When God was forming us in the womb, He dreamed dreams for us that would be part of that plan. If we think that the plans God had for us when He formed us are finished, then I am afraid we don't know our God the way we should. If we think we have made too many mistakes and that the Lord must be finished with us, then we are declaring that the arm of the Lord is too short for us. It is time we turn again and look square into the face of our God and see His character. He is a God whose love stretches beyond the limits of time. He is a God whose plan for us is only limited by our willingness to submit to it and our commitment to not give up. I wonder what the Lord has for my child, but I know the plans He has for this baby has no age limit. His wonderful plan for us is still unfolding and we need to shake of the things preventing us from seeing that truth. Blessings to you and I pray we would all find deeper revelation of our Lord on this Shabbat.

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Related Post:
The Sweetest Thing

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Sweetest Thing

Devin and I witnessed the sweetest thing earlier this week. We were blessed to see our teeny tiny baby's fluttering heart beat, and the little one's silhouette. This was our second appointment. On our first visit, the doctor did a scan, so we were blessed to see the baby at 5 weeks and 5 days. Unfortunately, she did not take a picture. Not many people are given the privileged of seeing their baby so early. It was amazing to go in on the next visit, only two weeks later, to see that our baby was six times bigger than the first visit!

We took home a great souvenir:

In certain views, the baby looked much more like a baby with a big head and round belly. I wish she had taken the photo from one of those views, but the baby needed to be measured. :) Seeing how very much alive and beautiful our little one is made all difficult first trimester symptoms worth it!

Because ultra sound photos can be hard to read, I thought I'd include an image of how our baby looked at the time of our last appointment:

How cute! I've been amazed at how quickly the little thing grows and develops. By the fifth week, only one week after most women find out they are expecting, the baby's heart is already forming and beginning to beat. The rhythm evens out during the sixth week as ventricles separate, and the heart is fully visible and fluttering by the seventh week, at a heart rate nearly twice that of mine.

Though this little one is totally dependent on my body for life, this is a completely separate person from me, with its own set of tiny fingers and toes, and its own destiny and purpose in the Lord. I'm so blessed and honored to give the little one a home for the next 7 months. Hopefully I'll be a comfortable temporary living space!

Related Post:
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Saturday, August 1, 2009

True Love Waits... But What About Dates and Marries?

Many of us remember the days of True Love Waits conferences, purity rings, and appeals from speakers and church leaders to commit to the Virgin Lips movement, saving first kisses for the alter. But how often was this message paired with encouragement to actually get out there, get married—and do so at a youthful age?


For many of us, the true love waited and waited and waited. For some its still waiting and waiting and waiting; and unfortunately, for others, true love gave up.

Mark Regnerus takes this issue to task in his article The Case for Early Marriage, explaining that we don't need more teaching on abstinence, but rather we need to start encouraging marriage and at younger ages.

In light of recent studies that indicate 80% of "unmarried, church- going, conservative Protestants" are engaging in sexual activity of some form, Regnerus says:

What to do? Intensify the abstinence message even more? No. It won't work. The message must change, because our preoccupation with sex has unwittingly turned our attention away from the damage that Americans—including evangelicals—are doing to the institution of marriage by discouraging it and delaying it.

...Many Christians continue to perceive a sexual crisis, not a marital one. We buy, read, and pass along books about battling our sexual urges, when in fact we are battling them far longer than we were meant to. How did we misdiagnose this?

Concerned about the risks associated with marrying young? Don't worry. He covers that, too, reminding us:

First, what is deemed "early marriage" by researchers is commonly misunderstood. The most competent evaluations of early marriage and divorce note that the association between early age-at-marriage and divorce occurs largely among those who marry as teenagers (before age 20)...

Second, the age at which a person marries never causes divorce. Rather, a young age-at-marriage is an indicator of an underlying proclivity for marital problems, the kind most Christian couples learn to avoid or solve without parting.

He then breaks down the typical problems, illustrates how these problems can develop character strengths, and challenges the church to support young couples through these potential difficulties in their early years. For those details, check out the article for yourself.

