As I sit on my couch enjoying the early morning sunshine in Michigan, I am so grateful that just two weeks ago I was waking up in Israel at beginning of a wonderful trip. It was a great joy and blessing, so I want to share it with all of you. We did so much and my heart is so full that I’ll need to share it in “bite sized” pieces.
Days 1 and 2 were travel days where sleep was hard to come by since we were all so excited to get to Israel. We were at the airport by 8:30 am on Saturday and did not arrive in Israel until Sunday evening. It wasn’t easy, but it was so worth it! First there was a short flight to Chicago, a delay of the flight to Newark, a force in change of planes due to issues with plane 1. We arrived in Newark, NJ and had to collect our bags very quickly, change terminals and then check in at El Al. But 1st we had to go through interviews with El Al/customs that were very rigorous, I had to answer questions for 30 minutes.
The flight left at 11:30 pm and finally, on Sunday evening we arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. We got through customs, collected our bags, met up with the rest of the tour and our four buses headed to The Western Lagoon Hotel in Netanya. We had a lovely dinner and went to bed.
The next morning we awoke to a beautiful view of the Mediterranean.
I’ll share more soon, but for now I leave you with this encouragement from Jeremiah 29:11-12 (Good News Translation)
“I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me and i will answer you.”
Flowers of your faithfulness are blooming on the earth. Righteousness shines down from the sky.
Psalms 85:11 TPT
And why would you worry about your clothing? Look at all the beautiful flowers of the field. They don’t work or toil, and yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was robed in beauty more than one of these! So if God has clothed the meadow with hay, which is here for such a short time and then dried up and burned, won’t he provide for you the clothes you need—even though you live with such little faith?
Matthew 6:28-30 TPT
I watched The Passion of The Christ last weekend, but not because I enjoy it. I felt compelled to remember the price that he paid. This time, I found myself viewing it from a new perspective.
I was struck by the wide range of people in the story, and how they seem to represent all of humanity – the good and the bad, all walks of life – and that for all of these, Jesus was willing to give his life. I saw that it includes:
Religious leaders like the High Priest, Elders and their false witnesses – some who were misguided, acting out of fear and/or wanted him dead (they spit on him and beat him). Along with some who believed in him, like Nicodemus.
A friend who betrayed him: Judas – Jesus fed him, washed his feet, drank with him, and let him betray him with a kiss (wow!)
Military men, hardened soldiers who it seemed had no problem scourging and beating him, mocking and spitting on him, crushing a crown of thorns into his head
Political leaders like Herod who was looking for a miracle, when he didn’t get what he wanted, he and his men of war mocked and despised Jesus. And Pilot who really didn’t believe he had done wrong, but he allowed himself to be bent to the “will” of those demanding crucifixion.
An insurgent (terrorist) – a known robber, thief and murderer – he was released instead of Jesus. Isn’t it interesting that the meaning of his name, Barabbas, is “A son of the father”?
Followers of Jesus, some faithful and some who fled or denied him out of fear – for example: Peter, John, Mary and Mary Magdalene.
The unnamed crowd, some crying crucify him and some who probably cried Hosanna earlier that week, but thought he would be a conqueror, and when he wasn’t what they thought he should be, they turned on him. I suspect this crowd represented most of us — people who were Jews, Gentiles, young, old, rich, poor, religious and non-religious, free and slave.
Oh what an amazing love. Jesus knew he would die so that we would be be saved. He saw how they acted, how they treated him. How we’ve acted and treated him, but still He willingly gave his life for us.
But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly. And there is still so much more to say of his unfailing love for us! ~ Romans 5:8-9a TPT
Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered it’s humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2b
I’d threatened many times to join the circus or go live on a raft on the Mississippi like Tom and Huck. But that wasn’t the case this time. It was some since-forgotten atrocity—homework? weekend chores? (I still hate vacuuming)—that led to my decision to run away forever.
I was surprised at the coolness of Mom’s reaction:
“Are you sure?”
That was it. Just “OK.” And then she proceeded to pack my lunch. She was obviously anxious to get rid of me.
I stomped about in my bedroom, slamming necessities—my sacred texts (Huckleberry Finn, Call of the Wild, The Three Musketeers), leftover Valentine’s Day candy—into a makeshift rucksack (my pillowcase), then headed for the front door, shouting, “I’m going now!”
It was nearly two miles to the end of the flower field, the last vestige of rural life in our booming Orange County suburb. I’d…
So why “Say what?!?‘ as my first written post of 2019? To put it simply, I feel like God has been putting these words in front of me like a billboard – EVERYWHERE! Obviously I need it, so recently I have been doing a lot of thinking about the importance of what I hear, read, say and believe.
In Proverbs 23 it says “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” And in Proverbs 18:21 it says “Your words are so powerful that they will kill or give life.” (The Passion Translation). Considering this, it is equally important that I not only choose to speak words of life (true, kind, pure, loving, etc.) but that I also choose to think these thoughts about myself and others. To know and believe the thoughts that God has about me, and not to buy into the lies of my enemy, Satan.
It’s so easy to hear and think the negative. It takes effort to choose to hear, speak and believe words of life. I am so incredibly grateful that HE has equipped me (and you) with the truth of the Word to fight against the lies, so that I (we) can live in the light of His love.
Here are a few examples of what I am focusing on, my paraphrase:
2 Corinthians 10:5 I have the power to cast down imaginations and thoughts that don’t line up with what God says. I’m weighing my thoughts more carefully, rejecting what’s not right or true, choosing truth.
2 Peter 1:3 He has given me everything that pertains to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him… Everything I need, I can learn from knowing Him!
Jeremiah 29:11 He has a good plan for my life. I believe it!
John 14:27 He has given me His peace. i take it and I’m holding on to it!
Isaiah 48:17 He teaches me to profit and leads me in the way that I should go. I expect it, I’m looking for it every day.
Be encouraged, believe that God loves you, HE REALLY DOES LOVE YOU. – John 3:16