Comfort Ye, Comfort Ye ~ Succoth 2011 ~ Succoth 2012

Comfort . . . the word evokes each of us in our own way.

For some it is food, like chicken pot pie made from scratch just like Grandma used to make, and for others CHOCOLATE. An infant knows comfort when being held close to his mother, snuggling as they both fall into an afternoon snooze. For others, a relaxing bath and getting in bed with freshly washed sheets, and finally getting time to read the book that’s been on the shelf.  Other things that comfort are a cup of tea with lavender honey or sitting on the porch with an ice cold glass of lemonade in the heat of summer. Both beverages are enhanced when sipping with loved ones.

Oh, comfort, something we all need in the craziness of our lives, and something that we read of in the Bible in many Scriptures.

There are four Hebrew root  words for “comfort” and are similar in thought.

  • H1082 בּלג  bâlag  baw-lag’
    A primitive root; to break off or loose (in a favorable or unfavorable sense), that is, desist (from grief) or invade (with destruction): – comfort, (recover) strength(-en).
  • H5162  נחם  nâcham     naw-kham’
    A primitive root; properly to sigh, that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, that is, (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself): – comfort (self), ease [one’s self], repent (-er, -ing, self).
  • H5582 סעד   sâ‛ad  saw-ad’
    A primitive root; to support (mostly figuratively): – comfort, establish, hold up, refresh self, strengthen, be upholden.
  • H7502 רפד  râphad  raw-fad’
    A primitive root; to spread (a bed); by implication to refresh: – comfort, make [a bed], spread.

I’m feeling I could write a 3-inch book just on the Hebrew word “comfort”, but I’ll just add a few thoughts on “comfort”  found in Isaiah 40. Isaiah is filled with future events that will happen during the Messianic era. I believe Isaiah’s words are the guidance we need to “comfort God’s People and Israel”. Many commentators believe that beginning with this Scripture, and the remaining 27 chapters of Isaiah, is a thematic study in itself.

Comfort (nacham) ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”   Isaiah 40:1-5 KJV

For those of you who don’t know my story, it was Sept 1999 I made my first journey to Israel during Succoth (a/k/a Feast of Tabernacles). It was during the Jerusalem Parade, as I was passing out Kosher candy to the children, that my heart was filled with wanting to do “more” than give candy. A year later I once again traveled to Israel during Succoth, this time I took dozens of pairs of socks for men, children and women.

Socks? . . . Yes, socks, something I consider to be quite comforting, I guess perhaps one of my favorite Scriptures is also found in Isaiah 52. You know socks and feet go together 🙂  “How beautiful are the feet of them who bring good news.” In addition I added something else to each pair of socks. Inside each pair was a US dollar bill where I highlighted “In God We Trust”. Over the next few years each journey I made to Israel I took “socks” along with other items of comfort, medical supplies and practical items. It’s so funny when I check in at the airport I’m always asked if I am “moving” to Israel.

In 2004, as I was preparing to go to Israel, I had a quiet thought in my heart. What I felt was that I needed to take teddy bears to Israel during Succoth. As I gathered 400 small beanie baby size teddy bears, I was so excited, what greater expression is a teddy bear to bring comfort.  That year, my friend Karen joined me and enthusiastically we began a process of vacuum sealing the bears so we could fit as many as possible in our suitcases. We had no idea what we were going to do with all the bears as we traveled, it didn’t matter, we felt that our bear mission of taking comfort was important. We had so much fun and with all honesty it was so easy to bring the element of surprise and joy each time we took a bag of bears to the streets of Jerusalem, hospitals and when we went to Hebron. As the days progressed we began to feel a little sad that we were just about out of bears. Every journey since that time I have taken teddy bears, medical equipment, shoes and socks, toiletries as well as other items that are distributed to charitable organizations in the land. I have more stories than you have time.

In the fall of 2011 as I was downsizing and moving it was time to make a decision with a special collection of teddy bears that I had kept displayed in my home. Many of the bears were larger than the beanie baby size that I would normally take, some even were valuable to bear collectors. As I packed them I also felt this year I would concentrate on giving these special bears to older men and women while marching in the Jerusalem parade. Here’s a collage of some of the recipients of the bears during the 2011 march.

