Remind Me Dear Lord: Reassurance During a Pandemic – Part 1

Dalton Jenkins / General

Zechariah (Ne. 8:4); Assurance; Comfort; Jews (return from Exile) / Zechariah 4; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Psalm 91; Isaiah 65:24

Zechariah 4:6 ESV

6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.

PART 1

INTRODUCTION

Zechariah 4:6 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It is a reminder to me that no matter what I will face, God is in charge. All my limitations are not enough to limit God’s power to work in my life. All my fears disappear in the presence and power of Almighty God. I hear the verse in Philippians 4:13 echoing in my mind every time I read Zechariah 4:6“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” COVID-19 pandemic changes our lives. However, it does not and could not impact who God is and what he can do.

All my limitations are not enough to limit God’s power to work in my life. All my fears disappear in the presence and power of Almighty God.

COVID-19 stripped us from all our securities that were outside of God. The global impact of COVID-19 has challenged us in all areas of our lives. We have lost many of our loved ones. Our lives have been placed on hold and, in some areas, are disrupted. We need reassurance that we are not alone. We need reassurance that God is still here with us. Let us look at the story of Zerubbabel, as is written in Zechariah 4. There are five points we should consider as we seek reassurance during this pandemic. Many of us have never had this kind of experience and most likely will never experience this kind again. As we strive to be assured, let us be reminded that God never changes. Nothing in the past, in the present, nor in the future impacts who God is. Not only do we need God, but we also need real companions. We cannot be connected spiritually and not maintain physical connections. We will need this combined connection to deal with the apathy in leadership.

Nothing in the past, in the present, nor in the future impacts who God is. Not only do we need God, but we also need real companions.

Leadership is not just a pastoral activity, but we all are leaders in our rights. As we pursue God’s appointment, we must listen to the message of hope that comes from God. Through this message, we will receive the reassurance that the task we are assigned will be completed with God’s help. To conclude this blog, we will briefly examine the impact of God’s anointing that is available to us. We all need reassurance, especially during a pandemic. 

Zechariah 4:6 (ESV) is a simple verse buried in a much more detailed text. It’s an answer that was given to Zerubbabel by God through the prophet Zachariah. It says this,

6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.

This text reads like Revelation. A dream with certain representations that are figures that mean something. In this vision, the angel is asking Zechariah probing questions. What does this mean? When he asked the angel a question, the angel would then ask him another question. When you compare this dialogue to Revelation, you see the angel giving instructions to John, and he is writing it down. In Zechariah, we see a more interrogative approach. This kind of dialogue expressed to the prophet the whole meaning of the dream.

What we have here in Zechariah is not just a dream with symbols and figures and representations. This is a dream and someone who is explaining to the prophet the meaning of the dream. In other words, it wasn’t to keep him in darkness, but it was to enlighten him, to assure him of what was to come. When we talk about the goodness of God and speaking in this way, Isaiah 65:24 tells us to “call on me, and I will answer. It shall come to pass that before they call,” God says, “I will answer; and while they are speaking, I will hear.” This verse is another verse of assurance that says God is always there for you.

I am looking through this text, trying to understand the context of what was going on. It is said that this book is the most comprehensive of all the minor prophets, and it comprises over 211 verses [i], while Hosea is the second-longest of the Minor Prophet [ii]. This book of Zechariah presents something of importance and value to us that we can apply to our lives today. When I look in the context of what was happening in those days, this book is what we call the post-exile prophetic utterances. At this point, this prophet received this word to give to the king. In other words, this happened after the exile of the children of Israel.

In his dedication prayer, Solomon prayed in 2 Chronicles 7:14, and he said, “if the people should turn their backs and cry, then Lord, please hear from heaven.” Once he finished praying in chapter six, the Lord responded with the exact words he prayed. Solomon was thinking about the future because he knew the people. He knew that the people would someday or sometimes turn their backs on God.

