Archive for Israel

Day Three of Israel

Day Three of Israel

Day Three of our Israel trip started it out cold and rainy.  I was a tremendous little packer as we had ponchos ready, but I didn’t realize how cold it was going to be.  I would venture to say the weather in Israel is much like I’m used to here in Pensacola.  The rain would come and then we would see sunshine.  Regardless of the weather, we didn’t let that stop us from having the time of our lives.  In fact, this was the first day of the new year.  It ended up being one that we will never forget.

Grab your favorite drink and get cozy with your bible.  I pray today you can see how God reveals himself as we walked through these biblical times.



Our first stop was once an important and royal city, Hazor.  This is where Joshua conquered the king after he allied with ten kings to crush the Israelites.  Joshua burned this town to the ground.  The evidence of the truth in the Bible in this city was incredible.


The biblical resource can be found in Joshua 11:1-14.  

Day three of Israel


As I walked through this area, there were archeologists on site securing an area with tarps because of the rain.  It’s rather neat to see how they continue to work and uncover more of this city.


As we walked through the city gates as seen below, you notice instantly there was a significant fire that had taken place by observing the darkened stones. The fire became even more evident as we walked further through the gates.  They estimated the findings in this area to be around 2800 years old.

Day three of Israel


One of the ways you could see evidence of the fire is the stones below was all of the cracks in the stones.  These stones were burned more than 2000 degrees F.

Day three of Israel


In many of the places we visited you could find evidence of idol or pagan worship.  Hazor was no different in that sense.

Below you can see a pagan statue they worshiped.  Looks interesting, huh?

Day three of Israel


Random Side Note

Random side note, please forgive me but my heart needs to get this out.  

As we were touring these areas and seeing the idols, they worshiped such as Baal I had these thoughts running through my head of why God’s people would do something so ridiculous. Why worship this statue?  Why would they idol false Gods and not the one true God? Ahh… then I had a jolt of reality.  What was I thinking? We are naturally made for worship because we are created by God, for God’s purpose, and our identity should be found in Him alone.  However… just as Paul states in Romans 1:25; we exchanged the truth for a lie and worshiped the created instead of the creator. It still happens today because of our sin nature.  If we removed that statue in the above picture and placed my iPhone in its place…  there you would find idol worship.  We love what we talk about or use the most.  We are no different than the Israelites of the days.

Just a little food for thought.


Okay, moving on to Tell Dan!

Tell Dan

If you can remember from my first post, I explained that a Tell depicts many layers of civilizations built on top of one another. This area is in the Northern part of Israel in the city of Laish.  Tell Dan is an area where the Danites migrated from the South where they were under the leadership of Joshua.  When we first started our walk, we could see a beautiful spring of water.  Note that it was beautiful but FREEZING along that trail. Due to the spring of water, they had plenty of water, and the area is very lush because of the climate.


Biblical References: Judges 17-18:1-31 and 1 Kings 12:26-31.


Day three of Israel


The city of Laish has a lot of rich history dating back to at least 1800 B.C. and possibly to 2200 B.C.  The city of Laish becomes Dan.



Day three of Israel


This is a gate that was discovered they believe that both Abraham and Jacob both could have used this gate during their travels.

After a long hike through the woods, we then stumbled upon this alter believed to be built by Israel’s King Jeroboam where he had the Golden Calf.  You can read more about this in 1 Kings 12:26-31.  This area was known as the Sacred Precinct.

Day three of Israel



As we were walking, we were able to see both the Israelite and Canaanite gate. As we were walking through the Israelite gate, we came upon a Bema Seat or also known as the Judgement seat.


Read more about the Judgement Seat of God: 2 Cor 5:6-10, Rom 14:10.  Christians, we know that God will judge.  Be encouraged, read Psalm 103: 10-12. 

Day three of Israel


More evidence was revealed about their high places and sacrificial areas.  

Day three of Israel


Caesarea Philippi



Day three of Israel

Our next stop was Caesarea Philippi.  Since 1000 B.C this area was identified as a place of idol worship, pagan gods and a place for hedonistic worship practices.  For many centuries it was called Panias for the god of Pan, a Greek god of the shepherds.  This was a popular site for parties, drinking, and other not so nice things.  This area was used by Canaanite gods, Greek and Roman Gods as well as Caesars.

There was also a cave called Cave of Pan as seen below.  Many believe it was the underworld known as Hades.  This cave was given the name Gates of Hades or the Gates of Hell.

