Two days worth of updates in a few paragraphs. Almost impossible, but here goes!
Tel-Dan, Caesarea and Baptism photos
Ancient gate of the city of Laish and Tel-Dan.
In a driving rain which literally became a flood over Isreal, we set out for Tel-Dan in Upper Galilee. While we were not able to walk to the gate, we did get the above photo of the gate that has been uncovered in the last two decades. This gate belongs to the city of Tel-Dan, also called Laish in the Bible. This is where Abraham went to rescue Lot from his enemies. A 3,800 year old gate standing intact as a reminder of the pursuit of a liberator! It is simply awe-inspiring to look at the gate where Abraham would have undoubtedly walked through!
Standing in front of ancient Caesarea Phillipi’s “Gates of Hell”
Standing in front of ancient Caesarea Phillipi’s “Gates of Hell”Second we visited the ruins of the city, Caesarea Philippi. This city, devoted to the Greek god “Pan” and center to extreme ungodly perversions is the scene of Jesus’ famous question to his disciples, “Who do YOU say that I am”. As Peter declares Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus says, Upon this ROCK I will build my church and the gates of Hell will not overpower it.” POWERFUL when you realize that Jesus had brought his disciples, very near to the end of his ministry in Galilee, to the center of ungodly worship and practices. Brought them to the very cave/temple dedicated to “Pan” and called … “The Gates of Hell”! We spent time praying and worshipping on this site and declaring that the CHURCH will continue to go to the “hard” and “unreached” places and that the KINGDOM will advance because of JESUS at the center.
Building in middle of shelling in Syria.
On our way out of the Upper Galilee we stopped at a tourist overlook to look over the border into Syria. Upon arriving we thought we were hearing gunfire and explosions. As we stood not the look out platform we indeed began to see the shelling taking place. A stark reminder of the cost and reality of war! Please pray for the people of Syria as the continue to experience a deadly civil war!
Not much to say here expect for the amazing blessing to remember my baptism and experience something like the experience of Jesus when John came baptizing, and Jesus submitted himself to the baptism which he clearly didn’t “need”. Just an amazing experience.
Photos for Beit She’an, Qumran and Dead Sea Sailors
On the East side of the Jordan river and south of Galilee stood 10 cities in the Bible known as the Decapolis, the capital being, Beit She’an. In Old Testament times, this is where the body of Saul was taken and hung on the walls by the Philistines. That city, which stood high on a hill, was later abandoned and this city built on the grounds below. The ruins are staggering and reveal much about the life and lifestyle of the Greeks and Romans. I won’t tell all the stories, but suffice to say that Greek and Roman center of life is the individual, the body, and sensuality! How we need the TRUTH of the word to bring us back to God’s plans and God’s thoughts on things like the “meaning of life”.
We made a quick stop at Qumran and reveled in God’s hand of preserving and then revealing these “Dead Sea Scrolls” just days ahead of the birth of the modern state of Israel. One cannot help but see His hand in history and in the confirmation that comes with finding the prophecies of Jesus … which were clearly written before He was born!
As we arrived at the dead sea, it was imperative to try out this “rumor” that one can float with no help because the sea is so full of minerals and salt. Truly striking to drive for so long past such a large body of water and not see one boat, one house, no apparent life anywhere near the sea! Good news is this, it appears the rumor is true! Lift up your feet and you are a “super floater”. Strange sensation (especially the gooey mud on the bottom.)
Final Thoughts Today:
As we worshipped through the day and shared in a time of devotions, our team has reflected on the “Special Things” we have seen on this trip. We have seen unique storms on Galilee. We have witnessed war raging before our very eyes. We have experienced RAIN that flooded the land (after experiencing drought for some time.) God is clearly working in our hearts to speak powerful revelations which I, for one, am excited to bring back with me. Not the least of which is this!
God calls us to receive life, to life life (abundantly), to join Him in the “hard life” of following and obeying and honoring Him. God calls us to SPEAK life and to GIVE life and to prophetically DECLARE life. Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE! I hope you are living in and giving out that very life today!