The Temple Mount in Jerusalem—An Ordinary Hill Made Holy

There's only one thing we can give our God who has everything.

Abraham saw the acreage. David bought the lot. Solomon built the house. Nebuchadnezzar tore it town. Zerubbabel rebuilt it. Herod the Great expanded it. Titus flattened it.

Before these temples stood on Mount Moriah, it was nothing but a hill used for threshing wheat. Hardly worth noticing.

The Temple Mount—An Ordinary Hill Made Holy

(Photo: the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

But today, the Temple Mount remains the most precious piece of real estate in the world. And the golden shrine that graces its crest has become the icon for the Holy City of Jerusalem itself.

How did this ordinary hill become holy? Not through battles or land bartering or by popular vote.

God chose it. It’s the same with us.

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How to Turn Your Life Around 360 Degrees

A God of impossibilities shows His power in impossible situations.

Life often feels like a lot of effort with nothing gained. It reminds me of what Jason Kidd said after the Dallas Mavericks drafted him: “We’re going to turn this team around 360 degrees!”

How to Turn Your Life Around 360 Degrees

(Photo by Photodune)

At times, the Bible seems like a history book in which God makes and fulfills promises to the ancients, but the words somehow lack immediacy to our struggling lives. And yet, it’s funny how the anxieties that overwhelm our lives seem identical to those that biblical people struggled against.

Even though Scripture provides assurance of God’s promises, assurance doesn’t negate the stressful circumstances that force us to trust God.

Truth doesn’t make the hard parts of life go away. We still have to trust God with that truth.

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Hebron—the Cave of Machpelah Stands as a Testimony of Faith

Good news: we lose nothing of God's promises in death.

It’s actually good news: death can teach us a lot about life. Specifically, we lose nothing of God’s promises when death occurs. The Cave of Machpelah in Hebron shows us why.

Machpelah in Hebron

(Photo: The building that covers the “Cave of the Patriarchs” at Machpelah in Hebron. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Towering like a fortress over the shoddy buildings that surround it, the ancient structure in Hebron covers a site sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

In elevation, Hebron stands taller than even Jerusalem. And other than the Temple Mount itself, no other place remains as revered to peoples whose hopes and faiths could not be more diverse.

Few other places offer such a powerful lesson in faith for those of us still drawing a breath.

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Answers to Your Questions and 2 Questions for You

Last week I took a survey of my blog readers about a brand new project I’m releasing soon. As I mentioned, the project will offer virtual tours of the Holy Land with an emphasis on the devotional benefits of such a journey.

Early morning at the Holy Sepulcher

(Photo: Early morning at the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem)

Many of you helped me out and participated. Thank you! I’d like to follow up by answering some questions you asked.

Plus—I still need your help with two questions, please. 

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Virtual Holy Land Tours Survey

I need your opinion on an upcoming project that's pretty huge.

I’m VERY close to launching a huge project—literally years the making. It will begin with several videos I can’t wait to show you on Jesus’ final week in Jerusalem before Easter. It’s a week often called “The Passion Week.”

But the complete project itself has a much larger goal.

Virtual Holy Land Tours Survey

(photo: Filming by the Sea of Galilee)

As you know, I love to connect the Bible and its lands to your life. This project will provide a virtual tour of the Holy Land through video, audio, and downloads. As I do on my physical tours to the Holy Land, I’ll be guiding you through the many sites of Israel, showing you what you read in the pages of the Bible. As always, my goal is more than giving facts about biblical sites, rocks, and ruins.

Much more! I want to help answer the SO WHAT? questions. How can we connect the Bible and its lands to life?

That’s where I need your help.

Before I finalize everything and release the project, I’d love your opinion on some things.

Please take the quick survey below. Thank you!

TAKE SURVEY NOW

How to Strengthen Your Vulnerable Buffer Zone

The foothills of Israel's Shephelah offer lessons on keeping spiritually alert.

Do you have a buffer zone between you and what can harm you? I’m talking about putting a safeguard between you and evil influences that can cause compromise in your walk with Jesus Christ. We see an illustration of this buffer zone throughout Old Testament history in the foothills of Israel’s Shephelah.

The Shephelah

(Photo: The Shephelah. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Between the Philistine plain and the Hill Country where God’s people dwelt lay 10 miles of low rolling hills. This buffer zone was known as the “Shephelah.” The hills of the Shephelah served as a geographical buffer that represented a spiritual barrier.

You have a Shephelah in your life as well. Here’s how you can guard it.

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If anything threatens your identity, you will not just be anxious but paralyzed with fear. If you lose your identity through the failings of someone else, you will not just be resentful but locked into bitterness. If you lose it through your own failings, you will hate or despise yourself as a failure as long as you live. Only if your identity is built on God and his love . . . can you have a self that can venture anything, face anything.

Timothy Keller
The Reason for God (Penguin Books, 2009), 165.

Good News from God for Chronic Ball-Droppers

Jesus' parable says what to do when you're juggling too much.

Ever tried to juggle? I gave it a shot with three tennis balls one time. I might as well have thrown the balls three different directions. It was hilarious! In the end, I could only “juggle” one ball. 

Better Self-Talk for Chronic Ball-Droppers

(Photo: by Christian “VisualBeo” Horvat. Own work. GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons)

 Most people can learn to juggle three balls, I’m told. But adding a fourth ball divides the amateurs from the pros.

But what about adding a fifth ball? We do it all the time. (Or we try to.) Juggling provides one of the best metaphors for our crazy-busy lives. We drop balls.

Dropping balls has nothing to do with skill. It’s all about character.

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