Sometimes our blessings get piled so high, it’s difficult to see around them. Blessings are ours in abundance—and tempt us to forget God. Of course, this is nothing new.
As the redeemed Hebrew nation anticipated entering Canaan, the Lord issued them an important warning:
When the Lord your God brings you into . . . great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you shall eat and be satisfied. Then watch yourself, lest you forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. —Deuteronomy 6:10-12
Notice God’s emphasis by the repeated phrase: “which you did not.” The blessings His people would receive would come from God’s hand—not from their own wits or wisdom.
Moses warned his people of the greatest danger from God’s blessings: to forget God.
We have that same vulnerability, don’t we?
Every breath’s a battle between grudgery and gratitude and we must keep thanks on the lips so we can sip from the holy grail of joy.
Take a devotional break for a moment and watch the beautiful words of King David’s Psalm 23 come to life.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. —Psalm 23:1–3
Sometimes I think God created particular creatures simply to provide potent metaphors He could use to teach us with. Picture yourself as one of these sheep—and the Lord as your shepherd.
Video from SourceFlix.com
God doesn’t want our failures to remain failures. He wants our failures to become investments in learning to get things right. He want us to learn from our mistakes and to keep moving forward.
Earlier this year I visited Israel’s Timna Park for the first time in years. Most visitors to Israel never see the southern part of the country since most of the biblical record occurred farther north.
So I thought I’d share a few photos, video, and maps to give you a taste of this seldom-seen site in southern Israel.
Between the copper mines, the formations called “Solomon’s Pillars,” and a replica of the Tabernacle, there’s plenty to see.
Let’s take a look.
In Make Your Mark: Getting Right What Samson Got Wrong, Brad Gray walks us through the life of the strong man who lived a life of weakness and failure. But it’s more than a cautionary tale.
The book employs a surprising blend of history, geography, archaeology, linguistics, and culture—what most folks might consider dull and dry—and explains how Samson’s struggles often mirror our own.
- Learning from the pride and lust and unforgiveness (and faith) of this weak judge allows us to get right what Samson got wrong.
- I enjoyed learning about how the author of the book of Judges used the theme of Samson eyes as an example of what “everyone in those days” did—what was right in their own eyes.
Brad Gray combines many personal illustrations along with his explanation of Samson’s life to produce a potentially life changing resource for all of us who have failed (that’s all of us). Samson’s presence in Hebrews 11 reveals that God can still use us—even when we fail Him.
God doesn’t want our failures to remain failures. He wants our failures to become investments in learning to get things right. He want us to learn from our mistakes and to keep moving forward. —Brad Gray
Make Your Mark: Getting Right What Samson Got Wrong has pulled Samson from the Sunday School flannel graphs and revealed him as the flesh-and-blood Hebrew he was. Human, frail, desperate, alone, failing—and yet, believing.
Just like us.
You’ll enjoy the book. You can grab it here.
In moments of honesty, it’s easy to see our lives as, well—insignificant. What we do often seems to matter very, very little. Whether it’s pushing papers or changing diapers, it can seem pretty pointless.
We often can fall for the thinking that because what we do seems small, or behind-the-scenes, or insignificant, or unequal with our abilities or qualifications, that what we do matters little.
After all, if we foul up, no big deal. The world still turns. Nobody notices. Few seem to care.
If your faith doesn’t correspond with reality, it isn’t real.
This compelling fact is supported in this video by SourceFlix.com. It is well worth watching as it compares the Bible and the Book of Mormon with regard to Jerusalem’s archaeology.
Faith must correspond with history. Think about it:
Life at the Dead Sea sounds like an oxymoron. After all, nothing but microbes can survive in the brine. But beside the sea, several springs give life and beauty to an otherwise barren place.
If you want to find where history took place, just look for the waterholes.
The most famous spring on the Dead Sea’s western shore is Ein Gedi. But two other springs offer life to the barren area—as well as beautiful places to see.
All give testimony to God’s grace in surprising place.
Whatever decision or challenge or crossroads you face in your life, simply ask yourself, “What is essential?” Eliminate everything else.