a previous post from another blog that will be deleted. Too many precious memories to lose so this has been reposted to this current blog :)
Sea of Galilee to Jerusalem
Getting up to watch the sunrise on the shores of the Sea of Galilee each morning at our Kibbutz, was a definite highlight for the early risers of our group. After packing up we all wrestled with mixed emotions of leaving such peaceful serenity at this rural setting. At the same time, we were as giddy as little children knowing that this was the day that we were "ascending to Jerusalem."
We started our day at the Gilboa Springs where God chose 300 warriors for Gideon and hearing our tour guide Arie's personal testimony while serving as an Israeli Army Commander in the war that took place in Yom Kippur in the 1960's. An extreme test of faith for him whereas God was going to go before him and have victory over a grim situation. He too faced unsurmountable odds of trusting God and by doing so, a miracle happened in his life that affected the lives of so many that day. Going forward, reading about Gideon in the book of Judges will never be the same again! Truth combined with a personal testimony brings the Word to life in our present day reality.
We visited the most amazing excavation site that has been completely revealed to the public in the last 20 or so years: Beit She'an. Learning about the history of this Roman centre (of about the 4th century) and it's impact on Judaism at that time, was dumbfounding! Paganism invaded both Judaism and Christianity with the stark reality of sinful idolatry of it's time. We couldn't help but personalize it in our day and age once again as the temptations are the same: greed, vanity, pride, sexual immorality, and acceptance of every other belief system that the world offers. It is apparent that ruins are uncovered for God to speak to us as we appropriate the lessons and consequences for sin. Thankfully, we serve the One who can forgive all sin and make us as "White as snow". (thankful too that we don't have to experience that word picture literally this week as the temps are in the 80's-90's this week!)
In preparation for our tour, we all had the opportunity to study Beth Moore's Psalms of Ascent "Stepping Up" 8 week Bible study. As we ascended to Jerusalem, we shared stories of how God was speaking to us thus far while listening to the beautiful music of a local musician who wrote a song for each of the Psalms of Ascent as found in chapters 120-134. As we entered the Holy city of Jerusalem, our hearts were incredibly moved as we ventured up to a location overlooking the picturesque panoramic view of the old city. Our guide surprised us with a special blessing as he welcomed us to Jerusalem! We look forward to our last 5 days in Israel staying in this city like no other...(What does tomorrow bring? Our next stops include Bethlehem, Mount of Olives, the Wailing wall and more...) - post by Jodi Kozan