Day three of Israel


What I noticed immediately as I was walking to the cave was the number of people here worshiping, praying, kissing the mountain.  From the looks of it, pagan worship continues at this site.

Jesus brought his disciples here for a valuable lesson and rebuke.  Read about it here: Matthew 16: 13-18.


Day three of Israel



I waited quite awhile to get a picture of this area below without the visitors sitting there.  The rain had already diminished, but they were staying put.  Instead, I smiled and clicked the shutter button.

Biblical references: Joshua 11:17, 12:7 and 13:5.  Judges 3:3 and 1 Chronicles 5:23.  

You can note many of the intricate details that are still left within these rocks.

Day three of Israel



Off to the Jordan River!

The day has already been spectacular… it gets even better as we travel to the Jordan river to the baptismal site. Along the way, we could see the clouds starting to lift and a spec of blue skies starting to show through.  Praise the Lord.  If only it would have been a wee bit warmer.


Our Baptism

The water temperature of the Jordan river was about 46 degrees.  That equates to FREEZING in my book.  Our entire group was baptized which meant our pastor could no longer feel his legs once all 15 of us were finished. We each proclaimed publicly that Jesus Christ was our Lord and Savior.  Hearing each person state their proclamation and seeing their baptism was amazing. We shouted celebrations after each one. The faces of each of us coming out of that freezing water was hilarious.  It was a day I will always remember.

Day three of Israel, Baptism


My mouth stayed open forever.  I don’t know if it was the shock of the cold or my excitement. Either way, it was amazing. What a blessing to have Russ there helping with the baptism of our children and myself.  I’d love to share my story with all of you soon.  I hope that it can inspire someone to know more about Christ.


Staying Warm!

As you can see, our third day was full.  After the baptism, we headed to our hotel to get warm.

Speaking of warm… I’m NOT warm here in Florida.  Wow! It’s freezing and if you can believe this… we had a rare snow day for our kids yesterday.  The temps are in the 20’s, and we had little flurries blow through our area.  Pretty amazing for Pensacola.



Day Two of Israel

Day Two of Israel

One thing I can say for sure about this trip was my packing was superb.  It was not a glamour trip what so ever.  I packed three pairs of jeans, both long sleeve and short sleeve shirts for ten days and tennis shoes. If you were to see my packing for any other trip, you might have given me a fist bump or two.  Okay, let’s tackle Day two of Israel. It’s a big one!

Before we get started, I want to remind my creative readers.  I do not have anything creative to share in this post. Instead, it’s rich in the biblical history of our time in Israel.  Please note, I will get back to my creativity… It is one of the gifts God has given me and continues to be a huge passion of mine.  

Day two is a biggie…. okay, maybe they all were!  Grab a coffee or your favorite drink and perhaps even your bible and walk with me. 

Sea of Galilee

We were up bright and early for our first site, the Sea of Galilee.   While it’s called the Sea of Galilee, it’s a freshwater lake.  It’s also known as the Sea of Tiberias.  Something to note, of the  33 significant miracles of Jesus, 25 occurred around the Sea of Galilee.

The Jesus Boat

Our group boarded a Jesus boat and enjoyed a beautiful tour of the Sea of Galilee.  Our tour guide gave us an excellent commentary on all the different areas we could see while sailing.  We could see for miles the areas of Jesus ministry.  We sat quietly as a group while our Pastor read from Matthew 8:23-27 as Jesus calmed the storm and then Matthew 14:22-33 when he walked on water.

As he read, I could feel an overwhelming amount of emotion come over me.  It was a moment of disbelief… the reality of being so near where Jesus had been.  As we each sat quietly meditating on the scripture, our tour guide played worship music.  The music didn’t help my tears.  There is something to be said about being on a boat, on the Sea of Galilee, worshiping Jesus. Oh, my word!

And… of course, one of the songs we sang was Oceans! “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters where ever you would call me…”  


Highlights of the Jesus Boat

The Jesus boat.  

Day 2 of Israel


It’s only 8:30 in the morning and the sky was beautiful as we set sail. 

Day 2 of Israel


Day 2 of Israel


Reading scripture throughout this trip was amazing.  Hearing my Pastor bring the Bible alive at each place we visited is almost indescribable.  

Day 2 of Israel


Getting to experience this trip with our kids was amazing.

Day 2 of Israel


Everywhere we looked we could see where Jesus had ministered. I was grateful for a beautiful day that we could see it all. 

