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Monday, May 22, 2017

Jerusalem



A little history:When Rome destroyed the Second Temple in 70 C.E., only one outer wall remained standing. The Romans probably would have destroyed that wall as well, but it must have seemed too insignificant to them; it was not even part of the Temple itself, just an outer wall surrounding the Temple Mount. For the Jews, however, this remnant of what was the most sacred building in the Jewish world quickly became the holiest spot in Jewish life. Throughout the centuries Jews from throughout the world made the difficult pilgrimage to Palestine, and immediately headed for the Kotel ha-Ma'aravi (the Western Wall) to thank God. The prayers offered at the Kotel were so heartfelt that gentiles began calling the site the “Wailing Wall.” This undignified name never won a wide following among traditional Jews; the term “Wailing Wall” is not used in Hebrew.

Watching the news today, seeing our president walk up to the wailing wall in Jerusalem made my heart yearned to be right there.  Oh, I don't mean with the president but there at the wall.  There is a pull to go back once you have been to see the Holy Land, especially Jerusalem.  Like most visitors you write your prayer request on a little piece of paper and tuck it into the cracks of the wall, women on their side, men on theirs.  

Two of my fellow bloggers wrote on music today, Floyd theregoi.com:  and Bill grandi.ovcf.org/wordpress/ , so thought I would add my two cents of music to theirs.   This Gaither video was filmed at the    Tower of David inside the old city of Jerusalem.
   

                             


John sees a glimpse of it in his vision: “The Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). This is the city that Abraham looked for in faith (Hebrews 11:10). It is the place where God will dwell with His people forever (Revelation 21:3). Inhabitants of this celestial city will have all tears wiped away (Revelation 21:4).

The New Jerusalem will be fantastically huge. John records that the city is nearly 1,400 miles long, and it is as wide and as high as it is long—a perfect cube (Revelation 21:15–17). The city will also be dazzling in every way. It is lighted by the glory of God (verse 23). Its twelve foundations, bearing the names of the twelve apostles, are “decorated with every kind of precious stone” (verse 19). It has twelve gates, each a single pearl, bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel (verses 12 and 21). The street will be made of pure gold (verse 21).

The New Jerusalem will be a place of unimagined blessing. The curse of the old earth will be gone (Revelation 22:3). In the city are the tree of life “for the healing of the nations” and the river of life (verses 1–2). It is the place that Paul spoke of: “In the coming ages [God] might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). The New Jerusalem is the ultimate fulfillment of all God’s promises. The New Jerusalem is God’s goodness made fully manifest.

Who are the residents of the New Jerusalem? The Father and the Lamb are there (Revelation 21:22). Angels are at the gates (verse 12). But the city will be filled with God’s redeemed children


The  pastor who I was saved under use to say, if you want to know what God is doing, watch the land, Israel and watch the clan, the Jewish people.  It may seem like it's all about our president and Israel but God wants us to see beyond the wailing wall to His Son returning and the coming of the New Jerusalem. 





Sunday, May 14, 2017

Freedom Walker


Image result for angry people pictures         Ever been around someone you knew it would take very little for them to explode?   You try to walk around subjects that might trigger an outburst such as politics, family issues, cultural differences, preachers, you name it and that person who is a walking time bomb can be set off by just about anything. You feel like you are walking on egg shells trying not to anger them. You feel  your  body tense up when a subject has come up you know will set them off. 

Almost impossible to really enjoy being around them isn't it? They can make family reunions a nightmare. 

I know about anger first hand.  Alcohol and anger was what ruled our home as I was growing up. My Dad was not one of those lovable drunks.   I knew little about my Dad's family except his brother and being around him told me he suffered with the same anger. Also learned their Dad had a drinking issue along with anger.   Sound like something we can pass on to others, doesn't it? 

Anger is the fruit of rotten roots. One of the primary roots of anger stems from the family. Angry people come from angry families because they learn from their role models and carry on the same behavior in their own lives, eventually passing it on to their children.  Since I cannot change my family roots I have a choice to be like them or try something different.  

It does not take long to realize an angry person has got some deeper issue going on inside them.  The emotional pain drives them to an outburst and leaves you wondering, what did I say or do to trigger that?  You work hard at staying out of their way. 

