am I like the other nine?

PictJesusHealsLeperRembrandt1655-60

Luke 17:11-19

Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.  The as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.  And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”  So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”  And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.  And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks.  And he was a Samaritan.  So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed?  But where are the nine?  Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”  And He said to him, “Arise, go your way.  Your faith has made you well.”

I love to read stories in the Bible because when you are truly reading and seeking Him, amazing truths seem to pop out of the page and right into your lap.

There were ten lepers in the village that Jesus passed through.  They were miserable and wore a horrible disease and they all wanted the same thing….to be healed.  I wonder if they had heard about Jesus performing miracles in other towns and decided to take a chance and cry out for healing.

SIDE NOTE:  Have you ever wanted something so bad and you’ve prayed that God would answer your prayer (the way you wanted it answered) and were actually stunned when He does?  Or did you even notice that HE answered…..not karma, not good luck….but GOD.

What did you do?  Did you drop to your knees and thank Him?  I know that there are so many times (gulp) that I have used God as a genie….or made a silent pact with Him, like, ‘ok…if you do this…then I’ll do this…” 

Thankfully, when I asked God to come into my life, the Holy Spirit set up shop right there inside my heart.  As a believer, I am like a container for God being filled with His goodness and joy and HE should always be first in my life and in my actions.  In Psalm 119:11, David says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”  

But in this passage of Luke, only one leper gave thanks.  Only one leper looked down as he walked to show himself to the priest and saw healing.  Unbelievable.  The one thing he wanted more than any….he was healed.

But that wasn’t the only miracle.

Can you hear the sadness in Jesus’ voice?  “Were there not ten cleansed?  But where are the nine?  Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 

Jesus saw only one leper return and give thanks and Jesus says one more thing…”Arise, go your way.  Your faith has made you well.”  Ten were healed but one was healed AND forgiven.  Your faith has made you well.

Can you recognize God’s blessings?  Has He healed you of something….disease, finances, job…..have you thanked Him?  I don’t want to be like the other nine lepers….so excited about their healing that they either forgot or said, “That’s okay God, I can take it from here.”

I am thankful for God’s grace.  He doesn’t keep score and no amount of ‘good works’ will make Him love us anymore.  I want to have Him in my heart and on my lips so when I receive His blessings I will immediately be reminded of His love and grace.

the list…

Just a quick note to say…….if I know you….I’m praying for you.

I got the opportunity to put my list of prayer requests on the Western Wall in Jerusalem.  My list was so very long with so many names that I tore off the title of the list, prayed over it, and placed it on the wall.

God knows those names….Some of you are my family….some of you are my friends on Facebook….some of you I have never even met…

God gave me MANY, MANY names to place on that list, and my prayers did not end with that trip….I am daily remembering YOU.  If you are someone that I don’t know about, and would like prayer….please, please let me know!  I will keep this information between you, me and God…..I would love to pray for you too!

If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.—Psalm 66:18-19

“Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lordis his name:   Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.—Jeremiah 33:2-3

when jesus weeps…

Tears….sometimes I just get so tired of crying…

The Bible records at least three occasions when Jesus grieved:  at the tomb of Lazarus, over the city of Jerusalem, and in the Garden of Gethsemane before His death.

Isaiah 53:3 “..A man of Sorrow and acquainted with grief”

Did you know that there is a chemical content in tears of grief that differs with the content in tears of joy? When we cry with tears of anguish, toxins are released from the body through our tears.  Thank you, Lord, for giving us such a sweet release!

But I wanted to talk about the tears that Jesus had over the city of Jerusalem.

Luke 19:41-44 “As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and He said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.  The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.  They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls.  They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Jesus has just cried over the city that had missed the GOLDEN opportunity.  If the people had only received Him as Messiah, it would have meant peace for them.  But they didn’t recognize that He was the source of their peace.

And now it was too late.  They had already determined what they would do with the Son of God.  Because of their rejection of Him…their eyes were blinded.  Because they would not see Him….they could no longer see Him.

W.H. Griffith Thomas says, “Let us sit at Christ’s feet until we learn the secret of His tears, and beholding the sins and sorrows of the city and countryside, weep over them too.”

So, Jesus is weeping.  He has left Bethany and has told two of His disciples to go ahead and they will find a colt, which has never been ridden, and to bring it to Him.  It’s five days before Passover and the city of Jerusalem will be jam packed  with people from all over Israel to join the celebration. Everyone who was anyone would be there.

Here we have the Pharisees, who were under the Roman rule; the Zealots who hated the Romans; the Sadducees who ran the Temple and cooperated with the Romans and the Roman people with their two main rulers, Pontius Pilot and Herod Antipas.  Eeek! We have the perfect storm of confrontation!!!

And in comes Jesus on the back of a donkey!!  So you have hundreds of people coming to join Jesus as He rides into Jerusalem waving palm branches….which I think is our version of a ticker tape parade!  Meanwhile the chief priests and scribes are freaking out because a public display of support is the last thing they needed! So on the one hand you have hundreds of people joyfully singing  and praising God, as He nears the Eastern Gate, and on the other hand you have the leaders of Jerusalem only getting more fired up….the closer He gets.

