Browsing Tag

Digging Deep Israel

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Israel ’22!

On the Sea of Galilee with Kate. It was a memorable trip, to say the least,  for these sisters.

The Digging Deep Israel/Rome trip is being planned as we speak. I’m excited to tell you that, Lord willing, the travel will occur during the first two weeks of November of 2022. This should be a more pleasant time of year for temperatures than our last unseasonably hot trip in May of 2019. We will likely be leaving from Nashville, Tennessee and then have ten days in the Bible lands. I’m very excited to spend a bit of our time in Rome, Italy to see the city of Paul’s imprisonment, later evangelism and subsequent death for Christ. We will get to see some of the amazing places where our Lord walked and worked in Judea. The latter may be the part about which I am most excited because the first trip in 2019 just made my cup (for appreciation of Israel) larger than it was before ever going there at all. There are so many sites I want to see again and view with more discerning and introspective eyes. I am very thankful we did not plan this trip for 2021 (as we initially had thought about doing). I trust and pray that by the end of 2022, we will think about Covid as a somewhat distant memory. God is a great provider!

Ruins of Chorazin, where our Lord did many “mighty works”…

The cost of the trip, though not completely finalized, as it is too early to book flights, will be likely be approximately $5000.00 per person. Digging Deep participants (of any years, past or present) and spouses will be the first to be able to sign up for the trip at any point during the year 2021. You will reserve your spot by paying a deposit to Bible Land passages (more details soon). Then, in January of 2022, the trip will open up to those Christians who are not Digging Deep participants. So be thinking and talking at your dinner table and making your plans. We will, once again, be having Digging Deep studies for women in many very relevant geographical  spots and there will be times of worship for the entire group.

Bus bonding!

I cannot tell you how vast the chasm is between taking this trip with non-Christians and experiencing it with the Lord’s people. I do not ever want to make this pilgrimage with people who do not love and live the Word. Our fellowship, in 2019, was close, warm and wonderful. Our singing was beautiful and the prayers were fervent. None of us will ever be quite the same after being together for ten memorable days. We had Christians from all areas of the US, and  from New Zealand and Australia. I know this trip will not be an exact replication, but the Lord’s people will make it a little foyer of heaven, itself. I can’t wait!

Between now and then, I’ll be writing more little verbal glimpses of some of the spots we’ll see in this blog. You may want to visit http://biblelandpassages.org, as well. Many thanks to John and Carla Moore for their enthusiasm about our return trip and their patience with our group as we try to plan travel in an uncertain and chaotic time. We are so blessed.

4000-year-old “Abraham’s Gate”… I could not believe I was looking at a place where he walked when he went to rescue Lot!

Be praying. Be planning. Be saving. Be prepared for a trip that impacts your faith and future for Him!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep…We Found 24 Charms/Pendants!

We’ve located 24 of these sweet little Digging Deep shovels! They are sterling silver and they are precious little keepsakes. Designed especially for Digging Deep by our good friends at Dempsey’s Jewelers in Johnson City, Tennessee, they bear the words “Digging Deep.”  Mine’s on a bracelet, but lots of sisters have them on little silver chains around their necks. They come with the sturdy little ring for easy attaching and in the pretty little gift box for easy gift-giving ( in case you know a digger who could use some sweet encouragement). We rarely find extra Digging Deep paraphernalia, but I wanted to throw this little find out there and sweep clean the DD shelves once again. You can order the little charms here: https://thecolleyhouse.org/store?fbclid=IwAR1nJ3ujNB9-_L5cmy9Vn_llR4zZOFy7h4z0FR9PR-chaI04J63ClnnDib4#!/Sterling-Silver-Digging-Deep-Pendant/p/99264175/category=0

We do have plenty of books if you know someone who’d like to study! It’s not too late to catch up quickly. 

Almost every single order now has been shipped and so, if you are waiting, then it should not be much longer. You are the most encouraging group of ladies I have ever encountered. Thanks for being so forgiving and so patient!

The Israel trip for 2022 is in the works. I met a relatively new digger just yesterday who said “Sign me and my husband up!” Final dates and pricing are not quite ready, but I will let you know as soon as I can. This is so exciting. At present, we are looking at traveling to see where Paul worked and suffered in Rome and then to do a faith-building tour of Israel with lots of new sites to experience. So many amazing Biblical finds are being unearthed in that wonderful part of the world even as I write! It’s so amazing and yet concretely certain that every new find of those diggers (that has to do with Biblical history) is confirming of the authenticity of the God-breathed Word that these diggers (you and me) are searching!