Though I am now married, as someone who is part of the generation that dealt largely with this strange dichotomy of knowing it was right to wait, but generally not being encouraged to look to marriage as a healthy and biblical solution, I'm thankful for Regnerus's bold assertions. May my younger brother and sisters benefit from such a change in the purity message.

callie m.

Good Resource:
Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers by Mark Regnerus

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

All the People in the World Could Fit in Texas?

As a student of Architecture and Interior Design, for the last eight years of my life and counting, I've become extremely well versed in both practical and theoretical issues surrounding Green and Sustainability movements. While there are many aspects of this social trend that I enjoy and put into practice in my own life, there are also certain ideologies imbedded in this movement that are clearly oppositional to the heart and character of God.

The greatest of these, perhaps, is the idea of "overpopulation," a contributing factor in a world-wide trend of a devaluing of human life. No need to go into detail about this issue because I've already blogged away about it here, and here; however, this is an issue I have become increasingly passionate about, which is why earlier today, I was excited to find a link to a website called Overpopulation: The Making of a Myth, on one of my favorite blogs. This website creatively gives a brief history to the idea of overpopulation and provides factual evidence to dispel the myth, which does have life and death consequences.

Of the brief, but interesting facts the authors include:

According to the U.N. Population Database, the world's population in 2010 will be 6,908,688,000. The landmass of Texas is 268,820 sq mi (7,494,271,488,000 sq ft).

So, divide 7,494,271,488,000 sq ft by 6,908,688,000 people, and you get 1084.76 sq ft/person. That's approximately a 33' x 33' plot of land for every person on the planet, enough space for a town house.

Given an average four person family, every family would have a 66' x 66' plot of land, which would comfortably provide a single family home and yard -- and all of them fit on a landmass the size of Texas. Admittedly, it'd basically be one massive subdivision, but Texas is a tiny portion of the inhabitable Earth.

Such an arrangement would leave the entire rest of the world vacant. There's plenty of space for humanity.

It looks like there's way more space to go around than we ever imagined! Because I appreciated this little website so much, I thought I'd include their short film. Enjoy!

*The Facebook RSS feed does not include videos, so if you are reading this but the video isn't appearing, go here.

callie m.

Want to learn more? You might like these resources:

The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birth Rates Threaten World Prosperity by Phillip Longman

Click here to listen to a podcast of Candice and Steve Watters interviewing Phillip Longman. (Scroll to 14:00)

Start Your Family By Steve and Candice Watters

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Earth Worship and Child Sacrifice
Deceived by Social Justice?
Start Your Family Callie's Review

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

It has been a couple weeks since the last letter, but a lot has been going on in the Mitchell household here in Israel. The Lord has really blessed the work of my hands. Callie and I set an amount that we needed to earn each month in order to cover all our costs and to have a little extra in case of an emergency. After just two months of work, the Lord has blessed me with enough students to hit the mark we had set. This has all come from simple word of mouth from student to student. We have not done any advertising or marketing of the business. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness!

The other really big thing that has happened is that Callie is now pregnant with our first child! We are over the top excited about this and we covet your prayers. This comes a few months earlier than we were expecting, but this is the good kind of surprise. The Lord obviously wants us to start our family here in Israel, and we are very excited to do it. Callie has been dealing with a lot of morning sickness as a result, so please pray for her as well as for the development of our little one. Many of you have been following where the Lord has been taking me for a log time now. It is precious to me that I can share this with you, my extended family, who have been faithfully praying for me/us for many years. Please pray that the Lord would continue to provide for what He wants to do with us here.

I have been struck recently by the circumstances surrounding Jonah's flight from the Lord. What is amazing to me is not that Jonah ran from something he didn't want to do. We all do that from time to time. There is something very human about wanting to run instead of facing the things we need to face. None of us are perfectly brave all the time. This was not the thing that caught my attention. What caught my attention was the fact that Jonah ran even though He heard the very voice of God telling him to do something. How many of us plead and plead for God to speak clearly to us? How many of us want God to speak in an audible voice so that we can be sure we are doing the Lord's will? Jonah HEARD the voice of the Almighty God and yet he ran. There is an enormous responsibility that comes with hearing the Lord's voice. We in the Body have looked at the hearing the Lord's voice in the same way as we would look at reading a fortune cookie. Fortune cookies are always "positive" and we are never disappointed by what is written. If we are willing to let them, fortune cookies can also give us enough direction to make us happy, but not enough that we are accepting true responsibility. When we ask God to speak, we better make sure we know what we are asking. We will never get a "fortune cookie" response. I am not saying that we will, like Jonah, hear something we don't want to do. Maybe we will and maybe we won't.