I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you what a blast I have doing this, what an incredible joy to bring smiles not only to the one who gets the teddy bear but as you can see in the pictures those who are nearby get a kick out of it also. Then, there is the emotional side of this ministry. It was that morning that Soldier Gilad Shallit was released with mixed emotions among Israelis. We all rejoiced that Gilad had been returned after his five long years of being a prisoner, but it was also that morning that hundreds of terrorists were released resulting in heartache in the hearts of those who would never see their loved ones whose lives had been lost during multiple terrorists attacks. Very, very emotional day.

This last picture has a story that I would like share. We were approaching the end of the parade and were on Agron Street. As one looks ahead you will see the Old City and to the left is Independence Park. As I reached into my bag and brought out my last bear this woman began to cry. This has happened to me before; it always grips my heart. I don’t know what to say or do but to smile, give out the bear and go on. This woman was hesitant to take the bear. As I placed the bear in her hands, I looked her directly in her eyes and said “Nacham, Nacham”. She grabbed the bear, and then she gave me one of the biggest bear hugs I’ve ever received. After a few moments of talking I took this picture as she waved goodbye.

While this was my last bear to give out during Succoth 2011 I am looking forward to another adventure during Succoth 2012. Perhaps you will join me in Jerusalem, Israel. There always has been a reason to bring comfort to Israel, this year I’m feeling even more so. I don’t have to tell you that daily the news is full of more threats and hate toward Israel. I’ll be posting information on my HereToTheNations.com web site how you can join me and “Comfort ye, Comfort ye MY people” THIS YEAR IN JERUSALEM. Together we will Prepare the Way of the Lord.

With love,

Cynthia

www.HereToTheNations.com

Tax deductible giving is available. Please make checks out to Liberty Ministries, Inc. Mail to Cynthia Hillson, 107 Bradberry Street, Mooresville, NC  28115. Please memo Israel 2012

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The Lord Put a New Song in My Harp (Heart) Part Two

Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD takes pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD. Psalms 149:1-9

This was one of the main Scriptural references during the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem with the ICZC (International Christian Zionist Center) and Director Jan Willem van der Hoeven.

As I studied the theme Scripture I felt a completion to this year’s Sukkoth would have an added dimension to being in Israel whenever my harp would be part of the festivities. After my lost luggage arrived, and my harp unharmed, I was able to join in the songs of Zion with it during praise and worship a few evenings. One night, as I opened the case and brought out the harp I began to weep, and so did the people behind me. I truly believe that we’ve only begun to experience the healing abilities that is found in a harp that is referenced in I Samuel.

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. 1 Samuel 16:23 KJV

One of the very significant things that are happening as people are introduced to the harp is healing. I believe, in part, that the quiet strumming of the harp reaches the depth of our souls and we can just “rest”. As I would place my ear and strum my harp I found a place in my spirit and soul where I could communicate with the Creator of the Universe is a special way.

I also began to understand, although not fully, some of the prophetic significance of this ancient instrument and how it is needed today. I know as one explores the healing modalities of the ancients we can understand why they believed that music had a mysterious influence in healing mental disorders. Today, many are seeking natural and ancient healing remedies, perhaps the harp should be considered to part of them. In the Talmud (Jewish writing) we find a very important comment on the restoration of not only the Tabernacle of David, but when the 10-string harp is restored it would mark the imminent coming of the Messiah. The 10-string harp is a key to our future. It has been restored by artisans in Israel and around the world, including my friends Rick Woods, the craftsman of my Jubilee Harp. To have had the blessed opportunity to take it to Mount Zion during Sukkoth is an experience that I will never forget.

It was after great anticipation of my lost luggage being delivered to me is when the amazing opportunities I had to share my 10 string harp and its prophetic significance it has in our future. I was amazed each time I took it out of its case and hooked up the small amplifier and began to strum HaTikvah to small and large groups. On-lookers were being drawn, first from curiosity, and then just to take a few minutes of “reprieve” from the fast-paced tour they were on that day. I found myself sharing Scripture references and even some aromtherapy trivia that pertained to the harp.

The last time I took my harp out was near the statue of King David that is located outside of his tomb and the tourist location of the Upper Room just outside the Zion Gate, on Mount Zion. (I would sit to the right of the statue and play.)

