Jerusalem

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

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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

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     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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Remain Yielded

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 While touring Bethsaida, we noticed the marker in the above photo. As well as the inscribed words depicting Jesus’ invitation to Simon Peter and Andrew, it also pointed to the excavation of a fisherman’s house. Surprisingly, it appeared quite spacious and comfortable.

“One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!’ And they left their nets at once and followed him.” Mark 1:16-18 (NLT)

 You are my hands and feet down on earth.
Others will only see Me through you,
when you yield your days to Me.
I will use you to spread the message of my love.
In every life surrendered to Me, I help.
I can accomplish more in your life
as you remain yielded to Me.

When the disciples left the fishing family business to follow Jesus, they left behind a comfortable lifestyle and a good livelihood. Somehow, I had never imagined fishing to be a lucrative business until I met people engaged in the profession and saw this particular house. Yet, these disciples obeyed Christ and followed Him. Simon Peter remained yielded to Christ until the day he was crucified upside down as legend tells us. I know in my father’s generation, many left the comfort of homes to preach the gospel. I am thankful for their sacrifices. Christ’s commandment to us is to follow and obey Him. I do want to remain surrendered to the Lord.

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Dark Nights

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  The above picture shows the ruins of the town of Capernaum. Although Jesus lived there during his ministry, many people would not accept Him as their Messiah. The crowds had witnessed the healing of the Roman centurion’s servant, the healing of the paralyzed man and other miracles. Actually the leader of a synagogue asked him to bring his daughter back to life, which Jesus did.

However, many people, even religious teachers, who said He received his power from Satan, would not believe and Jesus rebuked them.

 “Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn’t repented of their sins and turned to God.” Matthew 11:20 (NLT)

 These were the towns of Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. We had toured Bethsaida and Capernaum and learned all three cities were in ruins. The State of Israel is excavating them now and trying to depict the towns as they would have been during Jesus’ ministry.

 Dark nights are soon approaching.
Many people have not heard the message of my love.
Even religious people have not been taught
I desire to love and help them personally.
Tell others of my great love.

 America has enjoyed many years of religious freedom since Pilgrims sailed here on the Mayflower to escape from the oppressive laws of England. They wanted to worship God and live by Biblical principles. I believe God is trying to wake us up and to realize we must pray for our nation and vote for leaders who believe and want our nation to be guided by God’s Holy Word.

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Harmonious Relationships

When you obey Me, relationships deepen.
You have sought out relationships and have nurtured them.
Similarly we have a relationship;
You seek Me in the mornings,
When there is no noise and clutter.
You come daily to my side.
Like Mary, you willingly sit at my feet to learn from Me.
All relationships take the same time –
Talking and listening and learning to know each other –
helping and caring.
I help through my Holy Spirit – giving you guidance.

 “How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” Psalm 133:1-3 (NLT)

 We have been traveling through Ontario, Canada, visiting family. Last week, we arrived at my sister’s house in Tiny. We have a motor home and a car which we tow and we were literally covered with sand and mud when we got there. Road construction and rain for a couple days along with other muddy roads had made for slow driving. After we parked and had lunch, my husband started to clean things up, I soon joined him and then my sister Grace came out and later my brother Dan. One washed, another rinsed and the others dried it very well using many microfiber cloths. Soon it was done. It was a great time of working together in harmony and it enabled us to finish the job quickly. These moments are a joy, but I have also come to understand it is through more difficult times that the Lord is able to teach me. Our dismay at traveling through the mud yielded a treasure in the support and love of family.

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Insignificance

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The first thirty years of My life down on earth may have seemed
insignificant to some people.
Many of your years seem unimportant and without relevance.
Yet, when you do as I ask, your work has eternal value.

Jesus often withdrew from the crowds to find a place to pray. We were told this was one of the “lonely” places where He prayed. While we were there we had a sandwich on the rocks bordering the Sea of Galilee. In my mind, I tried to picture Christ walking there and finding a place to pray to his Father in heaven. I did feel his presence!

There are many times in our lives where it seems we toil at our jobs not really seeing much accomplished of eternal value. I don’t think Jesus felt that way as he worked as a carpenter in his earthly father’s shop. He was willing to wait until God, his heavenly Father would show Him when He was to start speaking, healing and doing miracles. He talked daily to his Father, similarly to us praying for wisdom and obedience in our lives. There is a time and place for everything in our lives. We want to take the time and listen!

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I Am Relevant

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I am as relevant today as I was two thousand years ago.
Yes, I still heal people as you have experienced so clearly in your own lives.
Even more than physical healing, I came to heal broken lives and hearts.
I came to show people true love which breaks the bondage of the past,
the chains of addictions and heartaches of today.

 “Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach.” Mark 1:21 (NLT)

 The picture above is an excavated synagogue in Capernaum which may be where Jesus taught many times. We heard that it may have been built by the Roman centurion whose servant had been ill. In Luke 7, we read that this officer loved the Jewish people and when he heard of Jesus he sent respected Jewish elders to ask him to come and heal his slave. Yet, after Jesus was on his way, the Roman said, “Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.” Jesus was astonished and said, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel.”

The Lord has healed so much in my life, some illnesses, depression and also given Bob my husband, who was diagnosed with ALS, 18 more years of life than the doctor predicted. God does heal and teaches us through his precious Word and Holy Spirit today.

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Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee

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For a short time, I am changing the format of “Listening to Hear” for you to enjoy the pictures we took when visiting Israel in May.

                “When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee…and lived by the lake.” Matthew 4:12,13 (NIV)

Our timeshare was in Tiberius and our balcony overlooked the Sea of Galilee. We were told that Herod had a large palace here during the time of Christ and it was where John the Baptist was imprisoned.

The sea is about the size of a large lake, seven miles wide and fourteen miles long. Most of Jesus’ miracles and teachings took place right around this area. Like many who have gone to the Holy Land, the experience has made the scriptures lifelike and real as we visited many of the towns and locales described in His Word – what a meaningful experience! This picture was taken at 5:30 am of the sunrise over the Sea of Galilee.

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