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Free Holy Land Webinar!
Free Holy Land Webinar!
4 min read
2 Biblical Gardens in the Bible Reveal How to Make the Best Decisions

Two gardens in the Bible, Eden and Gethsemane, provided the settings for two choices that brought opposite results. The Bible wildly contrasts these choices. In fact, you face them today.

(Photo: The Garden of Gethsemane. Notice the city walls in the distance....

5 min read
Jerusalem’s Water Gate—Where the Source of Truth Gushed

The best way to make sure we respond positively to the opportunities God provides us is to prepare ahead of time for them. But how do we anticipate those moments? The Lord has shown us how.

(Photo: Scribe copying the Scriptures. Courtesy of the Pictorial...

6 min read
Tabernacle at Shiloh in the Bible — A Promise, Person, Place & Parable

Local schoolchildren ate their lunches across the olive grove from my wife and me.

Like the kids, we came on a field trip to explore ancient Shiloh. Although our lunch was hardly a feast, it reminded me of the reasons the young nation of Israel initially came to...

6 min read
Kadesh Barnea — How to Push Your Faith Past the Border of Fear

We come to the line every day. It’s a border. Fear keeps us from stepping over it. What we see feels more compelling than what God has said. Kadesh Barnea was such a place.

(Photo: Kadesh Barnea. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Two decisions...

9 min read
Who Were the Canaanites? How To Apply Those Odd Names And Places

All my life as I’ve studied the Bible and heard it taught, reading the odd list of Canaanite names feels like driving over potholes. I think, Why doesn’t somebody fill in those holes? Who were the Canaanites, and why should I care about them this week?

(Photo:...

6 min read
Offerings in Leviticus—What They Were and Why They Mattered

For most Christians, the book of Leviticus is as untraveled as the wilderness in which Moses wrote it. It’s not hard to understand why. I mean, who cares about sacrifices no longer needed or diet codes no longer in effect?

Can they teach us anything today? In a...

9 min read
6 Christian Places to Visit in Rome You Should Know About

Rome is famous for its standard tourist sites: The Trevi Fountain, the Forum, Piazza Navona, the Colosseum, the Pantheon — and many other historic places lay alongside modern streets and buildings.

(Photo: The Arch of Constantine in Rome)

But I’d like to show...

10 min read
The Mount of Olives—The Place of Jesus’ Coming, Going, & Coming Again

How fitting that the first mention of the Mount of Olives in the Bible represents the irony that would occur on its slopes throughout the centuries.

In King David’s day, the summit of the Mount of Olives held a place “where God was worshiped” (2 Samuel 15:32)....

7 min read
Hezekiah’s Tunnel and Wall Give a Lesson from Archaeology

The ancient world had a bully system that worked in straightforward terms. A nation would conquer a region and demand tribute (annual payment of money and goods). If you didn’t pay tribute, they’d come and kill you. Pretty simple system.

(Photo: Hezekiah’s...

7 min read
Crossing the Jordan River – Your Place of Transition

Other rivers have more beauty. Many are much longer. Most are far cleaner. But no river has garnered as much affection as the Jordan River. There’s a good reason.

(Photo: The Jordan River, courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

It wasn’t the beauty...

3 min read
What to Do When God Does Nothing (Audio)

We want to know God’s plan so that we can trust the plan—but God often hides the plan so we will trust Him. What can we do in the meantime as we wait for an answer, a change, or a miracle?

(These sessions are a digital download—not a physical product—giving...

5 min read
You Can GROW STRONG . . . by Listening.

Growing in the Christian life isn’t easy.

It begins in the part of your heart shared only by you and God. In order to grow strong, you have to grow deep in the essentials.

These 30 audio devotions read by Wayne Stiles will encourage you and equip you in the...

1 min read
Is Jesus Really the Only Way? (Audio Resource)

Few questions stir such controversy as: “Is Jesus the Only Way?” The exclusivity of the Bible’s claim is unmistakable. Skeptics ask: “How can Jesus be the only way? That’s not fair! It leaves out too many people.”

Great question.

(This session is a digital...

4 min read
Living Your Little Life with Your Big God

In moments of honesty, it’s easy to see our lives as, well—insignificant. What we do often seems to matter very, very little. Whether it’s pushing papers or changing diapers, it can seem pretty pointless.

(Photo by Photodune)

We often can fall for the thinking...

6 min read
Gethsemane Shows You the Hardest Words to Pray

Our most difficult battles in life often mirror Jesus’ struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane. Can you picture Him there beneath the olive trees in the moonlight? Can you hear His weeping?

(Photo: Garden of Gethsemane olive tree. Courtesy of the Pictorial...

7 min read
The Strength You Need Right Now

Which of your mistakes haunts you the most? Peter denied he knew Jesus. To some folks, that’s no big deal. Compared to other big sins, giving in to fear seems like small potatoes. But to Peter, it was huge.

(Photo: Upper Room. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library...

7 min read
Jesus’ Triumphal Entry That Wasn’t

What difference can a narrow road make? Whenever I make my way down the Mount of Olives, I can’t help but think about Jesus’ riding down that slope on the back of a donkey early in His Passion Week.

(Photo: Palm Sunday Road down the Mount of Olives. Courtesy...

6 min read
How Jesus Took Life in the Fast Lane in Stride

Is this true of you? Whenever I find myself with a free moment, I feel compelled to fill it with something productive. Because I hate to waste time, I fill it with activity and justify it as productivity.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

But I’m learning that...

8 min read
Cairo – Jesus’ Flight to Egypt & God’s Unusual Leading

God seldom gives us all we need in order to understand—but He always what we need in order to obey. Jesus’ flight to Egypt as a boy offers a great example of how to take comfort when the future seems unclear.

(Photo: Giza pyramids. Courtesy of the Pictorial...

6 min read
Pyramids of Giza – Astonishing Monuments and Painful Hopes

When we picture ancient Egypt, we think of deserts, camels, the Nile River, and hieroglyphics. But there’s nothing more iconic of Egypt than the Pyramids of Giza.

(Photo: Giza Pyramids. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

They’re the only one of...

7 min read
Jesus Shows Us Why Our Little Lives Matter So Much

Often the mundane days of our lives tell us lies. They seem to shout how insignificant we are, because all we do seems so small. Jesus’ childhood days in Galilee, near Sepphoris, turn those lies upside down.

(Photo: Sepphoris and Bet Netofa Valley. Courtesy of...

6 min read
How to Strengthen Yourself in the Lord

Sometimes a disappointing setback in our lives only serves to propel us forward in God’s sovereign plan. In the meantime, we need God’s help to keep going. David’s days at Ziklag show us how.

(Photo: Ziklag, Tel Sera. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible...

6 min read
3 Powerful Truths to Know When God Delays

God’s program to give the Promised Land to Abraham and his descendants took some strange turns. For instance? A famine upon the land, Joseph’s imprisonment, and bondage in Egypt. Hardly a joyful journey with God.

(Photo: Great pyramids of Egypt. Courtesy of...

