Compassion

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Hug your brothers and sisters during their times of struggle as love covers a multitude of sins.”

TB

Listen

I was talking to someone today who had retaliated against someone who transgressed against them. My first reaction was to tell them that while I understood where they were coming from, they were wrong in how they handled the situation. But after I got off the phone, I realized I missed the bigger picture.

Understand

I realized that person is generally a God-fearing and good-natured person. It’s not typical of their character to do something malicious. Then I thought about what that person had to experience in order for them to behave that way. Friends we must understand when people lash out or behave in troubling ways. There is usually a great deal of hurt attached.

Love

I quickly called them back and apologized for my rebuke. Instead, I acknowledged their struggle offered compassionate and understanding to why they reacted so poorly. By meeting them in their need instead of condemning them, we were able to get to the heart of the matter so that they could heal from the experience and move on.

United

Why is it that when people make mistakes we react harshly? I can tell you from experience, that when I go before God and confess my sins, His response is always in love, kindness, and compassion. Surely He out of everyone has the right to strike me down because of my shortcomings. Instead, like a Father comforting a daughter who’s fallen off her bike, God’s forgiveness is merciful and encouraging.

Cover

Love covers a multitude of sins. When we forgive others as God forgives us, we give them the space and grace they need to heal. God doesn’t beat us down when we’re broken. To that same effect, we cannot do so to our brothers and sisters. I know from experience the hardship and heartache that occurs when people that you love are only able to see you for your mistakes. Instead, let’s practice the Christ-like love so that we can help one another heal and grow from our sins.

Today’s Question

Are you offering Christ-like love or strong legalistic rebukes?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 6

1 Again a message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, turn and face the mountains of Israel and prophesy against them. 3 Proclaim this message from the Sovereign LORD against the mountains of Israel. This is what the Sovereign LORD says to the mountains and hills and to the ravines and valleys: I am about to bring war upon you, and I will smash your pagan shrines. 4 All your altars will be demolished, and your places of worship will be destroyed. I will kill your people in front of your idols. 5 I will lay your corpses in front of your idols and scatter your bones around your altars. 6 Wherever you live there will be desolation, and I will destroy your pagan shrines. Your altars will be demolished, your idols will be smashed, your places of worship will be torn down, and all the religious objects you have made will be destroyed. 7 The place will be littered with corpses, and you will know that I alone am the LORD . 8 “But I will let a few of my people escape destruction, and they will be scattered among the nations of the world. 9 Then when they are exiled among the nations, they will remember me. They will recognize how hurt I am by their unfaithful hearts and lustful eyes that long for their idols. Then at last they will hate themselves for all their detestable sins. 10 They will know that I alone am the LORD and that I was serious when I said I would bring this calamity on them. 11 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Clap your hands in horror, and stamp your feet. Cry out because of all the detestable sins the people of Israel have committed. Now they are going to die from war and famine and disease. 12 Disease will strike down those who are far away in exile. War will destroy those who are nearby. And anyone who survives will be killed by famine. So at last I will spend my fury on them. 13 They will know that I am the LORD when their dead lie scattered among their idols and altars on every hill and mountain and under every green tree and every great shade tree—the places where they offered sacrifices to their idols. 14 I will crush them and make their cities desolate from the wilderness in the south to Riblah in the north. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”

Contingent

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If your faith and peace is contingent on anything else but God, you’re building on quicksand.”

TB

Chaos

Life can seem chaotic when we build our understanding based on our own perspectives. People, places, and things change in every season. Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes it’s hard. Wise people teach. Wise people fail. Good people make bad choices. Houses are built. Houses fall down. So if we put our faith in those things alone, be prepared to live a roller coaster life. We cannot expect peace only when the world feels nice. No, peace comes from a greater relationship– the one you build with God.

Calm

I think many of us at time naively believe that walking with Christ means a perfect existence. Many of us give up our walks because we look at trials as a sign that God isn’t there. But if you look a little closer, those trials reveal that He is indeed there! It’s important to get to know God in all seasons and aspects of your life. When you talk to Him everyday and in every way, you realize that all things work according to him. So don’t limit the easy peasy days to God’s handiwork. He’s with you in the tough stuff too. In order to see that, you must forego the contingencies and cling to Him in all things. When you build your foundation with God, you can trust that it will remain forever.

