“When you put Christ at the top of your life each day, restored order will infuse your life”
I was stressed out not too long ago. As I sat, thinking about a predicament, my bible caught my eye and I literally thought to myself, “no time for that, I have a problem and need to figure this thing out”. Man, how arrogant! I will say, as soon as that thought left my mind, I realized how foolish it was. Friends, we are created beings that need a leader and direction. Our creator made us with those core needs. We get into a life of chaos when we ditch the script and start looking for answers in our limited, flesh-driven behaviors. If you desire restored order, seek the calming wisdom of Christ.
I like to think of the bible as a how-to (or what no to do, see: Cain, Eve, Joseph’s brothers, yikes!) guide on how to live a Christ-centered life. When I am obedient in my studying, the world around me (though imperfect) becomes easier to navigate. Hard work makes sense, maintaining your possessions, loving your neighbor, paying your debts, all of the mundane things many of us take for granted become the main thing. The bible teaches lessons that when we apply them, we gain wisdom and peace. That is because Christ is at the top, balancing our perspective and behaviors so that we may aspire to lead a life pleasing to Him. If you want to make sense and return to restored order, it’s time to make a relationship with Christ your top priority.
Are you content with the chaos of the world or do you want to restore order by prioritizing Christ?
Enjoy the reading
1 On June 21, during the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, give this message to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and all his hordes: “To whom would you compare your greatness? 3 You are like mighty Assyria, which was once like a cedar of Lebanon, with beautiful branches that cast deep forest shade and with its top high among the clouds. 4 Deep springs watered it and helped it to grow tall and luxuriant. The water flowed around it like a river, streaming to all the trees nearby. 5 This great tree towered high, higher than all the other trees around it. It prospered and grew long thick branches because of all the water at its roots. 6 The birds nested in its branches, and in its shade all the wild animals gave birth. All the great nations of the world lived in its shadow. 7 It was strong and beautiful, with wide-spreading branches, for its roots went deep into abundant water. 8 No other cedar in the garden of God could rival it. No cypress had branches to equal it; no plane tree had boughs to compare. No tree in the garden of God came close to it in beauty. 9 Because I made this tree so beautiful, and gave it such magnificent foliage, it was the envy of all the other trees of Eden, the garden of God. 10 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because Egypt became proud and arrogant, and because it set itself so high above the others, with its top reaching to the clouds, 11 I will hand it over to a mighty nation that will destroy it as its wickedness deserves. I have already discarded it. 12 A foreign army—the terror of the nations—has cut it down and left it fallen on the ground. Its branches are scattered across the mountains and valleys and ravines of the land. All those who lived in its shadow have gone away and left it lying there. 13 “The birds roost on its fallen trunk, and the wild animals lie among its branches. 14 Let the tree of no other nation proudly exult in its own prosperity, though it be higher than the clouds and it be watered from the depths. For all are doomed to die, to go down to the depths of the earth. They will land in the pit along with everyone else on earth. 15 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When Assyria went down to the grave, I made the deep springs mourn. I stopped its rivers and dried up its abundant water. I clothed Lebanon in black and caused the trees of the field to wilt. 16 I made the nations shake with fear at the sound of its fall, for I sent it down to the grave with all the others who descend to the pit. And all the other proud trees of Eden, the most beautiful and the best of Lebanon, the ones whose roots went deep into the water, took comfort to find it there with them in the depths of the earth. 17 Its allies, too, were all destroyed and had passed away. They had gone down to the grave—all those nations that had lived in its shade. 18 “O Egypt, to which of the trees of Eden will you compare your strength and glory? You, too, will be brought down to the depths with all these other nations. You will lie there among the outcasts who have died by the sword. This will be the fate of Pharaoh and all his hordes. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”
“If you’re tired of struggling with the things that weigh you down, ask God to show you how to unlock the chains that bind you.”
Many of us walk around with the weight of our past sins, experiences, and hurts as if a ball and chain were tied to our ankle. Weighed down we struggle in life, dragging on, unable to move freely. Because we’re carrying a weight that we cannot hold, we are unable to see the freedom that Christ provides, unleashing us from all that burdens us. If you feel weighed down, it’s time to ask for help.
Wherever your ball and chain lies, there is a root cause for the weight. Friends, how many of us live life or limit life, based on comments or situations from our past? Maybe your first boss told you that you wouldn’t amount to much and those words began to dictate your future. Perhaps a parent’s neglect left you to believe that you had to work insane amounts of hours to be worthy of love. My point is, that weight has a root cause.
If you’re ready to let that ball and chain go, it’s time to ask your Father in Heaven for the keys. Ask Him to reveal the ball and chains of your life. Sit with Him to uncover the root cause of those struggles. Allow Him to teach you how to forgive those people, the situations, and yourself for what transpired. Grow in the Word so that you may understand how to mature from offense and hurt. When we go to God for these structural breakdowns, He will honor our request with revelation, healing, and mercy, giving us the keys to freedom. All we have to do is ask, seek, and follow.
What is weighing you down, preventing you from God’s will for your life?
