Saturday, October 31, 2009

Know hope & spiritual awakening, 20th anniversary . . . . new creation in Christ, 17th anniversary

This October and November marks the 20th anniversary of my spiritual awakening to the truth/reality of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It was during the fall of 1989 in West Hartford, Connecticut, that I first experienced the hope--in this life and in the life to come (eternity)--that exists solely in the resurrected Lord Jesus. Prior to that, I was "without hope and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12).

The source of the hope that directed me to the Lord Jesus was The Holy Bible (Old and New Testaments). The Bible (New International Version [NIV]) was given to me as a gift by a friend. Some specific Bible verses that the Lord used to bring hope to my then-spiritually dark, sin-plagued and meaningless life included the following:

[15] Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. [17] The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:15-17

The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid.
Psalm 27:1

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28:20b (words of the Lord Jesus)

[14] We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. [15] I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. [16] And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. [17] As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. [18] I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. [19] For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. [20] Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
Romans 7:14-20
It was a long 3 years (October 1989 to October 1992, ages 18-21) until I surrendered/gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ (= was "born again," John 3:3, 7) in a Lake Crescent Lodge employee dorm room near Port Angeles, Washington, in Olympic National Park. I had indeed became a "new creation" in Christ:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

For a full spiritual biography via Uncommon Christian Ministries' website, click here.

For an explanation of the Christian Gospel (literally "good news"), click here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

30th annual Christian-based Succot celebration in Jerusalem, Oct. 2-8 . . . 7th annual International Day of Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, Oct. 4

The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem

Sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (est. 1980)--and with assistance from Israel's Ministry of Tourism--October 2-8 is the 30th annual Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths, Succot) celebration. This event has become the largest and most popular annual tourist-solidarity event in Israel, taking place at Jerusalem's International Convention Center (ICC) and other venues across The City of Peace/The Eternal City/City of Gold.

Some 5,000 Christians from over 100 countries will gather for 7 days of teaching, worship and practical service that is focused on Christians' support of Israel. Also, event registrants will participate in the annual Jerusalem March parade on Tuesday (Oct. 6).

Click here (ICEJ web site) and here (wikipedia entry) for more information about the celebration and the biblical/Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths, Succot).

The theme for this year is the tabernacle of David:

On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old. Amos 9:11.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Zechariah 14:16.
Though not in full agreement with some of the theological and political aspects of the celebration, I nonetheless plan to attend the opening ceremony at the historic Dead Sea desert town of Ein Gedi on Friday (Oct. 2, dinner and outdoor Paul Wilbur concert), the International Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem on Sunday (Oct. 4, see below), Israeli night on Wednesday (Oct. 7) and the morning session and closing ceremony on Thursday (Oct. 8). Click here for the event's schedule.

A reminder that this Sunday (Oct. 4) is the 7th annual International Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem. This year, more than 200,000 churches in 175 nations will participate in the largest Jerusalem-focused prayer event in history.

The Jerusalem observance takes place in the city's International Convention Center from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Jerusalem time. The observance is being broadcast live on the international GOD-TV.

Observed the first Sunday of every October, IDPPJ "is a global grassroots prayer initiative coinciding with the season of Yom Kippur that, for the first time in Church history, links the Christian liturgical calendar with the biblical, Jewish calendar."

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may they prosper [be secure] who love you. Psalm 122:6.