The wilderness and the [a]wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert[b] shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; 2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing… They shall see the glory of the Lord, The excellency of our God….
For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. 7 The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
8 A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness…
9 No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there- Isaiah 35
Day 4 January 12, Sunday
We drove today from Jerusalem (we checked out from Olive Tree hotel in Jerusalem) to Judean wilderness road/highway. On the road we saw a community of the Bedouins living in tents. Then we drove about an hour to the road through Qumram, Dead Sea and Masada. Saw huge rock formations, caves, and canyons along the En Gedi road which are desert and arid places. However, surprisingly, there were palm date orchards. The huge rocks and caves reminded us of the Scriptures in Psalm 18. “ The Lord is my rock and my fortress..” Some Bible stories came alive, the man who walked on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho and was helped by a Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37). The story of David in 1 Samuel when he hid in caves in EnGedi. While driving, we had the view of the Dead Sea on the left, and and on the right were the huge rock formations, canyons and caves.
I will love You, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my [a]strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the [b]horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. Psalm 18:1-2
The story of David when he stayed in the strongholds in the wilderness- I Samuel 23 and 24
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. 2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. – Psalm 63
Driving by Masada and Qumran, we some orchards of palm dates, green houses of herbs and other vegetable gardens.We saw water irrigation system implemented in the Judean wilderness, and even swimming pool resort.
It reminded me of the word in Isaiah 35, “the desert and the parched land will be glad, the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the crocus. It will burst into bloom,…water will gush out forth into wilderness, burning sand will become a pool and thirsty ground bubbling springs. And a highway will be there, but only the redeemed will walk. “
Here is the continuation of our recent Holy Land trip. Please see the above links for Days 1 and 2. We apologize that it’s taking long to get these organized.
On Day 3 (Saturday is Sabbath Day)
Today we started the day going to the Old City (Walled city of Jerusalem). There were city gates, thick stone walled city gates.
Jerusalem (From NTS Travel Holy Land Guide) is located in the Judean Mountains about 2500 ft above sea level. It is also called the “City of David” ( 2 Samuel 5:6-7).
We also went to the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed a paralytic. It was interesting to see the actual pool. Before coming, we imagined it to be like a regular oval shaped, Olympic size swimming pool. But it looked very different. It is a deep and large, look like a water cistern with tall marble columns, with steps to go down.
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, [a]Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, [b]paralyzed, [c]waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
Then we walked to the “Via Dolorosa”, or the Road to Suffering. There are stations of the cross in the Old City. This was the supposed to be the road that the Lord Jesus went through as he suffered, bruised, beaten and carried a cross from the Judgement seat of Pontius Pilate to the place of crucifixion.
From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus [d]and led Him away.And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. 19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
We walked on a narrow street of the Old City, where we saw many shops.
Some shops and stores were selling wares, souvenirs, scarves, etc, Some vehicles, cars and even small trucks drive that long and narrow alleys, unbelievable!
Then after walking along the narrow alleys, with twist and turns, the alley wound up in a corner through a narrow passage that led to a small square with an old cathedral built by Queen Helena.
The site where Catholics believe Jesus was buried.
I was surprised to see many people, tourists and pilgrims from different countries-Africa, India, Europe, South America, North America, etc. Inside the old cathedral was dark, there were some old paintings, murals, icon, images of Bible characters- Mary, etc. It was literally dark inside, crowded, long lines of people waiting to touch a huge rock on an altar. And other religious relics, believed to be connected to the death and burial of Jesus.
After this, Jesus, [e]knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit –
Then we went to another site called the Garden Tomb. Other Christian groups preferred this site as the burial site of Jesus. It was a nice open air garden, peaceful, calm, much nicer place.
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
On Day 2, after visiting the Garden of Gethsemane, we drove a couple of miles or so to the Western Wall.
I saw a lot people- Israelis and people from other countries walking on the square outside the part of the ruins of the Old Temple. A portion of the wall, on the right side of the square is called the “Western Wall”. According to our tour guide and the tradition, the wall is part of the original temple built by King Herod 2000 years ago. It is the most holy site or sacred place for the Jews.
Why the Western Wall and Temple are significant?
