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

Two essential decisions will help you move forward.

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.

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

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

Two decisions at Kadesh Barnea determined the future. Twice God’s people stood on the edge of their future. The first time, the Hebrews made the decision; the second time, Moses did. Nobody made an announcement of what would happen at Kadesh.

No one knew how significant the transition would be.

As you face the day before you, you have the same two decisions to make.

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Why the Way to Shur isn’t the Best Way to Run

God allows your challenge to urge you to take a different journey.

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.

Take the Way to Shur

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

When faced with a problem or a temptation, we tend to retrace our steps and head in a direction we’ve gone a thousand times before.

  • It’s familiar.
  • It often makes most sense.
  • It’s a well-traveled road; most people take it.

There’s a road in the book of Genesis called the “Way to Shur.” The patriarchs took it more than once.

It’s the same road we take when we’re struggling.

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The Via Dolorosa—and the True Way of Suffering

Looking Beyond Tradition to the Historical Path Jesus Walked

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?” 

The Via Dolorosa—and the True Way of Suffering Jesus Walked

(Photo: The Ecce Homo arch spans the Via Dolorosa. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The Via Dolorosa of today marks an exercise in faith more than fact, and its stops or “stations” reflect Catholic tradition more than history. Popularized by Sandi Patti’s hit song in 1991, the Via Dolorosa also attracts the veneration of Protestant pilgrims who journey to Jerusalem.

There’s just one problem. The true path to the cross was in a completely different place.

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How God Uses Geography to Shape Your Life

He takes us places to gain what we could get nowhere else.

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.

How God Uses Geography to Shape Our Lives

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

In our lives, events make places significant because of memories. But in biblical times, it was often just the opposite. The place itself often played a major role in causing a significant event.

The lands of the Bible offer more than a mere backdrop for the stories of the Bible. These places played an integral role in shaping the lives of those who lived there. God designed it so. And for us, understanding how the land shaped its people gives us tremendous insight into understanding Scripture.

Even more, it gives us a glimpse as to how God uses even geography in our lives today.

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Touring the Holy Landfill and its Surprising Helpful Lessons

Why we can never allow the ho-hum to replace the holy

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.

Silwan, Iron Age tombs with trash

(Photo: Silwan, Iron Age tombs with trash. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In San Antonio (where I grew up), the Alamo and Riverwalk still draw a crowd. In Dallas (near where I live now), Dealey Plaza ranks near the top. But the garbage dump never ranks high on “Things to See” (or smell) for any city.

Except perhaps Jerusalem.

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

What Jesus wants to find when He looks at our lives.

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.

Fig tree in Israel

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

After His Triumphal Entry on the colt, Jesus entered the Temple area in Jerusalem and found the Court of the Gentiles—the area for Gentiles to worship God—filled with markets and moneychangers.

The next day, Monday, Jesus returned to Jerusalem along the same road He had traveled before. He saw a fig tree in leaf, which typically indicated that it would have unripe figs to eat. But the tree offered only leaves.

No fruit for breakfast. So Jesus cursed the tree. His disciples heard Him.

We should hear Him too.

Jesus’ words indicate what He is looking for in our lives.

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Beersheba—The Last Stop and a Point of Beginning

What God told Jacob there also applies to you.

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.

3 Sites by Beersheba You Seldom See—Arad, Besor, and Aroer

(Photo: Beersheba tell from east. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Beersheba epitomizes the faith God required to live in the Holy Land. Standing in the arid winds of Tel Beersheba, the truth seems both overwhelming and irresistible.

God used this unassuming, barren place to shape some of the most significant lives in the Bible.

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

What motivates you to give your best to God?

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. 

Salem—What We Can Learn From Abraham's Visit to Jerusalem

(Photo: City of David with Middle Bronze and Iron Age walls. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

We usually associate Abraham with Jerusalem in connection with the binding of Isaac—Abraham’s heroic willingness to sacrifice his son in the region of Moriah—today’s Temple Mount (Gen. 22:2; 2 Chron. 3:1).

But Abraham had come to Jerusalem (Salem) many years earlier. His visit there gives us more than a peek at early Jerusalem.

It gives us a lesson worth pondering.

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What the Bible’s Kosher Laws Can Teach You Today

It's about far more than food.

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?

What the Kosher Laws Can Teach Us Today

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

The verse has been misunderstood to mean people shouldn’t eat meat and milk during the same meal. Yet, even if that meaning was true, the truth isn’t timeless. Abraham himself had no qualms in serving both together—even to God (take a peek at Gen. 18:8)!

Although all of the Bible’s commands for dietary laws aren’t represented in modern Israel, the fact that any are observed serves as a powerful illustration of what God first intended the diet code to accomplish.

Even in the Garden of Eden, with the first dietary law given to eat from any tree except one (Gen. 2:16-17), God’s command centered around one question.

Would they obey?

But food also had another purpose.

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How Your Mind is Like an Archaeological Dig

Time is no friend to an unintentional spiritual life.

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.

How Your Mind is Like an Archaeological Dig

(Photo: Robinson’s Arch with new excavations. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

I remember a dirt road beside my grandfather’s farm where I used to ride my bike as a boy. I went by that road recently, and it had completely grown over with weeds. No trace of that old road at all! Gone—after only a few decades.

Whenever I go to Israel, I see dozens of sites where biblical history unfolded. But without the archaeologist’s spade, the places of biblical events would lie hidden beneath centuries of erosion, overgrowth, and destruction.

It takes digging to see the sites. Why? Time does its natural work of hiding the truth.

The same proves true with your mind.

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