Don’t forget the first video podcast is on the 29th at 7 CST. (I heard there may be some other competing discussion on television that night, so make a wise choice.=)) Seriously,  I do hope you’ll log in with us live  and comment.  You can watch the other guys later! All questions are welcomed, too! I can’t wait! Megan Learned, one of the most encouraging sisters in the whole world, is joining me. Find us here next Tuesday night!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Whoosh! Last Night’s Podcast…Sometimes, we just be like…

It was a monsoon in Huntsville, Alabama last night as I headed to the church building for this podcast only to get halfway there and get the call from trusty-techer Jen to let me know that the power was off in our little studio (and all over that part of town). Now we know there are lots of you who assemble for the podcasts and we know your time is important, so we began making calls, figuring out places and devices we might use as a last resort. Thirty minutes later, as Jen was driving into my neighborhood, we got the call that power was back on at the building. The clock had been ticking, though, and we knew we’d be super late, at this point, if we moved the podcast back to the studio. So picture me moving supplies and large yard art that I’d been crafting out of the camera’s view, Jen opening up an iPad to find it was completely battery-drained, my laptop acting like it has never even heard of facebook live (what’s up with that, anyway?), a big yellow extension cord that wielded no power, Holly over at her house, figuring out how to field comments, and sweet Melissa Davidson, who was super prepared to cohost, realizing she did not have time to even make it all the way to the eastern Madison sticks, where I live. Imagine, Glenn coming in to do a ZOOM about a book that a few men are completing and realizing he’s walked into another BIG ZOOM-ish project. Relegated to the porch, I can hear him saying “Good evening, gentlemen!…” while I’m trying to say a prayer and “Goodnight ladies!” It was chaotic and you were patient and Jen’s a hero. And that boy we just met who’s living in our cabin probably thought “What has happened to the band with of this internet?”…And you can watch the study here: https://livestream.com/whcoc/for-women. When there’s no power in the studio, there’s still plenty in the Word. Below are the photos that did not get their debut last night: The first is a bunch of Diggers in the Pool of Siloam (John 9). The rest are on various places on the Mount of Olives. Both are from May, 2019, when we were digging in Israel and both are mentioned in the show. The fourth one(far left) is at the site believed to be the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. Notice the ossuaries in the second photo. I’m told, for a price, people can still be buried on the Mount of Olives (and many still want to be). Blessings as you study. Two more months of the glory study. An eternity of the GLORY!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Israel: Next Stop–Abraham’s Gate at Dan

I love antiques. As I write I’m sitting in an old Windsor chair at a table Glenn built from wood from his grandparents’ old log cabin. My computer backs up to an old embroidered Valentine doily that boasts old blue Mason jars repurposed as candle holders. 

A few months ago, Glenn found an old rock chimney he was able to purchase from which he made me a stone fence around a little kitchen garden area. We spent some months of diligently looking till we found an old iron gate to make an entranceway through the stone wall. I never thought about the difference an old iron gate would make in the nostalgic feel of that little spot. 

An old gate. I may have thought I had an old gate outside, but in the Canaanite city of Laish, there’s an OLD gate. This ancient part of Tel-Dan was founded about 6000 years ago and the gate of the city has been unearthed, having been preserved well by a rampart having been erected over it in a later war.

The thrilling thing about this gate is that it seems almost certain to me that Abraham passed through it when he went to rescue Lot in Genesis 14:14. This is the location of Abraham’s travel with the 318 servants that were born in his own house. The gate’s common name today is “Abraham’s gate”.

As I looked at this gate, which is currently undergoing some restoration, I thought about Uncle Abraham going to rescue Lot, for whom he later made the sacrifice of the best land and who ultimately was father to two Canaanite nations that would plague the children of Abraham for centuries: the Moabites and the Ammonites (Genesis 19:37-38). His likely passage through this gate was just a passage through which God was working His own plan for the conquering of the Canaanites, the settling of the promised land, the ultimate birth of the Redeemer in a nation that had passed through the fire of enemy nations and been humbled because of their conformity to those nations. It was a passage through which God was getting us to our promised land around His throne. 

