God’s List of What You Need

Okay, let’s make a quick list. If you had to write down what you need, what would top your list? Let me take a stab at what you might write.

God's List of What You Need

(Photo: courtesy of ooomf)

If you’re like most folks, your list of what you need may read something like this:

  • I need a new iPhone, Android, techie-whatever.
  • I need more money and more time.
  • I need my spouse to listen to me.
  • I need more respect at work.
  • I need a friend.

What DO you need? Ask that question to ten different people, you’ll likely get eleven different answers. But your needs aren’t subjective.

God has revealed what you need.

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Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers [Book Review] (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

Forgiveness is something we all struggle with. For many of us, the struggle began early.

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers does an excellent job of connecting with someone whose parents have blown it (which, on some level, is all of us). But more importantly, this helpful volume walks readers through the morass of pain, shows them how to process it through a scriptural filter, and releases them into the freedom of their future made possible by God’s grace in Christ.

Great Resources to Get After Your Holy Land Tour

Including videos, pictures, devotionals, and atlases.

After a tour to the Holy Land, it’s easy to forget the many lessons you’ve learned and the sites you’ve seen. The Holy Land can soon seem a distant land again. But it doesn’t have to.

The Best Resources to Get After Your Holy Land Tour

(Photo: Pilgrims on Mount of Olives. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

One of my recommendations for making your holy land tour stay with you for years includes getting some great resources that will last you a lifetime.

In this post, I’ve highlighted the best of what I suggest you pick up after your Holy Land tour. I include videos, pictures, devotionals, and atlases.

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One Question from Jesus Can Help You Not Compare Yourself with Others

What to do when other lives seem better than yours.

Someone else’s stuff always seems better than ours. Have you noticed? Even their struggles seem better. The temptation to compare yourself with somebody else can be devastating in the Christian life.

What Helps You Not Compare Yourself with Others

(Photo: By Michael Johnson, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

When Peter first met Jesus, the fisherman followed the Master out of a motive for glory and a prime seat in the kingdom of God. Peter wanted to be the “greatest” in comparison to others. But after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, a single conversation along the shores of the Sea of Galilee at Tabgha changed Peter’s whole frame of reference.

That conversation can also help you not compare yourself with the lives of others.

It can free you to follow Jesus as an individual.

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Greater Expectations

Greater Expectations: Succeed (and Stay Sane) in an On-Demand, All-Access, Always-On Age [Book Review] (Zondervan, 2014)

I was eager to read Claire Diaz-Ortiz’s new book, Greater Expectations, because I had enjoyed her self-published e-book, The PRESENT Principle. Come to find out, this new book IS her self-pub volume revised under the Barna Group’s series, “Frames.”

The benefit of this new edition is its additional content on surviving in our “always-on” digital age.

As with any book done with the Barna Group, it comes front-loaded with stats that sober the reader into understanding the need and also some proposed solutions.

  • Engaging info-graphics and an intro chapter put proof to what we all feel. Because most Americans are perpetually connected to their devices—and social media specifically—the quality of life has nosedived.
  • Technology, which was supposed to give more margin and quality to life, has done just the opposite. Margin is squeezed out and quality seldom enters the scene.

The bulk of the book centers on Diaz’s PRESENT Principle.

  • I like her idea of the importance of scheduling a daily time to take care of yourself. I don’t mean a time of selfishness, but a time of responsible self-maintenance that includes good input and honest evaluation.
  • For me (like Claire Diaz-Ortiz), that time occurs by reading the Bible and praying in order to realign my priorities with God’s. That takes a daily renewal of the mind.

Greater Expectations gives excellent, general advice that works well for singles or marrieds without children. I guess it could work for parents, given days of exception. That is, once you throw kids in the mix, the expectation of a consistent morning routine is pretty well shot.

If you want a good, quick read on how to organize your ideal morning, Claire has given it to you. Just do it before your kids wake up.

The RE/FRAME chapter by Diane Paddison is as helpful as it is brief. Her challenge to create realistic boundaries is really a call to establish priorities that promise a life of no regrets. I especially appreciated the permission to care for yourself, a priority that often gets misunderstood as selfishness but is nothing more than godly stewardship.

Tell me what you think: How do you keep balanced when your smartphone is always on? To leave a comment, just click here.

Wandering in the Wilderness and Entering the Promised Land

Leaving Eilat this morning, we headed north through the very same wilderness where Moses and the Hebrew nation wandered for forty years. But it didn’t take us that long to enter the Promised Land.

Ibex on cliff edge at Machtesh Ramon

(Photo: Ibex on cliff edge at Machtesh Ramon. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

From the “Grand Canyon of Israel” to the valley where David killed Goliath, our bus stopped a number of times over a hundred miles.

On our journey north, we saw a part of Israel very few pilgrims ever see.

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Petra—the Lost and Found City of Wonder

Fewer places on the planet offer a more suspenseful approach and rewarding visit than Petra in modern Jordan. Rose-hewn sandstone, rugged hills, and monumental facades—all accessible through a twisting narrow gorge—serve to inspire and amaze every visitor.

Petra—the Lost and Found City of Wonder

(Photo: The Treasury facade at Petra, Jordan)

The Nabatean capital served as the home for thousands of people in the first century. But a devastating earthquake in AD 363 crumbled much of the city—a disaster from which it never recovered.

For centuries, the location of Petra remained a secret. And the locals tried to keep it that way. It’s strange to think that for centuries the residents tried to keep infidels away from the beauty of Petra.

Today, however, they try to get as many of us there as possible.

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Eilat, the Red Sea, and Timna Park

Today begins the official first day of the “Pre-Tour Red Sea Experience.” We’re still squinting through the fog of jet lag.

This morning we had the option of lounging around the hotel or visiting the Underwater Observatory Marine Park in Eilat. I chose the marine park.

Eilat Underwater Observatory

(Photo: Eilat Underwater Observatory. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

On a previous trip to Eilat, I snorkeled in its beautiful coral reef. But today I got to see it and stay dry while underwater.

The large aquarium offers a home to 400 species of fish, including:

  • A massive shark pool
  • A habitat for large herbivore turtles and stingrays
  • 40 rare fish aquariums

This afternoon, our whole groups of 7 buses headed north to Timna Park to explore a replica of the Tabernacle.

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