There is nothing I dislike about myself more then my temper. It was the sin that so easily besets me and I would justify it by how I was raised.   Angry people begat angry people, right?  That kind of rationalization worked when I did not have the Holy Spirit living inside of me.  When I faced my anger and decided to deal with it God's way I found I could over come it.  God brought stability into my heart and taught me how to walk in the Spirit and the power of forgiveness.   Not only those who hurt me but for myself when I failed to exercise self control a fruit of the Spirit. 

My heart was prompted to write on this because just a few weeks ago I was at a mini family reunion with my brothers.  We had not been together since our mother had died.  There was a small dread in me about the re-union because one of my brothers  is a walking time bomb, full of pain and anger.  Our father was  very cruel to our Mom and  us three kids, but more so toward this brother.  He (my brother) always had a short temper and it got shorter as he grew and he turned to unhealthy ways of dealing with it which caused him to end up in a reform school then a year in prison.   Most everyone who meets him knows within a few minutes he is an angry man.  From the few times he would talk to me about it, it was clear he had never forgiven our Dad who has been dead for years. I told him he was enslaved to a man whose body rots in the grave one time during a confrontation  we had.  He would not give God a chance to help him over come this anger. 

There is no one I pray for more then this brother, Larry,  and would ask you to pray for him too.  And I have seen a softening in him the last couple years.   I want him to understand Ephesians 6:12 That he wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  I want him to know  freedom from this anger. Every time I am around him I see how easily I could be just where he is, it's a choice.  I chose to be a freedom walker.  

What are you walking in today, anger or freedom?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Through [Live]


Thank you God for the message in this song. 


                      

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2–3a, ESV).

Too often we’re searching for ways around deep waters and dangerous fires rather than through them. Have you ever experienced this? Have you tried to avoid a trial, only to have it move directly in front of you again? God is checking you, heading you off at the pass. He wants you to go through it. Not us! God leads us into difficulties and brings us through them so we can give Him the glory and be a testimony to all around us.  

Yesterday I talked to a man  who had heart surgery two weeks ago.  He was telling me how weak he was, hard to even get in and in and out of bed.  I assured him in couple months that will cease and he will be able to walk around more. God used my testimony of my recent heart surgery to comfort him.  God never waste a trial. 
It’s tempting to think, I can’t take much more of this! I’ve been treading water for so long. I’m tired and afraid I might sink. Hear this: Whatever you’re facing, you will get through it. You will not drown or be swept away. Yes, the water will feel deep, the fire will feel hot, but it won’t be too deep, too hot, or last too long. 
.That promise holds for you too. At this moment, God is watching your life, and at some point in this trial, He will say, “Enough.” You don’t need to falter. God’s hand is on the thermostat of your trial; the fire will not get too hot. He is watching the depth gauge of your flood; the waters will not get too deep. 
Have you come through a trial lately?    Or still waiting for God to say, enough? 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter is over, now what?

                 According to Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, known as the "Father of church      history this is what happened to the disciples after Jesus left. 



Into All the World.
PETER and PAUL were both martyred in Rome about 66 AD, during the persecution under Emperor Nero. Paul was beheaded. Peter was crucified, upside down at his request, since he did not feel he was worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

By Faith

Years ago I  sit outside that empty tomb where Jesus was laid after his death on the cross, trying to get my human mind to wrap around how it must have felt for those who saw him beaten till blood was dripping from his body.  Carrying his own cross up the hill. Then laid on that wooden cross, nails put in his feet and hands, more blood dripping, then topped off with a crown of thorns pushed down on his head, more blood. How could one live with so much blood flowing from his body? How could they know how important His blood was, the power it had, the significance it had.  Did any of the disciples think about the blood, it was everywhere, their Jesus was being crucified, the one they had walked and talked, ate meal with, traveled the roads of Israel with, he was slowly dying.   What went through their mind, did they remember He said it would be this way?

Image result for pictures of the garden tomb

Our first visit to Israel ended at that empty tomb which was so fitting after walking around the old city all day, we were so tired.   Then we walked down a small alley, seen a small sign that said, Garden Tomb above a door so we  stepped through it into a  simple shop.  On the other side of the shop is a big beautiful garden with paths winding down to a lower place where the tomb is.  There are natural places to sit, it quiet which was amazing to me because the city is right outside the walls of the garden.  But it's the natural doorway , cut out of stone, that ones eyes cannot leave. People are coming in and out and as I sit watching someone shut the wooden door and on it were these word, "He is not here, He has risen."  Tears begin to fall from my eyes and others as we read those words,  He is not here, He has risen

I have never forgotten that trip and the impact it had on me. But I was a believer of all I wrote before I saw it. By faith, I believe there was a garden tomb, by faith I believed who Jesus said He was, the Son of God, come to die for me and all who believe. By faith I believed He rose from that tomb and is now sitting at the right hand of His Father.  I am grateful it does not take our eyes seeing the place He was crucified or the tomb to believe that is where Jesus was buried and rose from.

