D. S. Bob Parks shares some of his experiences from his trip to the Holy Land.
Sisters and Brothers,
Our first day in Israel, we awoke to a beautiful warm sunny day on the seashore of the Sea of Galilee in Tiberias. The Sea of Galilee is 650 feet below sea level, so we literally drove down to the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is also known as Lake of Tiberias, Lake Kinneret and Lake Gennesaret (Mk. 1:16-20.)
We left Tiberias and traveled to the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea, a one and half hour drive. Caesarea is known as the place of the first Gentile baptisms. Caesarea is located on the shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea with a beautiful beach and blue water.
From Caesarea, we traveled about one hour to Megiddo, a Hebrew word meaning mountain or range of hills. Looking from Megiddo northward you see a beautiful, peaceful, green valley or plain. My thoughts were that it could not get any more beautiful and peaceful. To the right is Mount Tabor. It was here where the Transfiguration of Jesus happened, “and he was transfigured before them (Peter, James and John) and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white like light.” (Mt. 17:1-8; Mk. 9:1-8; Lk. 9:28-36.)
To the left is Nazareth, today much larger than it was in the first century.
Nazareth is the place Jesus spent 30 years of his life. “And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth” (Mt. 2:23.) Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Torah and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (Jn.1:43-46.)
As I stood gazing, meditating and looking over the Plain of Megiddo, my mind turned to prophecy in the Book of Revelation. In Revelation this plain is known as Armageddon, the prophesied location of the last battle between good and evil before the Day of Judgment. The word Armageddon appears only once in the Greek New Testament, in Revelation 16:16. “Armageddon is transliterated to Greek from Hebrew har məgiddô (הר מגידו), har meaning “a mountain or range of hills.”
It’s a battle no one needs to fight because it has been won through the love and sacrifice of Jesus. All we need to do is confess our sins and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior! Thanks be to God!
The Vision for the Farmville District:
“Being passionate about leading, listening and
loving all people to build up the Kingdom.”
Ministry Vision for Virginia Conference:
“TO BE DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST WHO ARE LIFELONG LEARNERS WHO INFLUENCE OTHERS TO SERVE.”
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis
Bishops urge Methodists to deny themselves for the sake of Gospel
2018 Lenten message calls for more spiritual disciplines
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bishops of The United Methodist Church are calling on members of the denomination to deny themselves during the 2018 Lenten Season for the sake of the kingdom of Jesus Christ and to set aside self-interest so that others may have a more abundant life.
In a message sent on behalf of UMC bishops to United Methodists throughout the world, Council of Bishops President Bishop Bruce R. Ough challenged fellow Christians to reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ words in Mark 8:34-35, where he said: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
Bishop Ough said losing one’s life for the sake of the gospel means that one has to live the same purposeful life Jesus lived. “It means to deny our preferences for the sake of Jesus’ kingdom purposes. It means to set aside our self-interest so that others may have a more abundant life. It means we are saved in order to participate in the salvation of others. It means our hearts will break for the very situations that break the heart of God.”