My reflections of Israel (part 5) The Region of Golan

When we first approached the Sea of Galilee, we were on the west side. We then traveled to the north and rounded the lake to the east. We are now in the Golan Region. Our Zimmer is in Moshav Ramot. It is a unique agricultural area where Zimmers are nestled amongst the orchards and animals.  Zimmers are very popular in Israel. To an American, they look like a log cabin. When I hear “log cabin”, I think mountains. However, in Israel, they can be found in many different settings. Ours happen to be on a hillside over-looking the Sea of Galilee. They were also in the middle of a farming community! Evidently, a Zimmer is not a Zimmer unless it has a hot tub! The whole area around us was a very popular vacation spot. Craig and Nicki had stayed here before and really enjoyed it. They wanted us to experience it too! It is a beautiful area and very relaxing.

Our arrival and evening were discussed in the previous post. This post starts after a cozy night…

Our breakfast was delivered in this basket…

This is just the top layer...

There was way more food than Jim and I could eat, but it was really fun trying all the different foods. The photo below is missing two egg dishes that came too. It was all really good! That bottle that looks like milk was our yogurt. This happened to be February 14th, so this was our Valentine breakfast!

All of this PLUS two egg dishes that are not in the photo!

Here is Jim enjoying breakfast and a glimpse of our Zimmer. If you look closely you can see a black and white cat under the palm tree. There are MANY stray cats in Israel. When I saw this one approaching, I was sure it was going to be begging for food. It was a very polite cat and that is as close as it got!

Jim enjoying our "Valentine breakfast" on the porch.

After breakfast we took a walk. We were curious about the farm we seemed to be sharing land with. Along with growing crops, there seemed to be a large area for packing and shipping their harvest. These are boxes of fruit…

I wanted to bring these colorful pallets home! I can think of so many fun things to do with them! I’m quite sure Jamie would want some too…

Colorful pallets!

There were a few crates too…

A few crates...

And greenhouses!

We have not had confirmation yet, but think these are Almond trees…

We think these are almond trees...

There were many cactus plants too.  Not sure if they were a “crop” or just a part of the landscape!

There were a lot of cactus plants

They even had their own bee hives…

Their irrigation system…

This grove was a perfect patchwork of Olive and Palm trees…

And a cute little helper…

Citrus…

Citrus

These trees were larger than the ones in the greenhouses…and they were blooming!

Almond (?) trees blooming

Then the farm ended and right across the road was a residential area. That is the water in the background…

After a relaxing morning, we packed up and headed north to Nimrod’s Castle.

We had a fun stop along the way. This is the Golan Olive Oil Mill! It was a fun place to see, but also to “experience”!  We actually did an “Olive Oil Tasting”. They had several kinds to dip bread into and taste. There were even flavored ones. Lemon, orange and garlic come to mind. We also scrubbed our hands with a scrub made from olives!

Olive Oil tasting

It was a very pretty setting

This is an old olive press

Then we headed to the castle. It was a beautiful drive through the countryside. We did have a bit of a detour. We were stopped and told we couldn’t go the way we wanted to because they were conducting “military maneuvers”.

We had the beautiful snow-covered Mt. Hermon as a backdrop…

Mt. Hermon

These next photos are taken from Nimrod’s Castle…

A view from Nimrod's Castle

There are only ruins of the castle left. It was amazing to walk around it and in it.

This is taken looking down into the cistern…

Cistern

This is taken down inside the cistern…

Down in the Cistern

This is looking up to the top from about halfway up. If you look close, you can see some chain link. The next photo is taken from there looking down.

We made it to the top. This next photo is looking down where we started. The view is a little hazy…

We also saw these little critters…

These are some cute little critters we saw

And more cute little critters…

And some other little cuties...

The following photo reminded me once again of China… I can’t believe we were prohibited from feeling like we were in danger from the stairway …

I wanted so badly to feel danger...

Craig and Nicki had been here before…Craig remembers climbing down the stairs this sign is now blocking…so glad he lived to tell about it…

It was time to head back to Tel-Aviv…so ended another wonderful adventure…

Posted in Golan, Golan Olive Oil Mill, Moshav Ramot, Mt Hermon, Nimrod's Castle, Travel, Zimmer | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

My reflections of Israel (part 4) The Region of Galilee

Today was the day we would set out for an overnight trip. We were heading to the Region of Galilee! This trip would take us on adventure to an area where numerous things mentioned in the Gospels took place… including the Sea of Galilee!  It was so exciting to think about…after all this is where Jesus walked on water!