The point is that when we ask, the amount of responsibility we accept is usually never understood to its depth. Jonah, because he accepted the role as prophet of God, he became responsible for the people of Ninevah and the sailors on that ship. God's Word to him directly affected the people he would meet if he obeyed and the people he would meet if he disobeyed. Asking for the Lord to speak and hearing his voice will directly affect people around us if we obey and if we disobey. The Lord's voice is a fearful thing to hear and the Body has taken this responsibility WAY too lightly. We have the opportunity through Yeshua to have a relationship to the living God. Communing with Him everyday is wonderful and doesn't have to be "direction" oriented, but we should know when it is. This is a wonderful, joyous thing, but it also should be a fearful thing. Blessings to you all.

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie (+1)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Making Cheese Biscuits in Israel

Just a few weeks ago, my cousin, Emily, visited Israel on a tour with her class from Campbell University. While her group was in Jerusalem, we were blessed to be able to spend sometime together.

Devin and I had Emily over for dinner one evening. We decided to have a Breakfast Supper complete with our Mema's cheese biscuits. Making (and eating!) cheese biscuits is one of our family traditions. After our Mema went to be with the Lord, Emily assumed most of the cheese biscuit making responsibility. I can make a decent biscuit, too, but Emily's a pro, so I was excited to see what I might be able to learn from her skills.

The incredients are simple — self rising flour, buttermilk, crisco, and cheddar cheese. The Israeli version was slightly different, with non-brand name vegetable shortening and white cheddar.

First, we sifted the flour in a large mixing bow, then with a fist, made a crater for mixing the other ingredients. Now, really, we should be using a wooden bowl, but I don't have one yet. Remember that for my birthday!

Next, we poured buttermilk in the crater.

Then, Emily added the shortening — about the size of an egg.

Next, she kneaded the ingredients together.

Here we are. :)

While Emily was kneading, I was getting the cheese ready...

... and Devin got started on the Goosebreast, eggs and grits, in our All-Clad pans. :)

The biscuits when in the oven for a little while, and when they came out they look like this! We always know they'll be good when we see the cheese oosing out!

Then we enjoyed our yummy meal! :)

As our Big Daddy used to say:
"Come when you can, and stay as long as you can when you come."

Thanks for stopping by, Emily!

Related posts:
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Binding the Vanity of Creativity

For the many wonderful things facebook is good for, sometimes I find myself snooping around other peoples lives and becoming discontent. I know I'm not alone because my friend, Faith, blogged about it several months ago:

Confession time: sometimes lurking on facebook serves to make me jealous of the people I stalk. I tell myself I’m just keeping up with friends, but in truth, I’m coveting...

And if I was to be honest, I'd have to say the same thing. Last night I found myself confronting this issue in the Lord after seeing a few friends new and creative lives on my computer screen, but really this issue goes beyond facebook. Its a struggle of everyday life.

My university experience at UNC-Greensboro was a wonderful time of learning about the Creativity of God. He blessed me with the most unique group of friends in the entire world. All artists of one sort or another, we were set on being creative in all areas of life, including our expression of faith and worship.

My friends looked like artist, displaying the latest trends in both purchased and homemade clothes, pierced body parts, unique hair styles, tattoos, and accessories. My friends acted like artists, being choosy about selections in film, music, literature, etc. We even had the most well put together rented houses and apartments you'd ever see, for a group of unemployed college students.

It was a stretching season of life. I learned to be thoughtful and intentional about my aesthetic decisions and I learned that I didn't have to settle for the K-Love status quo. My faith in Jesus didn't have to limit my creative expression. In fact, it really should expand my artistic expression. It did expand, and it continues to do so.

Those were some of the best years of my life, but if I was to be truly honest, and I can only speak for myself here, sometimes I also felt the insecure and competitive spirit that lurked amongst our creative crew. Sometimes I'd wonder, "Do some of my friends have a people preference based on style?" Then I'd realize the pride and judgment in that thought and turn it back on myself, "Do I have a people preference based on style?" I was disgusted when sometimes the Lord's answer was "Yes."

