Sunday, February 28, 2010

DAY 6 IN ISRAEL

On the way from Jerusalem toward the Dead Sea we observed a fence between the Palestinian and Israeli side. We have the same thing back home on our borders!
(Eph 2:14-16) For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, {15} having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, {16} and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

=====


In the background you can see the table top mountain of Masada. This is where 960 Jews committed suicide in 73B.C. instead of submitting to the Romans who were beseiging the city.



This is a typical experience for our group. Our tour guide "Yosi" takes us to a site and instructs us on the history and background. Our heads are full of facts and our hearts filled with the joy of the Lord and the thrill of being in the Holy Land.


video

Here is a video of some Jews who were celebrating Purim by reading the story of Esther in the synagogue on top of Masada. Every time the name Haman is named the audience traditionally makes a noise in reponse, registering their disdain of the evil character in the story who plotted against God's people.

=====

Here is Dean at En Gedi with the Dead Sea in the background. David hid out in this area from king Saul who relentlessly pursued him, testing David's character (1 Sam 24).

=====


Having some fun in the Dead Sea at the end of the day before our bus ride back to Jerusalem

+++++

DAY 5 IN ISRAEL



This is Beth Shean. It's the one of the largest archeological site in Israel. What you see here is the Roman amphitheatre. But before the Romans came this was the site of where the Philistines hung Saul's decapitated body on the wall of Beth Shean. We had a sobering Bible study from Chuck Smith Jr. on the tragic decline of Saul for his disobedience to the Lord. (1 Sam 21)




(1 Sam 15:22-23) Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. {23} For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king."

=====









This is the site of Gideon's Spring. Gabe is simulating the 300 men who lapped up the water and so were chosen for Gideon's army.





(Judg 7:5) So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, "Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink."



=====







Warning signs at the sight of the border between Israel and Jordan.





=====




Jordan River site where John was baptizing and Jesus was baptized. Notice pastor Chuck and Don Stewart praying. We had just heard of the earthquake in Chile.





(Eph 6:18) praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit...



=====







This is the other side of the Jordan River on the Kingdom of Jordan side. These are Jordanian soldiers!




=====




First site of Jerusalem!



(Psa 48:1-2) Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised In the city of our God, In His holy mountain. {2} Beautiful in elevation, The joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, The city of the great King.


=====



We also went to the Wailing Wall but were not able to take pictures because of the Sabaath rule. We prayed at the wall and put in prayer requests in the cracks of the wall. My prayer request was for the saints of Calvary Chapel Norco.


Here is a picture of the Wailing Wall at about the same time of day in which we were there:




+++++


Friday, February 26, 2010

DAY 4 IN ISRAEL

Today we went up to the north secton of Israel. This is the Golan Heights area that borders Syria and Lebanon. Jesus was in this area about six months prior to his crucifixion.

Who said Israel was a dry, desert country?

(Deu 11:11) "but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven,

=====

From this place of Caesarea Phillipi Jesus said He was the Rock! Can you see why?

(Mat 16:18) "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
=====

This is a bunker site on the Israeli-Syrian/Lebanese border. Though it was used in the past it is now a tourist site. You can walk around underground. It's really cool. It was foggy so we couldn't see over the border or see Mount Hermon in the north but it would look like this:


=====

This is in the souvenir shop at the bunker site.

(Gen 12:3) I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

+++++

DAY 3 IN ISRAEL

Here is Dean holding up our bus flag. Since we have 10 busses you need a person from each bus to keep the flag up so you can keep with your group.
=====
Here is pastor Chuck teaching on a boat on the Sea of Galilee early in the morning. You can picture Jesus and the disciples on the lake no problem from this advantage!
(Luke 8:22) Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." And they launched out.
=====
Nice pic of Patty, Gaby, and Cheryl on the boat.
=====
Speaking of boat...here is the Jesus Boat. Have you heard about it? This was discovered in 1986 on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and is actually a boat from the time of Christ. Who knows if it was even used by Jesus and the 12?
=====
Patty and Gaby are enjoying a St. Peter's fish lunch on the Sea of Galilee.

=====


At the Jordan River baptism site, pastor Chuck plants an olive tree.
=====

Gaby, Patty, and Dean are looking blessed because they just got baptized in the Jordan River.
(Mat 3:15) But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness."...
+++++

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

DAY 2 IN ISRAEL

We checked out of our Tel Aviv hotel and drove north to the costal town of Cesarea. This is where Peter preached to Cornelius' household. Also Paul was in prison here for two years until he appealed to Cesar and was sent to Rome.

=====

I am so blessed to have Cheryl with me. It's her first time in Israel!
=====
This is a statue of Elijah who slew the 450 prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel.
=====
Here at Megiddo pastor Chuck and Don Stewart did a Pastor's Perspective program on the topic of Bible prophecy. Megiddo is the place where the armies of the world will converge for the last battle of Armaggedon.
=====
This is the city of Nazareth where Jesus was raised. Of course it looks a lot different today than it did back then!
=====

Pastor Chuck sits down next to Cheryl. Dean and Gaby are in the background.
=====
On we went to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee and checked into a new hotel. What a great day in the Lord in the Holy Land!
+++++


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WE ARE NOW IN ISRAEL!


