The Church of the Holy Sepulchre


Vast numbers of Christians, especially those of the “older mainstream” churches, believe the Church of the Holy Sepulchre marks the place where Jesus was crucified, buried by his followers, and where He rose from the dead three days later. Following a visit in 326 AD by Queen Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, a magnificent church was completed at this site in Jerusalem ten years later. Although that church was destroyed by Caliph El-Hakim in 1009. It was entirely rebuilt in 1099 by the Crusaders when they came to Jerusalem. This church is considered to be one of the holiest Christian sites in the world.

Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, the Armenian Apostolic, and Egyptian Coptic churches all share ownership of this church, however most Protestants believe there is another place called Golgotha where the crucifixion took place and many pray at the Garden Tomb.

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” John 11:25, 26 (NLT)

 I died and rose again so you might have life
And that, more abundantly.
I now sit at the right hand of Father God
ever interceding for you.

 The Bible passage is taken from the story of Jesus raising Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, from the dead. God also raised Jesus from the dead, following his crucifixion.

I’m glad we celebrate a risen Lord. It was awesome and wonderful to visit the different sites in Israel where our Lord and Savior walked so long ago. But I rejoice in the thought He remembers us each by name and helps us in our daily walk.

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Walk on the Via Dolorosa


For some reason I expected the Via Dolorosa or Way of the Cross to be a large road, but, as you can see from the picture it is a narrow alleyway. The literal translation is “the Way of Suffering”. Jesus, after He was beaten, had to take the heavy cross on his shoulders to the place where He was to be crucified. At one point in our tour, we stopped, where it is said that Jesus fell and Simon of Cyrene picked up the cross.

It is said, even I, Jesus, learned the ways of obedience through suffering.
I know you because of that suffering.
I take your hand!
And you will come to the kingdom of light and love.

 “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s path to follow our own, Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. ” Isaiah 53:5,6 (NLT)

 When I contemplate all that Christ has done for me, I am humbled. There is an old hymn named, “He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels”…Jesus could have called a heavenly army to rescue him, but he didn’t. Jesus willingly went to the cross of Calvary bearing my sins and your sins to give us a kingdom of light and love. Why did God call us to be like Jesus? Why would I take angry, sarcastic words without answering back, other than to experience God’s life and light? God asks us to be like Him so we can go to a world that doesn’t know He came to give us forgiveness, redemption, a life with His love, peace and guidance. In turn we also will be enabled to forgive, love and dwell in peace and harmony.



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   I have much to tell you but it is now getting late for you.
Unlike you, I am never in a hurry.
Therefore, when you make time, we will talk longer.
There is much I would like to share with you
However the distractions are many!
Remember you create the distractions.

The picture was taken at Megiddo National Park which is a World Heritage Site. During Bible times it was one of the most important cities in the area as it was on the international trade route that linked Egypt and Mesopotamia (Iraq).

We were told that King Solomon built the city of Megiddo (1 Kings 9:15)to be one of his chariot cities. Possibly, the picture above shows the stables for his horses. Though God blessed him with great wisdom, power and riches, Solomon allowed many things to distract him from following God’s commands wholeheartedly. One was his love of foreign women.

“The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, ‘You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’ Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives … and 300 concubines. And, in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.” 1 Kings 11:2,3 (NLT)

Solomon started out well, asking God for wisdom. But he allowed other people and things first place in his life. It doesn’t matter how well we start in our Christian life with God, we must not allow anything to distract us in our walk. This is easier said than done. Our children, our spouse, the many demands on our time can rob us of our time with God. Yet, the time we spend reading His Word, petitioning and praising God, and listening to that still small voice is more important than anything else.






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His Way



My ways are quiet ways.
My thoughts are peaceful.
My actions are joyful.
I have patience, gentleness and kindness.
Seek those ways and it will bring healing.

