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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How to Insert Your Quiet Time into Your Crazy Life

One discipline more than any other will make all the difference.

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.

How to Insert Your Quiet Time into Your Crazy Life

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Drinking deeply of the Word of God in the early morning hours, I express in prayer my love for the Lord, His Word, and His church. It’s all good.

But then I leave the house.

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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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5 Reasons to Get the Best Training for Ministry You Can

The question is, how effective do you want your ministry to be?

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.

5 Reasons to Get the Best Training for Ministry You Can

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In a section of the book where he lists his regrets, he wrote:

I would do many things differently. For one thing, I would speak less and study more. —Billy Graham

When I was young in the ministry, I resisted furthering my training. After all, I already had a ministry position. So why would I pursue more education and training? I’m done, I thought. Better to get busy making a difference.

Then one verse in the Bible hit me square between the eyes.

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

It's the best way to benefit from your Bible.

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. 

How to Unwrap the Bible's Gifts in 4 Steps

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The Bible is a book of gifts, often unwrapped, because we simply don’t realize its tremendous value to our lives.

I want to share with you 4 steps that can help you unwrap the Bible’s blessings in your life.

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

Experience the Word of God in a brand new way.

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 through. But listening was a different experience.

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

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It took longer to listen to it, of course, but the experience helped me connect with the Word of God in a way much closer to the way the original recipients interacted with Scripture.

The Bible tells us, for example:

At the end of every seven years . . . you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing. —Deuteronomy 31:10–11

When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. —Colossians 4:16

Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture. —1 Timothy 4:13

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for reading the Bible. But the biblical authors originally wrote the Scriptures primarily to be heard—not read.

Here are 4 reasons why you should try listening to the Bible for a change.

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How to Find and Follow God’s Will This Year

Discerning God’s will is always found in God’s Word.

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.

How to Find and Follow God's Will This Year

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From the first verse of Scripture, God revealed how the Earth set the stage for the divine drama of history to take place (Gen. 1:1). From its formless, void beginning, the Lord fashioned the Earth with His intention in its details. From this ground, God made physical people spiritual beings in His image.

Finding and following God’s will was no different for Adam and Eve than it is for us.

We have the same problem they did.

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Why You Should Give Books for Christmas

5 Reasons Your Best Gifts Include Good Books

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.

Why You Should Give Books for Christmas

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Here are give reasons books make great gifts for Christmas. 

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How to Keep a Dogged Devotion to Bible Reading

What can you do when the Bible seems boring?

Let’s admit it. Sometimes reading the Bible can seem, well—can I say it?—boring. Especially if you’re reading through a program and you get to Leviticus. How can a book that has changed the lives of billions ever seem boring?

Keep a dogged devotion to Bible reading.

(Photo: By William Hoiles from Basking Ridge, NJ. CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Some reasons Bible reading seems boring could be:

  1. The benefits of Bible reading don’t feel immediate.
  2. The Bible was written a long time ago.
  3. It takes work to understand parts of God’s Word.
  4. My busy life leaves little time for Bible reading.

Whatever the reason Bible reading is tough, the problem is still the same: How can we keep a dogged devotion for the most un-boring book in the world?

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How the New Testament Can Begin in the Wrong Place

As you read the gospels, think forward by thinking backward.

You may be surprised to read this, but the New Testament begins in the wrong place. In our thinking, at least. Hang on, I haven’t lost it just yet. Here’s what I mean.

How the New Testament Begins in the Wrong Place

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When we open the New Testament, we often read the gospels by thinking forward to the church. How does this apply to me today? After all, God’s Word has as its goal our changed lives. Nothing wrong with that. But we miss something important when we make a mad dash to application.

In fact, when we read the gospels by first thinking forward, we sidestep a truth that plays a critical role in the life change we long for.

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