Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 7 & 8 of Touring the Holy Land

These next couple of days have been some great fun of touring some different aspects of the land of Israel and Jordan. We spent a day at Petra Jordan and then a few hours the next day having a cruise on the Red Sea.

It's been an intense teaching time with visiting the Holy sites and so having a day at Petra and a relaxing cruise on the Red Sea where a person doesn't have to work too much with their emotions and head is kinda nice here and there. Experiencing the Holy Land can definitely be an emotional and spiritual time.

Petra was so cool! This wonder of the ancient world built into the rock hundreds of feet above you is spectacular to walk through. Knowing that people lived here years ago, and also knowing that the Israelites were not allowed passage through here before they entered into the Promised Land, just brought an extra special ambiance while we walked here.
If you can see the blue jacket way up high, that would be Kyrstin and a few of our ladies who walked up there, including Kara, Judy, Kerri, Karen B, Anne, Valerie and Danielle. It's an incredible view from up there.
A number of the ladies also had a short camel ride here at Petra too, as well as having a horse ride for the last leg of the walk back to the entrance. On this day, I will have you all know, that us ladies each individually walked over 22,000 steps. We know this because Karen Sperling had a step counter in her purse. :)
After Petra, we had a late midafternoon lunch at a wonderful restaurant. Here Kyrstin was brought a beautifully decorated cake with sparkly things on it and a few Jordanian men brought it to her singing happy birthday in their language. It was really quite special and she had a huge grin on her face. :) Then on our way back to Eilat we saw the sun set over the mountain range in Jordan.

And then when we had our late supper back at the hotel, Kyrstin got yet another cake, this time an ice cream cake specifically ordered by Arie. He's the best tour guide. :) It was a good day!

The next morning began sunny as well. We climbed into a large beautiful wooden boat for a 3 hour cruise on the Red Sea. It was wonderful to be on the open water and to smell the fresh ocean air and see the bright blue water and sky. Such a blessing to be here. But this time we weren't alone on the boat, there were a number of people on the boat with us. A whole group of police detectives from one of the forces in Israel was on board with us. Well you get a bunch of guys together and things can get a bit rowdy....but we managed alright and had to ignore some things.
It was still great to be on the Red Sea. It was just another reminder for me of how easily and quickly one can get distracted by the things of this world by allowing our thoughts/attitudes/actions to shift off of keeping our eyes on Jesus and living a life that honors him. Even though we're in the Holy Land, the Devil is still very much at work in things all around, in every corner of the country, to fill our time and our heads with stuff that is just not of God...from an over abundance or focus on food or lust or materialism or legalism/traditions or alcohol or name, it just never ends. That's why it's so important to stand guard over our hearts, to constantly be alert and aware of our surroundings and the enemy's tactics and to stay in the Word of God and in prayer to remain close to His side. Going through Jordan, Israel, The West seeing all the different people groups and how each of us has lost our focus at times. It's time to refocus and stand our ground in following Christ and His ways. It's not just about walking where Jesus walked, but are we walking how He walked.

Anyway, back to the joy of being on the Red Sea. :) Danielle was the only brave one from our bunch that went parasailing and loved it...I would have liked to have gone but it was too windy for me and that freaked me out. I honestly would like to try it sometime. Kara took a swim in the water and found it quite refreshing. It has just been great all around to walk the shores of the Mediterranean, worship on the Sea of Galilee, baptize in the Jordan, cruise/swim/parasail on the Red Sea and float in the Dead's been sweet how we've experienced all the bodies of water in the land of Israel. And then arriving in Jerusalem after that and seeing the view from the city out of my hotel's breathtaking!

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