Our first official stop of the day was Nazareth.

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings to you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.”  Luke 1: 26-31

It was amazing to think about going to the little town of Nazareth, where Mary first learned she would give birth to Jesus! By now I should have known that it would not be the quaint little town that you picture when reading Scripture.

The not so quaint little town of Nazareth!

This church was built where the angel appeared to Mary.

The church built where the angel appeared to Mary

It is so amazing thinking about what that encounter must have been like for Mary. We think our faith is strong…and yet…how would we re-act to such an encounter?

All around this church were people selling things…another reminder of China. They did their best to engage you and try to sell you things.

We decided this would be a good place to have lunch, so Craig asked a local vendor for his recommendation. He gave some directions and said there would be a 555 on the window. We followed the directions and did not find it. Soon after turning around, Jim spotted the 555! It turned out to be a great place and gave us the opportunity to try our first Shawarma! I am sad to say that I forgot to take a photo. It was a pita filled with roasted lamb and vegetables. It was very good! Our next stop was a little shop that sold yummy goodies. Craig and Nicki had discovered it on a previous trip and were looking forward to being repeat customers. We stocked up on goodies and headed out to continue our drive.

Our next city along the highway was Cana! Although we did not stop here, we saw shops along the road advertising it as the place where Jesus turned water into wine…still don’t know why it says “Sami”!

Our glimpse of Cana! Not sure why it says "Sami" but we got a kick out of it!

In the book of John (chapter 2) we read the details of Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding. It concludes in verse 11 with the following:

This,  first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

Our next stop would be an overlook of the Sea of Galilee!

The Sea of Galilee, as seen from Tiberias

This is an overlook above the city of Tiberias. Again, I was amazed how big it looked. (This photo only shows a fraction of it) It was not the small body of water I had pictured Jesus crossing in a fishing boat. It was hazy that day, so the water doesn’t look as blue as it should in my photo.

From here we proceeded to an area called Tabgha.

It is right on the shore and has a church commemorating three very important “gospel events”. If you look to the north you see the Mount of the Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. This is also where Jesus fed 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. Later, after Jesus was resurrected, this is the spot where Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my lambs” and “Take care of my sheep“.

There was a nice walkway along the shore that takes you from Tabgha to Capernaum.

We were not really sure how long of a walk it was, but began the walk.  After going quite a way, we realized we would have to make it a round trip to get back to the car. It was then that Craig decided to go back and get the car and meet us in Capernaum. This turned out to be a great idea! It was a very nice walk that ended up being three miles.

We had not seen many people in Tabgha but as we approached Capernaum there was quite a crowd. We were able to see ruins of a temple and ruins of Peter’s house. The curious thing was that a church had been built above (kind of on stilts) the ruins of Peter’s house. I suppose it does protect it from the elements.

A church built above ruins of Peter's house.

Ruins of the temple

The photo below is of the prayers stuck in the walls of the temple. It reminded me of all the prayers stuck in the “wailing wall” in Jerusalem, where we were not allowed to take photos.

People would write prayers on paper and stick them in the wall of the temple ruins.

There were other ruins in the area. These presses are sitting above a cistern.

Perhaps an olive press...or maybe grapes?

It has been fun to be able to “picture” things when reading Scripture. When I read the sixth chapter of John now, it takes me back to this day and really brings it all to life. I think that is one of the highlights of having been to Israel! It really is amazing to think about all that happened in a relatively small area of the world!

It was time to head to our stop for the night…a “Zimmer” in Moshav Ramot! It was a beautiful drive and along the way we saw beautiful flowers!

Beauty along the way...

Soon after we arrived at our “home away from home” Jim and I took a little walk and enjoyed the sunset…

Sunset from our Zimmer overlooking the Sea of Galilee...

When we got back, we found Craig and Nicki relaxing on their porch. They were enjoying the “goodies” from Nazareth.

Craig and Nicki relaxing at their Zimmer

Sammy was happy to be “free”! He had either been in his carseat or someone’s arms all day. He is an amazing traveler! So sweet and never complaining.

Sammy happily stretching and rolling after being confined all day

Isn't he a little doll?

