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Day 5: Bible Lands Exploration 2016

Your patience in waiting for this next update on our Bible Lands Exploration 2016 is highly appreciated!

As Day 5 came, we realize that our days in Israel were getting shorter and shorter but at the same time, they were getting more and more exciting!

Our tour guides had arranged to take us to the following places on that day:

  • Mt. Arbel
  • Mt. Precipice
  • Nazareth Village
  • Beit She’an National Park

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Facing a cool weather each morning in Israel, we would normally put our jackets and mufflers on. That was the same on Day 5.

First Stop: Mount Arbel

What is significance of this place in Israel’s history? Where was this place mentioned in the Bible? Those are the usual questions an explorer has in mind when visiting a place in the Holy Land.

According to our tour guide, this mountain was never mentioned in the Bible but climbing up this mountain enables a Bible Lands explorer to catch a view of Sea of Galilee.

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This shot was taken on top of Mt. Arbel. (Photo Credit: Bro. Jerry Teng)

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View from the top of Mt. Arbel (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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The way we were seated here reminds me of the Sermon on the Mount. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

Next Stop: Mt. Precipice

We climbed up to this mountain and we were given an opportunity to view Jezreel plain and the whole Nazareth village.

Below is a borrowed photo from Bro. Kenneth Cheong, which describes Mt. Precipice.

I didn’t have enough camera charge so I was not able to take a lot of photos there.

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Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

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View of Nazareth Village from top of Mt. Precipice (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

Next Stop: Nazareth Village

Our stop here was one of my favorites as we were given a chance to experience what it must have felt like to live in the times of Jesus. We were shown a shepherd and his flock of sheep, locals dressed up in ancient clothes, a wine press, a replica of the grave of Jesus, a few fossils related to Jesus’ life, an oil press, and a synagogue.

The highlight of our visit there was the Passover meal we shared with other Bible Land explorers from other groups.

Take note, this was the place where we met Biyahe ni Andrew’s Team who were also exploring the holy land in order to feature it in their program.

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Passover Meal (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

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A winepress (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Two men in our group with an actor shepherd. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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A farmer with his donkey. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

Last Stop: Beth Shean

Beth Shean is a city in Israel which reflects Roman influence. We learned that this area belonged to the tribe of Manasseh.  It is known to have been the place where King Saul’s body was hung by the Philistines based on 1 Samuel 13:10.

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Beth Shean (Photo Credit: Bro. Jerry Teng)

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Distant View of Beit Shean (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

Reflection: 

I will always be humbled to have been to these places. The areas I have seen personally will always aid me as I read God’s word as I now have a vivid picture of them in my mind.

I would like to acknowledge the many photographers in our group who shared high quality photos of the sites we visited so we can always look back at how our memorable, fun and edifying our tour went!

Leaning on Jesus, (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 4: Bible Lands Exploration 2016

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I know. This post may seem outdated but I still want to complete my post on my once-in-a-lifetime-trip to the Holy Land. I want to keep my word and continue sharing with you our memorable trip in the land of the heroes of faith. I so appreciate your patience in waiting for this to finally go live.

On Day 4 of our Bible Lands exploration, a cloudy and yet cozy morning greeted us. All of us were excited to see that our itinerary included Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Jesus’ Boat Museum, a boat ride in the Sea of Galilee and a quick stop at a farmer’s market.

Oh yes, we had St. Peter’s fish for lunch that day. It was a bit funny for some of us. I personally thought St. Peter’s Fish is something I haven’t tried out before. To my surprise, it was a Tilapia–a kind of fish I usually had back in the Philippines. (lol!) 🙂

First Stop: Chorazin

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A city cursed by Jesus–that’s what Chorazin is known for. It was cursed because people there did not accept Jesus’ teachings (Matthew 11:20-24, Luke 10:13-14).

The very first thing Bro. Yoni, our tour guide, showed us in Korazim National Park was a tree with thorns (i.e. Zizyphus spina-Christi)–the type of tree from which the crown Jesus wore on the cross was made.