Of course, its easiest to identify with those who share common interests with you; interests in aesthetic taste included. Its just a completely different scenario to cause others to feel unloved because they don't share your specific tastes. This can happen through not attributing enough value to someone of a different creative expression, or having a hardness towards another because of jealousy. Amongst creative types, its also not uncommon to have a wrong self perception because of things or talents you do or do not have. I have been the perpetrator and the victim of those sorts of mentalities.

At least in real life, during those amazing days, we were able to walk through struggles with each other. We prayed for and with one another. We saw each other at our best and worst. Facebook hides all the dirty laundry. Maybe we post our successful art projects but hide the failures; we delete the ugly photos, but make albums full of Vanity Fair ready shots; we share good memories of escapades overseas, buy conveniently leave out falling down the stairs in Turkey or the swollen shut eye in Mexico because of some freak grain of sand.

This is not necessarily wrong. Who doesn't want to put their "best foot forward." Its just good to remember that we all struggle with failure, wanting more than we have, or how we're perceived by others, on one level or another. No one's life is as perfectly crafted as it seems. Its often the hard places that the Lord uses to refine us most. That's where the true and eternal crafting comes in.

Also, our identity shouldn't be founded upon how we would categorize ourselves, or how we would be categorized by others. I was reminded of this while reading a Relevant Magazine interview with Misty Edwards.

Last year you were featured in “The Blah Blah” blog as a "Girl of Christian Indie." How did you feel about being tagged in the Christian indie scene?

Honestly, I haven’t thought much about it. I am not sure what it means to be a "Girl of Christian indie," but it sounds cool. I don’t put a lot of thought into the way I am “tagged” today. I try to stay focused on where I am going. My focus is to go deep in the Word of God; live in the First Commandment, which leads to the Second; stay faithful in the place of prayer; fast more; give more; and live the Sermon-on-the-Mount lifestyle to the highest degree, even in my weakness. I know I am going to die one day, and the only real definition of who I am will come from the lips of Him who searches my heart. So, it’s cool but not relevant to who I really am.

Ultimately, in dealing with my discontent, I have to ask myself a few questions:
Who am I at the end of the day? Who does He say that I am? Or better yet, Who do I say that He is—through the way I live my life? And the ever important: How can I know You more, Lord?

Without settling these matters, I'm too grounded in the vanity of this age to act... and create... in love.

Go here for the full interview with Misty Edwards.
Faith's Blog: Great Smitten

Related Post:
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Come Up Here!

Today during time with the Lord, I listened to Jason Upton sing, "Come up here, My Beloved!"

Though a familiar song, his lyrics hit my heart a little differently today. Devin and I have been seeking the Lord for quite a while about several different life-direction issues. The Lord finally provided His word on all the matters we had been petitioning Him about with one giant swoop of His hand.

The plans of the Lord are quite creative, and we received a giant taste of that creativity! It appears that areas of our life will be shifting around in the next year, and we will be called to greater levels of trust, sacrifice, obedience, and hopefully more joy than we have ever known as these new adventures unfold.

I hear the Lord whispering to us, to me, "Come up here, My Beloved... Come up here."

callie m.

Related Post:
Shabbat Letter July 13, 09

Monday, July 13, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

The Lord is so faithful! Sometimes Callie and I sit back and think about how we got to this point in our lives and we just sit in wonder. Nothing short of the Lord working out His plan in our lives would have gotten us to this point. I went back and read a a few journal entries from the time when I went to Zambia for the first time. I m not a person who does well with journals. I have started and never continued several, but when I really have something to write, I do write it down. During the whole trip to Zambia, I was seeing the Lord work, but I was also pretty despondent about some things. One of the things I wrote was, "Well I guess I have to give up on having a wife!" It is hilarious that just 3 months later in that journal, I wrote, "Well, Callie is coming to visit tomorrow, and if all goes as planned, we will be engaged in a few days". Callie and I are now settling into the life the Lord has for us in Israel and all I can say is that the Lord is faithful. Please continue to pray that we would grow together through Yeshua so that we can be used mightily in His kingdom.