After relaxing for a while we went to a great restaurant and had another fabulous meal. Then it was time to snuggle in for the night.

Posted in Bible, Cana, Family, Galilee, Inspiration, John, Moshav Ramot, Nazareth, The Gospel, Tiberias, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Reflections from my time in Israel (part 3) A day of rest?

There is so much to see in Israel! We could spend a month there and still not see it all. We knew that we couldn’t see everything and wanted to savor our time there. We were so amazed at how well Sammy did traipsing all around with us and wanted to give him some time to hang out at home and roll around freely. So we decided to take a day off from driving. We slept in and had a “lazy” morning. It was fun to just hang out and watch Sammy play 🙂 This was a fun sight to behold too! Craig is a VERY “hands on” daddy!!

Craig and Sammy enjoying a bath!

Walking along the beach is a part of Sammy’s routine (lucky guy) and wanting to give him a regular day, we sacrificed and went along to the beach 🙂 Ha Ha! No sacrifice…those of you who know me know that the beach is a HIGHLIGHT for me!! The beach is just a stones throw away. You can either walk right along the water or walk or ride a bike along the beautiful paved walkway that goes for miles in either direction. There are also parks along the way…and the following, which was another “China look-alike!

Are we in China or Israel?

Don't worry, Sammy's head is OK...his hat is turned 🙂

Because it was “winter” there (only 60’s & 70’s) and a week day, we had the beach to ourselves for the most part…

It's always fun to look at shells!

The following was a sign I had never seen before…

Is it my day to swim?

Yes, there was an area that had a privacy fence up to create a private beach. The schedule is posted so you know if it is your day to go to the beach!! There are men’s days and woman’s days. The Muslim men and woman are not allowed to swim together because bathing suits show too much of their bodies. At least they are able to enjoy the beach this way!

This “probably” confused us a little…

Probably??

Oh, and Craig practiced “walking on the water”… perhaps because we would be heading to the Sea of Galilee the next day?

Craig on the Mediterranean!

Israel has birds too!

Pretty!

Another fun sight…

Bedtime routine!

A wonderful bedtime routine (at nap time too)  is in place and Sammy really responds well to it! Sammy loves his books!!

Posted in Beach, Family, Fun, Travel | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Reflections from my time in Israel…(part 2) Onto Jerusalem!

Thinking about going to Jerusalem is pretty amazing…getting there is incredible! I feel like I was somewhat guarded heading to Jerusalem. I knew that my relationship with the Lord has nothing to do with where I am and yet, I was headed to Jerusalem!! Would it cause a shift in how I was feeling about it?

Our first stop would be the Mount of Olives. We were in Craig and Nicki’s little car climbing these steep narrow roads. There were also MANY large tour busses doing the same thing. At times you wonder if you will get there and if there will be a place to park when you do! We got there and were blessed with a very nice place to park right at the top. We just stepped out of the car and walked a few steps to this amazing sight!

On the Mount of Olives looking down on Jerusalem!

As you can see Jerusalem is a very big place! If you look closely you can see the walls of the “old city”. The dominating sight is the Dome of the Rock. This does cause me some sadness to think that on the very spot of the original Temple, now stands a mosque! In fact, within the walls of the Old City stands 33 mosques! Many are small private ones.

People have paid high prices to be buried in the cemetery surrounding the Old City. The Jews believe that when their Messiah finally comes, it will be here so they want to stay close by. That is another thought that brings sadness…so many are waiting when Jesus has in fact already come! Just think about what they are missing!!

This was another sight that was fun to see.

Men sharing Scripture!

People read Scripture about what happened where they are standing. The guy on the left was reading and pointing things out to the guy on the right who was following along…I love that!!

We had seen a lot of men dressed in black and with different hats on. I took this next photo because the guy toward the middle had a purple hat on that really stood out. However, it looks black in this photo! But when they turned around and we started talking, we found out that they were Russians from Canada but were now living in San Diego! So we told them we were from southern California and had spent our honeymoon in San Diego. Funny how the more we travel the bigger the world seems and then you have one of those small world moments!

These people were from San Diego!

We were getting ready to go down into the Old City but took a few minutes to let Nicki check something off her bucket list! Ha Ha! She wanted to sit on a camel and there just happened to be one there… A policeman happened to drive up right then and told her how she should sit on it properly. This policeman in Israel just happened to be from Texas!! So, Nicki got on the camel looking like a pro and really surprised the guy with the camel!!

