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This trip is over. What an incredible ten days…8 in Israel and 2 travel days. It’s been everything I had hoped and more.

A Couple of Thank Yous

  1. I’m grateful for all of your prayers. Many of you committed to pray for us. We asked you to pray for several prayer requests. God answered them all according to our desires. For that, we are grateful. Spiritually this has been impactful. I don’t know if there’s ever been a more compact time of spiritual challenge and fulfillment. This is akin to youth camp or youth conference as a teenager. God did provide safety for us and our family at home. We stayed healthy. My parents enjoyed their time with our children. The weather was actually perfect. In every way God showered His blessings on us in the ways we desired.
  2. Thank you to Pastor Monte Shinkle, the people of Concord Baptist Church, and Imagine Tours. Your hospitality, organization, and thoughtfulness were so welcoming and enjoyable. Thank you for the invitation to come along with you.
  3. Thank you to my parents for taking two weeks out of a busy church ministry to minister instead to my family. Your presence with our children made the trip possible. We could focus on the opportunities in front of us rather than constantly worry. It would have been impossible for Kelly and me to go together without you, for which I’m grateful.
  4. Thank you to God for this “bucket-list” opportunity. We are nondeserving but very grateful.

A Couple of Requests

Kind readers and friends, would you commit to pray for four more things?

  1. Would you pray for the salvation of our bus driver Moses and our tour guide Opher? Both men are married with families, were kind to us the entire week, and do not understand the glories of the Gospel. The One Whose land they navigate and describe, they do not know. Oh how sweet to see them receive Christ in the future.
  2. Further, please pray that all of us who toured would take the thoughts we’ve had, the experiences we’ve shared, and the decisions we’ve made and use them for the glory of God.
  3. Please also pray for the salvation of the Jews. There are signs all over Israel that say, “Pray for peace.” The reality is this: “Christ is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14-18). Yet, they’ve missed Christ. They desire something that spiritually is already a reality. Yes, Peace came. Peace lives. Peace is available spiritually for each person in Israel and the surrounding countries. Peace is a person, Jesus. Please pray that they would experience Jesus, similar to the Apostle Paul, Peter, James, and John.
  4. Please also pray for the salvation of the Muslims and all the other people of the land of Israel and in the Middle East. So many of them are ignorantly caught in hopeless religions. Of course many are secular and live spiritually in name only. However, many are orthodox, totally committed to what will only prove hopeless in the future.

For Your Consideration

How amazing to worship Christ as we respond to His love. As a Christian, it seems impossible to walk the streets, see the sights, and experience this land without having an even greater appreciation for the Bible. The stories, descriptions, and narrative come alive. From the smallest to the largest details, you can trace the integrity of the text. How fun to open our Bibles and our eyes as we looked around to see the coordination and consistency. It drives is though to not just appreciate our Bibles mote, but, instead, to appreciate and love our Savior more.

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The southwest corner of the Temple Mount (Herodian stones)

Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone of the church (Ephesians 2:19-20). We heard all week of the Foundation Stone that both Jews and Muslims worship under the Temple Mount. But the Bible is clear that Jesus is the head of the church, the cornerstone. He is to be worshiped, honored, and followed as such. The apostles became the foundation stones. We as individual believers are part of the new holy temple in the Lord. I couldn’t help but consider this as I heard of the Foundation Stone and observed the actual stones of the Temple Mount.

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Western Wall where Orthodox Jews and Muslims often go to pray

We must all passionately love and desire the salvation of the Jews. Jesus desired for the Jews to be saved. Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Matthew 23:37). Paul said, “…that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:2‭-‬3). He continued In Romans, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). Paul also declared there’s a day when all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26-27). My friends, we must pray and hope toward that end.

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The Judean Wilderness from the Mount of Olives looking toward the Dead Sea

I also reflect on the future return of Jesus when Jesus will set up His earthly kingdom. Oh how wonderful that will be! Jesus is to come again to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24 & 25) where He will become the most high King on David’s throne. The Messiah will come again. When this happens, the Dead Sea will be dead no more. It will receive fresh water from the Temple through a split in the Mount of Olives (Ezekiel 47:1-12).

(Click to enlarge pictures)

Finally, the saddest part of this trip was seeing all the idolatry. People everywhere either worshiping some other kind of god or worshiping the true God ignorantly. I don’t know how many people I saw kiss rocks, wipe cloth over sacred sights, look toward the Temple Mount to pray, and do other acts of idolatry. I’m so grateful we serve a living Savior Who is with us. He promised to be with us always. We don’t have to make a trip to the Holy Land, go to a sacred site, or pray a certain direction to enjoy the presence of Jesus (Matthew 28:20). We enjoy the ministry of the Spirit as we follow Christ (Ephesians 1:13-14, 19-23).

Incredible trip… final thought: walk in, with, and for Jesus. It’s worth it.

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Sitting on a column that once stood at the entrance of a false god’s temple

From this blog series:
Last post: Israel Day 8 – Joppa & the Valley of Elah
Next post: Israel – The Ten Day Journey

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