The Secret to Revealing the Lies of Temptation

Learning from Jesus at the Pinnacle of the Temple

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.

Temple Mount southwestern corner - The Secret to Revealing the Lies of Temptation

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

Some believe the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem represents the pinnacle where Satan dangled temptation before Jesus (Luke 4:9). Satan is the best marketer in the sin business. 

A recent phone call reminded me of this. 

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

Jerusalem's Geography Can Relieve Your Doubts

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.

How Jerusalem's Geography Can Relieve Your Doubts

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount near sunset. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Maybe it’s a financial situation that undercuts future security. Or it might be a miserable marriage. Perhaps it’s a pastor or a leader who has failed. Maybe it’s our own failure.

Whatever the reason, seasons of doubts and confusion can come even to the most committed followers of Jesus:

  • John the Baptist struggled with doubts about his own beliefs about Jesus (Matt. 11:2-3).
  • The apostle Thomas found the resurrection of Christ something he had to see before he’d believe (John 20:25).
  • Some of the disciples had doubts about Jesus’ appearing to them, even at the Great Commission (Matt. 28:17).

I confess, I’ve had my doubts as well. Sometimes circumstances literally demanded I doubt God. A simple walk in Jerusalem one evening gave me an essential reminder.

I’m convinced it can help you.

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How to Apply those Odd Canaanite Names and Places

2 Lessons from People that Don't Seem to Matter (But Do)

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? Why should I care about the Canaanites this week?

Sorting Out Those Odd Canaanite Names and Places

(Photo: Megiddo’s Canaanite temple and sacrificial altar. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In fact, most of the time when I hear preachers read the list of “Canaanites, Hittites, and Jebusites,” they typically add “Termites” to the list just to get a laugh. We chuckle because—if we’re honest—including those Canaanite names seems a bit ridiculous—and irrelevant.

What difference do all those “—ites” make to us? In this post I’ll give a simple overview of these names, who they were, and where they lived.

But more importantly, I’ll share what difference they make to us today.

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

Why You Need to Wall Off Your Time with the Bible

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.

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

(Photo: Scribe copying the Scriptures. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

At the end of the exile, God moved the heart of the pagan King Artaxerxes to allow Ezra—a scribe and priest—to return to Jerusalem in 458 BC. Fourteen years before Nehemiah returned to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, Ezra returned to rebuild the people. He did it by calling them to return to the Word of God.

Ezra shows us both how to prepare for the opportunities God provides and how to protect ourselves from what threatens them.

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

How Tisha B'Av & the Burnt House Examine Us

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. 

How Tisha B'Av & the Burnt House Examine Us

(Photo: The Burnt House in Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Some call it coincidence. Some call it Providence. But according to tradition, both the First and Second Temples (in 586 BC and AD 70) were destroyed on the same date in history. Tisha B’Av marks the 9th day of the month of Av—the fifth Jewish month. During the exile, the Jews instituted a fast to commemorate the Temple’s destruction. After they returned to Jerusalem, they asked God a question about Tisha B’Av:

Shall I weep in the fifth month and abstain, as I have done these many years? —Zechariah 7:3

Their question made sense.

They had observed the fast in exile, but should they continue to fast on Tisha B’Av now that they were building the Second Temple? God’s answer to their question reaches beyond them to the heart of why we do what we do.

One question gets to the heart of our heart.

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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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Whenever I visit the holocaust museum in Jerusalem I like walking down the “Row of Righteous Gentiles.” It’s a great reminder of the one thing we need in order for God to use us.

This quick video will tell you what it is.

Tell me what you think: What are some reasons you struggle to let God use you? To leave a comment, just click here.

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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I always enjoy going to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Western Wall is no exception. In this quick video I share one of major reasons coming to the Wall is so exciting. It reminds me of a hope that also will encourage you. 

Check it out! 

Tell me what you think: What is your greatest hope? To leave a comment, just click here.

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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