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Bet She’an is a must see when you visit Israel, not so much for the Jewish history it represents but rather for the Roman architecture and history that can be found among the ruins which have been excavated. The Tel at Bet She’an is famous for being the place where Saul’s body was hung. It was done by the Philistines to humiliate the Jews.

According to 1 Samuel 31:10, “they put Saul’s weapons and armor in the temple of the Ashtaroth (female goddesses), and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan.”

Bet She’an, one of the cities of the Decapolis, does preserve some interesting aspects of Roman culture and architecture.

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Mother’s Day

Honor (respect, obey, care for) . . .  your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you. (Exodus 20:12 Amplified)

The commands of God are often easier to read than to follow. Mother-daughter relationships can be challenging. I have had my own struggles.

The road to understanding, accepting and honoring my mother has been smoother since I became a mother. I began to see through my own experience as a parent of only one child how one might say and do the things that my mother, who had 4 children, did.

In the end, God needed to break my heart for my mother, to see her in truth, not colored by my needs, desires, disappointments. To give me a heart for her, God needed to cut mine.

As I pressed in to God to learn to be a better daughter, God reminded me of the command–honor your mother.

It isn’t a suggestion; it’s a command. It isn’t something I can do when I feel like it; it is required of me by God. I guess He knew there’d be days when we’d want to give up, when disappointments and unmet expectations would threaten to crush us like bugs.

On a day like today, when my heart is overwhelmed by love for my mother, for all that she is and all she went through in her motherhood journey, it is easy to love and to treat her well.

On the difficult days, I fall back on the command. I honor her because that is my reasonable service to God.

Mom

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The Last Supper

Read Matthew 26:17-30.

The scene described in these scriptures is of the Last Supper (as it is known by the Church) which was a Passover meal (a Seder) which Jesus (a Jew) celebrated with his disciples (all Jews) the night He was arrested. The Seder was very ritualized.

Passover was to begin at sundown which in March or April would be at approximately 6 p.m. The meal had to be eaten within the walls of Jerusalem. For that reason, at the time of Passover, pilgrims from all over Israel would crowd into Jerusalem, and its population would swell. Passover was a very intimate meal to be shared with family and close friends. Here Jesus is with his very closest friends and disciples.

  1. What do you observe? Why are we given this part of the story?
  2. Read Luke 22:7-23
  3. According to Luke 22:15-16, what does Jesus say about this Passover?
  4. In Luke 22:19, how did Jesus describe the bread?
  5. In Luke 22:20, what did Jesus say about the cup?
  6. What does Jesus say about the fruit of the vine in Mark 14:25? What is implied by His statement?
  7. What were the Jews told to teach their children about Passover according to Exodus 12:25-27?
  8. What is the significance of the Passover for the Christian? (Hint: 1 Corinthians 5:7)
  9. What prophecy did John the Baptist speak over Jesus in John 1:29? What did he mean?

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It may not be the most exciting region of Israel to the average Bible scholar, it is no Sea of Galilee or Capernaum or Jerusalem, but the North of Israel, the region of Dan, is a beautiful place to visit in the Spring when the foliage is lush and green and the mustard plant flowers are blooming, blanketing open meadows and hillsides with their bright yellow.

The area  reminds the visitor that Israel is diverse in its landscapes and geography.

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Head waters of the Jordan River, Israel

The head waters of the Jordan rush down into the land from the mountains above.

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Petra: What’s all the fuss?

The part of Jordan that one must transverse to get to Petra is a wasteland – endless rocky and plant-less desert. According to our guide, only 10% of Jordan is green.

Petra is an ancient city, tracing its roots to a time before Christ. It was interesting to me not only because it evidences a civilization thriving in the barrenness of the Jordanian desert, but also because of the possible significance this city could have in the future, specifically the future of Israel and the Jewish people.

Petra is one of the possible locations to which the Jews may flee during the tribulation period after the abomination of desolation spoken of in the book of Daniel.

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The following images will probably not be your typical idea of the Holy Land, but Eilat is in Israel, and it does offer special treasures to the traveler.

In Eilat, one can relax and enjoy the warm sun, the clear sky and the blue water. Eilat is a very short drive or boat ride to either Jordan or Egypt, and it is but a few hours drive to the Dead Sea, the Negev or even back to Jerusalem.

Eilat is a resort town at the most southern tip of Israel complete with snorkeling and other water sports, but for the student of the Bible, Eilat is the jumping off point for a journey to the rock city of Petra in Jordan. The importance of Petra to Bible prophecy will be outlined in an upcoming post.

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Usuites, Eilat
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Usuites, Eilat
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Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
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Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
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Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
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Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
Border Crossing to Jordan from Eilat Israel

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On the road from Jerusalem eastward to Jericho is a great expanse of Judean desert or what is often called the Judean wilderness. It is to such a place as this that Jesus may have gone when he fasted for 40 days before being tempted by Satan. See Luke 4:1-13 for a reminder of the story.

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It may also be the place of which David spoke in the Psalms 63:1, O God, You are my God; with deepest longing I will seek You;  my soul [my life, my very self] thirsts for You, my flesh longs and sighs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

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It is a place which, at first glance, appears to be devoid of life, with no obvious plant or animal life and no observable source of water. But when one peers over the edge of the cliff and looks below, one sees green in the valley. Small trees, bushes and grasses grow  in the valley, fed by the water that gathers.

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Like our circumstances which can loom like a great desert or wilderness before us – overwhelming us with their apparent impregnability – there are valleys which can only be seen as we near the edge of the cliff and peer over into the crevices below. Life exists in the valleys – verdant, prospering life.

So when faced with a wilderness or desert of impregnable, unnavigable circumstances, go to the edge, look down and see the truth that life is continuing, even prospering in the valley of those circumstances. Know the truth that God would never leave you nor forsake you. God is in the valley.

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