Today’s Question

Is your peace contingent on your circumstance?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 3

1 The voice said to me, “Son of man, eat what I am giving you—eat this scroll! Then go and give its message to the people of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and he fed me the scroll. 3 “Fill your stomach with this,” he said. And when I ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. 4 Then he said, “Son of man, go to the people of Israel and give them my messages. 5 I am not sending you to a foreign people whose language you cannot understand. 6 No, I am not sending you to people with strange and difficult speech. If I did, they would listen! 7 But the people of Israel won’t listen to you any more than they listen to me! For the whole lot of them are hard-hearted and stubborn. 8 But look, I have made you as obstinate and hard-hearted as they are. 9 I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don’t be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels.” 10 Then he added, “Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. 11 Then go to your people in exile and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says!’ Do this whether they listen to you or not.” 12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard a loud rumbling sound behind me. (May the glory of the LORD be praised in his place!) 13 It was the sound of the wings of the living beings as they brushed against each other and the rumbling of their wheels beneath them. 14 The Spirit lifted me up and took me away. I went in bitterness and turmoil, but the LORD ’s hold on me was strong. 15 Then I came to the colony of Judean exiles in Tel-abib, beside the Kebar River. I was overwhelmed and sat among them for seven days. 16 After seven days the LORD gave me a message. He said, 17 “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. 18 If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 19 If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me. 20 “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 21 But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.” 22 Then the LORD took hold of me and said, “Get up and go out into the valley, and I will speak to you there.” 23 So I got up and went, and there I saw the glory of the LORD, just as I had seen in my first vision by the Kebar River. And I fell face down on the ground. 24 Then the Spirit came into me and set me on my feet. He spoke to me and said, “Go to your house and shut yourself in. 25 There, son of man, you will be tied with ropes so you cannot go out among the people. 26 And I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be speechless and unable to rebuke them, for they are rebels. 27 But when I give you a message, I will loosen your tongue and let you speak. Then you will say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says!’ Those who choose to listen will listen, but those who refuse will refuse, for they are rebels.

Action Jackson

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Be quick to handle assignments that God has given you.”

TB

On High

Notice the plans, dreams, and goals that God places in your heart. Often time they seem wildly progressive and beyond our scope of the imagination. But, if the Bible is any indication that what God’s desire for us is great, we should be quick to listen, accept, and obey the directives, jumping into action with what He’s planned for us. While it’s important to confirm that our steps are aligned with His plan, there’s only so much research one can do before we must get to work.

Wild Ride

Get ready for the incredible journey that is leading a Christ-filled life. Compared to the lies and handcuffs of the natural world, God’s plan seems perplexing and impossible. But friends, ask yourself this, why is it so easy to accept a life of bondage and enslavement? Surely God does not want His people to be at the mercy of people, places, or things. In order to step into the ways of Christ, we first must reject the corrupt and evil practices set in place. To do that successfully, we must quickly and faithfully jump into action, working on the mission that God has assigned you. One step at a time, you will find that His way makes way more sense than the foolish plans of man.

Today’s Question

Are you fulfilling your assignment?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 47

1 This is the LORD ’s message to the prophet Jeremiah concerning the Philistines of Gaza, before it was captured by the Egyptian army. 2 This is what the LORD says: “A flood is coming from the north to overflow the land. It will destroy the land and everything in it— cities and people alike. People will scream in terror, and everyone in the land will wail. 3 Hear the clatter of stallions’ hooves and the rumble of wheels as the chariots rush by. Terrified fathers run madly, without a backward glance at their helpless children. 4 “The time has come for the Philistines to be destroyed, along with their allies from Tyre and Sidon. Yes, the LORD is destroying the remnant of the Philistines, those colonists from the island of Crete. 5 Gaza will be humiliated, its head shaved bald; Ashkelon will lie silent. You remnant from the Mediterranean coast, how long will you cut yourselves in mourning? 6 “Now, O sword of the LORD, when will you be at rest again? Go back into your sheath; rest and be still. 7 “But how can it be still when the LORD has sent it on a mission? For the city of Ashkelon and the people living along the sea must be destroyed.”

