Jordan/Israel ~ 1987-1988 ~ Part 7

Day #7

The rabiis, or Orthodox Jews, wear their hair very short with a long, long strand near the ear.  It would be interesting to find out why.  They are probably trying to fulfill a law of theirs.  On the way to our first stop, Pastor Grimes told us that it hardly ever rains at the Dead Sea.

Our first stop entailed a visit to an Israeli shrine in commemoration of the Jewish Holocaust.  The question remains, was the Holocaust God’s push of the Jews into the Holy Land?  First of all, we saw the Israeli military cemetery.  We saw many stones representing the war in 1948, when 650,000 Jews had a six month war with the Arabs and lost 6,000 people.  The Israeli national movement is called the Zionist Movement, named after Mount Zion, or Jerusalem.  Other stones were from soldiers who died in 1967.  (the Six Day War).  Next, we proceeded to the Memorial to the Holocaust.  One and one half million children were killed.  Seventy two hundred (7,200) Jewish people escaped from Denmark to Sweden.  We saw pictures of gas chambers in Poland.  Death and Concentration Camps were all over Europe.  The hair and gold teeth were extracted from the Jews and used in the war effort.  The Holocaust is one reason the Jews go to Mount Masada and vow they will never surrender, but fight to the death,  This entire Memorial is a good reminder of the wretchedness of the heart of man.

Next, we looked at the Dead Sea Scrolls.  We saw part of the book of Isaiah in the Hebrew Aramaic.  It was discovered Qumran in 1947, and it dates to about 100 B.C.  It was made by the famous Essenes.  Then we saw the Temple Scroll.  The Temple Scroll is God teaching the Torah in the first person.  We saw the Manuel of Discipline – the regulations of the Essenes.  We saw the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness.  The biggest blessing, however, was to see a scroll of Isaiah dated 100 B.C., and filled with the prophecies of Jesus Christ!  (examples:  Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, chapter 53, etc.)  We saw the Nahum Commentary which identified the Essenes.  We saw the scrolls of forty one of the Psalms, including the apocryphal One Hundred and Fifty First Psalm.  We saw the jars which held the Dead Sea Scrolls.  We looked at the old marriage contract, a divorce bill, business letters (selling dates and fruits), and a social letter.  The Bar Kokhba revolt of 132-135 was the last revolt of the Jews against the Romans.  This was mentioned in a social letter.  Over seven hundred scrolls and parchments have been found around Qumran.

Now we proceeded to Hezekiah’s Tunnel.  We entered the Hinnom Valley, filled with olive trees.  Then we came to the Kidron Valley.  Hezekiah’s Tunnel is almost one half a mile long, and is a tremendous engineering feat.  There were many residences right outside the tunnel, where donkeys worked right at the tunnel site, and children rode the donkeys.  The tunnel consisted of two parts:  1) The original Canaanite Shaft and 2) Hezekiah’s Tunnel into David’s city.  We saw the entrance to Hezekiah’s Tunnel – dated 750 B.C.  Then we saw where David found the shaft, near the tunnel, which he used to enter Jerusalem around 1000 B.C.  We walked up Mount Ophel – David’s city was a steep hill which was surrounded by valleys, the Kidron and Tyropoeon Valleys.  The shaft and the tunnel diverted water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam at the south end of David’s city.  When David took Jerusalem, Joab went up the Canaanite Shaft in order to open the gate for David and his men.  Because of what he did, Joab received one of David’s daughters in marriage.

We noticed that Muslims paint their doors in relation to their “status” in faith.  A red door, for instance, means they went to Mecca.  There is no end to the customs and oddities in this land.

From our location in Hezekiah’s Tunnel, the ancient walls of the city of David could be seen.  We observed the Pool of Siloam, which was the water receiving area for David’s Jerusalem.  Swimmers were seen who entered the Pool of Siloam, having gone through Hezekiah’s Tunnel.  Nearby, are the traditional sites of the tombs of both Jehosephat and Zedekiah.  They are not one hundred per cent positive about the authenticity of these tombs.  There is more certainty however, about the tomb of Absalom.

Today is Friday, the Muslim Holy Day, and the soldiers were equipped with sticks and riot gear.