Day 2 of Israel


The Museum

Our boat docked right up to the museum where they have the Jesus boat that was recently discovered about ten years ago.  Fishermen found the boat, and they dated it back at least 2000 years ago.  While this may not have been the boat Jesus was on, it’s one similar that he would have been on.  WOW! Watching the video of the excavation was eye-opening.


Can you imagine all of the disciples on this boat and Jesus laying asleep during a storm? 

Day 2 of Israel



One fascinating piece of information about this boat is the twelve different types of wood used to build it.  Also, note the twelve different woods used to build the boat.  Notice the cross in the center.  Amazing!

Day 2 of Israel




Our next stop was Bethsaida.  This photo below gives a great overall picture of what took place in Bethsaida.

Day 2 of Israel



Probably wondering why I’m taking a picture of a tree.  This tree is called the Crown of Thorns. Yes, the crown of thorns that was placed on Jesus’ head was made from this tree.

Day 2 of Israel


Sacrificial High Places, these were seen throughout Bethsaida.  These were alters built to worship other gods. Notice the horned bull on the rock to the right.  

Day 2 of Israel


Next we walked a little further to see what is supposed to be Peter’s house.  Since there is uncertainty, this is labeled as the Fishermans house.  Regardless, it was amazing to see how they were built.

Day 2 of Israel Day 2 of Israel


Lunch Time

We traveled to our lunch stop where we would be eating St. Peters Fish.  Since fishing is the leading industry near the Sea of Galilee, it was imperative that we eat fish.  I just didn’t expect this!

Day 2 of Israel


There are mainly three kinds of fish in the Sea of Galilee: Sardines, Barbels, and Tilapia.

Let’s just say I enjoyed a lunch of french fries. I do love fish, but this particular one was not my fav.  Not only because of the eyeball staring at me either.



I wanted to start with, “this is one of my favorite places….” but the reality is there are so many favorites. It was here in Capernaum that I was able to grasp the proximity of the places we were seeing.  In my head when I read the bible I thought sites were much further away from each other. I imagined Jesus walking miles and miles at times during His ministry. Don’t get me wrong, at times he did. However, in Capernaum, that was not the case.


Once again we see a church built on a historical biblical site.  Below I was able to see Peter’s mother in laws home where he stayed many times as he was the patriarch of the family and in charge of it.  Jesus and the disciples also made this their home during His ministry.


Biblical reference: Matthew 8:14, 15 Jesus cures Peter’s mother-in-law. Matt 9:1 Capernaum became known as Jesus’ town.

Just imagine sitting here with Jesus… as he taught his disciples. Goosebumps! 

Day 2 of Israel



This is a picture of the 4th Century synagogue where Jesus taught. The one you see here in the image was built on the one where Jesus taught. Mark 1:21

Day 2 of Israel



Notice the darker stones? These stones are what was left of the foundation stones of the 1st Century synagogue from Jesus’ time. Seeing this synagogue was one of many AWE moments for me.  Just imagining Jesus teaching here. Something else to note was the proximity of Peter’s home and the synagogue. It was a stone’s throw. Not what I would have imagined in my mind.  

Day 2 of Israel



This was between Peter’s house and the synagogue. Nearly half of Jesus disciples lived here.  This would include Peter, Andrew, James, and John as well as Matthew.  

Day 2 of Israel


Olive Presses in Capernaum

  Capernaum produced many export items, and one of them was olive oil products. There are olive trees everywhere.  Below is one of the many olive presses we could see. 

Olive Tree


The Church of St. Peter’s Primacy

Our next stop, the Church of St. Peter’s Primacy.  Here along the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee is where the miraculous catch of fish after Jesus resurrection took place.  It’s also known as the place Jesus baptized his disciples.


As my pastor read scripture, we also had quiet time to reflect.  Just sitting on a nearby rock, reading scripture, humbled by what I was seeing and all that Jesus has done. It’s a moment I will not forget. 

Now that we are home, I am reflecting on Phil 2: 5-11.  When I think of Christ’s love, humility, and selflessness looking back at my time in Israel… I pray that I can take on these characteristics as I’m transformed into His likeness. 

Day 2 of Israel


Below is the rock where the feeding of the five thousand.  Biblical references can be found in John 21:4-19.  

You will notice that a church was built around this rock.  This is notably seen around many historical sites. 

