How God’s Promised Land Gives You Hope Here and Now

Abraham walking the real estate put reality in his hope.

Day after day of life demands we have faith in God. Lots of it. After all, so much of what God promises us is future. And honestly? It seems most of what we live for is a hope that never seems to arrive. God knows that.

Area of Ai, near where Abraham and Lot parted

(Photo: Area of Ai, near where Abraham and Lot parted. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Thankfully, the Lord also gives us tangible encouragement here and now to push us along toward that elusive, untouchable future we long for.

Abraham needed that same encouragement, and God gave it to him in an unusual way. He told him to take a walk—and to look around.

We need to take that same walk.

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Israel’s Negev Gives Enormous Hope for Your Barren Life

Nothing can stop God from fulfilling His promises.

Nothing can stop God from fulfilling His promises to those who believe in Him. In the mean time, it takes great vision to see something where there is nothing. Israel’s Negev provides a great example.

Israel's Negev Gives Enormous Hope for Your Barren Life

(Photo: Sculpture garden at Sde Boker, by שי קסל CC-BY-2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)

Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, saw the vast expanse of Israel’s Negev as something that offered great potential. In 1953, he settled in the kibbutz Sde Boker, urging Israelis to help him tame the Negev into a new society for Israel.

To many, the idea seemed no more than a pipe dream. As a result, the plea fell on deaf ears, for the arid region receives barely eight inches of rain per year.

In the Negev, life has one uncompromising requirement: water. Through this simple need in the same land, God taught His people a life-giving lesson.

We can drink from it as well.

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How Jesus’ Powerful Personal Hope Can Lift You Up

The movement of the Ark of the Covenant from Kiriath Jearim mirrors our hope.

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.

Kiriath Jearim church statue of Mary standing on Ark of the Covenant

(Photo: Kiriath Jearim church statue of Mary standing on Ark of the Covenant. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

As we read the gospels, we see Jesus’ goal was not merely the cross. And 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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How the Pool of Siloam Helps us Connect Sukkot and the Messiah

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

If you’ve ever camped, you know that camping requires we forgo a lot of 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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When You’re Ready—But Nothing Happens

Peter's experience at Caesarea may explain why.

You’re ready for a change. You’ve asked God to open a new door in your life, and He has taken years to prepare you for it. Finally, you’re ready. There’s just one problem. Nothing happens. You just hover. 

Caesarea, where Peter met Cornelius

(Photo: Caesarea, where Peter met Cornelius. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The plan of God includes preparation and waiting. But why do you have to keep waiting once God has prepared you? What else must you do for God to open the door?

The Apostle Peter experienced something at Caesarea by the Sea that may explain why your progress is delayed.

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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

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

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 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

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

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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