Just as Solomon had feared, the children of Israel turned their backs on God, rejected God’s commandments. God allowed the enemy, the Philistines, led by King Nebuchadnezzar, to overpower and captured them.  Nebuchadnezzar was one of the great kings of Babylon.  He devastated Israel, broke down the temple, took out all the gold and precious things, and left the place all tattered and torn. Then he took all the elite people, the young, energetic ones. Those who were princes and princesses were taken to Babylon. He also took those that looked like they could serve, brought them, and placed them in his kingdom.

One theologian says that he believed that Zechariah was left back and grew up during exile. While many were cast away, he was a young man who was brought up in exile. Zerubbabel grew up in a time when the temple was destroyed. He grew up, and he saw destruction all around him, which became part of his reality. I think about some of the children today who are in school and are growing up in this pandemic.  The impact of this pandemic on these children will have a lasting effect.  This period is going to be etched into their memories.  The destruction and the devastation that took place will be part of their experiences.

GOD NEVER CHANGES

Amidst all that has happened in our world today, we must be reassured of the God we serve; he never changes. The God we serve supersedes all things. And so, even though the prophet Zechariah understood what was happening, he still served God. He could have become disheartened and disgruntled. He could have said, well, look at the broken walls, look at the tombs of my ancestors that have been exposed. Can you imagine him walking the streets and hear him saying, this used to be, this was here? The impact this experience had on a young man is unimaginable. But God had his hands upon him. It doesn’t matter what you’re facing, what you’re going through. If God has his hand upon you, you can go through it. You can become what God wants you to be despite what you’re facing.

It doesn’t matter what you’re facing, what you’re going through. If God has his hand upon you, you can go through it. You can become what God wants you to be despite what you’re facing.

Zechariah became a prophet. Regardless of his past experiences, Zechariah excelled. It is important to note that it wasn’t that there was a lack of prophets, so God only chose the available one. No. There were a lot of prophets, but God used this man for this time. He embraced what God wanted him to be, like David. God used him in a mighty way. God used him to speak encouragement to the man of God who was leading the country at that time. We must become encouragers. We must become carriers of good news. God is looking for men and women who will become the voice of God, proclaiming good news and hope. That’s who Zechariah was.

Another prophet who faced similar circumstances was Nehemiah. He worked in the king’s court; he was the king’s cupbearer. One day Nehemiah requested to go back to his homeland and help to rebuild the wall. The background story to this is interesting because even the temple was destroyed. All the consecrated items in the temple were taken out, brought to the captive lands. Their homes were destroyed. Their sepultures were opened and exposed. When they were sent back to Jerusalem to rebuild, they began to rebuild their own homes. The returning citizens left the temple in disrepair because they got comfortable. The temple was still left broken down. Zerubbabel saw all this disrepair and realized that there was a lack of concern for the things of God. As I studied this, I was reminded that we must make sure that we take care of the things of God in all our endeavors. Here are the things that matter in this world: our service to God and the things of God, and the responsibilities God has given us. It is all about pleasing God.

I’m reminded of the story that Jesus talked about the man who had a huge harvest, and he said in Luke 12:18–19 (ESV)

18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 
19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” 

The moral of the story is that we should not become so tied up in our pursuit that we neglect what God has put in our hands. We face our realities knowing that God is in charge and never changes. Our God is the same, whether you face situations like Nehemiah, Zechariah, or the rich man in Jesus’ story. Your experiences are nothing that God cannot handle. He is reliable!

WE NEED GENUINE COMPANIONS

In this part of scripture, Zechariah 4:6, we heard Zechariah having a conversation. This part of the conversation is essential because there are so many times we want to correct people and speak into people’s lives, but they have not permitted us to do so. Therefore, they don’t receive your correction; they don’t receive your challenge. I am moved by the fact that Zerubbabel and Zechariah had a good relationship. The king and the prophet had a good relationship so that the prophet could have dreamed a dream, and the king would listen to it. I’m cautious about dreams. Dreams sometimes are meant to tell us things, and sometimes it is just a result of what we consume mentally. However, dreams also are one of the ways God speaks to us. We must be careful in understanding the context of a particular dream since it’s based on interpretations. You must make sure you know what you’re interpreting.

