Enemy

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Your brother is not your enemy, but the devil’s strategy is to make it appear like so.

If, Then

If we are ALL God’s children, then we must love each other as God loves us. That means loving those you don’t understand, agree with, or even like. Let that sink in for a moment. Every one of us is God’s sheep that belongs in His Holy Stable. That includes the guy that cut you off, your boss who steals your ideas, the cousin who gives backhanded compliments during holiday events. Like it or not, they are God’s people too. The only true enemy we have is the devil and he will try and pit us against each other to circumvent that truth. I struggle to remind myself that no matter the circumstance, a loving Christ-like approach is best. Pray for me as I have to regularly drive the freeway in Las Vegas. I need it.

If not

If we do not take up the cross and reflect the light God gives us, we are no better (and probably worse) than those who do not know Him at all! Don’t be an unwitting foot soldier for the opposition. Your relationship with Christ is not some superiority badge to tout in front of the lost. When you act better than people because you ‘believe’ in God, you fail to understand the mission of Jesus and why His life covers us all. No, the worst case for Christianity is a haughty ‘christian’. Instead, give mercy and kindness to those who don’t deserve it. I can recall the many times God has shown me mercy when He surely was right to give judgment. While I am not perfect (and never will be) I try and extend that grace to those I encounter. When I fail, I try and reflect to do better. So let us remember who Created us and how He loves us, so that we may love our brothers and sisters that same way.

Today’s Question

Do you love your brother or are you an enemy of the truth?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 42

1 “Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea. Bring your strongest arguments. Come now and speak. The court is ready for your case.
2 “Who has stirred up this king from the east, rightly calling him to God’s service? Who gives this man victory over many nations and permits him to trample their kings underfoot? With his sword, he reduces armies to dust. With his bow, he scatters them like chaff before the wind.
3 He chases them away and goes on safely, though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.
4 Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last. I alone am he.”
5 The lands beyond the sea watch in fear. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
6 The idol makers encourage one another, saying to each other, “Be strong!”
7 The carver encourages the goldsmith, and the molder helps at the anvil. “Good,” they say. “It’s coming along fine.” Carefully they join the parts together, then fasten the thing in place so it won’t fall over.
8 “But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from Abraham my friend,
9 I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
11 “See, all your angry enemies lie there, confused and humiliated. Anyone who opposes you will die and come to nothing.
12You will look in vain for those who tried to conquer you. Those who attack you will come to nothing.
13 For I hold you by your right hand— I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
14 Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob, don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you. I am the LORD, your Redeemer. I am the Holy One of Israel.’
15 You will be a new threshing instrument with many sharp teeth. You will tear your enemies apart, making chaff of mountains.
16 You will toss them into the air, and the wind will blow them all away; a whirlwind will scatter them. Then you will rejoice in the LORD . You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.
18 I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground.
19I will plant trees in the barren desert— cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine.
20 I am doing this so all who see this miracle will understand what it means— that it is the LORD who has done this, the Holy One of Israel who created it.
21 “Present the case for your idols,” says the LORD . “Let them show what they can do,” says the King of Israel.
22 “Let them try to tell us what happened long ago so that we may consider the evidence. Or let them tell us what the future holds, so we can know what’s going to happen.
23 Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. Then we will know you are gods. In fact, do anything—good or bad! Do something that will amaze and frighten us.
24 But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all. Those who choose you pollute themselves.
25“But I have stirred up a leader who will approach from the north. From the east he will call on my name. I will give him victory over kings and princes. He will trample them as a potter treads on clay.
26 “Who told you from the beginning that this would happen? Who predicted this, making you admit that he was right? No one said a word!
27 I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look! Help is on the way!’ I will send Jerusalem a messenger with good news.
28 Not one of your idols told you this. Not one gave any answer when I asked.
29 See, they are all foolish, worthless things. All your idols are as empty as the wind.

