All Is Well

Several times a day, Eli the guide gathered us together and counted us. Then, before moving on, he would ask, “All is well?”

He meant, “Is there anything you need?” He would direct us to the nearest restrooms. That was also when he answered questions and checked any malfunctioning “whisperers.” (We could hear him whisper in our earpiece.)

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We read three variations of that phrase today.

2 Kings 4:23, “…It will be well.”

New American Standard Bible

Her son was dead but she told her husband, “It will be well.” She had faith that God could raise her son if Elisha prayed for him.

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2 Kings 4:26, “…It is well.”

New American Standard Bible

Her faith had grown into full confidence. She knew God would answer. She didn’t rush back to her dead son but traveled slowly with Elisha.

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2 Kings 5:22, “He said, ‘All is well.’ …”

New American Standard Bible

Gehazi was not putting his faith in God when he used the phrase. He was getting what he wanted through deception instead of waiting for God to provide. It didn’t bring a blessing but a curse.

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While we were in Israel, someone hacked into our router. They connected two devices and were enjoying free WIFI at our expense. The router was from 2008 and I already patched it once.

I ordered a new router. I connected the computer, tablet, and phones on the first day.

All is well.

I tried again to connect the printer for two more days.

It will be well.

I connected the two Blu-ray players to the new router. One works, and the other turned to a black screen.

It will be well.

Yesterday, I found the set-up disk for the printer in my “Office Warranties” file. I put it in and was finally able to connect to the new router.

All is well.

My immediate needs are met. I still have a black screen on one Blu-ray player and I don’t have everything I want or desire but…

All is well!

Eli is ready to adjust a “whisperer” for one of our group members in the synagogue at Masada.

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I Saw, I Heard, I Felt

As we toured Israel, I hiked right behind the guide. David would be somewhere in the line of our group. I entered each site, took 1 picture, and then chose a spot for David to rest.

The doctor said his left knee is “bone on bone” in four places. He walks over 10,000 steps a day at work, with only a lunch break. When he gets home, he stretches out that leg. Resting with it completely straight gives him relief.

We always sat in the back seat of the bus. David sat in the center seat and kept his leg straight in the aisle.

My routine helped his leg but not my pictures! I wanted to record everything the guide said and didn’t check the pictures until I was back on the bus.

I am posting them unfiltered. There are blurry portions. The photo of the “place of the skull” has one-third of a fence in it. You can see the tour buses in the parking lot below.

Why would I post them?

So, you would believe me when I said, “I went to Israel!” If I posted pristine photos you may think I used stock photos. I want to share what I saw, heard, and felt.

Our route through Israel, starting and ending in Tel Aviv.

Mark 16:11, 13, “When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it. …13) They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either.”

New American Standard Bible

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The disciples didn’t believe Mary. They didn’t believe the two followers who walked with Him on the road to Emmaus. They didn’t believe Jesus when He told them He would suffer, be crucified, and rise from the dead on the third day.

The last thing Jesus said to his disciples before he ascended to Heaven was, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” Mark 16:15. NASB

How could they do that? Who would believe them?

They shared what they saw, heard, and felt. Back then, they called it testifying.

John 21:24, “This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.”

New American Standard Bible

Each disciple shared the same message until their deaths. Eleven men were tortured, imprisoned, and most were martyred, yet they never changed their testimony.

I believe them.

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Everything Was Harder Than I Imagined

The room was circular. It used to be a cistern. When I got to the bottom, I couldn’t find a comfortable place to stand. The floor was like a bowl and the surface was uneven rocks. I felt like I was falling into the center.

High above my head, approximately 20 feet was a hole just large enough for a man to be let down. Pastor Monte Knudsen read about Jesus being held in this place. I hoped his devotion was short.

Jesus’ experience was much worse. They let him down by a rope. There was most likely water in the cistern. There were no steps to sit on, no lights, and no windows.

He had been up all night praying. He was tired but couldn’t even sit down. It was winter. He was wet, cold, and facing three trials, torture, and finally crucifixion.

First, Jesus was tried by His church – High Priest Caiaphas

The chief priest and officers of the temple arrested him, Luke 22:47-54. The temple soldiers mocked him, blindfolded him, and beat him, Luke 22:63, 64.

They wanted to see him prophesy, asking, “Who hit you?”

Second, Jesus was tried by the mayor – King Herod

Luke 23:11, “And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate.”

New American Standard Bible

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Jesus was questioned, accused, treated with contempt, and mocked in Luke 23:8-12.

Herod wanted to see a sign.

Third, Jesus was tried by the governor – Pontius Pilate

Pilate found him innocent, Luke 23:4, 14. Yet, he still wanted to punish him before he released him, Luke 23:16, 22.

We read yesterday how the Roman soldiers scourged him, put a crown of thorns on him, beat him on the head, spit on him, mocked him, and finally, crucified him, see Mark 15:15-24.

Pilate wanted to forget Jesus. He took a bowl of water and washed his hand, saying, he was innocent of this man’s blood, Matthew 27:24.