Dr. Berrey took his turn to orient us about a few things in the said park. He showed us an ancient synagogue allowing us to imagine what it was like to be sitting and listening to Jesus’ sermon. We also found the replica of the Seat of Moses from which Torah used to be read.

Significant ruins shown to us by Bro. Yoni in the park included houses made with black basalt stones, carved pillars, ritual baths (mikveh) and olive oil press among others.

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Chorazin

 

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Just sharing a beautiful shot by a kind brother in Christ. I was trying to jot down notes so I can remember a few of the many pieces of information from our trip, which I hope to relay to you. 🙂

Bonus Stop

Bro. Yoni Simmons graciously showed us a sycamore tree before we headed to Bethsaida. We all had fun there as Pastor Matthew Yong tried to portray Zacchaeus. Pastor Gilbert Castillo was asked by Dr. Berrey to read a passage that mentions a sycamore tree.

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Pastor Matthew Yong on his way to the top. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Photo credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

Next Stop: Bethsaida

Along with Chorazin, Bethsaida was cursed by Christ for the same reason–the people there failed to repent after hearing His preaching.

Bethsaida is in the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was rocky and has beds of wild flowers.

Some claim that the god Moloch was discovered there.

Different areas of the park are labeled using big slabs of stones. Below are a few of them.

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Next Stop: Boat Museum

Our next stop was in a stellar boat museum where the “boat of Jesus” is preserved. Thanks again to Bro. Kenneth Cheong for allowing me to borrow his photos to show you how Jesus’ boat looked like. We were shown a video clip on how this boat was preserved.

Also, we took a few minutes to see a couple of model boats, fossils and remains related to fishing during the time of Jesus.

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Jesus’ Boat

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A few notes: We met a Filipina who has been living in Israel and of course, as a typical Filipino would do after finding a “kababayan” in another country, we took a photo with her. The rest of the photos are some of the displays in the museum. The one on the lower left has a label that says: “‘Judea Capta’ Coin (Enlarged Replica) Minted by the Romans to celebrate their victory over the Jews in a maritime battle, possibly in memory of the battle of Migdal. The coin shows Titus in a triumph pose, his foot resting on the prow of a ship. “

Next Stop: Boat Ride in the Sea of Galilee

Memories of joy flow in my mind as I remember sailing through a calm Sea of Galilee on that windy day. It’s been their custom there to make pilgrims sing their respective national anthem as flags of represented countries were raised and so we did. We also sang hymns and just observed the places around this significant sea.

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Photo credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

Next Stop: Capernaum

Capernaum is just another city in Galilee where Jesus used to preach (Matt. 4:13; Luke 4:31; Mark 1:21, etc.) It is also known as His hometown. Sadly though, it was cursed by Jesus since the people there, just like those in Bethsaida and Chorazin, did not heed to his message (Matthew 11:23-24).

There, we were shown ruins of an ancient synagogue made of limestone. Just like in Chorazin, we saw an olive oil press, carved pillars and ritual baths (mikveh).

St. Peter’s synagogue is also situated there which is believed to have been the place where a paralytic man was lowered in Mark 2:1-12.

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Last Stop: Farmer’s Market

I don’t have any photo of the place but it was where pilgrims get some souvenirs for their loved ones. I remember getting a $7-worth of a piece of chocolate bar for Joanna. Yes, things in Israel are bit pricey. Souvenirs you can find there were dried apricots, figs and other fruits, tea, candies and others.

Reflection:

Remembering the places we have visited always humbles my heart. These places are evidences that my Jesus is real. My faith is not in vain.

Have you believed Jesus to be your own Savior and Lord? Have you heard the gospel preached? Have you accepted it?

I am ending this post with these verses.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-19

If you are a believer of Jesus like me, let us remember to thank Him for the eternal life we have through Him. If you haven’t believed on Jesus as your Savior and Lord, may this be the day of your salvation and start journey with God.

Leaning on Jesus, (1)

My Reading List 2017

One of the goals and prayers I have this year is for God to let me use my time wiser. That meant I had to use FB less often, increase the time I invest in people I care about and try to equip myself in serving God better.