This was the third time I played at this location. That Shabbat afternoon hundreds of people were visiting the sites and many stopped to talk to me. I let young and old get their picture taken with them strumming the harp. I have many few stories worth sharing but will only reflect a few here today.

Perhaps the one I continue to chuckle at was after a couple had stood and listened to me strum HaTikvah. They applauded and asked if I had a “disk” for sale. They wanted to buy my music. I smiled and said “no”. He said I should as the music was so beautiful.

At another point on that afternoon a man came and sat to the left of the statue on another stone pillar. I glanced at him and could relate to what he may have been feeling. Tours can be exhausting as the tour guide hurries groups from one site to another so they can be back to their hotels in time for dinner. I knew he was Jewish and so, I began to play HaTikvah. All of a sudden he began to say “HaTikvah, HaTikvah”. His eyes lit up and he began to sing; I began to cry. What a moment.

Jerusalem is an amazing place; there is no place like it in the world. There are times, as in this story, that being at the right place, at the right time was planned by the Spirit of God to enhance, or perhaps confirm, the ability to hear from the Ruach. It was later in the day as I was playing and having interaction with people when a tour group arrived. It was also becoming dark and the wind was beginning to blow through that alleyway and it was getting quite chilly. A few minutes earlier I had become torn in my heart trying to decide if I should pack up and go and get a cup of tea to warm me up or just perhaps I needed to stay just a bit little longer. Staying a little while longer would have its own joyous conclusion to the day. I decided to stay until 5 o’clock so I could listen to the church bells chime that it was a new hour. (Taking a few moments to reflect on the spot on Mt Zion in itself is a beautiful experience and one I recommend.) A group, from Australia, arrived shortly after I decided to stay. A man came up to me and told me he was the Pastor. He began to tell me why he was so excited and astounded, to see me; he could hardly believe I was there with a HARP. He asked to hold it and told me he dreamed of owning one, someday, as he also was a musician. “Of course” I said as I handed it to him. As he held the harp close to his heart, and began to strum the strings, tears came to his eyes. He began to tell me that he had wakened up very early that morning. He said that the Ruach (The Holy Spirit) had spoken to him and told him that he would, that very day, hold a harp. He said when his wife woke up he told her what the Lord had said. She was standing next to him and was also so amazed how the Lord granted him confirmation of what was spoken that morning. I was totally awed as I listened to him. At that moment it didn’t matter how cold the wind had become; perhaps I had fulfilled my hearts mission not only to play the songs of Zion on Mt Zion, but to be part of a stranger’s spiritual journey that the Lord does have his eyes on Mt Zion and all of those who love her.

The interaction with my harp perhaps is some of most memorable of any of my 26 journeys to Israel. While I wish I would have a picture of me playing it, I don’t. Somehow in my travels I lost my camera case that contained my SD cards. As far as my harp, well, I gave it away; yes I gave my harp away. It was the same afternoon, a few hours before going to Mt Zion to play, as I was sitting at Christ Church with a group of Believers. Something happened when a woman from South Africa held it. She intently looked in my eyes and said “You have no idea what just happened to me”. Of course I did, it happened to me when I first held a harp and when I won it the depth of God’s hand on the significance of the harp is just one of those things that you can’t explain, it has to be experienced. I knew the intense confirmation that the Lord is calling the harp to be heard not only in Zion, but in every corner of the earth. It was at that moment I promised she could have the harp and all the accessories I had bought for it (tuner, amplifier and case). While we made arrangements to meet at a later time for me to give it to her I knew I had to take it to Mt Zion, just one more time.

Today, the Lord is calling His people home to Israel, many are hearing the Ruach as He calls all of us to rebuild David’s Tabernacle (Amos 9:11 and Acts 15:15-16). The restoration of David’s 10-string harp has made a prophetic return; it’s been 2,000 years. It is once again time to sing (strum) the songs of Zion. The 10-string harp was chosen and anointed by God for this time in history, in the world that is to come, and in the redemption of all man-kind.

I’ve learned a lot of things in this experience, and as I write this blog I’m even learning more of myself.

Is it hard to write and tell you that a part of me had a secret dream fulfilled when I won that harp? Yes, it was.