In this scripture, we learned that Zechariah had a series of dreams. This dream was the fifth of the series of dreams that he had. It wasn’t just a one-off. In Zechariah 1, he had a vision of a red horse riding among the myrtles. In Zechariah 1:18-21, he had a vision of four horns and four craftsmen. Then in Zechariah 2, he has a vision of the surveyor with the measuring line. In Zechariah 3, he has a dream about the cleansing and crowning of Joshua. In Zechariah 4, he dreams of the golden lampstand and the two-olive tree. In chapter five, verses one to four, he had a dream with the flying scroll. In Zechariah 5:5-11, he had another vision of a woman. Lastly, in Zechariah 6, he had a vision of chariots. We can see that dreams have their place in how God is communicating to us.

In the series of about eight visions that he had, one of those visions had described a lampstand under two olive trees standing on either side of the lampstands. He interpreted the vision. This message was about providing for and rebuilding the temple of God.

What a companion Zechariah was that God could use him to encourage the king. God entrusted him with the vision and encouragement for the king. Can God entrust you with encouragement for someone else? Can God share the vision of greatness with you for someone else? A good friend is sometimes hard to find.

Can God entrust you with encouragement for someone else? Can God share the vision of greatness with you for someone else? A good friend is sometimes hard to find.

DEALING WITH APATHY

Facing apathy was challenging to Zerubbabel and many leaders of his time as they sought to rebuild the temple. The people had become complacent. They showed little concerned about the condition of their homeland. Can you imagine that people would just live in this disrepair? Things are all broken up and deteriorated around them.  As long as their house was okay, they did not see any need to fix what was still broken. Please do not allow yourself to be comfortable with places of brokenness. Resist the urge to turn a blind eye or to become concerned with only persons in your circle.

Please do not allow yourself to be comfortable with places of brokenness. Resist the urge to turn a blind eye or to become concerned with only persons in your circle.

Zerubbabel was faced with apathy and complacency. He now had to figure out how to rebuild the temple. As a leader, he was concerned about the place of worship. He was concerned about the house of God. As a child of God, as Christians, we must always be concerned about the house of God. When we talk about the house, it’s not just the building. We are talking about the people of God. The people are the church, not the edifice. We must be concerned about one another, concern about a place where we can gather. As the text says in  Proverbs 27:17, iron sharpens iron. We can get together as one and serve and praise God with all our minds and our souls.

One exciting thing in the text that we see is how we should deliver messages. Sometimes we get intimidated about the responses we will receive. Should I say to somebody what the Lord said to my heart? Then you begin to question yourself, is this what God is saying to me? Is it what God’s saying to me, or is it my thoughts? Messengers are constantly questioning themselves to be confident that the message they will deliver is the one God has given to them. In this message, there was concern about the state and the present condition of the temple. The people were less concerned about the temple because their homes were already built.

We see this similar concern with David. When God gave the children of Israel peace, David had built up his palace, and everything was going well. However, David got concerned because he said, “I am living in a timber house, but the Ark of God is in a tent.” Then David inquired of the Lord; he said, “I want to build you a house.” And God said, “no, David, it’s not your place to build it. I have a man that is going to build my temple, but I like your concern.” David says, “well, if I’m not going to be able to build it, then Lord, I’ll provide for it.” This lesson can be applied in this story. King Zerubbabel could have said my palace is okay. I have got people who are caring for me. Why am I worried about the temple? A true man/woman of God who has a heart for the things of God cannot sit still when the things of God are in disarray. Your heart and your mind are concerned; you are concerned about current conditions.

A true man/woman of God who has a heart for the things of God cannot sit still when the things of God are in disarray. Your heart and your mind are concerned; you are concerned about current conditions.

I am writing this article in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic. In the USA, over 700,000[iii]persons have died from the pandemic. Many persons have been severely sickened because of this disease. Many lives have been uprooted, and things are not the same. I was just thinking the other day, and I said, even when COVID has passed, things will never go back to what we called “normal.” Life and the way we operated have entirely changed.

