Where there is water in Israel, there is life. And where there isn’t water? The rule in antiquity was simple. Pray for rain and dig a cistern.
God used a simple, physical resource like rain water to teach the spiritual truth that He alone is the true source of life. This truth hasn’t changed for us.
I recently had a man in his 60s tell me, “I have to spend daily time in the Scriptures. I mean every single day. I need it.” His words simply affirmed what the Bible makes clear for all of us.
The need for water illustrates the need for truth—both essential for life.
If you’re feeling dry in your spiritual life, there’s only one way to slake your thirst.
Years ago my wife bought me a table saw for Christmas, and I’ve enjoyed the first hobby I’ve had in my life. I like what the Canadian born physician, Sir William Osler, once told an audience of medical professionals:
No man is really happy or safe without a hobby, and it makes precious little difference what the outside interest may be—botany, beetles or butterflies; roses, tulips or irises; fishing, mountaineering or antiques—anything will do as long as he straddles a hobby and rides it hard.
But woodworking is more than a hobby. It has marvelous metaphors for your spiritual life.
In an earlier post, I shared the first half of 10 ways I’ve discovered that woodworking affirms your spiritual life:
- You will have to cut cross grain, so stay sharp.
- Good tools save you time and give you better results.
- You can do a lot more than you think with the little you have.
- Following a plan gets you where you want to go with greater success.
- Mistakes always teach you, and they rarely ruin the piece.
In this post, let’s complete the list it’s taken me years to write.
What would you add to the list?
My favorite Jewish carpenter other than Jesus is Norm Abram. I’m a weekend woodworker, and the hobby has done more than just save me money and provide a healthy diversion for my mind.
It’s more than sawdust and saw blades. For me, it’s also spiritual.
(Photo: Completing a recent project)
During the many hours I’ve spent woodworking, I’ve come to realize how much of the craft relates to our walk with God. I’m not alone. The Shakers of the 19th-century viewed the craftsmanship of their unique furniture as an extension of their worship of God.
I want to share with you 10 ways I’ve discovered that woodworking affirms the spiritual life. I’ll do this in two posts.
For fun, I’ll also show you some pictures of stuff I’ve built.
I never trust myself with a snooze button.
It’s too easy to tell myself, “Just 5 more minutes,” about 7 more times. Plus, snoozing never helps! I feel just as tired after snoozing as I did beforehand.
I gain nothing. I’ve only lost time.
The problem of “mind over mattress” is one we all face, and we all deal with it in different ways.
- Some people set the alarm earlier to allow for the snooze.
- Others put the clock out of reach so they have to get up to turn off the alarm.
- Others tell themselves, Tomorrow I’ll begin to get up on time; but not today.
Spiritually speaking, we’re often called to “wake up” and get moving.
The problem? We’re tempted to slap the snooze button.
But when we do, we never gain anything.
We only lose precious time.
Today you will be told to face the facts. Usually, that means bad news.
- You don’t have the money.
- The doctor’s report doesn’t look good.
- Time is running out on your biological clock.
- The friends whom you’ve been close to for years suddenly dump you.
Facing the facts is a hard part of life.
But think about it: facing the facts isn’t our problem. It’s that we fail to face all of them.
God has facts to factor into our thinking as well.
The connection between between the first steps we take in making a decision and its final outcome often seems unrelated.
Walking the path of wisdom or the way of foolishness has domino effects far greater than we can imagine.
For us, a disciplined intake of Scripture certainly promises wisdom. But wisdom offers a course of action, not just a course of instruction. (Tweet that.)
The book of Proverbs reveals the outcome of the pathways we are walking.
And it tells us how to stay on the path of wisdom.
In my previous post, I wrote about a Christian’s struggle with sin and 4 lies we believe about our sin.
Let’s take it a step further.
In addition to taking a defensive mindset against the lies we often believe, we need to take an active approach to sin and temptation.
Here are 4 basic strategies to help you battle the tug of temptation and sin on your heart.
Who would have ever thought to use stairs as a memory-trigger?
At the southern edge of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, a 200-foot wide flight of stairs represents both original and restored steps from the Second Temple period.
Millions of sandals (including Jesus’) shuffled up these steps in antiquity as Jewish pilgrims came from all Israel and the Diaspora to worship the Lord for the annual feasts.
Some suggest the pilgrims sang the Psalms of Ascent on these steps. If so, the place brought to mind critical themes.
The place echoes of our need to be reminded of what we already know.
Years ago, my grandmother’s 1909 house got a fresh layer of wallpaper.
But only weeks later, I noticed in a high corner the wallpaper had buckled, and in some places, it had even split.
(My grandmother’s house, built in 1909)
When I asked her about it she said: “Oh, the house needs foundation work. Every time the seasons change and the wind blows a different direction, the whole house shifts.”
That made sense. For years I shaved inches off most of the doors trying to get them to close. But the repair only lasted until the wind shifted again.
Look closely at the lives of your friends and family. Maybe even your own life.
You’ll see this old house’s problem in vivid display.
It’s a place between important places. Few individuals, if any, journey there directly. Most would miss it, in fact, if they didn’t know to look.
Modern commuters along Israel’s Route 1 motor by the site every day, their minds on their routines. Even tour buses rarely point to the place, much less stop there.
The tourists who do pull over often do so only to snap pictures at the Elvis American Diner (also known as the “Elvis Inn”). A 16-foot-tall bronze likeness of Elvis Presley greets every visitor. Inside the diner, Elvis music is all they hear as they eat their Elvis Burgers. But Elvis isn’t what makes this hill noteworthy.
Around the corner from the offbeat diner, near the modern Israeli Arab village of Abu Gosh, sits the site so few see and even fewer visit—the biblical site of Kiriath Jearim.
You’d never know by looking, but the physical symbol of God’s presence in Israel rested for about a century on this overlooked hill. (Tweet that.)