Was it hard for me to give the harp (part of my heart) away? Yes, it was. I’ve layed in bed often since and have wondered how I could give away something that I had dreamed of for years; and yes, I’ve cried.

Will I have another harp? Only my Father in heaven knows that. Giving something up that we really desired is never easy, it isn’t suppose to be. If we truly think something is “ours”, it really isn’t. This is one thing that is required of us as we trust in the Lord in every area of our lives and if we know that all things belong to Him. As I wrote this blog today I was reminded of this Scripture.

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV

The secret things are the mystery, just as the song of a harp is a mystery of healing. This Scripture verse seems to be added as a solemn admonition of Moses. It is found as closure to the series of blessings and curses which he had delivered. The “secret” behind it seems to say: “The future, when and how these good (like my dream harp fulfilled) and evil things (like the evil spirit of Saul) will take effect, it lays with the Lord our God to determine how it is fulfilled, it is not within man’s sphere, nor is his duty to do it, but it should be in our heart to trust the one who will perform each thing that is written in Scripture, and to those of us who trust in the Lord with our whole heart.

The timing of me playing my harp on Mt Zion was during Sukkoth. Perhaps, next year, you will be there also and we will be able to dance and sing with the timbrel and the harp and all the nations that come up to Jerusalem to worship the King.

My harp “dream” picture is back up in my office. I look at it and once again I’m dreaming that I might get to play the songs of Zion, on Mt Zion with another harp. Until then, I know it is being heard in Cape Town and being used to bring forth the praises of God and to bring healing to anyone who hears or plays it.

With Love,

Cynthia

PreciousOils@aol.com

www.TheFragrantBride.com

The Lord put a new song in my heart (harp)!

From the young age of 10, until I was a young adult, I played two musical instruments; the violin and the viola.  Life progressed; marriage and the “baby carriage” that grew every two years.  As life went on, it seemed that my beloved violin was becoming just another “dust catcher” and something else to find space to store. So, one year I sold it at a garage sale thinking that anything to do with a stringed, musical instrument was part of my past and not my future. Besides, listening to classical music was something I didn’t have to play to enjoy. When I had a chance I could turn on the radio.

Time progressed, and so did my love of the Bible. The more I read, the more I found how the Lord loves music. It is found throughout Scripture, but not always “noted” with a musical instrument. (Sorry couldn’t resist.) Here’s an example that will help you understand.

Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD:

I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

Psalm 146:1 & 2

From this Scripture it looks like there is a whole lot of praising going on, and there is. But we find that we have two completely different definitions to the word “praise”.  (Actually, there are seven different Hebrew words for praise. This itself is another study for another time.) Here, the first word for praise is halel and is linked to Lord. This is where the universal word of hallelujah comes from; Halel is praise; Lord is Yah.  The second word is “sing praises” and is linked to the Hebrew word zamar; Strong’s 2167. It is defined as  A primitive root (perhaps identical with H2168 through the idea of striking with the fingers); properly to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, that is, play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music: – give praise, sing forth praises, psalms.

My many journeys to Israel have been like stepping stones in my life. It seems each journey has its own highlight that I take home with me. About seven years ago the whole idea of playing a harp became a dream. I visited Harrari Harps just outside of Jerusalem. It was there I played the harp for the first time. I got a picture postcard of one of their 22 string harps home and put it on my office bulletin board dreaming that one day I would be able to play the Psalms as I found out that each Hebrew letter has a note on the large harp. I also had the honor of helping my friend make her harp in the City of David where a small and personal harp “factory” was located in the residence area. One morning while I was there I took a little walk to find another factory that was not only making harps but restoring violins. Each year as I travel to the Galilee, the tour guide always tells us that the Galilee is shaped like a harp, thus its Hebrew name Kinneret. In Jerusalem they constructed a new walking bridge that is called David’s Harp and a few years ago they placed a large statue of King David playing a harp just outside King David’s tomb near the Zion Gate.

Playing the harp was becoming more real in my spirit. I incorporated a sterling harp charm on one of my everyday necklaces along with a key and a perfume bottle. I began to study on the harp that is mentioned throughout Scripture taking note that the kinnor was a 10 string harp, not the 22 string. The dream of having a harp was still a dream. The ability to set-aside the needed finances to purchase a harp was always on the back burner; family and ministry needs always come first. I’d think “Someday in heaven, I’ll be handed a harp.”

