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Posts Tagged ‘world’

March 20, 2017 marked a day of loss for a very good friend of ours. Her mother passed away. Less than two years ago, I lost both of my parents and so I understand how she is feeling at this moment.

We knew her mother and she was a wonderful Christian lady. There is no doubt in my mind that she is now absent from her body and present with her Lord. I know that the family is as assured of this fact as I am, but it does not take away the sorrow and loss that is being felt right now.

Sorrow and loss are feelings that we all must face because our original perfection was destroyed by our open rebellion against God. Yet God, in His mercy, chose not to leave us in our sinful state, but in His Sovereign Will, would one day restore that perfection.

Until all of creation is renewed, we will be very well acquainted with shedding tears. There is nothing wrong with expressing sorrow over lost loved ones. Jesus himself wept in the Scriptures. There are two recorded instances of Jesus crying. Once over the loss of a dear friend and the second over His beloved Jerusalem. However, Isaiah 53:3 tells us that the suffering Messiah would be “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”

Throughout the life of Christ, I believe that he saw tremendous amounts of sorrow and grief. I also believe that because of His love for us, he shed many silent tears.

We are told that time heals all things. As nice as that sounds, I do not believe that. Death is our enemy. We were created to live, not to die. I’m not even sure that time lessens our sorrow and grief over the loss of a loved one. I think it is more accurate to say that we become adjusted to live with the loss. Regardless of the years that will pass, one rogue memory brings everything back, and that feeling of loss will still be there.

First Thessalonians 4:13 is the light at the end of the very dark tunnel of sorrow. That light is hope. So yes, even as Christians we will experience sorrow and grief. Our consolation in this is that we know a day is coming where our hope will be fulfilled in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

One of my favorite verses in Scripture is Revelation 21:4 which states “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

For now, my family grieves for our friend and her family for their loss. I pray that in the days to come, she will cling close to our Savior and be assured that one day soon, the sorrow will be gone and our age old enemy, death, will be swallowed up in Victory.

 

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I was watching some news for a bit. I felt like being nauseous, and the news is usually the best way for me to accomplish that.

The last thing I looked at was the story of the disabled man being tied up and beaten in Chicago. One news reporter mentioned that if this case is “raised” to the level of a hate crime, the four attackers could face up to 30 years in prison. Most of you have probably seen the news report but here is a link to what happened.

Chicago beating

As I watched the video, and read the report, I wondered something about hate crimes. Is not “hate” the motivator behind all crimes? People love to jump on the “No Hate” band wagon for their favored group. But is one group any more important then another? Politicians fight and babble over gun control. We can take the gun out of someone’s hand, but until the hate is taken out of the man’s heart, there will be no change. If not a gun, then some other weapon.

So we as society have decided how much hate constitutes a hate crime. And what if I disagree with the measuring rod? Does that make me a hater? Am I as guilty as the attackers in the video if I don’t agree with someone?

You are by now thinking this post ridiculous. Maybe it is. Just seems to me that it is just fine for me to hate, as long as I hate the same things you do. Just don’t let my hate leave the boundaries set by society.

But wait…what if we lived in a world with no hate, no violence, no crime, etc. Oh wait, that would be called heaven. I’m not there yet, but watching the news often makes me wish I was.

 

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IMG_0459Our first stop in Turkey was the ancient port city of Miletus. Visiting Miletus today certainly gives no indication that it was ever a port city. Over the centuries, the Maeander River has been depositing heavy silt, and the “port city” of Miletus is now 5 – 6 miles from the Aegean Sea. It was difficult to imagine that Miletus was once on a peninsula withIMG_0472 three major sea ports.

The focal point when driving in was the large and dominating Roman theater. Built in the 4th century BC, it was the second largest theater in Turkey with a seating capacity of 15,000. Still remarkably preserved, the larger part of our group was able to explore it uninhibited. And it was fun to watch all of them come pouring out of the “vomitoriums” (I just love that word!). Since the theater itself is not wheelchair accessible, I remained in front of it and was able to roll back and forth looking at all of the architectural wonders.

IMG_0462I want to mention something here that highly amused me but has absolutely nothing to do with Miletus or the theater – dogs. Most countries that I have visited always seem to have an abundance of stray cats. Miletus however had an abundance of stray dogs. Like the cats, they are homeless, skinny and I wanted to bring all of them home with me (Nasty look from Wendy). The amusing thing about theseIMG_0476 dogs was their behavior. For the most part they just sort of roamed around following our group hoping for a handout. They acted very “doggy” with slow wagging tails and their tongues hanging out. But they had one habit that made me snicker. They would be walking around with us, when without any warning they would just tip over and take a nap. And when I say “tip,” I mean it. At first I thought they must all have some medical condition to cause such strange behavior. I asked our guide and he just shrugged his shoulders, saying they all do it. It mattered not if they were under a tree, on a rock or in the middle of the road. Then some sound or smell would make them jump back up again until their next nap attack would strike. They actually reminded me a bit of myself!  Lol

We left Miletus and headed for Ephesus. The ruins of this ancient city were remarkable and it was very easy to see what a splendid city it must have been. We were looking at about 10% of the original city that has been excavated and that took approximately 140 years to accomplish. The main emphasis now is more on conservation and restoration of what has been unearthed rather than on further excavations.