COVID19 has taken over the entire world; our lives will not be the same. Many are not taking this reality well. Many people are suffering mentally during this time. What will happen to those people when this is passed? I can imagine Zerubbabel; as I was thinking about this crisis, I kept thinking about all these people suffering today. I think of all the frontline workers who work in the hospitals and the nursing home. The trauma that they must have suffered. What is going through their minds when they hear the codes being called.  They hear all the suffering and the sounds and smell of death.

I heard from some of the frontline workers as they told me that they could hear the sound of death in the hospitals. One person recalled her experience suffering in the hospital suffering from COVID19. Some of the scariest times were in the middle of the night; one could hear someone dying. You know that they have the same disease you have, and they just passed away. You were laying in the bed, not knowing if you were going to survive that night. Now those who have come out of that experience have to live with this experience.

What made the trauma even worse in the early months was that you couldn’t even go to the funerals. So, you don’t know if the person who’s lying there is your loved one or not. You’re just taking it at face value. You didn’t even have a proper burial. I mean, they didn’t even have services at the church or services inside of the funeral homes. They just had them in the parking lots and gravesides; then, they would go directly to the burial ground. People didn’t have time to grieve and to say a proper goodbye to their loved ones. We need to hear from God. We need to listen to a word that will give us some comfort. We need to understand that God knows about the things we go through. Maybe you are like Zerubbabel, faced with devastation but want to serve God. Faced with the fact that you might not have the folks that you need to encourage you, but you have God. Faced with the fact that all your plans might have been destroyed you can take comfort in the fact that God is with you. If God is with you, then you’re all right.

Faced with the fact that all your plans might have been destroyed you can take comfort in the fact that God is with you. If God is with you, then you’re all right.


[i] Hwang, J. (2016). Zechariah, Book of. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[ii] Hwang, J. (2016). Zechariah, Book of. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[iii] https://covidusa.net. 10/01/21

[iv] Silva, M., & Tenney, M. C. (2009). In The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, M-P (Revised, Full-Color Edition, Vol. 4, p. 918). Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corporation.

[v] Smith, R. L. (1984). Micah–Malachi (Vol. 32, p. 166). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

The Gospel as the Foundation for Racial Reconciliation

Thanks, Urban Apologetics Community

I am honored to be leading a workshop at our National Conference. The topic is 

“The Gospel as the Foundation for Racial Reconciliation”

Under-represented groups continuously cry against injustice and inequality throughout our societies. Sin is the cause of injustice and inequity. As an immigrant from Jamaica, I will begin with my own story of learning about racial injustice and inequality in the USA. We will seek to lay out a pattern for racial reconciliation and justice based on our dependence on God’s Word. First, we will look at the issue by addressing the:

  • A pattern of racial reconciliation in the Scriptures
  • The rise of the inferiority myth
  • The black church and the backdrop of the black experience

Then we will suggest some ways to address systematic injustice and racial reconciliation by:

  • Addressing the Biblical Kingdom agenda
  • Prophetically declaring the Kingdom impact on the culture
  • Incorporating urban apologetics in our theological discipline
  • Practically addressing structural changes that are needed

No matter where we emigrate and what injustice we face, God has provided the right balance to deal with these issues. We are all made in the image of God. We are recipients of reconciliation by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We, therefore, have the suitable characteristics to lead reconciliation.

I want to thank Damion R, Adan Coleman, Jerome Gay Jr., Toney Evans, Dr. Eric Mason, Voddie Baucham Jr., and the Urban Apologist Community for resources that served as receipts to this workshop.

Several years ago, I needed information relating to Africa’s contribution to Christianity. I also wanted to be more informed about the rise of the Black conscious community and the Black Religious Cults. Also, this was in part to counter the statement “Christianity is a white man’s religion.” I was introduced to Brother Damion, who introduced me to Tomas Oden’s book, “How Africa Shaped the Christian mind. That started my journey into unbelievable discovery and understanding.