I love that Luke specifically tells us what was being cheered!

Luke 19:38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

The people are repeating Psalm 118:26!!! They were identifying Jesus as the Messiah!!  Now (I love this part) the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus,  “tell them to be quiet!”  Now…listen to what Jesus says…..(wait for it…….) “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

HAHA!!!!  IN YO’ FACE, PHARISEES!!!  He says that if he tells the people to shush, even the ROCKS will begin to praise Him!!!

But then, something strange happens…and only Luke speaks of it.  As Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem, and he saw the city…He begins to weep.  He could see beyond the cheering crowd and to the mob that was going to crucify Him.  He knew that there were leaders that were plotting against Him, He knew that the crowd would be fickle and that the cheers would turn to jeers. Jesus knew on Sunday…what would happen on Friday……and He went anyway.

Jesus saw the future.  He even spoke about it in vs. 43 and 44.  He sees a famine taking hold, he sees the Romans circling the city to keep provisions from getting through.  He sees many starving to death and the Romans finally breaking into the city.  He sees the temple set on fire and slaughter in the temple courts.

He sees the horror that is about to come….and He weeps.  Jesus was weeping because they were losing their great/golden opportunity…..

Is He weeping over you?  Are you missing the golden opportunity to accept Him and reign with Him….FOREVER?  If so….He is weeping.

Don’t count these tears as softness….Don’t think He will excuse your sin.  He loves you and wants ALL of you…it is one thing to believe…..it is quite another to accept.

Our sin is a reality that won’t go away, no matter how we try to spin it…It may not be popular to be reminded of our sins….but often, things that are true….are not popular.

day…what?

I can’t even remember where the heck we are anymore!!!  These are 17 hour days, people!!!  But I will say that I know we are still in Israel.  And unfortunately we go home tomorrow.  So…no post tomorrow since our flight will be at 12:55pm…..eek!  But THANKS to my WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL husband, I have the luxury of being in First Class going home and I am going to sleep like a baby!!!

Ok…where were we?  After the Holocaust Museum, it was all downhill for the rest of the day for me.  So here are some highlights from there…

We went to (and this is not in order…I’m grasping for some memory here) to the Southern Steps and over to the Dung Gate.  (stop it. .. that is it’s name.)

And those are the original stones too, people!  Isn’t that amazing?  This is over near the south side of the Temple.  We are walking on the same steps that Jesus and the disciples walked.  CR-AAA-ZZY!!!

Mind blowing….

Susan, myself and Anita enjoying the sunshine (not knowing that it would be freeeeeezing cold and rainy for the last two days!)

Next we went to the Temple Institute and got to see where they are making some of the instruments for the third temple and how they are following the Bible EXACTLY (Exodus 25-28)  They have made the gold Menorah (see pic) and have even made the garments that the High Priest will wear.

I was interested in what the girl was saying about rebuilding the Temple, yet saddened at the same time because she does not believe that Jesus is the Messiah.  She  believes that the Messiah is yet to come…..(sigh)

It’s a little blurry because she was quite animated, but you can see the mannequin in the background wearing the priestly garments….well, you can kinda see him.

Next, on to St. Peter in Gallicantu.  This is a church that is overlooking the Kidron Valley and is built over the traditional site of the house of the high priest, Caiaphas.  Jesus was betrayed and arrested in the Garden of Gethsesame and was brought to his house.  Here is where He spent the entire night and it was also the scene of His first trial. (Matt 26:57-63, Mark 14:53-65, Luke 22:63-71, John 18:12-14)  Remember that Peter denied Christ THREE times before the rooster crowed?  Well, this is where the whole thing went down…

The church was built by the Assumptionist Fathers in 1931 and these steps in the hillside are believed to date from the time of Christ.  This pathway is the shortest way from Gethsemane to the upper city and is believed that this is EXACTLY the steps that Jesus walked on………..wowsers..

What’s really cool is that when I went in 2009, we were able to walk down those same steps that Jesus walked on and now they have blocked it off so no one can do that anymore.  But I did….so…..in yo’ face!

This is the Dungeon/Pit where they brought Jesus after He was arrested.  We had a reading from the Bible and a prayer and it left us all with chill bumps.  I had to touch the walls, wondering if this is where Jesus also laid His hand….

I leave you with that feeling….very emotional knowing that Jesus was being held in this tiny pit……

israel…day 4

Oh boy!  Are we getting info overload!!!  This has been so much fun and I can’t wait to get all my pictures together for ya’ll to see.  Where to start now?

Well first I met the greatest young man ever, Scott Stilwell. He is so amazing, I can’t even put it into words! (Ok...I was in the shower while my roomies son came in and typed on my computer!!  But I will say….he just might be the greatest young man ever! )  🙂

Today we started out by going to Massada.  I highly encourage you to see the movie (made in the 60’s) it’s a very interesting story/movie.  It’s located about 2.5 miles from the western shore of the Dead Sea.  It’s a huge rock fortress  and is about 1/2 mile long and rises 2,000 feet above the level of the Dead Sea.  (don’t I take good notes?) In the year 40 BC, Herod the Great built a huge fortress on the top of Massada to protect himself from the Jews.  It had an 18 foot high wall with 38 towers, each 75 ft high.