Just Mercy

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“There is nothing more loving, merciful, and just than a person who is willing to tell you God’s honest truth.”~TB

Humble Pie

I once had a client who was dangling a promising contract over my head, but instead of honoring it, they would tease out assignments. They paid well and on time, but the deal was exploitative and I hated it. I called my mom and dad to talk about it. Furious about the change in terms I vowed to drop the client. My mother calmly and gently brought up the point that I was not in the position to drop clients. I had financial responsibilities and did not have the extra resources to be choosey about who I worked with. It was a tough thing to hear. My ego was not happy to ingest this news, but I am so grateful and thankful that she had enough love and mercy to tell me the Truth rather than stoking the fire to my already outrageous ego. More to the point, it empowered me to work harder so that I would not have to be in that position again. Thanks, Mom!

Loving Honestly

Friends, we have to drop our egos if we want a chance to know our Father in Heaven. This means listening to wise counsel, being brave enough to speak the Truth no matter the consequence, and being merciful when giving a hard word. We are called the Body of Christ, which means we’re in this together! If someone has broccoli in their teeth, tell them! If your brother is walking into a fire pit, shout to let him know. We’ve tricked ourselves into believing that honesty is mean. But I ask you this, what is meaner: telling someone their behavior is detrimental or letting them self-destruct in ignorance? It’s not nice to prolong someone’s suffering because you don’t want to be inconvenienced by speaking the truth. God blesses the merciful and friends, honesty– in the right context– is merciful. So let’s hold each other to righteous and just mercy so that we help each other when we stumble rather than become onlookers to the fallen.

Today’s Question

Are you practicing just mercy or are you just standing by watching?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 25

1 This message for all the people of Judah came to Jeremiah from the LORD during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign over Judah. This was the year when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon began his reign. 
2 Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people in Judah and Jerusalem, 
3 “For the past twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until now—the LORD has been giving me his messages. I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened. 
4 “Again and again the LORD has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention. 
5 Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the LORD gave to you and your ancestors forever. 
6 Do not provoke my anger by worshiping idols you made with your own hands. Then I will not harm you.’ 
7 “But you would not listen to me,” says the LORD . “You made me furious by worshiping idols you made with your own hands, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer. 
8 And now the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Because you have not listened to me, 
9 I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy. I will bring them all against this land and its people and against the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy you and make you an object of horror and contempt and a ruin forever. 
10 I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your millstones will fall silent, and the lights in your homes will go out. 
11 This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. 
12 “Then, after the seventy years of captivity are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his people for their sins,” says the LORD . “I will make the country of the Babylonians a wasteland forever. 
13 I will bring upon them all the terrors I have promised in this book—all the penalties announced by Jeremiah against the nations. 
14 Many nations and great kings will enslave the Babylonians, just as they enslaved my people. I will punish them in proportion to the suffering they cause my people.” 
15 This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it. 
16 When they drink from it, they will stagger, crazed by the warfare I will send against them.” 
17 So I took the cup of anger from the LORD and made all the nations drink from it—every nation to which the LORD sent me. 
18 I went to Jerusalem and the other towns of Judah, and their kings and officials drank from the cup. From that day until this, they have been a desolate ruin, an object of horror, contempt, and cursing. 
19 I gave the cup to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials, and all his people, 
20 along with all the foreigners living in that land. I also gave it to all the kings of the land of Uz and the kings of the Philistine cities of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and what remains of Ashdod. 
21 Then I gave the cup to the nations of Edom, Moab, and Ammon, 
22 and the kings of Tyre and Sidon, and the kings of the regions across the sea. 
23 I gave it to Dedan, Tema, and Buz, and to the people who live in distant places. 
24 I gave it to the kings of Arabia, the kings of the nomadic tribes of the desert, 
25 and to the kings of Zimri, Elam, and Media. 
26 And I gave it to the kings of the northern countries, far and near, one after the other—all the kingdoms of the world. And finally, the king of Babylon himself drank from the cup of the LORD ’s anger. 
27 Then the LORD said to me, “Now tell them, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Drink from this cup of my anger. Get drunk and vomit; fall to rise no more, for I am sending terrible wars against you.’ 
28 And if they refuse to accept the cup, tell them, ‘The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: You have no choice but to drink from it. 
29 I have begun to punish Jerusalem, the city that bears my name. Now should I let you go unpunished? No, you will not escape disaster. I will call for war against all the nations of the earth. I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!’ 
30 “Now prophesy all these things, and say to them, “‘The LORD will roar against his own land from his holy dwelling in heaven. He will shout like those who tread grapes; he will shout against everyone on earth. 
31 His cry of judgment will reach the ends of the earth, for the LORD will bring his case against all the nations. He will judge all the people of the earth, slaughtering the wicked with the sword. I, the LORD, have spoken!’” 
32 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “Look! Disaster will fall upon nation after nation! A great whirlwind of fury is rising from the most distant corners of the earth!” 
33 In that day those the LORD has slaughtered will fill the earth from one end to the other. No one will mourn for them or gather up their bodies to bury them. They will be scattered on the ground like manure. 
34 Weep and moan, you evil shepherds! Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock! The time of your slaughter has arrived; you will fall and shatter like a fragile vase. 
35 You will find no place to hide; there will be no way to escape. 
36 Listen to the frantic cries of the shepherds. The leaders of the flock are wailing in despair, for the LORD is ruining their pastures. 
37 Peaceful meadows will be turned into a wasteland by the LORD ’s fierce anger. 
38 He has left his den like a strong lion seeking its prey, and their land will be made desolate by the sword of the enemy and the LORD ’s fierce anger.