Plaque

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Hi Peeps

Today’s Quote

“Don’t let the smalls things build up in your relationships with others.”~TB

Routine

I was tasked to transport my parent’s bird to California. My sister dropped him off and told me that his cage was clean. As I was trying to get the cage into my car this morning, the bottom dropped open and a ton of bird poop fell into my car and on the garage floor. I was livid (and sleep deprived). At 4 in the morning, the last thing I wanted to be doing was cleaning bird poop ahead of an 8 hour drive. In my rage, I recalled decades worth of previous infractions, as a means to fuel my frustration. I had every intention of letting her know how she screwed up. Isn’t it amazing that when we get mad, we immediately look for ways to fan the flame? But then I realized, this is the same sister who let me cry into her sweater when someone stole my gel pens in the 5th grade. She’s also the mother of 3 of my favorite human beings. During the drive, I called her to laugh about the incident as I knew my tiredness had gotten the better of me. It wasn’t that serious. No argument or perceived slight is. The trouble lies in when you allow slights or transgressions build up like plaque in your mouth.

Cavities

Relationships are like teeth. When you care for them with routine maintenance, they last for a long time. However, just like teeth, if you don’t care for them and you let them rot, eventually they have to be pulled or filled. Relationships of all kinds are complex, which means that eventually we all have to go to God for help with a cavity. God is like the Holy Dentist, there to drill out the relational cavities and fill in the holes with mercy, wisdom, and grace. Without God, repairing relationships is like drilling cavities without novocaine, too painful and impossible to repair otherwise. Of course, cavities within your relationships can be avoided if you brush off the offenses and use the floss of forgiveness. So practice Biblical hygiene when doing life with one another.

Today’s Quote

Are you brushing away the offenses or are you constantly in God’s dental chair?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 41

1 “Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea. Bring your strongest arguments. Come now and speak. The court is ready for your case.
2 “Who has stirred up this king from the east, rightly calling him to God’s service? Who gives this man victory over many nations and permits him to trample their kings underfoot? With his sword, he reduces armies to dust. With his bow, he scatters them like chaff before the wind.
3 He chases them away and goes on safely, though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.
4 Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last. I alone am he.”
5 The lands beyond the sea watch in fear. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
6 The idol makers encourage one another, saying to each other, “Be strong!”
7 The carver encourages the goldsmith, and the molder helps at the anvil. “Good,” they say. “It’s coming along fine.” Carefully they join the parts together, then fasten the thing in place so it won’t fall over.
8 “But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from Abraham my friend,
9 I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
11 “See, all your angry enemies lie there, confused and humiliated. Anyone who opposes you will die and come to nothing.
12You will look in vain for those who tried to conquer you. Those who attack you will come to nothing.
13 For I hold you by your right hand— I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
14 Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob, don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you. I am the LORD, your Redeemer. I am the Holy One of Israel.’
15 You will be a new threshing instrument with many sharp teeth. You will tear your enemies apart, making chaff of mountains.
16 You will toss them into the air, and the wind will blow them all away; a whirlwind will scatter them. Then you will rejoice in the LORD . You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.
18 I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground.
19I will plant trees in the barren desert— cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine.
20 I am doing this so all who see this miracle will understand what it means— that it is the LORD who has done this, the Holy One of Israel who created it.
21 “Present the case for your idols,” says the LORD . “Let them show what they can do,” says the King of Israel.
22 “Let them try to tell us what happened long ago so that we may consider the evidence. Or let them tell us what the future holds, so we can know what’s going to happen.
23 Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. Then we will know you are gods. In fact, do anything—good or bad! Do something that will amaze and frighten us.
24 But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all. Those who choose you pollute themselves.
25“But I have stirred up a leader who will approach from the north. From the east he will call on my name. I will give him victory over kings and princes. He will trample them as a potter treads on clay.
26 “Who told you from the beginning that this would happen? Who predicted this, making you admit that he was right? No one said a word!
27 I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look! Help is on the way!’ I will send Jerusalem a messenger with good news.
28 Not one of your idols told you this. Not one gave any answer when I asked.
29 See, they are all foolish, worthless things. All your idols are as empty as the wind.