Enjoy the reading
1 This is another message that came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, prophesy and give this message from the Sovereign LORD : “Weep and wail for that day, 3 for the terrible day is almost here— the day of the LORD ! It is a day of clouds and gloom, a day of despair for the nations. 4 A sword will come against Egypt, and those who are slaughtered will cover the ground. Its wealth will be carried away and its foundations destroyed. The land of Ethiopia will be ravished. 5 Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, all Arabia, and all their other allies will be destroyed in that war. 6 “For this is what the LORD says: All of Egypt’s allies will fall, and the pride of her power will end. From Migdol to Aswan they will be slaughtered by the sword, says the Sovereign LORD . 7 Egypt will be desolate, surrounded by desolate nations, and its cities will be in ruins, surrounded by other ruined cities. 8 And the people of Egypt will know that I am the LORD when I have set Egypt on fire and destroyed all their allies. 9 At that time I will send swift messengers in ships to terrify the complacent Ethiopians. Great panic will come upon them on that day of Egypt’s certain destruction. Watch for it! It is sure to come! 10 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: By the power of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, I will destroy the hordes of Egypt. 11 He and his armies—the most ruthless of all— will be sent to demolish the land. They will make war against Egypt until slaughtered Egyptians cover the ground. 12 I will dry up the Nile River and sell the land to wicked men. I will destroy the land of Egypt and everything in it by the hands of foreigners. I, the LORD, have spoken! 13 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will smash the idols of Egypt and the images at Memphis. There will be no rulers left in Egypt; terror will sweep the land. 14 I will destroy southern Egypt, set fire to Zoan, and bring judgment against Thebes. 15 I will pour out my fury on Pelusium, the strongest fortress of Egypt, and I will stamp out the hordes of Thebes. 16 Yes, I will set fire to all Egypt! Pelusium will be racked with pain; Thebes will be torn apart; Memphis will live in constant terror. 17 The young men of Heliopolis and Bubastis will die in battle, and the women will be taken away as slaves. 18 When I come to break the proud strength of Egypt, it will be a dark day for Tahpanhes, too. A dark cloud will cover Tahpanhes, and its daughters will be led away as captives. 19 And so I will greatly punish Egypt, and they will know that I am the LORD .” 20 On April 29, during the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 21 “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. His arm has not been put in a cast so that it may heal. Neither has it been bound up with a splint to make it strong enough to hold a sword. 22 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am the enemy of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt! I will break both of his arms—the good arm along with the broken one—and I will make his sword clatter to the ground. 23 I will scatter the Egyptians to many lands throughout the world. 24 I will strengthen the arms of Babylon’s king and put my sword in his hand. But I will break the arms of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he will lie there mortally wounded, groaning in pain. 25 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, while the arms of Pharaoh fall useless to his sides. And when I put my sword in the hand of Babylon’s king and he brings it against the land of Egypt, Egypt will know that I am the LORD . 26 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, dispersing them throughout the earth. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”
“Slow down and talk with God to see that ultimately it is He who provides for you.”
Building a life without Christ is like trying to fill a black hole– you simply can’t. Sure, you can make a lot of money, have tons of lovers, drink and imbibe every carnal activity out there, but there will always be a void. You can indulge in every pleasurable thing, constantly having to increase the dosage because you build up a tolerance, but all that happens is that you prolong the inevitable– emptiness. You could be the most perfect secular human being and will still come up short. Why? Because without Christ, we have nothing.
Context is vitally important for man to understand our place in this life. The world teaches us that by our own will, things can be done. Friends, that is not so! The fundamental truth is that God created us. By His design a connection to Him is integral to our wellbeing. But instead, many of us try and fill the divine purpose of Christ with busyness, distraction, gluttony, lust, or whichever vice holds your gaze. Until you give up your worldly master, you will never truly be fulfilled. Until you stop entertaining the smoke and mirrors of the world, confusion will be your best friend. God desires peace and harmony for all of us. In order for us to attain it, we must want to seek the One who can provide all things for us– Christ.
Are going to avoid the One who can fill the void?
