What’s Your Motive? [Podcast]

Mark 9:30-50

Trying to figure out someone’s reasons for what they do is tough business.

Often we think we know, but more often, we’re guessing. Trying to figure out our own motives isn’t much easier.

Of course, as Christians, we want to do all we do for the glory of God. That’s great. But our walk with God can come to a standstill when (in truth) we chase our own interests in the name of Jesus.

In this episode of the podcast, Live the Bible, Jesus teaches His disciples (and us) that our Christian life is not about personal ambition, but it’s about something far more satisfying.

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How to Deal with Overwhelming Odds through Your Powerful God

Michmash shows us the power of God in our lives.

When the Bible includes geographical references, they appear as more than throwaway statements. Often they play a vital role in our understanding and application of the Bible.

Michmash—Overwhelming Odds and Your Powerful God

(Photo: Cliffs near Michmash and Geba. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

For example, geography bears importance as to how Jonathan and his armor-bearer—only two men—could help rout the entire Philistine army.

The geographic descriptions given in 1 Samuel 14:4-5 describe two steep crags on either side of a great ravine separating Geba on the south from Michmash on the north. Here Jonathan and his armor bearer scaled the crags for a surprise attack on the Philistine garrison at Michmash.

Because geography does not change, these natural elements remain for us to easily imagine the story.

As well as its application.

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What’s for Now, What’s for Later [Podcast]

Mark 8:34-9:13

Have you seen the carrot and stick routine? It’s how you get a mule to keep moving by dangling a carrot two inches from his face. Always moving but never getting there. Sounds like us sometimes, doesn’t it?

We chase our dream of what we’d like life to be (now), but it so often never comes. Why is that?

In this episode of Live the Bible, Jesus helps His disciples make sense of what they’re chasing. He gives them a literal mountaintop experience to remind them what’s for now and what’s for later. We need that same reminder right where we are today.

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How to Keep Going When You Can’t Keep Going

Remember that any victory presupposes a struggle in your life.

You’re not stuck. If God has you in a place where your gifts are not fully utilized, or if you feel set aside in God’s grand plan, or if those around you have marginalized you, trivialized you, or flat-out rejected you, I understand how tough that is.

Mount of Beatitudes hillside

(Photo: Mount of Beatitudes hillside. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

But you’re not stuck. God isn’t done with you.

The victorious Christian life is not a life without struggle or pain. (If so, Jesus missed it.) Remember that victory presupposes a battle.

Here’s how to keep going.

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Taking Your Walk with God to the Next Level [Podcast]

Mark 8:1-33

There is always a next step in our relationship with God. But how do we know what next step to take?

In this episode of the new podcast, Live the Bible, we see that Jesus reveals that no matter how well we know Him, He still has much to teach us about Himself. He shows us what it takes to take the next step.

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Why God Makes You Go The Long Way

His mysterious leading proves wiser than our impatient pleas for progress.

Sometimes God takes you the long way in life. That’s hard, because the direct route makes so much more sense. We’re all about efficiency. But God has a different destination in mind.

What to Watch Out for When You Enter the Promised Land

(Photo: Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The nation of Israel began their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land by promptly turning away from it.

Rather than take the shorter, coastal route to Canaan, God directed Israel southeast toward the Red Sea. The direct route led through the land of the Philistines, and while God could have simply destroyed the enemy (as He would at the Red Sea), His concern lay more with the unprepared and fearful hearts of His people (Exod. 13:17-18).

So God took them the long way. And it seemed pointless. But was it?

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How to Avoid the Dangers of Hypocrisy [Podcast]

Mark 7:1-23

Why do you do what you do? Our motives are the fuel in our tanks. That’s why, when some in Jesus’ day did things with false motives, He warned them of the dangers of hypocrisy.

In this episode of Live the Bible, we’ll look at two questions that can help us avoid the dangers of hypocrisy in our personal lives— and help us have motives that honor God.

How will you answer?

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Why You Never Need to Settle for Second Best with God

What God wants to give us is always far better than what we want Him to give us.

A friend of mine told me: “The only thing harder than waiting on God is wishing you had.” When our desires go unmet for a long time, it’s tempting to settle for second best and call it God’s will. That’s what the people of Reuben and Gad did.

Never Settle for Second Best with God

(Photo: Land of Gilead, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The tribes of Reuben and Gad had huge herds, and the land of Gilead and Jazer had lush pastures. So they said to Moses:

Let this land be given to your servants as a possession; do not take us across the Jordan. —Numbers 32:5

They settled east of the Jordan River instead of crossing over into what God had promised.

Their choice shows us why we should never settle for second best with God.

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The Best Way to Live Your Impossible Life [Podcast]

Mark 6:30-56

Your Christian life isn’t hard. It’s impossible. So impossible, in fact, you cannot do it on your own. But that’s okay. In this episode of the Live the Bible podcast, we see Jesus gave His disciples some impossible commands, and then taught them (and us) how to do them with His help.

One of the miracles Jesus performs is the only miracle included in all four gospels, except for the resurrection. Its application for us is that important.

God’s greatest work in your life is not what He does through you— but what He does in you.

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Praying for Rain in Your Searing Life

How the land of Israel offers encouragement to our parched lives.

Summer. August. Texas. Stir those together and you get blistering days, muggy mornings, and sizzling evenings like a heat lamp over cheap pizza. But Wednesday morning, something amazing occurred.

Wilderness of Paran

(Photo: Wilderness of Paran. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The forecast showed no rain at all. None. So I prayed something crazy. I told the Lord I knew He could make it rain in a Texas August with zero chance of rain. If He was willing, He could do it. I asked Him to make it rain.

The next day thunder clouds rolled in, and Wednesday morning it rained—more than an inch. Happy trees. Happy grass. Happy house foundation. Happy lakes. Happy water companies. Happy me. But for more than the water.

I thought of the parched lives we lead and how the land of Israel offers encouragement.

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