Then it happened. In the summer of 2009, I was handed a 10 string Davidic harp for my very own. It was the luck of the draw, or an angel directing the raffle. The 10-string Watchman harp is made by Jubilee Harps. I had been by their booth and talked with Rick and Mary Woods a precious couple that I’d  met briefly at an event in Florida a few years earlier. I played their harp and loved it! I got their information brochure and was walking away when I saw the raffle box. Being a vendor I asked if it was okay to enter my name as many times vendors aren’t allowed to participate in drawings. Rick said “Of course you can put your name in the box, maybe you will win”. A few days later, as the conference was near to closing, it was time for the harp drawing. My husband and I were standing at my table as a little boy was called up to do the drawing. He handed the paper to the MC who said “I think the winner is another vendor”. I knew at that moment it was me. He called out my name. I wanted to do cartwheels, but instead, I started crying as I ran to the platform to receive my harp. When I got back to my table there must have been 20 people congratulating me; I felt like the queen. One woman said to me that she really wanted the harp but was happy that I got it. Then she said “Be sure to buy a case for it”; I did. I also bought the tuner and the amplifier.

I kept the harp near my desk and would pick it up here and there and strum it. When my grandson was just a wee little guy I’d play a few minutes while I held him in my lap and often would let him pluck a string or two.

Since winning my harp I had returned to Israel three more times, each time wanting to bring my harp so I could worship like David did. Each time it didn’t seem possible to try and fit it in my luggage with all of the benevolence items that take high priority in my luggage when I come to Israel. But something happened this year that really prompted me that I must take my harp to Israel during Succoth. It began in January when I was with a group. We were touring the north and went to a place I had never been. It is a memorial building that contains the pictures of all the Druze soldiers who lost their lives defending Israel. It is also the place where the words to Hatikvah (Israel’s national anthem) were written by Naphtali Herz Imber. As we stood outside the museum and sang Ha Tikvah (The Hope) I so wanted to be playing it on my harp alongside the trumpeter.

I was gathering my things to take to Israel, and I picked up my harp bag and “put it in the pile” and then proceeded to write a note to my Face Book friends of my heart’s desire. The next morning as I read my e-mails someone had sent me a link to “Ha Tikvah”, which I took as a sign that I was to take my harp to Jerusalem.

I needed another large suitcase in order to get my harp to Israel and asked my daughter, Katherine, if she had one that I could use. She brought me one and was quite explicit that I needed to make sure “that” suitcase would come home with me as it was the one she brought home from her six-month mission journey to China where her entrance and exit was from Hong Kong. I said “no problem”, or at least I thought there wouldn’t be.

Upon departure to Israel, from the time I checked in my three pieces of luggage and the time I got to the gate my first flight got delayed with no possible way to make a connection in Atlanta or JFK for the only Delta flight that day to Tel Aviv. I got rerouted and put on a KLM flight with a long layover in Amsterdam. When I arrived in Tel Aviv I patiently waited for my luggage, only to have one of the three checked bags to appear. So, off to the baggage claim area I went to file a report for the two missing bags where I was given a tracking number. I kept checking the status of my bags and was so surprised that they ended up in Hong Kong. They then had to be rerouted back to Amsterdam and then forwarded to Israel. The bags arrived yesterday. Both bags began in near perfect condition and were delivered quite differently as you can see from my photo.

Can you guess which bag my harp is in? Yup, you’re right, the one on the right that has now been neatly wrapped in duct tape because the zipper was broken beyond repair.

When the driver pulled my luggage from his van I thought there is no way my harp is going to be in one piece, let alone the rest of the items intact or even still there. But, thanks for the wisdom of the woman who told me to buy a case for my harp, her words and my obedience saved my harp, and, of course my Angels who often get to work overtime for me. 🙂

I had packed my harp between two Israeli blue bath towels before putting it in the case. and when I lifted the top towel there was my  harp, unharmed.