If you happen to be my FB friend, you must have noticed that I liked or commented less on your photos. Please don’t take it against me. I just wanted to focus on my goals and other priorities.

Oh! Have I told you that I even chose a word for 2017 that will help me go through the possible ups and downs of the upcoming 365 days?

I chose the term “FOCUS” and wrote it out on the cover of my journal so I can remember it better.

“Why did you choose that word?” you may ask. Well, with all the world has to offer these days, distractions from social media is one of the biggest foes I had been battling with in the past years.

I have to admit that it has caused me to waste so much time and consequently, stole precious time from achieving my personal goals for God.

Now, what I really want to share with you is how I replaced my bad habit of frequently checking FB updates with a much more productive one–reading. 

Reading has been of my hobbies since I was a teen-ager but I have to especially mention that the book of Dr. Berrey reignited my passion for getting my nose in a book, or I should say, books this year.

So without further ado, I would like to share with you the books that have blessed my heart this year.

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      • Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund–Written with the author’s sense of humor, you’ll love her insights on how to better achieve a disciplined godly life. 
      • Planning Your Life God’s Way by Dr. Timothy Berrey–Warning: this is a life-transforming book. Make sure you can concentrate well while reading this book. I have already written my separate review of this wonderful book so you can just visit that review here.
      • If: What Do I Know About Calvary Love by Amy Carmichael–I saw it being read by a dear friend so I thought of finding a copy of it online and this read is soul-stirring. See for yourself why here.
      • The Seven Laws of Teaching by John Milton Gregory–a wonderful refresher textbook for teachers on the laws of teaching. It is quite useful for both secular school and Sunday School teachers.
      • Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp–if you are looking for biblical perspectives on how to discipline and train a child, this guidebook is for you. This can be a good study tool for parents, Adult Sunday School teachers (single or married), counselors and pastors.
      • Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh deMoss–a very strong take on the truths being twisted by the Devil and are being believed by women. The author offers a list of biblical truths to debunk these lies. This is a must-read!
      • The Trail of Blood by J. M. Carroll–this is a beneficial textbook on church history. This is highly recommendable for those who are interested in knowing the birth of different denominations.
      • The Necessity of Prayer by E. M. Bounds–Once I started reading this, I was in total awe of how powerful and convicting every line and chosen words written in this book by the author were. I encourage everyone not to miss reading this book. This book in itself is a testimony of the author’s prayer life.
      • The Red Sea Rules by Robert Morgan–Filled with personal and classic examples, the author listed ten important tips on how to wade through one’s difficult and seemingly impossible situation.
      • Rule #1 Don’t Be #2 by Daniel Milstein–a secular voice on how to succeed personally or professionally. I honestly couldn’t put this book down that I finished this the fastest among all the books I have on the list. Grab your copy here and discover why I said so.
      • What Do I Know About My God by Mardi Collier–This is an encouraging book as the author shares how her proper knowledge and view of God from the Bible affected how she handled different situations. What a testimony! One of the things I like the most about the book is it includes an excellent collection of Bible verses on the different attributes of God towards the end of the book. That can be a handy Bible Study tool. Needless to say, her approach in learning more about God is contagious!
      • Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George–This is a treasure chest of wisdom! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this on Netgalley. I downloaded it right away and started reading. I just finished reading it this noon and I want to keep a physical copy someday and read it over at least once each year. Ladies (single or married), this is a must-read for you!

So there goes my list. It’s not finished yet. There are still other books that I am currently reading and I am hoping to share my reviews before the end of the year.

I have left links intentionally in case you are interested in buying yourself a copy on Amazon. I am sure that whatever titles I have shared on the list above would bless your heart. Being able to finish these books is something supernatural. I meant, it’s all by God’s grace. 🙂 I used to leave my books half-way read, but not this year. I know you can do that too. Just be committed in doing it! God is there to help.

What books have you been reading this year? Please share them in the comment box below and I hope I can get myself a copy of what you are reading.

Let us remember though what “The Prince of Preachers” once said.

I hope you are enjoying your journey with God!