The first Temple was built during the reign of King Solomon in Israel about 3,000 years ago. In 2 Chronicles 7 it says;
“Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” The Bible Gateway
We wrote prayers on small pieces of papers, and stuck them in the crevices of the Wall. Many people who come to the site do the same thing. So I wrote on my a piece of paper my prayers – salvation of the Jews, revival in the church, and my family. This is the most awesome spiritual experience I had so far. I was also surprised to see some young Jewish women- maybe 16 or 18 years old who were praying and doing the religious rituals, holding their small book, reciting prayers, at the Western Wall. What an awesome place!
*According to the Western Wall Heritage Foundations,” the Western Wall has been the center of Jewish yearning and memory for more than 2,000 years. The only fragment of the Great Temple to survive the Roman destruction, the Divine presence has never departed from the Western Wall.” visit The Western Wall Foundation
Isaiah 56:7 “these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrificeswill be accepted on my altar; for my house will be calleda house of prayer for all nations.”
In afternoon, we visited the Holocaust Memorial museum, outside the Old city in the business district. There were many overwhelming artifacts – names, photos, etc. of many Jewish people who perished during the holocaust in Europe from the 1930’s- 40’s.
We also went to another part of the city, where a chapel is built to remember home of John the Baptist’s parents – Zacharias and Elizabeth. (Story in Luke 1: 57 – 66).
We saw frames where the prayer of Zacharias in Luke 1 was written in different languages.
Then we went to another site in connection to the birth of Jesus and John the baptist. It is a chapel to remember the story when Mary visited Elizabeth. Luke 1:39-56
On day two of the tour, still in Jerusalem, our bus drove up to a road that leads to Mt. Olives. We all got off the bus, and stop at a place which has a breathtaking view overlooking the city of Jerusalem. The tour guide gave us a brief geographical sketch/background of Jerusalem city- the city gates, etc. The old temple wall, the old city wall, from Herod’s time to the Byzantine era. Some parts of the wall are still there from about 2,000 years ago.
Then we drove down the road, three miles or so, to to the church that preserved the “Garden of Gethsemane”.
It was the place where Jesus spent late night prayer before His arrest.
Gethsemane means Olive orchard.
As soon as we entered the Garden area, and saw the rows of ancient Olive trees, I felt the strong presence of the Lord. It was an awesome presence, I almost cry in tears. I almost felt the agony of the Lord Jesus when He wrestled and prayed, “God’s will not my will..”
A time of surrender to God’s perfect will for Him, and for the salvation of many. The Spirit of revelation came to me, Jesus had actually won the battle, not at the cross, but in the Garden of Gethsemane- The prayer of surrender, absolute surrender to His loving Father, trusting Him, His Father for the best outcome. So, it was Jesus’ battle against human flesh and against Satan’s final temptation, He had overcome the battle, a complete surrender to the Father. Thus, the Father made Jesus triumphant or the Winner!
Poem Inspiration from the Lord:
There in the Garden
My Savior plead,
There in the Garden
My Savior knelt down and prayed,
“Father, not my will
But Your will be done”
There in the garden
My Lord surrendered
To His Father’s plan
Yet He had won
The Victor’s crown
There in the garden
My Savior wept
He cried bloody tears of surrender
There in the garden
My Savior won over sin and temptation;
Death and evil no more have dominion
There in the garden my Savior won the victor’s crown.
The Gethsemane garden is managed by the “Church of all nations”. Many churches from different countries contributed to the preservation of the site and built a beautiful and magnificent chapel/cathedral. In the middle of the chapel’s altar, was a rock that many believe was the rock where Jesus knelt and prayed in the garden.
“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciple over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered… Jesus often met there with His disciples.”
Luke 22 :39-44
“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.[c]
From January 7-16th, 2020, the Lord has blessed us with a trip to the Holy Land. It was the most wonderful and awesome place we had been because of the presence of our Holy God. There is so much to share. We have more than a thousand photos between two cameras! Since the Bible is so much part of our spiritual lives, it was amazing and fascinating to see actual places and sites that we have been reading about for many years. We were with a tour group of 50 people from different parts of the USA. We praise and thank the Lord Jesus for blessing with this wonderful trip. And here to share some of the highlights.
We started in the city of Jerusalem.