Eternal in the Internal

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Don’t Eternalize everything that you internalize.”~TB

God-Given Potential

I’m a selfish thinker in that I see the world according to Taryn and not according to how the world sees me. At 7, I took a wrench from my dad’s toolbox, took off the training wheels and spent the day falling until I could ride a two-wheeler. At 20, I applied for a tech job at my university, paid my brother to take the knowledge test, got the job, and was promoted within a year. My world is full of doing things I ‘can’t’ do only to excel at them by putting in some effort. I’m not some miracle person, I’m just crazy enough to believe that God made me awesome. Thing is, He made you awesome too. I’ve found that a lot of people believe the nonsense that others tell them, which is heartbreaking because God has created limitless potential in ALL of us. Seriously, we all can do extraordinary things if we believe we can. The problem is, in a world/society that wants to categorize and control our narratives, you must rise above the pressure to conform to manmade standards and answer the call that God has on your life.

Pointless Assessments

How do you see yourself? What do you believe about your worth or capabilities? Chances our, the negative thoughts or limiting behaviors can be traced back to some knucklehead telling you what you could or couldn’t do. Unfortunately, humans have this nasty habit of projecting insecurities onto other people, who may internalize bad assessments of their worth. If you don’t reject those wrong assessments, you can internalize them, chipping away at the truth of who you actually are. Look at the stories in the Bible; the Abrahams, the Davids,  the Jacobs, The Ruths, The Amos, and the like, you will find supposed unqualified or ‘worthless’ folks who went on to do amazing things. Those people went against the grain and did what God put on their hearts. This means to me that you and I can do extraordinary things should we choose. So, the next time you think you can’t or someone has told you it’s not possible, don’t listen. Ask God to show you ‘how’ and persevere until you achieve it. Only God can see what you’re truly capable of, so don’t internally eternalize a broken man made system.

Today’s Question

Who’s right about you; God or man?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 40

1 “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.
2 “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned. Yes, the LORD has punished her twice over for all her sins.”
3 Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD ! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!
4 Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places.
5 Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The LORD has spoken!”
6 A voice said, “Shout!” I asked, “What should I shout?” “Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the LORD . And so it is with people.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”
9 O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, “Your God is coming!”
10Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
12 Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?
13 Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD ? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?
14 Has the LORD ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice?
15 No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.
16 All the wood in Lebanon’s forests and all Lebanon’s animals would not be enough to make a burnt offering worthy of our God.
17The nations of the world are worth nothing to him. In his eyes they count for less than nothing— mere emptiness and froth.
18 To whom can you compare God? What image can you find to resemble him?
19 Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold, overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains?
20 Or if people are too poor for that, they might at least choose wood that won’t decay and a skilled craftsman to carve an image that won’t fall down!
21Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand? Are you deaf to the words of God— the words he gave before the world began? Are you so ignorant?
22 God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them.
23 He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing.
24 They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff.
25“To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.
26 Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.
27 O Jacob, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
28Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Stronger Together

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Family is like a tapestry where each member is a fiber. Individually not as impressive, but woven together, quite formidable.”~TB

Work

I communicate with my parents almost every day. My dad and I will usually have talks after he gets out of school where we talk about God, opera, theories and everything else in between. I’ve had people praise how amazing my relationship with my parents is, but oh friends, it wasn’t always so. What people see from the outside is the culmination of years of work, trial and error.

There were a few years where my dad and I could not throw together a few sentences to each other without getting offended. Yeah, it wasn’t pretty. Looking back, it’s probably because we’re so similar. But, I have to thank God that we never gave up on each other, and eventually we hashed things out, cried, hugged, and moved on. These days, if we’re annoying one another, it’s probably because one of us needs a nap or needs to eat.