Nicki!!

As we approached the gate to the old city we felt like we were in China (that happened several times) because there were many food carts right outside the gate!

Food cart outside the gate

We decided to take the “Ramparts Walk” first so that we could get an overview of the city. What that entailed was walking on the top of the wall that surrounded the city! So we were on top of the third story. People do live within the walls. There are Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Armenian quarters. We saw children at play at a Christian School within the wall. There are also MANY restaurants and shops.

Walking on top of the wall.

A roof top patio just outside the wall! I want one!!

As we approached the Damascus Gate and realized we had been up on the wall a long time we decided to go down and find some lunch. Right at the bottom of the stairs we found a place selling Falafels and fresh squeezed juice. We decided to give it a try. It was a good choice! The guy running it was very friendly and took very good care of us. The food was yummy too!!

Nicki, Sammy and our fresh squeezed juice!

Our first Falafel! Yummy!!

Our after lunch entertainment! Aren't they cute!!

Because we were right by the Damascus Gate, we decided to go outside the gate and visit the Garden Tomb and then come back into the Old City and head to the Wailing Wall.

The people at the Garden Tomb are very open in telling you that this is a possible sight of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. They have very good reasons for thinking so as explained in their brochure. As soon as you walk into the garden, it has a different feel to it. It is beautiful and very well taken care of. As you walk around you get a sense that everyone in there is a believer. It is suddenly quieter (more reverent) and you hear groups of people quietly singing hymns and praises. When I got home I realized that the following photo is the ONLY one I took there!

Found in the Garden Tomb

I think I was just reflecting on the amazing things that had happened there and just forgot to take photos! So I borrowed the next few photos from Jim…

They show the “place of the Skull” John 19:17 where Jesus was crucified and the tomb where Jesus was buried– “At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden was a tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” John 19:41&42, and Praise God, where Jesus arose again! I found myself singing (very quietly as I can’t carry a tune)

Up from the grave He arose; with a mighty triumph o’er His foes; He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever, with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

The place of the Skull.

The Tomb

Another view of the The Tomb

From there we re-entered the Old City and headed to the Wailing Wall. On the way there Craig pointed out this tiny sign amongst many others…

Via Dolorosa...the way of suffering

A not very well-marked alley that “might have been” where Jesus carried His cross…

As we got closer to the Wailing Wall we started to see many Jewish men, women and children heading that way. As tempting as it was to take a bunch of pictures, I just couldn’t do it. It seemed such an intrusion on their privacy. It is fascinating to see the clothes, but even more than that, the hair and hats! Quite a sight to behold. The wall is all that is left of the original temple and a very sacred place to the Jews. You can go there but not take photos past a certain point. As a result of that my photo is taken from far away. If you look close you can see that there is a wall that separates the men and women. The women’s side is smaller and on the right side as you look at it. People either sit in chairs or stand and pray. You see them alone or in groups. Some pray quietly and some are loud. Many write prayers on paper and stick the paper in the wall. Even though I know Jesus has already come, and that He hears my prayers wherever I am, I felt compelled to visit the wall up close. As I walked toward the wall I saw the women backing away from the wall and suddenly remembered that I had learned that but had forgotten. I too backed away out of respect for the Jewish people who were there. I can remember ahead of my trip thinking about some things I could pray for while there, but found myself just thanking and praising God that I know the Truth! Jesus has already come and saved me! I can enjoy Him in my life now!! I am so thankful for that!!

The Wailing Wall

That brought us to the end of the day, so back to Tel-Aviv we went. Have I mentioned yet how good Sammy was? He is quite a trooper!!

Posted in Bible, Dome of the Rock, Garden Tomb, Inspiration, Jerusalem, Life Lessons, Splendor of God, The Gospel, Travel, Wailing Wall | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reflections from my time in Israel! (part 1 Jaffa)

I was recently blessed with a trip to Israel. I feel like I must get my thoughts in writing before my memories begin to fade. The thought of visiting the Holy Land is an amazing thing in itself, but this trip was a double blessing because we would also be visiting our son and his family! It doesn’t get any better than that. We began our visit in Tel-Aviv, the short-term home of Craig, Nicki and Sammy. What joy to see them! We had not seen Sammy since he was a few months old. He suddenly was 8 and a half months old and had turned into a darling and very expressive little boy! What a fun time getting to know him!! They are living in a cute apartment overlooking the Mediterranean Sea! Beautiful!!

