Capernaum is a pretty epic place.
It was Jesus' next destination after leaving Nazareth. In fact, Capernaum was the central location of Jesus' ministry for the last 18-20 months of His life on earth. It was here that Jesus told Simon and Andrew, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." In other words, this is where Jesus gathered His group of disciples and called them to action (Matthew 4 and 9).
Jesus performed more miracles in Capernaum than any other location, including:
- Healing a man with an unclean demon in the synagogue (Luke 4:31-37)
"Be silent and come out of him!" Jesus rebukes the man who is mocking Him. We love when Luke describes the witnesses by saying, "They were amazed and said to one another, 'What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!'" Luke says that Jesus' word astonished the crowd, for it possessed authority. Instantly, the grapevine started growing into every place in the surrounding region with people talking about what they had seen. That is Jesus. Our Savior with power and authority. Is your soul stirring yet?
- Healing Simon's mother-in-law, and then many (Luke 4:38-41)
How beautiful is this story? It seems to be early morning ("and he arose") when Jesus walks into Simon's house and finds that Simon's mother-in-law has a high fever (Jesus probably knew about Simon's mother-in-law prior to walking into the house, since it's Jesus and all). Jesus heals her and "immediately she rose and began to serve them (vs. 39)". No recovery phase or anything like that. She just gets up and actually begins serving them, offering them some hot tea and crumpets (well, the latter part may not be 100% accurate). Then the sun is setting (a full day) and people began bringing sick and demon-possessed friends and family to the Son of God. And He touches and heals every one of them (vs. 40). That is Jesus. The ultimate Healer.
- Healing a centurion's servant (Matthew 8:5-13)
In case you're wondering, a centurion is the commander of a century in the ancient Roman army. But seriously? Have you read this story lately? Here comes the centurion, asking Jesus to heal his servant who is laying in bad - paralyzed - and suffering terribly. And Jesus is like, "Sure. I'll come to your house." But no. The centurion says he is not worthy of Jesus entering his home. Instead, how about Jesus just say the word and his servant will be healed, with miles between them. Even Jesus is marveled by this man's faith and tells the centurion, "'Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.' And the servant was healed at that very moment. (vs. 13)" That is Jesus. The One who responds to our faith by being faithful.
- Matthew 9:18-26 - Jesus raises a woman from the dead
- Matthew 9:20-22 - Jesus heals the woman who suffers from a discharge of blood
- John 4:46-54 - Jesus heals an official's son
In many of these stories, Jesus responds to believers by saying, "Take heart, your faith has made you well. (Matthew 9:22)" We are baffled and encouraged by these believers with such immovable faith.
Has Jesus ever responded to your prayers in this way?
When you talk to Jesus and ask Him for healing (not just physically, but emotionally or spiritually), do you have absolute faith in Him that He will heal you?
What's holding you back from surrendering completely to Him and trusting that He will be faithful to your needs?
Yes. This guy. Chuck Norris. While dozing off to sleep, JD was flipping through the telly when he turned one channel too far. And there he was. Chuck Norris dubbed over in Hebrew. Needless to say, we didn't watch very long (language barrier), but we felt sparks of patriotism just by seeing his face.
Today has been a beautiful day! The past couple of days have been cloudy with a little breeze so it's been somewhat unbearable to lay out.
Today was perfect though. I laid out until the sun began to set, and oh, was the sunset lovely!
I'm really enjoying the book I've been reading. The storyline follows two families: (1) a family from India who gave their daughter to an orphanage because they couldn't afford the dowry to pay her off to a good suitor and (2) the American couple who adopts her. Since JD and I are interested in adopting one day, it's eye-opening to see how both sets of parents deal with the decisions they have made and how the daughter deals with being adopted.
After enjoying the sunset, I sat in the room until JD and Adam got back from work then we went to the Executive Lounge for dinner.
The coffee here is extremely strong!! I always add hot milk and sugar which tames it down a bit. Even JD needs to add a little sugar and he always drinks his coffee black!
Adam says we must try the refreshing Aloe Water here called Sappe.
We will probably get a few bottles tomorrow because the bottled water they serve here tastes tainted, kind of like lukewarm store-brand water. I am embarrassed to admit that I have a terrible habit of being a picky water drinker. Dasani is about the only one I can handle. I have now initiated JD into the water snobbery club. We have found a cheaper solution which I will post about later. Basically, we just bought a Brita water pitcher and use the filtered water in another pitcher. We then add rosemary, mint and cucumber. Mmm. Fresh and delicious!
We're going to try to go to sleep a little earlier tonight because JD and Adam have to leave for work at 9:30 in the morning! It's going to be a long day for the both of them, but I have a feeling that it's going to be a SUPER long day for me! :) We've made some plans to tour up north in Israel Friday and Saturday. It will be nice to get away from the hotel for a little bit. More importantly, JD and I will finally get to spend time together, doing what we love. Exploring. And in this case? Exploring the same steps that Jesus walked. How cool is that!
