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08.03.2014
Doha, Qatar, makes its opening salvo as the next big travel thing, looking to prove that big bankrolls for education, science and art can bring forth many happy returns. One of the locals I got to know during my visit to Qatar was Abdul, a big, jovial man who drove my photographer and me over 60-meter-tall sand dunes at up to 50 miles an hour.
The desert safari, also called dune-bashing, is the most popular tourist attraction in the state of Qatar, a peninsula the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island that borders Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and juts into the Persian Gulf. For sure, Qatar has pockets deeper than most Americans can imagine, thanks to its huge reserves of natural gas.
Abdul talked with admiration about change in Doha and the emira€™s master plan for development. The Corniche, a 4-mile-long promenade along the Persian Gulf (known in Qatar as the Arabian Gulf), is a popular stretch for walking and seeing dhows (wooden boats traditionally used for fishing and pearling and today used for day trips and evening cruises). If you want to get out of the city, pack a picnic basket with goodies from the souk and have your driver take you up the coast about 50 kilometers to Al-Khor. On the ride back, I fell asleepa€”the heat of the desert and trudging through the sand had exhausted me. The W Doha Hotel and Residences (with a Bliss Spa), the Hilton Doha, the Renaissance Doha and the Courtyard by Marriott Doha will all open next year, followed by the Four Pointe by Sheraton Doha in 2009 and the St.
It is within the confusion, struggle and chaos of these voices (every daya€¦ or even moment by moment), clamoring around us, pressing us, demeaning us, cajoling us and condemning us, that we barely hear another Voice quietly speaking in the depths of our spirit. All of us have felt this tension and sadness of struggles in ourselves and with the world around us.
Our life is not one which just includes a routine of living our life, going to work, having hobbies, getting some things, finding some friends, getting married, having kids, retiring and dying.
Only Three Possibilities of lifea€¦any it may be in our understanding of where we came from that gives us meaning in life, or takes that meaning away (as noted by Francis Schaefer). Nothing made us a€“ we are fools made by enormous mistakes with no purpose whatsoever except selfishness, death and annihilation. A Personal Creator made us, knows all about us, loves us, redeems us from sin, and has an eternal plan for us!
Choose what is most comforting to your mind given the fact that we are inexplicably alive, thinking, reasoning people who eat organic food to live longer, make fantastic computers, build Hubble telescopes, and send astronauts into space (but have no ability ourselves to create life or life-sustaining planetsa€¦in our home galaxy - the Milky Way). God, the Creator of heaven and earth, looks at His Children with loving Parenta€™s Eyes, according to the most revered, most published, and most affirmed Book in the history of the world a€“ the Bible. Those who, in faith, accept the reality of Goda€™s Voice and apply its blessing to their lives, by the Power of the Holy Spirit, will find a peace that passes understanding. Those who continue to listen to and believe the chaotic, confusing and demeaning voices of the world, flesh and devil surrounding them, will find themselves caught up and ever drawn toward the destructive vortex of the sinister tornado of spiritual deception and death that entangles and destroys the souls on the wide road of life, leading to destruction.
Today we are looking at three ways that God sees us as His Childrena€¦it may give us a different way of seeing ourselves even though there can be overwhelming pressure in the loud din of the world, flesh and devil surrounding us! When we look at the Bible and see pictures of who we are as Believers in Jesus Christ, in Goda€™s Eyes, it might be hard to perceive this spiritual dimension clearly. 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
I recently found this article in the news about the problems of certifying onea€™s Jewish heritage in Israel.
The ultra-orthodox coalition is lobbying for the bill to only authorize the top ultra-orthodox rabbis to authenticate who is Jewish and who is not. How would you like it if only the pastors of a church or executive leaders of a denomination decided if you were a true Christian or not?
Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul had to deal with in a legalistic Jewish system when they were on the earth. The Scriptures declare that becoming a Christian is by grace through faith alone a€¦not of doing certain things, or not doing certain things a€“ a€?worksa€? we call it a€“ lest we proudly boast about what we have done to prove the certainty of our salvation! The book of James clearly asserts that good works reveal, or affirm Goda€™s grace and saving faith, but are not the cause of salvation! God looks on those who believe in Jesus Christ as Aliens in this World, but Fellow Citizens with Goda€™s Saints from the foundation of the world. God gives those who believe on and receive Christ for the remission of sins, the right to become Children of God a€“ God looks on us as His Children. 10 He (Jesus) was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. God looks on us as those for whom He has prepared a place and who will receive His inheritance.