Enjoy the reading
1 On January 7, during the tenth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, turn and face Egypt and prophesy against Pharaoh the king and all the people of Egypt. 3 Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : “I am your enemy, O Pharaoh, king of Egypt— you great monster, lurking in the streams of the Nile. For you have said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it for myself.’ 4 I will put hooks in your jaws and drag you out on the land with fish sticking to your scales. 5 I will leave you and all your fish stranded in the wilderness to die. You will lie unburied on the open ground, for I have given you as food to the wild animals and birds. 6 All the people of Egypt will know that I am the LORD, for to Israel you were just a staff made of reeds. 7 When Israel leaned on you, you splintered and broke and stabbed her in the armpit. When she put her weight on you, you collapsed, and her legs gave way. 8 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will bring an army against you, O Egypt, and destroy both people and animals. 9 The land of Egypt will become a desolate wasteland, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD . “Because you said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it,’ 10 I am now the enemy of both you and your river. I will make the land of Egypt a totally desolate wasteland, from Migdol to Aswan, as far south as the border of Ethiopia. 11 For forty years not a soul will pass that way, neither people nor animals. It will be completely uninhabited. 12 I will make Egypt desolate, and it will be surrounded by other desolate nations. Its cities will be empty and desolate for forty years, surrounded by other ruined cities. I will scatter the Egyptians to distant lands. 13 “But this is what the Sovereign LORD also says: At the end of the forty years I will bring the Egyptians home again from the nations to which they have been scattered. 14 I will restore the prosperity of Egypt and bring its people back to the land of Pathros in southern Egypt from which they came. But Egypt will remain an unimportant, minor kingdom. 15 It will be the lowliest of all the nations, never again great enough to rise above its neighbors. 16 “Then Israel will no longer be tempted to trust in Egypt for help. Egypt’s shattered condition will remind Israel of how sinful she was to trust Egypt in earlier days. Then Israel will know that I am the Sovereign LORD .” 17 On April 26, the first day of the new year, during the twenty-seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 18 “Son of man, the army of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon fought so hard against Tyre that the warriors’ heads were rubbed bare and their shoulders were raw and blistered. Yet Nebuchadnezzar and his army won no plunder to compensate them for all their work. 19 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He will carry off its wealth, plundering everything it has so he can pay his army. 20 Yes, I have given him the land of Egypt as a reward for his work, says the Sovereign LORD, because he was working for me when he destroyed Tyre. 21 “And the day will come when I will cause the ancient glory of Israel to revive, and then, Ezekiel, your words will be respected. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”
“Be mindful of your words and what you speak to yourself and others as our words bring life or death.”
We are what we speak. If we spew junk, we participate in junk. Good cannot grow from dead thinking and speaking. Negative thoughts and words bring about negative deeds and actions. If you struggle with your tongue, go to God and He will teach you a new language.
Notice how God speaks to you, it’s with encouragement and grace. He does not belittle or harp on our faults. He gently picks us up, dusts us off, and graciously cheers us on so that we go on to do good. If God isn’t throwing salt in our wounds by negative speech, it’s time for us to speak gently to one another.
Are you talking about life or death?
Enjoy the reading
1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, give the prince of Tyre this message from the Sovereign LORD : “In your great pride you claim, ‘I am a god! I sit on a divine throne in the heart of the sea.’ But you are only a man and not a god, though you boast that you are a god. 3 You regard yourself as wiser than Daniel and think no secret is hidden from you. 4 With your wisdom and understanding you have amassed great wealth— gold and silver for your treasuries. 5 Yes, your wisdom has made you very rich, and your riches have made you very proud. 6 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you think you are as wise as a god, 7 I will now bring against you a foreign army, the terror of the nations. They will draw their swords against your marvelous wisdom and defile your splendor! 8 They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die in the heart of the sea, pierced with many wounds. 9 Will you then boast, ‘I am a god!’ to those who kill you? To them you will be no god but merely a man! 10 You will die like an outcast at the hands of foreigners. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” 11 Then this further message came to me from the LORD : 12 “Son of man, sing this funeral song for the king of Tyre. Give him this message from the Sovereign LORD : “You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone — red carnelian, pale-green peridot, white moonstone, blue-green beryl, onyx, green jasper, blue lapis lazuli, turquoise, and emerald— all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created. 14 I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire. 15 “You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. 16 Your rich commerce led you to violence, and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings. 18 You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. 19 All who knew you are appalled at your fate. You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.” 20 Then another message came to me from the LORD : 21 “Son of man, turn and face the city of Sidon and prophesy against it. 22 Give the people of Sidon this message from the Sovereign LORD : “I am your enemy, O Sidon, and I will reveal my glory by what I do to you. When I bring judgment against you and reveal my holiness among you, everyone watching will know that I am the LORD . 23 I will send a plague against you, and blood will be spilled in your streets. The attack will come from every direction, and your people will lie slaughtered within your walls. Then everyone will know that I am the LORD . 24 No longer will Israel’s scornful neighbors prick and tear at her like briers and thorns. For then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD . 25 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Israel will again live in their own land, the land I gave my servant Jacob. For I will gather them from the distant lands where I have scattered them. I will reveal to the nations of the world my holiness among my people. 26 They will live safely in Israel and build homes and plant vineyards. And when I punish the neighboring nations that treated them with contempt, they will know that I am the LORD their God.”
“Don’t get caught up in affairs that only God can fix as toiling in confusion is the opposition’s prominent weapon.”
The devil will try to get you to fixate on matters that God can tend to. Why? Because when you’re on guard and distracted, you’re less likely to be doing what God called you to do in the first place. While you’re stewing on inconsequential things, the plans God laid out for you sit in vain. Friends, don’t get caught up in the devil’s tricks.
Instead of getting caught up in the things you cannot control, let them go and let God handle it. When we learn how to bask in the stillness of peace, we learn to quiet our fears, anger, rage, and the like to practice perseverance to run our race. This requires a deep relationship of trust in Christ. Imagine if Joseph stayed caught up in his situation rather than moving forward. Surely he would not have ended up victorious and he did. So friends, stay close to God, cling to His clear path for your life to run your race.
