“Start your day with Him to put your best foot forward.”~TB
In the Beginning
Give God the first fruits of your day so that you can download the vital information. This way you can have the resources to attack your daily grind with the best information out there; from God. When you take that time in the morning, you find the best way to go about your daily responsibilities because you understand that you’re not working for man, but for God Himself.
At the End
When you give your daily first fruits, your day is spent and your sleep is earned because you obeyed our Father in Heaven. We tend to stay out of trouble and harms way because we followed our path, minimizing the human propensities of looking at other people’s paths. God gives us ample instructions and assignments to ensure that we are successful. To be connected to your purpose, be consistent in your first fruits.
Are you giving your first fruits or your first excuses in the morning?
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1“Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,” says the LORD . “Look high and low; search throughout the city! If you can find even one just and honest person, I will not destroy the city.
2But even when they are under oath, saying, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ they are still telling lies!”
3LORD, you are searching for honesty. You struck your people, but they paid no attention. You crushed them, but they refused to be corrected. They are determined, with faces set like stone; they have refused to repent.
4Then I said, “But what can we expect from the poor? They are ignorant. They don’t know the ways of the LORD . They don’t understand God’s laws.
5So I will go and speak to their leaders. Surely they know the ways of the LORD and understand God’s laws.” But the leaders, too, as one man, had thrown off God’s yoke and broken his chains.
6So now a lion from the forest will attack them; a wolf from the desert will pounce on them. A leopard will lurk near their towns, tearing apart any who dare to venture out. For their rebellion is great, and their sins are many.
7“How can I pardon you? For even your children have turned from me. They have sworn by gods that are not gods at all! I fed my people until they were full. But they thanked me by committing adultery and lining up at the brothels.
8They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.
9Should I not punish them for this?” says the LORD . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?
10“Go down the rows of the vineyards and destroy the grapevines, leaving a scattered few alive. Strip the branches from the vines, for these people do not belong to the LORD .
11The people of Israel and Judah are full of treachery against me,” says the LORD .
12“They have lied about the LORD and said, ‘He won’t bother us! No disasters will come upon us. There will be no war or famine.
13God’s prophets are all windbags who don’t really speak for him. Let their predictions of disaster fall on themselves!’”
14Therefore, this is what the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies says: “Because the people are talking like this, my messages will flame out of your mouth and burn the people like kindling wood.
15O Israel, I will bring a distant nation against you,” says the LORD . “It is a mighty nation, an ancient nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you cannot understand.
16Their weapons are deadly; their warriors are mighty.
17They will devour the food of your harvest; they will devour your sons and daughters. They will devour your flocks and herds; they will devour your grapes and figs. And they will destroy your fortified towns, which you think are so safe.
18“Yet even in those days I will not blot you out completely,” says the LORD .
19“And when your people ask, ‘Why did the LORD our God do all this to us?’ you must reply, ‘You rejected him and gave yourselves to foreign gods in your own land. Now you will serve foreigners in a land that is not your own.’
20“Make this announcement to Israel, and say this to Judah:
21Listen, you foolish and senseless people, with eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear.
22Have you no respect for me? Why don’t you tremble in my presence? I, the LORD, define the ocean’s sandy shoreline as an everlasting boundary that the waters cannot cross. The waves may toss and roar, but they can never pass the boundaries I set.
23But my people have stubborn and rebellious hearts. They have turned away and abandoned me.
24They do not say from the heart, ‘Let us live in awe of the LORD our God, for he gives us rain each spring and fall, assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.’
25Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful blessings. Your sin has robbed you of all these good things.
26“Among my people are wicked men who lie in wait for victims like a hunter hiding in a blind. They continually set traps to catch people.
27Like a cage filled with birds, their homes are filled with evil plots. And now they are great and rich.
28They are fat and sleek, and there is no limit to their wicked deeds. They refuse to provide justice to orphans and deny the rights of the poor.
29Should I not punish them for this?” says the LORD . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?