This introduction was the tip of the spare. I later got connected with the Urban Apologetics Community (UrbanApologetics.org) and Jude 3 Project. From there, I connected with Adam Coleman. This brother is the real deal.

Thanks to everyone for your invaluable contribution to my workshop.

Final Day

 Friday, Mar 29, 2019 — Free Day — Jeeps — Wadi Kelt, St. George’s Monastery, Jericho —  Shalom — You Are My Peace

Today is the last day of this fantastic journey. We set out for Jericho going the path that is called the Wadi Kelt. This is the path that Jesus would usually take from Jericho to Jerusalem (Luke 19). Wadi Kelt is the path based on three reasons. Travelers typically take the route where there is water, where there is kosher food and where it is politically possible.

 

From the mountains the Wadi Kelt we could see the Scapegoat mountain and the St. George’s Monastery tucked away in on the edge of one of the cliffs. We saw the nomads (even though they don’t move around anymore) as well as we saw many shepherds watching flock.

 

We arrived in Jericho after an adventurous jeep drive through the mountains. We wanted to be as close as possible to the original path. Once in Jericho, we had lunch at a traditional Palestinian restaurant. We visited the traditional sycamore tree mentioned in the Gospel about Zacchaeus. We then visited the site that is under escalation and saw the various levels of the city. In Jericho, I rode a camel for the first time. Our drive back to the hotel was less adventurous as we took the highway.

 

Our guide Ruben was terrific. His historical and biblical knowledge make the trip very informative. Our driver Audi skillfully drove us to our various locations.

 

We join the team from Emanuel Community Church, on this fantastic journey. Pastor Denny Miller and his wife were very gracious to us and his teaching, and informative commentary provided new and enlightening perspectives. The impact is immeasurable for me. My preaching and teaching will never be the same. Lord may I live a life that always pleases you. I desire to live a life that is of completed dedication to your mission.

 

My friend Trevor Mattis and I travel the path of Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem. It was truly amazing time we spent together with our friends from ECC.

 

I am one of the engrafted one, purchased with His blood.

Day 8 of My Spiritual Journey

Thu, Mar 28, 2019 

Our focus today is the city of Jerusalem — Walk the path of Christ, Upper Room, King David’s Tomb, Church of Gallicantu (meaning cock-crow), Overlook of Judas and Field of Blood (Map on hand), Holy Sepulcher, Temple Mt, and Garden Tomb. 

This was a remarkable day. The entire journey reaches the climax. Jesus of Nazareth came to Jerusalem as the sacrificial Lamb. From the House of Caiaphas and Upper Room, we visited the pit where our Savior was held overnight in darkness. We also saw the Valley of Blood where Judas hanged himself as well as the hills of Golgotha. That moment I entered the garden tomb to see the empty tomb and confirmed with my eyes. Jesus is not here; he has risen. 

Upper Room & Caiaphas home

The Upper Room is known as the Last supper; it was interesting to be in the same place that Jesus and his disciples had that infamous last supper.

At Caiaphas’ house, Jesus was held overnight in a pit. As I stood in the pit that is believed to be where Jesus was, I could not help but think, thanks, thanks for all you have done for me. To God be all the Glory. We next went to the courtyard where Peter denied Christ. 

Interest fact:

The Romas used to blow trumpet three times as a means of telling the time. It became known as the rooster crowing. It is believed that that could be what was indicated before the cock crow three times. From the courtyard, we were able to see the original path that Jesus was led on to be crucified. 

  • pCourt Yard Peter Deny Christ1.jpg
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The Via Dolorosa 

We also walk The Via Dolorosa (Latin for “Way of Grief,” “Way of Sorrow. This is the path that is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is believed that this is the way Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. Today it is a market place with shops.

 

Holy Sepulcher 

There are three branches of the Christian community that occupies this church, Catholic, Coptic, and Greek Orthodox. Each of the three churches that hold this holy place has a section that has a specific identity. They also provide access to the tomb. An ecumenical order governs the church. Nothing gets done unless all three groups agree.