Are you caught up or are you letting go?
Enjoy the reading
1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, sing a funeral song for Tyre, 3 that mighty gateway to the sea, the trading center of the world. Give Tyre this message from the Sovereign LORD : “You boasted, O Tyre, ‘My beauty is perfect!’ 4 You extended your boundaries into the sea. Your builders made your beauty perfect. 5 You were like a great ship built of the finest cypress from Senir. They took a cedar from Lebanon to make a mast for you. 6 They carved your oars from the oaks of Bashan. Your deck of pine from the coasts of Cyprus was inlaid with ivory. 7 Your sails were made of Egypt’s finest linen, and they flew as a banner above you. You stood beneath blue and purple awnings made bright with dyes from the coasts of Elishah. 8 Your oarsmen came from Sidon and Arvad; your helmsmen were skilled men from Tyre itself. 9 Wise old craftsmen from Gebal did the caulking. Ships from every land came with goods to barter for your trade. 10 “Men from distant Persia, Lydia, and Libya served in your great army. They hung their shields and helmets on your walls, giving you great honor. 11 Men from Arvad and Helech stood on your walls. Your towers were manned by men from Gammad. Their shields hung on your walls, completing your beauty. 12 “Tarshish sent merchants to buy your wares in exchange for silver, iron, tin, and lead. 13 Merchants from Greece, Tubal, and Meshech brought slaves and articles of bronze to trade with you. 14 “From Beth-togarmah came riding horses, chariot horses, and mules, all in exchange for your goods. 15 Merchants came to you from Dedan. Numerous coastlands were your captive markets; they brought payment in ivory tusks and ebony wood. 16 “Syria sent merchants to buy your rich variety of goods. They traded turquoise, purple dyes, embroidery, fine linen, and jewelry of coral and rubies. 17 Judah and Israel traded for your wares, offering wheat from Minnith, figs, honey, olive oil, and balm. 18 “Damascus sent merchants to buy your rich variety of goods, bringing wine from Helbon and white wool from Zahar. 19 Greeks from Uzal came to trade for your merchandise. Wrought iron, cassia, and fragrant calamus were bartered for your wares. 20 “Dedan sent merchants to trade their expensive saddle blankets with you. 21 The Arabians and the princes of Kedar sent merchants to trade lambs and rams and male goats in exchange for your goods. 22 The merchants of Sheba and Raamah came with all kinds of spices, jewels, and gold in exchange for your wares. 23 “Haran, Canneh, Eden, Sheba, Asshur, and Kilmad came with their merchandise, too. 24 They brought choice fabrics to trade—blue cloth, embroidery, and multicolored carpets rolled up and bound with cords. 25 The ships of Tarshish were your ocean caravans. Your island warehouse was filled to the brim! 26 “But look! Your oarsmen have taken you into stormy seas! A mighty eastern gale has wrecked you in the heart of the sea! 27 Everything is lost— your riches and wares, your sailors and pilots, your ship builders, merchants, and warriors. On the day of your ruin, everyone on board sinks into the depths of the sea. 28 Your cities by the sea tremble as your pilots cry out in terror. 29 All the oarsmen abandon their ships; the sailors and pilots stand on the shore. 30 They cry aloud over you and weep bitterly. They throw dust on their heads and roll in ashes. 31 They shave their heads in grief for you and dress themselves in burlap. They weep for you with bitter anguish and deep mourning. 32 As they wail and mourn over you, they sing this sad funeral song: ‘Was there ever such a city as Tyre, now silent at the bottom of the sea? 33 The merchandise you traded satisfied the desires of many nations. Kings at the ends of the earth were enriched by your trade. 34 Now you are a wrecked ship, broken at the bottom of the sea. All your merchandise and crew have gone down with you. 35 All who live along the coastlands are appalled at your terrible fate. Their kings are filled with horror and look on with twisted faces. 36 The merchants among the nations shake their heads at the sight of you, for you have come to a horrible end and will exist no more.’”
“When we fail to reconcile God’s truth, we try and control our lives by chasing storms.”
Think about the obstacles in your life. Think about the frustrations or trials you face. Chances are, there is a theme to what troubles you, and that theme is control. When we struggle with things– anger, greed, pain, lust, laziness, and the like, we are trying to control something that requires a power that we will never possess. It could be anger, it could be lust, it could be greed, it could be a host of things. We struggle with the same things because we fail to relinquish our weaknesses to Christ we are doomed to keep repeating the same trials, like our very own groundhog day. To get out of the storm chasing business, we must first acknowledge how we got there in the first place.
We’ve all experienced hurt, heartache, shame, regret, or some unfortunate event(s). Sometimes our experiences trick us into thinking we are in charge of protecting ourselves. As such, we act as storm chasers, running into the chaos. In order to stay out of the chaos, we have to know that the storm does not need chasing. The Bible says resist the devil, not fight him. How do we do this? We stop chasing the storm by tearing down the walls we’ve built to protect ourselves. We walk in love not in anger or fear, choosing the path that Christ chose. When we stop chasing the storm and allow God into all aspects of our lives, we will know His peace.