30A horrible and shocking thing has happened in this land—
31the prophets give false prophecies, and the priests rule with an iron hand. Worse yet, my people like it that way! But what will you do when the end comes?
“While in the lion’s den, be patient and productive so that you can learn the lessons and tools God can teach you in your time of waiting.”~TB
Waiting sucks. Especially when you’re at a time where you are waiting for something that despite your best efforts is being dragged out with no end in sight. During periods like these, I’m reminded of Daniel in the lion’s den. Even though the lions could not physically harm him, I’m willing to bet that being stuck in that situation was probably less than ideal. But still, he put his faith in God.
Just like those lions, our times of waiting will not be the end of us. It’s human nature to want to hone in and focus on the obstacles we cannot change. However, when we obsess over what we cannot do, we miss out on what we can. Instead of watching the pot, ask God how to best utilize the time that you have to continue His purpose for your life. Rejoice that whatever is causing your frustration is not the end and that in time, the wait will be over.
How are you handling the wait?
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1“O Israel,” says the LORD, “if you wanted to return to me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols and stray away no more.
2Then when you swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ you could do so with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people would come and praise my name.”
3This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns.
4O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the LORD, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.
5“Shout to Judah, and broadcast to Jerusalem! Tell them to sound the alarm throughout the land: ‘Run for your lives! Flee to the fortified cities!’
6Raise a signal flag as a warning for Jerusalem : ‘Flee now! Do not delay!’ For I am bringing terrible destruction upon you from the north.”
7A lion stalks from its den, a destroyer of nations. It has left its lair and is headed your way. It’s going to devastate your land! Your towns will lie in ruins, with no one living in them anymore.
8So put on clothes of mourning and weep with broken hearts, for the fierce anger of the LORD is still upon us.
9“In that day,” says the LORD, “the king and the officials will tremble in fear. The priests will be struck with horror, and the prophets will be appalled.”
10Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, the people have been deceived by what you said, for you promised peace for Jerusalem. But the sword is held at their throats!”
11The time is coming when the LORD will say to the people of Jerusalem, “My dear people, a burning wind is blowing in from the desert, and it’s not a gentle breeze useful for winnowing grain.
12It is a roaring blast sent by me! Now I will pronounce your destruction!”
13Our enemy rushes down on us like storm clouds! His chariots are like whirlwinds. His horses are swifter than eagles. How terrible it will be, for we are doomed!
14O Jerusalem, cleanse your heart that you may be saved. How long will you harbor your evil thoughts?
15Your destruction has been announced from Dan and the hill country of Ephraim.
16“Warn the surrounding nations and announce this to Jerusalem: The enemy is coming from a distant land, raising a battle cry against the towns of Judah.
17They surround Jerusalem like watchmen around a field, for my people have rebelled against me,” says the LORD .
18“Your own actions have brought this upon you. This punishment is bitter, piercing you to the heart!”
19My heart, my heart—I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me! I cannot be still. For I have heard the blast of enemy trumpets and the roar of their battle cries.
20Waves of destruction roll over the land, until it lies in complete desolation. Suddenly my tents are destroyed; in a moment my shelters are crushed.
21How long must I see the battle flags and hear the trumpets of war?
22“My people are foolish and do not know me,” says the LORD . “They are stupid children who have no understanding. They are clever enough at doing wrong, but they have no idea how to do right!”
23I looked at the earth, and it was empty and formless. I looked at the heavens, and there was no light.
24I looked at the mountains and hills, and they trembled and shook.
25I looked, and all the people were gone. All the birds of the sky had flown away.
26I looked, and the fertile fields had become a wilderness. The towns lay in ruins, crushed by the LORD ’s fierce anger.
27This is what the LORD says: “The whole land will be ruined, but I will not destroy it completely.
28The earth will mourn and the heavens will be draped in black because of my decree against my people. I have made up my mind and will not change it.”
