Sunday, April 24, 2016

recounting HIS faithfulness in {Israel}

Three months in this land has taught me much...

Recount His faithfulness. This isn't about you. It's all about Him - and these are just a couple of the things He's done:

 He protected us from lion fish and let us explore the underwater depths of the Red Sea. 

 He gave us friendships and opportunities to face our fears together (even if they are as little as jumping off a dock into the Red Sea). 

He gave us ample opportunities to explore the Old City and it's rich mix of religion, culture, and history. He deepened our appreciation of knowing Him. Oh, the mercy involved with Him revealing Himself to us and showering us in His grace.

He gave us a familiar face to enjoy time with in a city quite unfamiliar to us at the time. Green Door Pizza in the Muslim Quarter with our Chicago home church pastor & wife = blessing upon blessing. 

He gave us a place to call home in a guest house in Jerusalem. Beit Ben Yehuda was a place of hard yet rewarding study of the Bible, deepened friendships, mentorship from godly professors, and lots & lots of laughs (#livinginasubmarine).

He gave us ample opportunities to praise Him, even in the most cursed of places {Valley of Hinnim // Gehenna}.

He gave me refreshment through friends like this girl, Lindsey, who consistently encouraged me, made me laugh, and pointed me to the Father.

{Valley of Hinnim}

He gave me compassion for those that weep at the Western Wall and place prayers to a God they don't know in the crevices of stone. Oh, that they would know YHWH. Oh, that they would know Yeshua. Oh, that they would know the Holy Spirit. 

He gave me understanding at the Mount of Olives when the survey of the land finally clicked and suddenly the Word of God seemed to come to life in my mind.

He gave us adventure & excitement as we rode through the desert to the most southern tip of Israel. {Eilat}

He gave us a morning of labor in Timnah and richer understanding as we helped rebuild the reenactment of the Tabernacle.

 He also gave us a bit of fun in Timnah.
 (this one's for you, Mom!)
 {The Red Sea - where you can be swimming in Israel and view Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia all at the same time}
 He taught us about the sin of idolatry and how easy it is to fall into it.
{Bethlehem, birth place of my Saviour}
 He reminded us of the richness of knowing Him and the urgency to share the gospel in a world that is devoted to false gods, whether that be Allah or money, religion or immorality.
 He taught me about rest, joy, and satisfaction in Him in Nahsholim, at the beginning of our tour of the country.
 He convicted me of pride as I looked over the place where Herod died in his vanity for not giving the LORD glory. {Acts 12:23}
 He reminded us of His beauty at Caesarea by the Sea.

 And He did it again and again and again.

 He made us stir with anticipation about His Second Coming at Megiddo. {Armageddon}
 He reminded us of the joy of our salvation as three from our group were baptised in the Jordan.
 He reminded us of the sting of sin and idolatry at Tel Dan.

 He took us out of the comfort of our tour at Ben Tal, where UN soldiers overlook Syria and the stirring raucous of bombs made us pause & pray.
 He gave us a day of beauty, fun, and time well spent together in Engedi, Masada, and the Dead Sea.

 He taught me much about life, grace, and transparency from this whole group, but pictured here are two amazing friends He chose to teach me through - Luke and Pippa.


 He gave us a night of laughter, worship, and heart talks as we recounted what the Lord had taught us thus far under a starry night in a Bedouin community. We rode camels, ate a hearty meal, and cried as we worshipped the Living God of the universe. (Pictured is the Bedouin tent)
 He provided me with three amazing roommates (two are pictured here). Pip, Lindsey, and Madison (and Savvy-Jo for a couple of weeks), y'all were an immense blessing to me. Thanks for the laughs, the honesty, the hugs, and the deep friendships each of you offered me. I'm looking forward to the reunion in the fall!
 He blessed us with the leadership of Tal, our tour guide, who was willing to teach us not only his immense knowledge of the land, but also facets of Israeli culture. 

He also gave me an amazing gift in a visit from my parents during my last week in Israel. Mom and Dad, thanks for teaching me much about the Lord throughout the years, for forgiving me of all the ways I've wronged you, and for teaching me to celebrate life and live for the Lord. Also, thanks for coming across the world to visit me and for being willing to get messy in the mud of the Dead Sea.

There's much more He's taught me, many more places He led us to, and many more stories I could share. But if you understand one thing about this season in Israel, understand that the Lord was faithful. It was proven in every minuscule thing that occurred, but more importantly, it is His character. He is faithful. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. 

Your steadfast love, oh Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 
Psalm 36:5

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