Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Exodus- Egypt and Jordan, Week 1

I am attempting to put up some pictures from our trip this past November. I wish in some way I could stir in your heart the affections for Christ through these pictures and writings in a similar way that my heart was stirred during this trip. I know that will not be the case, but I trust that our Lord can work through a computer screen too, that He can work and stir through the hands of a girl who is typing away at her computer tonight. I trust that. I trust in His strong and steadfast love for His people. I trust in the steadfast joy of My Savior- that IN Him there IS truly treasures forevermore. I long for Him. More. Deeper. What pure JOY!

The first day we were staying in Cairo and visited the Pyramids. I was excited, but really wanted to get on to the "good stuff"- to get on to the Bible, Biblical places, to walk where Jesus walked- but then our guide made me realize that because of the time period of which the pyramids were made and their enormous size most likely Jesus would have seen the pyramids. This was the first time I had imagined my eyes seeing what my Savior's eyes would have seen while on this earth. Pretty amazing thought.

You may can get a better idea of how big they are from this picture. When we got off the bus, people would sworm all around us, putting these headscarves on us.

Children were rampant with goods they were trying to sell. This was a precious young guy who stuck by my side for a while. His demeanor was different than the rest. I enjoyed attempting to talk with him and loving on him for the short little time we had. I pray that He would see the preciousness of Christ. Throughout the trip I was sweetly reminded that there are kids in need of Jesus everywhere, in need of moms and dads, mentors, disciples that would show and teach them the love and truth of Jesus Christ. We have that honor and privilege- wherever we are.

This is in the area of Marah, the first recorded encampment of the Isrealites after the crossing of the Red Sea. The Isrealites had been traveling for days without finding water and came upon this area with a water supply, but couldn't drink because the water was bitter. The Lord graciously and miraculously provided for His people here in this area, despite their grumbling.

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea
and they went into the Desert of Shur.
For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.
When they came to Marah, they could not drink
its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.)
So the people grumbled against Moses, saying,
"What are we to drink?"
Then Moses cried out to the LORD,
and the LORD showed him a piece of wood.
He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
There the LORD made a decree and a law for them,
and there he tested them.
He said, "If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD
your God and do what is right in his eyes,
if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees,
I will not bring on you any of the diseases
I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you."
Ex 15:22-26

This was the first time we all stopped together and read the Scripture a loud (still in Marah). God's Spirit was felt and cherished here, as God told us through His Word what happened here in this place. I couldn't believe that I was seeing, feeling, smelling, touching the land that God was telling us about as the Holy Scriptures were being read.

It was such an honor to have our guide Osmond lead us. His love for Jesus and knowledge of the Word was evident and life giving.

This is a well also located in the area of Marah. With the Scripture from Exodus, I also imagine the Samaritan woman talking with Jesus in John 4. I am sweetly reminded of Jesus response to His disciples while at a well like this one, "I have food to eat that you know nothing food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest?' I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." Jesus loves people. The harvest is people. The harvest is a woman at a well. The harvest is a young boy down the street. The harvest is a little girl without a mom. The harvest is people. Not a program or a statistic, but people. One by one. Relationships. LOVE. Bitter to sweet. How glad I am that He still does this miracle today. Bitter to sweet. Continue, Jesus. Bitter to sweet.

Mama and I still in the area of Marah. You can see the Suez Canal behind us if you look closely.

This is the traditional location of Elim, where there were 70 palm trees (Exodus 15:26). Our guide said that there is always 70 palm trees in this area- one would die and another would grow in its place.

RED SEA. This picture brings such a smile.

I wonder just how many people did this very thing that day....

This is another group of young boys that we were able to talk with. They lived across the street from the Red Sea and were walking by the shore when they started to talk with us. They asked me why I was there and with a heart full of Joy I was able to tell these young boys about my God. About my Jesus. About my Rescuer. It was such pure joy. They didn't like the name of Jesus, but they heard it. They heard the truth about WHO He is. And they saw and, I trust, FELT the heart of a girl who loved that Name, who cherished that Name, and who knew that Name. Seeds scattered....

This is one of my favorite pictures of all. (above)

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.
Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men
and go out to fight the Amalekites.
Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill
with the staff of God in my hands."
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered,
and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.

As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning,
but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.
When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and
put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--
one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands
remained steady till sunset.
So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write this on a scroll as something
to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it,
because I will completely blot out the
memory of Amalek from under heaven."

Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner.

He said, "For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD...
Exodus 17:8-16

Osmond and Daddy

A beautiful beduin 'princess'. Rephidim was one of my favorite stops. We read the Scripture in Exodus 17 and then lifted up our hands together as we sang praises to our King Jesus! This little beduin girl and a couple of boys came out from somewhere there in the miles and miles of desert land. This little girl was enjoying our praises and lingered with our group for a while. I knew I couldn't leave without in some tangible way attempting to express Christ's love to this little girl. I tied my scarf around her neck and whispered in her ear the name of "Jesus" I just kept saying His name over and over again to her "Jesus" "Jesus" "Jesus"

Our guide, Osmond, was such a Godly man. I am reminded of God's Word
"'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.'"
Osmond was a great physical example of the outplaying of this verse in this land. I can't help but to picture Boaz and his mercy and kindness to Ruth.