29At the noise of charioteers and archers, the people flee in terror. They hide in the bushes and run for the mountains. All the towns have been abandoned— not a person remains!
30What are you doing, you who have been plundered? Why do you dress up in beautiful clothing and put on gold jewelry? Why do you brighten your eyes with mascara? Your primping will do you no good! The allies who were your lovers despise you and seek to kill you.
31I hear a cry, like that of a woman in labor, the groans of a woman giving birth to her first child. It is beautiful Jerusalem gasping for breath and crying out, “Help! I’m being murdered!”
“Building a firm foundation in Christ is a marathon, not a sprint.”~TB
A marathon cannot be run after a few test practices. Similarly, a relationship with Christ cannot be achieved after one run glance at the Word. We cannot put short-term efforts into knowing our Father in Heaven. No, it takes a lifetime of seeking, listening, failing, repenting, trying, and the like to uncover a semblance of understanding who Christ is. Friends, this is a lifelong endeavor of which we must forego the short-term comfort of ignorance to embrace the long-term impacts of salvation. Do your training accordingly.
When you put in the work each day to learn the Truth of Christ, you build an endurance to run the race He has set before you. The shortcuts are less appealing and the long-term goal of receiving the gift that only He can give becomes the priority. We cannot know the winning effects of knowing God without doing our daily training with Him. More to the point, we have to encourage and give hope to our teammates so that they may be inspired and not deterred from training for their race. Though each day brings its own challenge, consider the long-term advantages of running with Christ than against.
Are you putting in the work, or are you waiting until the last minute to cram a lifetime of training?
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1“If a man divorces a woman and she goes and marries someone else, he will not take her back again, for that would surely corrupt the land. But you have prostituted yourself with many lovers, so why are you trying to come back to me?” says the LORD .
2“Look at the shrines on every hilltop. Is there any place you have not been defiled by your adultery with other gods? You sit like a prostitute beside the road waiting for a customer. You sit alone like a nomad in the desert. You have polluted the land with your prostitution and your wickedness.
3That’s why even the spring rains have failed. For you are a brazen prostitute and completely shameless.
4Yet you say to me, ‘Father, you have been my guide since my youth.
5Surely you won’t be angry forever! Surely you can forget about it!’ So you talk, but you keep on doing all the evil you can.”
6During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, “Have you seen what fickle Israel has done? Like a wife who commits adultery, Israel has worshiped other gods on every hill and under every green tree.
7I thought, ‘After she has done all this, she will return to me.’ But she did not return, and her faithless sister Judah saw this.
8She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution.
9Israel treated it all so lightly—she thought nothing of committing adultery by worshiping idols made of wood and stone. So now the land has been polluted.
10But despite all this, her faithless sister Judah has never sincerely returned to me. She has only pretended to be sorry. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
11Then the LORD said to me, “Even faithless Israel is less guilty than treacherous Judah!
12Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. This is what the LORD says: “O Israel, my faithless people, come home to me again, for I am merciful. I will not be angry with you forever.
13Only acknowledge your guilt. Admit that you rebelled against the LORD your God and committed adultery against him by worshiping idols under every green tree. Confess that you refused to listen to my voice. I, the LORD, have spoken!
14“Return home, you wayward children,” says the LORD, “for I am your master. I will bring you back to the land of Israel — one from this town and two from that family— from wherever you are scattered.
15And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.
16“And when your land is once more filled with people,” says the LORD, “you will no longer wish for ‘the good old days’ when you possessed the Ark of the LORD ’s Covenant. You will not miss those days or even remember them, and there will be no need to rebuild the Ark.
17In that day Jerusalem will be known as ‘The Throne of the LORD .’ All nations will come there to honor the LORD . They will no longer stubbornly follow their own evil desires.
18In those days the people of Judah and Israel will return together from exile in the north. They will return to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance forever.
19“I thought to myself, ‘I would love to treat you as my own children!’ I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land— the finest possession in the world. I looked forward to your calling me ‘Father,’ and I wanted you never to turn from me.
