Saturday, April 12, 2014

Musings from Israel

The hotel has been teaming with life since shortly before Sabbat began. It appears that many people take their families here for the Sabbath.
It is not uncommon to hear young voices calling down the hallways followed by matching running feet.
Sabbat is a joyful time for the families.
Right now the lobby is filled with families; children singing and playing, adults playing cards and chatting, very lively I might add!

Today is low key for our group. We enjoyed a Sabbat celebration with a Messianic congregation followed by lunch in an Armenian restaurant.
The man at the restaurant knew he had a captured audience, as all other places were shut for Sabbat.
Unfortunately he took advantage of us by overcharging us, as well as reneging regarding the use of credit cards. I felt badly for Amal, our leader, who handled the whole thing.
After we left there the instruction of Jesus to His disciples regarding shaking the dust of a place that did not receive them in peace from their feet came to mind!
This did not ruin our day.
We are in Jerusalem!  What could overshadow this fact?!

Sitting here in the lobby looking out the window one sees many sights.  Those who are orthodox pass by in their black coats and hats, sporting their long sideburns. One very somber fellow passing by had what looked like a black mushroom riding on his head!  Many men have their heads covered, yet
many do not. The women range from those donning wigs and long dresses to those with their hair uncovered and slacks on instead of a dress or skirt. Even those who are not particularly religious seem to dress conservatively. Something we could benefit from in the US!

Traffic is light today. This reminds me of Sunday traffic as a child, when most stores were closed as they are here.
A day of rest and celebration!
Yet, what is it most are celebrating?
Tradition for most.

They have a long history of tradition and much of it originated with their God.  Yet, they have carried on with the traditions and left the Living God behind.
I am sure that they would argue vehemently with me over that last statement.
Oh, how I pray that their hearts would be turned from stone to flesh so they could discover their
Then they would discover what true celebration is all about!

Psalm 145:7 will come to life in a new way for them:
"Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness."

Friday, April 11, 2014


Every single day of this trip has been beyond amazing! If I could, I would transport each and everyone of you here!

Upon returning to our hotel we usually head right to dinner. After that I sit in the lobby to check my email, etc. fully intending to write a post.
The problem is that I don't get time to process all that I have seen and heard, which makes it very difficult to share here.

Then there is the fatigue factor.
I began a posting yesterday and got as far as saying that it would be a short one as I was very tired. Then I realized I could not form any more coherent sentences....The camel ride did me in!

There is so much I could tell you.
I could tell you about the temple foundation where they are preparing all they can to be ready to rebuild the temple. They have the menorah and laver, as well as the altar ready.
It is their hope that they will be able to rebuild and then be used to being peace and unity to the world.
Truth be told, that is what their God had called them to from the beginning, but they failed.

The sad thing, which our guide, Sahad, pointed out is that without their Messiah, Yeshua, their is no peace and no unity.

They forget their own history.
The first temple did not bring peace or unity and neither did the second. Why would they think this one would be different?

Then there is the Wailing Wall where many repeat many rote prayers in hope that they will be heard for their many words....their right words.

I went to that wall and worshipped. And I pled for those who are blind to who their Messiah is.
Following tradition I wrote out a few prayers that weighed upon my heart  and added my paper to the many already their.  I knew my God hears me without any paper, but felt woo moved to do so.

Many back away from the wall and I had wondered about that until I was there myself.  There is something about this place in the heart of Jerusalem, which stirs reverence.  How could one present their worship and petitions and then turn their back and walk away?

Yes, I am seeing much and learning even more. It will be a while until I sort through all of it.
Truly I am on overload!

Yet, there is one thing that I am more convinced of than ever before...
Our God is Holy and ever so good and wise.

Jesus is LORD!

Come LORD Jesus they and we need You!p

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Today took a different turn.
We began our day in the middle of the Sea of Galilee on a simple boat worshipping our LORD and Savior!
We had to walk through the huge gift shop to get to the boat and I was a little leery, but pleasantly surprised. The boat is run by a messianic Jew with a wonderful singing voice. Sigh....

As I looked around I was overwhelmed as I envisioned Jesus on a similar boat, or walking on the sea itself.  I could have stayed right there all day.....
So blessed!

Across the sea you see the Golan Heights and I imagine that it looked very similar two thousand years ago.   This aids one's imaginings.

The Mount where Jesus delivered His Sermon on the Mount needs much more help picturing the scene, as it has been adopted by the church to protect it, yet the protecting came in the form of an ornate church and other buildings, such as a convent.
It definitely didn't look anything like what it must have when Jesus physically climbed to the top of that mount to teach His disciples.
There was a gift shop to finish off the scene.

Another highlight was planting trees in memory of a loved as a blessing on Israel. I planted a cypress tree in my niece, Sara's memory. A sweet time of remembrance.  A blessing to be sure!

Capernum was no more impressive.  Much development interspersed with the old.
Yes, there was the synagogue dating from the fourth century, which was built on top of the one Jesus would have spent time in , but you had to pay for the privilege of seeing it. Peter lived in this town, and Jesus made it His home quite often, but it was hard to imagine with all the modern buildings.

But all that quickly faded away as I waded into the Jordan to be baptized.
Tears came to my eyes as I reflected upon the fact that my previous Savior also had been baptized in this same river. What a Savior!!

The teaching today focused on The Beatitudes.
Jesus taught what it meant to be blessed.
The first blessed was....

                  "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"

Poor in spirit...
Recognizing and mourning our sin...
Turning away from it...
And turning to Him.
What could be more blessed?!

True History

The plane that I boarded on Saturday was bound for Tel-Aviv, Israel. It took to the air at 9PM and landed approximately eleven hours later, which was 3PM Israeli time.  My seat mate had been a Jewish woman who was moving to Israel with her husband to be near her family. She informed me that she was a secular Jew. Carmen prided herself in being tolerant of others and accepting of those of faith.
At the end of our flight, after some good discussion, we wished one another well. My wish, desire, prayer that I bade her goodbye with was that she would encounter the One who is the reason for this people and nation of Israel that she is part of and loves so dearly.

The tour I am on is called "Discover Your Jewish Roots".
The past two days have been laying a good foundation for us. They have been filled with all things Jewish, of course.
The history, religion, politics and even cults of this place have been the focus.

As I reflect on all that we have seen and heard with our view being through the lens of Scripture, I cannot help but think of my seat mate, Carmen.

All history is best seen as His story. There would be no story without Him. He is the source of our life, whether we acknowledge this or not.
It is the story of His faithfulness contrasted with our unfaithfulness.

How can anyone examine Israel's history without taking their God into account?
What sense does it make without Him?
What sense does our own history make apart from our God?

Politics fall away when we take Him at His Word.
The world views this land from a purely secular lens. That is a very distorted view, to say the least!

It all breaks down to what and who we choose to believe and honor.
Man or God?

When we embrace the God of the Bible as the One True God then our religion is pure and simple and does not have man's fingerprints superseded over God's. Isn't it amazing that we dare to even think of doing such a thing, as elevating our thoughts and opinions above God's?
Enter the cults.

It all comes down to the struggle for power, if we are unwilling to admit our powerlessness without Him.

I will end with the words spoken by Nebuchadnezzar once he came to his senses in the book of Daniel,

"and at the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me , I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored Him that lives forever; for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing, and He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and none can stay His hand or say to Him, 'What do You do?'"