Resources

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Resources are meant to be used to grow with Christ, not to replace Him.”~TB

Just Stuff

A major balancing act in the Christian walk is utilizing and appreciating the resources that God gives us without allowing them to take on a god-like persona. If we’re honest, I’m sure we all have had moments where we want God’s ‘stuff’ more than we want Him. I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s a tough pill to swallow because the truth of the matter, money, cars, fame, notoriety are really just stuff. More to the point, wanting stuff more than we want God is quite sad and a major indictment on what we value as a collective. As someone who has experience with first-world niceties, I can say for certain, the best manmade things do not hold a candle to being in the presence of the Lord.

Remain in Him

These days, everything I have is a resource to remain in Christ. My money, time, love, etc. are poured into building my relationships with my family, spending time with God, sharing His Truth with others, and things of the like. That’s not to say I’m perfect, oh, I’m far from it. Over time, I’ve come to learn to hang out with God more, glean His insights, which helps me to make better decisions.  He has shown and taught me how wonderful it is to walk with Him and the resources He gives me are to grow stronger in Him. Friends, we have to evaluate how we look at things. Most of the time, we want ‘stuff’ just to impress others. The things of this world are temporary. We cannot take them with us when we go. But, the relationship we forge with Christ is everlasting, so enjoy the resources, but make sure they point back to Him.

Today’s Question

Do you want God’s resources or God Himself?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 22