20But you have been unfaithful to me, you people of Israel! You have been like a faithless wife who leaves her husband. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
21Voices are heard high on the windswept mountains, the weeping and pleading of Israel’s people. For they have chosen crooked paths and have forgotten the LORD their God.
22“My wayward children,” says the LORD, “come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.” “Yes, we’re coming,” the people reply, “for you are the LORD our God.
23Our worship of idols on the hills and our religious orgies on the mountains are a delusion. Only in the LORD our God will Israel ever find salvation.
24From childhood we have watched as everything our ancestors worked for— their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters— was squandered on a delusion.
25Let us now lie down in shame and cover ourselves with dishonor, for we and our ancestors have sinned against the LORD our God. From our childhood to this day we have never obeyed him.”
“Hanging out with God is like getting honest and objective feedback from someone who ultimately has your best interest in mind. Listen well.”~TB
It Starts With
I’m a big believer in demystifying the practice of building a relationship with God. For some reason, people make it out to be some big ritualistic practice that only ‘certain’ people can do, when in reality, everyone can talk to God. More to the point, the more you talk and listen, you too can get His feedback on your life and what it means to truly be His. It starts with you asking to hear from Him. Literally, that’s it. If you have the honest and earnest desire to hear from God, then ask.
It’s Not Like
After observing people, I find that one of the biggest disconnects with building that relationship comes from not understanding who God is. We, humans, have a distorted belief that we are our own leaders, makers, etc. So if you’re trying to come to God to dictate to Him how your life should be, man, you’re going to continuously bump your head on a wall. Trust, I’m saying this from experience. My point in saying all this is, to know God is to understand that He is our Creator. This means He ultimately knows you better than you know yourself.
When you do the work and build that connection with Christ, His feedback will radically change how you see the world. The fads, the trends, the need for approval from broken people disappear– if you allow it. Because the world jams up our Holy Frequency of which God communicates by, we must unlearn our worldly practices to synthesize the feedback from God. So to sum it up, come to Him with an honest heart. Be humble and learn to submit to His sovereignty. Listen and learn from what you hear. When you’re able to see the world for what it actually is, God’s feedback is easier to understand and implement.
Who are you listening to, God or the world?
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1The LORD gave me another message. He said,
2“Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the LORD says: “I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness.
3In those days Israel was holy to the LORD, the first of his children. All who harmed his people were declared guilty, and disaster fell on them. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
4Listen to the word of the LORD, people of Jacob—all you families of Israel!
5This is what the LORD says: “What did your ancestors find wrong with me that led them to stray so far from me? They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves.
6They did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD who brought us safely out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness— a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought and death, where no one lives or even travels?’
7“And when I brought you into a fruitful land to enjoy its bounty and goodness, you defiled my land and corrupted the possession I had promised you.
8The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD ?’ Those who taught my word ignored me, the rulers turned against me, and the prophets spoke in the name of Baal, wasting their time on worthless idols.
9Therefore, I will bring my case against you,” says the LORD . “I will even bring charges against your children’s children in the years to come.
10“Go west and look in the land of Cyprus ; go east and search through the land of Kedar. Has anyone ever heard of anything as strange as this?
11Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones, even though they are not gods at all? Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols!
12The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay,” says the LORD .
13“For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!
14“Why has Israel become a slave? Why has he been carried away as plunder?
15Strong lions have roared against him, and the land has been destroyed. The towns are now in ruins, and no one lives in them anymore.
16Egyptians, marching from their cities of Memphis and Tahpanhes, have destroyed Israel’s glory and power.
17And you have brought this upon yourselves by rebelling against the LORD your God, even though he was leading you on the way!
18“What have you gained by your alliances with Egypt and your covenants with Assyria? What good to you are the streams of the Nile or the waters of the Euphrates River?
