The mustard plant in Israel grows to a height of 10-12 feet, but it has one of the smallest seeds.

Jesus compared the mustard seed to God’s coming kingdom:

The kingdom of God . . . is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants. —Mark 4:30-32

Compared to the large weeds in our daily world, God’s program seems like a mustard seed—small, insignificant, and ineffective.

But God’s plan is progressing in spite of its seeming insignificance now.

When we feel discouraged at the slowness and secrecy of God’s plan, remember the truth Jesus revealed. What seems small and insignificant now will become the largest of all kingdoms one day.

Keep going. Don’t give up. We have a future with God. (Tweet that.)

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever. —Revelation 11:15

Question: What helps you look beyond today to tomorrow? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Video from SourceFlix.com.

Flying over the Old City of Jerusalem isn’t allowed, but the father/son team from SourceFlix.com strapped a camera on a remote control helicopter and got special permission to film.

It’s a SLOW video . . . but it’s smooth and gives you time to see the details of this most important piece of real estate in history.

Question: Would you like to fly over Jerusalem? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

On a layover to Israel, we spent several hours in Philadelphia—the birthplace of our nation. We visited the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and saw Ben Franklin’s grave. Wonderful day.

While there, I got to check off one item from my bucket list:

  • Run the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art!

Yeah, I know . . . kinda nuts. But a lot of fun!

Question: Have you ever run the Rocky steps? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Rocky feet Rocky statue
Rocky music in video from here.

If You Want to Change the World . . .

I recently watched this powerful commencement address given by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.

I urge you to watch his moving speech. From his experience as a Navy Seal, he offers these 10 steps to change the world.

  1. Start off by making your bed. (Begin each day with a task completed.)
  2. Find someone to help you paddle. (Don’t go it alone.)
  3. Measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers. (Respect everyone.)
  4. Get over being a “sugar cookie” and keep moving forward. (Accept that life is not fair.)
  5. Don’t be afraid of the circuses. (You will fail often.)
  6. Slide down the obstacle head first. (Take risks.)
  7. Don’t back down from the sharks. (Face the bullies.)
  8. Be your very best in the darkest moments. (Step up when times are the toughest.)
  9. Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud. (Give hope to others.)
  10. Don’t ever, ever ring the bell. (Never give up.)

Question: Can you connect any of his comments to Scripture? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Great Resources to Get After Your Holy Land Tour

I’ve just returned from another Holy Land tour. It was great! After a tour to the Holy Land, it’s easy to forget the many lessons you’ve learned and the sites you’ve seen. The Holy Land can soon seem a distant land again. But it doesn’t have to.

The Best Resources to Get After Your Holy Land Tour

(Photo: Pilgrims on Mount of Olives. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

One of my recommendations for making your holy land tour stay with you for years includes getting some great resources that will last you a lifetime.

In this post, I’ve highlighted the best of what I suggest you pick up after your Holy Land tour. I include videos, pictures, devotionals, and atlases.

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)

Of course, the greatest benefit of this application is its ability to find what I stick in there. It has become my digital brain—with the added benefit that it never forgets.

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.

Top 5 Gifts for Bible Lands Study

Most of us give Christmas gifts that are quickly forgotten. After the iPhone gets cracked, or the DVD gets watched, or the sweater gets snagged, they all end up at the landfill. This year, why not give a gift (or ask for one) that will last a lifetime?

Top 5 Gifts for Bible Lands and Bible Study

(Photo: by Carsten Tolkmit. Flickr. CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Bible Lands study tools make great gifts because they take your personal Bible study to the next level. What’s more, they don’t wear out.

Here are my top 5 recommendations this year for gifts you’ll enjoy giving (and receiving).

5 Holy Land Blogs You Should Follow

If you regularly read my blog, it’s likely you share my interest in the Holy Land. Where biblical events took place are more than throwaway mentions in the pages of Scripture. Often, they have significant bearing on God’s participation in the lives of His people.

5 Holy Land Blogs You Should Follow

(Photo: Sunrise over Mount of Olives, courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Unfortunately, because we’re unfamiliar with geography we often miss these nuggets. I have found a lot of help in several Holy Land blogs that open up the Bible’s lands to my understanding.

I want to share with you 5 of my favorite Holy Land blogs and provide you an easy way to follow them.

Must-Have Resources for Israel Bible Lands Study

Not everybody can travel to Israel.

But everyone can benefit from including Bible lands in their personal Bible study. You just need some good tools.

Tabernacle model and courtyard

(Photo: Tabernacle Model. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

I have discovered that including Bible lands in my study has given me more understanding of the Bible than learning Greek and Hebrew. The benefits of including Bible lands in the study of Scripture are available to everyone.

I’ve created what I consider a must-have list of resources. These are the tools I reach for first when I study—those resources that have proven most helpful to me for years.

I’ll give you the full list, and then I’ll suggest which ones to get first.

Messianic Prophecies Change a Life

Why can’t I just pray to God without Jesus in the middle?” asked a Jewish friend of mine in Israel. The lady to whom he spoke answered, “Why don’t you just pray that God will reveal to you who Jesus is all about?”

(Photo: My friend Amir at Masada, Israel)

So for the first time, Amir sat down, wrote out a prayer, stuck it on the wall where he could see it—and prayed. “And I made sure I said every word,” he said.

The next day changed his life.