God’s Surprising Tests for You Often Look for One Thing

When the tests come, we can believe what is true or what is false.

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.

God's Surprising Tests for You Often Look for One Thing

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

A real test hits your blindside. It tests the mettle of your theology, and often, it even seems to contradict it.

  • You have walked with God, but a family member suddenly gets terribly ill.
  • Your integrity on the job has been stellar, but someone else gets the promotion.
  • You have worked hard on a project, but the doors for its success stay closed.
  • You get an unexpected phone call with news that chills your soul.

In the end, the pop quizzes we experience usually boil down to one thing.

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How to Stop Looking for God in the Wrong Places

The solution to the futility you feel is easier than you think.

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.

Looking for God in the Wrong Places

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The right spouse, the right hairdo, the right salary, the right entertainment system, the right church, the right pastor, the right Bible, the right seminar, etc.

Those without God struggle with this, for sure. But even those of us who do believe in Jesus can chase these shadows.

We may not know we’re looking for God. But we are.

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How God’s Light Can Help You in Surprising Ways

When you don't know what to do next, do this.

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.

How God's Light Can Help You in Surprising Ways

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So often life feels like we’re groping in the dark for answers. How do we know which way to go? How do we find answers to our questions? That’s why David writes:

The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? —Psalm 27:1

The Lord illumines what otherwise would remain hidden in darkness. But there’s a problem. We need more than direction and even more than answers.

So God’s light gives us another essential help.

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

We need one thing more than anything in our spiritual climb.

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.

Mount Tabor

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

We followed the rules. We stayed in line. We walked the straight and narrow. So what happened?

The path we followed led to a false summit. A huge distraction. 

It happens when we forget this one thing.

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Christmas Shows God’s Amazing Providence in Your Life

Here's how you can know your chances are really God’s choices.

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.

Christmas Shows the Power of God's Providence in Your Life

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

From the divine viewpoint, God orchestrated ordinary events for extraordinary outcomes.

Think about this past year in your life. Many ordinary events occurred. Most of them you don’t remember. But God has been working. It isn’t just the Christmas story.

It’s your story too. God uses the power of providence in your life.

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How Your Patience Can Protect You Like a Wall

The crumbling walls of Lachish illustrate a proverb you can apply today.

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 the Assyrians laid siege to this fortified city during the reign of Hezekiah. The crumbling walls of Lachish illustrate a proverb I read this week in the Bible.

In fact, you will have the choice to apply the proverb before the sun goes down today.

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3 Promises of God to Help Your Fear of Change

Would you be willing to follow God if you knew you couldn't fail?

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.

3 Promises of God to Help Your Fear of Change

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As creatures of habit, we like the efficiency and security of rituals. But when our routine gets changed by someone or something, we get miffed. Here’s why: 

  • The only change we welcome is the change we expect. Like the seasons. We plan for it and can adjust accordingly.
  • We also like the change we initiate, like a new job or even a dry diaper, because it gets us what we want.

God, however, has a different view. We have a fear of change, but He has a strange commitment to it.

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The Beautiful Garden of Eden that Will Make You Sad

It's probably not where you think it is.

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.

Searching for the Garden of Eden

(Photo: Euphrates River. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Have you thought about Eve, standing there in paradise, conversing with a forked-tongued reptile with no eyelids? Ew! 

But it’s essential we remember even Eden had snakes. Why should we think of that? Because many of us live our lives on a quest for the the Garden of Eden.

Eden had snakes. Here’s what to look for instead.

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How to Discover the Secret to a Lasting Satisfaction

How do we deal with the futility of life when the satisfaction always fades?

Have you ever noticed how we dedicate so much time and money to feed feelings that last only a moment? Think about your upcoming weekend for a moment and see if it isn’t true.

The Secret to a Lasting Satisfaction

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  • We pay five dollars for a cup of coffee we drink in five minutes.
  • We long for that glorious vacation but come home in a week to face the same daily grind.
  • We plunk down twenty bucks for a movie (and even more for popcorn), and it’s over in two hours.
  • We enjoy the zing of a new relationship or a new church fellowship only to discover it’s just like the last one.

Nothing wrong with any of these activities, per se. But when joy and satisfaction in life elude us, we need to ask an obvious question with a not-so-obvious answer: How do we deal with the futility of life when my satisfaction always fades?

Eventually we figure out we can’t exist for the next relationship or vacation or pat on the back. Instead, we need to learn to live for what never fades and what always satisfies.

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The Secret to Walking the Path of Wisdom

The practical book of Proverbs makes it clear.

The first steps we take in a decision often make sense. But the connection between those steps and their final outcome often seems unrelated. Walking the path of wisdom has a domino effect far greater than we can imagine.

The Secret to Walking the Path of Wisdom

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For us, a disciplined intake of Scripture certainly promises wisdom. But wisdom offers a course of action, not just a course of instruction.

The book of Proverbs reveals the outcome of the pathways we are walking. And it tells us how to stay on the path of wisdom.

Here’s how.

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