Report from the Land – Yom Kippur to Sukkoth

We sat in our lovely apartment cooling off and winding down after a long hot walk down to the Western Wall where we had joined with other faithful ones clad in white. We had all come before our Father during this Yom Kippur to pull back the curtain of our hearts to ask Him to show us the places that needed His merciful cleansing.

I was a bit surprised to hear shouting and songs of joy flowing over the screen separating us from the men’s side as we girls, my sisters-in-law Julia, Zelta and I, sat on the much quieter women’s side. Along with that, sounds of singing and marching punctuated our quiet prayers as occasional groups of men ascended their way up the ramp to the Temple Mount.

It was such a contrast, the joy and shouting with the reverent quiet. It seemed an appropriate way to begin our time in Israel, the ultimate land of contrasts.

Our apartment, as it turns out, was very close to the action. Soon after Yom Kippur ended, sukkahs began appearing on balconies and terraces everywhere. From the first night of Sukkot, from within each, could be heard the sounds of partying, singing and pounding on tables to the rhythm of every song, the rattling of silverware and dishes were as tambourines and cymbals. We’d now slid from songs of joyful reverence through the veil into songs of joyful celebration and freedom!

This was the second time we’d been able to spend Sukkot in Israel. It’s always amazing to mingle with our brothers and sisters of Judah, especially in the Land. We prayed at the Kotel, floated in the Dead Sea; and enjoyed the best shwarmas ever at Moshiko’s on Ben Yehuda Street, while watching the crowds swell after the close of each Shabbat.

We shopped at Mahane Yehuda, aka the Shuk, for the most amazing fruits, veggies, nuts, and breads to create some pretty wonderful meals in our apartment. As much as possible, we got as close as we could to actually living there.

We had a few opportunities to meet up with various people in the land, we enjoyed a sweet visit with Ephraim and Rimona Frank, who treated us to lunch and a tour around Zichron Ya’acov. They had also invited us to join them and a few people from the home fellowships they are involved with (

Ron was able to attend the Ephraimite Meet-Up in Liberty Park and reconnected with people he hadn’t seen in a while. We were able to attend a Bible study on our last night in Jerusalem, catching up with other friends and meeting new ones.

One of our sweetest memories is being able to travel with another family from our home fellowship, spending as much time as possible with them and their 3 boys, before her parents arrived from the States for their first time in Israel. That was a wonderful blessing, to help introduce first-timers to the Land.

We traveled to Itamar, a community just north of Jerusalem in Samaria, which was established in the mid-‘80s. We wanted to connect with Rabbi Moshe and Leah Goldsmith, who were one of the original families to establish the community. When we arrived, they embraced each of us with open arms, inviting us to enjoy snacks and drinks in their beautiful sukkah, and taking us on a tour of their community. Their hospitality was warm and generous (

To put an exclamation point on the end of our residency in Jerusalem, we enjoyed a visit with Hanoch Young, squeezing in as much conversation as possible between bites of the most luscious and exotic Moroccan meal. Talk about talking with your mouth full! (

The absolute beauty of the Land of Israel takes me by surprise every time. The way the different greens from emerald to sage, contrast with the vibrant colors of the bougainvillea, while at the same time complimenting the soft colors of the trumpet vine; how the turquoise blue of the Mediterranean sweeps away from the golden tans of the sandy shores; and how the waving fronds of the palm trees cool off the bright golden stone of every structure.

There’s so much to share about the sights, sounds, and smells of Israel and the different spiritual atmospheres between dignified Jerusalem, pastoral Zichron Ya’acov, and party 24/7 Tel Aviv. One has to go for themselves, see it, feel it.

While walking around, yes, it’s pretty much up and up some more. The saying, “whatever goes up must come down,” seems not to apply there. And, yes, the travel to get there can be exhausting and expensive – at least from the western USA. These are things to know. But, if there’s one thing to remember, it’s that the Land of Israel is good, more than worth the effort, more than words can say.

