Filmed on location in Israel 2012
Archives for April 2012
Today began with an early start and a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee. We were lulled into the presence of the Holy Spirit by the worship music and gentle undulation of the boat. From the boat we looked along the Northern shores where Jesus’ ministry took place (Capernaum, Bethsaida and Magdala).
Shortly after worship we learnt from Pamela that today was the Holocaust remembrance and that later on in the week would be the commemoration of Israel’s independence when we remember the birth of the state of Israel and God’s purpose. We were amazed that God would have us here at this time during these two significant events in Israel’s history!
Pastor read the group the following scripture:
24 And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD. 25 Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. 26 And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God. (Ezekiel 28:24 – 26)
We were reminded that despite all that is going on at the moment in regards to Israel and its neighbouring countries. God will deal with Israel’s neighbours and bring peace to Israel.
Pulling the Word
After the boat trip we took the coach to Capernaum. Whilst travelling, Pamela initiated the purpose of the tour which was to study a selection of women of the Bible. As contextual information, Pamela described to us, the importance of ritual purification to the Jews. In Jesus’ time ritual cleansing was very important and every town, with a Jewish community, had to have a ritual emersion bath.
We were then ready to be introduced to our first two women of the Bible for study; the woman with the issue of blood and Jairus’s daughter. Rev. Taylor gave a clear and comprehensive exposition on the uncleanness attributed to both these females, and how Jesus took them from being outcasts and touched them with his love and acceptance.
In Luke 8: 41 – 49, Jesus is on his way to see Jairus, a wealthy man, because his 12 year old daughter was extremely sick. Whilst on His way the crowd is thronging Him, yet he feels the touch (virtue/power left him) of a desperate woman who had suffered an issue of blood for 12 years. It was against the law for a menstruating woman to be in the presence of people and even more of a problem for her to be in the presence of a rabbi, yet by faith this woman (separated from people for 12 years!) broke tradition and rules to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment and she was healed. Furthermore when Jesus asked “who touched me?” the woman bravely admitted it, her faith was commended and she was sent away in peace.
The fringes of the hem represented the 613 precepts in the Torah – the promises in His Word. This has spiritual significance to us who believe in Christ. We too can ‘touch the hem of His garment’ when we ‘pull on His Word’, or ‘pull on the Word’ – which is Jesus. It means that when we have an issue in our life we can ask Jesus to help us and use the word that He gave us as the basis for having our need met/resolved.
By the time Jesus reached Jairus’ house, his daughter was dead. She was now unclean as it was against the law to touch a dead body. But praise God – Jesus broke tradition, spoke to the girl and death released her.
The testimonies of the woman and Jairus’ daughter show us that Jesus saw no difference between the outcast and accepted or the rich and the poor in regards to their access to Him. Jesus transcends the traditions and barriers put up by men. Therefore we should praise God for his loving kindness and mercy to us all.
From Last to First
After Capernaum we had lunch and then went to Magdala (Migdal in Hebrew meaning Tower). This was the home of Mary Magdelene. This was a zealot (men who actively fought against Roman rule) oriented town in close proximity to Gamla – the centre of Zealot activity. This was also the back drop to Mary Magdalene’s life.
Jesus released Mary from the domination of seven demons and after this her life was never the same. She went from being under satanic control to being completely devoted to Jesus even being near to him at his crucifixion and present at his burial. She went from having an oppressed low life to being the first to see the stone rolled away, the first to declare Jesus’ resurrection and the first to see the risen Lord.
This is the nature of our Lord, to take a broken outcast thing and make it new. This is what he does when he gives us new life. In return we should be devoted to Him.
A Path of Parables
We then travelled to Arbel the location of a war between the Zealots and Herod’s soldiers. It was also a place that Jesus would have walked with his followers. Pamela posed the group the question “How would Jesus have commented on the battle and dealt with the politics? Jesus’ answer was the Kingdom of God and that is why he spoke to His disciples, through various parables about the Kingdom of God.
As we walked the path in Arbel we saw with our own eyes, thorny ground, stony ground, the wayside, mustard seeds and mountains. Jesus used all these to show the disciples, in terms that they could relate to and understand the characteristics of His Kingdom.
The zealots, pharisees and saducees all thought they knew what was best in regards to ruling the people but the answer was and still is today the Kingdom of God.
Worship at the Jordan
Finally we had a time of worship at the Jordan with prayers of thanksgiving. We poured out our hearts to Jesus asking for His will in to be done in our lives.
We all arrived in good time for the 3:30pm flight to Tel-Aviv from Heathrow. Expectancy was in our hearts and we could not wait to get on the plane and step into Israel. However the journey was delayed by 2 hours. We often hear that what is our disappointment is God’s appointment but we discovered firsthand the truth of this saying.