7 min read
Banias Falls—Where Your Overwhelming Despair Finds its Hope

Sometimes despair can wash over us like a wall of water. One moment we’re dry—the next, we’re dripping with discouragement. I’m talking about an overwhelming sense that it will never get any better.

(Photo: Banias Falls. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of...

9 min read
Beth Shean—When God’s Blessings Seem Too Hard to Hold

Sometimes the blessings God gives you seem hard to hold. In some cases, the difficulty urges us to abandon the blessings. Beth Shean gives us a great example.

(Photo: Beth Shean excavations. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The Lord...

5 min read
The Promised Land and God’s Amazing Provision for Your Life

The tension is nothing new for us who believe in God. It’s just that most days it seems we never have enough. Between the bills, the home upkeep, and the car repairs, it’s tough just to stay afloat. Often, amazingly, God rigs it this way.

In fact, an unusual...

8 min read
The Harod Valley – Your Overwhelming Anxiety Finds its Peace

Have you noticed how history repeats itself in our lives? We think we’ve learned to deal with overwhelming anxiety, but each new day offers a new challenge we never would have expected.

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

2 min read
[VIDEO] Our Current Crisis and Jerusalem’s Walls and Gates

Being stuck at home these days compares little to suffering under a siege in an ancient city. But the lessons it offers us are very much the same. That’s probably why I have had numerous members of my Walking the Bible Lands videos suggest I make this video...

5 min read
The Surprising Secret to Greatness We Need to Discover

God never promised us the Christian life would shield us from the temptation of popularity, greatness, or admiration. In fact, don’t we often toy with getting what we want out of life just like the world does?

(Photo: The road up to Jerusalem from Jericho....

7 min read
Paul’s House Arrest in Rome and Our Home Isolation

These unusual days in which we find ourselves homebound reflect, in a way, Paul’s days under house arrest in Rome. Our home isolation amounts to a couple of months. But Paul’s incarceration lasted two years.

(Photo: Insula in Rome by Lalupa/Public domain)

In...

6 min read
How to Choose a Contagious Hope

What an unusual time we’re living in. Less than two weeks ago, much of America still stood in the dark as to the potential of the coronavirus. Many (including me) saw its threat as mostly media hype.

(Photo: Bethany. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible...

6 min read
Where is God in All the Chaos?

These days the news can seem downright depressing. Whether it’s a pandemic sickness or political agendas, it can seem tough to see God working in the world. Our personal struggles feel the same. Our days are filled with hard work and little harvest.

(Photo:...

4 min read
Purim Offers Surprising Reasons Why God Put You Here

Purim represents more than costume parties for kids and eating triangular cookies filled with fruit (called “Haman’s Ears”). The holiday remembers the historical event in the book of Esther where the Jews survived a plot to exterminate them.

(Photo:...

6 min read
Ephesus – Redeeming the Time You Have Now

What if God inspired 3 books of Scripture for your church and also sent two apostles to live and minister among you for years? Ephesus got both. And much more.

(Photo: Ephesus commercial agora. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

On his third...

6 min read
Colossae – Finding the Freedom to Forgive

I had the privilege last week to walk atop the empty tell of ancient Colossae—and to open the letter written to the saints who lived on the soil I stood on. While there I remembered a crucial lesson on forgiveness.

(Photo: Colossae tell with sign. Courtesy of...

6 min read
Kadesh Barnea—How to Follow and Not Get Ahead of God’s Will

Which seems worse to you? Refusing to follow God even though He promises success, or stubbornly pressing forward without Him? Sometimes it’s tough to tell the difference.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

God’s people swung on both extremes of this pendulum in...

5 min read
3 Questions to Ask Yourself in Making the Right Decision

How many times have we made what we thought was the best decision—but it turned out to be the worst? Lessons learned from such blunders we remember and regret all of our lives.

(Photo: Sunrise over Dead Sea. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

...

3 min read
Make This the Year You Read the Bible

If you want to grow in your relationship with God, there’s one thing you can do this year that will make more difference than anything. Read the Bible. Here’s why.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

Did you know? Research shows that someone who reads the Bible...

7 min read
Ein Kerem—Waiting on God’s Promise a Long Time

When we think of the Bible’s Christmas couple, of course we picture Joseph and Mary. But there’s another couple in the Christmas narrative. In fact, they appear even before Jesus’ parents do.

(Photo: Tradition places the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth at Ein...

5 min read
Christmas Shows God’s Amazing Providence in Your Life

The first Christmas looked like a coincidence. From a human perspective, politics set the agenda: Caesar took a census of his people. End of story. But it wasn’t.

(Photo: Bethlehem Fields with Herod’s Herodium in background. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library...

7 min read
4 Promises of God to Give You Hope & Security

There’s not much we can be sure of today. We live in a world of broken promises, broken families, backstabbing friends, and personal failures. And that’s just at church. The church Paul wrote to in Rome felt the same.

(Photo: Roman Forum. Courtesy of the ...

7 min read
The Arch of Titus and Your Amazing Eternal Security

It seems wrong to say it, but sometimes God’s promises in our lives seem sort of thin in light of current events. But the Arch of Titus in Rome gives us occasion to look beyond today’s bad news to our eternal security.

(Photo: Arch of Titus. Courtesy of the ...

8 min read
The Hinnom Valley – When You Need Hope for Those Too Far Gone

Some people, it seems, are too far gone. We pray for them for years, but they still refuse to walk with God. After so long a time, we feel it’s hopeless. But Jerusalem’s Hinnom Valley gives us reason to hope.

(Photo: The Hinnom Valley curves around Jerusalem’s...

5 min read
How to Win the Battle You Face Today

You wake up to it each morning. It follows you as you go through your day. It’s waiting for you in every room and conversation. Your battle cleverly disguises itself in many forms.

(Photo: Sinai mountains from Jebel Musa. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of...

7 min read
The Incredible Value of Solitude with God

In our lives busy with people, it’s tough to appreciate the value of solitude with God. But Saint George’s Monastery in the Wilderness of Judea gives us reason to pause and ponder the priority of time with God.

(Photo: Saint George’s Monastery. Courtesy of the

8 min read
How You Walk on the Appian Way Each Day

Often roads get built for one reason, but God uses them in our lives for another altogether. The Appian Way of Rome proved it so in the life of the Apostle Paul. I walked the road recently.

(Photo: Walking the Appian Way)

The Roman official Appius Claudius...

5 min read
How Your Physical Struggles Can Energize Your Spiritual Life

When we struggle with physical needs, we want one thing more than anything else. Relief. Physical struggles scream at us like a hungry child, and nothing feels as pressing as removing the distraction.

(Photo: Sunset over the Judean Wilderness. Courtesy of the ...

4 min read
Why You Should Absolutely Cling to God More

It isn’t easy to cling to God every day. We need help to do so. That’s why the Lord commanded Jeremiah to buy a garment and bury it in the cracks of a beautiful spring called Ein Parath.

(Photo: Ein Parath. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

...

8 min read
The Roman Forum and God’s Surprising Ways in Your Life

We have more to do in life than wake up, work hard, and come home only to rinse and repeat. Life amounts to more than a stack of paychecks and a few laughs. God wants so much more for us than that. The Roman Forum offers us a picture of this truth.

