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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes it feels like God takes way too long. He could stop all the pain and confusion in a moment. He could meet the need. But He doesn’t.
Waiting on God is often confusing. He has operated this way for a long time.
When Mary and Martha of Bethany sent a message to Jesus that their brother Lazarus lay sick, Jesus stayed right where He was. When He finally did arrive, He found that Lazarus had been dead four days.
In other words, Jesus took His sweet time showing up.
Why does He do this?
If Jesus told us He had a criticism for us, we’d pull out our checklist and start down it.
- “Should I go on a mission trip, Lord?”
- “Should I pray more?”
- “Maybe memorize the book of Romans?”
“You just name it, Lord, and I’ll do it!”
I have discovered that slips in our relationship with God never start with the big things. They begin with the basics.
We would never consider waffling in our morality or our theology.
And yet, how often we betray a more basic element.
Think about one person who has inspired you, encouraged you, or helped you. Got that person in your mind? Now, let me ask you a question: Have you ever sent a thank-you note to that person?
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Not long ago a client sent a thank-you note to the editors in our department, expressing appreciation for their excellent work. The client told me of the editors’ surprising reply: “No one has ever thanked us before.”
That tragic statement got me thinking.
I had lunch with a young man not long ago who nursed serious doubts about the claims of Jesus. Back and forth we talked. He raised objections. I offered answers.
After each exchange, he would smile and shake his head and say, “I just can’t believe that’s true.”
“What if I answered all of your questions to your satisfaction?” I asked. “Would you believe in Jesus then?” His answer surprised me.