Valley of Achor: How to Change Your Trouble to Triumph

Why You Should Never Give up if You're in a Hopeless Place

Some places in life have hard memories. Maybe it was your hometown or even your home. The events associated with those places taint their memories. The Valley of Achor was such a site.

Valley of Achor: How to Change Your Trouble to Triumph

(Photo: The Wadi Qilt, perhaps the Valley of Achor. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

After Joshua’s victory at Jericho, the Israelites suffered defeat at Ai because a man named Achan had buried banned spoils of war under his tent (Joshua 7:1, 21). Following this event, the Valley of Achor served as a reminder of failure, of setback, and of defeat.

But God would change the place from a site of trouble to a place of triumph.

He can do the same for you.

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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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What Happens When God Shows Up in a Special Way

The presence of God now brings hope for the presence of God for eternity.

Do you remember the last time God showed up unannounced in your life? Even though the Lord is everywhere always, occasionally He’ll show up in a unique way. This happened to me just a few days ago.

What Happens When God Shows Up in a Special Way

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I headed to the mall to pick up some last-minute gifts. The traffic crawled along in the wet winter weather. Stuck at a stoplight behind a line of cars, I remembered that a few years ago I had purchased some songs from Celine Dion’s Christmas album.

“Hey, Siri,” I said, “play Celine Dion.”

The familiar melody of my favorite Christmas carol began. With traffic going nowhere, I had a forced moment of complete solitude, and I listened to an angelic voice singing words that resonated with the core of my being.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.

Then it happened. 

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How to Understand God’s Plan for You in a World of Confusion

No need to miss the opportunity God has given you today.

Tough circumstances of life always change our minds about God. They either tempt us to doubt what He’s promised, or they draw us closer to Him in faith. But we never stay the same.

How to Understand God's Plan for You in a World of Confusion

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

God’s plan for your life is revealed and tested in times of struggle.

If you’re struggling today, don’t miss the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of God’s plan for you.

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How the Pool of Siloam Helps us Connect Sukkot and the Messiah

Jesus' invitation on the Feast of Tabernacles offers life abundantly.

Do you like to camp? Anybody who has ever gone camping knows that we forgo major conveniences. The Feast of Tabernacles required similar sacrifices. In fact, it remains a timeless reminder that everything we possess—both physically and spiritually—comes from God.

The Pool of Siloam Helps us Connect Sukkot and the Messiah

(Photo: Western Wall at Sukkot. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Of all places, an ancient pool in Jerusalem—the Pool of Siloam—helps us connect Sukkot with its ultimate fulfillment.

A statement made by Jesus—really, an invitation—makes it clear.

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How to Look Past Monday to Eternity

This life is only the foyer to forever. God made us for eternity.

It’s hard to look past Monday to eternity. But Monday will be better if you do. The road of our lives leads to death. Yes, but it never ends there. Our soul bounces and it never slows down.

How to Look Past Monday to Eternity

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Heaven will have the bright streets of gold and the pearly gates and the awesome beauty of an unspoiled place. But these things are only the stage upon which the joy of eternity occurs.

Perhaps you have discovered, as I have, that heaven seems far more real the more people we know who have gone there ahead of us. Our loved ones who have died are like the leaves inside branches waiting for the spring.

Life is still there, hiding behind death, until something cues it to resurrect.

You will be part of that. 

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Banias Falls—Where Your Overwhelming Despair Meets its Hope

How Jesus’ resurrection gives the solution to the despair we feel.

Sometimes despair can wash over us like a wall of water. One moment we’re dry—the next, we’re dripping with discouragement. I’m talking about an overwhelming sense that it will never get any better. 

Banias Falls-Where Your Overwhelming Despair Meets its Hope

(Photo: Banias Falls. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

“What if,” to quote Jack Nicholson, “this is as good as it gets?” I don’t know about you, but despair can be one of my greatest struggles. In those moments, I travel in my mind back to Banias. 

The psalmist used the waterfalls at Banias in northern Israel to express a similar question and emotion. But he also had a solution of hope we need to turn toward when we feel overwhelmed by despair.

In fact, Jesus gave us that ultimate hope in the exact same region.

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How to Keep Going When You Can’t Keep Going

Remember that any victory presupposes a struggle in your life.

You’re not stuck. If God has you in a place where your gifts are not fully utilized, or if you feel set aside in God’s grand plan, or if those around you have marginalized you, trivialized you, or flat-out rejected you, I understand how tough that is.

How to Keep Going When You Can’t Keep Going

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But you’re not stuck. God isn’t done with you. (If he were, you’d be dead.)

Here’s what perseverance looks like when you can’t keep going.

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How Jesus’ Powerful Personal Hope Can Lift You Up

The geography of the Ark of the Covenant mirrors Jesus' Ascension—and ours.

Do you know what one, primary, personal hope drove Jesus’ life? What He looked forward to the most? It’s important we do know, because the same hope should drive our lives.

How Jesus’ Powerful Personal Hope Can Lift You Up

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As I have read the gospels, one reality has jumped out at me stronger than ever. Jesus’ goal was not merely the cross. Even as great as the resurrection was, Jesus still had another hope beyond that.

It’s good news you can apply by the end of this blog post—and then for the rest of your life.

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What Can You Do When You’re Not Sure What to Do?

One decision can help you choose what’s next.

You may feel stuck. At first, your situation looked great. It promised advantages, hope, joy, and happiness. It looked better than where you were, so you jumped. Now you’re not sure what to do.

What Can You Do When You're Not Sure What to Do?

(Photo by Photodune)

Turns out, it wasn’t the dream job, the ideal marriage, the best neighborhood, or the perfect church. It seems more like bait and switch.

It seemed the best decision, but now—you’re not so sure. You feel stuck.

What can you do when you’re not sure what to do?

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