Roman 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 



                 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mother and sneaky skills

One year has passed since my mother passed away, April 9, 2016.  This my favorite picture  of her because she was very happy at this time. Nothing pleased her more then to come visit me, spend a few days, maybe a week with us. When this picture was taken we only had our daughter, Tara Jo.  And we were living in the only house we ever owned.  Mom lived in southern Illinois and we lived in Louisville, Ky., she loved driving the 31/2 hours to our place for a visit.
My mother, even though saved,  loved to play bingo and the nickle slot machines and was known to buy a lottery ticket once in a while before she went into the nursing home. In fact she always had some change in her drawer which never added up to a dollar. She would take out that plastic empty margarine cup she kept it in,  shake it and say, as soon as I get a dollar I am going to have the boys, meaning one of my brother buy me a lottery ticket.  Then, what she said next always made me cry.  I'll get out of this place, meaning the nursing home if I win the lottery.  I knew it would be death that finally got her out of the nursing home.

In her nursing home they played bingo twice a week and she went faithfully. When I went home to see her she insisted I play too, two cards, just like everyone else.  I on purpose would lose because some of those residents would get upset if I won and they didn't, I was not a resident.   Mom would always say, well Jo, you just got some bad cards.  I depended on my sneaky skills when it came to bingo.

  When she got to where she could not drive and was in a wheelchair she would say, Jo, lets go to the gambling boat, I'll buy the gas, pay for a room so we can stay all night and even buy your food.   I regret not taking her once in a while when we were home, I really do.   She was not really a gambler but she loved the people everywhere,laughing, having a good time,  the excitement that she might win, and being with me. That is where my regret comes in, she just wanted  to do something with me that she enjoyed.

 She tried to be content winning a stuffed animal or some ceramic what not to put on a shelf that she did not have.   She saved all the stuffed animals she had won. They were stuffed in every drawer, extra space she had in her closet.  When I went to visit her we would go through them and she would pick out way too many for me to take home for the grandchildren.  Once again my sneaky skill kicked in. I would say yes to what ever she wanted to sent with me, load it up and take it back the person in charge of bingo. About three to four weeks later those things would appear on the cart again to be won by somebody.   She never remembered them.

Being a Missionary sometimes gets in the way of making people happy.  I remember Ace's language helper wife smoked and every time she knew Ace was going to town she would ask him to get her some newspaper. In Paupa New Guinea village people would roll the tobacco leaf in the news paper.  That woman loved my husband and she would laugh every time she saw him. I should have step out from behind the law and did what my husband did, showed a little grace.  I think I worried I would run into someone who supported us at the gambling boat and judgement would be heaped upon our ministry.  But  if that had happened then I could have said , I won't tell if you won't.  I remember our pastor telling us when we flew out of Las Vegas, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.  

  Mom would never want me to live in  regret so I am choosing to put Philippians 3:13-14 into practice and look forward to seeing her in heaven. 

 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus



                                      

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Awakening




Related imageIt was one of those fall days when the sky was a beautiful blue, the leaves were almost all off the trees but what was left were colorful, it was cool, because it was October 26th.  When I went into  the church I don't remember the blue sky, or the leaves or even the weather, but that was before my awakening.  When  person has lived in darkness for 35 years they have no idea how the light of Jesus in their life will change how they view things.  The Bible has a term for this awakening, the scripture call it, born again.  It's as clear in my mind as if it happened a few minutes ago how colorful everything was, how clean I felt, yep, it's that born again feeling only Jesus brings when His Spirit penetrates our darken soul.

John 3:3 - Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 


Here is the best part, this awakening is happening all over the world because missionaries are taking the sweet pure gospel to these remote places and next door to their neighbors and to the people they work with.  What I want you to understand is, it's the same amount of light that comes into a person soul no matter where that empty soul lives. We are vessels God wants to use to share the light with others no matter where we live.



Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like  me
I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see