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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Your Truth, My Truth, and The Truth

Why it all boils down to one question.

Are you pretty good at discerning right and wrong? It takes authority to figure that out. We all live under authority. Whether a government or an employer, a parent or a policeman, rules rule over us and disobedience has its consequences. It’s the truth. 

Your Truth, My Truth, and The Truth

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

We may endure it and submit to it, because we feel we have to. Or because it’s easier than the alternatives—like, say, defecting to Canada or changing churches or jobs or families. We deal with it, live with it, and gripe about it.

We all have authority over us, and their rules may be right or wrong. But who is the authority’s authority? 

It all boils down to one question.

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How Jerusalem’s Mountains are Like God’s Presence in Your Life

Jerusalem's Geography Can Relieve Your Doubts

Life is full of moments that expose our doubts. In spite of all the Scripture we’ve learned and all the past victories the Lord has given us, occasionally something will happen that causes serious doubt.

How Jerusalem's Geography Can Relieve Your Doubts

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount near sunset. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Maybe it’s a financial situation that undercuts future security. Or it might be a miserable marriage. Perhaps it’s a pastor or a leader who has failed. Maybe it’s our own failure.

Whatever the reason, seasons of doubts and confusion can come even to the most committed followers of Jesus:

  • John the Baptist struggled with doubts about his own beliefs about Jesus (Matt. 11:2-3).
  • The apostle Thomas found the resurrection of Christ something he had to see before he’d believe (John 20:25).
  • Some of the disciples had doubts about Jesus’ appearing to them, even at the Great Commission (Matt. 28:17).

I confess, I’ve had my doubts as well. Sometimes circumstances literally demanded I doubt God. A simple walk in Jerusalem one evening gave me an essential reminder.

I’m convinced it can help you.

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How to Breathe When God Steps on Your Air Hose

Habakkuk Helps Us Turn Our Panic to Peace

We aren’t surprised when we see people sidestep God. What shocks us, however, is when God seems to ignore people. The God of the Bible isn’t a far-off deity. So why does He seem so uninvolved?

How to Breathe When God Steps on Your Air Hose

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God’s response to people’s non-response to Him seems conspicuous by its absence. For those of us who believe in God, it’s tough to breathe when it seems like God is stepping on our air hose.

A prophet with a funny name helps us turn our panic into peace—and to take a deep breath.

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How God Uses Geography to Shape Your Life

He takes us places to gain what we could get nowhere else.

Think of the places most significant to you. That’s right, the places.  What makes them so special? Most likely, it’s not the places themselves but the events that took place there.

How God Uses Geography to Shape Our Lives

(Photo: Sunset over the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In our lives, events make places significant because of memories. But in biblical times, it was often just the opposite. The place itself often played a major role in causing a significant event.

The lands of the Bible offer more than a mere backdrop for the stories of the Bible. These places played an integral role in shaping the lives of those who lived there. God designed it so. And for us, understanding how the land shaped its people gives us tremendous insight into understanding Scripture.

Even more, it gives us a glimpse as to how God uses even geography in our lives today.

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Dothan—How to See Beyond Your Disappointment

A shift in perspective looks beyond your pain to its purpose

Hindsight provides insight. It always can. But we can get so focused on today’s issues that we miss their purpose. Dothan appears only twice in the Bible. Both times, we get a perspective we desperately need.

DOTHAN—LEARNING TO SEE NEAR AND FAR IN YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE

(Photo: Tel Dothan and the Dothan Valley. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

As the ancient International Highway cut its way though Israel, it divided three ways through the Mount Carmel range. The eastern fork passed through a valley named after the town of Dothan.

On the day Joseph’s brothers dropped him in the pit at Dothan, neither they nor Joseph gave one thought about how that decision would affect eternity. It was all about the here and now.

But in hindsight, they saw God’s hand in the events and interpreted them accordingly.

Here’s how you can do the same.

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3 Steps to Contentment in Your Life with God

Security from the Good Shepherd who leads and walks beside you.

The word sounds too good to be true. Contentment. It feels out of reach because it sounds out of touch. The world mistakes content people for the unambitious, lazy, and weak. Yet finding contentment comes from God.

3 Steps to Finding Contentment in God’s Powerful Picture

(Photo: The quiet waters of Ein Perat. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In our hectic lives, trying to find contentment feels like finding the horizon. Always there, but always out of reach.

We need to reframe the picture.

Using the picture of a shepherd, the Old and New Testaments point to the Lord as the only one who offers contentment—and how to find it.

Three steps can take you there.

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How to Follow God by Pondering Amazing Bird Migrations in Israel

Instinct can only take you so far in your relationship with God.

Every winter, God’s design works without flaw. Thousands of birds take wing and head south. But in our lives, unlike the bird migrations in Israel, the chilly winds don’t always cause us to head the right direction.

Grey heron in Israel

(Photo: Grey heron in Israel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Unlike birds, which instinctively know the way to go, we can wander away from God’s design for us. Birds have a lot to teach us about how to follow God.

Once learned, our relationship with God can take off.

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Cities of Refuge – Where to Run When You’ve Done Nothing Wrong

God still provides sanctuary when others misunderstand you.

You did nothing wrong. Still, those with influence and a voice have chased you out with accusations as agonizing as they were outrageous. You needed a place of refuge to run.

Shechem, one of the Cities of Refuge

(Photo: Shechem, one of the Cities of Refuge. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In ancient Israel, Cities of Refuge gave the innocent person a place of sanctuary so that those who presumed him guilty couldn’t harm him before the facts came to light.

Justice assumes innocence until proven guilty. This biblical principle has found a place in our own legal systems (at least in theory). But justice sometimes plays no part in verdicts. In truth, the ones with the power often get their way in this world—and justice has nothing to do with it.

Have you been misunderstood? Even though the particulars of God’s ancient law may seem outdated, the principle reveals His heart—and it still applies.

God still provides you a place to run.

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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

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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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