Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Deserts, Masada, Rolling Valleys to the Dead Sea (2013)

this post is from another blog which is being deleted. Too precious of memories from a wonderful journey to Israel to be lost :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Deserts, Masada, Rolling Valleys to the Dead Sea

Our tour today brought us out of Jerusalem to explore the desert terrain with a hike, ascending to Masada in the 90- 95 degree weather, enjoying the Dead Sea and gazing upon Israel's beautiful valleys. It was apparent that we all grow in faith in various ways. One being through nature and allowing God to speak to you as you walk about His creation. Whether it be the waterfalls gushing, birds singing, or in the scorching heat... our senses are awakened as we explore together in this way. The highlight was reading scripture that pertained to that specific site as we "took it all in".

With only a few more days left on this tour, emotions and reflections are plenty:
-"We have so much to learn about Israel! We feel we've only touched the surface!"
-"This has been such a life changing trip, I won't return home the same!"
-"I now know more what it truly means for a Christian to be "Grafted" in with Israel and the Jewish nation, God's chosen people.
-"I pray that I can return someday and bring people from my church or family, they just simply need to come and experience this with me!"
-"Touring Israel, I now know what it means to view this as the Holy Land. It truly is."

We have been exposed to so much history, so much depth seeing Biblical sites first hand, so much anticipation and hope in the Jewish people of their coming Messiah. (i.e. The Jews anticipating his first coming and we as Christ followers seeing it as his second coming...) Plus so much pain with the visit to the Holocaust Museum... Immersed in a tour that brings us into the depths of understanding Israel's political, spiritual and historical realities more...our hearts and minds are FULL! It will take some time to process it all for sure. Journaling helps, talking about our experiences with each other and friends/ family when we get home is good too. For now, we needed to lighten it up a bit.... so the Dead Sea truly was a much needed stop for this crew of Canadian Women on a Journey. It is the lowest elevation on the earth and it's salt levels are 10 times stronger than the ocean! After we slathered ourselves with it's mud... we floated weightless in the sea and were reminded once again that we were created to laugh, smile and enjoy life together. Floating as such, reminded me how we are to cast our burdens on Jesus Christ. To allow Him to 'bear our burdens' when He said" Come to Me all who are weary and I will give you rest..." May we never forget that feeling. (Minus the salt stinging our eyes or the mud cracking our skin!) It was truly a glorious day. All are well, nobody has gotten sick and we are thrilled to get to know more friends in faith as we've embarked on this pilgrimage together:) 

We ended the day reading on a lookout of the Judean Desert from Psalm 121. "I lift my eyes up, to the mountains... where does my help come from?..." Our help truly comes from God and as we looked over the desert/ wilderness where Jesus went to be tempted for fourty days...reminds us that we have our own 'deserts' and 'wilderness' times that we too need to rely on God. Trusting in His strength to deliver us as Christ Jesus had done... so should we. 
- post by Jodi Kozan

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