How to Quit a Life of Compromise

If you think about it, King Solomon never started out to build pagan shrines. It was his failure to deal with the tiny spiritual cracks in his heart that produced a life of compromise and dissatisfaction.

You can quit a life of compromise.

(Photo: Design Pics, via Vivozoom)

The backwash from Solomon’s life reminds us how we only kid ourselves when we think we can have a healthy walk with God and still keep our hidden life of compromise on the side.

The good news? We don’t have to.

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What Do You Think of When You Hear a Rooster?

One morning when I was in Jerusalem, I chose to have my devotions on the Mount of Olives at sunrise. Making my way through the Old City’s dark and narrow streets, I passed beside the Temple Mount and exited the city on its east side.

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

(Photo: Overlooking Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. Photo: צולם ע, via Wikimedia Commons)

After climbing the steep ascent of the Mount of Olives, I sat near its summit as the sun began to warm my back. Turning to Matthew’s Gospel, I read about Jesus leaving the Temple, predicting its destruction, and sitting on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24:1–5).

Looking across the Kidron Valley at the Temple Mount—now crowned with a Muslim shrine—I thought about how Jesus’ prediction proved true. Because Israel rejected Him, they ultimately lost the very objects they hoped to secure through His death—their Temple and their nation (John 11:48).

Suddenly I heard a sound that jerked my mind in another direction.

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Nahal Zin and Avdat—A Biblical Border with a View

Moses and the Hebrew nation, traveling in the wilderness of Zin, would have stood speechless as they reached the precipice of this breathtaking canyon—the Nahal Zin.

Nahal Zin and Avdat—A Biblical Border with a View

(Photo: The Nahal Zin and Ein Avdat. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The Nahal Zin, or Ein Avdat, drains the northeastern Negev highlands to the Dead Sea, dropping 500 feet in a series of waterfalls. The Ein Avdat spring surfaces at the base of a spectacular 50-foot waterfall to create a saltwater pool 25 feet deep. The origin of the spring remains an enigma.

Visitors today can park at a beautiful overlook and hike down into the canyon. The view is breathtaking.

Even Moses’ jaw would have dropped when he saw it.

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7 Questions I Answered on FaithVillage

This year, FaithVillage is highlighting 52 contributors in a weekly post called the FaithVillage Contributor Spotlight. I had the privilege of being first in the line up.

The weekly online interview affords its readers the opportunity to learn more about those who contribute to FaithVillage on a routine basis. They asked me everything from blogging to pitfalls to traveling in the Holy Land.

Here are the 7 questions they asked, as well as my answers.

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Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I’d go a step further: The unexamined life is impossible to live successfully. Like oarsmen, we generally move forward while looking backward, but not until we truly see the past—and understand it—can we successfully navigate the future.

Warren Bennis
On Becoming a Leader (Basic Books, 2009), Kindle Locations 1353-1355

Don’t Like Sweet Potatoes? Don’t Plant Them

Through the years I’ve noticed something when my wife plants sweet potatoes in our garden. Amazingly, corn doesn’t grow. Sweet potatoes do. (Brilliant, I know.) You’ll enjoy this scene from Secondhand Lions.

God has set up a system in the natural realm that works with remarkable consistency: you plant corn, you reap corn—not sweet potatoes. And vice versa.

This is true not only in gardening but with regard to every part of our lives.

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Self-Control—It’s More than Sexual

Marrying context and desire brings joy—not shame.

Too often, self-control kicks in only as a matter of pride. We apply the brakes by asking questions like: Will I look foolish if I have a third slice of cake? Not terribly spiritual, but hey.

Self-Control—It’s More than Sexual

(Photo by Photodune)

Life hands us daily situations in which self-control seems impractical, irrational, and even impossible. And yet, amazingly, at other times:

  • While arguing with our spouse, and the phone rings, we answer the call and suddenly we have self-control.
  • Our boss lays into us about something that’s totally unfair. We fume, but bite our tongue.
  • Our tummies start to expand beyond our belts and bathing suits. So we cut back on sweets.

When our reputations, our jobs, and our physiques are at risk, we apply self-control. Why? Because something more important than immediate satisfaction seems threatened.

But somehow sex is different?

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Cana—Turning Water into Wine in God’s Time

The event in Cana of Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine also occasioned the first gentle shove He would receive from His followers to get God’s kingdom rolling. The first of many.

Cana—Turning Water into Wine in God’s Time

(Photo: Cana sat in the Bet Netofa Valley. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Jesus’ mother, Mary, may have been the first to nudge Jesus toward dispensing the blessings of the kingdom—but she wouldn’t be the last. Many times, the Lord would have to rein in the pushing of others in favor of God’s timing for blessing.

It’s all about timing. God’s timing.

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