Finding Faith to Flourish


Photo taken: Anatot, Israel. April 2019 - Mentioned in Jeremiah 32:7

Flourish is my 'word of the year.' I was so ready to leave behind the frozen wasteland of Alberta, Canada this past winter and enter into a new season in the Promised Land.

Flourish means to: grow, thrive or prosper as a result of a favorable environment.

WATCH VIDEO FROM THE ISRAELI WILDERNESS BELOW:

In Edmonton you can visit the Muttart Conservatory which is famous for their four buildings in the shape of triangles. Each one supports a different kind of climate re-creating a mini little tropical jungle or sandy desert depending on which one you're in.

Different kinds of plants thrive only in certain environments. The cactuses multiply in hot, desert climates of course while palm trees shoot up in humid, tropical climates.

Photo taken: Muttart Conservatory, Edmonton, A.B. Canada.

In the same way God created us and He knows exactly where we need to be planted in order to thrive. He may want to cause some things to grow in our life but He wants to place us in the right environment for us to flourish.

For me, that place is Israel. My home... as well as home to millions of other Jewish people.

Right now the entire country is gearing up for Passover. Everyone is making arrangements, frantically doing their Pesach (Passover) cleaning and stocking up on lots of Matzah (unleavened bread.)

As we read through the book of Exodus, we are reminded of how God brought the Israelites out of Egypt (a place of lack, fear, bondage & scarcity) into the Promised Land (a place of abundance, prosperity & freedom.)

God brought His chosen people out of one environment which was hindering & harming them, into another environment, that would be His very best for them - a land flowing with milk & honey!

“I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians & bring them up from that land to a good & large land…flowing with milk & honey.” (Exodus 3:8)

Photo taken: Beit Zayit, Israel April 2019

Spring has arrived here in the Land, causing the entire country to appear as one massive flower bouquet! We recently visited a unique outdoor cafe called 'Beit Zayit' (House of Olives) located just outside Jerusalem.

Sipping on our Israeli version of a latte (Cafe Hafooch - upside down coffee) and eating delicious vine leaves, we sat in the middle of a beautiful, blooming garden - complete with a fish pond and mini waterfalls!

While walking around the cafe's garden you can literally smell honey wafting through the air. Combine that with our milk lattes and we are getting the complete 'land flowing with milk & honey' experience!

Side Note: This is a MUST GO spot while visiting Israel. GET ON THE WAITING LIST to be the first to hear about our upcoming Voice for Israel tours. You can be sure Beit Zayit will be on the itinerary!

Passover is the season of redemption.

God rescues us, delivers us & brings us out of bondage into His promises.

The thing is that there's this little part in between Egypt & Israel... it's called the Wilderness.

The Wilderness is right in between where we were and where we want to be. We are on our way to possessing God's promises but like the Israelites we may need to spend some time in the desert first.

Photo taken: Anatot, Israel. April 2019 - Mentioned in Jeremiah 32

The Israelites had just come out of Egypt where as slaves they endured a great deal of suffering & hardship. Trauma has a way of skewing our perception so that even once we're set free from what was harming us we cannot enjoy our freedom.

I felt like God was using this example in the story of Exodus to speak to the season of life I was in personally.

I had just come out of a challenging time while in Canada, not only losing some close relationships & friendships but also grieving the loss of my older brother who passed away last year as well as struggling through being the sole caregiver for my mom who underwent major surgeries.

Photo taken: On our way to the Dead Sea. April 2019.

I was ready to jump into this fresh start when moving to Israel, certain everything would fall into place...

Well, as they say, "People plan and God laughs."

Long story short we had to overcome many more challenges and battle health issues as well as recover from all our possessions being stolen when our house was broken into recently. Talk about a battle!

Like me, maybe you've come out of a hard season. A time when nothing seemed to really be going right. Maybe you've had to endure some pain and disappointment and now that things are getting better it's difficult for you to even see the good because your perspective is clouded over from the trauma you went through.

Photo taken: Dead Sea, Israel April 2019.

While we may be set free physically from the places, people or circumstances that cause us harm, we need to walk through the wilderness to complete the process of God renewing our minds & healing our hearts.

The Israelites were set free physically but they still clung to a slavery mentality. They were full of fear, insecurity, & rebellion. Which is why only the younger generation entered into the Promised Land. Because they didn't serve the purpose God intended for them to walk through in the wilderness.

They just wandered.

We read that all the time. They 'wandered in the wilderness.' right?

How many times do we do the same thing? We feel stuck in a season of waiting and instead of worshipping God, seeking to be a blessing, doing what we know how to do with what we have - we complain, we drag our feet, we walk aimlessly and miss the purpose God has for us in the wilderness.

Photo taken: Dead Sea, Israel April 2019.

Transitions are hard. They can feel awkward, unproductive, not everyone always understands what we're doing when we're in the process of one of them.

He meets us in that place of 'in between.'

It's like that super catchy, annoying song 'Why don't you just meet me in the middle?'

I had that song stuck in my head and God spoke to me so clearly saying 'That's what I will do. I will meet you in the middle. You don't have to arrive at your destination for my presence to be with you. I will guide you every step of the way while you're still on the journey."