Tapestry

I like to think of God as a Master Artist, creating a unique and exquisite tapestry that are families. Each member is a specific thread or fiber, providing a layer of complexity and beauty to the tapestry. Sometimes those fibers snag and if you don’t allow the Master Artist to patch things up, what once was a beautiful woven creation becomes a frayed and tattered garment. Families argue, we don’t always treat each other as we should and in those moments, the opposition will whisper in your ear all of the reasons you should leave or not forgive.

Friends, remember that the devil’s job is to separate us and keep us on opposing sides. It’s easier to cause problems individually than in a unit. Divide and conquer, it’s an effective strategy. But if we can look at each other as God looks at us, we can look past the offenses, learn how to forgive and  not look for the reasons to leave, but remember the reasons worth staying. My relationship with my family will never be perfect. I’m prone to putting my foot in my mouth, ha. But, even in the tough days, I try and focus on the gorgeous tapestry that is my family and my, what an amazing creation from the Master Artist. He’s done a great work in you and your family too.

Today’s Question

Are you admiring your family tapestry or are you not able to see past the fray?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 39

1 Soon after this, Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent Hezekiah his best wishes and a gift. He had heard that Hezekiah had been very sick and that he had recovered.
2 Hezekiah was delighted with the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.
3 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men want? Where were they from?” Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon.”
4 “What did they see in your palace?” asked Isaiah. “They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied. “I showed them everything I own—all my royal treasuries.”
5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies:
6 ‘The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says the LORD .
7 ‘Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.’”
8 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the LORD is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.”

 

Preventative Maintenance

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Walking with God is like having a spiritual diagnostics machine telling you where you need maintenance before major issues occur within yourself.”~TB

Routine Care

I talk to God a lot. He doesn’t seem to mind the billion questions that I have on a recurring basis. My family will tell you, I can talk and theorize a lot, so having a listening ear that doesn’t get exasperated with me is nice. I love talking to God more importantly because of the answers I receive. There are many things that God tells both you and I because He ultimately knows what’s best for us. The Holy Spirit reminds me of a diagnostic tool that is able to assess and alert us for routine care. This involves reading our Bible so that we know the Truth and the devil cannot entrap us in a lie. Another way is being good neighbors, so that we do not cause each other to stumble. Most importantly, developing the self-discipline by adhering to the Holy Spirit, which may include eating right, exercising, and not ingesting mental garbage. Your mind, body, and soul are all connected, so what you do to one will affect the others. When you don’t do the routine care, the major issues come up and are pricier and take more time to repair.

Check Engine Light

If you don’t have oil in your car, your engine will blow. That’s not because your car is being mean, it simply means that oil is necessary for the engine to operate functionally. Our relationship to God is quite similar. God doesn’t enforce rules or set boundaries because He’s trying to enslave or control us. No, just like a busted engine, a damaged human spirit causes all kinds of problems. Take it from someone who observes people like a doctorate dissertation. When we’re willfully broken, we’ll be the first to claim all is well, but if you look a little deeper, our spirits are quite damaged. Fortunately for us, the Holy Mechanic that is God does not price gouge us when we blow our spiritual engines. All we have to do is to turn back from our foolishness and restart out routine maintenance. So the next time your check engine light is on, have a talk with the Holy Mechanic, I hear He gives great deals on repairs.

Today’s Question

Do you practice routine care or are you routinely spiritually broken?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 38