Please continue to keep Israel in your prayers. At no time in it's history has this small nation seen so much pressure from the rest of the world. When all her "friends" seem to have joined with the accusers, there is little else to do but turn to the Lord. That is something that we are praying for continually. Israel has arguably the most well trained army in the world, but that is nothing compared to the God of Israel being on your side. Please pray that Israel will cry out to her God for salvation.

Humanity as a whole is very obsessed with the drive to be or have enough. When we start to feel discouraged, the word enough invariably comes into our thinking. Maybe we think we are not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough to complete the task assigned enough. Maybe we think we are not attractive enough, personable enough, or rich enough to attract members of the opposite sex. These are all things that we as human beings have to deal with at some point in our lives, but what is astounding to me is when we see this problem of "enough" running rampant in the Body. Everyone from the pastors and elders on down deal with this on a regular basis. We say we are not spiritual enough, holy enough, pure enough, or anointed enough and we cut God short before He can really start working with us. I have heard people say they were not holy enough to be in the ministry, so they decided not to pursue a call of God on their lives. I have heard others say that they have tried but are not spiritual enough to follow the Lord so they stop pursuing God. Still others have said they are not anointed enough to contribute in the Body, so they sit quietly in congregations. Oh how quickly we forget the lessons we learn from our Bible stories. No one was nearly "enough" when God chose them to serve Him, but what they did have was the willingness to be used. All of scripture is made up of men and women who were not perfect, but decided to give all that they had to God. We have allowed an excuse to permeate the Body that we don't find anywhere in the scriptures. God wants to use each and every one of us not because we are sufficient in ourselves, but rather He wants to use us exactly because we are not sufficient. He chooses the humble to bring low the proud. He chooses the "foolishness" of the kingdom to bring down the wisdom of the world. The whole of scripture testifies to the fact that God uses ordinary men and women (with all their flaws) to give glory to His kingdom. We are supposed to be continually going through the process of sanctification and purification, but thinking that we have to be one with this process in order to be used is true ignorance. God wants to use us this day and the only thing we have to ask is this: "Are we willing give all we have to God and be used by Him?" Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

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Friday, July 10, 2009

A Weapon... A Weapon... A Deadly Weapon

Anyone related to me on my dad's side should recognize the title above. It originated with my cousin, Amanda, when we were children. She was dressed as a cat, spinning her tail around singing:

"A Weapon... A Weapon... A Deadly Weapon...

A Weapon... A Weapon... A Deadly Weapon..."

She just kept saying it over and over and over again. We have it on a family home video, and it has since then been a little inside joke.

Well, I think about that little song often while living in Israel because I see guns all the time. Big guns... small guns... guns everywhere. Most of the time they are strapped onto the backs of soldiers, but civilians carry them too.

This week three civilians with guns caught my eye. The first one was a middle aged man, well dressed, tall, with patient mannerisms. He was waiting at my bus stop with a hand gun in a HOLSTER around his waste. Today we road home on a bus with a young man who had a big M16 on his back, the same as the soliders, except he was wasn't in uniform. The most interesting of all was a young woman I ran into a few days ago. My gun carrying, well accessorized, southern friend, Trinidy, would have been envious of this chick.

She had short sassy blond hair, and she was wearing big earings, a light pink tank top, skinny jeans, and a feminine looking backpack. It was a neutral color with Art Nouveau flowers embroidered on the pockets. To complete the trendy and girly look of the bag, she had little stuffed animals hanging from the zipper—and just below the dangling animals—a HOLSTER with a handgun.

Yep. Annie Get Your Gun goes Euro style in the Middle East.

I'll admit, I used to be freaked out by all the guns. I was afraid one might accidentally go off and shoot somebody, or someone might flip out and open fire, but a few experiences last summer changed my mind.

Anyone remember the bulldozer terrorists? On two occasions, Arab guys driving bulldozers decided to start running over people, cars and even flipped over a bus. Several people were killed. During the first attack, the driver was shot by an off duty soldier carrying his gun. The second attack was ended in a similar fashion when a civilian with a gun shot and killed the driver just minutes before he murdered my boss's attorney... who did end up losing his leg.

