Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Well, talking about Made In Israel (Well, kind of...) I finished the ILG hat I was making for my 100th post giveaway. And I am finally... giving it away! So, the next person who is going to be able able to say, "Gee, I LOOK GOOD!" is my wonderful mother-in-law, Ruth. Congratulations! Now, we'll need a photo of the three generations with ILG hats!!! Okay, it can wait until next winter.
I used RANDOM.ORG to pick the ILG hat winner. Anthony had been on a blog that had used it to pick their winner and told me about it. It's almost impossible to program a computer to pick a pure random number... but they seem to have found a way using atmospheric noise... but I digress...
I have another giveaway coming up... so stay tuned...
Friday, April 25, 2008
At school this morning, I found out that one of Christopher's classmates had been having some difficulties. I decided to take some time to pray for this precious child as I was driving home. As I prayed, other requests flooded my mind. A family member who had recently been robbed. A friend who had minor surgery. A friend who's daughter was sick. And on and on...
I started getting a bit overwhelmed. You've been there, too. There isn't enough time in the day to pray for every need, Lord. What do I do? How do I help?
And gently He reminded me of A.C.T.S.
A.C.T.S. is a format of prayer that is often used when people ask, "How should I pray?"
Adoration -- Praising God for WHO He is
Confession -- Asking God to forgive our sins
Thanksgiving -- Thanking God for WHAT He has already done... and will do...
Supplication -- Intercession -- Bringing our requests to God
Have you ever had times where you know something, but you're reminded of it all again... as if it were a brand new thought? Perhaps the Holy Spirit reminding you? That's what I had today.
It was as if God were saying to me, "Sheri,
Put ME back on the throne. Remember, you are talking to the God of the universe, here. (Adoration)Wow! When I actually got to the "supplication" part, I felt a real peace (because I had been wondering how I was going to "fix" all these things...) I could release these requests to God in full certainty and trust.
Humble yourself before ME. Remember WHO I AM and who you are. (Confession)
Remember all the times you have sought ME and I have answered you. I AM faithful. (Thanksgiving)
Now, in light of WHO I AM, who you are, and WHAT I HAVE DONE...
Present your requests to ME. (Supplication)"
I always thought A.C.T.S. had been a very dictatorial style. Now, I see it as a way to get in the right frame of mind...
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
P.S. Hey, Jen, this is the verse that has come to my mind as I am praying for you this week.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Definition from Wikipedia: Every year each National Football League team is allowed to designate a player who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent as a franchise player. This designation is applied to a player through the use of the franchise tag.
Each team has access each year to only one franchise tag. As a result, each team may only designate one player each year as that team's franchise player.
Usually designated for players
of great skill or
of high importance to the team.
After Christopher was born, people would ask us how it was going... I would jokingly say that we were going to "keep" him... he was our "franchise player"... Of course, most women would look at me with a glazed look in their eyes... and who wouldn't be confused... I'm using baseball photos for a football analogy...
But it truly said something that I felt. That Christopher was of extreme value. I would choose him above all others. I would base my entire team and franchise around this one player.
And so, each year, around April 23rd, we re-sign his contract for another year... we throw a party and celebrate... that we were fortunate enough to draft such a talented young man.
Yes, we're keeping him, alright. If there was a term for it... I guess we'd call it a "franchise player for life."
Happy 9th Birthday, Christopher!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I love my present!
I look so beautiful in it.
So, now we have the ILG hat aka "I Look Good" hat... and the ILSB capelet aka "I Look So Beautiful" capelet. It's fun to know that my knitting is contributing to the beauty of this world.
I'm still working on the ILG hat I mentioned in my 100th post, so if you haven't left a comment yet on that post... you still have time. I'll do the drawing once I finish the ILG hat. Who knows... it could be tonight! I wanted to complete it before I left Israel so that I could say it was "Made In Israel" but that will only be partly true, now. Still, you will look GOOD!
Joel Rosenberg is the author of several New York Times best-selling books, THE LAST JIHAD (2002), THE LAST DAYS (2003), THE EZEKIEL OPTION (2005), THE COPPER SCROLL (2006), and EPICENTER (2006) with more than 1.5 million copies in print. He has been interviewed on more than 300 radio and TV shows, including ABC's "Nightline," CNN, CNN Headline News, C-SPAN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC and The History Channel.
