It was another beautiful sunrise again this morning. Oh how I love to watch that sun rise over the Sea of Galilee. Truly breathtaking each morning.
Today we started with a Jeep Ride from a Kibbutz up to the Golan Heights. The Kibbutz that we drove through had cattle, dairy, and many vineyards/orchards that grew limes, pomagranet (that may be spelled wrong :) and pears. The fresh pomagranet we got to eat right from the tree was delicious!! The ride itself was through very rough terrain in the Syrian war zone, with volcanic rock and bunkers all over. The view of the lush Hula Valley from the heights is amazing. It was a bit sobering climbing down into the bunker and looking through the viewpoint over the land below.
We enjoyed touring through the Olive Factory and a Winery in a town in the Golan Heights. So yes, the Israeli economy was much supported by the women of the group once again. :) A favorite was purchasing the olive oil.....ya okay and tasting a bit of wine from the winery. Both of those companies truly do have amazing products. We also had lunch at a food court and Kyrstin said that was the best lunch ever here cause she got to have cheese pizza, fries and a coke. :)
We had a hike through the region of Caesarea Philippi in the North part of Israel. Knowing Jesus walked here with his disciples and taught the Scriptures. It was here that He asked them the most important question, "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of God, The Messiah." The Lord said to him that only The Father in Heaven could have revealed that to him because Jesus had not told him that. So my friends, that is the question for us today too. Who is Jesus to us? Is he just a prophet, a fable, a human who lived long ago....or is he Jesus the Messiah who came to take away the sins of the world. Who he is to us is a question that has our eternity attached to it.
After the hike we went to Tel Dan which is very close to the Lebanon border. Dan was the city that King Jeroboam had a pagan altar built so that the people would stay in the area rather than going to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple of God. When we read in 1 Kings, we see so many kings that led the people astray because of their horrible choice to follow the pagan gods rather than worshipping the One True God. So to me this completely falls in line with what Jesus had asked his disciples. Are we going to see who Jesus really is or are we going to allow the gods and idols of this world overtake living for Him and draw us farther away from God.
Also here is a new gate that they were unearthing which takes us back to Abrahams time. This gate could possibly have been the gate that Abraham walked through when he entered this area. It was pretty cool.
On our way back to our hotel at the Kibbutz,we stopped at the Naot Shoe Factory. Arie said he had a couple of shoes to pick up and that we could stay on the bus and wait. Well that didn't go over well.:) So yes, some shoes were bought and Arie gave the ladies a hard time for taking longer than he did. haha.
When we got back from our hotel, we had special guests waiting for us. Ibtisam came to meetwith us and share about her life with us as a Christian Arab living in Nazareth. The Christian Arabs are a minority group and if you are one living in the West Bank, life is very difficult and its almost like living in a prison as you are not allowed to go in and out freely. If you are Arab and Christian....oh that is a huge no no so life can be real difficult at times. It was incredible to hear her testimony and it sure made our tour much more personal. We all enjoyed meeting her very much! That was a definite highlight for me today. Please pray for the Christian Arabs in the Holy Land.
The days have been long and full, but it's been good. As I was on my way back to my room, a man started talking to me about Israel and why was I here. He was from Africa but lived in Toronto. It turned into a very interesting conversation about the red light district in Amsterdam, the sex trade and the things that break the heart of God and how a Christian who grows closer to God continues to have less and less of an attraction to the things of this world and more to live to please God. We had differing opinions but I told him that I would pray that his time here would bring him to a new place in his journey with God and that he would see the things that break His heart. It was really quite the conversation but obviously one that God had planned out for some reason. I just hope I was saying the right things. Please pray for Fred.
Well my friend, we hope you've enjoyed travelling with us another day. God bless you all.