Sorry for the delay in posting this, as it should have been up over a month ago. There has been so much work to do at the new location, and I have been staying focused on that. We are making great progress in God’s Echo. His will continues to advance around the world. The next few blogs will come quickly, so you are all up-to-date. I love you Lord.
It was such a blessing to be at the holy sites where Jesus walked. The journey started with a bus ride to the Dead Sea. If you are not aware of this fact, the salt content in the water is so great, that anyone could float with no effort. Consequently, there is practically no life in the Dead Sea. After this, we continued on to Masada. This is the site of the last stronghold of the Jews against the Zealots in A.D. 73. This was Herod’s old fortress and there were still bits and pieces of the ornate structure; inlaid tile, elaborate paintwork, and masonry. Because of its location, it had a great vantage point on approaching adversaries. Thankfully we were able to ride a cable car to the top, because otherwise, it would have been a quite extreme hike.
Next on the list was a visit to Ein Gedi Springs, the site where David hid from King Saul. For those that remember the story, David was hiding in the cave. King Saul entered the cave to relieve himself and David snuck up behind him and cut off a piece of his garment. Later, he explained to the king that he could have easily killed him. Because he honored King Saul, he did not harm him. We were able to witness to three young Israelis who were enjoying themselves at the springs. The Lord continually gave us unique approaches with talking to people about Jesus. One way that seemed extremely useful and totally inspired by the Holy Spirit was this: I would tell them I am a Christian and I do not want to offend anybody. I would then ask them what would be the best way to talk to them about Jesus. By enlisting them to help me with my responsibility of sharing the Gospel, it made the conversation flow very smoothly. At the end of most of the conversations, I had with the Jewish people I would ask them to do one thing for me- Earnestly pray to God, “If Jesus is real, reveal it to me.” Because of the approach that the Lord had given us, most listeners seemed quite willing to try it.
All glory and honor belongs to Jesus. If I would have attempted this on my own, the outcome would not have been nearly as successful. One thing I encourage all my brothers and sisters to do is to spread the Gospel daily in every chance that we get. When the Lord knows that we are available to do this, He generally provides an opportunity every time we are in public. Also, through this process, He sharpens our skills so that our time is fruitful. We are continually learning which situations we should politely leave, but this rarely happens as long as we follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The fact that He is exponentially wiser than we are gives us faith that we can trust His direction. Just as a quick reinforcement, when we are not in peace in the situation, it becomes very hard for us to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice. Anytime this happens, we should immediately look for the source of disharmony. For me, it is generally something that I have failed myself, but it can be something generated by others. Regardless, we need to pluck it out and return to peace as quickly as possible.
Day two of the tour began at Gideon Springs. This is where Gideon made the selection of the 300 men for his army. The spring was crystal clear and beautiful, however, it is now surrounded by a campground. Following this, we went to the Sea of Galilee and a visit to Magdala to see the ruins of a first century synagogue. We also enjoyed a fish meal appropriately named St. Peter’s fish lunch. After lunch, there was a wooden boat ride offered on the Sea of Galilee. The size and shape of the boat was a close replica to what was found buried in the mud dated back to the first century. Our tour bus carried around 50 people and the offer was made the previous day for people to get baptized in the Jordan River if they desired. Roughly half of the people on the bus elected to do so. I am glad it worked out for all who chose to do it, as I am sure it was a very special event for them.
Day three of our tour started with a visit to the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane. I personally was moved the most at the garden, trying to imagine the anguish Jesus experienced that words cannot express. As I walked around the perimeter of the garden, I silently prayed, “Jesus, can You show me where You were in this garden?” Although I had a sense of where it may have been, I did not see a supernatural indicator. From there, we continued to Caiaphas house, then Mount Zion, David’s tomb, and the Upper Room.
As I was sitting outside by the Upper Room, I had an encounter with a man that was quite unique. When he walked away from me, he twisted his head down and back up, in a very snake-like move. He had several tattoos that were undecidable symbols. Several necklaces and charms adorned his body. I had the distinct impression that it was a top lieutenant of Satan, or even Satan himself. I had an encounter with Satan in a powerful vision 26 years ago. Since then, God has taught me quite a bit about that vision, partially through collaboration with other people. During my last trip to Africa a few months back, the Lord revealed a key part of that vision’s meaning. That is all I will say at this point. In the future, I am sure I will be able to share more, but God gave me a specific dream concerning what I should say.
The end of the tour for this day was at the Wailing Wall. As you can imagine, all kinds of individuals were in attendance. We chose not to attend the final day of the tour, yet instead we traveled to Tel Aviv, where our flight would be departing in a couple of days. Little did we know that a large LGBTQ pride parade was in preparation. Hundreds of rainbow flags were displayed along the beach area where the rally would be held. Just for the record, I want to clearly state I stand 100% in alignment with what the Word of God says concerning homosexuality. I believe God is the Design Engineer, which in turn gives Him alone complete discretion over the operating parameters of His design. The Ancient Engineer has the right to dictate whatever specifications He sees fit. Mankind designs products and systems all the time, and they always include parameters for what that product is supposed to do in that specific role. We freely and gladly accept that as standard procedure. Why is it so hard for us to accept the protocol set forth by the Creator?
If we indeed believe that He was capable of creating everything, then He certainly has the right to direct His creation to operate within the parameters He created. Only because of pride, we may think we can make our own choices, instead of God. Some that read this may get very upset with what I am saying, but I encourage you to study the Bible closely. These are not my opinions, but mandates set forth by the Creator. If you look at this as the Master Plan of the Design Engineer it makes sense. Just remember, all sin is sin. The person that is grossly overweight is compared to a drunkard in the Bible, which is clearly defined as sin. Many people claim to be Christians and fill the church pews yet are clearly in sin because of their gluttony. I myself have battled this much of my life. In reality, our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. If we are lazy and overweight, we are not caring for His temple.