Once we arrived at Ben Gurion (almost midnight) we were met by or Guide Pamela Suran, who informed us that for one hour there had been a heavy sandstorm which was so strong it blew a stage down. The storm had finished passing through the area just before we landed. Praise God that our delay was God’s protection and deliverance from danger.
Unfortunately a 20 year old female soldier lost her life when the stage collapsed on her. Let us pray for the family – that they will be comforted.
(Based on the message given by David Hathaway on Good Friday Morning 2012)
“17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept” (1 Cor 19:17 – 20 KJV)
During the ‘Easter Season’ we remember the death of Christ, and have the added joy of celebrating His resurrection. We also celebrate the fact that Jesus’ death broke the power of sin and enables those who accept Him as Lord and Saviour to overcome sin and have a new life. However there is another reason why we should celebrate Jesus’ death.
The death of a loved one is often followed by the reading of a Will and the bequeathing of an inheritance (whether good or bad). No one has their Will released until after their death. Likewise Jesus could not bequeath anything to us until He died. Therefore we celebrate the death of Christ because it means an inheritance for us!
What is the Inheritance?
“3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”…“11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph 1:3 and 11)
We inherited our spiritual life when we were born into the Kingdom of God but because Jesus died we also inherited a new Testament (Covenant or Will). In fact the New Testament is a Will detailing the promises of God and conditions by which the inheritance is inherited. This inheritance includes spiritual blessings that manifest the glory or goodness of God in our lives.
Who are the Heirs?
It is not uncommon for people who are in need to wish they had a rich uncle somewhere in the world who had left them an inheritance. Many family rifts occur because relatives are unhappy with the share of the inheritance they have obtained. Legal fees can eat up inheritances and a greedy solicitor may falsify the true financial situation of a deceased relative in order to steal another’s inheritance.
In this earthly realm inheritances can be more trouble than they are worth. This is not so with the inheritance left to us by Jesus. There is more than enough to be shared. We have it through salvation from God through Christ to us! Therefore anyone who has accepted Christ as their Lord and saviour has this inheritance.
What do we do with it?
We should spend our inheritance by living a life that glorifies God. We glorify God by being obedient to Him and His Word and living a life that gives the Glory back to God whether it be in business, at work, in the home or in church ministry. In this way the inheritance flows from God to us back to God.
What Guarantee is there that I have an Inheritance?
A Will is a type of contract or promise. Jesus sealed us with the Holy Spirit of promise, however had Jesus not died then the Holy Spirit could not have come to live in us and the promise would not be ours.
“13in whom also you, hearing the Word of Truth, the gospel of our salvation, in whom also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is the earnest of our inheritance, to the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Eph 1:13 – 14 NKJV)
In verse 14 of Ephesians 1 the Holy Spirit is described as the “earnest” of our inheritance. In this verse the word earnest is used as a noun (a person, place or thing) and refers to a deposit, pledge or down payment. This indicates that although we are eligible for the inheritance we do not receive it in its entirety whilst earth bound.
“3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in Heaven for you 5by the power of God, having been kept through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time;” (1 Pet 1:3-5 NKJV)
The glory down here is just part of it but we receive the fullness of salvation only in Heaven. Thanks be to God that even in this earthly realm a down payment allows you access to the whole of what you placed the down payment on. If you pay a deposit on a house or car you get to use the whole car and live in the whole house. Likewise we have access to the entire inheritance obtained through Christ – Hallelujah!
How do I obtain it?
Let us not forget that everything Jesus earned was through obedience. Even in pain and suffering, he was obedient to the end. God has exalted Him and given Him a name above every other name. We also will be rewarded in Heaven by what we do down here. So now we can make our requests known to God and ask to receive in Jesus’ name and He will bequeath it.
Release of an inheritance is not always easy. There may be conditions or legal battles may ensue before the inheritance can be distributed. In the same way we must unlock the power of the inheritance by fighting and meeting conditions. This fight is a spiritual one against the flesh, the world and the devil in the power of Christ and upheld by the condition of obedience to Him in faith. All the instructions are in His Word.
If you are reading this and you do not have a relationship with Jesus. Please know that not only did Jesus die to free you from the sin that entangles your life and brings eternal death, but to give you a valuable inheritance. If you are already a follower of Jesus Christ, I encourage you as I encourage myself to thank Jesus for what He has done and fight for your inheritance, and when you receive it, give the Glory back to God. Amen
Our 2012 annual easter conference concluded yesterday evening (monday 9th April). We had a wonderful time in Gods presence and were challenged by the God’s Word. Most videos from the conference are now available here on the church website, they can be found at the links below.
- Good Friday Morning
- Good Friday Evening
- Saturday Evening
- Easter Sunday Morning
- Easter Sunday Evening
- Monday Afternoon
All services are also available on CD and DVD from the church book stall every Sunday morning.