My Top 10 Posts of 2014

I’m always surprised at the most popular posts on my blog each year. Both in 2012 and in 2013 I listed the Top 10 posts. But 2014 surprised me.

My Top 10 Posts of 2014

(Photo by Photodune)

The popular posts range from the practical “how-to” to the rich, devotional emphasis the lands of the Bible offer us.

Here are the Top 10 posts from 2014. And just for grins, I’ll also include the Top 5 posts of all time.

Is there another one you would include?

Top 10 Posts of 2014

Let’s see number 10 all the way down to number 1. (Just click on the title to see the post!)

10. 5 Must-See Christian Sites by the Sea of Galilee

When Christian pilgrims come to Israel today, they almost all visit the Sea of Galilee. And for good reason.

5 Must-See Christian Sites by the Sea of Galilee

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

As in the days of Jesus, the large lake still has storms, beautiful sunrises, and sites that we will forever associate with the Lord’s ministry.

I’d like to show you five must-see Christian sites by the Sea of Galilee—and how each one may (or may not) connect to Jesus.

9. Places of the Passion Week in 360-Degrees

Between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Jesus spent every day in Jerusalem. The places of the Passion Week where He taught, died, and rose again are now traveled by Christian pilgrims.

Places of the Passion Week in 360-Degrees

(Photo: Sunrise over Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

This post includes some panoramic images I took from sites in Jerusalem—specifically, those that connect with the Passion Week of Jesus.

Just click on the images and drag right or left to look around!

8. Petra—the Lost and Found City of Wonder

Fewer places on the planet offer a more suspenseful approach and rewarding visit than Petra in modern Jordan. Rose-hewn sandstone, rugged hills, and monumental facades—all accessible through a twisting narrow gorge—serve to inspire and amaze every visitor.

Petra—the Lost and Found City of Wonder

(Photo: The Treasury facade at Petra, Jordan)

The Nabatean capital served as the home for thousands of people in the first century. But a devastating earthquake in AD 363 crumbled much of the city—a disaster from which it never recovered.

For centuries, the location of Petra remained a secret. And the locals tried to keep it that way. It’s strange to think that for centuries the residents tried to keep infidels away from the beauty of Petra.

Today, however, they try to get as many of us there as possible.

7. How to Take a Virtual Tour of Jerusalem Using Google Maps

Most of us use Google Maps to find directions or to estimate the time a trip will take. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what the site can do.

How to Take a Virtual Tour of Jerusalem Using Google Maps

(Take a Virtual Tour of Jerusalem Using Google Maps)

The handy Web site also allows us to take virtual tour of Jerusalem.  Obviously, you can sight-see anywhere in the world using this method. But Jerusalem offers unique benefits for Christians.

6. Ein Parath—Here’s Why You Should Cling to God

Jeremiah used many illustrations which came from the land around him. One of my favorites comes from Ein Parath. The Lord commanded Jeremiah to buy a garment and bury it in the cracks of Parath.

Ein Parath—Here's Why You Should Cling to God

(Photo: Ein Parath. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Unfortunately, many modern translations render the Hebrew term, prt, in this verse as the “Euphrates River.” That would have required Jeremiah a 700-mile journey (twice) to perform a visual lesson Judah would never see.

There’s a better translation in context that offered a lesson to the Hebrews at a place that was closer to home.

And the lesson hits us close to home as well—reminding us why we should cling to God.

5. How 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. It might be a miserable marriage. Perhaps it’s a pastor or a leader who has failed. Maybe it’s our own failure.

I will never forget one evening during my first few days in Jerusalem. A simple walk gave me an essential reminder that helped relieve my doubts.

4. Great 360-Degree Images of 11 Israel Sites

On my recent trip to Israel, I took some 360-degree images of biblical sites. I took more than 50 images.

Great 360-Degree Images of 11 Israel Sites

(Photo: The Middle Bronze Gate at Tel Dan)

In this post you can look around 11 key sites all over Israel. Just click on the images and drag right or left to look around!

3. Jericho—Joshua’s Battle Continues Today

On the monochrome landscape north of the Dead Sea, a conspicuous green splotch appears at the western edge of the Jordan Rift Valley. “The city of palm trees” exemplifies what we imagine when we picture an oasis.

Jericho—The City of Palms and Pilgrims

(Photo: Palm trees at Jericho. Courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.)

The “oldest city on earth” also sits as the lowest one—at more than 800 feet below sea level. Jericho owes its existence to the spring, to be sure. But the city also sits at the base of the primary roads that ascended from the Jordan Rift valley up to the Hill Country of Judea. Anyone crossing the Jordan River from the Plains of Moab had Jericho to face. The walled city stood as a strategic roadblock that no one passing could ignore. Enter Joshua.

Archaeologists agree that the walls came tumbling down, but they disagree when it happened. In this video, Dr. Bryant Wood discusses the facts and confirms the biblical account.

2. How to Search Your Bible Atlas Using Evernote

I use Evernote to help organize my piles of papers and files at work and home. From bills to blogs, from songbooks to sermons, from cards to conference notes, Evernote has helped me go virtually paperless.

How to Search Your Bible Atlas Using Evernote

(Maps courtesy of Satellite Bible Atlas)

Because of Evernote’s optical character recognition (OCR), I can find words I’m searching for in handwritten notes and even in photographs. Any word in any picture—I can find with a few clicks on my computer or iPhone.

This provides a nice benefit for Bible study. I’d like to show you how to use Evernote to search your Bible Atlas.

EvernoteIf you don’t already use Evernote, obviously you’ll need to download it first. What’s nice is that you can get a whole month of Evernote Premium FREE as my guest. (You’ll need it to search your maps.) That’s plenty of time to decide if it’s something you’ll use and enjoy (and I think you will). I use Evernote to store pretty much everything—and it’s very secure.

1. 5 Reasons to Get the Best Training for Ministry You Can

This one surprised me. It really struck a nerve! But I’m thrilled it did. It should.

I see many young pastors, Christian leaders, and even laypeople serving God far less effectively than they could. Somehow they think their giftedness is all they need, or that the Holy Spirit will somehow give them what they lack. Neither is true.

Sharpen the axe

(Photo by Photodune)

There are two primary excuses for not getting good training for ministry, and this post offers 5 good reasons to get the best training you can.

Every Christian is in the ministry. The question is, how effective do you want your ministry to be?

Tell me what you think: Those are the Top 10 from 2014! Is there another one you would include? To leave a comment, just click here.

Top 5 Posts of All Time

  1. 6 Christian Sites in Rome You Should Know About
  2. Offerings in Leviticus—What They Were and Why They Mattered
  3. The Walls of Jerusalem through the Centuries—a Timeline
  4. Christians Struggling with Sin and 4 Lies We Believe
  5. Clear Your Guilty Conscience in 3 Steps

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