Run Where Jesus Walked

by Michele McCarthy

My husband and I just returned from literally running uphill both ways where Jesus walked.

Following His footsteps required going low, beneath the current city level. Once we went low, the rest of the trip was uphill, no matter where we went! Israel is an urban mound sitting on top and old, older and finally the oldest of empires. Layers of ancient civilizations are unearthed daily as Tel (a hill with ruins within) upon Tel are explored by archaeologists. The search is ongoing day in and day out.

Up to this point, there has never been an ancient relic that has contradicted one word of Scripture. Excavating truth is a full-time business in that part of the world.

The last day of our trip we participated in an archaeological dig. Under the guidance of professionals, we sifted through buckets of dirt scooped from a street in the time of King David. Totally surreal!

Talk about the best treasure hunt EVER. I was like a kid in a candy store. We dumped small bucket contents in a box sifter, rinsed off centuries-old debris, and scavenged for ancient artifacts.

There were pottery shards, tile pieces, and several tiny bones. We turned up a small nail—the kind the Romans had on the bottom of their shoes to grip the ground. Clearly the earliest use of cleats ever!

I found a small chunk of a stone jar.

Stone, during the time of Jesus, was considered insusceptible to impurity. Stone containers were used for ritual washing. Every Jewish household would’ve had a stone vessel. Those same stone jars were used for the miracle at the Cana wedding. Even though every find stays in Israel for copious study, I smile, thinking my find could be from an important event in the time of Jesus or David.

I could have stayed all day looking through the dirt, but we headed to the airport. I wondered if I’d ever come back, perhaps as a volunteer at a dig. What a remarkable experience feeling the soil upholding Bible stories literally sliding through my fingers.

Visiting Israel was to open the Bible and step inside. Miles of desert, stone relics, the Red Sea, a 2000-year old fishing boat, the Sea of Galilee, baptism in the Jordan, and the empty tomb seared upon my heart. All sights I’ll now recall as I read the Word. The mass of history found beneath the topsoil of Israel boggles my mind. Scientists dig and dig and dig by hand until they reach Biblical time levels.

We have possession of the inspired Word of Almighty God. Do we realize the fortune we hold? Stories, songs, history—truth literally resting atop our hands. Am I as diligent to dig into God’s Word? To study it, and put the pieces together until it makes a whole?

“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 HCSB).

Those centuries-old pieces of glass, nails, and stones will likely end up in a museum, proving the validity of the Bible. We can hold truth in our hands. We can have a relationship with Jesus that roars authentic louder than any historical object ever will.

But the word of the Lord endures forever. 1 Peter 1:25 NIV

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Run Where Jesus Walked – insight on #FollowingGod from Michele McCarthy on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

michele mccarthyAbout the author: Michele McCarthy is married and a mom to two sons and Gigi to five adorable grandchildren. She is a Texas Christian University graduate with a degree in Education. She attended Lifestyle Christianity University in Watauga, Texas. Michele is a co-founder of LWT (Living Write Texas), a Christian writing group for women. She loves, reading, painting, all things witty, and hot fudge sundaes.

Michele’s book Daddy and Me, is the story of the unconditional love of the Father. It is a reminder of how important and influential our words are to children. In Daddy and Me, daddy’s form is left to the imagination. Every child is free to picture their own daddy and most importantly their heavenly Father. The Father who loves them perfectly, without reserve no matter what, while gently holding each child in His hand.

Join the conversation: What truth from God’s Word are you holding in your heart today?

The Living Word

by Karen Porter

Someone asked me, “What are you reading right now?” I laughed because my answer consisted of the titles of five different books. I keep several books going at one time, strategically placing them in various places around my house. One in the bedroom to read before I fall asleep. One in the den so I can multitask while my husband watches a football game. One next to the back door so I can take it to the patio with my morning cup of coffee. I read literature, fiction, non-fiction, and classics. Many I treasure and often re-read. But no book, poetry, or story has affected me in the same way as reading the Bible.

No matter how many times I read a passage in the Bible, I find a new thought or new insight—and another new blessing when I read it again! I’ve heard this idea expressed from other believers too. They usually say something like, “the words jumped off the page.” I always chuckle when I think of the words leaping around. But it is a good way to express the surprise we feel when we see a new principle or application in familiar verses.

The author of Hebrews wrote about the power of Scripture when he said, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT) The Bible is a living book, wrapping itself around our current life situation and speaking the truth of God into our worries, anxieties, and fears. I believe the living nature of the Bible is one of the major reasons for us to believe that it is, in fact, the Word of God. While there may be interesting quotes and creative use of language in the classic works of Shakespeare and C.S. Lewis, nothing penetrates my soul and challenges me to life-change like the Word.

One of the reasons the Word speaks to us in a deeper way today than it did a year ago is because our needs are constantly changing. For example, in the weeks after my mother passed away, I needed God to speak words of comfort and peace. I read, I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT) As I read those words, His peace (His gift) washed over me. My beautiful mother was with Him and no longer ill or crippled. He sent peace in a fresh and tangible way as He promised He would in Psalm 94:19, “When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” (NLT)

Because His Word is living the Holy Spirit uses the language to fill my empty places and confront the dark places in my heart.

Today, you and I may need to be challenged and inspired to take on a new task or stand strong in a tough situation. Perhaps you need to take control of your choices so you will be healthy. Perhaps you need to strengthen your emotions so you can forgive someone. His Word is the place to find what you need.

Warren Wiersbe once said, “The Gospel is simple enough for an illiterate pagan to understand, believe and be saved. But it is so profound that the most brilliant theologian cannot fathom its depths.”

Have you ready your powerful, living Word today?

“God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3 NLT

karen-porter-About the author: Karen Porter is an author, speaker, coach and successful businesswoman. She coaches aspiring writers and speakers and is co-owner of Bold Vision Books. Most days she pursues her life-long goal of finding the perfect purse.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Karen’s book,  Speak Like Jesus,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What words have “jumped off the page” for you lately?