Next, we saw Zedekiah’s Cave or Solomon’s Quarries, a mountain where rock and stone was cut out for the temple.  It was a hollowed out mountain, a huge and vast cave opening into an amphitheater.  It kept going down deeper and deeper.  Ton upon ton of rocks were removed.  The traditional site of Golgotha or Calvary was seen across the street from Zedekiah’s Cave.  This was a Muslim area and we could not go there.  We noticed military halftracks and troops in the area.

On the way to Bethlehem, we passed another of Herod’s fortresses in the distance.  It was the Herodium, a man made mountain where Herod flashed signals from, way out in the desert.  (Because of his paranoia over assasination attempts, King Herod slept in a different place every night).  His tomb could be in this fortress which is noted for its flat top, looking like a volcanic mountain from a distance.  We passed Rachel’s tomb in Bethlehem off the main street.

For lunch, we went into St. George’s Arab Restaurant in Bethlehem.  An Arab waiter attempted to take away my salad while I was eating it.  Pastor Grimes was seated next to me and quickly took the waiter to task, straightening out his decorum.  We had lamb shiskabob, and it was good.  Speaking of Arab and custom, I would like to mention that the Arab toilet we saw near Petra, was in a large room, and on the floor.  I was totally mesmerized when I first saw it.  One would perform their bodily functions before a crowd.  Unbelievable.

We walked over to the Church of the Nativity after lunch.  This is the traditional birth place of Jesus Christ.  The church is built on a cave.  The only entrance, the front door, was short so camels could not walk in.  The cave was charcoal black, due to many people bringing in torches and candles.  The 1)Greek Orthodox, 2)Armenian, 3)and Roman Catholic all control this church, each with their own section.  A Greek Orthodox Priest, dressed in black, rang bells filled with smoky incense all over the church – making it “holy.”  Many of us gagged and coughed because of the smoke.  The church goes back to the 5th Century and is rugged looking, like a fortress.  The church has the original Byzantine 5th Century floor, Muslim columns, and Crusader decorations on the walls.  Another cave or manger was on the other side.  After leaving the Greek Orthodox Church, we entered the Catholic section.  This was a very ritualistic church.

Now we proceeded toward the shepherd’s fields.  There was a natural cave in these fields, and there were many shepherd’s fields to be seen in the area.  These fields were similar to, and may have actually been, the fields that Ruth worked in and Boaz owned.  Beth-lehem means “house of bread.”  There are wheat fields and shepherd’s fields all around the town, hence the name.  From Bethlehem, we had a breath-taking view of the mountains of Moab, across the desert and the Dead Sea.  Moab, we know, was where Ruth came from, and the country originated between Lot and one of his daughters.

We then saw a beautiful panoramic view of Jerusalem from the south.  We could observe David’s city at Mount Ophel up the middle, the Mount of Olives was seen on the right, and Mount Zion was on the left.  The valleys are as follows:  the Kidron Valley bears off to the right, the Tyropoeon Valley goes to the left, and the Hinnom Valley can be found in the middle.  We could oberve the ever present Dome of the Rock in the middle also, above the Hinnom Valley.

Next, we went through the Hinnom Valley in Jerusalem – also called Gehenna because it was a trash dump where “the fire never went out.”  The word Gehenna, of course, refers to burning.  The never ending burning of hell.

We went to a store in Jerusalem belonging to a gentleman named Was-Was.  Along the way we smelled the aroma of many good Arabic foods.  Haggling is common place in Jerusalem, as you can bargain with people.  For a reasonable price, I bought two brass candlesticks for my wife, and an olive wood donkey to add to our collection of over twenty donkeys at home.

 

Born Again 3

“Ye must be born again.”  John 3:7

“Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”   John 1:13

The new birth does not come through human descent (“not of blood”), nor does it come through human desire (“the will of the flesh”), nor does it come through human determination (“nor of the will of man”).  The issue is, have you put your faith in Christ?  Have you been born of God: have you been born from above?  Apart from this you will never enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3).  Believe on Christ now, tomorrow may be too late.   -W. Ross Rainey

Children of men, attend to the word, so solemnly uttered by Jesus the Lord; And let not this message to you be in vain, “Ye must be born again.”  -William T. Sleeper

**********************

Let us contrast the beautiful aforementioned summary of true salvation with that of Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church in California.  The following quotation is taken from page 220 of the Purpose Driven Church:  “Anybody can be won to Christ if you discover the key to his or her heart.”