Are you chasing a storm that should be given to God?
Enjoy the reading
1 On February 3, during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, Tyre has rejoiced over the fall of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Ha! She who was the gateway to the rich trade routes to the east has been broken, and I am the heir! Because she has been made desolate, I will become wealthy!’ 3 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am your enemy, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the waves of the sea crashing against your shoreline. 4 They will destroy the walls of Tyre and tear down its towers. I will scrape away its soil and make it a bare rock! 5 It will be just a rock in the sea, a place for fishermen to spread their nets, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign LORD . Tyre will become the prey of many nations, 6 and its mainland villages will be destroyed by the sword. Then they will know that I am the LORD . 7 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: From the north I will bring King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon against Tyre. He is king of kings and brings his horses, chariots, charioteers, and great army. 8 First he will destroy your mainland villages. Then he will attack you by building a siege wall, constructing a ramp, and raising a roof of shields against you. 9 He will pound your walls with battering rams and demolish your towers with sledgehammers. 10 The hooves of his horses will choke the city with dust, and the noise of the charioteers and chariot wheels will shake your walls as they storm through your broken gates. 11 His horsemen will trample through every street in the city. They will butcher your people, and your strong pillars will topple. 12 “They will plunder all your riches and merchandise and break down your walls. They will destroy your lovely homes and dump your stones and timbers and even your dust into the sea. 13 I will stop the music of your songs. No more will the sound of harps be heard among your people. 14 I will make your island a bare rock, a place for fishermen to spread their nets. You will never be rebuilt, for I, the LORD, have spoken. Yes, the Sovereign LORD has spoken! 15 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Tyre: The whole coastline will tremble at the sound of your fall, as the screams of the wounded echo in the continuing slaughter. 16 All the seaport rulers will step down from their thrones and take off their royal robes and beautiful clothing. They will sit on the ground trembling with horror at your destruction. 17 Then they will wail for you, singing this funeral song: “O famous island city, once ruler of the sea, how you have been destroyed! Your people, with their naval power, once spread fear around the world. 18 Now the coastlands tremble at your fall. The islands are dismayed as you disappear. 19 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will make Tyre an uninhabited ruin, like many others. I will bury you beneath the terrible waves of enemy attack. Great seas will swallow you. 20 I will send you to the pit to join those who descended there long ago. Your city will lie in ruins, buried beneath the earth, like those in the pit who have entered the world of the dead. You will have no place of respect here in the land of the living. 21 I will bring you to a terrible end, and you will exist no more. You will be looked for, but you will never again be found. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”
“Remember that accepting Christ’s salvation means that you’re in right standing with God.”
Discouragement is a very real tactic from the opposition. If left unchecked, he can make even the most righteous person feel like a sack of coal. However, in those tough moments, remember that salvation is a gift, never earned, and that God loves you in all ways.
Fortunately for us, salvation isn’t contingent on perfect behavior. But to truly experience and understand what it means, we have to do our homework. While Christ is for us, we still live in the natural world which requires careful study and meditation on the Word. Knowledge is power and what great power to be called His!
Are you being deceived about where you stand with Christ?
Enjoy the reading
1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, turn and face the land of Ammon and prophesy against its people. 3 Give the Ammonites this message from the Sovereign LORD : Hear the word of the Sovereign LORD ! Because you cheered when my Temple was defiled, mocked Israel in her desolation, and laughed at Judah as she went away into exile, 4 I will allow nomads from the eastern deserts to overrun your country. They will set up their camps among you and pitch their tents on your land. They will harvest all your fruit and drink the milk from your livestock. 5 And I will turn the city of Rabbah into a pasture for camels, and all the land of the Ammonites into a resting place for sheep and goats. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 6 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you clapped and danced and cheered with glee at the destruction of my people, 7 I will raise my fist of judgment against you. I will give you as plunder to many nations. I will cut you off from being a nation and destroy you completely. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 8 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because the people of Moab have said that Judah is just like all the other nations, 9 I will open up their eastern flank and wipe out their glorious frontier towns—Beth-jeshimoth, Baal-meon, and Kiriathaim. 10 And I will hand Moab over to nomads from the eastern deserts, just as I handed over Ammon. Yes, the Ammonites will no longer be counted among the nations. 11 In the same way, I will bring my judgment down on the Moabites. Then they will know that I am the LORD . 12 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Edom have sinned greatly by avenging themselves against the people of Judah. 13 Therefore, says the Sovereign LORD, I will raise my fist of judgment against Edom. I will wipe out its people and animals with the sword. I will make a wasteland of everything from Teman to Dedan. 14 I will accomplish this by the hand of my people of Israel. They will carry out my vengeance with anger, and Edom will know that this vengeance is from me. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken! 15 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Philistia have acted against Judah out of bitter revenge and long-standing contempt. 16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will raise my fist of judgment against the land of the Philistines. I will wipe out the Kerethites and utterly destroy the people who live by the sea. 17 I will execute terrible vengeance against them to punish them for what they have done. And when I have inflicted my revenge, they will know that I am the LORD .”
