Beth Shean—When God’s Blessings Seem Too Hard to Hold

What to do when they seem to slip from your grip.

Sometimes the blessings God gives you seem hard to hold. In some cases, the difficulty urges us to abandon the blessings. Beth Shean gives us a great example.

Beth Shean excavations

(Photo: Beth Shean excavations. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The Lord provided Beth Shean for the Tribe of Manasseh. But the excellent location proved to be a double-edged sword. Because the spot was so good, every nation wanted control of Beth Shean. And whoever held it always seemed to contend with those who would wrench it from their grasp.

Perhaps its strategic location gave Beth Shean its name, “House of Security.”

But security only works when you trust in God.

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Why Your Conscience Can’t Really Know it All

Can you always let your conscience be your guide?

Has your conscience ever been wrong about something? I had to smile when I heard about a mother who tried to explain to her son the difference between the words conscious and conscience. Afterwards, she asked him if he understood the difference.

Can you always let your conscience be your guide?

(Photo by Photodune)

“Yeah,” he answered. “Conscious is when you’re aware of something, and conscience is when you wish you weren’t.” Pretty sharp kid!

Too many people believe Jiminy Cricket’s catchy tune that reminded Pinocchio: “Always let your conscience be your guide.” Sounds great, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work. God never intended your conscience as your guide.

It has another purpose.

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Come to the Holy Land with Me

And you will NEVER be the same!

You’ve heard the names before: the Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem, Nazareth, and the Mount of Olives. For many people, these places are just words on the pages of the Bible. I had this frustration too.

Sunrise over Jerusalem

(Sunrise over Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

For years of my Christian life, the places and stories of Scripture seemed like a puzzle dumped on the floor. I had no idea how they all fit together. Then I went to Israel . . . and it all changed.

I want to help make that same connection for you.

If you’ve ever dreamed about a journey to the land of the Bible, now is the time. See the itinerary and details of a trip of a lifetime this fall.

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How to Keep a Dogged Devotion to Bible Reading

What can you do when the Bible seems boring?

Let’s admit it. Sometimes reading the Bible can seem, well—can I say it?—boring. Especially if you’re reading through a program and you get to Leviticus. How can a book that has changed the lives of billions ever seem boring?

Keep a dogged devotion to Bible reading.

(Photo: By William Hoiles from Basking Ridge, NJ. CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Some reasons Bible reading seems boring could be:

  1. The benefits of Bible reading don’t feel immediate.
  2. The Bible was written a long time ago.
  3. It takes work to understand parts of God’s Word.
  4. My busy life leaves little time for Bible reading.

Whatever the reason Bible reading is tough, the problem is still the same: How can we keep a dogged devotion for the most un-boring book in the world?

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One Thing that May Make You Doubt God’s Presence

The Sinai Wilderness reminds us God's presence among us doesn’t always prove itself by our standards.

We know intellectually that God is with us. But sometimes our emotions haven’t gotten the message yet. We look at our Bible and it doesn’t seem to match our lives.

One Thing that May Make You Doubt God's Presence

(Photo: Sinai mountains with book of Exodus. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

When our world screams that God isn’t with us, or that He doesn’t care, or that the way things are will never improve, we have to remember what caused the Hebrews of old to doubt the Lord’s presence.

A shift in our thinking can help connect our emotions to truth.

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The Greatest Leadership Lesson I’ve Learned from Jesus

Your people will always be your greatest product.

Jesus gave us many great examples of leadership. Servanthood, sacrifice, prayer—all essential. But one example more than any other has affected my life and my leadership.

The Greatest Leadership Lesson I’ve Learned from Jesus

(Photo by Photodune)

When we think about it, Jesus needed no one. As Paul wrote, “All things have been created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16). In fact, the One who made the world with a word could have accomplished His whole ministry alone.

This ministry would have been perfectly carried out without people. If perfection was the goal, people were clearly in the way. But seeing Jesus’ ministry that way misses the whole point of it.

If we are to be effective leaders, parents, grandparents, and Christians, we must see ministry as Jesus did.

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How to Disarm Your Short Fuse of Impatience Right Now

Strength from God as you stand in life's long line of slow servers.

Do you have a long fuse or a short one when you get dawdling service at restaurants? For some reason, life hands us a long line of slow servers. At lunch not long ago my family got poor service from our waiter. Here’s what happened.

How to Disarm Your Short Fuse of Impatience

(Photo by Photodune)

I never let on to the waiter that I was miffed, yet inside my fuse was burning. Here’s why:

  • The table next to us ate and left before we did, though we arrived at the same time.
  • Our water glasses were often empty and the food order came out wrong.
  • The waiter fouled up the bill.
  • I was late getting back to work.

But then, just before we left, I felt like a complete idiot. The waiter made mention that it was his first day. You see, the problem wasn’t his incompetence.

It was my impatience.

Life hands us a line of slow servers. Does God offer some help?

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The Temple Mount in Jerusalem—An Ordinary Hill Made Holy

There's only one thing we can give our God who has everything.

Abraham saw the acreage. David bought the lot. Solomon built the house. Nebuchadnezzar tore it town. Zerubbabel rebuilt it. Herod the Great expanded it. Titus flattened it.

Before these temples stood on Mount Moriah, it was nothing but a hill used for threshing wheat. Hardly worth noticing.

The Temple Mount—An Ordinary Hill Made Holy

(Photo: the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

But today, the Temple Mount remains the most precious piece of real estate in the world. And the golden shrine that graces its crest has become the icon for the Holy City of Jerusalem itself.

How did this ordinary hill become holy? Not through battles or land bartering or by popular vote.

God chose it. It’s the same with us.

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How to Turn Your Life Around 360 Degrees

A God of impossibilities shows His power in impossible situations.

Life often feels like a lot of effort with nothing gained. It reminds me of what Jason Kidd said after the Dallas Mavericks drafted him: “We’re going to turn this team around 360 degrees!”

How to Turn Your Life Around 360 Degrees

(Photo by Photodune)

At times, the Bible seems like a history book in which God makes and fulfills promises to the ancients, but the words somehow lack immediacy to our struggling lives. And yet, it’s funny how the anxieties that overwhelm our lives seem identical to those that biblical people struggled against.

Even though Scripture provides assurance of God’s promises, assurance doesn’t negate the stressful circumstances that force us to trust God.

Truth doesn’t make the hard parts of life go away. We still have to trust God with that truth.

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