Interested fact:

There are two possible locations identified as the burial place where Jesus’ body was buried. The first one is in the Church of the Holy, and the other is in the Garden Tomb. While both graves are empty, the Garden tomb seemed the most likely

Interesting fact:

A ladder placed on the wall above the courtyard by someone doing work on the building. They forgot to remove, and it’s sitting here for 300 years because they can’t agree on how to take it down.

 

Temple Mount

The next stop was the Temple Mount where the dome of the rock is located and where the 2nd temple is located. This is believed to be Mount Mariah where the temple once stood. Abraham brought Isaac to be sacrificed at this location, and it is held that God brought Jesus.

Interesting fact:

In 1967 after the six-day war the security of the site was in the hands of the Israeli and control of the security of the Mosque that now sits on that site is in the hands of the Muslims. Muslims believed that this is where Muhammad was taken into heaven to receive the Koran. This is one of the three most holy sites for Muslims. Even though the Quran does not mention Jerusalem at all the Bible mentions Jerusalem mention 800 times.

This site is the Holy Place for the three major religions. The Jews worship at the foundation wall of the second Temple known as the Wailing Wall or the Western Wall because they are not allowed to go to the location beyond the wall control by the Muslims. The Christians view the entire location as a holy place. 

Muslims believe that this is where the Prophet Mohammed went to the throne of God. In the seventh century, when the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, The Dome of the Rock (gold-topped Islamic shrine of the Old City), is where the  Muslims built the Al-Aqsa Mosque after conquered Jerusalem.

 

Garden Tomb

This place is significant. This garden tomb is where we served communion and had service before we entered the tomb. The Garden Tomb is located in the same vicinity as Golgotha, where Christ was Crucified.

Who is this man? He is Jesus the Christ who died, was buried and rose from the grave, he ascended into heaven and will return. This is the Christian message. This is the hope of salvation. This story of Jesus demands our response. It is indeed the Great Exchange; He paid for our sins and in turn gave us eternal life. He is here with us in our hearts because he has risen even though he is not in the grave.

We are the engrafted ones; Gentiles save by grace. Like the gamer does with the olive tree so God has engrafted us into the tree of life.

Romans 11:17-22 (NKJV) 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief, they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He might not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

 

Day 7 of My Spiritual Journey

Today’s Hebrew name os El Shaddai – The All-Sufficient One  

Wed, Mar 27, 2019 — We took a break from the sites in Jerusalem and visited the Dead Sea valley, En Gedi and  Masada.

En Gedi 

It was at this site that Saul stopped for a while as he was chasing David. While King Saul was in a cave, David when in and cut a piece of Saul’s clothing. He later called out to King Saul informing him of what he has done. This act of David to show that Saul was in his control, but refuses to hurt him. There is a connected to Mount Gilboa, located in the Lower Galilee region, south of the Sea of Galilee since it is here that David showed he had forgiven Saul.

The lesson from En Gedi:

If you cannot forgive those, who have done you wrong you are not ready to serve. I love David because of his humanity and desire to please God. No matter how Saul treated him he refused to do or say anything that would hurt Saul. Will you forgive someone even if they are not able to return the favor?

 

Masada

Masada does not have a direct Biblical except it was a fortress that was built by Herod the Great in the year 30 BCE. It is located in the Jordanian valley. It was the last stronghold of the Jewish zealots. It was later conqueror by the Romans. The 960 Jewish zealots that occupied the fortress fought hard but lost the battle.  Ten men volunteered to kill the 950 people, and 1 of the ten men volunteered to kill the other 9 and then himself. Only a mother and two children were spared because they refuse to be apart of the plan. They refused to submit to the Romans a be subjected 

Masada lesson:

Never allow yourself to be in a position that causes you to compromise your values and or belief system.

 

Dead Sea

The Dead sea valley is the place where the recent discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls was found. 

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Day 6 of My Spiritual Journey

The name of God for today is El Roi  –  The God Who Sees
We are beginning to travel the path to Calvary. It was a moving day.