1 About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.’”
2 When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD,
3 “Remember, O LORD, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly.
4Then this message came to Isaiah from the LORD :
5 “Go back to Hezekiah and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will add fifteen years to your life,
6 and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. Yes, I will defend this city.
7 “‘And this is the sign from the LORD to prove that he will do as he promised:
8 I will cause the sun’s shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial of Ahaz!’” So the shadow on the sundial moved backward ten steps.
9 When King Hezekiah was well again, he wrote this poem:
10 I said, “In the prime of my life, must I now enter the place of the dead? Am I to be robbed of the rest of my years?”
11I said, “Never again will I see the LORD GOD while still in the land of the living. Never again will I see my friends or be with those who live in this world.
12 My life has been blown away like a shepherd’s tent in a storm. It has been cut short, as when a weaver cuts cloth from a loom. Suddenly, my life was over.
13 I waited patiently all night, but I was torn apart as though by lions. Suddenly, my life was over.
14Delirious, I chattered like a swallow or a crane, and then I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew tired of looking to heaven for help. I am in trouble, Lord. Help me!”
15 But what could I say? For he himself sent this sickness. Now I will walk humbly throughout my years because of this anguish I have felt.
16 Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live!
17 Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins.
18 For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness.
19 Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.
20 Think of it—the LORD is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the LORD .
21 Isaiah had said to Hezekiah’s servants, “Make an ointment from figs and spread it over the boil, and Hezekiah will recover.”
22 And Hezekiah had asked, “What sign will prove that I will go to the Temple of the LORD ?”

Talents

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“We are all given talents to do with as we please.”~TB

Talents

God gives us all talents. Our minds, bodies, spirit— these are where our talents come from. Some people use these talents to multiply their skills to do amazing things. While others sit on their talents for one reason or another. Just like the parable in the Bible, you can invest your talents and reap more, or you can be like the guy who buried his talent. The same can be said for our relationship with Christ

Two-way

Because salvation is freely given, there is not much for us to do to receive it. However, to truly reap the benefits of knowing Christ, you must develop that gift through consistent practice. Just like those who develop and multiply their talents, work is needed. Even those we consider to be naturally gifted, must put in the time to become great. To experience this with Christ, reading the Word, applying the principles, and talking with Him is vital to hear and see what He has to share with you. Work is never ‘easy’, but the work you do with Christ is divinely worth it.

Today’s Question

Are you developing your talent or are you burying it in the ground?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 37

1 When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the LORD .
2 And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.
3 They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.
4 But perhaps the LORD your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff, sent by the king to defy the living God, and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left!”
5 After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah,
6 the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers.
7 Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’”
8 Meanwhile, the Assyrian chief of staff left Jerusalem and went to consult the king of Assyria, who had left Lachish and was attacking Libnah.
9 Soon afterward King Sennacherib received word that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was leading an army to fight against him. Before leaving to meet the attack, he sent messengers back to Hezekiah in Jerusalem with this message:
10 “This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria.
11 You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different?
12 Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all!
13 What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?”
14 After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the LORD ’s Temple and spread it out before the LORD .
15 And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the LORD :
16 “O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth.
17 Bend down, O LORD, and listen! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God.
18 “It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations.
19 And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands.
20 Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O LORD, are God. ”
21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria,
22 the LORD has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee.
23 “Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel!
24 By your messengers you have defied the Lord. You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains— yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest heights and explored its deepest forests.
25 I have dug wells in many foreign lands and refreshed myself with their water. With the sole of my foot, I stopped up all the rivers of Egypt!’
26 “But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble.
27 That is why their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused. They are as weak as grass, as easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, scorched before it can grow lush and tall.
28 “But I know you well— where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me.
29 And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.”
30 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that what I say is true: “This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit.
31 And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and grow up and flourish.
32 For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
33“And this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria: “‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls.
34 The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the LORD .
35 ‘For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’”
36 That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere.
37Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.
38One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.

Standard

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God does not treat us like puppets or slaves, so let’s not do that to each other.”~TB

Not That

Since when did following Christ mean that we are meant to be doormats? As followers of Christ, we are meant to strive for a higher standard, but that also means asserting boundaries and holding each other accountable when people get into ‘Pharaoh’ mode. It’s one thing to turn the other cheek when you are wronged. It’s an entirely different story when you allow other people to enslave your time, mind and resources because you think you’re being Christ-like. If you think bowing down to others and allowing poor treatment is an act of humility, I strongly encourage you to read the Bible more carefully.

