The Southern Steps and Psalms of Ascent Reminders

Who would have ever thought to use stairs as a memory-trigger?

At the southern edge of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, a 200-foot wide flight of stairs represents both original and restored steps from the Second Temple period.

The Southern Steps and Psalms of Ascent Reminders

(Photo: Reading the Psalms of Ascent on the Southern Steps. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.)

Millions of sandals (including Jesus’) shuffled up these steps in antiquity as Jewish pilgrims came from all Israel and the Diaspora to worship the Lord for the annual feasts.

Some suggest the pilgrims sang the Psalms of Ascent on these steps. If so, the place brought to mind critical themes.

The place echoes of our need to be reminded of what we already know.

Clear Your Guilty Conscience in 3 Steps

I read that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle played a joke on twelve of his friends. He sent them each identical telegrams that read: “Flee! All is discovered!” Just four words. But within 24 hours, all 12 fled the country.

Only God can help you clear a guilty conscience.

(Photo: Design Pics, via Vivozoom)

What Conan Doyle did in jest, God does to us in all seriousness.

The Lord will use situations to awaken ignored or unresolved guilt, testing our willingness to come clean and clear a guilty conscience.

Are you willing? Here’s how.

Hebron—the Cave of Machpelah Stands as a Testimony of Faith

Towering like a fortress over the shoddy buildings that surround it, the ancient structure in Hebron covers a site sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

Machpelah in Hebron

(Photo: The building that covers the “Cave of the Patriarchs” at Machpelah in Hebron. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In elevation, Hebron stands taller than even Jerusalem.

And other than the Temple Mount itself, no other place remains as revered to peoples whose hopes and faiths could not be more diverse.

Few other places offer such a powerful lesson in faith for those of us still drawing a breath.

Staring Death in the Faith

Sometimes you hear crazy stuff at funerals.

I heard of one set of parents who tragically lost a child, and the minister told them not to weep—but to rejoice in faith. After all, their son was in heaven. It sounds so right—so spiritual.

But it was only half right. Therefore, half wrong.

Staring death in the faith.

(Photo: by Ralf Lotys, Sicherlich, CC-BY-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Bible reveals that when someone dies, the most natural and right thing to do—even in a life of great faith—is to weep. After Abraham’s wife died, we read:

“Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.” (Genesis 23:2).

Even Jesus wept at the results of physical death (John 11:35). So, that makes it okay for us too.

Why is weeping right, even if our loved one is in a “better place”?

Expect God to Test Your Vision

I sit still with my face in a brace, wide-eyed and waiting for that imminent blast of air in my eyeball. “Now sit still,” the optometrist says. “Don’t blink.” POW! I know it’s coming, but my whole body still jerks. I feel like an idiot.

Sit still, please.

(Photo: Design Pics, via Vivozoom)

Then we do it again with the other eye.

This unpleasant procedure has to happen each year. Without it, my vision isn’t all it can be.

The Lord does a similar thing with the vision He gives us in the Bible. We think we see it clearly until a blast in the eyeball jerks our whole frame of reference.

Get the Perspective You Need with 3 Truths

The Texas Driver’s Handbook has a diagram that shows when you sit in a parked car, you have a full 180-degree field of vision.

But then you start to move.

  • When your car accelerates to 20 M.P.H. that field of vision reduces to 66%.
  • At 40 M.P.H. your visual field shrinks to 20%.
  • At 60 M.P.H. your field of vision remains barely wider than the headlights.
Get some perspective

(Photo: Andres Rodriguez, via Vivozoom)

Simply said, the faster you go the less perspective you have.

The same holds true for us in our journey. If we never sit still, we never see the big picture—only the immediate right in front of us.

Your Rededication to God Can Begin Right Now

Anyone who has visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC has seen the etching engraved on the top of the steps.

The inscription marks the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” Standing on those steps, in the shadow of the great emancipator’s memory, gave greater force to the words Dr. King spoke that day.

The place of the message intensified the words.

Rededication

(Photo: warrengoldswain, via Vivozoom)

I’m convinced that’s why Joshua gathered the young Hebrew nation to Shechem. The geographical context of his words played a significant role.

What he said that day still applies to us.

The Jesus Boat—A Nof Ginosar Abandoned Ship Resurfaces

The Sea of Galilee will give us a treasure one day,” one man told his brother. Turns out, he was right.

In 1986, Yuval and Moshe Lufan, two sons of a fisherman in Kibbutz Ginosar, were walking the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

First-century boat discovered

(Photo: Yuval and Moshe Lufan beside the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Jesus Boat)

The drought that year dropped the level of the lake lower than the men had seen in years. One brother noticed something odd protruding from the mud.

It was an ancient nail. As he poked around with his finger, he found another one. Then another. More digging unearthed pieces of ancient wood.

While they didn’t realize it at the moment, they had discovered a fishing boat that dated to the time of Jesus.

God is Guiding Your Life—and How I Know It

A guitar. A roommate. A cassette tape. A church bulletin. A jerk.

These are a few things the Lord used to guide my life. At the time, they seemed insignificant. But today, I see His guiding hand on the details of those events.

God is guiding your life

God is guiding your life.

Maybe you feel like the Lord isn’t leading you toward anything significant in life. Or worse, that He has abandoned you. I believe otherwise.

I want to show you that God is guiding you—and how I know He is.

How to Move from Fear to Faith

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.

Moving from fear to faith

(Photo: rinderart, via Vivozoom)

Gideon longed to believe God. But the enemy army before him was enormous.

It was almost as large as the fears we face today.