Is Israel Safe? Here’s The Real Story . . .

Frightened employee hiding under the desk - studio shoot

Is Irrational Fear Stealing Your Dreams?

The news cycle spins again and again. Running out of fresh video content, networks loop the same sensationalistic clips on a never-ending cycle.

Their plan?

To grab your attention long enough until they can sell you fabric softener during the next TV commercial.

There is no doubt that you’ll find crime almost anywhere if you search for it long enough.

But when things are exaggerated it’s does no one any good.

While some people are afraid of going to Israel and other Lands of the Bible, these are irrational fears.

If you want to be afraid to travel somewhere, you should certainly avoid the USA. From terrorist attacks to mass shootings to high crime rates, America is a far more dangerous place to be.

Just look at these crime statistics from NationMaster:

  • Crime levels in the USA are twice as high as Israel.
  • Drug use (opiates) in the USA are 90% more than Israel
  • Violent Murder rate in the USA is eighty-two times higher than Israel
  • Violent crime in the USA is more than twelve times higher than Israel
  • Violent Crime (Rapes) in the USA are more than 68 times higher than Israel
  • Robberies in the USA are more than 4 times higher than Israel
  • Fear of crime in the USA is more than 77% higher than Israel
  • Murders committed by youth in the USA are more than 633 times higher than Israel

Still, every year people pile in by the millions to one of the most dangerous developed countries in the world – the USA.

(For our Canadian readers: Canada’s crime statistics are similar to Israel, aside from Canada’s murder rate, which is 3 times higher than in Israel)

How about Middle East tensions? Travel writer and blogger, John Nicholson says it well:

“While we in the United States have only had marginal success developing our own missile defense systems dating back to the days of the Star Wars initiatives under President Reagan, Israel has implemented a system of both tight border and air security that allows Israelis to now go about their daily lives under a blanket of relative calm, stability, and security. For tourists to Israel, this means that visiting the country and even traveling around within it is completely safe, despite the occasional incident or flare up that makes the news back home.”

Is the USA safe? Yes, if you use wisdom, keep your eyes open and stay away from the rougher parts of town. Is Israel safer than the USA? Yes, without a doubt. The statistics prove it.

How sad it is when sensationalistic news reports and unfounded fears keep people back from experiencing one of the highlights of their lives; a life-changing journey to the Lands of the Bible.

Has CNN caused you to cower in a corner? Are you setting aside a life-long spiritual dream because of irrational fears?

Maybe it’s time to live life to the full again. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10 NIV

A fullness of life and a prison of fear cannot co-exist. It’s time to swing wide those prison doors!

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

 

What Does The Desert Mean To You? Lessons From The Holy Land.

Watch this short video on the meaning of the desert in the Bible as well as to each of us today:

NOTE: We will not only be visiting Masada on our Break Forth Israel & Jordan NEXT Level 2016 tour, we’ll also take 4 X 4s into the heart of the Ramon Crater to celebrate communion, hear a word from Hans on the meaning of the desert in our lives and spend some time in solitude. Want to join us? Learn more here.

How To Share Your Faith with Muslims When You Travel

If you spend every day watching the news your view of Muslims would be very skewed. In this world of extremists it’s easy to forget that most Muslims are peace-loving people???????????.

However, they still need to hear the Good News of the Gospel as everyone does.

When you desire to share your Christian faith when travelling in the lands of the Bible, this calls for a delicate balance.  You will interact with Muslim bus drivers, shopkeepers, tour guides and various other people in countries that are almost entirely Islamic, such as Turkey and Jordan.

On one hand, we always want to show the love of Jesus to everyone, including those we differ with politically and spiritually. On the other hand, showing Christ’s love does not mean that we should willingly succumb to any schemes to sell us exorbitantly priced carpets or phony tours at elevated fares.