The term “old” is relative, for sure. This is an old gate.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Israel: Next Stop–Jeroboam’s Altar at Dan

Viewing the actual site of the unearthed and reconstructed high place of Jeroboam was one of the ironically low and high points of the trip.  I was amazed that I was viewing here the ruins/reconstruction of the physical result of this amazing declaration by Jeroboam:

It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. (1 Kings 12:28)

Rebellious Jeroboam, first king of Israel following the division of 1 Kings, the one who led the rebellion against Rehoboam was clearly paving, for the 10 tribes of Israel, the path to laziness, ease, idolatry and ultimate ruin. He built two gold calves and set up an altar on this hill in Dan and called the people whom God had rescued over and over again, to worship the images in this very place. I wonder how/if Jeroboam would have altered the course if he could have peered through the lens of time and seen this mound of ruin where God’s followers still today lament over the bold departure from the Will of the Sovereign One. I wonder if he would have changed his mind about moving the “mound” of worship to Dan, if he could have known that people 3000 years hence would be reading over 20 passages in the Old Testament in which Jeroboam was described as the sinful one who led Israel into idolatry. I wonder if he would have placed the altar for idol worship in Dan if he had known that the tribe of Dan would be omitted from the genealogies of 1 Chronicles or from the listing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7.

To us today, the altar at Dan shouts an ultimatum: Reverence or ruin.

For those in our religious world today who think it unimportant to work (yes, work) to make our worship pleasing to its Sovereign audience, the altar of Jeroboam stands as a sentinel warning. Worship which disintegrates to an arena of human fulfillment, rather than obeisance (literally, worship means crouching before the high one) to the Infinite One, the path is destruction and omission from eternal blessings.

In practical terms, may we be  diligent to put the “work” aspect of our worship in the hearts of our children and at the center of our homes. We do this by preparing for it, praying about it in terms our kids can understand, laying aside our generous contributions ahead of time (and our children’s), making all efforts to be there on time and to be fully engaged, and making sure there is no laughter and visiting with friends during worship. It’s figuratively keeping our worship in Jerusalem and always refraining from “high places” of our own devising.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Israel–Stop #8: Gazin’ at Amazin’ Chorazin!

Jesus said this of first century Chorazin: 

Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you (Matthew 11:21).

It stirred my soul to think I was standing in the place where many “mighty works” of the Lord were done. The synagogue that we viewed was from the 3rd and 4th centuries, but some of the ruins surrounding it date back to the first century. 

Several things are memorable to the Christian viewing the ruins of Chorazin. I’ll always be able to revisit , in memory, the synagogue we saw because the words just kept echoing in my mind “Woe unto thee, Chorazin!” This city that summarily rejected the clear evidence that Jehovah was among them now lies in utter ruin. One has to reflect on the truth that the ruin of the architecture has little significance when compared to the eternal ruin and destruction of thousands of souls living in Chorazin during and after the earthly life of the Master Miracle-worker; souls who were so close to the physical evidence of God among them, but turned a blind eye to what was obviously supernatural.  

I’ll always remember the seat of Moses in that synagogue, because of the words of the Lord: 

The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren (Matthew 23:2-8).

This seat of Moses was elaborately carved of stone and, from it, the law was regularly read by those who were living symbols without substance; proclaiming one thing and doing another. In fact, by the time of the worship of the era we were viewing, the rejection of the Messiah had been persisting in this place for three centuries. The Jews who sat in Moses seat in this place could have read the gospel of Matthew, where the warning about their hypocrisy was given by Christ himself. But they were uninterested in the Messiah, having rejected the powerful testimony—even the resurrection—of the One who gave the stern warning to the residents of the specified town of Chorazin. 

I saw the Medusa head, one of few preserved, since most of them were apparently destroyed when the Jews returned to periods of stricter observance of the law; and I observed the underground bath house. Looking at the ruins of the houses in the center of the city, I could see that they were in rows and that families lived in close proximity to one another. I imagined Jewish children running across the narrow lanes and traveling with their parents to the synagogue on the Sabbath. I pondered the tragedy that finally overtook these children when their synagogue and civilization was finally destroyed, likely by an earthquake, in the fourth century. I grieve, even as I write, to understand that many of them died along with their parents on that awful day. I saw the “ghosts” of the innocents clinging to their parents as the earth enveloped them. I heard the screams and the crashing of stones. But to think that  those hundreds of adult deaths were the launching points to eternal death and separation from God, is unspeakably difficult to contemplate. Blessed were those, on that day, who were children and separated, at that moment, eternally from the everlasting punishment to be endured by those parents who had rejected the Messiah.

the bath house

The bath house.

When the Lord issues a “woe”, the hearer (or reader) had best hearken to the warning! How are we doing on finding and heeding the warnings given in the New Testament for us today? It’s an eternally important challenge. Another sobering way to ask this is: If my life tragically and suddenly ended today, would it be better if I’d died in childhood?