Sorry Rick, as it states prior to your man centered apostate statement, salvation does NOT come through human desire or determination.  It comes from ABOVE, and you and I are not big enough to find keys to anyone’s heart.  Do not be deceived- Salvation has everything to do with becoming born from above.  It has NOTHING to do with finding keys to people’s hearts.

**********************

Are you a Berean or a Laodicean?  Do you believe the Bible or Rick Warren?  Rick Warren is a litmus test and a referendum of Biblical illiteracy.  Unfortunately he is plum out of line with how one becomes saved – the most important issue that anyone will ever face this side of eternity.  In the following video, John MacArthur succinctly and thoroughly exegetes the scriptures, comparing the impotence of Rick Warren’s “Gospel,” with the true and Biblical Gospel that saves.  Warren totally ignores the doctrine of repentance, without which one cannot be saved.  [Luke 13:3,5 “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”]  In a mere three minutes, the following video beautifully summarizes what true salvation is, and what it is not:

 

Born Again 2 ~ The Newsboys

John 3:1-3 King James Version (KJV)

1There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

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.

 

“Born Again”

I found myself looking into the mirror
Knew I wasn’t who I wanted to be
I was living life the way that I wanted
But my eyes reminded me I’m not free
Believed a lie so everything that I know
Says I gotta go, tired of going solo
But I’m never gonna go there againThis is what it is, this is who I am
This is where I finally take my stand
I didn’t wanna fall but I don’t have to crawl
I met the one with two scarred hands Giving Him the best of
Everything that’s left of
The life inside this man
I’ve been born againI see ya walking like you’re living in fear
Having trouble even looking at me
Wishing they would give you more than words
Sick of people telling how it should be What’d ya download? Where’d ya get your info?
You saw that I’m sure, now you’re in the in though
Gonna tell you what I believe This is what it is, this is who I am
This is where I finally take my stand
I didn’t wanna fall but I don’t have to crawl
I met the one with two scarred hands Giving Him the best of
Everything that’s left of
The life inside this man
I’ve been born again We are the ones they call by name
I’m never gonna look back
Let go, let go, the guilt, the shame
Said, I’m never gonna look back
This is who I am This is what it is, this is who I am

This is where I finally take my stand
I didn’t wanna fall but I don’t have to crawl
I met the one with two scarred hands Giving Him the best of
Everything that’s left of
The life inside this man
I’ve been born againThis is who I am
I didn’t wanna fall but I don’t have to crawl
I met the one with two scarred hands Giving Him the best of
Everything that’s left of
The life inside this man
I’ve been born again
I’ve been born again

Born Again 1

Have you ever wondered what the phrase “born again” means?  The Bible records that Jesus used the phrase in a conversation with a man named Nicodemus.  Nicodemus approached Jesus at night.  He was curious about Jesus and the kingdom of God.

Jesus told him: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  Nicodemus responded, “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:4).

Nicodemus was a highly moral man who obeyed God’s law.  He was a respected leader of the Jewish community.  No doubt he was a fine man.  Yet something was lacking.  Like Nicodemus, many people today confuse religion with new birth in Christ.  Phrases like “I pray regularly” or  “I believe there is a God” often are confused with a real new-birth experience.

New birth begins with the Holy Spirit convicting a person that a person is a sinner.  Because of sin, we are spiritually dead.  For this reason, spiritual birth, as Jesus described it, is necessary.  God loves us and gives us spiritual birth when we ask Him for it.

The Bible says all persons are sinners (see Romans 3:23).  Jesus died on a cross and was raised from the dead to save sinners.  To be born again means that a person admits to God that he or she is a sinner, repents of sin, believes in or trusts Christ, and confesses faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.  Jesus told Nicodemus that everyone who believes in (places faith in) Christ would not perish (see John 3:16).  Jesus is the only One who can save us (see John 14:6).

To believe in Jesus is to be born again.  Confess your sins and ask Jesus right now to save you.  “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved”  (Acts 2:21).  After you have received Jesus Christ into your life, share your decision with another person, and following Christ’s example, ask for baptism by immersion in your local church as a public expression of your faith  (see Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:6).

