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Archive for the ‘Worship’ Category

Hunched over person, in the shadows.

We have the victory over discouragement and depression in Jesus!

WE HAVE THE VICTORY IN CHRIST JESUS!

Our shield of FAITH will extinguish ALL the flaming missiles of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16). Our adversary is defeated but persistent in his attacks. He cannot touch us (I John 5:18), but he does tempt us to believe lies.

Dear Friends, please remember that if God is for us, who can be against us? God empowers us to be overcomers and conquerors in this battle of life. But the key is to do it in HIS POWER and not lean on our own understanding.

Hebrews 12:3 says, “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

I find that focusing my attention on Jesus and worshipping Him revitalizes my spirit and renews my mind. It’s amazing what praising can do! I want to encourage you to worship our Lord—loudly and joyfully, as you sing of His power and His strength and His forgiveness and His grace and His mercy and His love and His purpose and His plan and His will.

Fixing our eyes and minds on Jesus is the spiritual transforming perspective that lifts us up and gives us wisdom from above to deal with life’s trials and challenges.

I pray that you are experiencing His glorious presence right now!

“In His presence is the fullness of Joy.” (Psalm 16:11)

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Make 2010 a Banner Year in your Walk with the Lord!

Happy New Year, Friends!

People have mixed emotions about making New Year resolutions. But I am convinced that it is always good to “excel still more” in our personal growth and development.

Paul wrote in I Thessalonians 4:1, “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.”

I want to urge you to make 2010 the most spiritually devoted year of your life. It is so easy to get distracted by things of the world, that we neglect the priority of seeking our Lord daily. It is a spiritual battle and our adversary, the devil, will try anything to keep us from walking intimately with God.

As 2 Corinthians 11:3 declares, “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

Please make Jesus Christ your 1st Love as you take time to exalt Him in your heart and mind everyday! If you need to get up an hour earlier to start your day with the Lord, please make it a disciplined priority. You will find your day and life running a lot more smoothly with a better attitude when you submit each day to His leadership.

There is not just “one way” to spend time with God, but I encourage you to include prayer, God’s Word, worship and silent listening as special activities that enhance our relationship with God. I am praying that you will have a Spirit-filled New Year!

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Ending the Journey of a Lifetime at Golgotha

Our last day began with a brief tour of the hospital where Tom Gronewald volunteers as a missionary servant to Israel. It was very enlightening to hear about and to see the medical facilities and preparations done by this hospital.

We went from the hope of holistic medicine to the sobering reality of the Holocaust! Touring the Yad Vashem museum and the atrocities of the Nazi Holocaust leaves you an ache in your heart. The staggering scenes and video-taped interviews with Holocaust survivors left a grim reminder of the evil that is in this world. It ignites the passion for showing love and restoring the dignity and value of every human being. People matter to God and people matter to us too!

Our final journey took us to the Praetorian where Jesus was flogged, mocked and spat upon. He went through all the agony of Gethsemane, the beatings and the crucifixion for us!

Wow, what a Savior!

We wept as we stood on the stones in which Jesus received His cruel thrashing. We followed the Via Dolorosa , the way of suffering where Jesus carried His cross with the help of Simon of Cyrene (Mark 15:21).

Along this busy road we came to Golgotha and the Garden Tomb. We were truly standing on holy ground as we saw the Skull in the rocky cliff and personally witnessed the empty tomb. We gathered to read, worship and celebrate Holy Communion. What a special time of personal renewal and spiritual intimacy with our Lord. Richard played his violin and Kyler led us in worship as we spent an hour and a half just praising God for His gracious sacrifice on our behalf. This is the fitting conclusion to an amazing tour.

Isaiah 53:4-5 reveals the prophetic truth of our Messiah Jesus:

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”

Our group has truly become a family and many are already planning to join us on our next trip to Israel and Greece from July 8-22, 2011. Please pray about joining us as well. You will never be the same!

Shalom!

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The Ancient City of David

We viewed a 3-D movie of the ancient city of David before we saw the actual ruins left in this archeological site. Over 3,000 years of history is being excavated here. Then we participated in the Temple Mount Antiquities Salvage Operation where we took part in the actual archeological process with our own hands. Our group discovered coins, bones, pottery pieces, mosaics, frescoes and other specialty rocks dating back to the Second Temple period. It was great to literally get our hands in the dirt of this ancient land.

Our lunch was at the Ramat Rachel Kibbutz, which has a very nice Hotel with a view into Bethlehem and Rachel’s Tomb. My pre-conceived idea of what a Kibbutz would be like was shattered by the modern facilities and luxuries enjoyed in this Kibbutz. It is the only Kibbutz with a Hotel in Jerusalem.

Back into the Old City of Jerusalem, we sang within the Church of St. Ann as our songs echoed off the ceiling. Just outside were the pools of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the man who had been ill for 38 years (John 5:1-17). Kyler continued to lead us in wonderful worship as we tried to assimilate and soak in all the spiritual insights that have flooded our heads and hearts. There is so much to absorb and learn!

Finally, we went through the Rabbi’s Tunnel that goes underground along the western wall of the Temple Mount! The foundations stones of the Second Temple range from 400-1000 tons each and fit so closely together that a razor blade cannot slide between them. The incredible process of chiseling, transporting and laying the stones to make the Temple Mount was illustrated in an animated movie presentation. As we walked along this tunnel, there is a spot that is closest to the Holy of Holies in which people pause to pray.

After this trip of experiences, learning and ministry opportunities, may we all practice Colossians 4:2: “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”

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It's an amazing gift to walk where Jesus walked and pray where Jesus prayed.

An early morning after a late night was well worth the effort as we walked along the Dan River to Tel Dan. This hike invigorated everyone with the beauty and splendor of this land. This resembles the land that the Israelites of old found:

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will eat food without scarcity” (Deuteronomy 8:7-9).

These eight items listed in this passage of fruitful produce are still national crops today as well. We also could look into the Lebanese and Syrian borders where so many military conflicts have occurred.

Caesarea Philippi was our next stop, the most northeast place that Jesus traveled. Like the Dan River, another spring flows as a head water tributary for the Jordan. It was here that Jesus questioned His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (read all of Matthew 16:13-20).

This Roman colony was the place where they worshipped the false god Pan, of lower Echo. Here they had the “gates of Hell” where they performed sacrifices to their pagan gods. It was also here that Jesus said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus was the Master teacher who utilized visual illustrations to impact His listeners with spiritual truths. Praise the Lord that He is the One who is building His church!

Back in Galilee, we ate a St. Peter’s fish lunch and then came to Capernaum, the place where Jesus spent most of His earthly ministry (Mark 1:21-3:14). It was here that Jesus called five of His disciples; therefore, we learned about what being a disciple really looks like.

Passages of John 8:31-32; 13:34-35; 15:8-11 and Luke 14:25-27 all point out key qualities of being a biblical disciple! We had a spiritual time of worshipping God right there on the sea shore of Galilee. It is remarkable to walk where Jesus walked, pray where Jesus prayed, teach where Jesus taught and worship where Jesus worshipped. Please pray that our lives will never be the same as I pray for you too. Thanks!

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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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