You Have a Spiritual Freedom You May Not Realize

Juneteenth offers an essential reminder to our spiritual lives

Freedom from anything begins by knowing you are free. Juneteenth is short for June 19th—a state holiday in Texas. It commemorates the day in 1865 that good news arrived.

You Have a Spiritual Freedom You May Not Realize

(Photo by Photodune)

Juneteenth teaches us something important about freedom: it’s useless unless you know it’s true and you live like it.

As a Christian, you have a spiritual freedom you may not even realize.

Click to continue reading »

How Jesus’ Powerful Personal Hope Can Lift You Up

The geography of the Ark of the Covenant mirrors Jesus' Ascension—and ours.

Do you know what one, primary, personal hope drove Jesus’ life? What He looked forward to the most? It’s important we do know, because the same hope should drive our lives.

How Jesus’ Powerful Personal Hope Can Lift You Up

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

As I have read the gospels, one reality has jumped out at me stronger than ever. Jesus’ goal was not merely the cross. Even as great as the resurrection was, Jesus still had another hope beyond that.

It’s good news you can apply by the end of this blog post—and then for the rest of your life.

Click to continue reading »

Why Your Spiritual Consistency is Worth the Cost

The benefits far outweigh what you pay each day to walk faithfully.

Mondays are not the best days for car trouble. One morning I hopped in my car and inserted the key in the ignition. When I cranked it—I kid you not—the car made the sound: “Ugh.”

So I pulled out the jumper cables. But two days later, the car sang the second verse of the same song: “Ugghhh.”

Why Your Spiritual Consistency is Worth the Cost

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Later that day, my auto mechanic gave a simple diagnosis: I needed a new battery.

Now, I could have said: “Hey, you know, a car starting every other day isn’t so bad. It sure beats walking. I guess I don’t need a battery.” Guess again. I bought a battery—a big one. If my vehicle runs inconsistently, it’s of little value to me. At the same time, keeping the car running reliably comes down to one thing. 

It costs me.

The same is true of our spiritual lives.

Click to continue reading »

If You’ve Ever Thought of Touring the Holy Land, Now is the Time

It’s a fact: a tour to Israel changes the way you read your Bible. I’ve seen in the lives of hundreds of Christians. I’ve experienced it myself. If you’ve been, you know what I mean. If you have yet to go, now is the time. 

10 Reasons a Tour to Israel Belongs on Your Bucket List

(Photo: Mount Arbel overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

I’m convinced you should do your best to take a tour to Israel at least once in your life.

Here are 10 reasons you should consider going to the Holy Land now.

(By the way, if you’d like to join Cathy and me for our tour this fall, time is short! The tour is filling up and registration ends next month. Get more info here. There’s also a tour next March.)

Click to continue reading »

Rephidim—How to Win the Battle You Face Today

Our struggles are not new, and neither is the secret to victory.

You wake up to it each morning. It follows you as you go through your day. It’s waiting for you in every room and conversation. Your battle cleverly disguises itself in many forms.

Rephidim—How to Win the Battle You Face Today

(Photo by Photodune)

Your battle appears as a person, or as money, or as a tense situation at the office.

But the reality is that the battle you face each day has another source. The fight that God’s people faced at Rephidim proved that point.

The battle is spiritual—and there’s only one way to win.

Click to continue reading »

2 Helpful Truths When God’s Plan Seems Delayed

What helps you when God’s plan seems stalled?

Most mornings the national news seems downright depressing. Political corruption. Religious hypocrisy. Sexual disorientation. I confess, sometimes it’s tough to see God working in the world.

2 Helpful Truths When God’s Plan Seems Delayed

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

We seldom ask the questions out loud. But we all think it: Where exactly is God working in this fallen world? Why does He seem so silent—and even distant?

We know the answers in our heads. The Bible gives us good ones:

  • God allows evil so that we may choose good. Yep. Got it. God is patient (2 Pet. 3:9).
  • God uses evil for His good purposes. Yes, of course. God is sovereign (Rom. 8:28).

These answers give an explanation for what we see. But what about what we don’t see?

How come there seems so little of God’s work in the world?

Click to continue reading »

How God Broadens Your Limited Perspective

Bridging the gap between the God we want and the God who is.

Have you noticed how often we tend to interpret our faith as we want it to be, rather than as God reveals it to be? I think of it this way. We have adopted the lifestyle of a tourist who only wants to see the highlights of the city.

How God Broadens Your Limited Perspective

(Photo: courtesy of Oomph)

Forget all the back alleys of New York. Show me Times Square. Let’s just jump to the Empire State Building. We focus on how the Christian life “ought” to be. (As if the tough parts are electives.)

A broad chasm stretches between the God we want and the God who is. Between the life we want and the life God wants for us.

As tough as it sounds, the only way to bridge this gap is the cross.

Click to continue reading »

How to Cope When God Conceals His Progress Bar of Time

As much as we’d rather know when, God has determined we only need to know what.

I recently upgraded my iPhone and had a problem transferring the data from my old backup to the new iPhone. So I called Apple.

Why God Doesn’t Show His Progress Bar

(Photo: Zach Vega. CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

As I talked to the tech during the data transfer, he really wanted to screen-share so he could see what was happening on my computer, but the connection wouldn’t work.

Because he couldn’t see my screen, he continued to ask me every minute or so what the status was on the progress bar. Finally, I said something like, “Look, asking me about it isn’t going to speed up the process. Feel free to work on something else, and I’ll let you know when it’s done.”

Did he think when it was done I would say nothing?

Then it struck me. We do the same with God.

Click to continue reading »

Do You Understand the 2 Kinds of Forgiveness?

A simple example serves to illustrate which of the two applies to you today.

The Bible’s teaching on forgiveness can seem confusing. Even contradictory. In fact, over the years I’ve heard one question more than any other.

Do You Understand the 2 Kinds of Forgiveness?

(Photo By Todd Quackenbush. Courtesy of Unsplash.com)

On one hand we have the marvelous promise that once we believe the gospel message—that Jesus died for our sins and rose again—we have forgiveness of all our sins.

All of them.

But that begs a question: If Jesus has already paid for our sins, why then does the Bible tell us to confess our sins for forgiveness?

It’s because the Bible teaches two kinds of forgiveness.

Do you understand the difference?

Click to continue reading »

What to Watch Out for When You Enter the Promised Land

Do you know the greatest danger of God’s blessings in your life?

Sometimes our blessings get piled so high, it’s difficult to see around them. Blessings are ours in abundance—and tempt us to forget God. Of course, this is nothing new.

What to Watch Out for When You Enter the Promised Land

(Photo: At the Plains of Moab, where Israel received God’s warning. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

At the Plains of Moab by the Jordan River, the redeemed Hebrew nation anticipated entering Canaan. There the Lord issued them an important warning:

When the Lord your God brings you into . . . great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you shall eat and be satisfied. Then watch yourself, lest you forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. —Deuteronomy 6:10-12

Notice God’s emphasis by the repeated phrase: “which you did not.” The blessings His people would receive would come from God’s hand—not from their own wits or wisdom.

Moses warned his people of the greatest danger from God’s blessings: to forget God.

We have that same vulnerability, don’t we?

Click to continue reading »