So friends, we want to know...
Craving some Chuck Norris jokes now? Click here for a Top 100 List. What is your favorite Chuck Norris joke?
How do you feel about adoption? Have you ever adopted a child and/or do you feel called to? Want to follow a real life blog about adoption? Follow this Finding Our Way Home. I met LeAnn when my friend Barbara invited me to a Woman's Bible Study in Huntsville. JD and I are both baffled by the way God is moving in LeAnn's family, and we're sure that their story will be an encouragement to all who read it.
Have you ever tried Sappe? What's the verdict on behalf of your tastebuds?
And... are you a water snob? Which brand do you choose?
You know those nights where you lie awake under the covers, endless thoughts colliding in your head without hesitation?
The Lord says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”
That beautiful verse is one we hear over and over again; yet the repetitiveness may sometimes develop a callous over our hearts, creating an antithesis against it.
“Just be still and be silent, Whitney,” I remind myself.
God echoes back with, “Yes, Whitney, let even your thoughts be still.”
God knows that it is merely impossible for me to be still. He created me as a woman with passion and determination. I feel guilty if I take a lunch break and watch TV or even when I’m down for the day with a migraine. As I am a stay-at-home-wife, I feel a deep burden to ensure that our home is constantly moving, and it must always stay clean in the process. Because God programmed me this way, I once thought He understood why I didn’t take time to journal while seeking out His Word or why I didn’t continue to journal my prayers as I did in high school. Serving as a busy housewife – cooking, creating, sewing, cleaning, writing blogs, making videos – this is my responsibility now.
Did I fail to remember my covenant between God and my new, handsome groom at the altar? God first. Husband second. Home third. How naïve was I to forget that?
Our God is a God of Truth, not excuses. He is a God of Conviction; and that God of Conviction spoke to me with a peaceful voice, the kind of peaceful voice you hear from your parents that go beyond the spankings, beyond the yelling. The soft voice of disappointment. God wouldn’t take His creation of the “passionate Whitney” as an excuse for my busyness. He reminded me of my fear. He reminded me why He created me to be a passionate woman, not only a passionate wife.
Be still. It’s a tough feat for some, including myself. Yet, sometimes God speaks to you and you have no other choice but to be still. We’re frozen – nay, paralyzed - in awe of what our Savior just said.
I experienced that feeling last night.
As my husband and I prepare to leave on our journey to a war-endangered territory, both of our minds and hearts have been a bit uneasy. He has been quite restless the past two nights. I’m not sure if it is out of worry for our safety on the trip or out of protection of our home in case the creepy photographer taking pictures from his car outside of Barnes and Noble may have actually been a spy. [Just kidding.] I feel his uneasiness - his restlessness – the same way he feels my emotions and knows that something is up.
However, I have also been somewhat restless with the typical “what if?” thoughts: We’re Americans - what if everybody will have a plot against us? What if we are captured and persecuted? What if we never see our families again? What if a foreign enemy bombs the hotel and my husband isn’t there with me? Or worse, what if something happens to my husband and I lose him forever?
Over a course of one week, our excitement and expectancy for God to create miraculous movements in our lives and in our marriage transpired into a dark cloud of fear.
As I lay restless in bed at midnight, God spoke. I had no choice but to be still.
My daughter, I know you’ve struggled in the past with understanding what it means to fear Me. Rest, dear child, and know that to fear Me is much different than being afraid of Me. I know your thoughts. I hear you. You are afraid of what will happen if you continue to follow me with steadfast perseverance, especially in this nation you are about to enter. You hear people remind you that when you follow Me, the enemy will try to destroy you. Why are you afraid of that? Do you not remember My Power, My Strength? Do not lose sight of that. Do not lose sight of My Love and My Hand over you. I am your Protector. All that happens to you will reflect My Glory. We’ll talk more about this during our time in the morning, shall we?
You better believe I woke up this morning on my knees in prayer. As I sought out the Lord and asked Him where to start in my study of His Word, He led me to Jeremiah. I grabbed our family's ESV Study Bible and started reading the introduction to Jeremiah’s writings.
Many authors have called Jeremiah the “weeping prophet.” While he does occasionally weep for Israel’s condition, and this depth of concern speaks well of him, this emphasis on his weeping may mislead readers regarding his toughness. Jeremiah was a determined, dedicated, longsuffering, and visionary follower of God. His courage and stamina serve as examples to even the most faithful of all God’s embattled servants. The apostle Paul certainly viewed his own ministry as being like Jeremiah’s. Thus, Jeremiah’s weeping hardly summarizes his character. He could perhaps more accurately be called ”the persevering prophet.”
