Sunday, March 28, 2010
Since all 13 of us are living in a hotel, we have 3 rooms to divide between us with one common room that is multi-purposeful in being our classroom when teachers come, our study/hang out room, and even our kitchen and eating area! Right before the Sabbath hits (Shabbat) and everything closes up, we usually head to the shuk (open market) and buy groceries for the week. It's fun to bargain between stands and then come back to the hotel and experiment in how to mix up some concoction. Yup... I'm learning how to cook!! (dad, did you hear that? I think he might have fainted) But it's been a cool experience as we share recipes with each other and have dinner nights together Tuesday afternoon after our cleaning day, and then also Tuesday night when we have our fellowship and a time to be in the Word.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
We have now started our 3rd block with only 2 more after this class! So far we have studied the books of Ezra and Nehemiah (with Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi), the life of Elijah and Elisha through 1 and 2 Kings, and now we are studying Archaeology through the gospel of John with our teacher Joe from Murrieta. With Joe, we have been in the classroom very little but out at excavation sites digging through the mounds of dirt taken from under the A la Masque 11 years ago we as get to find artifacts that date back to the first Temple that King Solomon built. One of the guys found a coin, and others bones from the sacrifices, and some tile pieces and pottery. We also got to go to Megiddo to see where the battle will take place in Revelation when Jesus will come back after the tribulation and all nations will come against the nation of Israel to battle. Yesterday we went to Qumran to the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and then to the Holocaust Museum.. oh wow I could write a ton on all that my eyes were opened up to, but I'll leave with this. We have a choice to sew into two things: either the flesh or the Spirit. Jesus says that the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.. my thought on it has been this this last week: this life can bring God so much glory, but how much am I holding back from Him? He has given all of Himself and revealed to us His character through His Son, but I can hinder my relationship with Him by deciding how much of Him I want. Someone once told me that as a believer, when we get to heaven we will stand before God and we will be amazed of how little we trusted Him while on earth with our limited knowledge of Him. I want that testimony to change as I press into the Spirit of God and know more of Him while on earth so that when I see Him face to face and He says "well done my good and faithful servant" I will be blessed to know my God as I am fully known, and to have known Him more and more while living in the World.
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do." Galatians 5:16,17
Last semester I remember the Lord spoke to my heart about the victory that was displayed on the cross and the proof of it through the resurrection that I may come freely and boldly to God. Even though I've heard it before, there was something God did that night that pierced my heart to know how He looks at His children as a loving, compassionate Father.. our Abba. Since being in Israel, the Lord spoke to me again on that same area but declaring to me to no longer ask for victory over areas in my life, but to proclaim the victory that has already been won! There's a bondage that sin creates that God is in the business of breaking, and it breaks my heart that as believers we can continue walking in this bondage that God has already declared Himself victorious over through His Son!
Tonight I got to go to a Messianic Service (Jews that recognize Jesus as their Messiah) and was so blessed to witness freedom and joy in the lives of these people. My heart danced in seeing young kids dance to songs of redemption through Jesus the perfect sacrifice, and to see elders dance around. You see.. I'm not sure what thoughts I had before coming, but I can tell you that there is a different in the lives of those I see at the Western Wall each day praying and bowing, to those whose eyes have been opened to Yeshua the Christ who fulfills scripture of the Old Testament. I pray this freedom over those who 'know' God, because beyond just the acknowledgement that there is a creator, there is an acknowledgement of a Savior that is the only way to the creator, and in Him there is more than everyday life, there is victory!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Since the guys are right across the hall, the ladies were at the expense of their ding-dong-ditch game, but one night we got a knock and opened the door to find a basket of fruit and goodies with each of our names on it. We were all so excited and felt so loved as we read their encouraging letters. At the bottom of the basket we found each of us a scarf with our name on it with the color that they asked earlier in the day as our favorite!! SO sweet! :)
Phew! I can't believe we finished our first block class studying Ezra and Nehemiah and got to cover 5 books through this study! I was super blessed in learning about the building of the temple and the walls and then being able to go and see the remains of them as we took our class outdoors. Now first, I have to admit that my first four days here were an overwhelming confusion of looking at the maps in my Bible and then where we were and not understanding where exactly I was at. I was discouraged and felt I knew so little, but the Lord blessed it and gave me a deeper hunger for His Word and a bolder stance in asking as many questions as everyone would let me! So blessed by the group of students we have this semester and everyone's desire to grow more in their knowledge of their Savior and the character of God. So a basic day: we have classes 4 days out of the week for majority for majority of the day with snack breaks in between. Our classes are about a 10 feet walk from our rooms as we go down the hall in the hotel to a cozy room we multi use for our kitchen and study area. The other days we get to serve in the hotel by helping with the reconstruction, and then attend Messianic Jewish services and find fun places to do our homework! I found this amazing park the other day that over looks the wall sound the Old City where we are staying and shows the elevation of it up on the hills. The Lord has me reading in 1 Samuel in my devotions and I'm just watching it come alive as these locations start to make sense and the history begins to fit together!