19Your wickedness will bring its own punishment. Your turning from me will shame you. You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to abandon the LORD your God and not to fear him. I, the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!
20“Long ago I broke the yoke that oppressed you and tore away the chains of your slavery, but still you said, ‘I will not serve you.’ On every hill and under every green tree, you have prostituted yourselves by bowing down to idols.
21But I was the one who planted you, choosing a vine of the purest stock—the very best. How did you grow into this corrupt wild vine?
22No amount of soap or lye can make you clean. I still see the stain of your guilt. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!
23“You say, ‘That’s not true! I haven’t worshiped the images of Baal!’ But how can you say that? Go and look in any valley in the land! Face the awful sins you have done. You are like a restless female camel desperately searching for a mate.
24You are like a wild donkey, sniffing the wind at mating time. Who can restrain her lust? Those who desire her don’t need to search, for she goes running to them!
25When will you stop running? When will you stop panting after other gods? But you say, ‘Save your breath. I’m in love with these foreign gods, and I can’t stop loving them now!’
26“Israel is like a thief who feels shame only when he gets caught. They, their kings, officials, priests, and prophets— all are alike in this.
27To an image carved from a piece of wood they say, ‘You are my father.’ To an idol chiseled from a block of stone they say, ‘You are my mother.’ They turn their backs on me, but in times of trouble they cry out to me, ‘Come and save us!’
28But why not call on these gods you have made? When trouble comes, let them save you if they can! For you have as many gods as there are towns in Judah.
29Why do you accuse me of doing wrong? You are the ones who have rebelled,” says the LORD .
30“I have punished your children, but they did not respond to my discipline. You yourselves have killed your prophets as a lion kills its prey.
31“O my people, listen to the words of the LORD ! Have I been like a desert to Israel? Have I been to them a land of darkness? Why then do my people say, ‘At last we are free from God! We don’t need him anymore!’
32Does a young woman forget her jewelry, or a bride her wedding dress? Yet for years on end my people have forgotten me.
33“How you plot and scheme to win your lovers. Even an experienced prostitute could learn from you!
34Your clothing is stained with the blood of the innocent and the poor, though you didn’t catch them breaking into your houses!
35And yet you say, ‘I have done nothing wrong. Surely God isn’t angry with me!’ But now I will punish you severely because you claim you have not sinned.
36First here, then there— you flit from one ally to another asking for help. But your new friends in Egypt will let you down, just as Assyria did before.
37In despair, you will be led into exile with your hands on your heads, for the LORD has rejected the nations you trust. They will not help you at all.
“Take care to develop honest relationships because a transactional lifestyle is meaningless.”~TB
In today’s surface-driven world, fake relationships and fake ideals run rampant. We seek what people can give to us or how we can use their status to achieve our agendas. Looking at people in a transactional manner is a dangerous precedent because the foundation is not real. Consider your motives when developing relationships with people. What are you after? Honest relationships require honest motives. If developing an authentic relationship with people and– more to the point– Christ is what you desire, you first must examine your heart.
Isn’t interesting that people can want what God can give them but not actually want God? The ironic part is that to know God is to have received something far greater than any wealth on this earth. But, to get to this fundamental truth, we have to forge an authentic and meaningful relationship with God. Christ is not here to grant us wishes, like some magic genie. No, we must talk, listen, learn, and practice the teachings of Christ so that we know the difference between what is real and what is fake. Throw off the superficial lifestyle to put on the authentic Truth that is God. By doing so, you change your heart and how you move in this world.
Are you interested in knowing God or are you just looking to get things from Him?
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1The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.
2The word of the LORD came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah,
3and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.
5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
6“Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
7But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.
8Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.
9Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.
10See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
11The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.
12The LORD said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”
13The word of the LORD came to me again: “What do you see?” “I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.”
14The LORD said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land.
15I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares the LORD. “Their kings will come and set up their thrones in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; they will come against all her surrounding walls and against all the towns of Judah.
16I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made.
17“Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.
18Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land.
19They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.