This May in Israel is a time for look back and remembering our history, for pausing today to consider the price in blood paid over the land of Israel, and then to look forward and rejoice in the good promises of the Eternal Book concerning this Land of Israel and her peoples.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two or be divided into two kingdoms.” Ezekiel 37:21-22 Hebrew Bible.
This eternal word is for the Jewish people, represented by the olive tree to the left. 20 years ago we transplanted this olive tree in our garden, an ever present reminder of this verse. What promise in the Bible are you making your very own today? This spring, I found a sprouted olive seed under the tree; I tenderly transplanted and nurtured it. Photo right. Here it is, already with two branches, and full of life. This year, the olives, pomegranates and figs are loaded with fruit. Harvest time will be amazing. Jay and I gratefully acknowledge that our greatest contribution has been parenting our four sons, who now nurture many others.
Lest We Forget.…
Dear Friends of the Rawlings Family:
Thank you for your inquiries, caring notes and of course your prayers for Jay’s well being. Things are looking up now that it is daylight saving time, the evenings are lighter and spring is here in Israel. We are glad to be out of winter’s grip, although we didn’t get enough rain. Photo: Daniel, Jay and Josh Rawlings in Ancient Jaffa.
Since last writing, Jay has been fitted with a C-PAP machine to assist his breathing at night. This device is expensive and not covered by health care. Meridel’s brother and sisters in Canada paid for it entirely. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. After being deprived of oxygen for, how long, we are not sure, Jay began sleeping deeply and restfully. He has had to work out the kinks learning to breathe wth it, but it has become a permanent fixture in his life now.
Since December Jay has been taking daily doses of several drugs to regulate his heart and thin his blood. But his heart is still stressed, leaving him breathless upon little exertion. We saw his Professor of cardiology and he has recommended an ‘ablation’.
It is a procedure that uses radio frequency energy (similar to microwave heat) to destroy a small area of heart tissue that is causing rapid and irregular beating.
Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor stands in the path of sinners nor sits in the seat scornful.
But his delight will be in the law (teachings and statutes)
of the LORD.
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.
That brings forth its fruit in its season.
Whose leaf also shall not wither:
and whatever he does shall prosper.
Hebrews 1:1 and Psalm 1:1-3.
Jay and Meridel
The Rawlings Family and Jerusalem Vistas/Israel Vision Team.
Inspiration fills the air, as one breathes in the delicate perfume of the almond blossoms, while on a nature walk. Seeing winter give way to warm sunshine and new life everywhere is down right exhilerating.
“Except a seed fall into the ground and die, it abides alone!” Truer words were never spoken. Spring is the glorious celebration of new life.Thankfully, bountiful winter rains have swept over our land, which we love to call Zion; cleansing it from months of dusty grit and grime blown in from the Sahara. The weary dry, sandy brown landscape has been painted over by the Artist who owns Eternity, including the seasons. Moment by moment before our very eyes, we witness and joy to the Life springing up out of what looked like the death of fruitfulness. This January on a bitter winter day, I found two sprouted almonds that had fallen from my indigenous tree. Joyfully, I planted each in its own pot. That was just two months ago and already they are 12 inch seedlings. Enclosed find photos of this inspirational and silent awakening going on all around us. Tourists love to visit Israel at this season to join the vibrant and colorful celebration of the ‘anemones’ or kalaniot in Hebrew.
This Eternal Song, is faithfully played throughout our natural world for all people to observe, experience and eventually come to the conclusion that indeed: Life does spring out of death. Life is determined in the seed, that invisible DNA that reproduces after its own kind. But there is no life without being planted and covered over, whether it is a pumpkin, almond, oak or man or woman. Truly, we can observe and say, “O Death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55 Job’s sorrows and troubles brought him to this understandig… “I KNOW that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.” Job 19:25,26. I am curious… do you suspose that Job finally came to this conclusion on a fresh spring day? Why not?