When we decided to travel to Israel on our own, some friends and family members expressed concern, however during our eleven day trip, we never felt unsafe. The picture above reflects the peacefulness and beauty we experienced while we were in Israel. It was taken at the Jordan River Park which is north of the Sea of Galilee. Although, in many places, the Jordan River had springtime turbulence, this part of the river flowed calmly. In times past, a flour mill once operated here.  Flowering trees, flowers and vines were in abundance throughout much of the park, as well as throughout much of the country.

I have been reading through Proverbs again and there were many scriptures that reflected how Christ acted while He was on earth. One scripture says “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.” (Proverbs 15:1 The Message) God reminds me many times I need to practice “gentle responses.” Just like the river, my responses can bring turbulence or peace to the situation.

As the Pharisees sought to disparage Him with the many questions they asked, most of the time, Christ answered them quietly and with great wisdom. No doubt He experienced great joy when He healed the lepers, the blind and brought the widow’s son to life! Even in His treatment of Judas who He knew would betray Him, He showed patience, gentleness and kindness as He washed the feet of all the disciples. My song today is “To Be like Jesus.” His kingdom of love has many followers.




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The Wilderness Experience

IMG_1463Sometimes when you walk through the desert experiences of this life.
There is often the temptation to question My Word and even My love.
However, the temptations I faced during forty days of fasting
and praying were similar, and I overcame them.
I give you the power to do the same.
Do not give up as you are learning from Me.
I came to take away all your fears.
I will help you over the rough spots and minister to you.

 “Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.” Luke 4:1,2 (NLT)

 While in Israel, we drove from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. This picture was snapped from the car window of the Judean Desert which is a very mountainous, uninhabited area close to where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. I have no idea where Jesus went after he was baptized in water by John the Baptist. However if this was the actual place, it was very desolate and uninviting.

Jesus had spent some years as a Carpenter and perhaps He thought God was saying it was time to begin His ministry. Hearing God say, at His baptism ,”This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” would have been encouraging. Yet, do you wonder what He thought when the Spirit led Him to this barren place for forty days and forty nights? If it was me, I would be questioning everything. Yet Jesus our Savior, withstood all the temptations of Satan. He understands us more than we can truly comprehend.

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The Western Wall


Although this picture of the Western (Wailing) Wall is not really good, you can see the men standing close to the wall praying on the left hand side of the wall.

Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
May all who love this city prosper. Psalm 122:6 (NLT)

 Bob had gone over to the men’s side and I made my way to the right. There were many more women than men praying that day. Many were sitting on chairs that had been provided. At the wall, women were standing about four or five people deep . Obviously, there were many who had been there for hours. Some prayed using prayer books, quietly saying the words in Hebrew. Others were quietly murmuring their petitions or praises out loud trying to touch the wall.

I finally made my way to the wall itself, putting five prayer requests into the crevices in the wall. The presence of God was very close and when our half hour was over, I truly didn’t want to leave this holy place. The stone wall has been there for years and one can almost hear the songs of the Levites or remember the time of King David and Solomon, Ezra and Nehemiah.

The presence of God reminded me of our old prayer services. Perhaps it was because the church was small. When we prayed, God seemed to speak to each of us individually in the collective body of believers. Tears streaming down our cheeks often turned to hymns of praise and thanksgiving. My heart longs for more of those meetings.





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IMG_1507When we took a tour of Jerusalem, someone kindly took this picture of us with the city in the background. It is a beautiful place which Jesus loved very much. The scripture illustrates his heart of love.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” Matthew 23:37 (NLT)

Sometimes, I believe God is calling out to America – please, please come back to Me. Your land was founded on Scriptural principles. Today, many people in your land have never heard of My love or read My Word.

Many of us are dismayed when we read about the direction our government is going. Yet, God is saying

Do not be discouraged, neither be afraid.
Trust in Me.
You have read about my work on earth.
There was much controversy.
However, I continued to do what my Father asked Me to do.
Years and years have gone into eternity,
Yet people still become my disciples!