In a little while I’m taking my harp to the Old City through the Zion Gate. I think Ha Tikvah will be the first song that I play on my Watchman. As far as the suitcase, both my daughter and I found it quite interesting that it had to return to Hong Kong before it came to Israel.

The Lord knows our deepest desires, and we need to trust His timing if and when He decides if that is what is best for us.

THANK YOU to all who prayed. For more information on my Watchman and other harps please go to www.JubileeHarps.com

Hugs and Love from the City of Our Great King, Jerusalem, Israel,

Cynthia    www.TheFragrantBride.com

This years Succot’s joy; Gilad Shalit soon to be released

Jerusalem, the City of Our Great King, is where I am penning this blog today.

Today there is joy in the land not only for this most joyous Succoth holiday season, but for the news that Gilad Shalit will soon be released from captivity. Today’s newspaper said that as early as this coming Tuesday (18 October) Gilad will be released to Egyptian security officials and a small Israeli delegation. They will verify his identity and that he is in good health. Gilad will then be taken by plane to an IDF base while the first transfer of prisoners, (numbered around 477)  from the Ketziyot Prison in the south of Israel to the Gaza Strip, Egypt and the “West Bank”, with about 40 being deported to other countries (Turkey is one stated as being a probable country that would absorb the prisoners).

Not everyone is happy with the number of prisoners that will be exchanged. I understand the trauma and hurt they must feel, yet I also feel the joy of the Shalit family that there will be an end to their hurting hearts.

Over the last five years I’ve joined millions world-wide in praying for the release of this brave solider as well as his family who nightly would retire wondering if they would ever see their son alive. Over the last few years, as I traveled to Israel, I would make it a point to stop and sign the petition and talk with those who continue to hold the vigil of prayer and hope outside of the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. A few years ago, as I stopped to chat with those who were manning the table, I reached into my backpack to give them a teddy bear. I still remember how surprised that the one I blindly choose to give them was a TY Beanie Bear named ”Hope” the praying bear.

The other day, when the news was released that Gilad was coming home, I stopped by the prayer tent, once again. They were building a Succah outside of the tent where prayer, for over 1900 days, had been conducted just outside the Prime Minister’s residence.

Hope, a word with a large expectation of good things to happen but also a word that can reflect pain when our hope is deferred. Perhaps now our prayers should be directed to the families who have been impacted by the prisoners that will be released the same day as Gilad as well as the remaining 550 prisoners who will be released in a few months. Many of the families whose lives were damaged by the prisoners will never have the joy that the Shalit family will have once they have their precious son  at home with them again.

The situation is best said . . . It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.

Please continue to pray for the “peace of Jerusalem” and all those who dwell here.

Bi-Bi Be Strong! Israel Be Strong! Those Who Love Israel, Be Strong!

So, I have a story from 1996 . . . I actually have more than “a” story of my life centered around Israel, but I feel that this one needs to be shared today.
A number of years ago I was with a group in Washington, DC; it was a meeting of Jews and Non-Jews. BiBi was the keynote speaker that morning and later that day he was going to be meeting our president, Bill Clinton. A few of us decided to take a walk and enjoy the beautiful spring day. We walked the Mall and then proceeded to go down Pennsylvania Ave. As we approached the fence of the White House there was two Jewish guys with signs proclaiming “Bi-Bi be strong . . . Bi-Bi be strong”. We approached them and had a wonderful conversation. While standing and chatting the sirens began and a number of black cars entered the gate and we knew Bi-Bi had arrived.  We joined our new friends chanting “Bi-Bi be strong! . . . Bi-Bi be strong.”
Later that day, just before we were to get back on the bus to return home, I ran into the two Jewish guys. It was kind of funny. They were coming out a revolving hotel door and I was going in. I got their address and promised I would send them a photo of us together in front of the White House. A number of months later I received a thank you note from them along with a necklace of the Cave of Machpela, the burial place our father Abraham bought in Hebron. A few months ago I was going through some things and found the note from the two men. Today, I got to thinking about last weeks speeches from our president and Israel’s Prime Minister; two very different speeches and worth your time to watch or read the transcripts of. I also began to reflect how  all those years ago I stood with two Jewish men proclaiming to be strong. At that time I didn’t understand that the phrase  is also what is recited when each book of the Torah is finished. Jewish congregations stand as ONE and proclaim “Hazak, hazak, v’nit’chazek!”  which in English translates “Be strong, be strong and let us be strengthened”.  . . Today I know the deep importance of standing with Israel is.

