The Source of Our Peace—Reflections from Yom Yerushalayim

Why Peace Requires One Thing More than Anything Else

The holiday, Yom Yerushalayim, “Jerusalem Day” always reminds me of the T-shirt my grandmother bought me when she went to Jerusalem in 1987. (We men keep clothes way too long.)

The Source of Our Peace—Reflections from Yom Yerushalayim

(Photo: The Jaffa Gate, celebrating Jerusalem’s 40th Birthday. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Printed in English, Hebrew, and Arabic, the T-shirt celebrated “The 20th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem.” Yom Yerushalayim is a Jewish holiday annually celebrating the first time the Jews controlled Jerusalem since the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in AD 70.

Now almost 70 years since the beginning of the State of Israel, the land has just as much tension and heartache as ever. And much of the conflict cloaks its true motives in the name of religion.

One day in Jerusalem I saw a humorous sign that tried to bridge that religion gap.

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Ascension Day Gives Us a Reason to Look Up

Our purpose in life finds its answer in Jesus' final words.

Honestly, if Ascension Day didn’t appear on our calendars 40 days after Easter, we’d likely never think about it. Sure, we know Jesus’ ascension had good reasons. But hey, we’re still stuck on earth.

Ascension Day Gives Us a Reason to Look Up

(Photo by Photodune)

In fact, have you ever wondered why we don’t we just ascend to heaven after we believe in Jesus?

The answer, of course, is that God’s goal for us is more than to believe in His Son. Jesus’ final words remind us of that.

Ascension Day offers a few good reminders.

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Help me to be in reality before thee
as in appearance I am before men,
to be religious before I profess religion,
to leave the world before I enter the church,
to set my affections on the things above,
to shun forbidden follies and vanities,
to be a dispenser as well as a partaker of grace,
to be prepared to bear evil as well as to do good.

Puritan Prayer
Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Banner of Truth, 2003), 21.

3 Lessons I Learned the Day I Dipped Snuff

Why we should want God to give us what He wants to give us.

Riding in the in cab of my father’s truck one day, I noticed a round can on his dashboard. Having seen him stick the stuff in his mouth and spit, I asked if I could do it too.

3 Lessons I Learned from the Day I Dipped Snuff

(Photo by Photodune)

“Sure,” he said, “let me help you.” He cracked the can of Copenhagen, grabbed a generous plug, and pulled back my bottom lip. “There you go.”

I sat there with a “peench” between my check and gum, as Walt Garrison used to say. Of course, the plug was so huge I could barely close my mouth. It didn’t take long for the juices to start squirting in my mouth.

And down my throat.

I learned 3 lessons from that day.

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reason for my hope

The Reason for My Hope: Salvation (Thomas Nelson, 2013)

Each chapter of Billy Graham’s book, The Reason for My Hope, leads to one conclusion: regardless of whatever you’re face, Jesus Christ provides the answer. Dr. Graham’s easygoing writing incorporates numerous stories and illustrations to support that the idea that our hope in life and after life comes by faith in Christ.

Why I Don’t Use My Holy Land Photos on My Blog

The Pictorial Library of Bible Lands makes my pics look like Polaroids.

I have taken thousands of pictures of Israel. Yet I hardly use any of my Holy Land Photos on my blog. Why? Because my pictures can’t compare with the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.

Take a moment to watch this brand new video that explains better than I can what makes this photo collection the best there is.

I urge you to add these Holy Land photos to your Bible study or your teaching. I’m confident they will add richness both to your understanding of the Bible as well as to your ability to help others understand it better.

Want to read more of what I think about these photos? Click here.

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Question: Do you have this collection of Holy Land photos? What do you think of it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The northern end of Sea of Galilee.

(Photo: The northern end of Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

 

Kursi—Choosing Between People, Pigs, and Priorities

Why is it sometimes we regret the wrong things?

Sometimes in the swell of our emotions, we make promises we don’t mean. On one occasion, two individuals approached Jesus and declared they would follow Him wherever He went.

Kursi—Choosing Between People, Pigs, and Priorities

(Photo: The steep slope at Kursi beside the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

But Jesus’ response to them indicated that their hearts were more devoted to comfort and to family than to Him (Matt. 8:19-22). It happened in Jesus’ day, and it happens in ours.

We’ve all done it. Sometimes we’ll express our spiritual desires in terms that really boil down to boasts:

  • I’ll have my quiet time every morning for the rest of my life.
  • I’m willing to follow God wherever He leads me.
  • I will love people more and need them less.

Overwhelmed by the moment, we’ll express our feelings in terms of commitments we’d like to do. But often, we come to regret our words.

The problem is we’re regretting the wrong thing.

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What to Do When God’s Will is the Other Way

Following God’s will is a wonderful thing. That is, when God leads us the same direction we’re already going. The hard part comes when the Lord changes our course.

What to Do When God’s Will is the Other Way

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

When God leads in a direction that seems exactly the opposite of the way He should lead, we’ll get logical in a hurry.

  • We find statistics to explain why it won’t work.
  • We’ll even quote Scriptures to support our bents.

For example, in an attempt to discredit Jesus, the Pharisees claimed, “no prophet arises out of Galilee” (John 7:52). Oh really? The prophet Jonah came from Gath-hepher, located right beside Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth!

It’s easy to forget about this minor prophet who ran from God. It’s easy because we often do the same.

Here’s how to avoid that.

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When Your Life is Wasted for God’s Glory

When I see a life on fire for God snuffed out in its prime, I confess I wonder what goes on in the mind of a sovereign God. So much potential. So much to offer. All that potential—gone.

When Your Life is Wasted for God’s Glory

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

Have you ever known a young, gifted individual who loved the Lord but whose life came to a sudden end—with all that potential wasted in an early death?

I have. We are not the first to scratch our heads at God’s grand plan—that includes what seems like life wasted.

Why do you think Jesus invited James into the inner circle of disciples only to allow his execution so soon after the church got its start?

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