Slippery Slope

When you allow others to continually take advantage of you, you are going down a slippery slope. There is a stark difference between forgiving offenses and tolerating abusive behavior. In our lives, we will endure hardship, setbacks, and other uncomfortable scenarios. But, that is not the same as tolerating bad behavior, whether it comes from your boss, your spouse, your landlord or anyone else. If we truly want to be Christ-like, we have to hold one another to a higher standard. That means shedding light on evil deeds, slave mentalities, and the like. The next time you’re dealing with a ‘Pharaoh’, remember that God loves you and does not require you to put up with inappropriate treatment. Forgive, yes. In addition, remember Christ’s standards.

Today’s Question

Are you accepting bad behavior?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 36

1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them.
2 Then the king of Assyria sent his chief of staff from Lachish with a huge army to confront King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The Assyrians took up a position beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed.
3 These are the officials who went out to meet with them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian.
4 Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?
5 Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me?
6 On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!
7 “But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the LORD our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?
8 “I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them!
9 With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers?
10 What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the LORD ’s direction? The LORD himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’”
11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Assyrian chief of staff, “Please speak to us in Aramaic, for we understand it well. Don’t speak in Hebrew, for the people on the wall will hear.”
12 But Sennacherib’s chief of staff replied, “Do you think my master sent this message only to you and your master? He wants all the people to hear it, for when we put this city under siege, they will suffer along with you. They will be so hungry and thirsty that they will eat their own dung and drink their own urine.”
13 Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, “Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria!
14 This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you.
15 Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the LORD by saying, ‘The LORD will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’
16 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well.
17 Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards.
18 “Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The LORD will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria?
19 What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power?
20 What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the LORD can rescue Jerusalem from me?”
21 But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.”
22 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian, went back to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king and told him what the Assyrian chief of staff had said.

Which Part

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Whichever part of your mind you feed, you bring to life.”~TB

Some Days

I almost didn’t write today. I’m feeling gray and moody, which doesn’t help because it’s also overcast outside. Nope, today was going to be a “Cranky-pants Taryn day”, I figure, I’ll post when I feel like it. But as I sulked and stewed, I heard a voice in my head say, “which side are you feeding?”. As odd as that question is, I knew what it meant. The mind is such an amazing yet dangerous tool when left unchecked or unyielded. Yes, I don’t feel like sunshine and daisies today, but, I don’t have to feed into the feeling either.

Choose

When I look back at the stories told in the Bible, I am reminded that I have a choice in what I do with my time on this Earth. We all do. I can give into my worst inclinations and be the biggest heathen on this planet. Or, I can choose to be thankful for all of the blessings God has given me, of which I don’t deserve. I can choose to give into my dreary state of mind, or, I can choose to let the feeling pass on by. It all comes down to what you’re feeding your brain. It took me a long time to understand that I have power in what I mentally ingest. We all do. Yes, feelings are a visceral part of the imagination, but if you choose to lean on Christ, you too can learn which part to feed and which part to let pass on by.

Today’s Question

Which part are you feeding?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 35

1 Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
2 Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the LORD will display his glory, the splendor of our God.
3 With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.
4 Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”
5 And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf.
6 The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.
7 The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived.
8 And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there.
9 Lions will not lurk along its course, nor any other ferocious beasts. There will be no other dangers. Only the redeemed will walk on it.
10Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

Come to Him

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Wherever you are, whatever you feel, be honest and come to God with it, and He will listen.”~TB

Vent

One of the annoying myths that I’d like to dispel about the archetypal Christian facade is that when talking to God, you have to bury your feelings and behave in a certain manner. Friends that is not so! God knows your heart before you even decide to consult Him, so bring all of you to the table so that you can reap the benefit. In my life, I conversations with Him that range from joy, elation, to frustration and anger. And guess what, He still loves me, warts and all. And, He loves you too. More to the point, when you bring your honest self to God, you then can receive the answers, comfort, and healing we all so desperately need.