I am reflecting on how strong Bi-Bi, Israel and those who stand with her must be in these days. Must? Yes,  MUST! We must be strong in our prayers and love towards Israel and Her people. One way you can be supportive is pray and stand with Israel, another is by going to Israel. Perhaps you may want to join me for this year’s Feast of Tabernacles in October. If you desire to go with me I need to know soon so I can make arrangements.  Please contact me if you have any questions!
If you can’t go please consider helping me  take love and support. One way is to purchase products from me. I have a new web site for Precious Oils where you can buy a wonderful piece of aromatherapy jewelry. The web site is a “work-in-progress” just like me (and you)   🙂  and should be more complete over the next few days.
Until another time I remain,
Your “Work-In-Progress” Friend,
Cynthia
Cynthia Hillson
www.TheFragrantBride.com   www.HereToTheNations.com/
The Bride of Yeshua is a Watchman, An Intercessor and a Refined Woman
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Notes From Israel ~ January 12, 2011

 What an honor to be in Israel during this season. I arrived on January 2nd. There are many facets to my 25th journey to Israel. In this blog I would like to share with you about the wonderful rain that we had on Friday January 7th, the Shabbat and the journey up north to the Carmel region where the devastating fire burned thousands of acres of forest in December.

I was at the Western Wall just as Shabbat was beginning. From Succoth to Pesach (fall to spring) is the season that we pray for rain. Israel is desperate for rain. It’s been about ten years since she has received adequate rainfall to replenish the main water source, the Galilee (a/k/a the Kinneret). The lack of rain over the years greatly contributed to the recent fires. Each drop of rain is more precious than gold. Although there hasn’t been an abundance of the needed rain, there was a rejoicing last week when the heavens opened with this life-giving source. Please continue to pray for rain for Israel.

On this picture you will see the raindrops, although it looked like snow. It was cold enough to snow and would have been as wonderful.

The next day, Saturday January 8th, we traveled up north. Our group visited a wonderful Druze village in the Carmel region where we stood in the former residence of Naphtali Herz Imber, an English poet originally from Bohemia who penned Israel’s National Anthem;  HaTikvah (“The Hope”). Words to Hatikvah were written in  1886 by Naphtali Herz Imber. The melody was written by Samuel Cohen, an immigrant from Moldavia. Cohen actually based the melody on a musical theme found in Bedrich Smetana’s “Moldau.”.

Today this historical building where Hatikvah was written is a Druze Memorial in honor of over 350 Druze who lost their lives while serving in the Israeli army.  Our group was deeply moved as we sang Hatikvah. In a sense it was a preparation to what we were going to observe next; the Carmel Forest to witness the results of the fire.

I don’t have words to tell you how we felt. Perhaps the words of our guide, Yoel, said it best. “I was fearful for Israel when I got news of the fire.” Of the pictures I took, this one captured what we were feeling. I took this from the bus and was surprised how the reflection of how Esther’s face told the story.

Copyright Cynthia Hillson Jan 2011

And with this I will close with these thoughts and the lyrics from Hatikvah.

As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,

With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,

Then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope – will not be lost:

To be a free people in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

There are many, many organizations around the world collecting aid to help Israel, especially at this time during their loss. On Saturday we were a bit surprised. Our group had assembled a large number of gifts for the orphanage that was very near to the fire. Posted outside their entrance was a container filled with donations and a sign. The sign said they were overwhelmed with donations and they don’t need anything. Please take items from the container and the ones you brought and donate to other places in Israel. While this was a tad bit “shocking” it is understandable; compassionate hearts around the world poured out tangible love to the overflow.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been asked where a good place to give to Israel is.  May I suggest The Jewish National Fund, it is at the top of my list. They are the ones who planted the forest, and they are the ones who will be re-planting the forest. http://www.jnf.org/about-jnf/news/press-releases/news-from-israels-carmel.html

You can e-mail me for ministries based in Israel where your donations can make a difference in the lives of the needy here in Israel.

With love from Jerusalem,

Cynthia

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