Sometimes it’s tough to serve God in the shadows. You show up faithfully. You contribute your part, but no one seems to notice. Matthias may have felt that way.
Ever since John the Baptist had prepared the way for the Messiah, Matthias had followed.
- He had walked in Jesus’ footsteps from the Jordan River to the rugged hills of Galilee.
- He had followed the Savior with passion and persuasion.
But without recognition. Matthias was a willing unknown.
In those moments we beg God to rescue us from our insignificant lives, believing nothing important is happening with us, Matthias reminds us that just the opposite is true.
Most of us give Christmas gifts that are quickly forgotten. After the iPhone gets cracked, or the DVD gets watched, or the sweater gets snagged, they all end up at the landfill. This year, why not give a gift (or ask for one) that will last a lifetime?
(Photo: by Carsten Tolkmit. Flickr. CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Bible Lands study tools make great gifts because they take your personal Bible study to the next level. What’s more, they don’t wear out.
Here are my top 5 recommendations this year for gifts you’ll enjoy giving (and receiving).
Sometimes fear keeps us from enjoying what God has promised. We want so badly to have faith in what the Lord says.
But fear of what we see seems more compelling than mere words.
Gideon longed to believe God. But the enemy army before him was enormous.
It was almost as large as the fears we face today.
Everybody faces temptation.
And on some level, everybody has fallen to it. Everybody but Jesus.
I have walked in the wilderness where Satan tempted Jesus.
Good grief, what a place. As far as my eye could see, it was empty, dry, and depressing. I tried to imagine the solitude and struggle Jesus would have endured for over a month. But I could not.
How did Jesus resist temptation here?
Congratulations, Mr. Stiles, you’ve just won an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii!”
“You mean . . . you don’t want it?” I hung up. It was a short conversation.
A solicitor does not call to give anything—unless he or she ultimately gets more back in return.
I have discovered the devil is the same way. Satan knows how to market to people. He’s been doing it a long time. From the beginning, in fact.
After I bought my 1897 edition of The Historical Geography of the Holy Land, I opened its dingy, yellow pages and discovered I couldn’t turn some of them.
The London publisher London had made an error.
The Bible has unwrapped treasures waiting for you.
The book was printed on large sheets which were then cut and bound into the book. But some of the edges never got trimmed. I had to cut each pair of pages myself. At first this was a real hassle.
But then it hit me . . . I am the first person ever to read these pages!
The book sat on the shelf of some library or study for over a century—untouched! All its benefits . . . hidden. Nobody read them. Each time I cut a page seemed like cutting the ribbon on an unwrapped present. The rich descriptions George Adam Smith has written are the next best thing to pictures.
I bought a used book no one had used.
An Awkward Question
Then a question popped in my head: How long would it take me to notice if pages of my Bible were stuck together? The Bible is a book of treasures, often unwrapped, because we simply don’t realize its tremendous value to our lives.
I want to share with you 4 steps that can help you unwrap the Bible’s treasures.
Studying Bible lands has permanently marked my life and changed the way I understand the Scriptures. My experience is not unique.
I have videotaped a number of interviews with those who have both studied geography and also been to Israel. I hope this video encourages you personally to experience the Lands of the Bible for yourself . . . or at least to begin praying about the possibility. It’s worth it.
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