Besides the connection to one of the victims, these attacks hit close to home because I had just passed through both areas minutes before they took place. Had I been running 10 minutes late... Let's just praise the Lord I wasn't. Fortunately, Israeli's are some of the bravest people I have ever met and they looked out of each other on both of those days. I'm sorry for the families of the Arab men who lost their lives, but I'm thankful that they weren't able to do more damage than they did.

The real and apparent need for defense against acts of terror was my first revelation.

The second revelation came one night after Shabbat Dinner. Devin was home for the weekend and we decided to have our friend, Jesse, over. After we ate, we talked a little, and watched a movie. The lady I was living with had long since gone to sleep. Thankfully she had a guest room for Devin in her bed'n'breakfeast style flat, but Jesse had to leave. The buses stop running on Fridays around 4pm so I asked Jesse if he was going to get a taxi.

"No, I'm going to walk." He said in his upbeat "Jolly Dutchmen" tone. It was like 1:00 am and he lived a good 45 minutes away, on foot.

I started to panic! "Are you going to be safe? You better call us when you get home! Maybe you should just sleep on the couch..."

I was sincerely nervous for his safety. The two men then started laughing at me. You see, Israel doesn't have violent crime. At least not nearly the amount in America. In that reguard, I really do feel more safe in Israel than in the US. Jesse was just as safe walking home in Jerusalem in the dark as he was in the day light.

More guns do not equal more violence—that was my second revelation.

Since Israel has mandatory military service, most of the population is trained in how to properly use a gun and most people chose to carry one for the rest of their lives. Devin often talks about how much he misses his M16 short from the army. The military service could definitely affect the low crime rate in a nation of so many guns. It could also be the low rate of divorce and single parent homes, but I haven't done the research yet to really know.

Meanwhile, I no longer see all the guns and freak out. Instead, I'm thankful that I live in a nation, amongst a people, who are willing to lay their lives down for each others safety, and not just in theory, but in deed and action.

Here's Devin with his M16 while guarding the Israeli/Egyptian boarder.

Related Posts:
Violence and the Break Down of the Traditional Family

Shabbat Letter - Moving in Formation This was right after the bulldozer attacks.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Adventures in Antalya, Turkey

Devin and I had to leave Israel for a few days, so we took a little 'second honeymoon' along Turkey's Mediterranean coastline!

Turkey is a popular vacation destination for Israelis, and after visiting I see why! Devin calls this amazing nation "Europe's best kept secret." The scenery is beautiful, the people are friendly, and its super affordable to get there from this part of the world! We both recommend taking the time to visit if you are anywhere near!

This wasn't a big site seeing trip for us. It was more of a lazy weekend in the sun and the sea.

With beaches that look like this....

...can you blame us?

Here's a few in the other direction. The shore line is covered in pebbles which grow in size as the water gets deeper!

A young man who worked for our hotel took this photo for us. He and a few others followed us around after discovering that Devin, or Devint, as they liked to call him, is an English teacher. I thought about cropping and zooming in Photoshop, but the dear lady in the background might not have been to happy about that!

Our hotel had this crazy water slide—and no lifeguard! We both witnessed a few incidents (such as people sliding on their feet!) and were part of a few (I ran into a Muslim girl, in her Burka, who decided to SIT on the slide)! We also had a Turkish Bath that provided full spa treatments for only $35 US! Of course we took advantage of that option!

We ate dinner at a lovely kebab restaurant where, again, the staff was enamored by my ESL teaching husband. We had an excellent meal of kebabs, Turkish coffee, Turkish tea, and kenafe for dessert.

And our server did this little trick with forks and toothpick.

This is the little downtown... not architectually spectacular, but colorful and lively, nonetheless.

And what would a visit to Turkey be without Turkish Delight! They also had great deals on leather everywhere!

We found this cute little park filled with adult-sized exercise equipment...

... so we took a moment to do the leg press.

The next day, we ran into Ariel.

We had an amazing time in Turkey and look forward to exploring some of the more historic sites on our next visit! We hope to make traveling to Turkey a regular part of our life here in the Middle East, and really hope to be able to do ministry in this ancient land in the future!

callie m.


Related Posts:
Adventures at the Beach in Tel Aviv