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We view the Bible as our daily problem solver. We turn to the Bible for inspiration, insight, comfort, guidance, and answers to troubling challenges in our world.

Sally Johnston, Guest, shares how her tour of the Holy Land helped remind her to put God in the center of her life.

I had an opportunity to go to Israel. Many people have said that Jerusalem is the holiest city on earth. It's the birth and center of the three major religions -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It's been sad to me that we can't share this place in peace because of its history. Now, after visiting it, I understand why it's such a unique and holy city.

The fact is that we are all brothers and sisters. The foundation of Christianity is Judaism. That was the foundation of Jesus. So if we are Christians, Judaism is our foundation, too. I think we have to go back to our foundation, respect it, love it, and embrace it. Christians tend to forget that Jesus was a Jew -- a good Jew with a powerful and transforming message.

My visit to the Holy Land was not a typical tourist experience. I was there for the unique experience of making recordings of an orthodox Rabbi telling stories of the Old Testament. Because of this, we were included in family and religious customs, which made our time very rich and rewarding.

We go through our lives trying to fit God and prayer into our day. What I saw in Jerusalem is how they build their lives around God and prayer. This is a mental shift. I may not understand all the customs, but the simple fact that they choose to do certain things because they feel doing so brings them closer to God made a huge impact on me. I highly respect their thinking and discipline. If I could do this -- center my thoughts and actions around God -- this would bring me closer to God, wouldn't it?

So I started thinking about my life. Do I pray before I eat, and would I be closer to God if I did? If every time I washed my hands I thought about God, would I be closer to God? How would my life change if I thought of God every time I walked through my front door? If I realized that I'm at one with God, that God is Love each time I walked into the kitchen, my thought would be more God-focused.

I experienced the Sabbath with my host family, which was amazing. Just think how life on the whole would change if we took 24 hours out of the week to devote to God. We'd start it by attending church and then have dinner with our families, beginning with prayer. We would turn off our cell phones, computers, TV, I-pod. We wouldn't cook or work. We would take a walk, talk, or simply be with our families. Family is everything in Jerusalem. The people really prove it. We also had the opportunity to go to a wedding, which was so much fun. I came back with a very high respect for their devotion to family.

As a wonderful side note, one of my daughters had always loved spirituality, but had not really taken to the Bible, even though it was a part of her upbringing. Our Rabbi friend, whom we had met previously in the States and with whom we stayed in Jerusalem, told Biblical stories in such a way that another whole world was opened up to her. The Bible came alive to her, and she began to love the Bible. That to me as a mother was huge. Her new-found love of the Bible was one of the main reasons we went to Jerusalem.

I believe that whatever problem we face has an answer in the Old or New Testament. .


-- Sally Johnston, FLA

  Read about Sally's Volunteer Work in Africa – Love Knows No Borders
  Find out how Sally and other women changed the life of another women in
     their AIDS support group

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