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Archive for the ‘Thankfulness’ Category

Ending the Journey of a Lifetime at Golgotha

Our last day began with a brief tour of the hospital where Tom Gronewald volunteers as a missionary servant to Israel. It was very enlightening to hear about and to see the medical facilities and preparations done by this hospital.

We went from the hope of holistic medicine to the sobering reality of the Holocaust! Touring the Yad Vashem museum and the atrocities of the Nazi Holocaust leaves you an ache in your heart. The staggering scenes and video-taped interviews with Holocaust survivors left a grim reminder of the evil that is in this world. It ignites the passion for showing love and restoring the dignity and value of every human being. People matter to God and people matter to us too!

Our final journey took us to the Praetorian where Jesus was flogged, mocked and spat upon. He went through all the agony of Gethsemane, the beatings and the crucifixion for us!

Wow, what a Savior!

We wept as we stood on the stones in which Jesus received His cruel thrashing. We followed the Via Dolorosa , the way of suffering where Jesus carried His cross with the help of Simon of Cyrene (Mark 15:21).

Along this busy road we came to Golgotha and the Garden Tomb. We were truly standing on holy ground as we saw the Skull in the rocky cliff and personally witnessed the empty tomb. We gathered to read, worship and celebrate Holy Communion. What a special time of personal renewal and spiritual intimacy with our Lord. Richard played his violin and Kyler led us in worship as we spent an hour and a half just praising God for His gracious sacrifice on our behalf. This is the fitting conclusion to an amazing tour.

Isaiah 53:4-5 reveals the prophetic truth of our Messiah Jesus:

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”

Our group has truly become a family and many are already planning to join us on our next trip to Israel and Greece from July 8-22, 2011. Please pray about joining us as well. You will never be the same!

Shalom!

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At the top of Mount Sinai

Following the Exodus of Israel through Sinai desert!

Leaving Cairo, we traveled under the Suez Canal and spent the day going through the Sinai desert on our way to Mt. Sinai. According to tradition, it was on this mountain that Moses received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19 and 20), which we reviewed with our family on the bus. The mountain is also reputed to have served as the site where Moses was commissioned from God at the burning bush (Exodus 3). The alternative mountain is in Saudi Arabia (formerly Midian).

The hike to the top of Mt. Sinai was grueling, but well worth it. We had a full moon as we started hiking at 2:00 a.m. to climb for more than four miles. God provided an amazing site of the sunrise to the east and the full moon illuminating mountain ranges to the west.

Chelsea took a picture of the full moon and a brilliant blue cross appeared in the photo. As we waited to see the sunrise, there appeared a bright blue light just above the rising sun. It seemed as if God was affirming His manifest presence to us.

We left Egypt and entered the “Promised Land” of Israel and there seemed to be a lighter spiritual atmosphere. It was here that we felt like we were standing on holy ground. We greeted our good friend and tour guide Ido Keynan and “Yoshea,” our driver from the last tour. It was a great time of fellowship and laughter driving up to the Dead Sea.

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We have much to be thankful for.

No matter how some people try to re-write our history, the United States began with clear acknowledgment of God and expressions of dependence on Him. It is time to restore a heart of praise and thanksgiving to God.

In 1789, George Washington made a public proclamation for Thanksgiving. Here are some of his words: “By the President of the United States of America, A proclamation: Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor . . .”

“And whereas, both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God . . . “

“Now, therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will.” So read the very first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation!

Of course most people know the story of the pilgrims and how they and the Native Indians of the area had a Thanksgiving feast in 1621—long before Washington’s proclamation. Even earlier than 1621—we find people offering up thanks to God. In the Old Testament the people of Israel sing a Psalm of Thanksgiving:

Psalm 100 has a very unique title. Where most Psalms tell who wrote it, this one simply states:

A Psalm for Thanksgiving. (Reflect on each word and put this Psalm into practice)

This Psalm has Five commands:

  1. Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
  2. Serve the Lord with gladness;
  3. Come before Him with joyful singing.
  4. Know
  • that the Lord Himself is God;
  • It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
  • We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

5. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

It gives Three Reasons for Thanksgiving:

  1. For the Lord is good;
  2. His lovingkindness is everlasting
  3. And His faithfulness to all generations.

Our thanksgiving and praise is not based on our circumstances, but on our Lord! We can have joy as we come into His presence as Psalm 16:11 states: “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” No matter what you’re going through, “in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18). We are also warned that the wicked “even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks” (Romans 1:21).

I want to encourage you to focus your mind on the Lord and tell Him, “Thank You!” Counting your blessings is a great way to gain a proper perspective. We celebrate Thanksgiving once a year, but we should all try to make it a daily practice. I thank God for you, whoever is reading this now and I pray that you will know God personally and experience His love and forgiveness.

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