(Photo:...

6 min read
How to Deal with Overwhelming Odds through Your Powerful God

When the Bible includes geographical references, they appear as more than throwaway statements. Often they play a vital role in our understanding and application of the Bible.

(Photo: Cliffs near Michmash and Geba. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible...

4 min read
How to Keep Going When You Can’t Keep Going

You’re not stuck. If God has you in a place where your gifts are not fully utilized, or if you feel set aside in God’s grand plan, or if those around you have marginalized you, trivialized you, or flat-out rejected you, I understand how tough that is.

(Photo:...

7 min read
Why God Makes You Go The Long Way

Sometimes God takes you the long way in life. That’s hard, because the direct route makes so much more sense. We’re all about efficiency. But God has a different destination in mind.

(Photo: Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The nation of...

5 min read
Why You Never Need to Settle for Second Best with God

A friend of mine told me: “The only thing harder than waiting on God is wishing you had.” When our desires go unmet for a long time, it’s tempting to settle for second best and call it God’s will. That’s what the people of Reuben and Gad did.

(Photo: Land of...

6 min read
Praying for Rain in Your Searing Life

Summer. August. Texas. Stir those together and you get blistering days, muggy mornings, and sizzling evenings like a heat lamp over cheap pizza. But Wednesday morning, something amazing occurred.

(Photo: Wilderness of Paran. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library...

7 min read
How God’s Promised Land Gives You Hope Here and Now

Day after day of life demands we have faith in God. Lots of it. After all, so much of what God promises us is future. And honestly? It seems most of what we live for is a hope that never seems to arrive. God knows that.

(Photo: Area of Ai, near where Abraham...

5 min read
Mahanaim Teaches Us What to Do with Our Fears

So often, fear floods our hearts, because what we see seems so overwhelming. But the true source of our fears—as well as their solution—comes not from what we see.

(Photo: Mahanaim and fords of Jabbok. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Our...

6 min read
When God Surprises Your Life with a Hard Left Turn

I recently heard that God is the God of hard left turns. So many of us began life headed one direction and ended up in a place we never thought we would. I bet that happened to you, didn’t it? Me too. And to the apostle Peter.

(Photo: El-Araj, one possible...

7 min read
Bethsaida—With God Your Past is Never Pointless

It’s hard feeling embarrassed about where you grew up. Maybe your family had problems. Perhaps your hometown or church seemed nothing special. You’re not alone. Three of Jesus’ disciples felt that way too.

(Photo: Plain of Bethsaida. Courtesy of the Pictorial...

8 min read
How Geography Opens Our Eyes about God’s Closed Doors

Sometimes it seems God gets in the way of us doing the very things He’s commanded. The most frustrating part of these moments isn’t our lack of success. It’s our confusion. Why does God close the door on His will?

(Photo: Troas, where Paul, Silas, and Timothy...

8 min read
Jesus’ Astonishing Capernaum Question Boosts Your Faith

The question Jesus asked in the Capernaum synagogue still rattles around in our minds. In fact, whether or not we realize it, we deal with His question most days of our lives.

(Photo: Capernaum Synagogue. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

You...

5 min read
What to Do When God Gives You a Hard Command

What God teaches us in one area of life we can easily miss in another area. So God has to repeat Himself. But sometimes the connection isn’t so easy for us to make.

(Photo: Waves crash ashore on the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible...

6 min read
An Ephesus Question: What Comes First in Your Relationship with God?

All Christians long to live pleasing to Jesus Christ. That’s why if Jesus told us He had a criticism for us, many of us would pull out our checklist and grab a pencil.

(Photo: Ephesus theater and the Arcadian Way. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible...

4 min read
Come With Me to the Holy Land—and Egypt!

Picture yourself standing at the Sea of Galilee, with the waves lapping against your feet. Now imagine looking up at the massive Temple Mount in Jerusalem from the very steps Jesus climbed to get there. Or stare wide-eyed at the massive pyramids in Egypt

...

6 min read
Israel’s Negev Gives Enormous Hope for Your Barren Life

Nothing can stop God from fulfilling His promises to those who believe in Him. In the mean time, it takes great vision to see something where there is nothing. Israel’s Negev provides a great example.

(Photo: Sculpture garden at Sde Boker, by שי קסל CC-BY-2.5,...

5 min read
Traditions, Truth, and Praying with Your Eyes Open

Some people find it hard to identify with the Jews who rock before Jerusalem’s Western Wall. When I first saw them, the prayers seemed odd. Then I thought about my traditions. Are they any less bizarre?

(Photo: Men praying at the Western Wall. Courtesy of the ...

6 min read
How God Helps You in Impossible Situations

God often puts us in impossible situations. We find it frustrating, sure—but it’s never meant to be. In fact, those circumstances are meant to do just the opposite. God means to encourage us.

(Photo: Plain of Bethsaida. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of...

6 min read
2 Big Questions to Help You Live Intentionally for God

It’s always easier to react to life rather than to shape it. To go with the flow rather than to dig a new trench. But God gives us help to choose the direction of our lives.

(Photo: Capernaum synagogue, where Jesus taught. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of...

6 min read
When You’re Waiting on God in a Weary Land

Sometimes waiting on God feels like you’re dying of thirst. That’s what David thought as he wandered in the Judean wilderness, running from a problem he couldn’t solve.

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

Chased...

5 min read
The Valley of the Kings – God’s Amazing Sovereignty Displayed in a Pharaoh’s Life

The Pharaohs buried in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt, are more than history. The New Testament uses these kings to illustrate truths to strengthen our walk with Jesus Christ.

(Photo: The Valley of the Kings. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible...

5 min read
Bethel Reveals What You Need to Know to Connect with God

There has always been only one way to God—even in the Old Testament. But how? That way is by grace through faith in the object of God’s choosing. Bethel gives us a peek at that way.

(Photo: Modern Beitin, ancient Bethel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of...

6 min read
The Dominus Flevit Church—and a Triumphal Entry that Wasn’t

As I made my way down the Mount of Olives, I couldn’t help think about the day Jesus rode down the slope on the back of a donkey.

His words that day hardly seemed fitting for a “Triumphal Entry.”

(Photo: Jerusalem from inside the Dominus Flevit Church,...

6 min read
Why Our Dirty Hands is the Best Bad News You’ll Ever Hear

Many people see the Bible only as a book of bad news. After all, it lists everything we do wrong and reminds us how much God hates sin. But bad news is only half the message.

(Photo: Unsplash)

Because nobody likes hearing bad news, we often slam the book shut...

6 min read
What Did it Mean to Be Unclean?

Thumbing through our Old Testament, we often come across references to people or objects being “unclean.” What in the world does that mean?

(Photo by Photodune)

From our perspective, when we come across something unclean we toss it in the dishwasher, clothes...

5 min read
How Jesus’ Powerful Personal Hope Can Lift You Up

Do you know what one, primary, personal hope drove Jesus’ life? What He looked forward to the most? It’s important we do know, because the same hope should drive our lives.

(Photo: Kiriath Jearim church statue of Mary standing on Ark of the Covenant. Courtesy...

