Friday, September 13, 2013

Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, starts at sunset tonight.  This is our favorite of the Jewish holidays.  Tonight everything will shut down in Israel - no traffic, no stores open, no radio or TV.  It is a day totally given over to fasting for 25 hours and praying.  The Jews will ask for forgiveness of sins they have committed in the past year and for the ones they will inadvertently commit in the coming year.  We love that a day is devoted to God and whether one is secular or religious you know what this day is for.  Remember when Sunday's honored God in the USA?
It is our great joy to reflect on Jesus who made atonement for us on the cross by paying the sin price for our sins.  And what better place to be than here in the Garden, near the spot!
In Jesus day the High Priest would make sacrifice for himself and go into the Holy of Holies in the Temple and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat or in that day the foundation stone because the Ark of the Covenant had not been there since Jeremiah's day.
The High Priest would then come back out and draw by lottery the fate of two goats, one for God and one scapegoat.  The goat for God was slain and the blood sprinkled in the Holy of Holies for the sins of the people.  He then came out, laid hands on the scapegoat, recited sins of the people over this goat and the goat was led away into the wilderness.  It is said that a scarlet rope was tied to the temple door and when the scapegoat was gone to the wilderness, it turned white which showed that God accepted the sacrifice.  However Rabbis state that the cord no longer turned white starting 40 years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.  You do the math!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Celebrating Rosh Hashanah in Jerusalem

We are back in Israel and will be here during the Fall high holidays.  Today is Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the year 5774.  It is also referred to as Feast of Trumpets from Leviticus 23:23-25.  The blowing of the Shofar or Rams Horn on this day is a reaffirmation of God as supreme judge and King of the universe.

Jewish Sages teach this was the 6th day of creation, the opening of Noah's Ark and the almost sacrifice of Isaac right here on Mt. Moriah where are located.

The 3 major components of Rosh Hashanah are repentance, prayer and charity.  It is the beginning of ten days of awe ending with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  During these ten days the Jews are to inspect their lives and get rid of sins so their name will be written in the book of life.

The weather is perfect.  It is a great joy to be here!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Israel Bound

We are going HOME!

"Home" to Jerusalem!

We leave Tampa August 25th and will stay until October 31st.  This is an incredibly busy time in Israel as literally thousands of tourists, from all over the world, flood Israel to celebrate the Feasts of Israel.  Many of them will come to the Garden Tomb to worship our Risen Lord!  How exciting to be a part of what God will do in their lives as they meet with Him!

Please pray for our travel, safety, strength, health, stamina (we are over 70 and will be working 12 hour days in the waning days of summer heat!), for clarity as we proclaim the Gospel each day and for our family in the US.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Nazareth Village
a Reconstructed First Century Village
Located in Nazareth, in Galilee,
much like what the village of Nazareth
would have looked when Jesus lived in Nazareth.
The First Century village of Nazareth was an agricultural village.  Families worked hard to just survive. The head of the household would have plowed his fields using a wooden plow pulled by donkeys.
 He might have been a carpenter, building furniture for himself and his neighbors.
 "Joseph" working in his Carpenter's Shop.
His wife would have spun wool.  She may have used a loom to turn the wool into material for clothes.
They would have gathered olives to make oil and grapes to make wine.
Olive Press
They would have watched over their property from a "strong tower" or "watch tower."  Ever vigilant for enemies.