1 This is what the LORD said to me: “Go over and speak directly to the king of Judah. Say to him, 
2 ‘Listen to this message from the LORD, you king of Judah, sitting on David’s throne. Let your attendants and your people listen, too. 
3 This is what the LORD says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent! 
4 If you obey me, there will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. The king will ride through the palace gates in chariots and on horses, with his parade of attendants and subjects. 
5 But if you refuse to pay attention to this warning, I swear by my own name, says the LORD, that this palace will become a pile of rubble.’” 
6 Now this is what the LORD says concerning Judah’s royal palace: “I love you as much as fruitful Gilead and the green forests of Lebanon. But I will turn you into a desert, with no one living within your walls. 
7 I will call for wreckers, who will bring out their tools to dismantle you. They will tear out all your fine cedar beams and throw them on the fire. 
8 “People from many nations will pass by the ruins of this city and say to one another, ‘Why did the LORD destroy such a great city?’ 
9 And the answer will be, ‘Because they violated their covenant with the LORD their God by worshiping other gods.’” 
10 Do not weep for the dead king or mourn his loss. Instead, weep for the captive king being led away! For he will never return to see his native land again. 
11 For this is what the LORD says about Jehoahaz, who succeeded his father, King Josiah, and was taken away as a captive: “He will never return. 
12 He will die in a distant land and will never again see his own country.” 
13 And the LORD says, “What sorrow awaits Jehoiakim, who builds his palace with forced labor. He builds injustice into its walls, for he makes his neighbors work for nothing. He does not pay them for their labor. 
14 He says, ‘I will build a magnificent palace with huge rooms and many windows. I will panel it throughout with fragrant cedar and paint it a lovely red.’ 
15 But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. 
16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the LORD . 
17 “But you! You have eyes only for greed and dishonesty! You murder the innocent, oppress the poor, and reign ruthlessly.” 
18 Therefore, this is what the LORD says about Jehoiakim, son of King Josiah: “The people will not mourn for him, crying to one another, ‘Alas, my brother! Alas, my sister!’ His subjects will not mourn for him, crying, ‘Alas, our master is dead! Alas, his splendor is gone!’ 
19 He will be buried like a dead donkey— dragged out of Jerusalem and dumped outside the gates! 
20 Weep for your allies in Lebanon. Shout for them in Bashan. Search for them in the regions east of the river. See, they are all destroyed. Not one is left to help you. 
21 I warned you when you were prosperous, but you replied, ‘Don’t bother me.’ You have been that way since childhood— you simply will not obey me! 
22 And now the wind will blow away your allies. All your friends will be taken away as captives. Surely then you will see your wickedness and be ashamed. 
23 It may be nice to live in a beautiful palace paneled with wood from the cedars of Lebanon, but soon you will groan with pangs of anguish— anguish like that of a woman in labor. 
24 “As surely as I live,” says the LORD, “I will abandon you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. Even if you were the signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off. 
25 I will hand you over to those who seek to kill you, those you so desperately fear—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the mighty Babylonian army. 
26 I will expel you and your mother from this land, and you will die in a foreign country, not in your native land. 
27 You will never again return to the land you yearn for. 
28 “Why is this man Jehoiachin like a discarded, broken jar? Why are he and his children to be exiled to a foreign land? 
29 O earth, earth, earth! Listen to this message from the LORD ! 
30 This is what the LORD says: ‘Let the record show that this man Jehoiachin was childless. He is a failure, for none of his children will succeed him on the throne of David to rule over Judah.’

Valid

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“The salvation of Christ is the only thing that makes us valid.”~TB

Invalid

Consulting self-help gurus, thought leaders, influencers, and peers who tout a false reality of what a valid life experience looks like has become standard practice. Thanks to our lookie-loo mentalities, there is an invalid acceptance that people crave that ultimately has nothing to do with Who made us and how we actually work. External and physical validity is superficial at best and downright depressing at worst. Because once you’ve achieved your targeted status in the world, one realizes that it actually does not fill the void you are looking to complete.

Valid

A connection with Christ is the only real antidote in this strange world. Knowing God on a deeper, everyday level brings a sense of true peace, contentment, and understanding that is second to none. With this, you stop looking to the outside and seek the internal answers that only He can give. When you build that relationship, you understand the sacrifice of salvation and the authenticity of the one who paid that price. It brings a wholeness knowing that you are loved and valid based on that act alone and

Today’s Question

Do you prefer the fool’s gold of public opinion to the priceless validity of Christ?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 10