Well, God, here we go...
We are truly excited to share our stories and adventures from Israel with you over the next few weeks. From anticipation to exasperation and joy to fear, an ebb and flow of emotions presented themselves throughout the entirety of the trip. Please don't criticize our moments of weakness and fear, for those were the times where God truly proclaimed Victory as His Power succumbed all. The documentation of this trip will most likely create a very transparent image of vulnerability. It is our prayer that, through what Christ revealed to us, you will be encouraged and draw nearer to Him.
Photo taken on our way back from the Mount of Beatitudes. Can you see the Presence of God declaring Himself in the clouds and the sunset, reigning over all creation? Amen to that!
As we wrote our own vows for our wedding, I thought it would be cool to paint them in celebration of all that has come and will come! The tree is meant to be a replica of the tree growing elegantly beside the aisle in the garden where our wedding ceremony took place (at the Carl House). And the birds on my vows are a replica of the sign we have hanging on our armoire (Love Birds Nesting).
Work in Progress:
The finished product:
I, James Darwin Todd, take you, Whitney Taylor Adams, to be my wife. I am exponentially excited that I will be enjoying the rest of my life with the most beautiful woman that I know on both the inside and out. I cannot wait to show you love and adoration every second of every day. I promise to encourage you and support you in all of your goals and to strengthen you in your walk with Christ daily as we glorify Him in all that we do. I promise by God's Grace, as He enables me, to love you as Christ loved the church; to daily make sacrifices for you and to speak the Truth to you in Love; and to show you Love and Grace as He has shown me Love and Grace. I will trust Him with all of my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I will acknowledge Him in all things, for I know He will direct our paths. I will be peaceful, content and joyful in every situation, knowing that He is guiding our paths and that He will strengthen us at all times. Gosh, I love you, Whitney... I am so thankful for this moment, moments passed and moments that will be. Knowing that I will be spending every precious moment with you forever makes me the most joyful and jubilant man. It is an honor and a joy to live be these promises for all eternity.You can imagine my heart was about to beat out of my chest when he said those words - yes, from memory. I am daily baffled and blown away by the man God has set in my life to be my sweet husband. A man of God's Word and desire to follow His will. What more could a woman ask for?
I, Whitney Taylor Adams, take you, James Darwin Todd, my man, as my husband. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with my soulmate who I truly find is the most attractive man I know on both the inside and out. I promise to shower you with Love and Respect every step of this journey we are about to embark on together. I will try to speak beyond my sassy-ness and instead speak to you only in Truth and in Love. I promise to encourage you and support you in all of your goals and to strengthen you as you walk with Christ daily, and to honor Him together. With our Savior's Strength, I'm putting my full trust in you, knowing that you will guide me and our family in the way of the Lord and the directions that He gives us. I promise to honor you be being Faithful, Trustworthy, Serving and Submissive, while especially honoring you in my speech. It's my utmost goal that people see just how beautiful and incredible you are and how incredible our marriage is just by the words that come out of my mouth. I love you. I cherish you. And after that past ten years of praying and knowing that God would provide me with an amazing husband, I can't imagine standing up here with any other man but you... and I am so thankful it's you. It's an absolute honor to promise you all of these things and to live by them for all eternity.
Well, we're not exactly inventing anything new during our health campaign but we were moved to begin the campaign because "we're sick of it." We're sick of living a lifestyle where I have migraines and stomach problems several times a week because of what we eat. We're sick of living a lifestyle where we buy groceries that do not add substance to our health. Moreover, we're sick of not fighting for a lifestyle where we can honestly better ourselves daily by encouraging one another in our actions and habits.
- Giving: 10-15%
- Saving: 5-10%
- Housing: 25-35%
- Utilities: 5-10%
- Food: 5-15%
- Transportation: 10-15%
- Clothing: 2-7%
- Medical / Health: 5-10%
- Personal: 5-10%
- Recreational: 5-10%
- Debt: Hopefully zero, otherwise 5-10%
--> Please note this is from our apartment. We have not updated the blog for our house...
On Friday, February 4th, 2011, COFFEE-MATE® is saluting its entire roster of flavors, and the people who love them with FREE FLAVOR FRIDAY! A special celebration filled with free product giveaways on Coffee-mate.com and on Facebook, FREE FLAVOR FRIDAY is an opportunity to savor your favorite flavor or try a new one for FREE!
The world will tell us that marriage is a 50/50 relationship. And then, years ago, Christians came along and said, "No it's not a 50 / 50 relationship. It's is a 100 /100 relationship." I disagree with both, marriage is a 100% / 0% relationship. You give 100% of everything you are to this woman even if she returns nothing of the sort back to you because you have been called by God to lay down your life for her. There is another sense, sister, that you have been called to do the same.