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Israel Trip 2016 - Day 6

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Day 6 - 2/20 – Saturday: Masada, Ein-gedi, Qumran, Dead Sea and Wadi Qelt

It was another warm and sunny day today (70s) here in the Dead Sea area. The morning began at Masada, a fortress/palace built by Herod the Great. We rode the cable car for 80 souls up. We saw the Roman ramp, the western palace, the bath house, captain quarters and storerooms, and heard the challenging story of the siege of this place with the 967 faithful Jews holding out to the end. Psalm 18:1-2 comes to mind as we realize that God is our rock and our fortress.

About 15 minutes north is Ein-gedi. Here we read from 1 Samuel 23 and 24. This is where David hid from Saul in the cave and cut off a piece of his cloak to prove that He could have killed him. But David promised that Saul’s life was at the mercy of the will of the Lord and not him. We continued here by walking back to a water fall of this Oasis in the desert and enjoyed the uniqueness of this area and a wonderful devotion by Daryl.

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Israel Trip 2016 - Day 5

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Day 5 – Mt. of Beatitudes, Magdala, Mt. Arbel and the Mount of Olives

We departed the hotel and made our first stop of the morning at the Mt. of Beatitudes on the North West shore of the Galilee. We drove around the church to the banana plantation and found our way to the fields just below the church built at this site of Jesus preaching this most famous message. We read the passages from Matthew 5, 6 and 7 remembering how different the message that Christ delivered was from their expectations. They were seeking a change in the political circumstances, Jesus was talking about changing their hearts. We considered what it means to follow the principles of God’s kingdom and that we are its emissaries in the world today.Many of us enjoyed a nice 30 minute hike downhill for a change to the Tabgha site where Jesus multiplied the fishes and loaves of bread.

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Israel Trip 2016 - Day 4

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Day 4 - 2/18 Thursday: Sea of Galilee, Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum and Jordon River

Today was a marvelous day around the Sea of Galilee area. Immediately after breakfast at our Kibbutz Hotel we enjoyed an hour-long boat ride on the lake. We paused to read scriptures that took place on and around the sea. We prayed and enjoyed the quietness, sang songs, took a group picture. Most notably we considered the "peace - be still" Christ gives us in our "storms" of life. After docking we went next door to Nof Ginnosar, the museum home of the "Jesus Boat" found in 1986. This 1st century boat was intriguing to see, given that it was no doubt the type of boat the disciples used.

Next we headed to Caesarea Philippi, traveling through the Golan Heights to the very north of Israel at the foot of snow covered Mt. Hermon. Here we discussed Christ asking Peter and the disciples "Who do people say I am and who do you say I am" while in this pagan community know in those days as the Gates of Hades.

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Israel Trip 2016 - Day 3

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Day 3 Wednesday: Caesarea, Mt. Carmel, Nazareth, Jezreel Valley and tel Megiddo – Armageddon:

Today was our first full day, and it was a great one! With a great sunrise over the Samaritan hills and sunny skies and perfect temperatures (low 70s), we departed by 7:45 for the first site of the day ...Caesarea. As a city built by Herod the Great, Caesarea served as the premier harbor into Israel. We saw the theater, hippodrome, many mosaics, the Crusader part of the city, the ancient harbor, and the aqueduct. We read from Acts 10 about Cornelius, the first gentile, along with all of his family to become believers in Jesus Christ. We recalled the stories of both Peter and Paul.

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