That said, the loving witness of Christ-followers in the Middle East could have a strong impact on the many Muslims with whom they interact. Read a bit about Islam before traveling to the Middle East, and remember these points about Muslims:

  • Very few choose to become Muslims. They were born into the faith and had no choice. Their families have been Muslim for 1400 years, in some cases. You should never feel negatively about their “lostness.” They were born lost and often do not know a single Christian person.
  • To leave Islam would mean to betray family, faith and possibly country (as in Turkey’s case). That’s why most Muslims who come to Jesus do so after years of patient conversations with Jesus. That doesn’t mean that you can’t plant a seed.
  • If it comes naturally to you, give praise to Jesus for a given blessing. Muslims praise Allah constantly for good circumstances; giving the praise to Jesus specifically will catch a Muslim’s ear.
  • Muslims assume that all tourists from North America are Christians. Of course, we know this isn’t true. Your Christ-like behaviour will show them what a true Christian is like.
  • Asking questions of Muslims can be a great way to learn more about Islam and plant a seed of the Gospel.
  • Ask how devout they are and what pillars of the faith they practice.
  • Ask them what they think of Christians and Christianity. You might get an answer that is loaded with political weight. That can be your chance to inform him/her about what true belief is, that not everyone in North America is a believer and that the government does not claim to be Christian, either. This is hard for a Muslim from an Islamic country to understand, for instance. His government is openly and adamantly Islamic.

Jama Masjid Mosque, old Delhi, India.In summary, you should not be shy about talking about your faith. Muslims are often very open to talking about their beliefs and do not mind a bit of interaction with Christians. Still, you don’t want to get bogged down in a huge debate that can quickly turn emotional. Choose gentleness and respect.

Be sure that you never imply an attack on Islam, Muhammad or the Koran.

Rather, emphasize the positives of your faith that a Muslim does not have, such as the assurance of salvation (a huge difference between these two faiths), and the heart change possible through the work of the Holy Spirit. The honest Muslim will admit that even the most fervent religious practice does not change his/her heart.

Sharing your testimony of God’s loving and transformative work in your life is always a powerful witness.

See your role as planting a seed in a Muslim’s heart that God can water through his/her interactions with other Christians, dreams (a common way that Muslims come to Jesus) and other contacts.Break Forth Revelation

For more information on the world of Islam and current political developments in it, click here.


We will be visiting Turkey and Greece during our new tour, Break Forth Revelation 2015. Turkey is predominantly a Muslim nation. You will have a wonderful opportunity to interact with and share your faith with many warm and open-hearted Muslims on this trip.

You can receive a free brochure on Break Forth Revelation by clicking here.

Watch Our Short Break Forth Revelation 2015 Intro Video Below:

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Packing Light

Exhausted young woman packing luggageNOTE: This devotional is from our free book, ‘The Christian Pilgrim’s Insider’s Guide: Tips For The Ultimate Journey To Lands Of The Bible. Just click on the right to get your free copy today. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11: 28 – 30 NIV

It’s the one hour packing scramble before you have to head to the airport. Your stomach is doing flip-flops. You start talking to yourself,  “Just one more shoe! Oh no! Where are my power adaptors? I weighed my suitcase; it’s only 5 pounds overweight. Maybe if I stuff my pants, shirt and coat pockets I can drop it to the limit. What am I going to do now? I don’t have any room for souvenirs!” 

This is the experience of many pilgrims, as they frantically get ready to head to the Holy Land. People drag their suitcases to the check-in lane, straining under the pressure like belts after a Thanksgiving dinner.

It can be a challenge to pack for the Holy Land because of all the microclimates. One day you’re slathered in sunscreen in Qumran and the next day you’re quivering in your woolies as sleet slaps you in Jerusalem.

Maybe your suitcase will still be heavy but before you enter the Holy Land consider allowing your heart to pack light. For the sake of receiving all that God has for you on your pilgrimage, why don’t you let go of the extra baggage before you step on the plane?

God never intended you to be weighted down with a burden of bitterness, the heaviness of a hard heart, or a load of a legalism.

When Jesus hung on the cross, suspended between heaven and earth, His voice lifted your load as He proclaimed the words for all time and eternity, “It is finished!” When he burst forth from the grave with the power of the One who spoke the earth into existence He swept away the weight that you were never intended to carry.

Any baggage you may be holding is not even yours. Jesus paid for it. He owns it. Don’t hold onto it and longer. It isn’t yours. Give it to Him.  You’ll find that you are far more open to receive all that God has in store for you in the Holy Land when you’re not hauling that baggage and when your hands are ready to receive.

Prayer: Dear God, I have held onto so many things that aren’t even mine to carry. I want a lighter load. I want to be free to receive all that you have for me on my pilgrimage. I give you my bitterness, my shame, my legalism, my anger, my disappointment, my fears and my broken dreams. They are yours and I surrender them anew. Thank you God for carrying these for me so willingly. Thank you for helping me to travel light. In Jesus name, Amen.