God’s List of What You Need

Okay, let’s make a quick list. If you had to write down what you need, what would top your list? Let me take a stab at what you might write.

God's List of What You Need

(Photo: courtesy of ooomf)

If you’re like most folks, your list of what you need may read something like this:

  • I need a new iPhone, Android, techie-whatever.
  • I need more money and more time.
  • I need my spouse to listen to me.
  • I need more respect at work.
  • I need a friend.

What DO you need? Ask that question to ten different people, you’ll likely get eleven different answers. But your needs aren’t subjective.

God has revealed what you need.

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers [Book Review] (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

Forgiveness is something we all struggle with. For many of us, the struggle began early.

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers does an excellent job of connecting with someone whose parents have blown it (which, on some level, is all of us). But more importantly, this helpful volume walks readers through the morass of pain, shows them how to process it through a scriptural filter, and releases them into the freedom of their future made possible by God’s grace in Christ.

Read more . . .

God Can Change Your Trouble to Triumph

Some places evoke bad memories. Maybe it was your hometown. Or perhaps the house where you grew up or the school you attended. The place itself is neutral. But the events associated with it have forever changed it in your memory.

God Can Change Your Trouble to Triumph

(Photo by Photodune)

The Valley of Achor was such a site. After Joshua’s victory at Jericho, the Israelites suffered defeat at Ai because a man named Achan had buried banned spoils of war under his tent (Joshua 7:1, 21).

After this event, the valley served as a reminder of failure, of setback, and of defeat. But God would change the place from a site of trouble to a place of triumph.

He can do the same for you.

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.

Our Holy Land Tour is Over—It is Well with My Soul

Our Israel tour has come to an end. Hard to believe! It’s been a fabulous tour connecting the Bible and its lands to life.

Yesterday while the 800 pilgrims on our tour scattered across Jerusalem in search of the perfect souvenir, our Insight for Living staff enjoyed lunch at the American Colony Hotel.

American Colony Hotel

(Picture: We had lunch at the American Colony Hotel)

The best part of this hotel is that the lobby has framed the original manuscript to one of my two favorite hymns: “It is Well with My Soul.”

I’ve posted a picture of it here. Can you make out the words?

Greater Expectations

Greater Expectations: Succeed (and Stay Sane) in an On-Demand, All-Access, Always-On Age [Book Review] (Zondervan, 2014)

I was eager to read Claire Diaz-Ortiz’s new book, Greater Expectations, because I had enjoyed her self-published e-book, The PRESENT Principle. Come to find out, this new book IS her self-pub volume revised under the Barna Group’s series, “Frames.”

The benefit of this new edition is its additional content on surviving in our “always-on” digital age.

As with any book done with the Barna Group, it comes front-loaded with stats that sober the reader into understanding the need and also some proposed solutions.

  • Engaging info-graphics and an intro chapter put proof to what we all feel. Because most Americans are perpetually connected to their devices—and social media specifically—the quality of life has nosedived.
  • Technology, which was supposed to give more margin and quality to life, has done just the opposite. Margin is squeezed out and quality seldom enters the scene.

The bulk of the book centers on Diaz’s PRESENT Principle.

  • I like her idea of the importance of scheduling a daily time to take care of yourself. I don’t mean a time of selfishness, but a time of responsible self-maintenance that includes good input and honest evaluation.
  • For me (like Claire Diaz-Ortiz), that time occurs by reading the Bible and praying in order to realign my priorities with God’s. That takes a daily renewal of the mind.

Greater Expectations gives excellent, general advice that works well for singles or marrieds without children. I guess it could work for parents, given days of exception. That is, once you throw kids in the mix, the expectation of a consistent morning routine is pretty well shot.

If you want a good, quick read on how to organize your ideal morning, Claire has given it to you. Just do it before your kids wake up.

The RE/FRAME chapter by Diane Paddison is as helpful as it is brief. Her challenge to create realistic boundaries is really a call to establish priorities that promise a life of no regrets. I especially appreciated the permission to care for yourself, a priority that often gets misunderstood as selfishness but is nothing more than godly stewardship.

Question: How do you keep balanced when your smartphone is always on? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

At the Garden Tomb, Contemplating the Resurrection

We spent the morning at the Garden Tomb, where hundreds of us gathered in the beautiful gardens that surround the ancient tomb. Chuck Swindoll led us in a communion service.

The tomb itself is not the tomb of Jesus, but the location gives the best place in Jerusalem to contemplate the resurrection of Jesus.

At the Garden Tomb, Contemplating the Resurrection

(Photo: The Garden Tomb)

In my many visits to the Garden Tomb through the years, I have only had one guide tell me the tomb was the tomb of Jesus—and that visit was back in 2000. Since then, each guide has expressed that the Association makes no official claim that the tomb represents that of the resurrection of Jesus.

“The important thing is,” they always point out, “the tomb is empty.”

There is no better oasis in Jerusalem than the Garden Tomb to contemplate the central truth of Christianity’s faith—the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

The Israel Museum, the Holocaust Museum, and a Surprise!

We spent the morning in Jerusalem at two magnificent museums. Both reflect a history of the chosen people that we must never forget.

We toured the Israel Museum, which houses the original Dead Sea Scrolls at the Shrine of the Book. We also saw a number of wonderful archaeological finds we saw that connect directly with Jesus and the Bible.

Israel Museum

(Photo: The Israel Museum. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

But the most moving museum was Jerusalem’s Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, which remembers the more than six million Jews who were murdered during WWII simply because they were Jews.

The museum’s path led our group before disturbing scenes suspended on pale walls. Life-sized murals of living skeletons stared at us. Corpses lay piled after mass-executions in photo after photo. Hundreds of discarded shoes lay under a glass floor. In another area, a recording read aloud the names of children and their ages at death. Chilling . . . and so very sad.

The Hebrew phrase Yad Vashem means, “a hand and a name,” an idiom from Isaiah 56:5 that refers to a memorial. How could anyone forget such horrific events?

But the museum has its rays of light as well.