6 min read
What I Saw in the Brazen Face of Pharaoh’s Mummy

I saw many amazing sites and new faces on my recent trip to Egypt. But none were as moving as when I looked into the mummified faces of the pharaohs who looked into the face of Moses. The Cairo Museum offered such a look.

(Photo: At the Cairo Museum with my...

5 min read
A Lesson from Anathoth: Why Our Best Efforts Don’t Hold Water

It’s tough to work hard at something, only to see your efforts eventually leak out through life’s cracks. Sometimes, however, that frustration can turn into a surprising blessing.

(Photo: Anathoth looking east toward the wilderness. Courtesy of the Pictorial...

8 min read
The King’s Garden in Jerusalem: A Lesson in Futility

Some folks love gardening. For them, nothing compares to the joy of creating and appreciating beautiful landscapes and gardens. It provides them hours of relaxation and satisfaction. Me, not so much.

(Photo: The King’s Garden began in the Kidron Valley beside...

8 min read
The Golan Heights—Are You Sure Your Contentment is in the Right Place?

In a way, contentment isn’t always a good thing. The Golan Heights illustrate why. A long plateau rises east of the Sea of Galilee, high above the surrounding basins. As the highland stretches north, basalt cones penetrate the landscape, betraying extinct...

8 min read
Tel Dan—Worshipping at the Altar of Convenience

The spiritual life often asks a lot of us. But Tel Dan offered an alternative. Shady walkways. Cool breezes. Abundant streams. Luxuriant foliage. Tel Dan had everything you could ever want. Except God.

(Photo: Headwaters of Jordan River at Tel Dan. Courtesy of...

2 min read
Finding Hope in Surprising Places around You

Why does the grass often look greener in the lawn of those who don’t walk with God? Finding hope to look away from envy’s pull on our emotions requires help. Thankfully, God gives it in surprising places.

(Photo: Grass in the Judean Wilderness. Courtesy of the

5 min read
How to Follow God’s Will in the Chaos of Your Life

Finding and following God’s will for our lives often feels like a game of chance. But if we know God’s methods of revealing His will, we will see it—even when life feels full of chaos.

(Photo: Garden of Gethsemane olive tree. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library...

5 min read
Learning to Trust God in a New Way

Have you noticed? We have no problem choosing to trust God with the things for which we already trust Him. But then another situation shows up. And suddenly, it’s like starting over.

(Photo: Central Benjamin Plateau. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible...

6 min read
Jesus Shows How to See Yourself through 3 Amazing Truths

As Jesus made His way toward Jerusalem for His final Passover, He repeated a principle to His disciples several times. The repetition for them ought to echo in our own minds as well.

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible...

5 min read
Why the Best Days Often Start in the Evening

For most of us, our day begins when we wake up. According to our clocks and calendars, however, a new day begins at midnight. But when God created the world, He had something else in mind.

(Photo: Sunrise over Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of...

5 min read
David’s Mind Hack Can Get You Through an Ordinary Day

The ordinary days of life far outnumber the extraordinary ones. That imbalance can get discouraging. But as we look at the lives in the Bible, we see the same pattern. Thankfully, they were normal like us.

(Photo: Elah Valley, where David fought Goliath....

6 min read
3 Timely Galilee Reminders from Jesus to Empower Your Life

When Jesus taught, His content came across like no other teacher in history. He taught with authority and compassion, but His words gave more than information.

(Photo: Sower’s Cove by the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

...

7 min read
Take a Google Street View of 6 Biblical Sites

Google Maps Street View serves us well with directions, helping us to see what the turns in our journey actually look like. But the Web site also allows a virtual peek at some key biblical sites.

There’s nothing like traveling to Israel to see the land of the...

2 min read
Walk in the Footsteps of the Apostle Paul with Me!

The lands of Greece, Turkey, and Italy are where the message of Jesus Christ took root, grew, and expanded to the ends of the earth. Now you can experience these places with Bible in hand!

I want to personally invite you to join Cathy and me for this journey of...

5 min read
15 Habits That Can Totally Transform Your Spiritual Life

You make decisions each day. Make the same decisions often enough and they becomes habits—powerful, God-given gifts to help you walk with God and stay healthy.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

Imagine if you had to relearn to tie your shoes, drive a car, or...

10 min read
Top 5 Books I Read this Past Year

One of the best bargains available to us today? Books. Why? A good book summarizes an expert’s best thinking on a subject for a fraction of the cost of a course, or a conference, or counseling.

(You can even read while floating in the Dead Sea. Photo courtesy...

5 min read
Why God Seems So Amazingly Inefficient in Your Life

In getting things done, God sometimes seem amazingly inefficient. He chooses some people to do a job when others are far more competent—or close. Peter’s trip to Caesarea shows us why.

(Photo: Caesarea by the Mediterranean Sea. Courtesy of the Pictorial...

5 min read
FREE Resources for Your Bible Reading This Year

Let’s be honest. Bible reading can be intimidating. It’s a big book! But with only about 15 minutes a day, you can finish the whole Bible in a year. Why not make this year the year you do it?

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Bible reading is essential for growth...

4 min read
7 Christian Christmas Readings for Download

It’s a good thing we have holidays. Without these forced pauses in our hurried schedules, we would plow through life with only a headstone to stop us.

(Photo by Photodune)

Christmas certainly offers us a time to take a break from work. It’s also a time for...

6 min read
How to Rely on God’s Strength in Moments of Weakness

Peter denied he knew Christ. To some folks, that’s no big deal. Compared to murder, rape, etc., giving in to fear seems like small potatoes. But to Peter, his denial of Jesus ranked right up there with Judas’ betrayal. Personal failure always feels more poignant...

10 min read
Chasing the Surprising Geography of the Presence of God

It’s hard to imagine an omnipresent God dwelling in one place. And yet, every December we celebrate the fact. God dwells in the confines of a human body. And He is also everywhere.

But the incarnation isn’t the first time God has localized His presence among His...

6 min read
What to Do When It’s Not Really the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The songs play it. The movies portray it. Even our church services have their part to play. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Yeah, well what if it isn’t? For many people, holidays bring up painful memories.

Sore spots from childhood or the loss of...

5 min read
A Surprising, Essential Quality You Need for Spiritual Growth

When you see a group of friends roar with laughter after taking a selfie, you can bet they used a “warp app” to capture the moment. Like the funhouse mirrors of yesteryear, the app stretches our bodies and squeezes our faces to hilarious extremes. We have to...

5 min read
Trying to Figure Out God’s Odd Leading in Your Life

God’s leading and timing in our lives often don’t make sense. We know that almost 2,000 years ago Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem. But we forget that approximately 2,040 years before they did, Jacob and Rachel, another expectant couple, traveled south...

5 min read
Hanukkah—When Jesus Claimed to Be God on the Temple Mount

On a wintry day in Jerusalem, Jesus walked in Solomon’s Colonnade—the long, covered, columned portico on the east side of the Temple—overlooking the Kidron Valley.

(Photo: Solomon’s Colonnade lay along the eastern wall of the Temple. Courtesy of the Pictorial...