Tue, Mar 26, 2019 — Bethlehem, Church of Nativity and Shepherd’s Fields,  Mt. of Olives, Gethsemane

We began the day visiting Mount Hebron, the burial place of the patriarch. Travel the way of the patriarch into Hills of Rachael.  We spent time overlooking Shepherd fields. This is the place where the angels visited the shepherds. It was at this same location that is known as the farming land of Ruth and Boaz.

Bethlehem

Bethlehem (the house of the bread) it is located between mountains. Bethlehem is meaningful; the message of his birth reached was not limited to those in Jerusalem. The place of the announcement of the birth of Christ and the birthplace of Christ.

Interesting fact:

The manager was probably in a cave. In Bethlehem, some of the homes are built above caves.

Dead sea scroll Jar

Interesting fact:

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was found in three clay jars. One is still located in Bethlehem, one in the Vatican and the other in Israel. In Bethlehem, I had the opportunity to visit with the grandson of the man who discovered the Dead Sea Scroll and to see one of the jars.

  • Dead sea scroll Jar.jpeg

 

Mount of Olives

Our next stop was the Mount of Olives and began to walk the way of Christ to Jerusalem. We celebrate this journey on Palm Sunday. Gethsemane (place of the olive press), was an interesting place. The Garden is is still there, and we stopped and prayed over Jerusalem. You could see what Jesus was looking at as he came down Mount Olives. I read for the group the prayer Jesus prayed over the city (Matt 21:6).

Interesting fact 

The gates of the city of Jerusalem have many names. For example, the Mercury gate, golden gate, western gate are all the same. Jesus enters on Palm Sunday this gate passing through the Kidron valley.

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Garden of Gethsemane

What s moving time as we spent some time in the Garden of Gethsemane praying and meditating. It was here that Jesus was arrested. It was here that it is said that Jesus was press between the father’s will and his will. Like olive, the first oil that comes from the press considered the virgin oil. The next pressed oil is for domestic The 3rd press oil is called, the blood of the oil. It was here Jesus surrender his will to the father’s will.

Lord, I surrender my will to your will at Gethsemane.

Day 5 of My Spiritual Journey

Monday – 3/25/19

Our Hebrew Jehovah Mekaddishkem – “the LORD your sanctifier” (Exodus 31:13) 

Mon, Mar 25, 2019 — David City, Tunnels, Davidson Center, Kotel, Cardo, St. Annes, Bethesda, Israeli Museum, Model of Jerusalem and Dead Sea Scrolls 

Today we finally got settled in Jerusalem. The focus of the journey was about reviewing Hezikiah’s wet and dry tunnels in the City of Jerusalem. The wet tunnel ended in the pool of SILOAM. Next, we went to the Wailing Wall and other sites around the city. We concluded the day after spending time at the Pool of Bethesda. At each of these stops, we read from the scriptures relating to that specific location.

No matter what you will face as you pursue a relationship with Christ keep going forward. In the end, remember that Jesus is a healer. He works on his timing.

HEZEKIAH’S TUNNELS

It took about three years to build the tunnel. The men started digging from both ends. 

 

THE POOL OF SILOAM

The journey so far has been very informative. This is the place were Jesus used his spindle to form a call. He then touched the man’s eyes and sent him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. I was able to step on the original stones

 

THE WAILING WALL or WESTERN WALL

We visited the Wailing wall and prayed to God. This place is very interest. I had the privilege to place the prayer requests for some of the members of our church.

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THE POOL Of BETHESDA

Jesus healed the disabled man who was at the pool waiting for his turn to be healed. Since he was disabled.

Take Away

Whatever you are doing or in need of, trust God! Never give up! Pursue hard after God and extend your faith.

Other Sites

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Day 4 of My Spiritual Journey

Sunday, 3/24/19

The name of God we are focusing on today is Jehovah Raah  – Lord my Shepherd.

Today is Day 4 of what has been one of the most moving moments for me so far.  It is challenging to explain what I felt today as I spent time at Shiloh. What began as a tour, for me, turned to a more spiritual and reflective time. Combined with the two stories at Bet sheen and Mount Ghiboa made Shiloh’s experience more moving. Then we enter Into Jerusalem.

