Eilat—Israel on the Red Sea

More lies beneath the surface if we will simply explore.

When we think of the Red Sea, we tend to picture Moses holding up his arms and dividing the waters. This body of water parted like curtains in the opening act of Israel’s history. The parting of the sea set the stage for one of history’s most incredible escapes (Exodus 14:29-31).

Eilat—Israel on the Red Sea

(Photo: Eilat—Israel on the Red Sea. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

But this part of the Red Sea represents only half of its northernmost edges.

The sea has two fingers that point north, divided by the Sinai Peninsula. The more famous finger, the one that parted in the exodus, is the western one—today called the Gulf of Suez.

If the western finger of the Red Sea represented Israel’s beginning as a nation under God, the eastern section, or the Gulf of Aqaba, could embody Israel’s ongoing relationship with the Lord.

And it offers a spiritual lesson for those who will look below the surface.

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Why God Will Lead You Unwanted Places

Discovering the joy of surrendering to God

God will lead you places you would never choose. Unwanted places. Because the Lord is much greater than you and I can imagine, it makes sense that He wants for us more than we ever dreamed.

Why God Will Lead You Unwanted Places

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

God wants you to trust Him, and you’d like to do so. He wants you to glorify Him, to know Him, and so do you. But really, you often want to trust God only when you understand Him. Too often, that desire to know the Lord slices His list of attributes in half.

When you and I settle for anything less than all of God, we also settle for less than all we can become.

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The Day Jesus Cracked a Joke

Why the truth is harder to choke down than camels and gnats.

Eight dollars,” the Arab quoted me in perfect English. The stinking camel he held beside him shifted its weight, and I could have sworn the beast smiled at me.

Hard to believe, but a short ride on a smelly camel outside of Jericho will set you back eight bucks. I wanted to walk away, but with my daughter eager to ride, I forked over the cash.

Hypocrisy—Choking Down a Camel

(Photo: Camel rides outside of Jericho)

Clinging to carpets strapped on as a makeshift saddle, she hung on.

The beige beast got up rear first, hurling my daughter forward and tilting the horizon to 45 degrees. The owner began leading the camel on a quick lap around the parking lot with my daughter, now six feet higher, hanging on with all four limbs.

It’s almost as if God created the camel for comic relief in life.

But that’s not all. Jesus used it to teach us something.

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Hezekiah’s Tunnel and Wall Give a Lesson from Archaeology

Scripture is supported by what we can dig out of the ground.

The ancient world had a bully system that worked in straightforward terms. A nation would conquer a region and demand tribute—annual payment of money and goods. If you didn’t pay tribute, they’d come and kill you. Pretty simple system.

Hezekiah's Tunnel

(Photo: Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

King Hezekiah refused to pay tribute to the bully. So the Assyrians invaded Judah.

Archaeology has unearthed treasures that reveal Hezekiah’s faith in God. How does it strengthen your faith to see the Bible in archaeology?

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Why God Will Absolutely Never Give Up on You

Discovering the joy of being confined with God.

Imagine with me you have a child—and only one. The delivery had complications that threatened his life, but the boy lived. So you name your son Nathaniel—“given of God.”

Why God Will Absolutely Never Give Up on You

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

While recovering at home, you begin the ritual every three hours of feeding little Nathaniel and rocking him while he screams through fits of colic. Without missing one feeding, or letting one diaper go unchanged, or any needs unmet, you never give up because you know your child would literally die without your care.

As Nathaniel grows, you teach him to walk, you change the soiled sheets, and you work hard to buy new clothes he’ll quickly outgrow. Every new stage presents a new set of sacrifices, but you never give up because you love Nathaniel.

The day he drives off to college represents a milestone in your parenting, and you stand proud of what God has made of Nathaniel.

You have no idea that things are about to change.

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5 Ways to Remember God in Your Busy Life

Set up some triggers to jump-start your heart.

Not long ago, I forgot the birthday of a good friend. After I looked back at my calendar, I saw the problem. I neglected to set up a reminder for the important day. We overlook significant things in our lives often because of our busyness—not because of our apathy. It’s no different in our relationship with God.

5 Ways to Remember God in Your Busy Life

(Photo by Photodune)

Whether we use string on a finger, a Post-it Note on the mirror, or an auto-reminder on our smartphones, we all need prompts for what we’d otherwise forget.

Unaware as it happens, we can allow our busy lives to crowd out our devotion to God. We enjoy our families, our homes, our food, our salvation—all of God’s blessings to us. But before we know it, we replace a devotion to the Lord with a devotion to His blessings. And in a sad, twisted irony, those blessings become our focus instead of the God who gave them.

You’re going to stay busy. I get it.

In this post, I’ll give you 5 ways you can remember God in your busy life.

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America at the Crossroads

America at the Crossroads: Explosive Trends Shaping America’s Future and What You Can Do about It (Baker Publishing Group, 2016)

This new book by Christian pollster George Barna gives the latest facts about what America believes and trends that shape our future. Of course, anybody but an ostrich is well aware that America is in a moral nosedive. Barna simply reveals the fact with facts.

But America at the Crossroads isn’t just a book about facts and forecasts— it also includes Barna’s nudge on what we can do about it.

Why You Never Need to Settle for Second Best with God

What God wants to give us is always far better than what we want Him to give us.

Their request seemed to make sense. But it was crazy: “Let this land be given to your servants as a possession,” the people of Reuben and Gad said to Moses, “do not take us across the Jordan” (Numbers 32:5).

Never Settle for Second Best with God

(Photo: Land of Gilead, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The tribes of Reuben and Gad had huge herds, and the land of Gilead and Jazer had lush pastures. So they settled east of the Jordan River instead of crossing over into what God had promised. Bad idea.

Their choice shows us why we should never settle for second best with God.

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