Long story short, the Romans tried to storm the fortress but were beaten back, because it was well defended.  So they built a battering ram….not to mention a RAMP to roll it down and this was the beginning of the end.  So the Jews knew they were going to die and they decided to die free men…..in other words, they decided to kill themselves so they wouldn’t be enslaved to the Romans.  960 people died…….

There is SOOO much more to that story and is best for you to do a little google.  (I don’t have enough battery, my friends).

Next we went to En Gedi, where David and his men hid out in a cave when they were running from King Saul.  It’s believed that David wrote some of his psalms while he was in this area.  The area is fed by fresh water springs and was known in the time of King Solomon as a fragrant spa (woo hoo!) with a waterfall and tropical vegetation.  When we got there, a group of girls were swimming in the waterfall area and were having so much fun…..in full clothing……

Think that was the cave???  Well, they don’t know which one because there are so many, so I’m going to say…..’yes’…..so, that’s all I know about that.

Or…..maybe it was that one…..I don’t know….

Ok, then we were off to Qumran.  This is the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by two Bedouin shepherd boys.  They found 7 pots containing scrolls of ancient biblical texts.  The scrolls are believed to be over 2000 years old and were hidden by the Essenes (those jokesters) before the Romans invaded the area to go attack Masada.  P.S.  The scrolls are on exhibit in Jerusalem at the Shrine of the Book in the Israel museum.

That was a cool pic because it is one of the bath areas…just another ritual….but I like to think of it as a hot tub experience….

Then we were off to Jericho to see the ‘where the walls came a tumblin’ down’……..(ok, I just sang the last part of a Sunday School song).  Jericho is one of the world’s oldest, continuously inhabited cities and also the most excavated…..however….I only took one photo, because I got a little distracted by a Palestinian man that was selling necklaces..  So, three necklaces later, the bus was leaving.  Some people in the group gave two little children a dollar bill each and all of a sudden EVERY kid in the neighborhood was surrounding the bus!  I thought I was going to have to get physical….but since they were toddlers, I let them go without incident…

We stopped giving money when we figured we were funding something bigger than what we might think….(spooooooky).

But let’s not forget the Dead Sea!!!  No, I didn’t float, but I got tons of pics of people that did!!!

I normally just get my mud from Nordstrom Spa.  I didn’t know that I could have flown to Philly, then to Tel Aviv and then to the Dead Sea and maybe I could have saved us some money…..

And p.s…the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth.  It’s actually a lake and its shrinking every year because of irrigation in the north as well as mineral refineries that are adjacent to the Sea.  It’s about 11 miles wide and about 40 miles long.

So….that didn’t finish the day because we’ve decided that after dinner we are going to hit the town of Jerusalem.  How many people can say that?  I can’t wait…..it’s awesome.

Toodles and will talk to you soon!!!

you wanna go on a trip?

It started out simple enough.  Two girls, new friends, a trip to Israel and really big hair.

Since there wasn’t enough room in Coach, we made our way to the front of the plane to stretch out.  We were armed with menu’s, a duvet and eye shields.  We weren’t sure what we weren’t supposed to look at, but we placed them on our faces and just talked really loud…although it was our vision that was impaired…not our hearing.

We woke up refreshed and ready to  see something … jewish.  So we hopped aboard the first bus we could find as our fearless leader, Mark Kendall, talked on a microphone (which by the way was very professional) and our tour guide, Maher pointed to random places on a map.  His smooth, chocolate-y, velvet-y voice had the female passengers in a hypnotic trance as we pretended to listen. He was a arabic/christian Barry White……for sure.

I’ll hit some highlights of the tour….and NO it isn’t because I’ve been looking back at some pictures and wondering where the heck we were when that picture was taken…………..so………..OH!  Here is Glenda with Susan!  They are ….. in Israel.  (locations aren’t important)

But I can bet you about $50 that Susan will tell you EXACTLY where we were………that’s how she rolls.  These are the things I remembered:

I remember asking the donkey, “Hey, why the long face?”  And it was in Bethlehem…..Oh, and there were sheep…or should I say, sheeps….because there were more than one.  But here is where I really found myself.

Yeah, that’s right….it’s practically the Jerusalem Fashion Square. I was finally home. The crowd looked a little like Black Friday….but there wasn’t much pushing or shoving….I only did it a little…..

We were on a mission to find a shofar….I, personally was looking for the Gap…..shofar we couldn’t find one…. 🙂

Here is Med offering to trade Susan and I for a knife…it got a little dicey there for a minute…thankfully I didn’t have to intervene…because they don’t like it when you “pack heat” in Israel.  (whatever?!)

Here’s the bottom line, people.  You gotta go to Israel.  It’s the new thing.  All the cool kids are going and I don’t want you to be left out.  March 2011.  Israel.  Check out Med’s website at www.medskeens.com .

I will be posting more fantastic pictures and keeping you informed until the day we leave…..so…..it’s either going to get reeeeeally boring, or you should go!!  Next up:  The Dead Sea and the Jordan River!