1 min read
[Video] A Virtual Tour through the Places of Jesus’ Birth

I am excited to show you my free video series on the Birth of Jesus, called “The Promise that Changed the World.” To watch immediately, just click the video below.

This is the first of 3 videos for you…

This video series will give you a virtual tour to the...

5 min read
When Finding Favor with God Makes Life Tough

It sounds strange, but sometimes finding favor with God makes life tough. When Gabriel informed Mary she would give birth to the Son of God, many thoughts ran through her mind, not the least of which was how she, a virgin, could conceive.

(Photo: by Jolanta...

5 min read
Thankfulness Comes from One Simple Word

This week we tend to focus on thankfulness for all we have. But sometimes it helps also to think about what we’ve lost. Loss carries with it a perspective that makes us grateful like few other things can.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

I’ve come to...

5 min read
11 Siri Hacks to Benefit Your Spiritual Life

Siri is a basic assistant on the iPhone, useful for setting appointments, sending emails and texts, and creating reminders. But hey, why not sanctify Siri to help you along in your spiritual life?

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

I have found, however, that...

6 min read
Mount of Beatitudes – Beauty that Illustrates Truth

No matter where you stand to view the picture, the subject seems to be smiling. The hills surrounding the Sea of Galilee frame the lake like a portrait. In spring, the hillsides burst with wildflowers, fresh grass, and spectacular color.

(Photo: Mount of...

9 min read
How Vanishing Biblical Sites Warn of Our Spiritual Lives

Without preservation, truth can grow weeds. Truth remains true, of course, but it can get buried beneath brambles and may as well not exist. Two sites I recently saw in Israel illustrate this well.

(Photo taken in 2007 of Gezer boundary inscription #8....

5 min read
An Amazing Truth: We Worship What We Think We Need

Some people can make us feel good. They attract us. Like a sunflower in a sunny field, we long to face the source that keeps us satisfied and meets our needs.

But we tend to worship what we think we need—whether it’s God, money, or even people. And whom we...

6 min read
The Wilderness of Judea—The Ultimate Getaway

Very few places in the Holy Land still look original. Most historic sites in Israel have some church, or a mosque, or a settlement, or thirty feet of civilization piled on top of them.

Photo: The Wilderness of Judea at sunset. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library...

5 min read
Ein Harod —How to Move from Fear to Faith

Too often, fear keeps us from enjoying what God has promised. We want so badly to have faith in what the Lord says. But fear of what we see seems more compelling than mere words. Gideon knew that.

(Photo: Ein Harod (Gideon’s Spring). Courtesy of the Pictorial...

7 min read
Pools of Bethesda – God’s Amazing Kindness and Our Courageous Choices

Very few people are drawn to God by intimidation. Instead, the Lord urges us to come to Him by revealing the kindness of His mercy. It’s a tremendous motivation.

(Photo: Pools of Bethesda and Crusader chapel, courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

...

6 min read
Your Shame and Its Surprising Solution

Shame hits us for one of two reasons. We feel shame because of something wrong someone did to us. Or we feel it because of something we did ourselves. Either way, like Adam and Eve, we want to cover it up.

(Photo: Frieze sarcophagus, Adam and Eve after fall....

6 min read
Your Rededication to God Can Begin Right Now

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC marks where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his speech, “I Have a Dream.” Standing in the shadow of Lincoln gave greater force to Dr. King’s words. The site intensified the message. I’m convinced that’s why Joshua regathered...

6 min read
This is Why God Invades Our Comfortable Lives

Everything was going so well. A good job. Promising future. Nice place to live. Peace among peers. Then God got involved, and it all changed. Ever had that happen? Me too. So did Israel of old.

(Photo: Umm ed-Dabar, possible Lo-Debar. Courtesy of the Pictorial...

8 min read
How the Pool of Siloam Helps us Connect Sukkot and the Messiah

If you’ve ever camped, you know that camping requires we forgo a lot of conveniences. The Feast of Tabernacles required similar sacrifices. In fact, it remains a timeless reminder that everything we possess—both physically and spiritually—comes from God.

...

7 min read
Why God Closes Doors On Good Plans In The World

Sometimes our path to next level includes what seem like setbacks. But they aren’t. God simply uses these tensions to propel us forward. Like an arrow pulled back against the bow. Paul’s time at Troas proved it true. 

(Photo: A paved road at Troas. Courtesy of...

4 min read
You Need To Know Only One Place Of Sacrifice Remains

For centuries, it was holy ground. The Dome of the Rock, the icon of modern Israel, sits atop a large, flat prominence in Jerusalem identified by Christians and Jews as the “Temple Mount.” Here Solomon built his magnificent sanctuary some 3,000 years ago.

...

5 min read
3 Reasons You Need to Journey to Israel Soon

More than any other experience, a tour to Israel puts the real in “reality.” How? The experience changes the way you read your Bible. I’ve personally seen in the lives of hundreds of Christians. It absolutely can happen for you as well.

(Photo: On the Mount of...

6 min read
When Struggles Strain Your Relationship with God

You will face disappointment today. I will too. When these frustrations shove their way in as unwelcome guests, the promise of God’s presence with us often feels thin. That’s just what Gideon thought.

(Photo: Ophrah, where the Lord met with Gideon. Courtesy of...

4 min read
Surrendering Your Will to God in Difficult Times

I have discovered that the most difficult battles in life simply mirror Jesus’ struggle in Gethsemane. His words to the Father remain the most challenging words we could utter:

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be...

7 min read
When You’re Ready—But Nothing Happens

You’re ready for a change. You’ve asked God to open a new door in your life, and He has taken years to prepare you for it. Finally, you’re ready. There’s just one problem. Nothing happens. You just hover. 

(Photo: Caesarea, where Peter met Cornelius. Courtesy...

4 min read
One Massive Gate Jesus Absolutely Refuses to Enter

The Old City of Jerusalem has a lot of gates. On the eastern side of the city walls, the Golden Gate stands bricked closed. It reminds me of the one massive gate Jesus refuses to enter. 

(Photo: Golden Gate at Jerusalem’s eastern side. Courtesy of the ...

8 min read
How to Take a Tour of Jerusalem Using Google Maps

Most of us use Google Maps to find directions to somewhere new or to estimate the time a trip will take. But search the Web site for Jerusalem and the advantages take on a whole new level. 

(Take a Virtual Tour of Jerusalem Using Google Maps)

You can take a...

6 min read
Surprising Ways Bible Lands Boosts Your Spiritual Life

We live in an age where avoiding obstacles, traveling great distances, and finding something to drink no longer prove a challenge. With a transportation system that requires little more than a basic understanding of road signs and airline gates, our world gives...

5 min read
How to Give Your Child Back to God

Giving your child back to God can be a tough decision for parents. Eighteen or more years of sacrifice, commitment, and training suddenly bring you to a point of no return.

(Photo: Shiloh, where Hannah brought Samuel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible...

6 min read
3 Truths You May Have Missed about Struggle in the Christian Life

We had no idea what following Jesus would require. Oh, we thought we knew. We had great ideas. The disciples had the same hopes one day in Capernaum. It didn’t include struggle in the Christian life.