They would have studied Scripture in the Synagogue...
and they would have buried their dead in a tomb cut in the rock. 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Stepping Back in Time!
What a joy it would be to do just that... step back in time.  Imagine being able to visit Jerusalem during the days of David, Solomon, or Jesus... well we can't do that but we can step back in time one hundred thirty years to the beginning of the Garden Tomb.
Sometime in the late 1800's General Gordon of England visited Jerusalem, saw a rocky outcrop just outside the North walls of the Old City and asked; "could this be Golgotha?"  In 1894 that same piece of property was bought by a non-denominational group of believers in England and formed the Garden Tomb Association.  For over one hundred years this property has been preserved for the purpose of worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ.  Today over 250,000 visitors a year come to the Garden Tomb each year to do just that, worship our Lord!
Jeremiah's Grotto in the center of the picture, Gordon's Calvary to the left ca 1880.
Gordon's Calvary aka Skull Hill
Golgotha aka Calvary

The Tomb early 1900

The Tomb around 1911

Inside the Tomb

Wine Press

Easter Sunrise Service 1943

The Tomb 2012
That's the best we can do "stepping back in time."  A special thanks to the archives of the GTA.
How awesome to be a part of this place that God has preserved for over a hundred years as an amazing visual aid that God has used as an instrument of His Grace to draw our hearts and minds, not to worship this place, but to worship the Risen Christ!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

We are back in Jerusalem (have been for a week) and are rapidly settling back into a schedule.  Our flight over was great, standby worked out well; non stop to NYC and Business Class JFK to TelAviv!  Now THAT is the way to fly!

Today is Yom Kippur and all is quiet in West Jerusalem as Jews spend the day fasting, praying, forgiving and worshipping.  It is literally quiet as no cars, trucks or buses are moving across the street from where we life.  In East Jerusalem (where we are living) life is going on as usual.  The Garden is open, if you were in Jerusalem today, staying in a hotel in West Jerusalem, and wanted to come to the Garden... you WALKED here!  And some did...
We are off today and walked through the Old City to the Western Wall and and plan to go back near the close of the day to watch as thousands of Jews come to the wall to celebrate as Yom Kippur comes to a close.,
When we left in May of 2011 work was still going on to sand blast the Damascus gate.  That work has been completed and the gate is beautiful.  We are reminded of how beautiful this walled city must have been in the days of Jesus before the onslaught of pollution from so many buses.  It must have been absolutely amazing 2,000 years ago as people made their way "up to Jerusalem."

The Damascus Gate
Many of you have prayed for the construction on Skull Hill... it continues today.  Here you see Skull Hill with the new wall and elevation above the bus station next door.

The Garden has undergone an amazing transformation over the past sixteen months under the very capable hands of our two gardners.
The Wine Press has been restored.
Some things will never change... the Tomb is still empty!
Yesterday was Yom Kippur.  All traffic ceased... except in Arab neighborhoods... where life went on as usual.  Any visitors to the Garden walked here unless their hotel was in East Jerusalem... very quiet day for us!
Looking up into West Jerusalem on Yom Kippur.  It's OK to walk or ride a bike... just don't drive your car!  If you do, you can expect have it stoned!!!
Turn around, look into East Jerusalem (where the Garden Tomb is located) and it is just a normal day.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It has been a long sixteen months since we were last in Jerusalem... a time of surgery for both of us, physical therapy, and complete recovery.  Judy has a new knee and I have a repaired shoulder. 

We have enjoyed precious time with our family while we were home.  Full House for Christmas in Tampa, visits to Houston, New England, Louisiana and Montana.  We even got to throw in a couple of cruises!  Can't complain...

Suitcases are scattered around the house and and we are trying to pack.  We return to the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem Monday September 17th for two months.  We are excited and anxious go Up to Jerusalem!  What a great opportunity God has rewarded us with to serve Him near the village of His birth and city of His Crucifixion, burial and resurrection!

As we prepare to go can we ask you to pray for us as we travel "standby" (we get to fly if and when seats are available for us) for the first time.  If all goes well we will appreciate the savings!  Pray for our safety while in Israel.  We are always careful and observant of our surroundings and don't go off doing crazy stuff (I know that's hard for those of you who know Judy to believe!)  But it's true.  Just keep us in your prayers.

Know this... we are firmly convinced that God has called us to Israel and willingly follow Him.  We love this land and the people of Israel and are homesick for our "other home."  We will try to update the blog as we can... please enjoy it!