Considering the little 40-year trek around the desert which followed the last spy’s reports, our effort to get there, it’s nothin’! And these two spies, wanting to make their trek as short as possible, are certainly returning to their outpost with a joyful report, a blessed report, a beautiful report. A report you may consider to be your official invitation to visit His Land. The Beautiful Land. The Blessed Land. The Joyful Land. The Land most definitely filled with milk and honey.

40 Days of Repentance for 2019 – Day 40

40 Days of Repentance for 2019 – Day 40

** 40 Days of Repentance – 2019 – Day 40

Devotion during 40 days of Teshuvah

Father Damien devoted his life to working in a leper colony. One day he mishandled a teapot full of boiling water. Scalding water drenched his foot. Oddly he felt nothing. At that instant he knew he had contracted the form of leprosy rendering him unable to sense pain.

As we contemplate “teshuvah,” we often encounter a similar situation—the inability to feel and respond to our environment. We can suffer from a spiritual leprosy that makes us oblivious to danger–unaware of what is harming us and destroying us. Isaiah 29: 9 Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer. 10 Yahweh has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); he has covered your heads (the seers).

An essential component of repentance, teshuvah, is waking up to see who we are and where we are. Being in a state of anesthesia or slumber threatens the quality of our life in the Spirit.

1 John 1: 7 But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Yeshua his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Here the apostle John reminds us of the cleansing power of the blood of our Messiah and points out that its cleansing action is conditional. Our sins are only cleansed when they are brought into the light.

The context of this chapter intimates that confession is an act that brings sin into the light. While empty words have no impact, words expressing the true decision of our heart are powerful and life-giving. Confession is essential to coming into the light. However, many times we first need to turn on the light switch and see the truth of our situation.

We see this in the story of Yeshua’s parable commonly known as “The Prodigal Son.” In the story the prodigal prematurely claims his inheritance and then squanders it on wasteful and profligate living. When his money runs out so do his friends. Alone and penniless, he finds himself reduced to feeding pigs and starved to the point he longs for the husks he is feeding them. In Luke 15:17 the light switch flips. The translations of this verse say “he came to himself” or “he came to his senses.” Something happens that confronts him with reality. The impact of his destructive behavior becomes clear. His chosen path has reduced his circumstances to a place far worse than his Father’s servants. This dawning realization sets him on the road to repentance and restoration.

An essential part of Teshuvah is embracing the light—even admitting that we haven’t been aware of the light—being willing to open our eyes and accept the guidance of both the Word and the Ruach. Paul says in Ephesians 5:14 ​​​​​​“Awake, O sleeper! ​​​​​​Rise from the dead, ​​​​​​and the Messiah will shine on you!” When we have been sleeping a flash of light startles us. We recoil in pain until we adjust to the light.

Sometimes we are unaware of our true condition. Like the assembly at Laodicea we think we are rich, clothed and seeing but in reality we are poor, naked and blind. Repentance eludes us because we are asleep and our eyes are tightly closed. Often God uses people in our lives to turn on the light and other times he sovereignly accosts us through the Ruach. Our first reaction may be to avoid the light but by embracing the light we enjoy the healing found through the cleansing blood of Yeshua that only occurs in the light.

As we have walked these 40 days of Teshuvah let us pray with the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:18—”open the eyes of our heart that we may be enlightened to know the hope to which he has called us.”


Glossary to 2019 40 Days of Repentance

Introduction to 2019 40 Days of Repentance


40 Days of Repentance for 2019 – Day 40

40 Days of Repentance for 2019 – Day 39

** 40 Days of Repentance – 2019 – Day 39

My Walk of Repentance

As I was pondering the Scripture portion called Shmini (Vayikra/Leviticus) 9:1-11:47 one day, I was reminded of the fact that my Heavenly Father put me in a family and home that found their fellowship with a group of believers that taught Holiness. In fact the movement was known as The Holiness Movement then. Further along in my faith walk, as I was beginning to connect with a non-denominational group that primarily pursued intimate worship, I attended a conference at which Leonard Ravenhill spoke on Holiness. There seemed to me to be much consternation over his teaching at the time. Many of the worship movement did not like the call to Holiness.