What fun getting to know Sammy!!

Our first trip was just down the road about 3 miles to the quaint little village of Jaffa (Joppa). On the way to the old city of Jaffa, we stopped in to have a Lebanese Brunch at one of Craig and Nicki’s favorite restaurants. We sat on the patio where a very friendly waiter named Daniel (Dan e l) brought us more food than we could eat in a whole day! It was all so good and it was a fun way to be introduced to the many new foods we would love.

Lebanese Brunch

So much yummy food!

These photos were taken between Tel-Aviv and Jaffa looking in opposite directions.

Looking toward Tel-Aviv

Sammy doesn't like the sun in his eyes...he has a wonderful mommy and daddy to help out!!

Looking toward Jaffa (Joppa)

Jaffa is the port where Jonah ran away from God. Jonah 1:1 says, The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because it’s wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed to Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a boat bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. And the rest, as they say, is history!

It was fun walking around the old city and seeing the sights. And to think that we were on the Mediterranean Sea was amazing!! But even more amazing was to think we were walking where Biblical history had been made!!

A cute cafe'...one of many...

We saw a lot of fun windows and doors...and a lot of blue...

And then we saw this… Jump to the New Testament

Craig, with the help of Sammy, read Scripture from Acts 9 & 10

Craig (and Sammy) read Scripture from Acts 9&10. We learned that it was in Jaffa that Peter (through the Holy Spirit) brought Tabitha back to life. While in Jaffa Peter was staying with “Simon the tanner whose house is by the sea” found in Acts 10:6. Also, while Peter was at Simon’s he had a vision (described in Acts 10:11) which would help him know what to do later in Caesarea.

We found ourselves in Caesarea a few days later! So fun to think about!

Posted in Acts, Bible, Family, Inspiration, Splendor of God, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Splendor of God … 3rd Monday

Psalm 139 (MSG)

God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.

I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.

You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight.

You know everything I am going to say before I start my first sentence.

I look behind me and you are there, then up ahead and you are there too —

your reassuring presence, coming and going.

This is too much, too wonderful — I can’t take it in.

Is there anywhere I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight?

If I climb to the sky, you’re there! if I go underground, you’re there!

If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute —

You’re already there waiting!

Then I said to myself, “O he even sees me in the dark! at night I’m immersed in the light!”

It’s a fact: darkness isn’t darkness to you; night and day, darkness and light,

they are all the same to you.

O yes, you shaped me first inside and then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.

I thank you, High God — you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made!

I worship in adoration — what a creation!

You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,

how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Like an open book, you watched me from conception to birth;

all the stages of my life were spread before you,

The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived for one day.

Your thoughts — how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them —

any more than I could count the sand of the sea.

Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!

And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!

And you murderers — out of here! — all the men and women who belittle you, God,

infatuated with cheap god-imitations, See how I hate those who hate you God,

I hate it with pure unadulterated hatred. Your enemies are my enemies.

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me;

cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I am about;

See for yourself whether I have done anything wrong —

then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Posted in Bible, Inspiration, Splendor of God, The Message | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Splendor of God…2nd Monday

The Splendor of God

They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.     Psalm 145:5

Posted in Bible, Creation, Inspiration, Splendor of God | Leave a comment

The Splendor of God

Posted in Creation, Inspiration, Nature, Slendor of God | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Moment of Truth!

A while back a friend from church said she had found my blog. She seemed excited that I was blogging, even though it had been several months since my last blog! She thought it was good! My immediate response was embarrassment because I felt I had been caught.

My mind began racing to remember what I had written about and how many things I had mentioned I was going to start “doing” that I had failed to keep up with.

When I got home I read my entry “My first AA Meeting”. I was reminded of how inspired I had been by what I called “those people” who attend such meetings. They had a problem and were willing to admit it and were seeking help.

I also talked about my new friend who had committed to eating healthy. I said, “If she could do it, I could do it.”

I also admitted that I was one of “those people”.

Well, that was long ago and I had done nothing about these revelations. It was about that same time  my son found my blog. He encouraged me to do more. Wow, I just wasn’t sure I was up to it.