So what exactly IS the purpose of being in the wilderness? How can we be faithful to serve God in this place where on the surface nothing seems to be happening?

Photo taken: Dead Sea, Israel April 2019.

LESSONS WE LEARN IN THE WILDERNESS:

1. God’s love for us: Over and over again we see God use the wilderness as a way to show His love and mercy to His people. The wilderness is a time of re-connection and closeness with God.

When the Israelites came out of Egypt in the midst of their brokenness and deep sorrow, they had somewhere along the way lost the faith to believe that God still loves them. Instead of trusting that He was setting them free to bring them into blessing they cried out "Why did you bring us out into the wilderness to die?!" (Exodus 14:11)

Photo taken: Dead Sea, Israel April 2019.

Before we judge the Israelites I think we really do the same thing quite often. We allow past hurts to scar us and breed distrust in our hearts so that we doubt the faithfulness of God's love.

We begin to believe that He won't come through. But those are lies that He wants to uproot and will use our journey through a 'spiritual wilderness' to renew our minds with the truth.

“I knew & regarded you & cared for you in the wilderness… (Hosea 13:5)

“I will allure Israel & bring her into the wilderness And I will speak tenderly to her (to reconcile her to me) (Hosea 2:14)

"In the wilderness where you saw how the Lord carried you, as a man carries his son in all the way you went until you came to this place." (Deuteronomy 1:30)

When we reach the end of our strength and abilities He promises to carry us.

Photo taken: Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv Israel April 2019.

LESSONS WE LEARN IN THE WILDERNESS:

I was recently at the Ben Gurion airport to meet some of my past Hebrew students and friends who graciously agreed to bring us some items we didn't have room for from Canada. (thank you so much!)

The Ben Gurion airport is such an incredible place where you get to see the Jewish people returning home, excited visitors stepping foot into the Holy Land for the first time and all sorts of cultures & religions filtering through it's halls.

Despite this I found myself glugging coffee and growing weary while waiting for my friends as the time dragged by. I looked at my mom sheepishly "I feel like I'm the one who's just been on a 30 hour flight!" She laughed.

The truth is that waiting can be exhausting.

While we wait on God for the things we're believing for, our souls can grow weary with doubt & uncertainty.

While I was waiting for our move to Israel to become a reality I clung to these words "I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the LORd be strong & take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalms 27:13-14)

Our tenancy while waiting is exactly what the Israelites did. They complained, walked aimlessly, gave into temptation and fell into sin.

The Hebrew word used in place of 'wait' is: Tikva. When broken down this word means to: walk with direction, uphold godly righteousness, be intentional & filled with hope.

What a contrast!

We can take heart that even in our wilderness seasons where our waiting is prolonged, and the winter drags on, we can put our hope in God and be confident that we will see His goodness in the days to come.

Photo to right: Solider walking home with mom and sister after arriving in Ben Gurion airport

Photo taken: Dead Sea, Israel April 2019.

LESSONS WE LEARN IN THE WILDERNESS:

3. God's provision for us:

“I have led you through the wilderness 40 years; your clothes have not worn out on you…” (Deut. 29:5)

The wilderness is not a place of luxury and abundance yet God promises to provide for us.

God supernaturally sustained the Israelites in the wilderness so that even their clothing didn't wear out on them! So often we worry about these petty things instead of placing our hope in God and looking to Him as our source of satisfaction and provision.

"I am the bread of life, your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, yet they died... whoever eats this bread lives forever." (John 6:48)

Many of you will know that Yeshua was born in Bethlehem... what you may not know is that in Hebrew, Bethlehem is 'Beit Lechem' which means house of bread. Which is why it meant sense when He declared Himself the 'bread of life' (source of nourishment and eternal life.)

Side Note: To learn more Hebrew word studies & hidden treasures like this one check out my online Hebrew course that was just released and on sale for 30% off right now! GO TO LINK

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. If God clothes the grass of the field will he not much more clothe you of little faith?" (Mat 7:28)

We don’t need to have anxiety and fear we can rest and perfect trust that God cares for us and will meet our needs. When we find that faith we learn to flourish. ​

Last week my family and I heard that the Judean desert was in bloom with these gorgeous little red flowers called 'kalaneyot' so we decided to trek out into the desert in search of them.

We were a little late in seeing the flourishing carpets of flowers across the desert but we did find a little pocket of paradise near the Dead Sea in a kibbutz where we filmed a video message.

Photos taken: Kibbutz Kalanit, Israel April 2019.

It was so amazing to see this oasis of gorgeous flowers and explosion of greenery smack dab in a dull, lifeless desert.

  • Even if we’re in a wilderness season where everything seems dry, boring & lifeless God is working beneath the surface and there will be a sudden time of beauty.

“The wilderness & dry places will be glad, the desert will rejoice and blossom (be full of flowers) (Isaiah 35:1)

God keeps his word! Just like we can see His promise for Israel unfold and prophecy fulfilled as the wilderness becomes filled with flowers we can trust that the promises He's spoken to our hearts will unfold exactly as He's said they would.

“He makes all things beautiful in it’s time.” Let us not lose heart while waiting in the wilderness but embrace patience and hope as we wait expectantly for beautiful things to bloom in our lives.

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Created by: Liat Nesher