As I look back on these events and many more I marvel at the path my Creator has taken me on. He started me out in the Holiness movement and then after my prodigal years He led me into the Charismatic movement. First I learned the Word of God and was taught about Holiness, then I learned intimacy with God and was taught how to hear Him. Yet something was still missing, I was worshiping Him with such intimacy and yet I needed to learn to offer my worship through obedience, too.

As He led me to listen to Him and do what I heard Him say I found myself in some wonderful gatherings of His people from different streams. Through hearing and obeying, I was led to let Him change my heart. As I was praying one day asking Him to deliver me from a tough situation, He stopped me dead in my tracks when He spoke into my inner-man and said “Your heart needs to change.” WOW! What a tough thing for me to do. In truth I could not. Once I realized I could not make this change I told God I could not, that He would have to do it, then I let go and gave Him free reign to do it. He did it and I felt so good. It has been the most rewarding thing in my life.

Then through His leading and provision I started a company and found much reward both in the natural and in the spiritual. He led me to customers, to believing businessmen and many opportunities to share my testimony of what He was doing in my life. I was invited to speak at businessmen gatherings and soon found myself invited to a Tuesday afternoon meeting of believers that sought the Spirit for direction at each gathering. They came without an agenda each week and let the meeting flow. The subjects that were talked about and the flow of like-minded brethren left my heart hungering for more. I also began to find myself digging into the Word more and more to see if what was spoken was true.

After one such afternoon as I was heading home I was talking to my Heavenly Father and He asked me if I would give Him my Tuesdays. Well I wanted to be faithful yet Tuesdays were a work day and I had an excess of work. It took me a short time that day to come to the decision that I would do what He asked. I set my schedule to take Tuesday off and would regularly attend the businessmen’s meetings and then go to the Tuesday afternoon meeting with the others.

At these afternoon meetings I learned to listen better and to follow the Spirit of God even easier. The talk in this gathering drove me into the Scriptures even more and to a deeper prayer life. I found myself studying the Scripture with great enthusiasm to find the new revelations that my Father would lead me to. This time was wonderful and also hard. I gained new friends and found that I had to give up other relationships. Through this time He also taught me how to stand firm in the Scriptures even when I found myself at odds with some friends that I considered close spiritual brothers.

What I realized was most important was not my relationships or my friendships or my reputation or my church status, but what stands supreme is my walk with my Creator. You see, He started me young in life with the message of Holiness. Now again I find myself hearing the call to “Be Holy as I am Holy.” As I look back, I see that He has led me to build my walk not only on what I learned in my church life but also upon what the Scriptures teach. Yashua/Jesus is the living Torah/Word and He is the Lawgiver that is able to save. James 4:12

In a book I’m reading titled “The Unseen Realm” by M. Heiser, I found this statement; “My conscience wouldn’t let me ignore my own Bible in order to retain the theology with which I was comfortable. Was my loyalty to the text or to christian tradition?”

Being willing to let my King and Loving Father change me has been a walk of repentance that continues today. I find spending time reading and studying the Scriptures, all of them, puts me in the place to hear His leading, of the places in my life where I do not line up with His Word.

Abba, here I am, You are the potter, I am the clay, mold me and make me, this is what I pray. Change my heart oh God, make it ever true, change my heart oh God, may I be like you. (Song by Eddie Espinosa)


Glossary to 2019 40 Days of Repentance

Introduction to 2019 40 Days of Repentance


40 Days of Repentance for 2019 – Day 40

40 Days of Repentance for 2019 – Day 38

** 40 Days of Repentance – 2019 – Day 38

In the Path of Mephibosheth

Then David asked, “Is anyone still left from the family of Saul, so that I may extend kindness to him for the sake of Jonathan? …Mephibosheth was living in Jerusalem, or he was a regular guest at the king’s table. But both his feet were crippled. 2 Shemu’el (Samuel) 9:1, 13

After the warfare between the Dynasties of Shaul and David, there was consolidation of the tribes under David’s reign. He thoroughly defeated the Philistines, brought up the Ark into Jerusalem, built a home for his family, and began to lay plans for building a Temple for Yah’s Presence. Things were going exceptionally well for him, with 8:15 stating, “And David reigned over all Yisra’el, and David was doing right-ruling and righteousness to all his people.”

