Saturday, March 24, 2018

Mount Carmel~












Mount Carmel was our second stop on day 1. When we arrived it was pretty windy and when we got to the top it was foggy. You normally could see the entire city but could not because of the fog. Pastor Carl read the story about Elijah. He had challenged Ahab to determine who the real God was. During the time there had been a drought due to the sin of worshipping false gods. Ahab was married to a powerful women named Jezebel. Jezebel supported the worshipping of false gods.  Elijah challenged Ahab to see whose god would bring fire. Baal could not deliver but The Lord God Almighty could!

"At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, he stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”

The question is How long will you waver between two decisions?  Sometimes decisions need to be made despite what the majority believes. It can take a lot of courage to stand up for something or someone you believe is right when the majority of others don't believe this way. Elijah not only believed in the one true God but he also had faith that He would deliver. Elijah didn't want God to answer him to prove he was right, he wanted him to answer him to show others that He in fact was the one true GOD. God's desire for us is to serve Him and not false gods.  One of the ten commandments is that 'You shall have no other gods before me'  We can make anything a god or idol! We don't focus on it too much because when we hear of idols we think of the old testament and how they used a lot of carved images or built altars to serve as their false gods. Part of sacrificing to the false gods, such as Baal, was that they believed their lives would be fruitful and multiply so they would burn children as sacrifices. 
Jeremiah 19:5 "They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal--something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind."
An idol is anything that you prioritize or worship over God. Recently God showed me that I had made my marriage and family an idol. These things are not bad in and of themselves but they were what I thought of the most, what I worried about the most, what I  was fearful of losing the most. They were who I put my confidence and identity in. I put my faith and trust in them and would get discouraged or let down when they didn't meet my needs. I love my husband and family, but I do not want to waver in my decision. I want to choose God as my first LOVE!!  
When the kids were little I used to explain to them that their choices  had two outcomes. The right decision would lead to rewards but the wrong decision would lead to consequences. In life we have rewards and consequences. There were times my kids made the wrong choice resulting in consequences that they had to learn from. They learned the differences between the rewards and consequences. Just like our Heavenly father, he gives us free will and a choice. IF we make a good decisions we will be rewarded however the wrong decisions will result in consequences. In His loving manner even our consequences are an opportunity to learn and change our ways. God is a God of second chances. God is slow to anger, he is persistent, and merciful. However, there does come a time when enough is enough. Just like the ruin cities we visited.  
Ahab choose to believe in a false god that could not meet His needs. Elijah choose to believe in the One true God who is faithful and just! What are some false gods we put our faith in to meet our needs? Do we waver between putting our trust in them or in the ONE TRUE GOD who will supply all our needs according to His riches and glory!! Philippians 4:19~












 1 Kings 18:16-19:18



So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.
Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”
28 So they s
shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs[a] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”
34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood,
he stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”
40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.
41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.
43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
“There is nothing there,” he said.
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”
So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”
45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46 The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

Elijah Flees to Horeb

19 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
Elijah was afraid[b] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

The Lord Appears to Elijah

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”


Caesarea Maritima~


Caesarea Maritima is on the Mediterranean coast built by King Herod.  












The Theater 


















Caesarea hippodrome










Acts 12:19-23
19After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed. Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. 20He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king's country for their food supply. 21On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." 23Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the LORD struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died

Herod died here because he would not give glory to God!! As I was sitting there listening to the story, I was moved to ask forgiveness for all the times I haven't given glory to God! Also I was reminded of the times I have! One example that I am walking out is the healing of my back! I don't ever want to stop giving glory to God for showing favor on me! It is because my back is healed that I was even able to take this amazing trip!!

Another story in the bible that happened at Caesarea Maritima was Paul's trial. 

Acts 23:23-24

"23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen[b] to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”

25 He wrote a letter as follows:
26 Claudius Lysias,
To His Excellency, Governor Felix:
Greetings.
27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace."


Before Paul's conversion he persecuted Christians. After his supernatural transformation he went on to serve God with all his heart! God used Paul as a vessel to serve him and to show us all that everyone can have a second chance!!! No sin is too great that God can not forgive.  Paul suffered greatly while serving God but it did not stop him from sharing the gospel with everyone. Paul had been falsely accused, Although innocent of these accusations Paul was kept in prison in Caesarea where he appeared before a trial.
He could never be found guilty and then Paul used his citizenship to be sent to Rome.  Paul stayed in Caesarea Maritime for more than two years. Every chance Paul got he spoke freely about Jesus.  If we used Paul as an example, do we use every opportunity we have to speak freely about Jesus and the good things He has done for us?  



"2 Corinthians 11:23-29 23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches."



And lastly, John talked about how in the Old Testament once they made it to the promise land they built an altar in remembrance of what they had come out of. They used stones to build an altar. Later on, they got refined and built a temple. (A Huge pile of rocks) Jesus met a guy name Peter, who means THE ROCK. On the rock God is going to build the church. (Matthew 16:18) Not necessarily on Peter but on the Church. Individual people make up the church, so we are the living stones to build the church in the New Testament world. We built an altar because we entered the Promise land. It was representation of our group being the church and getting to know each other.