In these days, which are often filled with turmoil, God calls us to pray. Perhaps we still will see a revival on our soil. I do hope so and trust that all my family, friends and neighbors will know and embrace the good news of salvation. More than ever, we need to watch and pray! We also need to tell others about our Savior Jesus Christ.

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Mount of Beatitudes

IMG_1346While exploring the north end of the Sea of Galilee, someone suggested we take a trail leading to the place where Jesus may have taught the Sermon on the Mount. The trail was not very well marked and finally we gave up hiking and took the road to the church built on top of the mountain. The grounds and church commemorating this site are beautiful and while we were there, we listened to part of a service being held on the grounds nearby. They were praying for the peace of Israel.

When I returned I looked up the beautiful words of Christ in the Message Bible, which are paraphrased as follows: “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” Matt 5:3

 I know it seems My walk is a difficult pathway.
There are many mountains to climb.
Sometimes tears dim your eyes and you stumble over rocks along the way.
Remember, I am with you always.
I give you angels to guard you.
The trail can be rough and, at times,

it may seem there are not many fellow travelers.
While on earth, I walked the same path.
I experienced the same longings you do.
But one day, we will welcome you home and say “well done.”

 The scripture blessed my heart as there are countless times I seem to be at the end of myself. It is wonderful to know Jesus cares. There is an old hymn written by Frank E. Graeff entitled “Does Jesus Care?” One line goes like this: “Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief. When the days are dreary, the long nights weary, I know my Savior cares.” I’m glad I can go to Him in prayer and receive assurance that He cares about all the details of our lives and wants to guide me.

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Water Baptism


Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John…he said, “so why are you coming to me?” But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him. Matt 3:13-15 (NLT)

The above picture was taken where the Jordan River flows out of the Sea of Galilee and is commonly known as Yardenit Baptismal Site. It is said to be where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Today, this is where many people, who come to the Holy Land, choose to get baptized in water. One can see the various steps leading down to the water. It is also a beautiful place to pray.

Many people came to hear John the Baptist preach. They confessed their sins and were baptized in water and this sacrament continued throughout New Testament times. However, things changed. Apparently, for a long time the church practiced infant baptism. It wasn’t until the 1500s when the Anabaptist Movement began having adult baptism that the example Christ left for us started to be practiced again. The Anabaptists went through horrific persecution from both the Catholic and Protestant denominations for their beliefs. Many were burned at the stake, others languished in prison for many years, and some fled to other countries such as Russia and North America.

I have always been thrilled to attend our baptismal services. It is an awesome privilege to hear the testimonies of those who profess their faith in our Savior and follow him in water baptism. I have witnessed people of all ages and walks of life taking this important step. Some may have been baptized as infants, some may have been brought up in Christian homes, but drifted far from the Lord, and some are brand new Christians. Regardless, each person’s testimony warms our hearts and we are grateful to rejoice with them.

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The Church


     When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”…Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:13-16 (NLT)

 Some people believe Jesus left Galilee and journeyed north to Caesarea Philippi to escape the Jewish leaders who were constantly questioning Him, looking for a reason to kill him. The city was located at the foot of Mount Hermon where the Jordan River begins. It is a very beautiful and refreshing site because of the waters which flow down the mountain and through the area.

Herod the Great built a Roman temple here in honor of Emperor Augustus. When his son, Philip inherited the city at Herod’s death he renamed the place Caesarea Philippi. There are ruins of a couple palaces where they resided.

 When I walked this earth I limited my power in many ways.
I restricted my real teaching to my twelve disciples.
My time for ministry was only three years.
You obey and follow Me.
I want to help you
Trust in Me!
I have given you much to bring peace.

 It was in Caesarea Philippi where Jesus first tells his disciples He wants to build a church that “all the powers of hell will not conquer.” This is the church of which we are a part today. This was also the city where Jesus talked of his coming death and resurrection, though the disciples did not understand then why Jesus had to die.

After Jesus rose from the dead and the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, they went on to “build His church.” Their writings give us the basis for Christianity. We, like the disciples can wholeheartedly obey Christ and put our trust in Him who truly knows best.

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