The unfolding of Spring in its glorious dept, breadth and height is perhaps the greatest wordless sermon ever presented to mankind. Birds return to us via the Great Africian Rift Valley to yet again fill the air with their mating songs. Hungerily along with the bees, they take their fill of nectar from the almond blooms. The young of many indigenous animals; ibex, conies and jackals are born at this season. Israel continues to harvest grapefruit, tangerenes, lemons and cumquots, all filled with anti-oxidents to supply the lack of vitmains we may have accrued during the cold winter. Yes, let’s agree, “He satisfies every living thing… ”
- My overview of Dr. Jay Rawlings health situation.
- The rough neighborhood around Israel…
- Short piece: “My Father holds the Rope”
Shalom Dear Friends: March 2017
For a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold, which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Messiah. 1 Pet. 1:6,7.
Thank you for your inquiries about our ‘head’ Dr. Jay Rawlings, and my beloved husband, whom we all just call ‘Jay’. I want to send you a good report in spite of present difficulties. Just this week Lydia a German friend called to pray. She immediately discerned; “Plead the blood of Jesus over Jay’s breathing, pay attention to his breathing..” It was an amazing word.
A week ago Jay had an ‘incident’ and one of his medications had to be changed. This now requires that he have blood tests weekly. Having waited since my last letter for the results of a test for sleep apnea, we have now learned that Jay also has a serious breathing discrepancy which is acerbated during sleep and has put a strain on his heart. The hospital loaned us a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. Excitedly we hooked him up to it at bed time, hoping for a good night of rest. But, the constant flow of cold air, left him gasping for breath and seemed to cause him to develop a horrible sinusitis. A trip back to the doctor and a humidifier was added to the CPAP along with a different face mask. But he cannot use it until he has recovered from the sinusitis. That is where we are today.
We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Many of you are asking for an update on Jay’s physical condition. Today, I, Meridel am writing on Jay’s behalf because he is “not out of the woods yet.” Professor Ben Horin told us that Jay will need to take the drugs for the rest of his life because his heart continues in chronic fibrillation. He encouraged Jay to try and live as normally as possible for the next three months even though his physical strength has declined. Then he can choose to have something called an ‘ablation’. This procedure allows the doctor to put a catheter into the heart and cauterize specific nerves that are causing the heart to fibrillate. It is 80% successful.
In his own words Jay says: “In spite of what my eyes see, and what
I feel in my heart, I believe!
I am looking to the Great Physician to meet ALL of my needs. I of course am respectful of my doctors and Professor of Cardiology, but my eyes are fixed above! Thank you for your prayers for my well being. I am fighting the good fight of faith and trying to rest as much as possible at the same time. It is a great challenge for an old war horse like me.”
I love the story of a small boy trying very hard to lift a heavy load. Coming into the room and noting the son’s struggle, his father asked him, “Are you using all your strength?”
“Yes, of course I am,” the boy impatiently exclaimed.
“No… son, not yet, the father answered. Because you haven’t asked me to help you!”
What a comfort to know that when we have asked our heavenly Father for help, you have willingly and lovingly given it. Please do not stop but keep helping us to “lift the load.” This is a mystery, of the Kingdom of God.
Every winter in Israel citrus fruit is harvested. We love the especially luscious tangerines and eat them every single day! The stem of this beautiful fruit is a nondescript, grey brown, tiny stub. Yet this little stem is the very key to the life of the orange. Through it, flows the life of the tree with all of its nourishment, to form perhaps one of the most delicious fruits ever. Thankfully it provides a rich supply of vitamin C exactly at flu and cold season. Just as long as we stay connected to the vine or the branch… we too will live and bear much fruit.
Twenty years ago our dear friend, the late Pastor Dave Duell, looked at our family and said; “You have been perfectly positioned, and positioned perfectly! I see orchards of fruit trees…” I share this as an example of how the LORD sees you and I in comparison to how we see ourselves. Let us not judge ourselves so harshly… nor think of ourselves too highly. Another secret of the Kingdom is to continue to be that little nondescript “connector” between the branch and the fruit. The Bible tells us “…a tree is known by its fruit.” Matthew 12:33 That is really the only sign we can rely on to discern if someone is a counterfeit. It is a safety rule for us in the Kingdom.
