Follow Your Heart (And Why That’s a Really Bad Idea)

The world's mantra isn't telling you everything.

It’s the mantra of today. It’s the moral lesson of most movies. It’s the guiding light of many lives: “Follow your heart!” After all, it sounds so right, doesn’t it?

Follow Your Heart

“Follow your heart” is another way of following your feelings. Even as Christians, our feelings often lead us, don’t they?

  • “I don’t feel good about this.”
  • “Am I comfortable with this direction?”
  • “I don’t have a peace about this decision.”

Following your heart is a popular, but unwise, way to make decisions.

Although our feelings are real, they may not represent reality. And even if what we feel does have some connection to reality, it is never all of reality.

God offers a better way.

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Must-Have Resources for Bible Lands Study

I've boiled down an essential list for you.

Not everybody can travel to Israel. But everyone can benefit from including Bible lands in their personal Bible study. You just need some good tools.

Tabernacle model and courtyard

(Photo: Tabernacle Model. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

I have discovered that including Bible lands in my study has given me more understanding of the Bible than I ever imagined. The benefits of including Bible lands in the study of Scripture are available to everyone.

Many people have asked what resources I recommend. So I’ve created what I consider a must-have list. These are the tools I reach for first when I study—those resources that have proven most helpful to me for years.

I’ll give you the full list, and then I’ll suggest which ones to get first.

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God is Guiding Your Life—and How I Know It

What seem like chances are really God's choices.

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

God is Guiding Your Life—and How I Know It

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

In the Old Testament, a destitute single-again woman named Ruth had little hope for a future. One day she took advantage of a provision in the Law that allowed the poor to reap the corners of Israel’s fields. Her example gives hope to us all.

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

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3 Fantastic Questions to Ask During Every Sermon

Make this next message one you truly hear and apply.

This Sunday, it’s going to happen again. You’ll hear one more sermon to add to the thousands you’ve listened to. Be honest, do you remember anything from last Sunday? If you’re like me, you often draw a blank with this question.

3 Fantastic Questions to Ask During Every Sermon

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

It’s not because my pastor is boring. Or because his theology is lame. Or because I fail to hear. It’s likely because I approach the sermon the wrong way as a listener.

I have discovered 3 fantastic questions that help my focus when I hear another sermon.

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One of the crucial mistakes I’ve made is to judge God by the present condition of my dreams. When my dreams seem to thrive, I figure God is for me and that He must indeed be strong and able. But the test of faith comes when the path to our dreams look like it’s swerving off course. . . . It’s not hard to confuse God’s favor with our personalized version of the American dream. But God’s favor is far bigger than that. It was God’s favor that led Jesus to the cross of Calvary.

Lina AbuJamra
Resolved: 10 Ways to Stand Strong and Live What You Believe (Baker Books, 2016), p. 166

Compare Jerusalem’s Mountains to God’s Presence in Your Life

How Jerusalem's Geography Can Relieve Your Doubts

Life is full of moments that expose our doubts. In spite of all the Scripture we’ve learned and all the past victories the Lord has given us, occasionally something will happen that causes serious doubt.

How Jerusalem's Geography Can Relieve Your Doubts

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount near sunset. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Maybe it’s a financial situation that undercuts future security. Or it might be a miserable marriage. Perhaps it’s a pastor or a leader who has failed. Maybe it’s our own failure.

Whatever the reason, seasons of doubts and confusion can come even to the most committed followers of Jesus:

  • John the Baptist struggled with doubts about his own beliefs about Jesus (Matt. 11:2-3).
  • The apostle Thomas found the resurrection of Christ something he had to see before he’d believe (John 20:25).
  • Some of the disciples had doubts about Jesus’ appearing to them, even at the Great Commission (Matt. 28:17).

I confess, I’ve had my doubts as well. Sometimes circumstances literally demanded I doubt God. A simple walk in Jerusalem one evening gave me an essential reminder.

I’m convinced it can help you.

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Why Forgiving Someone is Hard and How to Really Do It

2 truths remain essential if we hope to move on.

Would you like to hold a grudge with God’s blessing? Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly how much of the same guff you had to take from someone until you no longer had to forgive?

Why Forgiving Someone is Hard and How to Do It

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The problem with forgiving is that the debt is real.

  • Your parents neglected or even abused you.
  • Your spouse betrayed your wedding vows.
  • Your best friends backstabbed you.
  • Someone hurt you so deeply you feel you may never recover.

The debt is real. And in order to forgive, you must give even more than has already been taken. And this is hard. Very, very hard. But if we want God to forgive us, it’s essential.

The good news? Scripture shows us how.

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As followers of Jesus Christ, we believe a whole lot of crazy stuff. We believe in a Triune God. We believe in the virgin birth. We believe in the resurrection. We believe in the Holy Spirit. We believe in eternal life. If we’re honest about it, the story of Jesus is either the craziest story ever told or it’s worth giving everything up for, including our fears.

Lina AbuJamra
Resolved: 10 Ways to Stand Strong and Live What You Believe (Baker Books, 2016), pp. 39-40

When Your Life Feels Empty

Looking at the Right Gauge is the Secret to Making It

I used to use an old pickup truck for odd jobs. It was dented, scratched, and ugly—but faithful. The only glitch in the truck was the gas gauge. No matter how much gas it had, the gauge read “almost empty.”

When Your Life Feels Empty

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If you had just filled up, it read “almost empty.” If you had half a tank, it read “almost empty.” The gauge only worked when you were out of gas! It would immediately move from “almost empty” to “empty.” I remember once I coasted into a gas station on fumes and a prayer.

I have found one thing in life that cuts the cable from the gas tank to the gas gauge quicker than anything else.

  • It drains your relationships with people and dries up your walk with God.
  • It blurs your vision, exaggerates your emotions, and takes a healthy, balanced perspective of life and twists it of proportion.

I’m talking about the pervasive and infectious attitude of bitterness.

You can be riding along with a full tank, but bitterness will show you a gauge “almost empty.”

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