From Open Windows

A Guide For Personal Devotions

Fall 2016      Lifeway

 

 

 

 

Photographs From The Ministry Of Billy Graham

The following pictures represent a ministry that lasted for eight decades and reached more people than any other ministry in the history of the Christian Church.  Billy Franklin Graham was a fiery preacher during his younger years.  Enjoy this walk down memory lane:

Poster with young Billy Graham

Poster with young Billy Graham
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Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA)
Saved from
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA)

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA)

Poster with young Billy Graham

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The Ultimate Sacrifice

Romans 12:1  King James Version (KJV)

12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

King James Version (KJV)Public Domain

In 1965, Jim Elliot was one of five godly men who died at the end of Auca lances in Ecuador.  In his diary he had written, “Lord, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life, that I may burn for thee.  I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus.”  The Lord granted Jim Elliot’s request, and today the five, then ignited, still burns in the hearts and lives of redeemed Aucas.  What is our passion?  -Arnot P. McIntee.

Breathe on me, breath of God, Till I am wholly Thine, Until the earthly part of me Glows with Thy fire divine.  -E. Hatch

30 BRITAIN FIRST VS 3,000 MUSLIM EXTREMISTS, CHARLIE HEBDO PROTEST, LONDON

 

Britain First faces down leftwing and Muslim extremists in Burton

Muslims attack Christians in UK streets “we’re taking over” “we hate you”

The Islamic infiltration of Europe is creating scenes like this everywhere.  Praise the Lord for courageous organizations like Britain First and people like Jayda Fransen.  These are great films for liberals and the uninformed who believe that President Donald Trump has a prejudiced and bigoted approach towards Radical Islam.  Radical Islam has no desire to homogenize with people and respect the law of the land.  They say England is now “our country,” and they desire to implement sharia law throughout.  Note the continual use of the “F” Bomb by Radical Islamists, as well as their spitting and throwing eggs at Britain First demonstrators.  The politicians in Britain have foolishly given their nation away to people who despise Britain and their laws.  Will America follow suit?

Pray For Revival In America!

Hungary/Romania 2017 Mission Trip ~ Part 6

Pastors Conference In Satu Mare, Bethel Baptist Church

On the morning of February 6, 2017, we departed for our pastor’s conference at Satu Mare, fifteen miles from the Ukrainian border.  It was held at Bethel Baptist Church, the flagship evangelistic church in Satu Mare.  I preached at this church on September 15, 2005 and was blessed with a profession of faith during the service (refer to the category for Hungary/Romania 2005).  Mehi, I was pleased to see, was still the pastor at Bethel Baptist Church twelve and one half years later.  He looked aged and weathered since I last saw him.  His twin daughters translated for us on our previous trip, and Mehi’s trademark is the twenty eight children he has adopted!  Perhaps this has matured him as well as the pastorate!

Our pastor’s conference commenced after we arrived and settled in for an hour or so.  Nine Romanian pastors came the first day, and twenty Romanian pastors came the second day, in some cases bringing their wives and/or families.  When I say they are Romanian pastors, I use that term representing the main people group, because there were those present who had backgrounds from Russia, Belarus, the Ukraine, Hungary, etc., etc.  Intermarriage among the Slavic and Eastern European Countries is not uncommon.

Bobby Herrell was assisted by Aaron Gowen, and they did the bulk of the teaching in the conference, as once again Elijah Morar did a great job translating English to Romanian.  Especially noteworthy was the great chemistry between Bobby and Elijah, both teaching with unction from the Holy Spirit and enthusiasm.  The curriculum of the conference was the Global Effect Ministry.  This was great discipleship training and well received by all of the pastors from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.  Two questions especially challenged the students:  1)What am I asking them to do?  2)What do I want them to know?

From the North American standpoint, Cornerstone Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, led this mission trip.  Their senior pastor is Bobby Herrell and their discipleship pastor is Aaron Gowen.  They do a very unique work and I would ask that you pray for their ministry.  They represent a thriving church in Texas, and a brief word about their overseas mission ventures: They currently go to Romania twice a year (every six months), and they work in India twice a year as well.  That means their team is on mission every three months!  What a great model for the Great Commission – Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8.