But something more needed to be accomplished. He asked of the remnant of Shaul’s House, the family of the former dynasty, if there were any yet alive. This would normally be a threat to any survivor as they posed a potential claim to the throne, but David’s motivation was one of covenant; that which he had made with Yehonatan. 9:1 says, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Shau’ul, that I might show him loving-commitment, because of Yehonatan?” There was one, Mephibosheth, a son of Yehonatan, dropped as a child and rendered lame in his feet. This one was living in the home of Machir [sold] son of Ammi’el [My kinsman is El], in Lo’debar [without pasture].

Once found, this crippled man is brought to the king of another dynasty, expecting to be eradicated. He dropped his crutches and fell on his face before David, probably an awkward and possibly a painful process. Instead of hearing the “zing” of a sword being unsheathed, he hears the words of mercy and restoration, “Do not fear, for I shall certainly show you loving-commitment because of Yehonatan your father, and shall return to you all the land of Shau’ul your grandfather, and let you eat bread at my table continually.”

Like Mephibosheth, we were found in a sold condition, though we were children of Yah. We were living like sheep without pasture, of the fallen house of the first Adam, condemned, expecting nothing more than judgement. Yet the King of the superior dynasty looked for us, found us, and promised the restoration of all things lost. He brings us to His table to eat of His food, His Word continually, sustaining us by His wealth and guarding the very life that should have been taken. We are not forgotten but searched for and restored. Let us rise to live worthy of such effort, focusing our minds on being thankful and righteous stewards of what has been entrusted to us.

Barry Phillips

Elder, BYNA


Glossary to 2019 40 Days of Repentance

Introduction to 2019 40 Days of Repentance


40 Days of Repentance for 2019 – Day 40

40 Days of Repentance for 2019 – Day 37

** 40 Days of Repentance – 2019 – Day 37

Is There Anyone Who Knows?

Have you ever heard someone state that God cannot forgive them of their sins or that they cannot forgive themselves ?

Somehow this person has become sure that whatever sin they believe they have committed is just too great to be forgiven, much less forgotten. Someone dear to me had not been to a worship service in 30 years, they loved the Lord but didn’t feel worthy of being in a house of worship. I finally asked, what is it that you believe God will not forgive. The answer stunned me. I sat there thinking that the adversary has robbed this person of so many blessings because this individual believed this was a great sin that God would not forgive so therefore never considered repenting.

Had this person been willing to repent before The Almighty he would have discovered the freedom of forgiveness.

In the book of Joel, God brought upon the children of Israel a plague that devastated the crops in the land. God assures them that another calamity is coming, one that nobody can endure. In the midst of the current plague God tells the people to “proclaim a fast, lament, spend the night in sackcloth, proclaim a solemn assembly, blow the trumpet, sound an alarm and cry out to the Almighty.”

While God is continuing to tell Israel about this next coming calamity, “the day of The Lord,” the King of Kings says to them “Yet even now, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning, and rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting from sending calamity.”

What comes next is absolutely stunning, Joel says “who knows whether He will relent or not?” This statement is very similar to the King of Nineveh’s statement, “who knows if The Lord will relent?” If repentance is not sought, and forgiveness requested, how will one ever know if God will forgive or not?

The only people who will ever know whether God will forgive and relent are the people who are willing to repent!

Those willing to acknowledge sin and repent will experience the attributes of the great I AM. The one who is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting from sending calamity.

Nineveh did exactly as God had pleaded, “return to me.” They put on the sackcloth, proclaimed a fast, lamented and blew the trumpet. By returning they ceased practicing their evil ways causing The Creator of the universe to relent from bringing calamity upon them.

Who knows? Those willing to repent, they know.


Glossary to 2019 40 Days of Repentance

Introduction to 2019 40 Days of Repentance