This is my favorite time of the year here in Israel. The summer heat has not quite set in yet. The rains are over, so there is rarely a cloud in the sky, and the tourism is very low until sometime at the end of June. Everything is so full of life here and it is easy to forget some of the troubles that are surrounding this small nation. Next week however, we will all wake up to the reality. There will be a nation wide drill to simulate what needs to happen in case of a major missile attack. Sirens will go off from the north of the country to the south and we will all remember what we are up against. Please continue to pray for this small nation and all of its citizens who live in constant anticipation of what will happen next. Please pray that the Lord would visit them in their time of need.
We want to thank you again for your wonderful prayers on our behalf. The reports from where Callie works continues to be extremely positive. They love her there and are giving her more opportunities to contribute. It has been very nice to work in an environment which is relaxed and creativity is encouraged. Please pray that the Lord would lead me as to how the business should proceed. I have some meetings this week that could be very helpful. Please pray I would hear and follow what the Lord directs me to do.
We have had a great time growing a small herb garden in our new apartment here. We joke about it constantly, because we have started to speak of this little garden like we would our children. We get up in the morning and say things like, "Wow, they look so big! When did we water them last? Which plant has gotten bigger since yesterday?" We are very quick to proudly show everyone our little garden when we come in. Just today I was looking proudly at it, and the Lord began to speak to me. One of the herbs we have is basil, and when we bought it, the small plant immediately put out lots of flowers. It looked beautiful, but the plant's leaves didn't seem to be growing at all. It fact the leaves (the part you eat, i.e. "the fruit") looked really pathetic. So, after a bit, I went online, and found that we needed to pinch off the flowers so that the leaves would grow. All the energy goes toward producing these flowers and not the leaves that you are supposed to eat. As soon as we did that, it took the plant all of a week to explode into a nice green plant with lots of new leaves to eat. The Lord started speaking to me that this plant is like the Body now. We have enjoyed our big conferences, our huge worship events, our big name speakers, but where is the real fruit? All that stuff looks great, but where is the true fruit that the Lord wants us to bear. The fruit, as with the basil plant, is in the most humble part of the Body. It is with those who humbly lay down there lives, seeking no reputation, just the Glory of God. That is why you see fruit all over the world, but more so in the more humble places. In the Western Body however, we see lots of beautiful or attractive things (the flowers), but the the real fruit is lacking. The flashy aspect of the Body has sapped energy from the true humble fruit that comes from studying the word, growing in community together, sharing truth in love, and living life as a sacrifice to God. It is time that we truly examine what we are doing and why we are doing them. Is it to make the Body look more attractive, or are we truly and humbly seeking His glory? It may be time that we pinch off those "flowers" so that the energy can be spent bringing forth true fruit. I pray that we would all bear real fruit for the Kingdom of God.
Devin and Callie
Shabbat Shalom (The one about being a pleasing aroma.)