The Transfiguration of Jesus—What Hope Can Do for You

Mount Hermon's greatest moment looks ahead to yours.

Jesus had just dropped the bomb. At Caesarea Philippi, the Lord informed His star-struck disciples that He, the Messiah, would soon die and rise again. Amazingly, that didn’t hit them as good news.

The Transfiguration of Jesus—What Hope Can Do for You

(Photo: Mural in the Basilica of the Transfiguration of Jesus, Israel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

To these men—who only understood the Messiah in terms of providing the good life of God’s kingdom—news of Jesus’ death came as a sucker punch to their dreams. It’s no wonder Peter blurted, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You” (Matt. 16:22).

Jesus’ reply should cause us all to pause and ponder:

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. —Matthew 16:24

In wake of their confusion, Jesus took these disappointed disciples to a nearby mountain for a good dose of hope. They needed it.

As we struggle with our own disappointments, we can use that same hope today. We need it too.

Click to continue reading »

Do You Love Me?

Jesus' four words at Tabgha offer you the motivation for your life.

What is the most important part of your relationship with God? Jesus asked Peter that question in four words beside the Sea of Galilee: “Do you love Me?”

Tabgha harbor

(Photo: Tabgha harbor. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Seems like an easy question, doesn’t it? That’s what Peter thought.

After breakfast, as the day began to brighten, Jesus called Peter by the same name as when they had first met. “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15).

Easy question, right? Jesus could have taken Peter anywhere to ask this. But He took Him to Tabgha for a reason.

He takes you there for the same reason.

Click to continue reading »

Dothan—How to See Beyond Your Disappointment

A shift in perspective looks beyond your pain to its purpose

Hindsight provides insight. It always can. But we can get so focused on today’s issues that we miss their purpose. Dothan appears only twice in the Bible. Both times, we get a perspective we desperately need.

DOTHAN—LEARNING TO SEE NEAR AND FAR IN YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE

(Photo: Tel Dothan and the Dothan Valley. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

As the ancient International Highway cut its way though Israel, it divided three ways through the Mount Carmel range. The eastern fork passed through a valley named after the town of Dothan.

On the day Joseph’s brothers dropped him in the pit at Dothan, neither they nor Joseph gave one thought about how that decision would affect eternity. It was all about the here and now.

But in hindsight, they saw God’s hand in the events and interpreted them accordingly.

Here’s how you can do the same.

Click to continue reading »

3 Steps to Contentment in Your Life with God

Security from the Good Shepherd who leads and walks beside you.

The word sounds too good to be true. Contentment. It feels out of reach because it sounds out of touch. The world mistakes content people for the unambitious, lazy, and weak. Yet finding contentment comes from God.

3 Steps to Finding Contentment in God’s Powerful Picture

(Photo: The quiet waters of Ein Perat. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In our hectic lives, trying to find contentment feels like finding the horizon. Always there, but always out of reach.

We need to reframe the picture.

Using the picture of a shepherd, the Old and New Testaments point to the Lord as the only one who offers contentment—and how to find it.

Three steps can take you there.

Click to continue reading »

How to Live the Impossible Christian Life

Jesus' words by the Sea of Galilee reveal God has a source of supply for you.

The Christian life is not hard. It’s impossible. We can no more live the impossible Christian life on our own than we can get to heaven on our own. Jesus’ words by the Sea of Galilee prove it true.

How to Live the Impossible Christian Life

(Photo: The Plain of Bethsaida, where Jesus fed the 5000. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In fact, your own experience proves it true, doesn’t it?

  • Success in marriage is always beyond your ability.
  • Your walk with Christ is more than you can accomplish.
  • Daily responsibilities overwhelm you.

Every method and strategy you rely on seems to fail. But God never designed the impossible Christian life to frustrate you. He has intended life to work a certain way—and when we choose a different path, frustration kicks in.

In three rapid-fire events by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus teaches His disciples (and us) how to live the impossible Christian life.

Click to continue reading »

Mount Sinai—Why You Absolutely Need God’s Word First

God’s will for our lives comes from pondering God’s Word

What gets your attention first each day? You have a todo list that begins to yell at you—yesterday’s list to finish first. But before the rush of productivity, God urges us to race to the foot of Mount Sinai —and pause. 

Mount Sinai—Why You Need God’s Word First of All

(Photo: The Mountains of Sinai from Jebel Musa. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

That’s what God did with His people. Instead of taking them straight to Canaan from Egypt, He led them southeast for three months to Mount Sinai. There God entered into a covenant with Israel and gave them His commandments.

True, God could have led them straight to Canaan. After all, what better place to receive the Holy Bible than in the Holy Land?

But the Lord wanted them to have His Word before they walked in His plans for their future.

This principle hasn’t changed for us.

Click to continue reading »

3 Sites Where the Habits of Jesus Can Help You Crush Compromise

How to Follow the Lord’s routines at Nazareth, the Wilderness, and the Mount of Olives

Bad habits are hard to break. But here’s the good news: so are good habits. Once installed, a good routine serves as a powerful ally in your walk with God. Three habits of Jesus show us how.

3 Sites Where the Habits of Jesus Can Help You Crush Compromise

(Photo: Olive trees on the Mount of Olives. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The Gospel of Luke highlights several places in the life of our Lord that give us a window into the habits of Jesus. His commitment to these habits revealed His character in moments of opposition, weariness, and even danger.

Three places. Three lessons. Three habits essential to your life.

Click to continue reading »

How to Follow God by Pondering Amazing Bird Migrations in Israel

Instinct can only take you so far in your relationship with God.

Every winter, God’s design works without flaw. Thousands of birds take wing and head south. But in our lives, unlike the bird migrations in Israel, the chilly winds don’t always cause us to head the right direction.

Grey heron in Israel

(Photo: Grey heron in Israel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Unlike birds, which instinctively know the way to go, we can wander away from God’s design for us. Birds have a lot to teach us about how to follow God.

Once learned, our relationship with God can take off.

Click to continue reading »

Where was Jesus Really Born?

Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity—Appropriately Unassuming

Bethlehem’s main attraction centers on the oldest standing church in Israel. The ancient structure marks the traditional site of Jesus’ birth, and yet, it isn’t much to look at.

Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity—Appropriately Unassuming

(Photo: The front of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Built in the sixth century by the emperor Justinian, the Church of the Nativity sits on top of the location of the original octagonal church Constantine’s mother, Helena, constructed just a few centuries after Jesus.

When I went there earlier this year, it looked altogether uninspiring and unassuming.

To me, that’s appropriate.

Click to continue reading »

New Christmas Video Series Releases Friday!

See the teaser video below...

How do we keep going when it seems God is doing nothing? How do we trust God when what we need is impossible? How do we follow God when His leading makes no sense? Christmas gives us the answer.

Beginning Friday, I’m releasing my brand new FREE Christmas series of videos, which I just filmed in Israel and Jordan in October. Watch a teaser video below that gives an introduction. 

Sign up below, and you’ll be the first to know when Episode 1 releases on Friday—as well as the other two episodes next week. 

Jesus’ birth is “The Promise that Changed the World”! 

And I can’t wait to show you where it first happened in the Holy Land.