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Everything Jesus experienced was a million times harder than I perceived from reading the Bible. He hiked down the Mt. of Olives and crossed the Kidron stream. He hiked halfway up Mt. Moriah to Caiaphas’s house. He hiked further up Mt Moriah to be tried by Pilate.

Then he dragged the cross back down through the steep, narrow, crowded Via Dolorosa over bedrock, patches of bricks, uncut rocks, and sections of pavement. It is amazing that he only fell once. He climbed the last hill, Golgotha, or place of the skull.

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I walked on paths, steps, rocks, and ancient roads. I turned my ankle twice. I rode a bus from site to site. We hiked 1-3 miles a day.

Jesus hiked up and down mountains, through packed streets because it was the week of Passover. I can’t comprehend how many miles he hiked that day and each stop was worse than the last!

He did it for me…and you.

I invite you to go to your local church. I don’t care what your motive is: to hear a prophecy (the future is written in the Bible); to see a sign, or to declare your innocence.

Jesus was up all night. We can get up early because tomorrow we celebrate!

Hole in the ceiling of the cistern at Caiaphas’s house where Jesus was held.

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Getting Water

At the end of the day of touring, we were treated to a lavish buffet. On each table were a couple of carafes of water. The waiters kept bringing more during the meal. After hiking a couple of miles, we emptied those carafes pretty quickly!

Luke 22:10, “And He said to them, ‘When you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house that he enters.'”

New American Standard Bible

Why was a man carrying water? Who was that man? I was curious and checked my NIV Study Bible.

“It would have been unusual to see a man carrying a jar of water since this was normally women’s work.”

New International Version Study Bible, Note on Luke 22:10, Zondervan, 2011

Acts 12:12, “…he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.”

New International Version Study Bible

“…Apparently her home was a gathering place for Christians. It may have been the location of the upper room where the Last Supper was held. …”

NIV Study Bible Notes on Acts 12:12

“John…Mark…He was perhaps the young man who fled on the night of Jesus’ arrest (Mk 14:51-52). He wrote the second Gospel. …and accompanied Barnabas and Paul on the first part of their first missionary journey.”

NIV Study Bible Notes on Acts 12:25

Based on those verses, this man may have been Mark. Why was Mark carrying water? (Women and slaves got up early to draw water from the well.)

Mary, his mother, may have asked him to get fresh water. Why? The room was furnished and prepared for the Passover meal. This water would have been served at the Passover.

Mark had already learned the lesson Jesus spoke of in verses 24-27 and John 13:5-20.

Luke 22:26, “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.”

New American Standard Bible

A well in the home of a rich landowner in the Nazareth village.

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No Stone Unturned

Journal, March 29, 2022

When the Romans burned the temple in 70 A.D., the gold melted and ran down to the foundation stones. They took huge beams and pried them under each stone and pushed it onto the road below to get the gold.

The Jews left a pile of rubble on the Roman road when they excavated the site. They are the stones from the temple.

A pile of stones the Romans flipped off of the wall of the temple with wooden beams. They left them on the road after they recovered the gold melted onto them.

Eli, the guide, pointed out a massive crater in the original Roman road that was caused by the falling stones.

Our guide, Eli, explained the damage to the road from the falling stones.

Luke 21:6, “As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.”

New American Standard Bible

Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. He knows the beginning and the end. Two thousand and twenty-two years later, the stones from the temple are still sitting where the Romans left them, just like Jesus said. I can trust him because he was there at the beginning of my life and already knows how it will end!

Psalms 139: 16, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

New International Version

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Back from Israel

I prayed for 30 years to go visit the Holy Land. That prayer was answered on March 21st. Three years ago, God showed us where to get the down payment. Then he showed us what to do to raise the rest of the money. Each sacrifice became easier.

Our plane was to leave 2 days before the world shut down because of COVID-19. The trip was postponed three times and then canceled.

When Israel opened up for tourism, the trip was reinstated. Twenty-four of the original 39 took a leap of faith, and 3 COVID tests, to tour the relatively empty sites.

David and I took a selfie at the Dead Sea!

It was a huge miracle. But God is a God of miracles, large and small.

1 Kings 17:24, “Then the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.’

New American Standard Bible

Raising her son from the dead was the second miracle the woman received, vv.17-23. The flour in her bowl and the oil in her jar didn’t run out for three years, v. 16. She didn’t believe Elijah was a prophet of the Lord until she received a big miracle.

Statue of Elijah on the top of Mt. Carmel

Dear Lord, forgive me for not recognizing the miracles of provision that you send every day. Amen.

Hebrews 11:6, “We must believe that God…rewards everyone who searches for Him.”

Contemporary English Version

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We Won’t Be Afraid When the World Falls Apart

Covid-19 “Shelter in Place” – Day 1

Journal – March 16, 2020: “It’s a cloudy day and the streets are quiet. Schools are closed until April 13th. My granddaughter Olivia is safe. My pregnant daughter-in-law Rachel is working from home. She is safe.

I had 5 chicken wings buried in Bacon Mac and Cheese leftover from Cashus Italian Cuisine. I cooked peas to go with it for supper. (I only eat one anyway.)