1 Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O Israel! 
2 This is what the LORD says: “Do not act like the other nations, who try to read their future in the stars. Do not be afraid of their predictions, even though other nations are terrified by them. 
3 Their ways are futile and foolish. They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol. 
4 They decorate it with gold and silver and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails so it won’t fall over. 
5 Their gods are like helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field! They cannot speak, and they need to be carried because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of such gods, for they can neither harm you nor do you any good.” 
6 LORD, there is no one like you! For you are great, and your name is full of power. 
7 Who would not fear you, O King of nations? That title belongs to you alone! Among all the wise people of the earth and in all the kingdoms of the world, there is no one like you. 
8 People who worship idols are stupid and foolish. The things they worship are made of wood! 
9 They bring beaten sheets of silver from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz, and they give these materials to skillful craftsmen who make their idols. Then they dress these gods in royal blue and purple robes made by expert tailors. 
10 But the LORD is the only true God. He is the living God and the everlasting King! The whole earth trembles at his anger. The nations cannot stand up to his wrath. 
11 Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens.” 
12 But the LORD made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens. 
13 When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses. 
14 The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge! The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make, for their carefully shaped works are a fraud. These idols have no breath or power. 
15 Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed. 
16 But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including Israel, his own special possession. The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name! 
17 Pack your bags and prepare to leave; the siege is about to begin. 
18 For this is what the LORD says: “Suddenly, I will fling out all you who live in this land. I will pour great troubles upon you, and at last you will feel my anger.” 
19 My wound is severe, and my grief is great. My sickness is incurable, but I must bear it. 
20 My home is gone, and no one is left to help me rebuild it. My children have been taken away, and I will never see them again. 
21 The shepherds of my people have lost their senses. They no longer seek wisdom from the LORD . Therefore, they fail completely, and their flocks are scattered. 
22 Listen! Hear the terrifying roar of great armies as they roll down from the north. The towns of Judah will be destroyed and become a haunt for jackals. 
23 I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. 
24 So correct me, LORD, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die. 
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you— on the peoples that do not call upon your name. For they have devoured your people Israel ; they have devoured and consumed them, making the land a desolate wilderness.

Rebrand

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When you forgive others as God forgives you, you are essentially giving each other a rebrand, cleaning the slate as God does for all of His Kids.”~TB

Vulnerable

A dog shows its belly– the most vulnerable part of its body– to those it trusts. But if said trusted individual kicks the dog in the belly, that dog will be sure not to show weakness to that person again. We as people tend to have that mindset when dealing with each other. Forgiveness is difficult because at the root of it exists pain and mistrust. Our thought process is: “how can I trust that person if they’ve hurt me?”. And to be completely honest, it’s tough. While I try to quickly forgive and turn the other cheek, I too have to reconcile the pain and mistrust that happens when those close to us let us down in one way or the other. That’s where God steps in– if you ask and allow Him to.

Give It Up

The pain and sorrow of transgressions are not for us to hold on to. In fact, we are supposed to give those things to God, because we lack the ability to process those things in a Christ-like manner on our own. When you give the transgressions and burdens to our Father in Heaven, He makes a way in us to love and extend forgiveness to our brothers and sisters. This is because He forgives us so freely and willingly each and every time, when you experience that kind of mercy, it becomes easier to share it with those around you. More to the point, when you practice honest, Biblical, forgiveness, not only do you allow the transgressor the ability to change, but so do you.

Anew

Have you ever been looked at as the person you once were rather than the person you are? It’s not fun carrying an outdated interpretation of your past, no matter how far you’ve come to make amends. It’s tough to change and grow when we all hold each other to the less than stellar moments in our lives. Trust me, we all have those moments. But to keep each other in those chains, it stagnates growth and community. That’s what happens when we do not forgive each other. Instead, give people space and grace to grow and be who God made them to be. By wiping the slate clean the act of forgiveness is a mutual endeavor that gives not only the parties involved the chance to start again, but those who are watching can accurately see that person as they truly are too. I’ve seen firsthand what a rebranded person looks and behaves like when given the opportunity. I hope that we all can tap into the Holy Spirit to grant each other that chance to rebrand and change too,

Today’s Question

Are you giving space and grace to allow your brothers and sisters to rebrand; or are you stagnating the healing process?

