3 Truths You May Have Missed about Struggle in the Christian Life

How to release the life you want for the one God wants to give you

We had no idea what following Jesus would require. Oh, we thought we knew. We had great ideas. The disciples had the same hopes one day in Capernaum. It didn’t include struggle in the Christian life.

3 Truths You May Have Missed About Struggle in the Christian Life

(Photo: Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

That day in Capernaum, Jesus set straight some people who intended to make Him king by force, and He spoke some hard words. Afterwards, many no longer followed Him.

Jesus then turned to His disciples with a question.

It’s also a question for us. 

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How to Apply those Bible Verses that No Longer Apply

A Timeless Truth Hides Behind Every Oddball Command

If we’re honest, reading the Bible sometimes seems like reading a TV Guide from 1975. Amusing and nostalgic, sure—but out-of-date. It seems better fitting in a museum. So why apply the Bible?

Gospel of Luke 7.12-22, fragment

(Photo: Gospel of Luke 7.12-22, fragment. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

After all, any book that commands us not to eat shellfish or to refrain from mowing the yard on Saturday seems archaic. No wonder the world reads the Bible with a shrug. 

But it’s too easy to pigeonhole the Scriptures as irrelevant just because its principles often hide in the context of yesteryear. Behind every oddball command sits a timeless principle that helps us apply the Bible today.

Our challenge? How to find it.

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Why God Will Lead You Unwanted Places

The Holy Land helps us discover the joy of surrendering to God

God will lead you places you would never choose. Unwanted places. Because the Lord is greater than we can imagine, it makes sense He wants for us more than we ever dreamed. The Holy Land proved it so. 

Why God Will Lead You Unwanted Places

(Photo: Sunset over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

God wants you to trust Him, and you’d like to do so. He wants you to glorify Him, to know Him, and so do you. But really, you often want to trust God only when you understand Him. Too often, that desire to know the Lord slices His list of attributes in half.

When you and I settle for anything less than all of God, we also settle for less than all we can become.

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Are Your Big Dreams as Big as Your God?

Paul's letter to Rome challenges your dreams to match God's desires for you.

Life gets fueled on dreams. Without big dreams or a purpose, we wither and die. As Christians, we have more to do than get up, work hard, and come home for a few hours of TV—only to rise and begin again.

Are Your Big Dreams as Big as Your God?

(Photo: Paul’s letter came to Rome. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

If that’s all we do, we will wake up one day and realize life has amounted to a stack of paychecks and a few laughs.

God wants more for us than that.

Paul’s letter to the Romans models how your dreams can be as big as your God. 

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Tel Dan Stele—Providential Ironies in Favor of King David (And You)

How a stone inscription offers encouragement to your spiritual life.

Sometimes archaeology gives us a gift. The ancient site of Tel Dan in Israel has a large, rock wall—a city gate from the time of Solomon’s temple. There archaeologists unearthed the Tel Dan Stele —a marvelous vindication to biblical history.

Tel Dan Iron Age gate near where the stele was discovered

(Photo: Tel Dan Iron Age gate near where the stele was discovered. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In the courtyard of Tel Dan’s gate complex, a large engraved stone—an ancient basalt stele— gave hard evidence that King David was no King Arthur legend of Hebrew history.

It also offers encouragement to your spiritual life. Here’s how.

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Land O Goshen! Why it Seems Like the Wheels are Coming Off

Hope for the day when God will again draw the line.

The curious phrase: “Land O Goshen!” is a way folks in the southern US expressed amazement or angst. As we look at today’s world, the biblical land of Goshen gives us good reason for amazement and frustration.

Land O Goshen in Eastern Nile Delta

(Photo: Land of Goshen in Eastern Nile Delta. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

As Christians in a fallen world, it’s easy to feel like the wheels are coming off of God’s plan. After all:

  • Morality is optional.
  • Truth is relative.
  • Disease runs rampant.
  • Power is abused.

And (here’s the rub) God stands by and allows it all.

But the land of Goshen offers us hope. 

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Valley of Achor: How to Change Your Trouble to Triumph

Why You Should Never Give up if You're in a Hopeless Place

Some places in life have hard memories. Maybe it was your hometown or even your home. The events associated with those places taint their memories. The Valley of Achor was such a site.

Valley of Achor: How to Change Your Trouble to Triumph

(Photo: The Wadi Qilt, perhaps the Valley of Achor. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

After Joshua’s victory at Jericho, the Israelites suffered defeat at Ai because a man named Achan had buried banned spoils of war under his tent (Joshua 7:1, 21). Following this event, the Valley of Achor served as a reminder of failure, of setback, and of defeat.

But God would change the place from a site of trouble to a place of triumph.

He can do the same for you.

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The Secret to Revealing the Lies of Temptation

Learning from Jesus at the Pinnacle of the Temple

Temptation is hard. That’s because the lies of temptation sound so convincing. When Jesus stood on the pinnacle of the Temple, He faced temptation with a wisdom we also can apply.

Temple Mount southwestern corner - The Secret to Revealing the Lies of Temptation

(Photo: Temple Mount southwestern corner. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Some believe the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem represents the pinnacle where Satan dangled temptation before Jesus (Luke 4:9). Satan is the best marketer in the sin business. 

A recent phone call reminded me of this. 

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Your Truth, My Truth, and The Truth

Why it all boils down to one question.

Are you pretty good at discerning right and wrong? It takes authority to figure that out. We all live under authority. Whether a government or an employer, a parent or a policeman, rules rule over us and disobedience has its consequences. It’s the truth. 

Your Truth, My Truth, and The Truth

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

We may endure it and submit to it, because we feel we have to. Or because it’s easier than the alternatives—like, say, defecting to Canada or changing churches or jobs or families. We deal with it, live with it, and gripe about it.

We all have authority over us, and their rules may be right or wrong. But who is the authority’s authority? 

It all boils down to one question.

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Why Forgiving Someone is Hard and How to Really Do It

2 truths remain essential if we hope to move on.

Would you like to hold a grudge with God’s blessing? Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly how much of the same guff you had to take from someone until you no longer had to forgive?

Why Forgiving Someone is Hard and How to Do It

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

The problem with forgiving is that the debt is real.

  • Your parents neglected or even abused you.
  • Your spouse betrayed your wedding vows.
  • Your best friends backstabbed you.
  • Someone hurt you so deeply you feel you may never recover.

The debt is real. And in order to forgive, you must give even more than has already been taken. And this is hard. Very, very hard. But if we want God to forgive us, it’s essential.

The good news? Scripture shows us how.

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