However, I had put a few things into motion and was feeling excited about them. So I decided to attempt to do a little blogging.

I have begun to blog about “Girls of Grace” which is a program at our church.

I am hoping to blog about a Bible Study I have been doing using the book The Confident Heart.

I also want to blog about a devotional I found called Craving God. As one of “those people” I am ready to admit I have a problem with food in the same way some people have a problem with drinking or smoking. I was eating too much sugar which only caused me to crave it more. I was also overeating which was causing a vicious circle of craziness.

So, I do have things I can blog about! Now let’s see if I can keep it up!

Posted in Blogging, Craving God, The Confident Heart | 1 Comment

Acts, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians and Galatians

The Girls of Grace have now learned four more Books of the New Testament!

We have a fairly consistent group of 10 to 12 girls each week. They all seem happy to be there and eager to learn new things!

The Girls of Grace

The Book of Acts (written by Luke) tells of the church being established, hence the key word is church.

The book opens with the newly resurrected Jesus telling His Apostles that He would be leaving them soon. The apostles, who had just been celebrating Jesus coming back to them were confused and saddened.

In Acts 1:8 we can read about a promise and a request that Jesus shared with them.

“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witness both in Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Then Jesus was lifted up and gone!

So, these men who had been following Jesus as He traveled and performed miracles, now were given the task of spreading the news of Jesus to others. Thankfully they had been given the Holy Spirit to guide and direct them.

We talked about how if we had to spread news to many today, we could: email, twitter, post on Facebook, put ads of TV, and easily travel to different countries by flying.

Can you just try to imagine the daunting task the Apostles were given? They had to walk wherever they went, or perhaps rowed across a lake. Then they needed to gather a crowd and get people to listen to them!

That is how the church began. The Apostles set out to tell people of Jesus and as more and more heard and believed, churches were established so that the new believers would have a place to gather to worship God and learn more about Him.

We also talked about how that is still our job today! When we become Christ Followers, we are also given the task to tell other of Jesus! And to this day, there are new believers gathering together in new churches!

So, with the start of churches, also came problems…

1 Corinthians is our next book and the key word is SPANKING!

Yes, spanking! You see Paul had to write a letter to the church in Corinth and scold them for things that were going on in the church. There were problems with factionalism, immorality, doctrinal confusion, abuses of spiritual liberty — you name it, and the Corinthians were struggling with it. So Paul firmly but lovingly tries to straighten them up.

I used this opportunity to share about the untruth I learned as a young girl. I was being taught that if I was REALLY GOOD and followed all the rules, I might be lucky enough to go to heaven when I died. Well, I think I tried really hard to be good for a while but I just never felt I was “good enough” to go to heaven. It caused me to become discouraged and not want to have anything to do with church or “religion”. Thankfully, God never gave up on me and in His perfect timing showed me the TRUTH!

That TRUTH is that we can never be “good enough” to get to heaven on our own. There is only one way to get to heaven.  I am a sinner in need of a Savior. Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sin. When I admit to being a sinner in need of a Savior and believe that Jesus died for me, I become a believer bound for heaven! THAT IS THE TRUTH!

2 Corinthians is the second letter that Paul writes to the church in Corinth. The key words are Anatomy of an Apostle. I felt that was a bit much for my young girls and shortened it to heart.

In this letter, Paul shares from his heart! He has found out that his authority has been questioned by the Corinthians. They are still having a lot of problems and are doubting who Paul is. Paul is heartbroken by this and writes from his heart to convince them of his sincerity!

Last night we talked about the book of Galatians. The key word is Unshackled.

It’s all about the fine line between the obligation to obey the Law of God and the freedom to obey. It gave us another chance to talk about how we can’t “earn” heaven by obeying the Ten Commandments (the law). When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we were set free (unshackled) from the law. However, being set free does not give us permission to do whatever we want. It gives us the freedom to do what is right! Our desire to obey the law comes from our desire to please God. That desire comes from loving Him and being grateful for who He is and what He has done for us.

We then talked about the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22 & 23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The “fruit” in our lives is a gift from God and only He can make it grow!

We will be taking a break from Girls of Grace next week so that we can celebrate Thanksgiving. As you are enjoying family, friends and lots of good food, be sure to thank the One who has provided it all for you!

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