Day 2 of Israel



Sermon on the Mount & Church of the Beatitudes

As we approached the church where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, we noticed the actual church was closed. Our tour guide was able to continue to take us to the mount, which he said might be underwhelming to us.  I respectfully disagree, although I can understand his point.  It as a mount overlooking the Sea of Gailiee. Garbage had collected around the area.  However, when I closed my eyes and imagined Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  You can believe His voice carrying for all to hear below.


Below the mount, you can see banana trees covered.  Imagine those NOT there.

Biblical references: Matt 5:3-16, Matt 6:9-33

Day 2 of Israel




Our last stop of the day was to Magdala. It’s only been eight years since this area has been excavated.  In fact, they were building a hotel on the site when they found the ruins.  What is being discovered here is INCREDIBLE!

Day 2 of Israel


They believe this area to be where Mary Magdalene lived. Here they also found a 1st Century synagogue they think to be where Jesus taught his disciples.

One of the most exciting finds was the Magdala Stone (Torah reading table like a pulpit) where they would lay out the scrolls to teach.


The one here in the picture is a replica.  The original one found is in a museum.  Note the ornate sculpting around the stone. You can read more about this stone HERE

Day 2 of Israel

1st Century Synagogue


Day 2 of Israel


Below I was able to see the Ritual baths were known as Mikvahs. 

Day 2 of Israel

There is speculation that this might be the home of Mary Magdalene because of the ornately tiled mosaic. I was able to see many tiled mosaics found in this area, but this particular one was bigger and more ornate. Pretty awesome. You can also see they are still excavating.

There are many biblical references to Mary Magdalene. Here are a few:

Matt 27:45-56, 61. 28:1, John 20:1-18


Day 2 of Israel


Quite the Second Day!

As you can see, our second day was a busy but incredible day.  Once back at our hotel, and after a little rest we would occasionally debrief our day. We used our dinner times to fellowship over our day as well.  There is so much great info to digest at each site. I’m still absorbing everything.

I had had a few questions since my post yesterday.  I’ll be answering along the way.  One question asked… did I feel safe? It’s interesting to note that my Prince has been to Israel about 11 times during his military career.  He wanted me to go with him many many times. I wish now I had never declined to go.   I never felt unsafe during this trip!  It was simply amazing!

Trip of a Lifetime- Israel

Trip of a Lifetime!

It’s been a long while since I posted an update.  The end of the year was quite extraordinary as I finished up my first full semester of classes right up until Christmas.  This left me a crazy woman finishing up my Christmas shopping because I am truly a procrastinator.  Then two days after Christmas our family took a trip of a lifetime… we went to the Holy Land, Israel.

Let me add a disclaimer…. I have nothing creative to share YET. It will be coming soon.  Below is only the first day of our trip.  I will be sharing more pictures and the experience my family shared.


Where to Begin? 

I thought I would use this platform instead of Facebook to tell the story of our trip.  After taking 1800+ photos it’s hard to just post a picture of a “rock” without explaining the meaning behind it.  Let me be clear that I know already my explanation of the photos will not do them justice.  I’m not an expert when it comes to all of the history and theology of what I will be sharing. However, I will share my perspective, experience, and scripture based on where and what we did see.  I hope you can get a taste of the experience, and my true hope is that you would experience it first hand just as we have done.  It really is a trip of a lifetime.


So Many Emotions

I’ll begin by telling you this trip far exceeded my expectations.  It was emotional, spiritual, and awe-inspiring. I found myself either weeping through the hikes or completely taken back by what we were seeing.  In some instances, I was left speechless.  That says a lot for a girl who loves to talk.


Let’s Begin…

Our tour was through Biblical Journeys.  We were with sixteen of our faith family members on this trip. We also had our bus driver, our tour guide who gave us all of the historical backgrounds of what we were seeing.  My pastor, who was on his second trip to Israel gave us the theological vision of each site.  All total we stopped at 57 places in 9 days. That’s a lot of sites to take in.

The sightseeing begins right away after landing in Tel Aviv.  Once we found our luggage we were off to see our first site, Jaffa.  It was getting dark so the pictures I have from Jaffa do not do it justice.

As we stood on the shoreline of the Mediterranean we could see the skyline of Tel Aviv. It was beautiful.

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel


Jaffa, also known as Joppa is mentioned in the Old Testament four times which include the books Joshua, 2 Chronicles, Jonah, and Ezra.

After we finished touring this area we headed to our first hotel for much-needed rest.  Our hotel was right on the Mediterranian Sea with breathtaking views.