The Upper Room in Mount Zion- located outside the southwest corner of the Old City wall. It is believed to be the room where Jesus and His disciples had the Last Supper. (Matthew 26:26-30; John 13)
South of the Old City wall, on the eastern slope of a hill that overlooks the area of Old City of Jerusalem, is the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. The church was built in 1931, and is the traditional site of the Palace of Caiaphas, who was the high priest during the arrest of Jesus. It was the place where Peter denied Jesus three times before a rooster crowed. (Matthew 26:57-75)
Our group then drove a few miles, south of the city, to Bethlehem.
The Shepherd’s field –
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. … (Luke 2:8-20).
Then our group went to the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem . A cathedral was built around the 3rd century on the site believed to be where Jesus was born.
“And she brought forth her first-born Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, (feed trough), because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:1-7
Jesus said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NKJV)
As Jesus fulfilled this word to His disciples, it is still the same today with His followers:
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” It is the plan and desire of God that all followers of Jesus be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit so we can be witnesses for Him – with our family, friends, neighbors, and people of other places, countries, and to the ends of the earth. God loves people of every nation, every country, language and ethnicity. God wants every person to know Him, His Word, His love and salvation through Jesus Christ.
In October 7-28, 2019, David and I had the privilege to travel to southeast Asia to visit and help our FEBC ministry fields. Photos from our travels to Thailand are in this post
Here are the highlights as we traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia:
We thank and praise the Lord for those who prayed with us during this trip. Thank you also for those who faithfully support us so we could serve the Lord and reach more souls for Jesus.
“I am the good shepherd; andI know My sheep, andam known by My own.As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father;and I lay down My life for the sheep.Andother sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice;and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:14-16
It’s been a week since we got back from our recent trip to Asia. Why we do what we do? Our travels are not just leisure travel. It is travel with a cause. As we serve with FEBC, our mission is to bring “Christ to the World by Media”. Our desire is for many to hear the Good News of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, and for many to know that there is a God in heaven who loves people of all races and nationalities. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd…I lay down my lie for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear my voice…” It is the desire of the Lord Jesus to bring many into His kingdom and to know the love of God. So, our ministry is to serve and provide technical support to our fields so that they can broadcast the Gospel in their heart language. It’s our prayer that many more will come to know the love of God in Jesus. We thank and praise the Lord for His grace and for those who pray and support us. Here are highlights from our recent trip to Asia.
David in Jakarta, with FEBC Indonesia (June 21- July 1st, 2019)
And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
Last weekend, David and I arrived Singapore after a long, long flight from the USA. We flew from Birmingham (AL) on June 13, through Chicago, San Francisco and arrived Singapore on June 15th. Of course there is also a time difference. It was long and exhausting but thankful to the Lord for a safe journey. We are thankful also that the Lord worked it out for us to travel together on the long international flight. When we arrived the Guesthouse of Salvation Army in SG, I was pleasantly surprised to see the big words on the wall, (see photo above). It’s not only a great Bible verse in the Old Testament, but a personal word from the Lord. The day before we left Alabama, during our devotional readings, (with “Jesus Always” devotional), one of the key verses was the same exact words in Exodus 33:14 “And He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest”‘. Isn’t the Lord so cool? I had had some concerns before making the big trip, but a confirmation of His words ten thousand miles away is truly amazing!
We had a couple of days in Singapore to recoup from the long journey and get ready for another journey. We had enjoyed fellowship and worship with the brothers and sisters of Bukit Panjang Methodist Church. Another one thing cool being a follower of the Lord Jesus, is anywhere we travel, in any country, whatever nationality, we feel connected to the people even when we do not speak the same language, because we worship the same God, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Then on the same Sunday afternoon, we took the subway train, and went to the Gardens by the Bay.
A fancy park with spectacular landscape and hanging gardens. The park is actually free to public, except for the Flower Dome and the Cloud Dome. David and I enjoyed the freebies!
The park was filled with people from other tourists visiting and local people, not only because it was a weekend, but Disney had a set up to promote their coming movie, “Toy Story 4”.
It was a nice weekend, after long flights and days of travel preps, it was good to have an enjoyable Sunday in Singapore. That helped us get ready for the following week busy activities. David participated in Broadcast Asia while I had to catch a flight to Bangkok. We are grateful to the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness. Hope to post more if and whenever I find a chance. Hope you enjoy reading our travel blog.