 

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 9

1 If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered. 
2 Oh, that I could go away and forget my people and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert. For they are all adulterers— a pack of treacherous liars. 
3 “My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. They only go from bad to worse. They do not know me,” says the LORD . 
4 “Beware of your neighbor! Don’t even trust your brother! For brother takes advantage of brother, and friend slanders friend. 
5 They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning. 
6 They pile lie upon lie and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,” says the LORD . 
7 Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “See, I will melt them down in a crucible and test them like metal. What else can I do with my people? 
8 For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows. They speak friendly words to their neighbors while scheming in their heart to kill them. 
9 Should I not punish them for this?” says the LORD . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?” 
10 I will weep for the mountains and wail for the wilderness pastures. For they are desolate and empty of life; the lowing of cattle is heard no more; the birds and wild animals have all fled. 
11 “I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,” says the LORD . “It will be a place haunted by jackals. The towns of Judah will be ghost towns, with no one living in them.” 
12 Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the LORD and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it? 
13 The LORD replies, “This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said. 
14 Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them. 
15 So now, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. 
16 I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.” 
17 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “Consider all this, and call for the mourners. Send for the women who mourn at funerals. 
18 Quick! Begin your weeping! Let the tears flow from your eyes. 
19 Hear the people of Jerusalem crying in despair, ‘We are ruined! We are completely humiliated! We must leave our land, because our homes have been torn down.’” 
20 Listen, you women, to the words of the LORD ; open your ears to what he has to say. Teach your daughters to wail; teach one another how to lament. 
21 For death has crept in through our windows and has entered our mansions. It has killed off the flower of our youth: Children no longer play in the streets, and young men no longer gather in the squares. 
22 This is what the LORD says: “Bodies will be scattered across the fields like clumps of manure, like bundles of grain after the harvest. No one will be left to bury them.” 
23 This is what the LORD says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. 
24 But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
25 “A time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit— 
26 the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places, and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”

Avoid

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Do not avoid uncomfortable situations or moments. Instead, walk boldly in the truth that God is with you in all things.”~TB

Unpleasant

The world teaches us to avoid unpleasant experiences. Human logic dictates that if the moment induces discomfort, it must be a bad thing, therefore we remove the “yucky stuff” from our lives. What an amazingly ironic and counterproductive paradigm! The problem with that ideology is that it eliminates the most vital and necessary aspect of our spiritual growth. Through the unpleasant times, we get to grow closer and know God in a more personal and one-on-one manner. In fact, it’s those uncomfortable and painful moments where we grow the most. That is if we take them as they are and not as we perceive them to be.

Kiln

When I was a kid in elementary school, we’d have the opportunity to participate in an art class. Some of the projects included working with clay, making different sorts of things. I loved it. Being able to mold and shape things– essentially making something out of nothing– is something I love. My favorite part was seeing my work after it was fired in the kiln. For those that don’t know, a kiln is a heating chamber that transforms materials in high temperatures. When the clay is heated properly, it is then ready to be turned into a vessel. If you’ve ever worked clay, you’ve seen firsthand how a slippery and malleable substance is transformed into a sturdy and utilitarian product. God is the Kiln to our clay.

Good Burn

In order to be the vessel that God has called you to be, you must learn to reexamine your mind about the kiln process. Trials and tribulations are the firey elements that shore up your vessel. Without them, you remain mushy and unsustainable. When you avoid the molding and kiln of God, your ability to rise to the calling on your life is impossible. Don’t avoid the process,  but trust that all things in your life are used to strengthen your relationship with God. Let the Bible mold you and your time with God be the fire that hardens the clay. In doing so, we see as God intended us to see. When that happens, we walk in the way that God called us to.