I paused and reflected upon this truth. Friends, we are learning yet again what it means to be weak so that He can be strong. It is another mystery of the Kingdom. We need Him more than anyone or anything else. Yes, He must increase and I must decrease.
Protected by the King of Love;
Jay and Meridel Rawlings and team.
Shalom to our dear friends:
“The LORD is good to those who [expect],
wait for Him. To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should both hope and [expect]
wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD”
Lamentations 3: 25, 26.
I, Meridel am sending you a very personal note today. Because of your loving support to us, I have courage to share this with you.
First of all, by way of an update: next week Jay has an appointment with his Professor of cardiology, who will set out the next course of action. Until then, very little has changed since he was hospitalized in December. His fibrillating heart remains unstable. The doctors are keeping a close watch.
Therefore, I wondered, “What can I write by way of an up date?” But, I gave up trying to think of something. There is no news. Then I poured out my heart to the ONE who always listens. I have discovered, as many of you have: That “to know and to be known by heaven” is the essence of deep comfort. Often I sense no distance in thought or intent when praying or thinking… (as my sons say). Without this super-natural friendship, my soul would have shriveled and died.
“A treasured gift; my special prize,
The loving ONE…caused me find!
A beating heart in tune with mine.
‘Tis simply this… a QUIET MIND!”
The most basic blessing said in a Jewish home is over the bread in the course of a meal. Of course there’s the weekly Shabbat celebration. Jesus used this most basic thankful prayer to teach the mystery of our Father in Heaven. ‘Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh’ is an eternal indestructible bond.
Midmorning today, when sitting at my computer near our little Norwegian wood stove; I became aware of that invisible loving Presence. Worry, stress, business… It all melts away along with all preoccupation with the affairs of life. Without any words being consciously formed, we experienced “the intimacy of love reaching down and embracing us both.”
At times most unexpectedly, these invisible moments of ‘loving- kindness leave me breathless… and quiet and peaceful. You could say Its a “letting down” a supernatural “rest”, which is what the Shabbath is all about.
“LORD, He whom you love is sick…” John 11:3
This is Meridel, bringing you an update on Jay’s health situation. For those of you who do not get email updates, or any social media I want you to pray for my husband. It is a challenging time for our family and prayer has become a waking-sleeping; a LIVING experience. This is simply another step on the pathway to a richer life in the mercy and love of Almighty God. He must increase and we must decrease… Jn 3:30.
Today, Jay says: “I am resting in Him and trusting my life into the hands of the Royal Physician.” I, Meridel want to take this opportunity to share an over view of Jay’s life, followed by some quotes from friends. Thank you for praying and caring as you do. All of us are grateful.
I will begin by saying: “Divine Mercy has overshadowed Jay’s life from it’s very inception.” I believe as a result Jay grew up in to the abundant grace he was given. Today, he is known for his grace and loving kindness. Perhaps, the result of this character quality causes him to try and be and do too much for others?
Over the past almost three weeks, I have thought of our marriage vows… especially the words…
“in sickness and in health”. Well, ‘that time’ is here!’ Jay and I have been married 48 years and have known each other 50. Like many of you we have been so blessed with the opportunities granted to live life fully.
His history is unusual. Jay was a still birth. BUT his auntie Netta, the operating room nurse attending the Dr. in Jay’s mother’s Caesarean section; refused to give this child up! She fought for him to live by dipping his little blue body in alternate tubs of water… one warm, the other cold. After 20 minutes her prayers were answered and he took his first breath. He was born in prayer.
Jay’s father Victor Alloway Rawlings, was killed in action in Holland just days before W W 11 ended. He was just 14 months old at the time. But… he does have one love letter from this father whom he never met.