For more information about Joel Rosenberg, visit Joel's website and blog.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal (I Kings 18)
At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."
Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!" I Kings 18:36-39
As I grab my copy of "My Utmost for His Highest" this morning... am I somewhat surprised at the title of today's entry? "Can You Come Down From the Mountain?"
We all have moments when we feel better than ever before, and we say, "I feel fit for anything; if only I could always be like this!" We are not meant to be. Those moments are moments of insight which we have to live up to even when we do not feel like it. Many of us are no good for the everyday world when we are not on the mountaintop. Yet we must bring our everyday life up to the standard revealed to us on the mountaintop when we were there.
Never allow a feeling that was awakened in you on the mountaintop to evaporate. Don’t place yourself on the shelf by thinking, "How great to be in such a wonderful state of mind!" ...We must learn to live in the ordinary "gray" day according to what we saw on the mountain.
I am so grateful that God allows us to go up to the mountain... but even more so that when we come down from the mountain He uses our experience to draw us closer to Him. Whether on the mountain... or an ordinary gray day... I am challenged to learn more... to love more... and to pray more.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
So, we're home... tired, but with memories that will last a lifetime. I have stories to tell and thoughts to share, but for now... sleep beckons!
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
This morning we visited the "Church of All Nations." It is where the Catholic church enshrines a section of stone in the Garden of Gethsemane that is believed to be where Jesus prayed on the night of his arrest (Matthew 26:36).
We had left for the site early... and the guide read John 18:1-2 as we approached the area. I had a feeling of anticipation. We walked up to the entrance and I decided to buy a piece of an olive branch for remembering. We passed through a grove of old -- supposedly 2,000 years old -- olive trees. Since it was early, there were not as many visitors when we entered. There was a service underway.
I was really able to spend some time in prayer... somewhat grieving the pain that Jesus went through here... but thanking God for my salvation. Trying to grasp it all... Jesus being a man, yet God. Being here... maybe not in this exact spot... but, again, it is the reality of it all. There is the garden. There is the Kidron Valley. There is a 2,000 year olive grove. It is all wondrous and awe-inspiring.
Yesterday Rosemary told us that her sister-in-law had passed away. It is hard being so far away from family at a time like this... but we gathered around her and prayed. And it meant so much to her to have such love given to her. Hmmm.. part of the memory of visiting Israel will be the memories shared with our "family" from Bus 4!
On Wednesday evening we visited Shemen Sasson. A messianic Jewish congregation here in Jerusalem. We (the 200 or so on the Joshua Fund tour with us) worshiped in Hebrew! Who knew! Actually, I am a much better singer in Hebrew than in English… hee hee. They are a young and growing church. "In recent years, Shemen Sasson has experienced increasingly rapid growth and has been blessed to see many Israelis receive Yeshua (Jesus) as their messiah." After worship, two of the newer members gave their testimonies. All I can say is YOFFI (GREAT)!
As you can tell, Wednesday was a much better day then Tuesday. Our day didn’t begin until 12:15pm so I took that time to read and relax and do my laundry (in the tub)! I also realized that I had stopped hydrating, so I made a conscious effort to get more fluids into my system.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Of course, by looking into the eyes
of the chosen people of God,
you cannot remain the same.
We had prepared 50 gifts to hand out but 75 families were waiting. How do you choose?
How could we let any of these families leave... dejected? So, Bus 4 decided to pull our funds and purchase 25 additional boxes that would be handed out at a later time... making sure that the families knew that they would be recipients of God's blessing, too. Since the boxes were $60 a piece, we needed to raise $1,500 between the 50 of us... and so, we did. In the end, we raised $1,592. Thanks be to God!
Part of our Bus 4 Family, Jimmy & Kathi
I encourage you to stop by Jimmy & Kathi's Adventures for all the details of our trip. They are an amazing young couple that have such a sweet heart after the Lord. God has great plans in store for them!
Due to the Muslim acquisition of the Temple Mount, Jewish people are refrained from being able to visit and/or worship where the Temple had existed (prior to 70 AD). If Israel is God’s country, then Jerusalem is His city, and the Temple Mount would have been His home address. He resided there in the Holy of Holies, which is the most western part of the Temple. (Now the Holy of Holies resides in the temple… us! 1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?)
The Wall. Or sometimes The Western Wall. Muslims have dubbed it The Wailing Wall because of the Jewish people who would come to The Wall to pray and in doing so “wail” because of the destruction of the Temple.
