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Archive for November, 2009

Greetings from Egypt

Our tour family is bonding well as we experienced our first day of touring, even with some jet-lag! Ancient history filled our eyes and ears as our Egyptologist guided us through the fascinating Egyptian Museum spanning over 5,000 years. We learned that headdresses and eye liner were originally used as protection from the sun and sand of Egypt—only later did they become fashion/religious coverings and cosmetics.

The forty day mummification process was explained and then “dead” results viewed in the Royal Mummies Hall—this same embalming process was used on the Patriarchs, Jacob and Joseph, signifying their high standing in Egypt at their deaths (Genesis 49:33-50:3, 26).

The word “Egypt” occurs over 600 times in Scripture with about 150 times signifying to get “out of Egypt.” However there is one time that God commands to “flee to Egypt.” Matthew 2:13-15 tells the story. After the museum, we ate lunch on the Nile. Next we made a quick trip into the Coptic Christian section of Cairo. The Church of St. Sergius is believed to be one of the places where Joseph, Mary and Jesus stayed during their flight from Herod.

The Giza plateau was our next destination to view the impressive Pyramids and Sphinx, as well as “Cheops Boat Museum,” housing one of the large boats buried next to the pyramids to be used in the afterlife. There was drama unfolding as our group arrived after the gate was locked to enter the Sphinx viewing/photo area, but our tour security guard convinced them to open up the gates for us.

Throughout this day, I kept thinking about how much time, energy and effort these ancient people took to prepare for the afterlife. WOW! Scriptures emphasize the fact that we will all give an account of our lives before God one day. My question after today is, “Are we preparing for our eternal home with the same kind of passion?” Obviously, we don’t need to build a pyramid, nor be mummified to secure eternal life. But we do need to repent of our sins, and receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord to obtain salvation. Then we make our lives count for eternity by our ministry for His glory.

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Please join us for the journey of a lifetime.

The life changing experience of being in Egypt and Israel:

I want to share with you our journey as we walk through this land of biblical history! I wish you could join us in person, but as our family of 32 ventures into this dramatic land, we want to share our encounters with you via blog postings. Please pray for our trip and seek the Lord in what He wants you to take away from it.

We invite you to join us vicariously in our adventure as we walk where the patriarchs, prophets, kings, priests, Israelites and most importantly, Jesus, also walked thousands of years ago. Our journey begins in Egypt on November 30, entering Israel December 2 and returning to California on December 10. I pray that you will experience a spiritual transformation as we share our divine encounters from the Holy Land.

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We have much to be thankful for.

No matter how some people try to re-write our history, the United States began with clear acknowledgment of God and expressions of dependence on Him. It is time to restore a heart of praise and thanksgiving to God.

In 1789, George Washington made a public proclamation for Thanksgiving. Here are some of his words: “By the President of the United States of America, A proclamation: Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor . . .”

“And whereas, both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God . . . “

“Now, therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will.” So read the very first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation!

Of course most people know the story of the pilgrims and how they and the Native Indians of the area had a Thanksgiving feast in 1621—long before Washington’s proclamation. Even earlier than 1621—we find people offering up thanks to God. In the Old Testament the people of Israel sing a Psalm of Thanksgiving:

Psalm 100 has a very unique title. Where most Psalms tell who wrote it, this one simply states:

A Psalm for Thanksgiving. (Reflect on each word and put this Psalm into practice)

This Psalm has Five commands:

  1. Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
  2. Serve the Lord with gladness;
  3. Come before Him with joyful singing.
  4. Know
  • that the Lord Himself is God;
  • It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
  • We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

5. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

It gives Three Reasons for Thanksgiving:

  1. For the Lord is good;
  2. His lovingkindness is everlasting
  3. And His faithfulness to all generations.

Our thanksgiving and praise is not based on our circumstances, but on our Lord! We can have joy as we come into His presence as Psalm 16:11 states: “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” No matter what you’re going through, “in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18). We are also warned that the wicked “even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks” (Romans 1:21).

I want to encourage you to focus your mind on the Lord and tell Him, “Thank You!” Counting your blessings is a great way to gain a proper perspective. We celebrate Thanksgiving once a year, but we should all try to make it a daily practice. I thank God for you, whoever is reading this now and I pray that you will know God personally and experience His love and forgiveness.

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Disabled Woman

God is the Divine Healer

The topic of healing has generated many misrepresentations of God’s truth. There are some who have abused and sensationalized healing as if it were a circus act. Others have abandoned healing altogether as if God stopped this ministry. Still others have tried to equate certain ailments with specific sins. Friends, our responsibility is to be faithful to the teaching of Scripture and seek God as the Divine Healer.

First, we need to understand the difference between sickness coming from original sin and sickness arising from personal sin. All sickness and death is a result of sin. But not all sickness is a result of personal sin. Romans 5:12 confirms the biblical truth of original sin. We live in a fallen, sinful and broken world. People get sick, contract cancer, become paralyzed, and die because of the consequence of this original sin.

There are also examples of sickness and the discipline of death as a result of personal sin. Paul declares this in I Corinthians 11:29, 30. But we must be very careful not to equate all sickness with personal sin.

Jesus declared in John 9 that neither the blind man nor his parents sinned, but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. Paul had his thorn in the flesh that God did not heal (2 Corinthians 12). Job is another example of one who suffered without having committed personal sin. It is unfortunate that some zealous believers have imposed guilt trips on suffering individuals because a poor theology of healing.

Please understand: God still heals. Sometimes He does it through medical procedures and sometimes He miraculously heals a person. My mom is a living example of a miraculous healing by His gracious response to many prayers. Even the doctors declared that she was a genuine miracle of healing.

The key is to pray and seek God for healing, but leave the results to Him. I just gave a sermon on James 5:13-18 on October 18th, 2009 which deals with this topic in more detail than this short blog. I believe that many people suffer needlessly because they have not asked God for healing or confessed their sins to experience forgiveness.

David prayed and fasted for seven days and nights for his child. The child died and David arose, washed, anointed himself, and came into the house of the Lord and worshiped (2 Samuel 12:15-23). David’s faith was in a God who heals, not in a healing. Please make sure your faith is in the sovereign God who has the power to heal. It is up to Him if, how and who He will heal. God loves it when we come to Him in humble prayer seeking His will for our lives.

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