We left Canada in 1969 with our first son David 9 months old and came to Israel. We have never looked back. It was in 1975, while we were visiting Jewish communities in France that the next incident took place. We were house guests of a known doctor in Marseille. It was January and Jay and I with our sons ages 5, 3 and six months were to leave in the morning for Spain. The plan was to visit the Jewish Community in Catalonia and Madrid. That very night Jay died! Yes, it is true, and very well documented in fact. It was a horrible experience; but the L_RD G_d Almighty heard my cries and brought Jay back to life after 24
LONG minutes without a pulse. The doctor was shaken to his core… this was after he tried to stimulate Jay’s heart with shots of adrenalin and mouth to mouth resuscitation. We have a Father in heaven! The good Doctor insisted that the ambulance take Jay to the Military hospital in the city… immediately He was alive when he left the house. I wondered what I would find an hour later, there in Emergency. Eight doctors stood around his stretcher amazed at what they saw and heard. They gave us permission to take him home. We rested three days before going on to Spain. You will read about this in detail in the next volume of our life’s story, I have a photo of him. You will see that again, he received a merciful, creative miracle.
Over the years we have travelled to 120 nations; always seeking out the Jewish communities first and speaking to their leaders about the “call” to come home to Israel. This was before Christians understood the need to stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel. Some churches threw us out as heretics!
All was quiet heart-wise until May of 2011 when Jay was taken to the cardiac unit in the Jubilee Hospital in Victoria Canada for an angiogram. His heart was working overtime then, as it is now.
Then in July 2016 Jay was tested for a 24 hour period, again with a rapid heart beat. No conclusions were drawn until December 2016 when we took him to the Sharay Tezdek hospital in Jerusalem. He was tested over a week long stay; put to sleep twice. He heart was stopped and restarted. He was released to strict rest, and a regiment of medications and tests with the general diagnosis of “heart failure”.
A Professor of cardiology, demanded a month of complete rest. Jay is home with us, but without strength. Today, our family physician said, “His heart is unstable and needs to be monitored.” He is in a serious condition and after more tests and will be reassessed again.
Dear Family and Friends;
LORD… he whom You love is sick… John 11:3
Thank you for your prayers for Jay and for the whole family. He spent a week in the cardiac unit at Shar ha Tzedk and returned home feeling very low. He is home a week now and has under gone more blood tests an ECG and visits a Professor this afternoon. He still has trouble breathing and has to sleep sitting up. This is due to heart failure and the remains of fluid on his lungs and bronchitis. He is just finishing a regiment of antibiotics for this.
We as a family have gathered around him and know that he has to make changes. He works too hard. It is hard for him to learn to rest. Its time to “ease up”. You can pray in this direction for him and also for David, Chris, Josh and Daniel to know how much to be involved today and tomorrow.
Enclosed is a video that Daniel put together for you. I met Mr. Netanayhu at the International Christian Embassy last week. He chose this spot to give his greeting to the Christian world. Jay and I were co-founders of the ICEJ in October 1980. It is a blessed work. I spoke to him briefly about portraits of the Prime Ministers and Presidents that hang in the antechamber to the Cabinet room of Israel’s Parliament or Knesset. Joy Caros Rawlings is the artist, our cousin by marriage. It is a significant honor for her life’s work.
With that, I shall close for now. Thank you to each and every one for your thoughts and prayers.
Jay and Meridel
We at Israel Vision and Still Small Voice send to YOU our dear frends worldwide very best wishes for Christmas and Channuka.
Join us as Meridel gives personal greetings to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a reception at the International Christian Embassy. She was able to mention that the lovely life size oil painting porraits of the Presidents and Prime Ministers which hang in the entrance way to the cabinet room of Israel’s Parliament, Knesset; were painted by renowned Canadian artist, Joy Caros Rawlings of Vancouver, BC Canada. They are a gift to the country. PM Bibi’s response to Meridel was the warm Israeli expression, “Kol Ha Kavod” – meaning in English ” All the Honor or Congratulations”!
These are days of unprecedented attacks on Israel by the United Nations. What is happening hearkens back to the days of the Greek occupation of the land 2,300 years ago. Jews were not allowed to speak or teach Hebrew, or worship in the temple. Some were so ashamed of their heritage as Jews that they had their circumcisions reversed. War broke out, and eventually the Greeks were driven out.
We know that the LIGHT will always triumph over darkness.
In HIS love,
Jay and Meridel, sons and Team