(Photo: Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the ...

6 min read
How to Apply those Bible Verses that No Longer Apply

If we’re honest, reading the Bible sometimes seems like reading a TV Guide from 1975. Amusing and nostalgic, sure—but out-of-date. It seems better fitting in a museum. So why apply the Bible?

(Photo: Gospel of Luke 7.12-22, fragment. Courtesy of the Pictorial...

4 min read
Why God Will Lead You Unwanted Places

God will lead you places you would never choose. Unwanted places. Because the Lord is greater than we can imagine, it makes sense He wants for us more than we ever dreamed. The Holy Land proved it so. 

(Photo: Sunset over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem....

4 min read
Are Your Big Dreams as Big as Your God?

Life gets fueled on dreams. Without big dreams or a purpose, we wither and die. As Christians, we have more to do than get up, work hard, and come home for a few hours of TV—only to rise and begin again.

(Photo: Paul’s letter came to Rome. Courtesy of the ...

4 min read
Tel Dan Stele—Providential Ironies in Favor of King David (And You)

Sometimes archaeology gives us a gift. The ancient site of Tel Dan in Israel has a large, rock wall—a city gate from the time of Solomon’s temple. There archaeologists unearthed the Tel Dan Stele —a marvelous vindication to biblical history.

(Photo: Tel Dan...

4 min read
Land O Goshen! Why it Seems Like the Wheels are Coming Off

The curious phrase: “Land O Goshen!” is a way folks in the southern US expressed amazement or angst. As we look at today’s world, the biblical land of Goshen gives us good reason for amazement and frustration.

(Photo: Land of Goshen in Eastern Nile Delta....

5 min read
Valley of Achor: How to Change Your Trouble to Triumph

Some places in life have hard memories. Maybe it was your hometown or even your home. The events associated with those places taint their memories. The Valley of Achor was such a site.

(Photo: The Wadi Qilt, perhaps the Valley of Achor. Courtesy of the ...

4 min read
The Secret to Revealing the Lies of Temptation

Temptation is hard. That’s because the lies of temptation sound so convincing. When Jesus stood on the pinnacle of the Temple, He faced temptation with a wisdom we also can apply.

(Photo: Temple Mount southwestern corner. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of...

6 min read
Your Truth, My Truth, and The Truth

Are you pretty good at discerning right and wrong? It takes authority to figure that out. We all live under authority. Whether a government or an employer, a parent or a policeman, rules rule over us and disobedience has its consequences. It’s the truth.

...

6 min read
Why Forgiving Someone is Hard and How to Really Do It

Would you like to hold a grudge with God’s blessing? Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly how much of the same guff you had to take from someone until you no longer had to forgive?

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

The problem with forgiving is that the debt is...

6 min read
Tel Arad—Israel’s Point of Impatience with God

At Tel Arad, the whole land of Canaan lay before the Hebrews. They had waited and wandered forty years in the wilderness. The Promised Land was theirs for the taking. Right there before them!

(Photo: Arad Israelite fort, courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible...

5 min read
How Jerusalem’s Mountains are Like God’s Presence in Your Life

Life is full of moments that expose our doubts. In spite of all the Scripture we’ve learned and all the past victories the Lord has given us, occasionally something will happen that causes serious doubt.

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount near sunset. Courtesy...

5 min read
How to Breathe When God Steps on Your Air Hose

We aren’t surprised when we see people sidestep God. What shocks us, however, is when God seems to ignore people. The God of the Bible isn’t a far-off deity. So why does He seem so uninvolved?

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

God’s response to people’s...

4 min read
Walking with God Requires One Thing Most of All

We start strong. Determination and strength come easily. Faithfulness flows from our hearts. Then life happens. We didn’t plan to grow cold spiritually. But we did.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Somehow, we can wake up after a number of years and discover that...

4 min read
How God Turns Unfair Criticism into a Blessing for You

It’s tough to hear criticism—especially when it’s wrong. One of the dark moments of King David’s reign saw him shuffling barefoot over the Mount of Olives, fleeing rather than facing a fight with his rebel son Absalom.

(Photo: Sunrise over the Mount of Olives....

4 min read
God is Guiding Your Life and How You Can Know it For Sure

Sometimes it can feel like the Lord isn’t leading you toward anything significant in life. Or worse, that He has overlooked or abandoned you. One story reminds us that idea just isn’t true. 

(Photo: Women harvesting wheat near Bethlehem. Courtesy of the ...

4 min read
God’s Surprising Tests for You Often Look for One Thing

God’s tests are most often pop quizzes. You don’t see them coming. If you knew you would be running late tomorrow morning, you’d prepare ahead of time. But that’s not a real test.

(Photo: Shiloh, where Hannah trusted God. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of...

6 min read
What’s Your Motive? There’s Only One Way to Tell

What’s your motive? In Jerusalem, one site always begs the question. I find it fascinating that when the New Testament talks about God judging our motives, it uses the metaphor of a burnt house. 

(Photo: The Burnt House in Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial...

5 min read
The Levitical Cities—God’s Word Made Accessible to You

I am convinced God is far more concerned that we know His will than we are. In fact, He has gone to great lengths to help us understand what we need to know. It’s always been this way. Here’s why. 

(Photo: Tel Jokneam, one of the 48 Levitical Cities. Courtesy...

6 min read
How to Insert Your Quiet Time into Your Crazy Life

Sometimes I’m amazed at the chasm that stands between my morning quiet time and the rest of the day. You know what I mean? At times, there seems such a huge breach between Scripture and the real world.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Drinking deeply of the Word...

4 min read
How to Struggle with God and Win

What does it take for God to change you? In the Bible, when the Lord changed Jacob, it took a brawl. Isn’t it often the same with us? But that’s actually good news. 

(Photo: Jabbok River at Peniel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

These times...

5 min read
How to Stop Looking for God in the Wrong Places

The world makes promises it can’t keep. It says the reason we’re unhappy is that we just haven’t found the right whatever yet. But if we keep looking, we’ll find it.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

The right spouse, the right hairdo, the right salary, the...

8 min read
The Plains of Moab—Remember What God has Done in Your Life

The time always seems right to receive God’s blessings. After all, we could use some. But sometimes, we need to pause and remember what God has done already. The Plains of Moab give us that much-needed view. 

(Photo: Sunset from Mount Nebo, overlooking the...

4 min read
Why the Way to Shur isn’t the Best Way to Run

As creatures of habit, we take the same roads to work, school, and church each time we go. We call it efficiency. But we also have a road we take when we’re struggling. Typically it’s the same road each time.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

When faced with a...

6 min read
The Via Dolorosa—and the True Way of Suffering

It happens most times I’m in Jerusalem. I hear the question. “You’re telling me this isn’t the true Via Dolorosa, the “Way of Suffering” Jesus walked with His cross from Pilate’s Praetorium to Calvary? Then where is it?” 

(Photo: The Ecce Homo arch spans the...

5 min read
How God’s Light Can Help You in Surprising Ways

Imagine your life without light. No corrective lenses would help. Without light, even 20/20 eyes see nothing. Why? Your ability to see comes from a source completely outside of yourself. Without light, you have no sight.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

So often...

