Monday, 3 November 2008

Year of Jubilee

I was hunting through to look at what it means to have a Jubilee year. The Jubilee Year was the 7th cycle of Sabbatical years each 7 years apart, but in addition to letting the ground go fallow for the year as in a Sabbatical year they also returned all land to the original owners. The Jubilee has, as far as I can find out, never been celebrated in Israel but we have certainly been living off the proceeds from previous years this year, we have planted and sown this year which is not strictly in keeping with the rabbinical laws but on the whole we have only lived off what we have (or rather Ian has) earned in previous years so I think this has very much been a Sabbatical year for us personally and yet there is something about the Jubilee Year that won't go away, because this feels more than a Sabbatical, maybe I need to keep digging to see what it all means.

While I was hunting for information about the Jubilee Year I also came across the term “Don’t be a shvacher shutaf” a weak partner. This was a story talking about a weak partner in trade with a rabbi but it was also talking about the need to trust God and don't be a weak partner when he tells you to do something. There are times of doubt, there are times when I wonder what is there going to be at the end of this year, wondering what on earth we are really hoping to achieve and all I have to go on is the feeling that this is where God wants us, this is the time and the place, and let him work out the details. I still feel a bit like a kid before Christmas who wants a sneak preview of the presents but in reality that would kill the joy of opening it when it really is Christmas, so I guess I shall just have to keep waiting to find out what God has in store for us next year.

Another article I found interesting on this Jewish site that I was perusing was their take on
Halloween . It was a thoughtful piece that made a really good point. The Jews celebrate Purim in March  where the children dress up and go round to peoples houses visiting the sick and the old to spread joy and laughter. They take food and drink and collect money for charity. It is amazing how different it is to the whole philosophy of Halloween. So as Christians maybe we could stop celebrating this Pagan festival with all its nasty associations and celebrate Purim instead. I know that in America it is celebrated differently to the way it is in England, for a start trick or treating is mainly for little kids in America not older ones as in England and a lot of Europe but at the end of the day it still feels like sugar coating the Devil.

Two prophecies from the Night Watch Prophetic Network have struck me recently. Both of them are so gentle and they are by the same person but I feel they will have an enormous impact. They are from a while back but I keep returning to them so thought I would share them with you.

Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns -- October 10 2008

Be spiritually sensitive and listen for My direction. I am positioning you for optimum advantage for the near future that will set you on the path of maximum benefit for the distant future. You must be flexible to take advantage of unexpected opportunities that will ultimately bring your life's circumstances into divine order. Never forget that I am for you and not against you, and that I will never leave you nor forsake you says the Lord.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God to those who are the called according to His purpose."

Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns -- October 22, 2008

Consider carefully the decisions you make at this time, for they will undoubtedly produce long-term consequences. Quiet your own soul, your mind, and emotions, and allow your spirit to be influenced by My Spirit, says the Lord. If you will be sensitive to that still, small voice of wisdom, you will be directed to choose what is best for you and those around you. But, you must be still in order to perceive the influence of My Spirit.

Isaiah 30:21 "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,'This is the way, walk in it, whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.'"

Both these prophecies draw me in and speak to my situation quite clearly. They are so short and yet so powerful. Draw near to God in quietness of soul and he will lead the way. 

Ian has spent most of the week rewiring and now we have copper wiring throughout and no longer use the fire hazard aluminium wiring. It is not so much of a worry now when we turn on an appliance that will use a lot of current and have to think what else is on, not because it might trip the fuses - which it still does - but because it could have started a fire. For those in the know we only have 20A max for the whole apartment and in England it is 32A for each ring main. For those who found that last sentence double dutch then all it means is that the power that we have coming into the flat is small and you cannot run a lot of heavy appliances all at once for instance the kettle, hot water cylinder and washing machine all on together would trip the fuse resulting in no electricity until the system had been reset.
I spent quite a bit of my time working through the pre-course booklet which was really useful for  getting to know some of the jargon used in Development Management and learning how to write essays again. I had marked the kids essays when I was home schooling and proof read some of Emma's for her nursing course but doing my own was rather a long time ago. I just put that in so you didn't think I was skiving while Ian was hard at work. At the end of his project he had some wire left over which wasn't worth saving so I took the copper wire out of the middle and got creative with it. Hope you like the finished result - the feather by the way is one a stork dropped in our garden. Unfortunately the plugs behind the picture are not Ian's handiwork that was done when our Swedish friend constructed a new wall for our bathroom, but as you can see we still need to sort out the doors for the two rooms. 

I know I keep mentioning it but the heat for our house was not just on during the week this week but also over the weekend which was wonderful and yesterday the heating stopped on all night as well. Bliss! It is really weird being at the whim of some faceless person who decides whether you have heat or not, we have got so used to having that choice that we feel quite frustrated and powerless at times. I have been learning about the different definitions of poverty on my new course and one definition is not having choice, and although we personally do have a choice of getting a better heater, or going out to the hotel, or going up to the other flat and lighting a fire if we got too cold it is humbling to know that there are people around us who have none of those choices, they really are at the mercy of the person who decides. While I am at it did you know that 15% of the world's population consumes 49% of the world's energy generated in a year? Just thought I would throw that random fact in!

Poverty can be relative when you live in a rich society and do not have the options of those around you because you don't have the same income and there have been times when we felt poor and not quite sure if we were going to have enough money for the bills when we were in England and during one of those moments I went out for a walk in the fields behind our house. The fields that day were covered in snow and it was hard work walking but the sun was shining and the snow glistened like a million tiny diamonds, it was at that moment I felt very rich especially when I thought of all those folks stuck in offices and unable to revel in a moment like this. It felt like a promise from God that he would look after our needs, maybe not our wants but certainly our needs and he sure has done that in an abundant way which has lead us on the path to this point. I was reminded of this day this week when I was looking out of the window and the trees were covered in little drops of water that were glistening in the sun (hope you can see them). I don't know what the future holds but I sure know who holds my future.  


Kathleen said...

So much good content. An 'A' Mrs.
I really needed to hear much of how God has worked in your situation. Thank you.

DougieB said...

'Jubilee' was something that Claiborne wrote about in the book we're currently reading, basically saying that if Jesus were to run for political office, that would be his campaign slogan.

What makes you say that you don't think that Israel ever practiced it? I suppose I don't honestly know either way, can you edu-ma-cate me?

Joanna said...

Well thank you Kathleen

Doug - I have taken another look at the info and it would seem that maybe the Jubilee was celebrated before the 6th century BC but not since then. Whoops! Thanks for picking up on that. The question though is how does that affect us with regards to ownership of land? A particularly interesting question here in Latvia with land returning to the original owners pre-Soviet era.