 

Reflection

I keep a journey that is basically me going through my life with God. It’s a very honest account of my life and my relationship with God, which helps me reflect and grow. I’ll admit, there are times where I will try and minimize how I feel about certain situations in my life. The problem with that is, if you don’t deal or acknowledge what ails you, if you’re not careful, you will start looking for alternate and fake solutions that push you away from the ultimate answer, which is Christ. I take comfort in the fact that Our Father in Heaven loves us as we are, listens to us, and is with all of us no matter how great or how terrible we are. So if you really want to experience the true Peace of Christ, come to Him with all that you are and He will delight in your humility.

Today’s Question

Are you keeping it real with God?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 34

1 Come here and listen, O nations of the earth. Let the world and everything in it hear my words.
2 For the LORD is enraged against the nations. His fury is against all their armies. He will completely destroy them, dooming them to slaughter.
3 Their dead will be left unburied, and the stench of rotting bodies will fill the land. The mountains will flow with their blood.
4 The heavens above will melt away and disappear like a rolled-up scroll. The stars will fall from the sky like withered leaves from a grapevine, or shriveled figs from a fig tree.
5 And when my sword has finished its work in the heavens, it will fall upon Edom, the nation I have marked for destruction.
6 The sword of the LORD is drenched with blood and covered with fat— with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of rams prepared for sacrifice. Yes, the LORD will offer a sacrifice in the city of Bozrah. He will make a mighty slaughter in Edom.
7 Even men as strong as wild oxen will die— the young men alongside the veterans. The land will be soaked with blood and the soil enriched with fat.
8 For it is the day of the LORD ’s revenge, the year when Edom will be paid back for all it did to Israel.
9 The streams of Edom will be filled with burning pitch, and the ground will be covered with fire.
10 This judgment on Edom will never end; the smoke of its burning will rise forever. The land will lie deserted from generation to generation. No one will live there anymore.
11 It will be haunted by the desert owl and the screech owl, the great owl and the raven. For God will measure that land carefully; he will measure it for chaos and destruction.
12 It will be called the Land of Nothing, and all its nobles will soon be gone.
13 Thorns will overrun its palaces; nettles and thistles will grow in its forts. The ruins will become a haunt for jackals and a home for owls.
14 Desert animals will mingle there with hyenas, their howls filling the night. Wild goats will bleat at one another among the ruins, and night creatures will come there to rest.
15 There the owl will make her nest and lay her eggs. She will hatch her young and cover them with her wings. And the buzzards will come, each one with its mate.
16Search the book of the LORD, and see what he will do. Not one of these birds and animals will be missing, and none will lack a mate, for the LORD has promised this. His Spirit will make it all come true.
17 He has surveyed and divided the land and deeded it over to those creatures. They will possess it forever, from generation to generation.

Comfort Zone

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Thank God for tough times because it’s in those moments where we learn most about compassion.”~TB

Natural

Displaying empathy isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I have a great deal of it (I cried during the Back Draft fire simulation at Universal Studios because the thought of people in there was heartbreaking for me) internally, but it usually comes out as practical or logical advice to the issue rather than a listening ear. Fortunately for me, I had great examples of empathetic and loving people to model growing up. And even more fortunately, I’ve gone through some dark times where God’s compassion and mercy got me to the other side. These days, I’m so grateful for every harsh moment in my life, because in those tough times, my level of compassion for others— particularly those I don’t inherently relate to— has increased. I’ll give you an example.

Act of

Sometime last year, I was at a Starbucks getting some work done. A lady around my age was sitting with a toddler and a car seat. She was very much focused on the phone and kept scolding the child for not sitting still. I remember at the time, I was irritated by her callousness. Clearly frustrated she walked outside with the child and car seat in tow and sat at one of the tables. Soon after, this woman began to cry as her child was happily playing and none the wiser. In that moment, I felt the need to hand her some napkins, which is odd for me because I’m not one to get involved in emotional distress. As I handed her the napkins, I saw a surprised but grateful look on her face and I could hear a voice saying to give her a hug. On a side note, I’m not a hugger, especially when it comes to strangers.

