As often as we use the name, “Holy Land,” amazingly, the phrase only shows up in the Bible on rare occasions. In fact, you can count them on one hand.
The first man, Adam, had a name that means “man,” and it relates to the word adamah, meaning “ground,” from which God formed him. Accordingly, when Adam sinned, God cursed the ground to which Adam would return when he died.
It seems surprising, then, that the first use of the noun form “holy” in the Hebrew Bible finds its connection with the ground. God told Moses at Horeb:
Remove your sandals, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. —Exodus 3:5
So, what makes the holy land holy? Or for that matter, what makes you holy?
You wake up to it each morning. It follows you as you go through your day. It’s waiting for you in every room and conversation. Your battle cleverly disguises itself in many forms.
Your battle appears as a person, or as money, or as a tense situation at the office.
But the reality is that the battle you face each day has another source. The fight that God’s people faced at Rephidim proved that point.
The battle is spiritual—and there’s only one way to win.
There has always been only one way to God—even in the Old Testament. That way is by grace through faith in the object of God’s choosing. Bethel gives us a peek at that way.
In his flight to Haran, Jacob spent the night at Bethel, where years earlier his grandfather Abraham had heard God promise that he would receive all the land as far as he could see. There, Jacob dreamed of a stairway to heaven, and the Lord repeated to him the promises that Abraham received.
Shaken, Jacob awoke and cried:
How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. —Gen. 28:17
Jacob named the site Bethel—“house of God.” The dream gave more than a vision of God’s house.
It offered a foreshadowing of how to get there.
I look forward to teaching for 4 sessions at the Music Ministry Bible Study for the Stonebriar Community Church choir and orchestra. I’ll be teaching on “Waiting on God.”
Last month I asked you to tell me which cover you liked better for my upcoming book, Waiting on God. The majority preferred the cover below, and Baker Books agreed. So this is it!
Thanks so much for your help!
Also, I’m happy to announce I sent the completed manuscript to my editor on Wednesday. Hurrah! Now the process of editing and layout begins in order to have the book ready for its release in August 2015.
Please take a moment to ask God to bless the whole process and for Him to be glorified in the lives of all who read the book. Thank you!
(By the way, I’ll be teaching on “Waiting on God with Joseph” at our Sunday School class soon. Please join us!)
Before I went to the Holy Land, the kosher laws of Leviticus seemed mere words on a page. For example, Exodus 34:26 says not to boil a goat in its mother’s milk. When have you last applied that?
The verse has been misunderstood to mean people shouldn’t eat meat and milk during the same meal. Yet, even if that meaning was true, the truth isn’t timeless. Abraham himself had no qualms in serving both together—even to God (take a peek at Gen. 18:8)!
Although all of the Bible’s commands for dietary laws aren’t represented in modern Israel, the fact that any are observed serves as a powerful illustration of what God first intended the diet code to accomplish.
Even in the Garden of Eden, with the first dietary law given to eat from any tree except one (Gen. 2:16-17), God’s command centered around one question.
Would they obey?
But food also had another purpose.
Several years ago I found myself at odds with someone. This individual had spoken severely to our daughter, and I confronted this person with the truth—but in anger, and I failed to speak truth in love.
Later, I tried to get together and talk it through. I knew I needed to ask for forgiveness for how I said what I said. But those in authority asked me to leave it alone until later. Although I tried to comply at first, I felt miserable keeping quiet. I came to realize I needed to ask forgiveness, no matter what.
The only way I felt I could honor both the Lord and those in authority came by writing a letter and asking for forgiveness. I never heard back from the individual, nor did I expect to or need to. But I needed to do my part. I needed to reach out.
But it was tough.
I once led a church small group where I had fallen behind in preparation. To buy some time, I asked each participant to purchase a certain book, read the first chapter, and we would discuss it. Big mistake.
We sailed through the first part of the chapter until we slammed into a wall. A theological wall. This well-known author took potshots at a theological position we held as a church.
What was my mistake? I hadn’t read the book before.
Here’s what happened.
While Google Maps does a good job with directions to the Grand Canyon, it also works in the Holy Land where Jesus walked. I have plotted the sites of my upcoming tour of through Jesus’ life.
The map shows the locations of all the sites we’ll explore on our upcoming tour to the Holy Land in October of 2015.
Just click on any site—either in the list or on the map itself—and up pops a window with a picture and an explanation of the itinerary.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE MAP!
I hope you’ll check out all the info about the tour and plan to join us!
I’m excited to teach at the Marathon Adult Fellowship at Stonebriar Community Church on the subject of “Waiting on God with Joseph.” Cathy and I attend this class each Sunday and enjoy the fellowship and the teaching of Dr. Stanley Toussaint.
Join us if you can!
||November 9, 2014
||10:45 am - 12:00 pm
||Marathon Adult Fellowship at Stonebriar Community Church
||Waiting on God with Joseph
Marathon Adult Fellowship
Stonebriar Community Church
||4801 Legendary Drive
Frisco, TX 75034
You can listen to the teaching here after the date.