Monday, December 21, 2009


I'm ridiculously jet lagged... and since I have so many other things to do at 3 am... I want to share a few more details about the glories of Galilee.

Our 10 days spent in Galilee were consecrated as sacred opportunities to seek a greater understanding and relationship with our Savior. It was filled with rich study of the New Testament, exploration of sites of His ministry, and many hours of private and quiet communion with the Spirit on the shore.

Being able to sit at the shore of the Sea of Galilee with feet in the same waters that my Savior had calmed and walked on brought a new reverence and meaning to the passages that I read during those days. We had 3 hour or so long classes on the gospels and my perspective and understanding of the sequence, reality, and undeniable significance of everything Jesus Christ performed and taught became even more real and sacred to me.

We went to Caesarea Maritima- the ruins of a city built by Herod on the shore of the Mediterranean. It was here that Phillip and Peter preached, and where Paul was brought to Felix and Festus. As we read from Acts 23-26 of Paul's bold testimony of the Christ in the face of persecution, I was again consumed with missionary zeal. This place held the great words and burning testimonies of the Lord's apostles. I left there determined to act as Phillip, Peter, and Paul at all times- to always testify of the reality and truth of the Savior.

One of the top sweet moments of this trip for me was sitting in a little boat on the Sea of Galilee. It truly was here that the Lord called His apostles to be "Fishers of Men", where He calmed the storm, and where He walked on water. These are such common stories and I have always believed them- I have always known that He performed these miracles. Yet, as we were reading these stories from the New Testament... and as I looked out onto the sea.. and as the Spirit spoke to me... I gained a deeper understanding and belief that Christ truly has control over my life. I recieved direct answers to many of my questions that day and came to a mucher stronger faith and belief that Jesus Christ can, has, and will calm my troubled seas.

I had the honor of singing "How Great Thou Art" accompanied by Kathryn on the violin, and the splashing of the water on the boat. It is very difficult to adquately describe the tender and overwhelming feelings felt there that day. As I was trying to sing, I found myself seized up with emotion and struggling to sing.
"When I shall in humble adoration, and there proclaim, My God- How great Thou Art."
and I was filled with even deeper gratitude and awe for my Savior. I walked off that boat with a greater ability to wholly and truly trust in my Lord.

We saw the ginnosar boat- found in 1986 on the shore during a drought. It is speculated to be from the same time that Christ would have spent His days in Galilee and would be very similar to that used by Peter, Andrew, James, and John as fishers.

We went to the Mt. of Beatititudes and read from Matthew 5-7 the Sermon on the Mount.

Sitting there on that beautiful hillside looking over the landscape of encompassing hills and the lake... I could totally see why Jesus chose this place to teach these sacred truths and give this beautiful commandments. The Spirit felt there made everything so clear- my perspective became black and white. I left there not understanding or desiring to live any way but to love my enemies, to continually hunger and thirst for righteousness, to become meek, to be an example of Christ and abide by every law Christ ever gave.

One of my favorite sites was Capernaum.

A frequently mentioned place in the scriptures as the home of Peter and the location of the synagogue that Christ taught in. It was hard to capture it in pictures... but there are the same basalt stones that formed the very 1st century AD synagogue that Jesus visited- the same stones that would have seen and used in His life. It is speculated that the building of this synagogue may have been funded by the centurion that had sought for the miracle working of Jesus. It had a 4th century synagogue built on on top of those stones.

Capernaum was the little town that jesus raised Jairus' daughter, healed the woman from her bleeding illness, healed the Centurion's son, and many more miracles. As we read the Matthew 8 and Luke 4 accounts of Jesus casting out and unclean spirit and teaching that He was the Son of God in this very synagogue a sweet peace overcame me as I realized that I was being taught in the very same place that Jesus Christ Himself taught. I didn't need to be there to learn these truths or to know that He had come and performed great works in Capernaum- but, as it's been said, "the visual aide sure helps!"

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