7 min read
How God Uses Geography to Shape Your Life

Think of the places most significant to you. That’s right, the places.  What makes them so special? Most likely, it’s not the places themselves but the events that took place there.

(Photo: Sunset over the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of...

6 min read
Touring the Holy Landfill and its Surprising Helpful Lessons

Sometimes we confuse the holy for the common. Tourism proves it. What sites does your hometown or nearby big city offer tourists? Let me guess. Nobody comes to your city to see the local landfill.

(Photo: Silwan, Iron Age tombs with trash. Courtesy of the ...

5 min read
How to Avoid High Places if You’re Looking for God

You started strong. Determination and strength came easily. You reach a summit in your day (or Christian life)—only to find life in high places has let you down.

(Photo: Mount Tabor. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

We followed the rules. We...

4 min read
The Passion Week Shows What Jesus is Looking for in Your Life

Sometimes what you expect is not what you get. You come to a situation that promises one thing, but you find another altogether. Monday of Passion Week proved that way for Jesus.

(Photo: Fig tree in Israel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

...

5 min read
Beersheba—The Last Stop and a Point of Beginning

If you have a twinge of fear to follow God’s leading, you’re not alone. After all, your future is clear only to Him—and He is good at keeping secrets. At Beersheba, Jacob had this struggle. What God told him also applies to you.

(Photo: Beersheba tell from...

8 min read
Salem—The Surprising Lesson We Learn From Abraham’s Visit to Jerusalem

What motivates you to give your best to God? When Abraham came to Jerusalem, he gave his best to a king who was God’s priest. This may have laid the groundwork for when Abraham gave his very, very best to God. 

(Photo: City of David with Middle Bronze and Iron...

6 min read
What the Bible’s Kosher Laws Can Teach You Today

Before I went to the Holy Land, the kosher laws of Leviticus seemed mere words on a page. For example, Exodus 34:26 says not to boil a goat in its mother’s milk. When have you last applied that?

(Photo: Baby goats in Israel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library...

7 min read
How Your Mind is Like an Archaeological Dig

Time does its natural work of hiding the truth. Archaeology proves it so. Go anywhere biblical history happened in Israel, and it looks different than when the event occurred. Sometimes, the difference is amazing.

(Photo: Robinson’s Arch with new excavations....

8 min read
5 Reasons to Get the Best Training for Ministry You Can

Years ago I devoured the massive autobiography of Billy Graham, entitled, Just As I Am. Near the end of the book, Billy wrote one sentence about training for ministry I’ll never forget.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

In a section of the book where he lists his...

5 min read
The Best Next Step after You Confess to God

We all blow it. For us as Christians, what often makes it worse is that we knew better—but we did it anyway. Nobody forced us. We chose it. Now we’re feeling regret.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

The emotional fallout we experience from grieving the Spirit of...

7 min read
The Transfiguration of Jesus—What Hope Can Do for You

Jesus had just dropped the bomb. At Caesarea Philippi, the Lord informed His star-struck disciples that He, the Messiah, would soon die and rise again. Amazingly, that didn’t hit them as good news.

(Photo: Mural in the Basilica of the Transfiguration of Jesus,...

5 min read
Do You Love Me?

What is the most important part of your relationship with God? Jesus asked Peter that question in four words beside the Sea of Galilee: “Do you love Me?”

(Photo: Tabgha harbor. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Seems like an easy question,...

6 min read
When You’ve Waited Long Enough for God to Do Something

Reflecting on life can prove good and bad. The good comes from how God has helped you stand strong and wait on Him when you thought you’d sink. The bad comes when think you’ve waited long enough.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Life reflection proves a major...

7 min read
Dothan—How to See Beyond Your Disappointment

Hindsight provides insight. It always can. But we can get so focused on today’s issues that we miss their purpose. Dothan appears only twice in the Bible. Both times, we get a perspective we desperately need.

(Photo: Tel Dothan and the Dothan Valley. Courtesy...

7 min read
3 Steps to Contentment in Your Life with God

The word sounds too good to be true. Contentment. It feels out of reach because it sounds out of touch. The world mistakes content people for the unambitious, lazy, and weak. Yet finding contentment comes from God.

(Photo: The quiet waters of Ein Perat....

5 min read
How to Unwrap the Bible’s Surprising Gifts in 4 Steps

Did you unwrap all your Christmas gifts? Silly question, I know. If we left a gift unopened, we might hurt the feelings of the giver. Plus, we wouldn’t get our gift! Still, we do have surprising gifts to open. 

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

The Bible is a book...

5 min read
How to Live the Impossible Christian Life

The Christian life is not hard. It’s impossible. We can no more live the impossible Christian life on our own than we can get to heaven on our own. Jesus’ words by the Sea of Galilee prove it true.

(Photo: The Plain of Bethsaida, where Jesus fed the 5000....

8 min read
Mount Sinai—Why You Absolutely Need God’s Word First

What gets your attention first each day? You have a todo list that begins to yell at you—yesterday’s list to finish first. But before the rush of productivity, God urges us to race to the foot of Mount Sinai —and pause. 

(Photo: The Mountains of Sinai from...

5 min read
How to Cope When the Will of God is Hard

Sometimes it seems the Lord leads us into a life that can’t possibly be His will. What started with such promise has become such a challenge. It’s tough to know what to do next.

(Photo by Photodune)

What do you do when the life God has promised you looks...

8 min read
3 Sites Where the Habits of Jesus Can Help You Crush Compromise

Bad habits are hard to break. But here’s the good news: so are good habits. Once installed, a good routine serves as a powerful ally in your walk with God. Three habits of Jesus show us how.

(Photo: Olive trees on the Mount of Olives. Courtesy of the Pictorial...

3 min read
Come see the Wonderful Lands of the Bible with Me this Fall!

No other place on earth can compare. The Holy Land is where God’s biblical story took place. You have to experience the lands of the Bible yourself to understand how life-transforming it truly is. Now you can. 

(Photo: The Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the ...

6 min read
4 Reasons You Should Try Listening to the Bible for a Change

Do you want God to speak to you audibly? That’s easy. Just read the Bible out loud. When was the last time you tried listening to the Bible instead of simply reading it? I recently listened to the whole Bible in a year. In years past, I had only read the Bible...

8 min read
How to Follow God by Pondering Amazing Bird Migrations in Israel

Every winter, God’s design works without flaw. Thousands of birds take wing and head south. But in our lives, unlike the bird migrations in Israel, the chilly winds don’t always cause us to head the right direction.

(Photo: Grey heron in Israel. Courtesy of...

5 min read
What Happens When God Shows Up in a Special Way

Do you remember the last time God showed up unannounced in your life? Even though the Lord is everywhere always, occasionally He’ll show up in a unique way. This happened to me just a few days ago.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

I headed to the mall to pick up...

6 min read
How to Find and Follow God’s Will This Year

There is only one way you will know God’s will for you this year. Relatively speaking, that’s the easy part. But once you know it, then comes the tough assignment.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

From the first verse of Scripture, God revealed how the Earth set...

