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Abraham's chart and explanation of the Biblical Year of Feasts of the Lord -
God's entire calender is designed to point to Yeshua Jesus - find a pdf HERE
most recent at bottom ! - NEW as of 10:00am, Thurs. 9/18 Eastern US Time
View from our plane window, moments after touchdown at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport.
WHAT SHOULD ONE PRAY AS YOU ENTER ISRAELI AIR SPACE?
SUNDAY, AUG 31st, 9:30 am local time, over the Mediterranean Sea, east of Greece
My wife Sheila's friend urged us to pray as soon as we entered Israeli airspace. Scripture speaks of the enemy of our soul as "the prince of the power of the air." She wanted us to enter Israeli airspace in touch with The One Who Rules Heaven and Earth, and prepared for battle with this "prince" in the air.
On the plane, the captain announced that once we were 45 minutes from landing, we had to follow instructions from The State of Israel that ordered every passenger to be in their seat, seatbelt buckled from that moment - 45 minutes out - until we landed.
Once the captain announced we were 45 minutes out, and now under the control, as it were, of The State of Israel, I know it was time to pray.
I took Sheila's hand and leaned over into her ear and whispered "Baruch atah Adonai, Elohaynu, Melech ha olam, asher kidishanu b'mitvotav, v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Yeshua haMoshiach." I felt such closeness with my precious bride as she nodded in agreement with no translation needed. "Blessed art Thou, O Lord - our God - King of the Universe, Who Sanctifies us by Thy Good Word, and instructs us to kindle the light of Jesus, the Messiah." Ahmayn!
Sheila (bottom, center) in front of the first billboard we saw in Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv
OUR FIRST HEBREW LANGUAGE BILLBOARD - AND WE UNDERSTOOD THE BASIC MEANING!
SUNDAY, AUG 31st, 10:30am local time
To confess, my wife and I have not worked as hard as we should learning Hebrew.
We truly wish we had prepared more before coming here to the Land. But, we have learned some of the Hebrew "Aleph-Bet" (alphabet) and voila! as a result we could read the first part of the first billboard we saw in the airport.
The happy looking head of goat (lamb?) looks down on us and the tag line starts with one Hebrew character repeated three times ... "mem-mem-mem ..."
Guess what sound the Hebrew "mem" makes in English! Oh, yes "mmmm" !
Our first billboard was telling us this company's product was triple "Mmm, Mmm, Mmm" good (Poor Campbell's soup back in America is only double "Mm, mm Good!" )
In the ancient songbook of the Jewish People - THE PSALMS - a certain section collected THE PSALMS OF ASCENT.
Jerusalem not only is on a nearly 3000ft peek in the Mountains of Zion, but it is also just a few miles from the Dead Sea - the LOWEST PLACE ON PLANET EARTH!
No matter the direction from which you approach Jerusalem, you are ALWAYS going UP to Jerusalem!
Yehovah - The God of Israel - instructed His people to gather before Him three times a year in Jerusalem. THESE SONGS - from Psalm 120 to Psalm 134 - were sung by the Jewish people as the congregation of pilgrims to Jerusalem swelled in number on their ascent of Mount Zion to the city, and as they entered the city and climbed the final hill to the Temple.
This is a series of devotional thoughts from the PSALMS OF ASCENT, gleaned from these Psalms and from The Holy Spirit as Sheila and I prepared for travel to Israel, and also while in The land prepared to ascend Mount Zion and enter THE CITY OF OUR GOD - Jerusalem.
PSALM 120 - Doing Good Often Results in Trouble and Oppostion, But Trusting Yehovah is Still the Right Thing to Do
Yehovah - the God that struck the strongest nation in the world with 10 plagues, bringing Egypt to its knees, setting free the Israelite slaves - THIS God commanded His people Israel to come to Jerusalem to worship Him three times each year.
THIS God has proven Himself more mighty, more able than any other "god" and also, through His instructions on Mount Sinai, had given Israel a far superior, more right way to live.
He also set up a way of mercy and forgiveness through blood sacrifices of animals so that those who sinned - damaging His creation - could escape the punishment God would have been just to impose.
This awesome God desired not only Israel - but the "goyim" - The Nations - All the People of The World - to join in following His Word and enjoying the blessings that come from being in agreement with Their Creator - instead of the facing the peril and punishment that come from opposing the goodness of His way.
Imagine you are someone in Israel beginning your travel to Jerusalem as God had commanded.
You begin to lift your song to The Lord from The Psalms of Ascent and the first thing you sing is (Ps. 120, verse 1) - "In my trouble ..." Here you are, a person with a heart to do the right thing before Almighty God - and yet you have trouble. In other Psalms the issue is addressed of our own wickedness and the trouble we cause ourselves.
This Psalm describes trouble from without ... but this trouble does indeed have an inward connection.
Verse 1 announces the trouble, but also the answer "And He [Yehovah] heard me !"
There IS an answer !!! Yehovah knows we are but dust and need Him.
The question for us is this - do we want to receive His Help?
What if the only way to receive God's Answer to our cry is to press on into a situation that will cause us trouble?
The obedient Israelite - headed to Jerusalem as God instructed - to spend time with The One who Redeemed their lives from horrible bondage in Egypt - by heading to Jerusalem this obedient Israelite is causing trouble in this world. By taking up this journey he is saying, "There is only One God I heed, and you should obey him as well."
Others - even other Israelites - mock the traveler - "Why are you going on such a journey? Why are you leaving your town and your things behind? What good is this really going to do you?"