Tradition has it that when you visit “The Wall” you can place a prayer into any crevice on the wall and leave it there. As if to have your prayer remembered… or as a ritual. Ever since I thought of coming to Jerusalem, I knew this is something I would like to do.
But as we approached The Wall, I realized that I hadn’t written a prayer down. Immediately, I remembered the little prayer box on the bracelet I was wearing. Christopher and Anthony had given it to me for my birthday 2 years ago during The Dark Night of My Soul.
I tried to explain to Christopher what the prayer box was for. I said that we could write a Bible verse on a sheet of paper and place it in the box… or our names… Well, he ran off immediately. He grabbed a sheet of paper and started writing. If you know Christopher, he’s not into writing. But he was determined… he had written down Daddy, Mommy, and Christopher… and was so excited to see me fold it up real tight and put it into the box.
So, I have carried our names on the trinket of this bracelet for two years… significantly through The Dark Night of My Soul… so for this to be the sheet of paper that I left at The Wall was very sentimental and memorable to me. I think of the many prayers that the Lord answered over the past two years... and how this moment commemorates my gratefulness.
Soon, I will be home… and Christopher can write our names down, again… and who knows where and when the next slip will be destined?
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
I don’t think that I have mentioned that part of our justification for coming on this "trip of a lifetime" was because Anthony and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary later this year. I mean when you spend this much money… you really have to justify it, right? Well, another justification… was my 40th birthday. I think some of you missed that… I know I wasn’t clear about it…. But when I said “Celebrating Forty Years in the Desert”… I meant mine!
Yesterday we arrived in Jerusalem. Our first stop was the Mount of Olives. The guide educated us on where we were... and what lay before us. The Temple Mount. The steps of the 2nd Temple that Herod had built. Old Jerusalem. The City of David.
Another highlight was singing together on the Mount of Olives overlooking the incredible historic sacred view... "Blessed Be Your Name" and "Here I am to Worship." Here I am to worship... Here I am to bow down... and so I did! Right towards the Temple. Towards the Holy of Holies... How cool is that!
Author Joel Rosenberg commented on Israel being the "epicenter" of the world. Jerusalem is the "epicenter" of Israel. The Temple Mount is the "epicenter" of Jerusalem. He encouraged us to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6). There is such a struggle for this piece of land. Warfare. Physical as well as spiritual.
Via Dolorosa (the last steps of Jesus) and visited the Holy Sepulcher (where some say Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the dead).
Reality was most of the Via Dolorosa is in the Muslim quarter. It was dark and dirty and filled with shops. There were so many people and none of them looking very concerned that they were where Jesus had been. And the Holy Sepulcher... really, what would Jesus think of six different "communities" fighting over his last moments? Didn't Jesus teach of love and peace and patience? To say the least, I was dismayed and wanted to run away from there.
I am thoroughly mentally and physically exhausted. I really was naive and expected to come to Israel and be renewed spiritually... however, I have found the opposite. Everything is so rushed on the tours... I've had to blog every day so that I can remember what I did or thought... and there is so much division between the Jews, Muslims, and Catholics... There is no peace here.
I really don't want to burst anyone's bubble in my posts about the Holy Land... but in a way, I wish I had really understood... what I already knew to be true... God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not reside in these artifacts or places. They are with us always. Everywhere we go. If we ask, Jesus will come into our hearts and live there. Oh, I am so grateful to know the truth... Thank you, my Risen Savior, Jesus!
Monday, April 7, 2008
Today, we took a tour of the Ancient City of Dan. We were able to take a beautiful nature hike which ended up at a "high place." I knew we were going to the city of Dan, but had no idea we would end up worshiping the Almighty God at a "high place." The "high places" have been used throughout thousands of years to worship anything but God. And here we were... singing "All creatures of Our God and King" and "How Great is Our God" and "Breathe"...
Caesarea Philippi which had been a pagan center of worship over the years. During the time of Jesus' ministry Herod Philippi ruled in this part of the land. Herod Philippi is the brother of Herod Antipas who ruled over Galilee... and the son of Herod the Great. One of our guides intimated to the fact that Herod Philippi was a bit more lenient than his brother Antipas... I hadn't remembered there had been so many "Herod"s... Something that I am determined to understand in more detail!
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am? Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.