We later departed for Budapest in order to make our flight early in the morning.  There was a lot of light snow and sleet throughout our trip.  I was concerned about the possibility of “black ice,” but the Lord watched over us.  We rested well that night, preparing for our thirty hour journey home.  The mission trip could not have gone better, and we attribute that to the Lord’s blessings and to the prayers of the saints.  We traveled home tired and spiritually fulfilled.

Revelation 22:20  King James Version (KJV)

20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Saved, Secure, and Forever His, Pastor Steve

***************

Postscript-

When we get involved in the Lord’s work, additional opportunities always open up.  We are living in a day of international networking and advanced technology.  When I got home from this mission trip, I met Attila Kulcsar at a meeting with pastors.  Attila is the pastor of Open Bible Hungarian Church in Venice, Florida.  He speaks three languages fluently- Hungarian, Romanian and English.  He has friends in Hungary and in Budapest.  As mentioned, our lead pastor during this mission venture was Bobby Herrell.  I previously referenced that Bobby is looking for a couple of native Hungarians to help establish a foothold in Budapest for a church plant.  It seems to me, that Attila could be of great assistance in this endeavor.  Hence I passed this information on to lead pastor Bobby Herrell and to Partners In Missions International (PIMI) president Elijah Morar.  Please pray for the Lord to bless the efforts of these men to plant a church in Budapest if it His will!

TobyMac and how his song “Love Broke Thru” reveals how he came to know and believe in Jesus

DC Talk, is a Christian rap and rock trio. The group was formed in Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia in 1987 by Toby McKeehan, Michael Tait, and Kevin Max Smith.  Michael Tait is now lead singer with the Newsboys.  Toby McKeehan (Mac), has long been on a solo career, and the following song and testimony allude to his salvation at a summer camp.  Countless children and youth have been saved at summer camp and Vacation Bible School (VBS).

 

Saved At Summer Camp

Love Broke Thru

TobyMac’s Life Changing Experience And Testimony  ~  The Story Behind “Love Broke Thru”

Hungary/Romania 2017 Mission Trip ~ Part 5

Crusade Evangelism In Oradea

Open Doors Baptist Church

Our team of preachers spoke twice at the same church on Sunday, February 5, 2017.  I preached at Open Doors Baptist Church, and went with my evangelistic standby message “The Lamb Of God,” Revelation 13:8b.

Since I was to speak again in the evening, and because a large funeral would occur in the church facility in the afternoon, I stayed with the host pastor, his wife and their friends.  We shared a meal together and rested.

The funeral was packed with people.  A person passed on who lived only a few doors down from the church.  Many more came to the funeral than came to church!  Boy, that will make you think.  It reminds me of the old joke – “Make sure the next time you come to church is not when six strong men carry you there.”  I would guess there were well over two hundred people attending the funeral, filling the upper balcony as well.  Bobby Herrell spoke to the people and emphasized the resurrection from the dead.  The good folks all wore black and the atmosphere was one of mourning the loss of a loved one.  Bobby’s message cut right through the darkness as we heard great joy in his voice, expounding on Jesus rising from the dead.  Bobby kept looking at me as I sat on the front row, and I later asked him why.  He said it was because of my positive reaction to the message.  He did not see it elsewhere.  It shows the importance for you and me to let our light shine in a world of darkness all around us.

In the evening service, I preached from Acts 1:3, “Many Infallible Proofs.”  Some of the evidences of the reality of our faith are people’s testimonies of salvation, the boldness of the Apostles, the fulfillment of the Biblical prophecies, and the spread of Christianity around the world.  This doctrine is called apologetics, and often resonates with young people.  Our preaching was well received.  As mentioned, Romanian Christians will turn out to hear the Word of God, the way Americans turn out to hear a Christian music group or artist.

The Evangelistic Crusades were a great success.  The services were anointed, the people attended in great numbers, and sixty one souls made professions of faith in Oradea.  As the president of PIMI, Elijah Morar told us as we prepared to leave on our tour bus, only eternity will reveal the hearts that were touched during the last week.  Well said.  We hated to leave.  I enjoy working in a vineyard where people are responding to the Gospel and not Gospel hardened like in America.  You have to go to these places in order to understand what I just wrote.

In His Service, Pastor Steve