In verse 5, these "lying lips (so named in v. 2)" are compared the people of Meshech and Kendar - people devoted to pagan gods, and constantly at war - people who want nothing to do with The Holy One of Israel.
Yeshua said, "In this world you will have tribulation." If we want to follow The Word of God we will make trouble for this world. It does not want to be reminded that there is one God that has proven Himself Creator and Mighty, able to defeat all his enemies. Egypt could not hold His People. The Grave could not hold His Son.
And the world cannot get a hold on you if you will, as verse I says, "Cry to Yehovah" when you face trouble. But you have to be prepared to receive His Answer.
The God of Israel clearly told His people throughout the pages of the Tenakh (The Scriptures) that He would send an "Anointed One" - The Moschiach - The Messiah who would take the punishment we deserve for our sins. "He was cut off, out of the land of the living, taking the punishment that was due to my people (Isaiah 53:8)."
Journeying through life believing that Yeshua - Jesus fulfilled these prophecies and that He is our Atonement - this causes our lives to say, "there is only One God I heed, and you should obey Him as well,"
Will you back down, when the world says, "Don't go through all that trouble to listen to and obey The Word of Yehovah" ???
Will you and I agree with "lying lips" ?
Or will we "set our hearts on a pilgrimage to meet the God of Zion" (as it says in Psalm 84) ?
Read Psalm 120, then read Psalm 84 and be encouraged, God's Word is true. "O Yehovah of Hosts - blessed is the person who trusts in YOU!"
The Songs of Ascent
Israel is filled with modern, pleasant apartment complexes - note where bicycle is stored !
3 Million People Within an Hours Drive
Sunday, SEPT 7, 7:30am local time (picture from Fri, Sept 5)
Most people, it seems, in the Tel Aviv area live in "multi-unit" dwelling places. We have seen very few individual houses on their own plots of land. We have seen many huge apartment complexes with several high rises close together in one area.
Everything is smaller and closer than most of suburban American. Even Olde City in Philadelphia (built in the 1700s) comparatively has more space. Lower Manhattan would be a fair comparison for much of Tel Aviv and the older section towards the south that was originally the Biblical town of Jaffa (here they say "Yafo").
In England and elsewhere they refer to what we call the "bathroom" as the "W.C" ("Water Closet")... and in Europe, for the most part, this truly is a good description of the size of the place - a CLOSET. This is very much the case here in Tel Aviv where space is at a premium. The rest rooms in many places are closet - sized.
Not only is the housing "close"- the streets can be very narrow as well - narrow, but with an incredible amount of traffic flowing through them ... all the while with mopeds, scooters and motorcycles weaving between the lanes with abandon ... there does not seem to be any rules for 2 wheeled conveyances.
With space at a premium, you can see the outdoor landing in the picture above was used to store this person's bicycle.
As a follower of Yeshua - Jesus - there is a powerful problem here that seems unreal.
I guess because I am used to seeing church buildings on a regular basis in America, but also driving through areas that have no churches (business districts and residential plots where you can go many blocks without seeing a church) ... the problem does not seem obvious at first. After all, as someone brand new to driving in Tel Aviv with similar but different driving rules in an city where roads go every which way and there is not much of a "grid" system ... I am not fully taking in everything I drive by.
While driving I have noticed many places with no churches, but always feel like, "Oh, the churches must be over on the next street, or in the next block"
BUT... AS I DRIVE MORE AND MORE STREETS AND EXPLORE MORE AND MORE BLOCKS - I AM STARTING TO SEE - THERE ARE NEARLY NO CHURCHES HERE.
There are about 3 million people living within an hour's drive of where I sit in the Tel Aviv area - and I am told by local followers of Yeshua - Jesus there are only about 7 congregations of Hebrew speaking native Israeli followers of Yeshua - Jesus.
Imagine if the entire city of Chicago only had 7 churches.
I am from the Pittsburgh area in Pennsylvania. Our Metro Area has about 2 million people. Imagine only 7 churches in the Pittsburgh Metro Area.
For those of you who are followers of Yeshua, you can picture the spiritual darkness of such a situation.
Would you please pray for The Light of Yeshua to be more seen here in Tel Aviv?
THE GARDEN TOMB
posted 9/17, 2:07pm local time
Although not 100% certain, there are many indicators that point to this very location being the place Yeshua - Jesus was laid to rest after His crucifixion.
I can not begin to tell you what it meant to me to stand in what very well could be the very place Peter, John and Mary stood, seeing what I saw - an EMPTY grave.
On the property is also the place they believe to be GOLGOTHA - the place of the skull - the place where Yeshua was crucified.
Our guide (Andrew, pictured left with Abraham) pointed out that despite the lovely hymn ("On a Hill Far Away") - it is most likely that Yeshua's Cross was at the bottom of the hill, next to the road, as the Romans had done in many other places all over the Roman Empire. They wanted people to get an "up close" look at what Rome did to those that ran afoul of Roman rule.
So, they placed their execution victims along the side of busy roads so that all would be warned.
Please pray for our guide, Andrew, a lovely man from England, with such an amazingly gentle spirit - he regularly takes tour groups through the Garden Tomb property ... and he gives a TREMENDOUSLY POWERFUL challenge to consider and receive The Gift of Life purchased at this very place. I'm sure he has witnessed to thousands from all over the world. PLEASE PRAY God to even more empower Andrew to testify of Sacrificial Death and Resurrection Life of Yeshua.