Philippians 4:6-7 Easy-to-Read Version
Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds.
Our group stayed at this resort on the Dead Sea. It was so large the room key came with a map!
As one who loves gardening and gardens, I was delighted with the surrounding beauty … an oasis in the desert.
One morning before breakfast, I happened to spy a koi pond. We talked together, the koi and I. They were eating their breakfast already and I had to wait a few more minutes until the hotel restaurant would open. I did tell them I awaited a huge buffet … sorry about them. : )
Upon our arrival the first afternoon, I checked out the path to the sea. It was long and many of the steps were uneven. But I managed to head down to see what it was all about.
You see the huge rocks at the edge of the sea. I was later to learn how slippery they were. Reassured that this was a must for me, I hiked back up to the Vista, my room’s separate building. The hike was uphill, and by the time I reached the top, I was indeed ready for a plunge. Donning my bathing suit, room slippers, and a colorful knee-length kaftan, I headed back down to the sea. Trying to let go of shyness about my sixty-two year old body, I joined some of the other brave members of my tour group. There were two lifeguards standing knee-deep at the edge of the water. The others told me to go to them for assistance. I did. One of the strapping young men took hold of my arms and encouraged me to walk gingerly into the water. I immediately understood why I needed assistance. The rocks were smooth, slippery, and of varied heights and shapes. When together we reached knee-deep water, he said to sit down. I hesitantly obeyed. One of my group members reached out his hand and pulled me forward. I was floating! I was laughing! I was giggling with delight! The little girl in me sprang forth gleefully! I lay on my back letting my head down into the salty water. I lifted my feet, tried to flip over, paddled around with my hands, and let the world slip away. I was in another element and I loved it!
The next step was to paddle back to shore, helped by the lifeguard, and walked toward the others who were covering themselves with mud from an urn. It really didn’t feel like mud, it was a dark gray silky smooth clay-like substance. It felt velvety on my skin. We were instructed to stand there for fifteen minutes before going back into the sea to rinse off. By this time, all shyness was gone; we all stood together looking completely ridiculous and caring not a whit!
Back into the sea, aided by, yes, that strapping young lifeguard, I willingly and cheerfully reentered the water, which was neither warm or cool, it was just right! I paddled out, my feet pointing to the most beautiful sunset over the Dead Sea. Dear Lord, how perfect is Your creation!
The next day I opted for extreme pampering, a three-hour spa treatment. It started with a Dead Sea Salt body scrub. I climbed out of my old skin, like a caterpillar, and emerged a beautiful butterfly!
Next I was wrapped in the now familiar Dead Sea mud. Cocooned in plastic, I was left for thirty minutes to baste.
Next came the facial. Oh my heavenly days, such bliss!
Finally I was treated to a body massage. After this three-hour odyssey into personal rejuvenation, I literally floated out of the treatment room refreshed, revived, and returned to my original baby-like softness.
Psalm 103 The Message
A Psalm of David
O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe, I’ll bless His holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
don’t forget a single blessing!
He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.
God makes everything come out right;
He puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how He went about his work,
opened up His plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, He’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who fear Him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
He has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
God feels for those who fear Him.
He knows us inside and out,
keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.
Men and women don’t live very long;
like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
leaving nothing to show they were here.
God’s love, though, is ever and always,
eternally present to all who fear Him,
Making everything right for them and their children
as they follow His Covenant ways
and remember to do whatever He said.
God has set His throne in heaven;
He rules over us all. He’s the King!
So bless God, you angels,
ready and able to fly at His bidding,
quick to hear and do what He says.
Bless God, all you armies of angels,
alert to respond to whatever He wills.
Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are—
everything and everyone made by God.
And you, O my soul, bless God!
I couldn’t have said it better myself, King David!
Above it states we should fear God. I choose to believe that means to show Him tremendous repect, honor, and love.
Dear Lord, Heavenly Father, You know my heart was filled with such happiness during this pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I thank You and praise You and love You for providing this life-changing experience for such a one as me. I will treasure every moment forever. Amen
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