Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Israel Day 4

Covered lots of ground - primarily New Testament: taghba (loves and fishes), mount of beatitudes, capernaum, sea of galilee, Dan, Caesare Philippi, and the Syrian Border. Beginning the day at the place where Jesus delivered his sermon on the mount and said things like "blessed are the meek, the peacemakers, the poor in spirit" and then ending up at the Syrian border where two nations remain enemies, it makes me think about wether we will ever accept the fact that what Jesus teaches is really how the world is supposed to work. So many times I've heard people say to me about Jesus' teaching that "that isn't how the world works", as if the way we choose I.e (Syria/Israel) is how the world does work. Jesus turns it all around and says the world works through meekness, peacemaking, poverty of spirit, etc. It's so different from what we're used to it's hard to believe we will ever give it a chance.
How does your world work?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Israel Day 3

Full day. First to Masada - the palace of King Herod the Great, and then later the hideaway for Jewish zealots fleeing the invasion of Rome. The Romans built a ramp to the top and the Zealots chose a self-imposed death over slavery. On to En Gedi where David took refuge from Saul. It's a beautiful oasis with a lush waterfall deep in it's valley. Some wonder if David wrote the 23rd Psalm there. After that it was to the Quamran caves and then to Jericho - where Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus' house. Finally, before driving to Tiberias for the night, we stopped at Beth-shan where Saul met his demise.
A theme that jumped out at me today was "loyalty". When Saul pursues David to En Gedi, David sneaks into Saul's camp and instead of killing him he cuts off a corner of his cloak. He shows mercy out of loyalty to his King. Later when Saul is killed and his body is desecrated by the Philistines, it is the "valiant men" of Jabesh-gilled who sneak into the Philistine city and retrieve their bodies and bring them back to their home for a proper burial. They do this because earlier Saul showed them mercy and defended their town from attack by a much greater force.
Never forget a friend. Never forget your loyalties and who's been loyal to you.
Any friend of yours you're in danger of forgetting?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Israel Day 2

If you're looking for Day 1 there isn't one. Too tired to write yesterday. After getting off the plane yesterday we drove up to Caesarea on the Medterranean. Saw the remnants of the city that Herod built. Drove back to Tel Aviv, had dinner and crashed.
Today it was on to Joppa, then to the valley Elah, where David and Goliath squared off, and then on to the Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park (amazing underground dwellings, cisterns and wine presses). We finished with a drive to the Dead Sea where we swam/floated, sat by the pool, ate dinner and then retired for the night.
Caesarea and Joppa factor greatly in the life of Peter and, in turn, our own. Joppa is where Peter had his vision of eating both the clean and unclean animals and Caesarea is where Cornelius is the one Peter was called to and, as a result, became the first Gentile convert. Joppa is also the place that Jonah left by ship to flee the call of God.
Consider Joppa: where two men who received visions - Jonah and Peter - and the two different paths taken. One fled and the other pursued the call. Life is filled with those choices. What to do with the sense that God wants us to do something - especially if it means reaching out to persons unknown, unfamiliar and unlikely to welcome us?
What's God asked you to do lately?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011