My daughter-in-law Bethany gave us 2 pieces of cheesecake. I ate mine at lunch thinking I could work it off. 

It didn’t work.

My blood sugar spiked and then dived. I was lethargic all evening.

But we are safe.”

Psalms 46:1-2, 11, “God is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble. 2) That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart, … 11) The Lord of heavenly forces is with us! The God of Jacob is our place of safety.” Common English Bible

March 16, 2020: 2 Chronicles 6; Psalms 46-48, 87, 93.

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They Began to Sing

Journal – March 15, 2020: “…We held church but Pastor Monte asked us to refrain from hugging or shaking hands. …the Civic Center canceled all April events. We will be the only ones using it. …” 

II Chronicles 5:13, “The trumpeters and singers joined together to praise and thank the Lord as one. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other musical instruments, they began to sing, praising the Lord: ‘Yes, God is good! Yes, God’s faithful love lasts forever!’ Then a cloud filled the Lord’s Temple.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“…worship isn’t fully complete without joy and music. …David appointed the Levites ‘to remember, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord’ with singing and instruments. …” Common English Bible Sidebar Note “Worship and Music”

It was good to get together with our church family. Everyone sang a little louder today. Our hearts were lighter as we left.

Proverbs 15:13, “A joyful heart brightens one’s face, but a troubled heart breaks the spirit.” Common English Bible

March 15, 2020: I Kings 8; II Chronicles 5.

 

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Plans of the Diligent

“Breaking news coming out of Israel indicates that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government will impose a self-quarantine for a period of 14-days due to the coronavirus.”

“Israel will Begin Quarantining All Arrivals for 14 Days”

Our flight was in 14 days! The trip is postponed.

While notifying family, I told them, “God has a plan.” Though disappointed, I am choosing to trust God.

Proverbs 21:2, 5, “Everyone’s path is straight in their own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. …

5) The plans of the diligent end up in profit, but those who hurry end up with loss.” Common English Bible

 

  • We prayed for 30 years.
  • We saved for 8 years.
  • We sacrificed a truck, satellite TV, and a dishwasher.

Proverbs 10:24, “What the wicked dread will come on them, but what the righteous desire will be given to them.” Common English Bible

We are going to Israel!

“…Your faith must be in God, not your faith! …what God has promised, knowing that in His time it will come to pass because it’s His will….”

The Word for You Today, 3-10-2020

March 10, 2020: Proverbs 19-22.

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Create a Clean Heart, Part 2

Our wrongdoing is forgiven because God has mercy, is faithful and compassionate. After repentance, we are not guilty and there is no dishonesty in us. God is able to create and re-create a clean heart in us making new life possible!

God does all the work!

Psalms 32:1-2, “The one whose wrongdoing is forgiven, whose sin is covered over, is truly happy! 2) The one the Lord doesn’t consider guilty – in whose spirit there is no dishonesty – that one is truly happy!” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“Truly happy: The repetition recalls Psalm 1:1, making it clear that true happiness derives not from being sinless but rather from being forgiven (see sidebar, ‘True Happiness’ at Psalm 1).” Common English Bible Note on Psalms 32:1-2

* * * * * * *

“…true happiness is God-centered. It means constantly focusing on God’s will (see Psalms 1:1; 94:12; 119:1), which means doing justice and righteousness (see Psalms 106:3; 112:1; 128:1). Justice involves caring for the poor (see Psalms 41:1; 72:1-7, 12-14, 17). Being righteous doesn’t mean doing everything right but relying on God for forgiveness and grace (see Psalms 32:1-2). True happiness also means depending upon God rather than self, trusting and hoping in God (see Psalms 40:4; 84:12; 146:5), seeking God’s presence in worship and elsewhere (see Psalms 84:4; 89:15; 119:2), and always relying on God for strength and protection (including taking ‘refuge’ in God; see Psalms 2:12; 34:8; 84:5). The ‘truly happy’ are called ‘the righteous’ (see Psalm 1:1).” Common English Bible Sidebar, “True Happiness” at Psalm 1

I’m truly happy, or blessed because God continues to create in me His righteousness!

“The Psalm makes it clear that to be righteous means to depend upon God’s grace (see Psalm 1:56 and often in the prayers for help), not to do everything right. This is why the apostle Paul quotes Psalms 32:1-2 when he writes about righteousness in Romans 4 (see Romans 4:6-8).” Common English Bible Notes on Psalms 32:11

* * * * * * *

Romans 4:6-8, “In the same way, David also pronounces a blessing on the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from actions:

7) Happy are those whose actions outside the Law are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

8) Happy are those whose sin isn’t counted against them by the Lord.” Common English Bible

I don’t have to do everything right! In fact, I can’t because I am human.

But God’s grace is always available. He is ready to re-create a clean heart in me.

Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you about the direction you should go. I’ll advise you and keep my eye on you.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

Psalm 41:1, “Those who pay attention to the poor are truly happy! The Lord rescues them during troubling times.” Common English Bible

Forgiveness = True Happiness!

February 18, 2020: Psalms 32, 38-41, 69.

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