2 Biblical Gardens Reveal How to Make the Best Decisions

How Eden and Gethsemane still affect you today.

Two gardens, Eden and Gethsemane, provided the settings for two choices that brought opposite results. The Bible wildly contrasts these choices. In fact, you face them today.

Olive Trees in the Garden of Gethsemane

(Photo: The Garden of Gethsemane. Notice the city walls in the distance. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In the Garden of Eden, Adam’s choice to commit sin had the potential of bringing condemnation to everyone. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ’s decision to die for sins provided potential justification to everyone (Romans 5:18).

Adam never would have eaten the fruit had he known the consequences to himself and to his race. But he couldn’t see the results.

All he had was God’s Word and its warning. That’s all we have as well.

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How an Awesome Creation Can Help with Your Struggles

Apply what you see to what you don't see.

The awesomeness of creation exists as more than beauty for us to observe. In spite of the chaos in our culture, the world screams order in its origin. It also speaks peace to us in our moments of struggle.

Apply the Wisdom of Creation to Your Struggles

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Our world’s predictable seasons and trustworthy laws of nature reveal wisdom in its design. The wisdom of creation we see is explained in the Bible we read. Wisdom played such an integral role in creation that the author of Proverbs 8 personifies it as a person present with God:

Before the hills I was brought forth . . . When He established the heavens, I was there . . . When He marked out the foundations of the earth; then I was beside Him, as a master workman. —Proverbs 8:25–33

God’s wisdom displayed in the wonders we see also proves His wisdom in all areas of life.

Including the painful ones.

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Why the Wisdom of Solomon Isn’t Enough for You

Everybody likes to be an exception to the rule. No exceptions. This paradox seems especially true for individuals who are exceptional. Like Solomon. (And like you and me.)

Why the Wisdom of Solomon Isn't Enough for You

(Photo by Owen Walters. Courtesy of Unsplash.com)

“I have given you a wise and discerning heart,” God told Solomon, “so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you” (1 Kings 3:12). Talk about exceptional!

And yet Solomon became the exception to the wisdom of Solomon. How?

It started with two small compromises that we can avoid.

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#001: Wisdom Isn’t Enough [Podcast]

1 Kings 3:5-13

God gave Solomon a reminder not to substitute wisdom or activity for a relationship with Him. Solomon’s priorities reveal a man with good intentions who forsook his own advice through compromise. Solomon literally wrote the book on wisdom but still blew it.

Why? Because wisdom isn’t enough. It also takes obedience.

A Spiritual Juneteenth Offers You Freedom

Freedom from anything begins by knowing you are free. Juneteenth—a short version of “June 19th”—remains a state holiday in Texas. It remembers the day good news arrived.

you can have freedom

(Photo: Monkey Business Images, via Vivozoom)

But before this date in 1865, freedom had been a secret for two and a half years.

For many Christians, spiritual freedom is still a secret.

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The Holy Spirit of Christmas Past [Podcast]

Luke 1:26-38

When God wants to impact our lives today, He uses His Holy Spirit.

Just as occurred that first Christmas, with the Holy Spirit “coming upon” Mary, so the Spirit of God has come upon believers today,  empowering them to respond as Mary did– with obedience and faith.

Israel Tour Day 1—Caesarea and the Jezreel Valley

The first day of a tour is always fun because you get to meet the folks on your bus. What a great crew! We boarded the our buses today to head north from the area of Joppa/Tel Aviv to our first stop—Caesarea by the Sea.

The Apostle Peter made this same journey to share Christ with a Roman Centurion in Caesarea (see Acts 10:23-48). What took Peter two days of walking took us about thirty minutes.

At Caesarea, I felt the cool Mediterranean breezes that would have refreshed Paul as he emerged from his prison to make his defense before Agrippa (see Acts 25:1-27).

In the theater, Dr. Reg Grant gave a stirring monologue as King Agrippa, the arrogant ruler who was struck by God in the very theater where we sat (see Acts 12:21-23)!

Back in the bus and headed further north, the scenery reminded me how God designed the land of Israel to be strategic during biblical times. The mountains, valleys, oceans, and deserts forced travelers to journey only on certain routes. The most-used road was the International Highway that stretched from Syria in the north to Egypt in the south—the full length of Israel.

As the highway made its way across the broad Jezreel Valley, it entered a chokepoint at Mount Carmel alongside the city of Megiddo. During the times of the judges in Israel, the Hebrews failed to drive out the Canaanites who lived in Megiddo.

So what? Why not let the inhabitants live in this region since they wanted it so badly? The Lord knew why. Not taking control of Megiddo amounted to not locking one’s doors at night. It played a vital role in national security.

The failure of the Hebrews to drive out the inhabitants defied God’s command to resist the culture. Instead, God’s people tolerated the culture . . . and then eventually embraced it. Their compromise produced disastrous results, as the Lord had said, “Their gods will be a constant temptation to you” (Joshua 2:3, NLT).

It always seems easier to mingle with the culture than to oppose its influence—to find the middle ground rather than stand on our own. But God knows better, and so He commands us, “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world”; “Flee sexual immorality”; “Do not covet.” God gives specific commands to protect us from experiencing a danger we cannot detect on the outside.

We must guard the critical points of entry into our hearts: church doctrine, music, television, the Internet, movies and marketing. No doubt, obedience comes at a hard price, but not as hard as the results of compromise.

As we consider our culture’s embrace today, we must also consider God’s words again: “They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.”

Compromise is never worth its price.

Tomorrow, we enter the world of Jesus . . . around the Sea of Galilee!

The Path to Blessing [Podcast]

Leviticus 26

God reminded the Hebrews that because He saved them from bondage, they owed complete allegiance to Him. Obedience brought blessing, while sin brought discipline for the purpose of restoration.

Following Christ’s example, we see the ultimate path to blessing. Today God has blessed all believers with every spiritual blessing, and He gives to us materially according to our needs and His will.

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Living Right in a World Gone Wrong [Podcast]

Leviticus 20

Culture pulls at our passions. How can we walk the right way?

The moral principles of holiness need to be guarded in an immoral world. Living our lives against the winds of culture does more than help us personally—it reveals God.

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First Things First [Podcast]

Haggai 1

It happens often. God’s people focus on their own needs to the neglect of the God’s commands. The wake-up call from God took place in Haggai’s day when God withheld His blessings. When the people repented and begin to obey, God immediately encouraged them with His presence and blessed them at the point of their obedience.

Renew your commitment to God’s priorities as your priorities. Put first things first.

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