Kindness

I ask the woman if I could give her a hug and she says yes. At this point, she’s bawling, explaining she missed an important job interview because her daycare fell through. Though I’ve never been in her shoes, I could relate to her feelings of frustration and helplessness. Even more out of character for me, I asked if I could pray for her and she said yes. After, I went back inside, perplexed at my behavior, but grateful to have been some kind of comfort to a person in need. As she left, she waved at me with a smile, and I just remember feeling a weird connection and sense of gratitude from the exchange.

Community

I’m not sharing this to get a pat on the back or claim some kind of super Christian status. No, I’m just a very human, human being, who more often than not puts her foot in her mouth. I say all of this to say that when you experience the compassion and comfort that God provides, especially in trying times, you can’t help but share that with your neighbor, even when it calls you to get out of your comfort zone. I started that encounter judging this woman on a quick moment in time that I did not understand. How arrogant! But God used the situation to provide kindness to one of His own. My point is, we will all have moments in life to share the gifts of mercy, grace, and compassion that Christ gives to us every single moment of every day. It’s not only helpful for the person in need, it’s as equally vital to you too. These moments allow us to truly understand what the Body of Christ is and how we all are instrumental to one another.

Today’s Question

Are you sharing the compassion and kindness that God gives you?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 33

1 What sorrow awaits you Assyrians, who have destroyed others but have never been destroyed yourselves. You betray others, but you have never been betrayed. When you are done destroying, you will be destroyed. When you are done betraying, you will be betrayed.
2 But LORD, be merciful to us, for we have waited for you. Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble.
3 The enemy runs at the sound of your voice. When you stand up, the nations flee!
4 Just as caterpillars and locusts strip the fields and vines, so the fallen army of Assyria will be stripped!
5 Though the LORD is very great and lives in heaven, he will make Jerusalem his home of justice and righteousness.
6 In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the LORD will be your treasure.
7 But now your brave warriors weep in public. Your ambassadors of peace cry in bitter disappointment.
8 Your roads are deserted; no one travels them anymore. The Assyrians have broken their peace treaty and care nothing for the promises they made before witnesses. They have no respect for anyone.
9 The land of Israel wilts in mourning. Lebanon withers with shame. The plain of Sharon is now a wilderness. Bashan and Carmel have been plundered.
10But the LORD says: “Now I will stand up. Now I will show my power and might.
11 You Assyrians produce nothing but dry grass and stubble. Your own breath will turn to fire and consume you.
12 Your people will be burned up completely, like thornbushes cut down and tossed in a fire.
13 Listen to what I have done, you nations far away! And you that are near, acknowledge my might!”
14 The sinners in Jerusalem shake with fear. Terror seizes the godless. “Who can live with this devouring fire?” they cry. “Who can survive this all-consuming fire?”
15 Those who are honest and fair, who refuse to profit by fraud, who stay far away from bribes, who refuse to listen to those who plot murder, who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong—
16 these are the ones who will dwell on high. The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress. Food will be supplied to them, and they will have water in abundance.
17 Your eyes will see the king in all his splendor, and you will see a land that stretches into the distance.
18 You will think back to this time of terror, asking, “Where are the Assyrian officers who counted our towers? Where are the bookkeepers who recorded the plunder taken from our fallen city?”
19 You will no longer see these fierce, violent people with their strange, unknown language.
20 Instead, you will see Zion as a place of holy festivals. You will see Jerusalem, a city quiet and secure. It will be like a tent whose ropes are taut and whose stakes are firmly fixed.
21 The LORD will be our Mighty One. He will be like a wide river of protection that no enemy can cross, that no enemy ship can sail upon.
22 For the LORD is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.
23 The enemies’ sails hang loose on broken masts with useless tackle. Their treasure will be divided by the people of God. Even the lame will take their share!
24 The people of Israel will no longer say, “We are sick and helpless,” for the LORD will forgive their sins