15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, a€?Abba! 29 And if you are Christa€™s, then you are Abrahama€™s offspring, heirs according to promise. 5 he (God) saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someonea€™s own interpretation.
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.
We will be approved by God and unashamed as His servants, if we honorably know and respond to His Word. 14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Being Student of the Word of Life, the Bible, means that what we follow is not always the latest fad. If we are going to know what the Bible says about our daily life, we must find out what the Bible teaches about God and how we should live.
Since God looks on us as His Children, Fellow Citizens with His Saints throughout the history of the world, and since He has promised to give His Children their Eternal Inheritance, we should be Students of His Word, honorable to Him, following the truth of His Word, seeking the leading of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives, and reaching out to bring others who do not know Him, into the eternal blessing of His Kingdom! Accessorizing Abdula€™s thobe (the traditional ankle-length white shirt) were a diamond-encircled watch and sparkly cufflinks that could only be described as bling in the United States. Ita€™s not a safari in the typical sense of the word (although one can see the occasional fox or camel), but ita€™s the best way to see the natural side of a country that is, essentially, one big desert.
This little Islamic state, just 36 years old, is ruled by an emir and has a per-capita income of nearly $62,000, one of the highest in the world.
English is universal, and the exchange rate of the currency, the Qatari riyal, is fixed to the U.S. Begin at the souks, the traditional markets in narrow alleys where you can bargain for anything from spices and shawls to water pipes and swords. The warm Gulf is ideal for all kinds of water sports: fishing, diving, water skiing and sailing. The coastal town used to be known for its pearl fishing, but today, ita€™s popular with Qataris as a peaceful respite from Doha. The park, about an hour from Doha, is an uninhabited island on the northern coast of Qatar; visitors can see mangrove forests and wildlife, including flamingos, lizards, crabs, birds and nesting turtles. Soon we stopped, and Abdul pointed out where we were on his GPS, on the bottom tip of Qatar.
Weigh down a plate from a spectacular spread of Qatari and Lebanese dishes like hummus, tabouli, baba ghanoush, grilled vegetables and manakish (small breads filled with cheese or meat), and still have a spread of meat, fish (hamour is the local cod) and stews to tackle, followed by desserts and tea. You can order beer and wine at hotels, unlike at the local joints, but thata€™s no reason not to venture out of your inn.
The menu is huge, and you cana€™t go wrong with chicken shawarma, followed by puffing on an apple-flavored shisha (a water pipe, also called a€?hubbly-bubblya€?). SUVs speed around ubiquitous roundabouts, taxis weave, and ita€™s not unusual to see impatient drivers climb curbs to circumvent obstacles.
While hiring a driver may seem excessive for those coming from the United States, it is customary in Qatar for residents and visitors alike. Friday and Saturday make up the weekend, and on Fridaya€”the holy day for Muslimsa€”most businesses are closed.
The rustic Six Senses Spaa€”the largest in the Middle Easta€”has separate entrances and lounges for women, a prayer room, meditation room and a signature treatment that includes a four-handed massage. The Spa and Wellness Center has a private spa suite for two, a hydrotherapy lounge and a therapeutic ice chamber in the locker room. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Father!a€? 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirsa€”heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.


2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. He wore a gurta (long headdress) and white sandals, drove a 2007 white Nissan Patrol and played a€™80s pop music on the radio. Hearsay, no doubt, but the more time I spent in the capital city, the less unfathomable the comments seemed. Instead, Doha sets itself apart from its Middle Eastern neighbors by investing heavily in education, science, sports and art, and hoping that when the construction is complete, tourists will come.
Out of a Qatari population of 907,200, foreigners comprise a significant chunk of the work force, which makes the population wonderfully diverse. The largest and most popular is Souk Waqif (off Grand Hammad Street), but the gold souk, the fruit and vegetable souk and the camel souk (where locals buy camels for wedding ceremonies or for meat) are also worth a visit.
Both Gulf Adventures and Arabian Adventures, in addition to offering desert safaris and water excursions, have good tours of the city (which usually include the Corniche and the markets, among other attractions) and trips to the camel race track and oryx farm. Al Jazeera, the governmenta€“owned television network, is headquartered in Doha, and visitors can set up private tours of both the Arabic and English stations, with their impressive state-of-the-art studios and robotic cameras. If you go, stay a€™til darka€”locals say ita€™s worth the trip to Umm Tais just to see the magnificent sunsets over the park.
I wondered how much it would be altered in the next year or five years, and I felt grateful that some thingsa€”like the vast, magical desert and the sparkling Persian Gulfa€”would never change.
A local explained that if you go to a Qataria€™s home, he will present a table overflowing with fooda€”the best and the most he can offer. They will stop anywhere (ideal if you want to tour the city and stop at a museum, a market, a restaurant and a coffee shop). While Qatar is known to be more accepting of Western dress than other Muslim countries, visitors should still err on the side of conservative attire. The royal villa, called Beit Al Shoukh, can be reserved for just under $28,000 per night and includes an airport pick-up in a Rolls Royce, five butlers, a chef and a driver upon request.
17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 2 Beloved, we are Goda€™s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. A small bottle of cologne sat in the drivera€™s-side door pocket, yellow prayer beads hung from the grab bar, and A-B-D-U-L was spelled out in silver bubble-letter stickers below the dash. I met a Kenyan spa director, a Sri Lankan driver, an Egyptian concierge, a Canadian public relations associate, a South African technology consultant, a British masseuse and an American emergency medicine specialist, who told me hea€™s earning six times what he did in the States. We continued our drive and eventually saw the giant Inland Sea, so blue and unexpected it could have been a mirage. And I hoped there would always be spirited Qataris like Abdul who love to show off their country. The second floor feels like a cafeteria with its fluorescent lighting, but the food is delicious, as are the fresh juices. You can hire drivers for about QR60 ($16.50) an hour, and it will save you a lot of time and frustration trying to hail a taxi. In general, dona€™t take pictures of the airport, security officers or women in traditional dress. The glowing sun was setting behind the dunes, so we headed back to the paved road, inflated our tires and drove north to Doha.
Ita€™s OK to bust out the bikini on the beach, but on your way to and from the surf, cover up that itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. The airline, half owned by the government, last year unveiled its $90 million premium terminal at the existing airporta€”complete with spa, martini bar and 24-hour medical clinic. You wona€™t find a historic district or cultural center as you might in European capitals, because development and modern business have trumped all, often at the expense of older structures.



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