My Top 10 Posts of 2013

I always find it amazing that 3 out of every 4 visitors to my blog are brand new. The same was true last year. Most new readers come as a result of a Google search. Here’s why that’s significant.

My Top 10 Posts of 2013

(Photo by Photodune)

People are searching for what these posts talk about:

  • Relief from guilt and freedom from sin’s entrapments.
  • Practical connection of the Bible and its lands to life.
  • Getting the most out of a Holy Land tour.

Of the hundreds of posts on my blog, these are the top 10 for 2013. Let’s start with number 10 and work down to number 1.

Tell me what you think: What posts did you like most that didn’t make the list? To leave a comment, just click here.

10. The Walls of Jerusalem through the Centuries—a Timeline

This post has an interactive timeline that shows and explains the walls of Jerusalem through the centuries.

I’ve heard it said, “If you want to understand the history of Israel, then learn the history of Jerusalem.”

The Walls of Jerusalem today

(Photo: The Walls of Jerusalem today. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Many books depict the expansion and contraction of the walls of Jerusalem, but I thought a timeline might illustrate it well.

9. Caesarea—Explore Israel’s Harbor & Herod’s Palace

The straight line of Israel’s seacoast has never lent itself to significant harbors.

For centuries, only Joppa in the south and Acco in the north provided modest havens for ships. But in 22 BC, work began on a new port—a vast harbor befitting the grand ideals of its visionary, King Herod the Great.

Caesarea—Explore Israel’s Harbor & Herod’s Palace

(Photo: Caesarea harbor. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

At Caesarea today, a modern harbor rests in the same location as the ancient one. The few fishing vessels and pleasure boats moored to the modern pier do little justice to the port of the first century.

8. Eight Tips to Maximize Your Holy Land Tour

Here are 8 tips that include both practical and spiritual ways to maximize your experience every single day you’re in the Holy Land. After all, you’re investing a lot of money and significant time for this journey. It makes sense to prepare yourself beforehand so that you get the most from your experience in Israel.

8 Tips to Maximize Your Holy Land Tour

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

But after you arrive in Israel, there are a number of ways you can ensure you get the most from your Holy Land tour.

In another post, I offered some suggestions for how to prepare for a Holy Land Tour.

7. Offerings in Leviticus—What They Were and Why They Mattered

For most Christians, the book of Leviticus is as untraveled as the wilderness in which Moses wrote it. It’s not hard to understand why. I mean, who cares about sacrifices no longer needed or diet codes no longer in effect? Can they teach us anything today?

In a word: plenty.

Offerings in Leviticus—What They Were and Why They Mattered

(Photo: Offerings were made in the Tabernacle. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

This post offers a brief summary of the five offerings in Leviticus—what they were and why they mattered. I’ve also included a free chart you can download and a short list of resources to help you make sense of Leviticus.

6. The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

The walls and gates of Jerusalem have expanded and contracted over the centuries like the breathing of a living being.

Even today, the Old City of Jerusalem is such that we have to enter the city through gates—just as people did for thousands of years.

Golden Gate

(Photo: Golden Gate at Jerusalem’s eastern side. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Gates were more than passageways. They served as places for personal business and civic affairs (see Ruth 4:1). Gates often took their names from the distant cities they faced, like Jaffa, Damascus, and Shechem.

There are 8 gates of Jerusalem today. But the Bible promises 12 in the future.

5. 10 Free Christian E-Books for the Spiritual Life

I’m always looking for a good source for free Christian e-books. (I read a lot of books this year.) A little searching yielded some great results I’ll share with you.

If you have an iPad or Kindle or some other device (even a computer) that allows you to read e-books, you’ll want to take advantage of some great free titles.

ebooks offer great titles

(Photo: Andrea Sánchez, via Vivozoom)

Often with free e-books, you get what you pay for. But if you’re willing to sift through the haystack, you’ll find some gems.

I did some digging and I’ve provided links to some great free Christian e-books—as well as how to search for others.

4. Christians Struggling with Sin and 4 Lies We Believe

Everybody sins. But when we Christians do it, reactions vary.

The world points to us as hypocrites—and often uses our sins as justification for their own. Other Christians tend to view our sins as reasons to suggest we aren’t even saved.

Four Lies Christians Struggling with Sin Believe

(Photo by Bigroger27509. Own work. CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

But the people who offer the most brutal judgment against our sins? Very often, it’s ourselves.

That’s because Christians struggling with sin tend to believe four lies.

3. How to Prepare for a Holy Land Tour

When you finally decide to take a spiritual journey to the Holy Land—to the land of the Bible—I can promise you, you won’t come home from Israel the same!

But there’s something else you need to know.

The aqueduct at Caesarea

You already realize you are investing a lot of money this trip, and you want to make the most of your time. But you will get twice as much out of your Holy Land tour if you’ll also invest some time preparing for it.

Here are some ways that will help you maximize your trip—by preparing mentally, practically, physically, and spiritually.

2. Clear Your Guilty Conscience in 3 Steps

I read somewhere that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once played a joke on twelve of his friends. He sent them each identical telegrams that read: “Flee! All is discovered!”

Just four words. But within 24 hours, all 12 fled the country.

Only God can help you clear a guilty conscience.

(Photo: Design Pics, via Vivozoom)

What Conan Doyle did in jest, God does to us in all seriousness.

The Lord will use situations to awaken ignored or unresolved guilt, testing our willingness to come clean and clear a guilty conscience.

Are you willing? This post shows you how.

1. 6 Christian Sites in Rome You Should Know About

Rome is famous for the standard sites tourists see. The Trevi Fountain, the Forum, Piazza Navona, the Colosseum, the Pantheon—and innumerable other historic places lay alongside modern streets and buildings.

Arch of Constantine

(Photo: The Arch of Constantine in Rome)

But I’d like to show you 6 Christian sites in Rome, those sites relevant to believers, including one place that isn’t even on the map.

Tell me what you think: What posts did you like most? To leave a comment, just click here.

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