Five of us from Calvary Chapel Norco are in Israel (February 21-March 4) for a tour of the Holy Land. We were able to go with Pastor Chuck Smith and 500 people from Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.


=====


This is Gabe and Elvia Campos who drove us to the airport. Their twins (Dean and Gaby) are on the trip.


=====

Meeting up with the Costa Mesa group at LAX and waiting to board the plane.

=====



We flew El Al ... the Israeli airline. Tops in security! 14 hours direct flight to Tel Aviv. When we arrived we took a bus to the hotel in Tel Aviv. It's the largest city in Israel and is a coastal city. We ate dinner and then walked along the boardwalk on the beach. It felt good later to plop in a comfortable bed and sleep off that jetlag!

=====


The next morning (TUES) we had breakfast and then got on the bus to head to nearby Joppa where pastor Chuck Smith had a great devotion. He led us to God's Word on the subject and said Joppa is where Jonah got on a ship to Tarshish to flee from the presence of the Lord. It's also the site of Peter's praying to raise Dorcas from the dead and Peter's vision that prepared him to preach to Cornelius' household and open up the gospel to the Gentile world (Acts 9 & 10).

(Jonah 1:3) But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish...


=====


Here is our bus of 49 people. There are 10 busses total and we all convoy to the Biblical sites. Lots of great people to meet and the fellowship in Christ is sweet! I am privileged to be one of the 10 bus pastors to serve the saints and help keep things organized.


=====




This is Stephen our tour guide. He is a Messianic Jewish believer and loves the Lord Jesus. He is very informative and has a great sense of humor. He has a way of making every topic very interesting.

=====




Here is my beautiful sweetheart Cheryl. Her making the trip is quite a story. Our daughter Kelsey had emergency surgery to remove her appendix just six days before the flight. Then Cheryl threw here back out. She packed her suitcase by faith and got in the car to drive to the airport. On the plane she experienced a tremendous healing from the Lord and has been good to go ever since. Our God is good!!


(Exo 15:26) ...For I am the LORD who heals you."

=====



Here is Dean and Gaby and Patty goofing off after our dinner tonight. The food is abundant and the deserts are delectable!


(Neh 8:10) ...Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

=====




video


Here we are in the Elah valley where David slew Goliath. Watch pastor Chuck sling a rock and get a quick glimpse of the people from our tour group.


(1 Sam 17:49) Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.


=====


Make you want to be here? Good! Then next trip you'll be part of our group!! : )


=====


Miss you all and thanks for your prayers! Stay tuned.


+++++


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

HOUSE CLEANING


SHEPHERD TO SHEEP

HOUSE CLEANING

(Deu 7:26) "Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing.

God told Israel that when they came into the Promised Land they were to dispossess the Canaanites from the land and to burn their idols so they wouldn’t be a temptation to them. He even went so far as to warn them to not bring any abomination of the pagan nations into their houses lest they be destroyed like the idols themselves. They were to despise the idol as an accursed thing by God.

Paul said we are to "abhor what is evil, cling to what is good" (Rom. 12:9). The Psalmist said it this way, “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions” (Psa 45:7).

As believers, our homes are to be a place that glorifies God. We can experience the vexation of the world around us all throughout the day but then come home to a place of refuge and sanctuary because like Joshua we have declared, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! (Joshua 24:15). No wonder God encouraged Israel to not bring an abomination into their house. When we’re out rubbing shoulders with the world we have no control over that environment, but when we’re home it is a place dedicated to the Lord and one in which Christ should feel at home in.

Now based upon all that, why would we let ungodly TV programming into our household? Or music that is immoral, blasphemous, or antichrist? Or why would we surf the world wide web and fall into a worldly web of sin? The same goes for books and magazines, etc. That would be bringing an abomination into our house.

David’s encouragement would be this, “I will behave wisely in a perfect way. Oh, when will You come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. {3} I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me. {4} A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness” (Psa 101:2-4).

May the Lord be glorified in our home lives and may our homes be places of inspiration and not abomination.

Time for a little housecleaning?

Louie

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

JESUS, MY ALL IN ALL


SHEPHERD TO SHEEP

JESUS, MY ALL IN ALL

(Eph 1:23) which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

When you hear those love songs that sing about someone being your everything it sounds so romantic but it is so wrong. No one person on earth can fill the void that lies in the human heart...except Jesus! I think it puts too much pressure on a relationship when the expectation is that the other person exists to fill all your needs and to make you happy. That place is reserved for Christ alone. (Psa 73:25) Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.

