Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Walking with Paul and Elijah

What an amazing day. It still hasn't set in that I am in Israel. As I write this post, I am sitting in my hotel room, which is in Tiberias, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

I had my first falafel, today. But that's not important.

The day began with a tour of ancient Caeserea by the Sea. By the grace of God--His grace that has allowed me to travel to Israel and His grace that has allowed the preservation of such an amazing, historic site--I had the opportunity to stand where Paul stood to make his defense and share his testimony before King Agrippa and a theater full of people (Acts 26:1-32).

Shortly after making his defense and his proclamation of the gospel, and having already appealed to have his case heard before Caesar, Paul, as a prisoner, set sail for Rome. And it was likely from the dock pictured above (or another in the same port) that Paul boarded a ship of Adramyttium (Acts 27:1-2).

Then we made our way to Mount Carmel, the place where the prophet Elijah mocked, defeated, and destroyed the false prophets of the false god, Baal (1 Kings 18:20-40). Mount Carmel overlooks one of the most famous and ominous valleys in all the world--the Valley of Jezreel. Most people know it as the Valley of Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16).

As Ron Love, Chief Financial Officer for Living Waters, shared a wonderfully encouraging devotion from 1 Kings 18, I saw and heard in the distance two large Israeli military helicopters flying over the valley to an airbase on the valley floor. My thoughts immediately turned to God's revelation to John. It was surreal.

Tomorrow is another full day, which begins on the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. I will have the opportunity to share a devotion with our team not far from where Jesus likely preached the most important sermon known to mankind.

Several times, I have heard people say that once you've been to the Holy Land you will forever read your Bible differently. This trip has already shown me this is the case.

Your prayers for the teams and the leaders, as well as their families, is greatly appreciated.