My Top 10 Posts of 2013

I always find it amazing that 3 out of every 4 visitors to my blog are brand new. The same was true last year. Most new readers come as a result of a Google search. Here’s why that’s significant.

My Top 10 Posts of 2013

(Photo by Photodune)

People are searching for what these posts talk about:

  • Relief from guilt and freedom from sin’s entrapments.
  • Practical connection of the Bible and its lands to life.
  • Getting the most out of a Holy Land tour.

Of the hundreds of posts on my blog, these are the top 10 for 2013. Let’s start with number 10 and work down to number 1.

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Cradle My Heart- Finding God's Love After Abortion

Cradle My Heart: Finding God’s Love After Abortion [Book Review] (Kregel Publications, 2012)

Cradle My Heart: Finding God’s Love After Abortion reaches its hands into the secret places of your heart—feeling around in the crags and cracks so deep, hidden, and dark you didn’t even know they’re there. But the probing creates a surprising result.

Healing.

Kim Ketola’s authentic voice and gifted pen guide readers through the difficult journey of an honest appraisal at what abortion causes—and more importantly—at what it doesn’t have to cause: lasting and debilitating guilt.

Kim interweaves her personal story with countless others—both biblical and modern—people who have found the relief that comes from no other place.

Your worst failure can be God’s greatest redemption. —Kim Ketola

The message of hope that flows from each chapter of Cradle My Heart is that God offers genuine hope and true healing. It’s there for the taking.

This book shows you how you can have it.

Tell me what you think: What has most helped you overcome a guilty heart? To leave a comment, just click here.

#001: Wisdom Isn’t Enough [Podcast]

1 Kings 3:5-13

God gave Solomon a reminder not to substitute wisdom or activity for a relationship with Him. Solomon’s priorities reveal a man with good intentions who forsook his own advice through compromise. Solomon literally wrote the book on wisdom but still blew it.

Why? Because wisdom isn’t enough. It also takes obedience.

Ramat Rahel stone manger with child

Thanks to Christmas cards and holiday movies, we usually think of Christ’s manger as a wooden crib with straw. But it wasn’t so.

Mangers were carved from stone, like the one above. Archaeologists have found mangers at a number of sites in Israel, such as Megiddo, Tekoa, and Ramat Rahel (above).

Tell me what you think: How did you picture the manger? To leave a comment, just click here.

Exploring Christian Theology: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times

Exploring Christian Theology (Bethany House Publishers, 2014)

Most theological texts seem to use doctrine as a sleep aid. Dull and dry, these books hide the truth behind the reader’s yawn.

How refreshing to read Exploring Christian Theology! With an appropriate balance of readability, clarity, and humor, Drs. Holsteen and Svigel have made the key doctrines of our Christian faith accessible—without compromising orthodoxy.

Truth should never leave us yawning. This book makes me want more.

Top 5 Gifts for Bible Lands Study

Most of us give Christmas gifts that are quickly forgotten. After the iPhone gets cracked, or the DVD gets watched, or the sweater gets snagged, they all end up at the landfill. This year, why not give a gift (or ask for one) that will last a lifetime?

Top 5 Gifts for Bible Lands and Bible Study

(Photo: by Carsten Tolkmit. Flickr. CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Bible Lands study tools make great gifts because they take your personal Bible study to the next level. What’s more, they don’t wear out.

Here are my top 5 recommendations this year for gifts you’ll enjoy giving (and receiving).

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You Can Read More Books than You Think

For many years, December showed up and I realized I had read very few books that year. This year, I thought I’d try to read more. I set a personal goal to read 50 books by December 31.

It was a crazy goal because I had “no time.” With a busy family, a full-time (plus) job, a demanding blogging and writing schedule, and lots of home projects on my plate, I held the goal loosely—but pursued it eagerly.

You Can Read More Books than You Think You Can

(Photo by Photodune)

Amazingly, this week I completed the goal. (If you’re interested, I’ve listed the 50 books at the end of this post.)

But more importantly, I want to show you how I tackled the goal in order to encourage you that you can read more than you think you can.

You really can.

I would also love for you to tell me how you read books and what books you enjoyed this year.

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5 Good Lessons from a Bad Example

Sometimes the best lessons come from the worst examples. Maybe you had a parent who disciplined out of anger. Or a pastor who wielded his Bible like a billy club. Or a boss who abused his or her authority.

5 Good Lessons from a Bad Example

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It’s easy to dismiss lousy leaders as incompetent, arrogant, or uncaring—and unworthy of our attention. But it’s hard to examine their flaws and failures so as to apply their bad example to our own lives.

The Bible often makes good use of a bad example. Scripture records the failings of many—not like some grocery tabloid would—but to show us why we should make good choices (1 Cor. 10:6).

The Apostle John took up his pen and wrote for us 5 good lessons from a bad example.

Thankfully, these are 5 lessons we don’t have to learn the hard way.

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