Precious little girl

This was an amazing night. We left the hotel at about midnight and hiked up to the peak of Mt. Sinai. We rode camels half way up the mountain for the ascension. I will never forget the beauty of that night. I had never seen stars like that. I have never conversed with my Lord just like that. I have never enjoyed His presence in that exact same way. No one could see you, no one could really hear you, it was like it was just me and my Lord. It was one of the sweetest nights I have ever had. It was incredible. Over and over again I am reminded of God wooing my heart deeper, more steadfast to Himself during this trip. Over and over did He Romance me. Over and Over He did it. This was one of those sweet times of a presence of Jesus that was so real, so sweet, and so intimate that all I could do was feel my heart groan within me. I will never forget riding up that mountain on a camel. With a huge smile on my face, tears down my cheeks, and an awareness of His presence like never before I gazed upon the stars like I was looking right into His face. His beautiful, beautiful face. I just wonder, just wonder what the pure joy and delight of heaven will be like. One day. One day.
Until then, we must work while it is still day.
We arrived at the top about 5 am. These pictures were taken from the peak of the Mountain as the sun was rising.
Pops at the top of Mt. Sinai.

As the sun was rising higher, the Sinai Mountains looked red. It was beautiful.

i like this camel pic
Back to the hotel in the morning! Some of us got a little beat up, but we did all return!
This bush is in the St. Catherine Monastery. It is thought to be the burning bush through which God spoke to Moses. It is the only bush of it's kind and it cannot be replanted anywhere in the world. Amazing. The monastery, of course, was built around the bush.

Aaron's tomb.

The Lord allowed me to share the reality of who Christ is with a young guy as we walked through Petra. He began to talk about "religion", denouncing Muslim beliefs. We walked and talked about the passage of Scripture in Acts 17 where it refers to the religion of the men of Athens. The above and below pictures show carvings in the rocks where men of this time would place their objects of worship. In Acts 17, Paul notices that there are many objects of worship in Athens but there is one that was called the unknown God. As this young guy and I walked we talked too about this unknown God. I told him about my God. I told him about Jesus. He laughed and said that he didn't want Islam, but he sure didn't want Jesus either.

"Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said:
"Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.
For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship,
I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.
Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you."
Acts 17:23,24

My wonderful parents and me. I am so glad we were able to go on this trip together.

The Treasury at Petra.
I like this description of Petra that I came across:
"Petra is the treasure of ancient world, hidden behind an almost impenetrable barrier of rugged mountains, boasting incomparable scenes that make it the most majestic and imposing ancient site still-standing nowadays.. It has been said "perhaps there is nothing in the world that resembles it", actually, for sure, there is nothing in the world that resembles it. The rock-carved rose-red city of Petra is full of mysterious charm, it was "designed to strike wonder into all who entered it"."
Ancient tombs
I won't tell the whole story here, but God used this little girl to sweetly remind me of His precious gift of grace in my life. He used her to remind me of the depths of my sin and my utter need for Him and His work on the cross. He reminded me of the transformation that is taking place in my own life and in the life of every believer as He takes a horrible mess of a heart and continues to sanctify it to become a beautiful dwelling for Him. He reminded me, through this little girl, the importance and privilege we have to raise our children in the ways and character of Jesus. May we as mothers continue to see the importance of our work:

"And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman
who was deceived and became a sinner.
But women will be saved through childbearing--
if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety."
1 Timothy 2:14, 15

Whether children biologically, adopted, or spiritually- may our hearts truly long for daughters, sons, and families of the Most High! Oh God, grant it. Grant us the grace, the endurance, the strength, and love to mother well.

Romans' road (Petra)

On our way out of Petra. (so much fun getting to ride horse!)
Walking down the street in Jordan with Pops. love this.

This is the Madaba Map, a mosaic tile map made between 542 and 570. It is in the floor of the church of Saint George in Madaba, Jordan. It is the oldest surviving map/depiction of the Holy Land. It is beautiful.

This scene continues to captivate my heart.

Looking over into the promised land from Mt. Nebo.

We arrive in Israel and have a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea. The next morning was such a sweet time as I walked down to the waters and enjoyed the morning with Jesus beside the Sea.

I was able to Skype with David and the boys when we arrived in Israel! David is such a wonderful husband. This trip was his idea. He initiated it. He made it happen. I am so thankful for him and the way he loves me. I tangibly feel Christ's love through the way he loves me. My Boaz. My prince. My leader. My example.

(I am hoping to share some of the pictures and stories of our time in Israel soon!)