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Joanna’s Ebooks’ Review

I am quite thrilled to see how God is nurturing Joanna’s love for books now. Despite being deprived of physical books, we are glad to have found NetGalley–a platform that provides ebooks in exchange for reviews.

In this post, I’d like to share an extremely brief and concise feedback on Joanna’s recent reads.

1. Where Are You Hiding God? by Elizabeth Zartl
Despite its story’s simplicity, the book is a good tool to teach children about God’s omnipresence, which build’s their faith and confidence in Him. The illustrations’ colors are certainly attractive to young readers and the choice of words are suitable for kids. You may get your copy here.

Find more details by clicking the image.

2. Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash by Alan Fox
This is a book on a young boy’s adventure in growing his very own banana squash. It encourages children to pursue an adventure worth-trying and teaches the value of patience. The story line is exciting and yet I would say that some parts of the story line have more rooms for simplifications. Toddlers may get confused for the long narrations in between. Other than that, the photos are quite eye-catching and make toddlers absorbed in reading the whole book in one sitting.
3. A Book for Benny by Judith Koppens
 The colorful illustrations in the book vividly reflect the story line. It’s such a good read for kids who love books and dogs. 🙂

4. Fairy in the Kettle by Pauline Tait
The cover is quite attractive and the summary of the story is good. Although the description on Amazon says that “it’s perfect for preschool and primary children…”, I honestly think that the story line is a bit wordy and is still too much to handle for those using English as a Second Language. Other than that, the artist who illustrated the story obviously exerted efforts to make the narration come alive.

As parents, we may not be able to afford to bring our children to many places around the world but reading books to them will definitely make them experience imaginary adventures.

What is the latest book you have been reading to your kid/s? Share them with me in the comment box below.

If you found this post interesting, you might want to visit this previous review.

As I always say, enjoy your journey with God…and that includes reading to your growing child! 🙂

Leaning on Jesus,

Random Read Reviews

Since finding English reading materials with reasonable prices in Bangladesh has posed a challenge to me as a mom, I tried to find a way to get free copies of books for my daughter. Thank God for leading me to NetGalley.

If you are a blogger like me, please go ahead and soak yourself in searching for a wide variety of genre of books (during your free time, of course 🙂 ). Once a member, you’ll get free digital copies of the book you prefer. Make sure you appreciate authors by writing even a short review of their book. That way, you can help them sell their masterpieces. 😀

So here I am writing a quick review of the two new books I got for Joanna.

Click the image to learn more.

1. But I Wanted a Little Sister by Pauline Oud

Reasons I would recommend this book include its attractive cover, its story line (I’m not giving it away. Please buy a copy. 🙂 ) and the moral lesson this book offers. I am pretty sure that preschoolers like my daughter would ask their parents to read this to them more than once or twice. 😀

 

Please click the image to learn more.

2. I’m Just a Little Someone by  Sharen S. Peters

This isn’t a simple colorful book. This has a section that surprised me. The said part includes an enumeration of activities you can do with the book. I believe this copy is ideal for preschool teachers and homeschooling moms.

There you go–a quick review of two wonderful storybooks for your preschoolers.

Review: Planning Your Life God’s Way by Dr. Timothy Berrey

Are you facing a tough situation? Are you on a crossroad? Are you feeling hopeless in your situation and you don’t know which step to take next? Are you seeking your purpose in life?

Thousands of books have been written on decision making but this e-book, Planning Your Life God’s Way by Dr. Timothy Berrey, is highly recommendable for anyone! Click here for more info.

I am privileged to be given a chance to read this written work of my professor through the gracious kindness of his dear wife.

Here are my five reasons you should not miss reading this e-book:

1. It’s scholarly written and yet reader-friendly.

Points made in the book are not simply elaborated with explanations but are well-supported by secular and biblical examples.  I can’t deny the fact that the author himself is a well-read person. You will definitely learn more about both prominent and unpopular characters from his readings through his writing!

2. It’s filled with proven ways on how to make decisions.

You will never doubt the ways penned by this author as he and his wife live by them! Just to let you know, my husband and I are witnesses of how they deeply honor God and His word in their decisions. You can also check their website here. Be blessed by their future posts!

