The Sea of Galilee – To Walk Where Jesus Walked, part 3

The Sea of Galilee – To Walk Where Jesus Walked, part 3

Our visit to The Holy Land included a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee as well as visiting many towns around it. In the Bible, this body of water  is called several other names including the Sea of Tiberias, the Lake of Gennesaret and Lake Kinneret. The “Sea” is actually the largest fresh water lake in Israel and is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth at approximately 700 feet below sea level. It is approximately 33 miles in circumference, 13 miles long and 8 miles wide. The lake is fed partly by underground springs, although its main source is the Jordan River.SeaofGalilee2

“Because it lies low in the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by hills, the Sea of Galilee is prone to sudden turbulence. With little warning, mighty squalls can sweep down the valleys around the lake, whipping its tranquil surface into treacherous waves.” *

 

In modern times tourism has become the major local industry. In Jesus’ time it was fishing. The fish were caught, dried and exported all over the Roman world. At one time the Lake was also the main source of water but now great conservation measures are in place. Today the lake supplies only 10% of the country’s drinking water and there are bans on fishing from April 15 through August 15th.

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It was a calm day in May, therefore no fishing, when we sat on the Sea and I could only imagine what it looked like when Jesus walked here. Yes, He walked here!

22 Immediately after this, (the feeding of the 5000) Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here! ”28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.      Matt 14:22-33 (NLT)

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The disciples had just participated in the miracle of feeding an enormous crowd with a little boys’ lunch. Jesus now defied gravity and physics by walking to their boat in a storm. Peter was always eager to jump ahead but circumstances sometimes distracted him. Fear and doubt interfere with our faith too. In all of our own circumstances we need to keep our eyes on Jesus to withstand the storm or go where He sends us. We can stand strong and courageous knowing the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth is with us even if we are sinking. Whatever your circumstances today remember all He has done for you already. So keep your eyes on Jesus while holding his arm tightly and He will carry you through.

For nothing is impossible with God. ”     Luke 1:37 (NLT)

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”     Josh 1:9 (NLT)

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References used:   Seetheholyland.net       Bibleplaces.com          Wikipedia

 

Trip to the Holy Land

Trip to the Holy Land

Dear Readers,     Yes a post is missing!  On May 24th My husband and I were just returning from a trip of a lifetime …To Israel.   In seven days we saw and learned so much it was like trying to drink from a fire hose.   1500++ photos to sort through and copious notes to compare.   My biblical understanding and geographical perspective has grown enormously.  Teams of archaeologists continue to dig through multiple layers of civilizations all over the country. If only we could build roads to last like the Roman Empire!!!

The country of Israel could fit inside of New Jersey and the landscape is very diverse. Lush areas where the water springs flow and mountainous dessert wasteland . Acres upon acres of plantations were growing dates, olives, lemons, bananas, mangoes etc…. We saw Shepherds herding sheep, goats and camels.  (Not far from the highway) Visiting the headwaters of the Sea of Galilee ,we saw crystal clear water pouring out of Springs. The “Sea” itself is really a lake 13 miles long by 8 miles wide. Our perspective of the actual land size and heights has changed. Above is a picture of us at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.

We also saw areas of wealth and poverty; housing slums in the big city and tin shacks by the wayside.  Diverse religious sects live near each other yet apart. It was Ramadan and we heard the Muslim call to prayer while staying in Jerusalem.

This is only a very small preview.  I will definitely be sharing more of what I learned over the next year! Actually seeing the places where ancient civilizations lived,worked and battled is and will be so enriching to my Bible study. To walk where Jesus walked was just amazing and there were times of great soul searching.

Please continue to follow my blog and share with your friends.

 

Roman Cardo

Look to the Mountains

Look to the Mountains

My husband Paul and I just returned from a “bucket list” trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona, AZ to celebrate our 35th anniversary.  People from around the world make the journey to visit and explore these marvels of creation. We were amazed as we drove up… literally UP and UP from Phoenix to Williams. The vastly changing topography and increasing altitude were something in themselves. We even drove through a snowstorm!  From 7000 feet we viewed the Grand Canyon and all of its splendor from day through a sunset tour.

We learned of its ancient people, flora and fauna, geology, and of course its conservationIMG_1534 and preservation. At every vantage point we saw something new. It is true that you have to actually see this place with your own eyes. It is hard to describe to someone and photographs can only capture a small portion of the depth and breadth of the Grand Canyon. The colors change with the sunlight as you view high and low. How awesome is our God!

In Sedona, we drove throughout the Red Rock Country on our own.  Taking our time as we viewed this amazing landscape we were reminded of God’s infinite power through the beauty in nature.  Breath-taking.  Our favorite spot was the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Built to a twin pinnacle spur, about 250 feet high jutting out a thousand foot rock wall, solid as the “Rock of Peter”, the building was completed in 1956. It took 25 years from the dream of the original donor, Marguerite Brunswig Staude, and after much research, to find the place and gain permission to build this beautiful chapel. People from many countries were there. Many entered the chapel to pray, as did we.

redrock3A quote from the benefactor,  “When we consider that just as the soul inhabits a human frame, and the house is built to shelter that frame, it is the mission of the church to shelter and inspire both soul and body. It therefore should not be only be a monument to faith, but a spiritual fortress so charged with God, that it spurs mans’ spirit godward!”

In the bible, Psalms 120-134 formed a hymn book used by pilgrims going up to Jerusalem for the annual feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Booths. As a child I remember my father reading Psalm 121 to us before we left for vacation each summer. We tried to do the same with our children.

Psalm 121     A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

1 I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there?2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
3 He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
5 The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.6 The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
7 The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.          Psalms 121:1-8 (NLT)

redrock1As we traveled through the plains along the highway, the hills and mountains seemed small, grayish and distant. But as we drew closer to them we could see color and dimension and beauty as they towered above us. Sometimes our view of God is the same. He seems fuzzy and distant. God, our Father, beckons us to draw near and see Him in all of His splendor and majesty. We grow closer by reading His word, praying and building a relationship with Him.

The pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem often had a long hard journey to make. They planned and prepared but I’m sure they got weary. Reciting the psalms gave them encouragement and hope to continue on. We too can plan and prepare for life but often the twists and bumps in the road make it long and hard.  No matter what troubles you may be experiencing today – look to the hills and remember the Creator of heaven and earth. Our God is bigger than any mountain and greater than any sea and yet He cares for each one of us. He is our help and strength for every step of the way.

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