Bet shan

Our first stop was at Bet Shan, a Roman metropolis and a Hellenistic city. This is an exciting place. It is located about 27 km from the Sea of Galilee. The city was rebuilt in 63 BC by the Romans and known as Scythopolis, Col. 3:11. After King Saul was killed on Mt. Ghiboa, his head was hanged at this site. Jesus could have stopped here on His way to Judea. Time of Christ, the man healed of legion maybe came here to tell the story. He could have gone to Jordan also. 

Interesting Fact: There are seven levels of Tel that make up this site.  We drove past the Golan Heights, West Bank, and the border with Jordan today. 

Mount Gilboa

Our next stopped was Mount Gilboa Passing, Gideon spring on our way. This mountain is mountain range overlooking the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel. It is here that King Saul led the fight against the Philistines – 1 Samuel 28:4.  King Saul was killed on this hill. Even though King Saul had the military advantage; He was on the mountain, and the Philistine was in the valley.  However, Saul was afraid because God was not with him. With the death of his sons, his royal rule was terminated. 

Saul had the crown, the ark was with him, he had the positional advantage, but he was afraid. He went to the witch of Endor to seek help. The only time in Scripture that we see a person come back from the dead to give instructions. The witch was a concern because Saul was the same person who had expelled all witches and this man sort her out to ask for directions.

David took his men to Bet Shan and brought back Davids’ body and burn the body to prevent desecration. David then sang a song of mourning after Saul died. He taught his army to sing that song.

Lesson:

Forgiveness: We should not cheer when our enemies die; we mourn. When there is no possibility of an apology from the person that wronged you, will you rejoice or mourn when they are suffering. The power of forgiveness must rule our lives.

Interesting Fact:

Saul had all the elements identifying with the presence of God, but God rejected him. One of the concerns I have is that whatever I am doing for God that I always seek his anointing. When the Spirit of God departs all that is left is just rituals. I can be a great orator without anointing. Without the Spirit of God the emblems or simply only emblems. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that makes the difference.

The leader of our trip, Pastor Denny Miller, after reading from the scriptures about this story lead us in a time prayer and reflection. He challenged us to leave unforgiveness on Mt Gilboa.

Shiloh

My journey here took on a new meaning. The Holy Spirit spoke to me (not in an audible voice) that this is not a tour that I am experiencing. This was a spiritual journey. Having left un-forgiveness on Mt Gilboa I now enter this Holy Place as the old Patriarch would on their way to Jerusalem. As I think about my experience tears are coming to my eyes. Something is going on, and I am listening to the Holy Spirit. 

One of the most notable events here involved Eli. His two sons defied the temple and Eli did not do anything. Hannah offers a prayer, yearly, for a child. Her husband went annually to provide sacrifices with at a place that was corrupted. What if he had stopped taking his wives to Shiloh? Would there be a Samuel? The people came three times to sacrifice at Shiloh.

Take Away:

Do not stop pursuing God even when there is barrenness. Everything you do as a Christian has a more far-reaching impact on those around. Who are you preventing from experiencing God because you gave up?

Are you consistent?

Things that you do or don’t do impact others.

God is always seeking to meet with his people, and he desires a relationship with them.

Do not contaminate the holy place. 

Facts:

Shiloh or Mt of Samera is one of the riches areas in Israel. Bethel is also another area of importance associated with Shiloh.  Shiloh was the location of the tabernacle in David time. The two tribes of Two tribes Efrain and Benjamin were given these areas for inheritance. This is an area of Jewish settlement. For 369 years Shiloh was where the tabernacle settled. It is believed that those on their way to Jerusalem would stop at Shiloh before continuing to the Holy City. 

Jerusalem:

We left Shiloh and headed to Jerusalem. What a moment, as we were about 15 minutes outside of the Holy City, Pastor Denny lead us into singing some songs about Jerusalem. We sang all the last Song, The Holy City (Jerusalem) to our stop at the gates. We broke bread and paid before we settle in for the night.

Song: The Holy City (Jerusalem)