3. Its price is quite reasonable.

Click the image for more info.

Go and check more info here. In fact, he has written another book called, “From Eden to Patmos.” I have to confess that I left my copy of that book in the Philippines because I had a 10-kg baggage excess the last time I left the Philippines but I will definitely go back to it as the Lord wills.

4. It’s beneficial for all people regardless of their race or religious background.

How I wish I could just summarize the principles written on the e-book but that will defeat the purpose of this post. I want you to grab your copy and read it by yourself. 🙂 I assure you that the beginning chapter will make you so engaged to reading it that you will want to finish it in one sitting. As the author himself expressed, God wants you to enjoy a blessed life by making the right decisions with the guidance of His word.

5.  It’s a substantial read.

If you are a reader like me, I am certain that your diary or journal will never be left empty, but will be filled with quotable quotes from the author himself. I believe that this work is a fruit of his discipline and family’s prayers. You will never regret reading this.

Since I cannot keep the jewels of wisdom from this e-book to myself, I appeal to you to grab your copy and enjoy the life God has given you!

How about you? What’s the latest book you have been reading? Please share your review with me and I will try to find a way to get a copy of it either from Amazon or any internet site. 🙂

Enjoy your journey with God!

Leaning on Jesus,

Day 3: Bible Lands Exploration 2016 Part 2

I know. I would like to sincerely apologize for making you wait this loooong for the sequel of our group’s Bible Lands Exploration 2016-Day 3. I hope it’s still fine if I share with you this long overdue post. I so appreciate your patience! 🙂

Now, let’s have a quick recap before I continue sharing photos of our Bible Lands Exploration 2016. specifically Day 3, Part 2.

Feel free to click on the links below to review my album. 🙂

General Review of Bible Lands Exploration 2016
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3 Part 1

So let’s resume our virtual tour around Israel! You must have read that we visited King Herod’s Aqueduct and Caesarea Maritima National Park on Day 3. Then our…

Next Stop: Tel Megiddo National Park.
Description: This is an archaeological mound of great historical significance. Many battles were fought here and this is said to be the site where the Battle of Armageddon between Jesus and Satan will take place in the future. Walking through the site, we were shown and told of the many layers of history evidenced by the ruins all around. We also saw how an ancient chariot and stables looked like. Today, you can still see many palm trees and rock flowers all around the area. Across from Megiddo Park is the beautiful view of the Jezreel Valley,  the valley where Gideon led the Israelite’s victory against the Midianites, Amalekites and children of the east. In addition, we were privileged to walk through a water tunnel inside the park, which is said to be the main source of water in Megiddo.
Biblical References: A few passages in the Bible that mention this prominent place are Joshua 12:21; 17:11; Judges 1:27-28; 5:19-21 and so on.
Photos:
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A beautiful shot of Megiddo Water Tunnel by Bro. Kenneth Cheong.

Next Stop: Ein Harod
Description:
Do you remember when Gideon was tasked by God to conquer the Midianites and he had to choose warriors from thousands of men in Israel? This was the site where Gideon brought those men and eventually, chose 300 men out of those many courageous fighters. The ones who lapped water as dogs were chosen to fight with Gideon.
Biblical References:  Judges 7
Photos:

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There used to be water spring here but time has caused this place to dry up. Thanks to Bro. Jerry Teng for capturing this beautiful view of Gideon’s Spring.

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Reflection:

These places are testaments of how Gideon trusted God’s wisdom. We can remember that God is not concerned about our skills when we are facing our battles. He is concerned about our faith. Are we willing to surrender our earthly battle plans to win against our spiritual foes? Let’s trust God’s word in fighting our spiritual warfare.

Last Stop: We capped off our day’s exploration with a sumptuous dinner in Leonardo Hotel in Tiberias and went to bed early so we could have enough rest for our next day’s journey.

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I hope you enjoyed looking at the photos and may God bless you in whatever you are doing! Please watch out for my next post on how our DAY 4 of Bible Lands Exploration fared last year! 😉 Thank you so much for your time. 🙂