Wow. What a whirlwind. If I calculate correctly, Cheri and I have been up for 44+ hours straight without sleep. I know she caught a few winks on the plane but I simply could not. Yesterday (or whatever day it really was) we flew from Chicago O’Hare to  Newark and from Newark to Tel Aviv Israel.

We are part of a great group with Pastors Jerry and Chris and Melva Lea Beacham leading us (plus our tour guide Naphtali Cohen and the bus driver).

Today, we visited Joppa, Caesarea Maritima, and Mount Carmel (as well as a local mall where we ate falafels and shwarma.)

Joppa is probably best known for two biblical stories: one being that of Jonah as he received his calling to Nineveh from God, and the other being Peter having the vision/dream on the top of the house with the sheet coming down. It is actually is a quaint little town with a lot of history and a lot of beauty. I think the greatest thing we positioned ourselves with here was the thought of Jonah running from his calling ; let us be mindful to follow ours. Israel 1092010 (5)

Caesarea Maritima is one of these beautiful places that you wish you could have seen in its glory days. It was a home/port/center built along the Mediterranean Sea in upper Israel by King Herod. He built it in honor of the Caesar of that time. Seen on-site, it is a marvel of old buildings, statues, and other aspects of history. Seen from above, it is a marvel of Roman engineering as you can clearly see an outline of the former harbor as it now appears under the sea. This is the biblical place where, among other things, Paul was brought to produce testimony before Felix. I stood in awe at the coliseum, the hippodrome, the aqueduct, and the various buildings of antiquity. What did I take away from there spiritually? I’m not sure of anything per se but I do know that I was awed by the potential work of human hands.

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We also visited Mount Carmel, which too, is well know for several things. It oversees the Jezreel/Megiddo valley and accordingly has witnessed many battles. It is most well-known, however, because it is the site of Elijah’s battle with the 850 prophets of Ba’al and the woods. Here we focused on being strong and trusting in God and His might … to really KNOW Him. I am challenged with that thought because I mentally know a lot of things about God … but I want to always be sure that knowledge is ALWAYS translated into an intimate knowledge and trust of Him.

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Watch tomorrow for Day 2 updates.