Mount of Beatitudes – Beauty that Illustrates Truth

Looking Beyond the Lake to Life

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.

Mount of Beatitudes and Sea of Galilee

(Photo: Mount of Beatitudes and Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The tranquil slopes tower above fruit crops and fertile fields that stretch across the lush Plain of Gennesaret.

Numerous places around the lake offer splendid panoramas.

  • The best view, by far, is atop Mount Arbel. Windy and requiring a walk, the vast landscape stuns every first-timer.
  • Another grand vista is the view from Kfar Haruv on the eastern side—you can see the whole lake from tip to tip. Impressive, for sure.

But the picturesque view from the Mount of Beatitudes offers visitors more than simply a beautiful view.

It offers a place to consider truth taught there by One who knew it.

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How to Resist Temptation Like Jesus

The Lord's strategy in the Judean Wilderness also works today.

Everybody faces temptation. And on some level, everybody has fallen to it. Everybody but Jesus. I have walked in the wilderness where Satan tempted Jesus.

Judean wilderness

(Photo: Judean wilderness. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Good grief, what a place. As far as my eye could see, it was empty, dry, and depressing. I tried to imagine the solitude and struggle Jesus would have endured for over a month. But I could not.

How did Jesus resist temptation here?

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Nebi Samwil—A Site with Wisdom Ignored

Solomon's defining moment can also become ours.

Most travelers to Jerusalem never think to come to Nebi Samwil. The minaret towering above the hill looks like a misplaced lighthouse searching for the sea. On a clear day, a visitor can spy the Mediterranean to the west.

Nebi Samwil

(Photo: Nebi Samwil. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Although few come here today, there were few more important places in David’s and Solomon’s time—if any. In fact, it signified Solomon’s most defining moment.

What’s more, it represents the potential for ours as well.

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Why You Shouldn’t Recommend a Book You Haven’t Read

I once led a church small group where I had fallen behind in preparation. To buy some time, I asked each participant to purchase a certain book, read the first chapter, and we would discuss it. Big mistake.

Why You Shouldn’t Recommend a Book You Haven’t Read

(Photo by Photodune)

We sailed through the first part of the chapter until we slammed into a wall. A theological wall. This well-known author took potshots at a theological position we held as a church.

What was my mistake? I hadn’t read the book before.

Here’s what happened.

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Why Your Perspective Requires Both Eyeballs

I sat in the front row of my 8th grade math class and squinted at the chalkboard. A total blur. I had to face it. I needed glasses.

Why It's Important to Use Both of Your Eyeballs

(Photo by Photodune)

I’ll never forget the moment I put on my glasses for the first time. WOW! A different perspective entirely! I had no idea the details of life I had missed. They were there all the time, but I literally could not see them.

Glasses and contacts made a huge difference. Trees had leaves. Shapes had sharp edges. Colors were more vibrant. And, oh yeah, I could see in math class.

That worked great for about 35 years. But now I have another problem. As my eyeballs have aged, they have given me 2 choices:

  1. I can see far away (with my contacts).
  2. Or I can see up close (without contacts).

It was one perspective or the other—until my optometrist gave me a really weird solution.

You and I have the same challenge spiritually.

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How Your Marriage is Like the Death Star

Your marriage is like the Death Star. Oh, I don’t mean it’s a large instrument of destruction and devastation. It’s something else. See if you can spot it in this clip.

Did you see it? Perhaps this quote by Plato will help:

The life of the nation is the life of the family written large. —Plato

Still stumped? The foundation of a nation is the family, and the foundation of the family is the marriage. If you can destroy marriage, you have begun a chain reaction that will dissolve the family, and eventually, the nation.

The key word is vulnerability.

Here’s how your marriage is like the Death Star—and more importantly, how you can protect it from what makes it vulnerable.

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The Southern Steps and Psalms of Ascent Reminders

Who would have ever thought to use stairs as a memory-trigger? At the southern edge of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, a 200-foot wide flight of stairs represents both original and restored steps from the Second Temple period.

The Southern Steps and Psalms of Ascent Reminders

(Photo: Reading the Psalms of Ascent on the Southern Steps. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.)

Millions of sandals (including Jesus’) shuffled up these steps in antiquity as Jewish pilgrims came from all Israel and the Diaspora to worship the Lord for the annual feasts.

Some suggest the pilgrims sang the Psalms of Ascent on these steps. If so, the place brought to mind critical themes.

The place echoes of our need to be reminded of what we already know.

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Expect God to Test Your Vision

I sit still with my face in a brace, wide-eyed and waiting for that imminent blast of air in my eyeball. “Now don’t blink,” the optometrist says. POW! I know it’s coming, but my whole body still jerks. I feel like an idiot.

Sit still, please.

(Photo: Design Pics, via Vivozoom)

Then we do it again with the other eye.

This unpleasant procedure has to happen each year. Without it, my vision isn’t all it can be.

The Lord does a similar thing with the vision He gives us in the Bible. We think we see it clearly until a blast in the eyeball jerks our whole frame of reference.

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A Land Without Absolute Truth

I read an article that surveyed what adults rank as the most important thing they learned from their father. A few mentioned skills, like how to change a tire, or drive a car, or play sports. Saving money ranked even higher.

(Photo: Monkey Business Images, via Vivozoom)

But the highest category adults ranked? Their father taught them to tell the truth.

That’s great. But these days, what is truth?

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