“Whatever you are ruled by will be the hue of your lenses.”
The moment you realize that we are designed to seek approval, connection, and support, the easier it will be for you to see the truth. Those are gifts directly given to us by God so that we can know Him on a deeper, foundational level. But, of course, we’re human, prone to living by our flesh, perverting the traits God has given to us so freely. Friends, we can truly live without being in a relationship with God. Even though that’s true, we humans with our egos, struck out to fulfill God-centered needs through fleshly practices. So what does that look like?
When we fail to reconcile our reality for God’s Truth, we see the world and people through various colors based on whatever hurt we’ve experienced. When you have unchecked rejection in your heart, you see the world in the color of rejection. If you struggle with lust you will see the world in that same way. When you struggle with anger, fear, and the like, your world will be colored by that affliction. As such, you cannot see nor hear God when your colored glasses shade His Truth.
If you’re tired of living in fear, rejection, lust, anger, whatever your case is, it’s time to toss your colored glasses. In order to see the world as God intended, you have to remove your ‘colors’ and see things for what they truly are. As you grow in Christ you will begin to reflect in your previous stage of life, understanding what ruled you at the time. You begin to see how your distorted way of thinking came to be because of the unchecked footholds in your life. When you take off your colored glasses, forgiveness is easier to understand; Christlike love is more easily attainable, and things like mercy and grace become common practice, rather than impossible standards that only God can achieve. While we are human and very imperfect, we can make the choice each and every day to take up our cross, and put down the colored glasses that hinder us from becoming who God made us to be.
Do you know what color glasses you’re wearing and its impact on your life?
Enjoy the reading
1 On January 15, during the ninth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, write down today’s date, because on this very day the king of Babylon is beginning his attack against Jerusalem. 3 Then give these rebels an illustration with this message from the Sovereign LORD : “Put a pot on the fire, and pour in some water. 4 Fill it with choice pieces of meat— the rump and the shoulder and all the most tender cuts. 5 Use only the best sheep from the flock, and heap fuel on the fire beneath the pot. Bring the pot to a boil, and cook the bones along with the meat. 6 “Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: What sorrow awaits Jerusalem, the city of murderers! She is a cooking pot whose corruption can’t be cleaned out. Take the meat out in random order, for no piece is better than another. 7 For the blood of her murders is splashed on the rocks. It isn’t even spilled on the ground, where the dust could cover it! 8 So I will splash her blood on a rock for all to see, an expression of my anger and vengeance against her. 9 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: What sorrow awaits Jerusalem, the city of murderers! I myself will pile up the fuel beneath her. 10 Yes, heap on the wood! Let the fire roar to make the pot boil. Cook the meat with many spices, and afterward burn the bones. 11 Now set the empty pot on the coals. Heat it red hot! Burn away the filth and corruption. 12 But it’s hopeless; the corruption can’t be cleaned out. So throw it into the fire. 13 Your impurity is your lewdness and the corruption of your idolatry. I tried to cleanse you, but you refused. So now you will remain in your filth until my fury against you has been satisfied. 14 “I, the LORD, have spoken! The time has come, and I won’t hold back. I will not change my mind, and I will have no pity on you. You will be judged on the basis of all your wicked actions, says the Sovereign LORD .” 15 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 16 “Son of man, with one blow I will take away your dearest treasure. Yet you must not show any sorrow at her death. Do not weep; let there be no tears. 17 Groan silently, but let there be no wailing at her grave. Do not uncover your head or take off your sandals. Do not perform the usual rituals of mourning or accept any food brought to you by consoling friends.” 18 So I proclaimed this to the people the next morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did everything I had been told to do. 19 Then the people asked, “What does all this mean? What are you trying to tell us?” 20 So I said to them, “A message came to me from the LORD, 21 and I was told to give this message to the people of Israel. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will defile my Temple, the source of your security and pride, the place your heart delights in. Your sons and daughters whom you left behind in Judah will be slaughtered by the sword. 22 Then you will do as Ezekiel has done. You will not mourn in public or console yourselves by eating the food brought by friends. 23 Your heads will remain covered, and your sandals will not be taken off. You will not mourn or weep, but you will waste away because of your sins. You will groan among yourselves for all the evil you have done. 24 Ezekiel is an example for you; you will do just as he has done. And when that time comes, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD .” 25 Then the LORD said to me, “Son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold—their joy and glory, their heart’s desire, their dearest treasure—I will also take away their sons and daughters. 26 And on that day a survivor from Jerusalem will come to you in Babylon and tell you what has happened. 27 And when he arrives, your voice will suddenly return so you can talk to him, and you will be a symbol for these people. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”
“If you take time to learn the fundamentals of Christ and His teaches, the wisdom He bestows to you for your efforts will guide you throw the highs and lows of life.”
Practice and Purpose
The Bible is the ultimate playbook for you to use in this game called life. Think about sports like basketball. Elite ballplayers spend a significant amount of time studying the film of their opponents. They also spend time practicing their shots, ball handling, defense, and everything in between. Take NBA players. These guys have been playing basketball for years and years.
