Gethsemane Shows You the Hardest Words to Pray

Jesus' Passion Week prayer shows us the only path to peace.

Our most difficult battles in life often mirror Jesus’ struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane. Can you picture Him there beneath the olive trees in the moonlight? Can you hear His weeping?

How to Follow God’s Will in the Chaos of Your Life

(Photo: Garden of Gethsemane olive tree. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

After His last supper with His disciples, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane. With heartache and desperation, He cried out for His Father to intervene—if it was His will.

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me;
yet not My will, but Yours be done. (Luke 22:42)

Our greatest challenges come not from the circumstances that press in upon us—no matter how devastating or perplexing—but from the internal struggle of surrendering our will to God. And then trusting Him completely.

Jesus’ time in Gethsemane during Passion Week shows us what to do when faced with overwhelming challenges. Asking God to step in and change my circumstances comes naturally. But surrendering our will to Him? That often proves harder than the trial itself.

We must enter Gethsemane daily and drag our will to the Father in prayer. Here’s how.

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The Strength You Need Right Now

The Passion Week Reveals that Weakness Begins by Thinking We’re Strong

Which of your mistakes haunts you the most? Peter denied he knew Jesus. To some folks, that’s no big deal. Compared to other big sins, giving in to fear seems like small potatoes. But to Peter, it was huge.

How to Rely on God’s Strength in Moments of Weakness

(Photo: Upper Room. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The book of Proverbs says no one knows the grief of the heart like one’s self (Proverbs 14:10). Peter’s denial struck to his very core. Hours earlier, he had promised he would never deny his Master. NEVER. Emotion had gushed out of Peter’s mouth in a full-on promise—a vow—that he would stay faithful.

The bitterest pill? Peter really believed he would.

Weakness begins by thinking we’re strong.

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Jesus’ Triumphal Entry That Wasn’t

Jerusalem's Palm Sunday Road reveals two eternal paths.

What difference can a narrow road make? Whenever I make my way down the Mount of Olives, I can’t help but think about Jesus’ riding down that slope on the back of a donkey early in His Passion Week.

The Triumphal Entry That Wasn’t

(Photo: Palm Sunday Road down the Mount of Olives. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

His words that day hardly seemed fitting for a “Triumphal Entry.” When Jesus saw Jerusalem, He wept over it:

If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. —Luke 19:42

Why did Jesus say, “This day”?

He didn’t simply mean “today.” The prophet Daniel had penned a meticulous prediction of the very day when the Messiah would appear in Jerusalem.

It was that very day.

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Cairo – Jesus’ Flight to Egypt & God’s Unusual Leading

How to Take Comfort about Your Unsure Future

God seldom gives us all we need in order to understand—but He always what we need in order to obey. Jesus’ flight to Egypt as a boy offers a great example of how to take comfort when the future seems unclear.

Cairo - Jesus' Flight to Egypt and God’s Unusual Leading

(Photo: Giza pyramids. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

God warned Joseph in a dream, and he took Mary and Jesus to Egypt to live until Herod’s death. Scripture never tells us where the holy family lived while in Egypt. But there’s a cluster of churches in Cairo that honors a tradition that they journeyed here.

The Lord’s unusual leading of Jesus’ family offers insight to how God leads in our lives.

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Pyramids of Giza – Astonishing Monuments and Painful Hopes

Those Moments When Egypt Sounds Better than the Promised Land

When we picture ancient Egypt, we think of deserts, camels, the Nile River, and hieroglyphics. But there’s nothing more iconic of Egypt than the Pyramids of Giza.

Giza Pyramids

(Photo: Giza Pyramids. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

They’re the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing, and the pyramids predate them all. In fact, there were already standing for centuries before even Abraham journeyed to Egypt in 2000 BC. They were more than a thousand years old when the Exodus occurred.

The age and location of these pyramids are such that it’s very likely many of our biblical heroes saw them— people like, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the prophet Jeremiah—and even Jesus, Joseph and Mary. Egypt was a place of escape and seclusion for many of them, but that wasn’t always a good thing.

For God’s people, Egypt was often an easy out— a way to keep from trusting God when life got tough.

Turns out, Egypt isn’t just in North Africa. It’s in our lives too.

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Jesus Shows Us Why Our Little Lives Matter So Much

Sepphoris Offers a Great Reminder When We Feel Insignificant

Often the mundane days of our lives tell us lies. They seem to shout how insignificant we are, because all we do seems so small. Jesus’ childhood days in Galilee, near Sepphoris, turn those lies upside down.

Jesus Shows Us Why Our Little Lives Matter So Much

(Photo: Sepphoris and Bet Netofa Valley. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

When Jesus, Joseph, and Mary left Egypt after Herod the Great’s death around 4 BC, they settled back in Nazareth, in Herod Antipas’s territory of Galilee. Antipas set about rebuilding the capital city of Sepphoris, and he hired local artisans as laborers.

The gospels refer both to Joseph and Jesus as “carpenters,” from the Greek word, tekton, a worker of wood and stone. Since this was the same time that Jesus’ family returned to Nazareth, it’s very possible that Joseph (and eventually Jesus) would have worked to build Sepphoris, since Nazareth was only about 4 miles from Sepphoris—an hour’s walk.

But even if Jesus did have a hand in helping to build this beautiful city, still—doesn’t it seem a huge waste of His gifts?

The answer to that question speaks volumes to our own lives.

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How to Strengthen Yourself in the Lord

Ziklag Reveals the Secret to David’s Spiritual Success

Sometimes a disappointing setback in our lives only serves to propel us forward in God’s sovereign plan. In the meantime, we need God’s help to keep going. David’s days at Ziklag show us how.

Ziklag - How to Strengthen Yourself in the Lord

(Photo: Ziklag, Tel Sera. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Just when things couldn’t have gotten worse for David, they did. Much worse! King Saul’s jealousy over David’s popularity eventually branded David a fugitive and kept him on the run from Saul for years.

In desperate moments, we need to strengthen ourselves in the Lord.

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3 Powerful Truths to Know When God Delays

Taking small steps from Egypt to Sinai to the Promised Land

God’s program to give the Promised Land to Abraham and his descendants took some strange turns. For instance? A famine upon the land, Joseph’s imprisonment, and bondage in Egypt. Hardly a joyful journey with God.

3 Powerful Truths to Know When God Delays

(Photo: Great pyramids of Egypt. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

But God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt, and His gracious provision along the way, served to motivate gratitude in them “so that they might keep His statutes” (Psalm 105:45).

Our painful journey with God offers a hidden blessing.

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Banias Falls—Where Your Overwhelming Despair Finds its Hope

How Jesus’ resurrection gives the solution to the despair we feel.

Sometimes despair can wash over us like a wall of water. One moment we’re dry—the next, we’re dripping with discouragement. I’m talking about an overwhelming sense that it will never get any better.

Banias Falls-Where Your Overwhelming Despair Meets its Hope

(Photo: Banias Falls. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

“What if,” to quote Jack Nicholson, “this is as good as it gets?” I don’t know about you, but despair can be one of my greatest struggles. In those moments, I travel in my mind back to Banias.

The psalmist used the waterfalls at Banias in northern Israel to express a similar question and emotion. But he also had a solution of hope we need to turn toward when we feel overwhelmed by despair.

In fact, Jesus gave us that ultimate hope in the exact same region.

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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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