3 min read
Why You Should Give Books for Christmas

You like to read. (After all, you read my blog.) That means you probably have read some great books over the years. One of the best gifts you can give someone is a book, and I’m convinced we should give books for Christmas. Here’s why.

(Photo by Photodune)

...

6 min read
4 Blessings from God that May Surprise You

Sometimes it seems no one understands what we’re going through. When people fail us, or forget us, or even betray us, we’re left alone in the ashes of a reality we never expected or wanted.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

In those intense moments of...

4 min read
Where was Jesus Really Born?

Bethlehem’s main attraction centers on the oldest standing church in Israel. The ancient structure marks the traditional site of Jesus’ birth, and yet, it isn’t much to look at.

(Photo: The front of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Courtesy of the ...

3 min read
Video 3: Continue Your Virtual Tour through the Places of Jesus’ Birth

The third episode releases today in my new virtual tour of the places of Jesus’ birth. I love this episode, because we have examples in the biblical Christmas story of how to follow God when His leading makes no sense. Click here to watch.

I had a blast filming...

3 min read
Video 2: Continue Your Virtual Tour through the Places of Jesus’ Birth

Today Episode 2 releases in my new video series giving a virtual tour through the places of Jesus’ birth. You can click here to watch it now (as well as Episode 1).

 

The response has been tremendous, and I’m so grateful to you who have given a comment on ...

3 min read
Watch Video 1: A Virtual Tour through the Places of the Birth of Christ

I am so excited to release my new video series on the Birth of Jesus, called “The Promise that Changed the World.” If you want to skip to the nitty-gritty, and just watch the video, here it is. Just click.

Not everybody can go to the Holy Land where the first...

1 min read
New Christmas Video Series Releases Friday!

How do we keep going when it seems God is doing nothing? How do we trust God when what we need is impossible? How do we follow God when His leading makes no sense? Christmas gives us the answer.

Beginning Friday, I’m releasing my brand new FREE Christmas series...

5 min read
How to Follow God When His Plan Seems Strange

God’s leading is often strange. That’s because He doesn’t share the plan. He keeps it a secret. We want God’s plan so we can trust the plan. God hides the plan so we will trust Him.

(Photo by Tom Butler, courtesy of oomf.com)

Genesis began with God blessing...

2 min read
Free Black Friday Download for You

To counter the madness of BLACK FRIDAY, I want to give you something free. As my way of saying thanks, you can download a free copy of my audio resource: “How to Forgive When Forgiveness is Really Tough.” 

This message retails for $5 but you can get it FREE...

5 min read
How to Deal with Difficult People Who Refuse to Change

Several years ago I found myself at odds with someone. This individual had spoken severely to our daughter, and I confronted this person with the truth—but in anger, and I failed to speak truth in love.

(Photo by Photodune)

Later, I tried to get together and...

5 min read
2 Ways to Find Balance in the Christian Life

One of our greatest challenges is finding balance in the Christian life. Think of a person on a tightrope. There’s never a point where they just stroll across effortlessly. Balance requires continual effort.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Have you ever noticed...

6 min read
What to Do When God Fails Your Expectations

We don’t say it out loud, but often we expect that if we believe and live correctly, we’ll have great marriages, healthy bank balances, well-balanced children, and freedom from major problems.

(Photo: Machaerus is where John the Baptist was imprisoned....

9 min read
Cities of Refuge – Where to Run When You’ve Done Nothing Wrong

You did nothing wrong. Still, those with influence and a voice have chased you out with accusations as agonizing as they were outrageous. You needed a place of refuge to run.

(Photo: Shechem, one of the Cities of Refuge. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of...

4 min read
How Your Patience Can Protect You Like a Wall

Sometimes piles of rocks speak great truths for our lives. I caught a fresh reminder of this as Cathy and I just returned from several weeks in Israel. The fallen walls of Tel Lachish tapped me on the shoulder.

At Tel Lachish, I stood atop the ruins where...

5 min read
Kursi – How to Choose between People, Pigs, and Priorities

Sometimes in the swell of our emotions, we make promises we don’t mean. On one occasion, two individuals approached Jesus and declared they would follow Him wherever He went.

(Photo: The steep slope at Kursi beside the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the ...

5 min read
How to Understand God’s Plan for You in a World of Confusion

Tough circumstances of life always change our minds about God. They either tempt us to doubt what He’s promised, or they draw us closer to Him in faith. But we never stay the same.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

God’s plan for your life is revealed and tested...

5 min read
Why Facing the Facts Begins with Faith

Today you will be told to face the facts. Usually, that means bad news. You don’t have the money. The doctor’s report looks grim. Time is running out on your biological clock. Facing the facts is hard.

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But think about it: facing...

5 min read
The Critical Question We Ought to Ask When Hurting

When something or someone hurts your feelings, where do you run? The book of Psalms repeatedly asks God where He is in the midst of our pain. After all, we’d really love it if God would stop the hurting since He can.

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Amazingly...

5 min read
A Balm in Gilead—Your Solution is Nearer than You Imagine

Have you ever missed seeing something only to discover it lay in front of you the whole time? Misplaced car keys are one thing. But ignoring help from God is something else.

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

Few...

6 min read
3 Promises of God to Help Your Fear of Change

Let me guess. You sit in the same spot in church each week. You drive the same route to work. You eat the same things for breakfast. And you pray the same way at meals. Right? Me too.

(Photo by Photodune)

As creatures of habit, we like the efficiency and...

7 min read
Chorazin—Sitting in the Seat but Missing the Message

Leadership in any form is a place of honor because of one reason only. You won’t see that reason in the world’s system where leadership often stands upside down. A small town in Galilee reminds us how to keep it upright. 

(Photo: Chorazin’s ruins hide at...

6 min read
How to Show Love When Others Don’t Love You

Who is the person you struggle to love? Let me ask it another way. How do we show love when we don’t feel like it? We reach out with the goal of love without expecting any love in return. That’s hard.

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Some years ago I found myself...

5 min read
The Beautiful Garden of Eden that Will Make You Sad

Do you like snakes? Me, not so much. Whether it’s a “good snake” or a bad snake, I tend to err on the side of caution (especially with ladies in the house). After all, even the Garden of Eden had snakes.

(Photo: Euphrates River. Courtesy of the Pictorial...

6 min read
How to Look Past Monday to Eternity

It’s hard to look past Monday to eternity. But Monday will be better if you do. The road of our lives leads to death. Yes, but it never ends there. Our soul bounces and it never slows down.

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Heaven will have the bright streets of...

10 min read
The Eye-Opening Results You’ll Discover by Using Maps in Your Bible Reading

How do you know which way to go when your smartphone has no service? Just this week, Cathy and I faced this problem as we drove through Glacier National Park with some friends. So, we used something I hadn’t used in years. An actual roadmap. 

(Photo courtesy...

4 min read
When God Finally Gives You Want You’ve Begged For

Got any unanswered prayers? That may be a good thing. Sometimes the only thing worse than God refusing to give us what we want occurs when He gives us want we want. 

(Photo by Photodune)

Many years ago, our young daughter had only one thing on her mind.

She...