|During my prayer time that night in Ma’agan God gave me Haggai 2 and I figure I ought to share a few of the little prayers I wrote in my journal from those verses.Haggai 2:3 Who is left among you who saw this temple in it’s former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing.
Heavenly father help me to not compare temples, for we are your temples. Our temples are not “nothing” in your eyes, for you value each and every one of us. Help me be a clean temple for you so it is you that shines forth. It is not for me to compare a temple, but rather to have the temple that others see be You and You alone.
Verse 4 “Yet now be strong, Zerubabbel, says the LORD; and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land” says the LORD, “and work; for I am with you,” says the LORD of hosts.
Remember this is a group of people who did not choose to stay in Babylon, they came to a broken down Jerusalem and started rebuilding the temple. I love that God tells us He is with us. Knowing that helps in every time of trouble. God, help me remember You are with me, no matter how tough the situation is. Let me come to you first.
Verse 5 According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!”
This trip to Israel is a time of the Holy Spirit showing up big in my life. I love God’s covenants for they are eternal, they do not change. Knowing His Spirit is with us keeps me from fear. God, thank you for sharing more of your Spirit with me, I feel like you keep showing me more of You, and I love you so much God.
I am not going to go through the whole chapter, but some of the most important concepts for me were to not compare temples, know that God is with me, that God’s Spirit remains among us, to not fear. God’s glory is going to shake things up, to let nothing that is not of God cling to me. Then God shared He was going to fill the temple with His glory, the passage talks about silver and gold (someone sang that song the next day on the bus), he talks about the offerings not being acceptable and I prayed I would give him acceptable offerings. It talks about the glory of the later temple being greater than the former. That meant a lot to me because my old temple (the pagan one) had no glory, but my new temple shows some of His glory. I want it to show more and more of God. And He will give us peace. Praise God for peace.
I prayed Oh, Heavenly Father, in all things, help me always to turn to you. God, even though there are unfruitful areas in my life, thank you for blessing me, help me to turn the unfruitful areas over to you for pruning. Oh God, prepare me to serve you with the authority given by you. Let it be all you, not me.
I wrote out a prayer the night before my baptism. “Heavenly Father, tomorrow is an important day for me, it is the day I will again get baptized. God, I ask that You wash away all that is not of You, all the barriers and strongholds that keep me from serving You to my utmost. Thank You for sharing with me what You did today at Caesarea, for letting me appreciate all that Paul went through in Your service. Help me to see and apply these lessons in my life. Let me realize just how important a life in Your service is. God, you blessed me today with the teaching at Mt. Precipice, showing me the patchwork image. God it is so easy to forget how You want us all grafted into the vine, how You care that we all come to You and abide with You, how You have a perfect plan for our lives. God, You are so awesome, You bless me so much. I need Your peace, Your strength, Your breath in my life. Lord, help me to yield to You, to do Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Here is a repeat picture of my baptism, which happened later in the day, but I want to remind myself of the wonderful Grace of God. I had to give my camera to someone else, so there were just a few pictures. Pastor Don and his wife Cynthia were baptizing me.
Here are a few more pictures of the baptism that a professional photographer took.
The baptism was the last thing we did on this day – which was day 4 of our trip. So now I will share the rest of the day. The first thing we did was the Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee which I wrote about out of turn. But the next place we visited was very interesting. It was the Mt. of Beatitudes.
Pastor Don said the site of the Mt. of Beatitudes has been significantly built up since the last time he was here. The last time he was here he was able to walk down the hillside and sit in the field, there was no fence, and it was at that time the he realized, as a professional musician (He used to play saxophone for Harry Bellefonte), that the acoustics were incredible at this location. His voice traveled throughout the whole valley. That was probably why Jesus picked it to preach this important sermon.
I was laughing at how sanitized the area has become. It saddens me that the churches have sucked out the real Spirit of certain places in Israel. As we walked up the walkway towards the church of Beatitudes – built by Antonio Barluzzi in 1939 with the help of Mussolini, we saw this sign.
Followed by this sign:
You can see her too, she is the Nun in White at the right corner of the church. Just joking – she was there to make sure all who came on the grounds were dressed properly. The church is octagonal because there are 8 Beatitudes. And we took a walk along the grounds.
At the time of our visit a Bishop from Africa was visiting and I managed to get a picture of him with three of our group.
We walked for a bit and looked at the sights before congregating near Pastor Don for a teaching. All the teaching areas were filled up, so we gathered in a place that we ended up liking better. For it was close to the hillside.
Along the walkway the beatitudes were placed at strategic locations, written in Latin.
Here is Julie and Pastor Ted talking.
The Mt. of Beatitudes is located near Capernaum and Tabgha, on the North Western shore of the Sea of Galilee and this view overlooks the plain of Gennesaret, a very fertile plane in Jesus’ day. When Pastor Don was last here this fence was not.
Here we are listening to what Pastor Don shared
Pastor Don pointed out that what Jesus preached and taught here was not a one time event. He would teach on the hillsides all throughout His career. Remember that John pointed out, John 21:25 And there are many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
What Jesus preached here was not just the Eight Beatitudes, but the entire contents of Matthew Chapters 5, 6, and 7. We read all the Beatitudes:
Matthew 5:3-12 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Pastor Don said we are ambassadors of Heaven, the earth is not our home, the Kingdom of Heaven is. Jesus also taught the people that they are salt and light, that he came to fulfill all that the prophets said. He taught that murder was not just the killing of a person, but murder happens in the heart when you hold evil against your brother. He talked about adultery, making the law even more stringent – looking at a person with lust is adultery. He talks about judgment, loving one’s enemies, and much much more.If you study these chapters then you know what God wants from His kingdom ambassadors. They teach us the kingdom principles that Jesus wants applied in our life.
Hoping you have a blessed day!
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