The Walls of Jerusalem through the Centuries—a Timeline

I’ve heard it said, “If you want to understand the history of Israel, then learn the history of Jerusalem.” Many books depict the expansion and contraction of the walls of Jerusalem, but I thought a timeline might illustrate it well.

Click to continue reading »

Expect God to Test Your Vision

I sit still with my face in a brace, wide-eyed and waiting for that imminent blast of air in my eyeball. “Now don’t blink,” the optometrist says. POW! I know it’s coming, but my whole body still jerks. I feel like an idiot.

Sit still, please.

(Photo: Design Pics, via Vivozoom)

Then we do it again with the other eye.

This unpleasant procedure has to happen each year. Without it, my vision isn’t all it can be.

The Lord does a similar thing with the vision He gives us in the Bible. We think we see it clearly until a blast in the eyeball jerks our whole frame of reference.

Click to continue reading »

The Jesus Boat—A Nof Ginosar Abandoned Ship Resurfaces

One man told his brother, “The Sea of Galilee will give us a treasure one day.” Turns out, he was right. In 1986, Yuval and Moshe Lufan, two sons of a fisherman in Kibbutz Ginosar, were walking the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

First-century boat discovered

(Photo: Yuval and Moshe Lufan beside the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Jesus Boat)

The drought that year dropped the level of the lake lower than the men had seen in years. One brother noticed something odd protruding from the mud.

It was an ancient nail. As he poked around with his finger, he found another one. Then another. More digging unearthed pieces of ancient wood.

While they didn’t realize it at the moment, they had discovered a fishing boat that dated to the time of Jesus.

Click to continue reading »

Hurling the Sin We’ve Swallowed

I went to a movie with a friend, and he gorged on popcorn, cokes, and candy. As the movie was about to end, he leaned over and whispered: “I don’t feel good. I’ll wait for you in the back.” As I walked out, I saw him holding his stomach and twisting his face.

Hurling the sin we're swallowed

(Photo: Design Pics, via Vivozoom)

“You want me to drive?” I offered.

“No, no, I’ll be okay,” he said.

On the way home, he slammed on the brakes, opened his door, and hurled in the street.

“You sure you don’t want me to drive?” I asked again.

“No, no,” he said, breathing heavy. “I—I feel better now.”

We drove another hundred yards, and he slammed the brakes on again! (The seat belt began to hurt my shoulder.)

Later he told me after he got home he spent some time in the bathroom. I can imagine that point in his ordeal—as he leaned over the commode and begin to experience the candy and popcorn for the second time—that he asked himself: Why in the world did I ever eat this?! Talk about regret!

I can think of no better illustration of sin and temptation in our lives than this true story.

In fact, that’s what happened to a man named Lot.

Click to continue reading »

6 Christian Sites in Rome You Should Know About

Rome is famous for the standard tourists sites. The Trevi Fountain, the Forum, Piazza Navona, the Colosseum, the Pantheon—and many other historic places lay alongside modern streets and buildings.

Arch of Constantine

(Photo: The Arch of Constantine in Rome)

But I’d like to show you 6 Christian sites, those sites relevant to believers, including one place that isn’t even on the map.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans of his plans to see them:

I have had for many years a longing to come to you whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while (Romans 15:23-24).

To be sure, Paul would go to Rome—but not like he thought he would.

Click to continue reading »

Running a Marathon All Your Life

I ran my first marathon years ago. I call it my first, because that sounds better than calling it my last. But both are true.

At mile 26 in the run, I learned something I had never known before: a marathon is not 26 miles. Don’t believe it when people tell you that. It’s a bald-faced lie.

Running a marathon all your life

(Photo: Jon Rawlinson, The Long Road Ahead, via Wikimedia Commons)

As I stammered past the 26th mile marker, there was no finish line! I discovered—to my surprise—a marathon is 26.2 miles.

I learned some valuable lessons from that decimal point—as well as from all the running I did to get ready for that crazy race.

Click to continue reading »

10 Free Christian E-Books for the Spiritual Life

And a few other resources for free e-books.

I’m always looking for a good source for free Christian e-books. A little searching yielded some great results I’ll share with you. If you have an iPad or Kindle or some other device (even a computer) that allows you to read e-books, you’ll want to take advantage of some great free titles.

ebooks offer great titles

(Photo: Andrea Sánchez, via Vivozoom)

Amazon now sells more e-books than physical books. The advantage is that many classic titles on the spiritual life or Christianity are available dirt cheap—and some for free.

Often with free e-books, you get what you pay for. But if you’re willing to sift through the haystack, you’ll find some gems.

I did some digging and I’ve provided links to some great free Christian e-books—as well as how to search for others.

Click to continue reading »

Waiting on God to Do Something

Sometimes it feels like God takes way too long. He could stop all the pain and confusion in a moment. He could meet the need. But He doesn’t.

Waiting on God

(Photo: hurricanehank, via Vivozoom)

Waiting on God is often confusing. He has operated this way for a long time.

When Mary and Martha of Bethany sent a message to Jesus that their brother Lazarus lay sick, Jesus stayed right where He was. When He finally did arrive, He found that Lazarus had been dead four days.

In other words, Jesus took His sweet time showing up.

Why does He do this?

Click to continue reading »