How to Stay Alert to Your Evil Adversary

There are essentials we must keep in mind in order to stand firm.

You have an enemy. No, it’s not that other political party. It’s not your boss. It’s certainly not your spouse. I’m not even talking about terrorists. I’m talking about an adversary you can’t see.

How to Stay Alert to Your Evil Adversary

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He’s hidden, but there, just biding his time until he can take you out. The Apostle Peter reveals his identify:

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. —1 Peter 5:8

Contrary to Hollywood or popular fiction, Satan isn’t some imp with horns, a pitchfork, and a bifurcated tail. He’s not even the horror flick typecast of a spook who causes heads to spin and doors to slam. That stereotype is just what the devil would have us believe. Why? So that we will laugh him off as fiction, fantasy, or the superstition of simple-minded Bible thumpers.

Let’s clear our heads for a moment. Jesus Christ spoke of Satan as a reality.

You need to know you have an enemy. You also need to know what to do about it.

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Follow Your Heart (And Why That’s a Really Bad Idea)

The world's mantra isn't telling you everything.

It’s the mantra of today. It’s the moral lesson of most movies. It’s the guiding light of many lives: “Follow your heart!” After all, it sounds so right, doesn’t it?

Follow Your Heart

“Follow your heart” is another way of following your feelings. Even as Christians, our feelings often lead us, don’t they?

  • “I don’t feel good about this.”
  • “Am I comfortable with this direction?”
  • “I don’t have a peace about this decision.”

Following your heart is a popular, but unwise, way to make decisions.

Although our feelings are real, they may not represent reality. And even if what we feel does have some connection to reality, it is never all of reality.

God offers a better way.

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Must-Have Resources for Bible Lands Study

I've boiled down an essential list for you.

Not everybody can travel to Israel. But everyone can benefit from including Bible lands in their personal Bible study. You just need some good tools.

Tabernacle model and courtyard

(Photo: Tabernacle Model. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

I have discovered that including Bible lands in my study has given me more understanding of the Bible than I ever imagined. The benefits of including Bible lands in the study of Scripture are available to everyone.

Many people have asked what resources I recommend. So I’ve created what I consider a must-have list. These are the tools I reach for first when I study—those resources that have proven most helpful to me for years.

I’ll give you the full list, and then I’ll suggest which ones to get first.

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3 Fantastic Questions to Ask During Every Sermon

Make this next message one you truly hear and apply.

This Sunday, it’s going to happen again. You’ll hear one more sermon to add to the thousands you’ve listened to. Be honest, do you remember anything from last Sunday? If you’re like me, you often draw a blank with this question.

3 Fantastic Questions to Ask During Every Sermon

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It’s not because my pastor is boring. Or because his theology is lame. Or because I fail to hear. It’s likely because I approach the sermon the wrong way as a listener.

I have discovered 3 fantastic questions that help my focus when I hear another sermon.

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One of the crucial mistakes I’ve made is to judge God by the present condition of my dreams. When my dreams seem to thrive, I figure God is for me and that He must indeed be strong and able. But the test of faith comes when the path to our dreams look like it’s swerving off course. . . . It’s not hard to confuse God’s favor with our personalized version of the American dream. But God’s favor is far bigger than that. It was God’s favor that led Jesus to the cross of Calvary.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we believe a whole lot of crazy stuff. We believe in a Triune God. We believe in the virgin birth. We believe in the resurrection. We believe in the Holy Spirit. We believe in eternal life. If we’re honest about it, the story of Jesus is either the craziest story ever told or it’s worth giving everything up for, including our fears.

When Your Life Feels Empty

Looking at the Right Gauge is the Secret to Making It

I used to use an old pickup truck for odd jobs. It was dented, scratched, and ugly—but faithful. The only glitch in the truck was the gas gauge. No matter how much gas it had, the gauge read “almost empty.”

When Your Life Feels Empty

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If you had just filled up, it read “almost empty.” If you had half a tank, it read “almost empty.” The gauge only worked when you were out of gas! It would immediately move from “almost empty” to “empty.” I remember once I coasted into a gas station on fumes and a prayer.

I have found one thing in life that cuts the cable from the gas tank to the gas gauge quicker than anything else.

  • It drains your relationships with people and dries up your walk with God.
  • It blurs your vision, exaggerates your emotions, and takes a healthy, balanced perspective of life and twists it of proportion.

I’m talking about the pervasive and infectious attitude of bitterness.

You can be riding along with a full tank, but bitterness will show you a gauge “almost empty.”

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Tel Dan—Worshipping at the Altar of Convenience

In the end, we'll find God far more satisfying.

Shady walkways. Cool breezes. Abundant streams. Luxuriant foliage. The Tel Dan Nature Preserve draws the locals as well as the travelers. It always has.

Headwaters of Jordan River at Tel Dan

(Photo: Headwaters of Jordan River at Tel Dan. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In natural beauty, Tel Dan has few rivals in Israel. For the ancients, it had everything necessary for abundant living.

While the Hebrews in the south worshipped in Jerusalem, the natural beauty of Tel Dan in northern Israel offered an irresistible alternative. It was picturesque. It was convenient. It was invigorating.

And it was a complete compromise of God’s will.

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Resolved: 10 Ways to Stand Strong and Live What You Believe (Baker Books, 2016)

Resolutions are easy to make. But the Christian life challenges our resolve to stay committed to God by testing our commitments against fear, rejection, and expectations.

Dr. Lina Abujamra has given us the blessing of another book, Resolved, written in her inimitable style and with her characteristic passion. Lina has seen life in all its raw reality—where it’s from the perspective of an ER doc, a missionary, or a single who wrestles with the church’s expectations of singles.

Lina tackles ten issues that demand our absolute resolve and offers “resolutions,” much as Jonathan Edwards did centuries ago. These chapters urge us to adopt personal resolutions about our lives and believe, love, obey, yield, speak up, have joy, be in community, give, hope, and rest—all with Jesus Christ as a center.