I had to smile when I read what Jason Kidd said after the Dallas Mavericks drafted him years ago: “We’re going to turn this team around 360 degrees!”
Life often feels like that, doesn’t it? A lot of effort with nothing gained.
At times, the Bible seems like a history book in which God makes and fulfills promises to the ancients, but the words somehow lack immediacy to our struggling lives. And yet, it’s funny how the anxieties that overwhelm our lives seem identical to those that biblical people struggled against.
Even though Scripture provides assurance of God’s promises, assurance doesn’t negate the stressful circumstances that force us to trust God.
Truth doesn’t make the hard parts of life go away. We still have to trust God with that truth.
Do you have a buffer zone between you and what can harm you? I’m talking about putting a safeguard between you and evil influences that can cause compromise in your walk with Jesus Christ.
Interestingly, this concept of defense didn’t originate in the New Testament. We see an illustration of it throughout Old Testament history in an unusual place.
Between the Philistine plain and the Hill Country where God’s people dwelt lay 10 miles of low rolling hills. This buffer zone was known as the “Shephelah.”
The hills of the Shephelah were a geographical buffer that represented a spiritual barrier. You have a Shephelah in your life as well.
Here’s a lesson on how you can guard it.
As a teenager, I knew everything. You could even say I was omniscient. I marveled at the incompetence of adults on the simplest issues. They just didn’t get it.
And then I grew up, and something strange happened. I discovered that as an omniscient person, I still had a lot to learn.
So many times I stood so sure of myself only to discover how woefully ignorant I was.
- I knew a lot about the Bible until I went to seminary. It turns out, the more I learned, the less I knew.
- I knew everything about marriage until I got married. But matrimony is course in art, not science. I’ll be learning for the rest of my life.
- I was an expert on parenting until I had kids. Parenting offers a long course of study on your own selfishness.
I’ve learned a lot since I became omniscient. But you know where that omniscient teenager resurfaces the most in my life? The same place it shows itself in your life.
When we’re talking to God.
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.
Would you like to hold a grudge with God’s blessing?
I mean, wouldn’t it be great to know exactly how much of the same guff you had to take from someone until you no longer had to forgive?
The problem with forgiving is that the debt is real.
- Your parents neglected or even abused you.
- Your spouse betrayed your wedding vows.
- Your best friends backstabbed you.
- Someone hurt you so deeply you feel you may never recover.
The debt is real. And in order to forgive, you must give even more than has already been taken.
And this is hard. Very, very hard.
But if we want God to forgive us, it’s essential.
The good news? Scripture shows us how.
Tough circumstances of life always change our minds about God.
They either tempt us to doubt what He’s promised, or they draw us closer to Him in faith. But we never stay the same.
God’s plan for your life is revealed and tested in times of struggle.
If you’re struggling today, don’t miss the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of God’s plan for you.
Joseph shows you how.
Most people live for dreams. It’s a quest, really.
Clinging to ideals of how life could and “should” be, they chase those dreams like a carrot on a stick. Always within reach, but never gotten.
I guess we’re all wired to pursue the ideal. The world calls it following “your heart,” and we Christians refer to it as “the will of God.”
But in truth, we generally settle for nothing less than our version of how life ought to be.
Any search for the ideal needs only to look at the Garden of Eden to see the futility of that pursuit.
God points us a different direction.
In my previous post, I offered some suggestions for how to prepare for a Holy Land Tour.
After all, you’re investing a lot of money and significant time for this journey. It makes sense to prepare yourself beforehand so that you get the most from your experience in Israel.
But after you arrive in Israel, there are a number of ways you can ensure you get the most from your Holy Land tour.
The following 8 tips include both practical and spiritual ways to maximize your experience every single day you’re there.
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.
I’m convinced that one of the greatest challenges we face is finding balance in the Christian life.
Think of a man walking on the high wire. There’s never a point at which he says, “Finally, I have balance!” and then just strolls across effortlessly. Balancing life’s tightrope proves no different.
It is a continual effort with constant adjustment.
“All we need,” we keep telling ourselves, “is just a little more time.”
Have you ever noticed that somehow Jesus balanced it all? The demands of His work and ministry left Him exhausted at times, of course—yet somehow He found time to get it all done.
Jesus perfectly balanced the demands of life—with the same 24 hours we have.