IMG_0534The streets here are paved with very large stones that are worn smooth, cracked and some pretty rough going for wheelchairs. But my guide and bus driver were eager to help so I was able to move slowly along the streets and see everything. Once again the key is to have patience and take it slow. Three things here that I want to point out that have been excavated: the Celsus Library, the theater of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis.IMG_0520

The one that I enjoyed seeing the most was the Celsus Library. It looked exactly like the pictures in all of the history books but it was so amazing to actually sit in front of it and take IMG_0537it all in with its surroundings. Some of it had been restored, but much of the original was still intact. It gave off an aura that bespoke of splendor. Ephesus, which had an approximate population of 250,000 in the first century BC, was one of the largest and busiestIMG_0504 commercial port cities of its day. The library certainly gave testimony to that fact. We also saw the theater of Ephesus which once again dominated the entire area. It was the largest Roman theater which seated approximately 25,000 people. It was still in remarkable condition and restoration projects were in progress to maintain it. The Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was no longer much of a wonder. When the temple was built it had 127 columns that stood 60 ft high. Today, only one column has been partially resurrected to indicate where an ancient wonder once stood. I did include a model picture of what it would have looked like.

Miniaturk_009I end with a quote – “I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of ZeusIMG_0488 by the Alpheus, and hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, ‘Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.’”

Antipater, Greek Anthology (IX.58)

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We awoke this morning with the lights of Alexandria, Egypt coming into view. Wendy and I went to breakfast early so we could be back on our balcony and watch the ship dock at 7:00 AM. The tugs and pilot boats were effectively doing their jobs as we neared the mammoth boat docks.

Our first view of Egypt was a mixture of the ancient with the modern. With a couple of quick pictures taken, we went to meet our group, ready to exit as soon as the gangways were put out. For anyone in a wheelchair, exiting and entering the ship was fairly simple with lots of assistance. Wendy and I were ushered to the front of the line, checked off the ship, and then helped over the gangway.

We were no sooner on the docks than we were greeted by EO representatives acting like we were long lost friends. Once again, EO had every detail worked out to perfection. The people knew our names, welcomed us to Egypt, and ushered us to our private touring van. Our van here was an ordinary van with the sliding side doors, but no lift. I thought this would become a nuisance transferring in and out of all day, until I met our guide and bus driver. They were both good sized guys, and after looking the situation over carefully, they just picked me up out of my wheelchair and placed me in my seat!  Lol I assure you that is no light task. I’m not huge, but I still weigh in at 180 lbs. But EO chose well, and over the next two days they lifted me in and out of the van several times a day with no apparent effort on their part. At times, just one of them would lift me. Wendy and I laughed about how up close and personal we got to know each other!

We left the docks, drove through Alexandria, and headed for Giza/Cairo about an hour away. I guess now would be a good a time as any to mention what driving in Egypt was like. I have been to about 20 countries, and even driven in some of them, but I would never even attempt to drive in Egypt. I read recently about someone’s trip to another country, and he said “that at best, driving laws were merely a suggestion.” In Egypt, I don’t think there was even anything to suggest. The population of Cairo and surrounding suburbs is about 23 million people. I do believe that all 23 million have a car and they are all on the road at the same time! From our perspective, the only rule of thumb was survival. Mere fractions of an inch between vehicles at all times, Smart cars, huge touring busses, mopeds, people running between cars to cross the road and the constant sound of blowing horns all made for an adventure of sheer terror mixed with the thrill of defying death. Wendy did her best to suppress her screams, but an occasional yelp would slip out every now and then. Our driver and guide acted like it was no big deal and pressed on. The driver would weave in and out of seemingly impossible situations, while our guide would point out things of interest along the way in the most nonchalant manner. Truly an experience that you must add to your bucket list!

Our first glimpse of the Great Pyramids of Giza made it all worth it. One of the seven wonders of the ancient world and we could definitely understand why. Their purpose, a giant tombstone, was not outstanding, but the architecture behind them was incredible. Just imagining moving the huge blocks of stone to build them was mind boggling. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest of the seven wonders and remains largely intact. It is believed it took between 10 and 20 years to construct around 2560 BC. It stands approximately 454 feet high, covers over 13 acres, with over 2 ½ million blocks of limestone weighing anywhere between two and seventy tons, and was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. Surrounded by two smaller pyramids, they make for a very imposing skyline. Then add in the nearby Great Sphinx, and it truly is something to see and remember. The great Sphinx guarding everything brought all of the movies about ancient Egypt to life.

We met the rest of our group here and took many pictures. Surrounded by very eager locals to sell gifts to tourists was a challenge, but my guide watched over me like a hawk so I just got to enjoy the sites without the least amount of hassle.

Driving from Giza into Cairo we crossed over the Nile River – the longest river in the world at 4,130 miles long. It flows through 10 countries and it was a wonder to see it and remember all of the history surrounding it. I could just imagine Cleopatra, “Queen of the Nile,” sailing here.

I hope you enjoy the pictures, and in my next post we will go to the Egypt Museum and the King Tut treasures.

 

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