Do you remember the story of the Transfiguration? Jesus was up on the mountain with Peter, James and John. All of a sudden Jesus became transfigured before their eyes. His face shone like the sun and his clothes as white as the light. Then Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with Jesus. Peter wanted to make this experience last forever by setting up a campsite. But a cloud overshadowed them and God spoke and said how pleased He was with His Son. The disciples were so afraid they fell on their faces. Jesus assured them that everything was okay. And when they lifted up their eyes they saw no one but Jesus only. (Mat 17:1-8)

I love that...Jesus only! The three disciples would have enjoyed hanging out with Moses and Elijah. But when the experience was all over it was Jesus only. I think there's a lesson there. All we really need is Jesus in life. When you have Him you have everything! Relationships take on a new view. You know you are so loved and fulfilled by the Lord's love you don't expect so much from people. You'll give them space to be human and to make mistakes. They are fallen and sometimes won't be there for you when you need them. But that's okay...Jesus is enough! He died for us. Who can love us like the Lord?

Do you have someone in your life that really loves you? Do you know who is really loving you through that person? It's Jesus! (Rom 11:36) For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. So if that person was not around or was far away you would still be loved by the Lord because His promise is that He will never leave us or forsake us! (Heb 13:5) He will be with us even to the end of the age! (Mat 28:20; John 13:1)

I'm rarely alone. Between my family and flock there are always people around. But I had the rare occasion to fly alone to England to see my daughter graduate from Bible college recently. It was so weird walking around the airport alone, checking in and then getting on the plane. I had to make a transfer on the East Coast and do this all over again. Everybody was a stranger! When I finally got to England I had to take the train a few hours to where Lindsay was. Again it was so odd to travel alone and have no one with me. When I finally saw Lindsay at the train station it was such a delight to see her and to actually talk to someone I know!

But the whole time I sensed Jesus was with me. It was Jesus only. He was so close to me. I felt His presence in a special way. It was a privileged time with my Lord. I talked a lot with Him and shared what was on my heart. He guided me all the way in all the details of travel which can be challenging at times. I read His Word and His fellowship was sweet to my heart. It was Jesus only! He's a great companion and Friend!!

Well, I'm back now and life is busier than ever. But I learned something from that trip. Jesus is with me wherever I go! Whether I'm alone or with people He is my all in all and is sufficient to meet my every need!

Louie

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

GOD IS OUR REFUGE




SHEPHERD TO SHEEP




GOD IS OUR REFUGE

(Psa 46:1) God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

When you're under a lot of stress it is natural to seek stress relief. Some of that stress relief is healthy like exercise, hobbies, a drive to the beach, etc. And some can be not so healthy like alcohol, drugs, pornography, gambling, spending, food, too much TV and computer, fantasies, and the list goes on. What do you do when you get under stress? Run to the Lord!

In the Old Testament there were cities of refuge where you could run to when you were in trouble and be safe (Num 35). I remember when we were in Hawaii we visited a city of refuge that the Polynesians fled to for safety. We all need a place to run to when the going gets tough. It's only natural. You see a little child fall and hurt himself and what does he do? He runs to mom or dad. Where do you run? Do you run to your heavenly Father for comfort? (Pro 18:10) The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.

In the New Testament Christ is seen as our refuge: (Heb 6:18) who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. Are you a lost sinner without Christ? Run to Jesus and let Him be your refuge of salvation. Are you being hassled by the devil? Run to Jesus and be safe! Let Him protect you and comfort you.

The world talks about sweet comfort from a bottle of whisky. That might be a temporary asylum but it can send you to the asylum if you keep at it! What you need is something that will build you up and not tear you down. Make sure the road you're on is not the road to destruction lined with daisies! (Pro 14:12) There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

We weren't made for all this stress of modern-day living. After awhile we get frazzled and need something to comfort us. Do you run to the Lord as your refuge and strength? Tell Jesus all your problems and worries. Give them to Him one by one before that burden gets so heavy it crushes you. The Lord is a very present help in trouble. You won't have to run far to reach Him. (Jer 23:23) “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off?

Read Psalm 46 and meditate on how our God is a refuge and strength at all times. Even when the earth shakes and your world is rattled. There will be a river of peace that will flow through your life. God is in your midst and will help you at the break of dawn. The Lord makes wars to cease to the end of the earth, even in that battle you are presently facing. Be still, and know that He is God! It is repeated again that the Lord is with us and is our refuge. We need to hear it more than once because of the abundance of mental and emotional turbulence we constantly face.

The next time you face stress and are tempted to escape through fleshly means, run to the Lord by reading Psalm 46. Memorize at least the first verse and say it over and over again. Stop running to your natural way of avoiding stress. It has never served you well anyway. It may give you temporary relief but it will compound the problem and leave you guilty and more plagued in the end. Is that really worth it? Are you ready to give up your childish blanket of comfort for the strong comfort of the Holy Spirit in your life?

We all need soothing for what ails us. Will Jesus be enough for you? Are you ready to make Him your safe place? Not Jesus AND. Jesus ONLY! For He only is our refuge and strength. Take the comfort of His cross.

Louie