Caesarea Maritima

Our first real day of touring with the first stop to Caesarea Maritima. Built by Herod the Great between 25-13 BC. Interestingly enough one of the first planned communities.  Here we were able to see the Hippodrome, theatre that could seat 3,000 people and a manmade harbor designed by Herod.

Biblical cross-references can be found throughout the book of Acts.


Below you can see the theatre.  The significance biblically can be found in Acts 12:19-24. 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel


Remains left of the harbor Herod had built.  

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel



Trip of a Lifetime, Israel


Below: Hippodrome where the chariot races would take place. Just thinking about the many of the people in the bible sitting in these seats is overwhelming. Another tidbit to note, Paul spent two years in prison in Caesarea.  

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel


Lastly, can’t help but share a few pics of my gems enjoying Caesarea. 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel


Trip of a Lifetime, Israel


Mount Carmel


Our next stop of the day was Mount Carmel.  Mostly known for the idol worship and particularly of Baal.  This was also the place where Elijah defeated and destroyed the prophets of Baal and Asheroth.  It’s quite beautiful at the top of the mountain where you can see miles and miles.  In fact, it’s so beautiful that Isaiah uses Mount Carmel as a symbol of its beauty and majesty.  (Isaiah 35:2)

Biblical cross-references: 1 Kings 18:19-46.  

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel


Trip of a Lifetime, Israel



I could spend a few days on the rich history of Megiddo.  This area dates back to the time of Joshua. It’s also known as Armegeddon.

One of the most interesting things I learned throughout all the sites is the number of layers of civilization that are built upon each other.  This is called a Tell.  Here in Megiddo, there were at least 20 layers of civilization uncovered. WOW.  To see the layers is amazing.


Trip of a Lifetime, Israel


Again, each picture is hard to bring you perspective when it looks like it’s just a bunch of rocks, but when you sit back and take in the big picture of what you are seeing it brings the Bible to life. For me, this was amazing and incredible evidence of the truth of the bible.



Date palms are everywhere you can see.  In fact, dates were given to us after each lunch and dinner as a dessert.  I wish I could say I loved them… my taste buds said NO thank you.  

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel



This picture doesn’t do this justice, but it’s important to note something about it.  This stone is actually a feeding trough for horses.  This is what they believe Jesus would have been placed in when he was born.  Not as cozy as I had pictured in my mind.  

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel


The last thing I will mention on Megiddo is the biblical significance.  The Hebrew term for Armageddon is Har Meggido or Hill of Megiddo.  Read Revelation 16:13-16.  It’s the last great gathering of armies just before the return of Christ to Jerusalem.  Powerful.


Lunch Time Experience

What an experience it was.  If there is one way to see how American I am… take me to lunch or dinner in a foreign country. I quickly become non-adventurous which is a little sad.  I did try many new things on this trip, but there is only so much I can get past my nose.  Middle Eastern food for me is an acquired taste.  Unless you love hummus, which I don’t.  I did enjoy the mounds of bread and carb intake.  I’m sure I gained the most out of all the travelers because of my bread intake alone.  I couldn’t help it.  It was so good.

BUT…. there was one big problem… Coffee.  I love coffee and drink it all day.  That is probably the one thing I didn’t get enough on this trip.  Arabic coffee is STRONG.  Crazy strong and really bitter.


Here is a picture of Brandon testing it.  Needless to say, I was not a fan.  Notice how tiny the coffee cups are!

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel



Our last stop of the day was the small city of Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus.  In biblical times it was known to be a small village and home to Mary and Joseph.  Our first stop in this city was the Church of Annunciation. This church was amazing with lots of great details.


One of the significant things noted in the detail of this church is the detailed artwork. Inside the church is a grotto which is where they believe the Virgin Mary’s home. 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel


Statue of Jesus at the very top. 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel



The door of the church depicts the life of Jesus. 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel



Our tour guide told us that the Latin word “VERBUM” that you see below is actually not spelled correctly. The reason for the misspelling was to signify that only Jesus is perfect. 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel


It’s interesting to see so many churches built upon old synagogues and homes.

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel



Just Day One!

It’s hard to believe we covered this much terrain in just one day. There was never a night that we struggled to fall asleep.  Each night I couldn’t help to dive into God’s word and see how the bible came to life with everything I had experienced. Every single day it was like this.  I’ll be sharing more in the days to come.

If you have the chance, take a peek at the scriptures and try to imagine what you are seeing.  It really is amazing.

Thank you for taking a peek.  More to come…