You would think will all of the time and practice they put in, there would be no need to watch game tape or practice. So why do they do it? Because practice and reviewing the film is the type of tool that defeats your opponent. The Bible and applying its wisdom prepares us to understand the devil’s games and how to win. Practice also helps us against the enemy when we’re tired
The devil works hard to throw us off in several areas in our lives. He’ll attack when we’re tired, when we’re distracted, when we’re stepping up in our walk with Christ, and especially when we’re successful. But don’t worry, the opposition messes greatly with the first string because he knows how influential they are in spreading the good news.
Fortunately for us, this is why we practice reading the Bible. When we’re tired, distracted, encouraging others about Christ, or stepping in our calling, this is when we must really hunker down and rely on the fundamentals. This is because God’s Truth supersedes our truths. So, when our neighbor offends us, we practice what we learned in the Bible, which is forgiveness so that it doesn’t become a foothold. When we have bills to pay, we pay them instead of buying stuff for ourselves.
Fundamentals are Key
Just like elite basketball players, we can get tired and weary, which is where the devil and temptation will rear its ugly head. When we rely on our flesh, we fail because we’re not built to weather storms such as these. Instead we have to rely on the teachings and the fundamentals of the word.
The Bible is literally the game tape of how God defeats the devil. What better resource to help us in our walks with Christ! By studying the playbook–Bible– we have foundational strength and behaviors that allow us to have victory over our trials and temptations. We gain the spiritual muscle memory to shoot the ball, scoring even when physically we can’t go on. If you want to be on the championship team, study God’s playbook, the Bible.
Are you studying how to defeat the opposition?
Enjoy the reading
1 This message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, once there were two sisters who were daughters of the same mother. 3 They became prostitutes in Egypt. Even as young girls, they allowed men to fondle their breasts. 4 The older girl was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. I married them, and they bore me sons and daughters. I am speaking of Samaria and Jerusalem, for Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem. 5 “Then Oholah lusted after other lovers instead of me, and she gave her love to the Assyrian officers. 6 They were all attractive young men, captains and commanders dressed in handsome blue, charioteers driving their horses. 7 And so she prostituted herself with the most desirable men of Assyria, worshiping their idols and defiling herself. 8 For when she left Egypt, she did not leave her spirit of prostitution behind. She was still as lewd as in her youth, when the Egyptians slept with her, fondled her breasts, and used her as a prostitute. 9 “And so I handed her over to her Assyrian lovers, whom she desired so much. 10 They stripped her, took away her children as their slaves, and then killed her. After she received her punishment, her reputation was known to every woman in the land. 11 “Yet even though Oholibah saw what had happened to Oholah, her sister, she followed right in her footsteps. And she was even more depraved, abandoning herself to her lust and prostitution. 12 She fawned over all the Assyrian officers—those captains and commanders in handsome uniforms, those charioteers driving their horses—all of them attractive young men. 13 I saw the way she was going, defiling herself just like her older sister. 14 “Then she carried her prostitution even further. She fell in love with pictures that were painted on a wall—pictures of Babylonian military officers, outfitted in striking red uniforms. 15 Handsome belts encircled their waists, and flowing turbans crowned their heads. They were dressed like chariot officers from the land of Babylonia. 16 When she saw these paintings, she longed to give herself to them, so she sent messengers to Babylonia to invite them to come to her. 17 So they came and committed adultery with her, defiling her in the bed of love. After being defiled, however, she rejected them in disgust. 18 “In the same way, I became disgusted with Oholibah and rejected her, just as I had rejected her sister, because she flaunted herself before them and gave herself to satisfy their lusts. 19 Yet she turned to even greater prostitution, remembering her youth when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey’s and emissions like those of a horse. 21 And so, Oholibah, you relived your former days as a young girl in Egypt, when you first allowed your breasts to be fondled. 22 “Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will send your lovers against you from every direction—those very nations from which you turned away in disgust. 23 For the Babylonians will come with all the Chaldeans from Pekod and Shoa and Koa. And all the Assyrians will come with them—handsome young captains, commanders, chariot officers, and other high-ranking officers, all riding their horses. 24 They will all come against you from the north with chariots, wagons, and a great army prepared for attack. They will take up positions on every side, surrounding you with men armed with shields and helmets. And I will hand you over to them for punishment so they can do with you as they please. 25 I will turn my jealous anger against you, and they will deal harshly with you. They will cut off your nose and ears, and any survivors will then be slaughtered by the sword. Your children will be taken away as captives, and everything that is left will be burned. 26 They will strip you of your beautiful clothes and jewels. 27 In this way, I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you brought from Egypt. You will never again cast longing eyes on those things or fondly remember your time in Egypt. 28 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will surely hand you over to your enemies, to those you loathe, those you rejected. 29 They will treat you with hatred and rob you of all you own, leaving you stark naked. The shame of your prostitution will be exposed to all the world. 30 You brought all this on yourself by prostituting yourself to other nations, defiling yourself with all their idols. 31 Because you have followed in your sister’s footsteps, I will force you to drink the same cup of terror she drank. 32 “Yes, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “You will drink from your sister’s cup of terror, a cup that is large and deep. It is filled to the brim with scorn and derision. 33 Drunkenness and anguish will fill you, for your cup is filled to the brim with distress and desolation, the same cup your sister Samaria drank. 34 You will drain that cup of terror to the very bottom. Then you will smash it to pieces and beat your breast in anguish. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken! 35 “And because you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: You must bear the consequences of all your lewdness and prostitution.” 36 The LORD said to me, “Son of man, you must accuse Oholah and Oholibah of all their detestable sins. 37 They have committed both adultery and murder—adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning as sacrifices the children they bore to me. 38 Furthermore, they have defiled my Temple and violated my Sabbath day! 39 On the very day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they boldly came into my Temple to worship! They came in and defiled my house. 40 “You sisters sent messengers to distant lands to get men. Then when they arrived, you bathed yourselves, painted your eyelids, and put on your finest jewels for them. 41 You sat with them on a beautifully embroidered couch and put my incense and my special oil on a table that was spread before you. 42 From your room came the sound of many men carousing. They were lustful men and drunkards from the wilderness, who put bracelets on your wrists and beautiful crowns on your heads. 43 Then I said, ‘If they really want to have sex with old worn-out prostitutes like these, let them!’ 44 And that is what they did. They had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, these shameless prostitutes. 45 But righteous people will judge these sister cities for what they really are—adulterers and murderers. 46 “Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Bring an army against them and hand them over to be terrorized and plundered. 47 For their enemies will stone them and kill them with swords. They will butcher their sons and daughters and burn their homes. 48 In this way, I will put an end to lewdness and idolatry in the land, and my judgment will be a warning to all women not to follow your wicked example. 49 You will be fully repaid for all your prostitution—your worship of idols. Yes, you will suffer the full penalty. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD .”
“No matter where you are in life, if you’re with God it’s all good.”
You could be rich. You could be poor. You could be loved by all. You could be hated by everyone. You could see the world. You could see only your neighborhood. You could influential. You could be no one. You could be content. You could be miserable. Regardless of your situation, if God is not at the head of it, it means nothing.
Humans are curious and arrogant creatures. We desire to define everything against our own understanding, as God doesn’t exist. As such, we create rules and goals that we pass on pretending as if man has the final say. Once you’re done playing with plastic morals and achievements, drop your worldly possessions and desires to pursue Christ. In Him, you will have everything.
Are you tired of being led by the blind?
Enjoy the reading
1 Now this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, are you ready to judge Jerusalem? Are you ready to judge this city of murderers? Publicly denounce her detestable sins, 3 and give her this message from the Sovereign LORD : O city of murderers, doomed and damned—city of idols, filthy and foul— 4 you are guilty because of the blood you have shed. You are defiled because of the idols you have made. Your day of destruction has come! You have reached the end of your years. I will make you an object of mockery throughout the world. 5 O infamous city, filled with confusion, you will be mocked by people far and near. 6 “Every leader in Israel who lives within your walls is bent on murder. 7 Fathers and mothers are treated with contempt. Foreigners are forced to pay for protection. Orphans and widows are wronged and oppressed among you. 8 You despise my holy things and violate my Sabbath days of rest. 9 People accuse others falsely and send them to their death. You are filled with idol worshipers and people who do obscene things. 10 Men sleep with their fathers’ wives and force themselves on women who are menstruating. 11 Within your walls live men who commit adultery with their neighbors’ wives, who defile their daughters-in-law, or who rape their own sisters. 12 There are hired murderers, loan racketeers, and extortioners everywhere. They never even think of me and my commands, says the Sovereign LORD . 13 “But now I clap my hands in indignation over your dishonest gain and bloodshed. 14 How strong and courageous will you be in my day of reckoning? I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do what I said. 15 I will scatter you among the nations and purge you of your wickedness. 16 And when I have been dishonored among the nations because of you, you will know that I am the LORD .” 17 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 18 “Son of man, the people of Israel are the worthless slag that remains after silver is smelted. They are the dross that is left over—a useless mixture of copper, tin, iron, and lead. 19 So tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you are all worthless slag, I will bring you to my crucible in Jerusalem. 20 Just as silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin are melted down in a furnace, I will melt you down in the heat of my fury. 21 I will gather you together and blow the fire of my anger upon you, 22 and you will melt like silver in fierce heat. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have poured out my fury on you.’” 23 Again a message came to me from the LORD : 24 “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: In the day of my indignation, you will be like a polluted land, a land without rain. 25 Your princes plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey. They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. They make many widows in the land. 26 Your priests have violated my instructions and defiled my holy things. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them. 27 Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people’s lives for money! 28 And your prophets cover up for them by announcing false visions and making lying predictions. They say, ‘My message is from the Sovereign LORD,’ when the LORD hasn’t spoken a single word to them. 29 Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice. 30 “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. 31 So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”