Today’s Question

Are you going through the kiln or do you want to remain mushy and broken?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 8

1 “In that day,” says the LORD, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. 
2 They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. 
3 And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken! 
4 “Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again? When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back? 
5 Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path? Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back? They cling tightly to their lies and will not turn around. 
6 I listen to their conversations and don’t hear a word of truth. Is anyone sorry for doing wrong? Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”? No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle! 
7 Even the stork that flies across the sky knows the time of her migration, as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane. They all return at the proper time each year. But not my people! They do not know the LORD ’s laws. 
8 “‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the LORD,” when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies? 
9 These wise teachers will fall into the trap of their own foolishness, for they have rejected the word of the LORD . Are they so wise after all? 
10 I will give their wives to others and their farms to strangers. From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that. They are all frauds. 
11 They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace. 
12 Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them, says the LORD . 
13 I will surely consume them. There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes. Their fruit trees will all die. Whatever I gave them will soon be gone. I, the LORD, have spoken!’ 
14 “Then the people will say, ‘Why should we wait here to die? Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there. For the LORD our God has decreed our destruction and has given us a cup of poison to drink because we sinned against the LORD . 
15 We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’ 
16 “The snorting of the enemies’ warhorses can be heard all the way from the land of Dan in the north! The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble. They are coming to devour the land and everything in it— cities and people alike. 
17 I will send these enemy troops among you like poisonous snakes you cannot charm. They will bite you, and you will die. I, the LORD, have spoken!” 
18 My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken. 
19 Listen to the weeping of my people; it can be heard all across the land. “Has the LORD abandoned Jerusalem? ” the people ask. “Is her King no longer there?” “Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols and their worthless foreign gods?” says the LORD . 
20 “The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!” 
21 I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief. 
22 Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?

Self-Reliance

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Don’t be fooled by the guise of self-reliance because only God can allow our seeds to grow.”~TB

Self-Made

In the eyes of man, we applaud the idea that we can achieve anything based on our own merit. With our two hands, grit, and determination, we have everything we need. To the world, success happens by yourself on your own accord. Friends, while we have to play an active role in our lives, the belief that we don’t need anyone or anything is a fallacy. It conveniently leaves out our Maker and how His hand dictates the events that play out in our lives.

God-Made

When you know who actually runs the show, you recognize how needy and dependent you actually are. In life, we need Christ to show us the way, to approve of our plans so that we build our lives on the firm foundation of God. Being and believing that you are indeed God-Made allows you to receive His instructions. It also encourages you to engage with the Body of Christ– the people around you– as you know it takes a village to succeed. So rather than relying on your flesh, rely on the One who first called you His so you can truly see what you are made of.

Today’s Question

When the time comes to give your account, who do you want to vouch for you; yourself or Christ?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 7

1 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 
2 “Go to the entrance of the LORD ’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the LORD ! Listen to it, all of you who worship here! 
3 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. 
4 But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the LORD ’s Temple is here. They chant, “The LORD ’s Temple is here! The LORD ’s Temple is here!” 
5 But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; 
6 only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. 
7 Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever. 
8 “‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! 
9 Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 
10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? 
11 Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
12 “‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. 
13 While you were doing these wicked things, says the LORD, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. 
14 So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. 
15 And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel. ’ 
16 “Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. 
17 Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 
18 No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods! 
19 Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the LORD . “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.” 
20 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.” 
21 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! 
22 When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. 
23 This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’ 
24 “But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. 
25 From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. 
26 But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors. 
27 “Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. 
28 Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the LORD their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. 
29 Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the LORD has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’ 
30 “The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the LORD . “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it. 
31 They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! 
32 So beware, for the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them. 
33 The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away. 
34 I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.

Pleasant

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“The truth is pleasant when you hear and do the honest work of faith, because everyone can see it, hear it, and enjoy the clean, fresh look of progress and the steps God gives you to cross the finish line.”  ~  Jon Barnes

Capable

We are all capable of doing great things with the talent and skillsets that we have. Be the first to see a problem, providing a personal solution, before someone asks you for help. Don’t be a stumbling block for someone else by being mean. Give solutions and allow people to fix their own problems and copy good behavior.

Level

You don’t need to copyright or patent everything in your life, as if you are trying to gain all of the gold in the world.  Your level of greed will consume you and prevent you from achieving the real path of justice and truth in God. Don’t burn the bridge so that no one else can cross it after you. Be happy at each level you find yourself stepping into with God to bridge the gap.

Silly

It is silly to think that your steps are random, but they are ordered by God since you are His child. Keep walking the right path. Take every opportunity to learn from your mistakes by correcting them to move to the next level of love.  Clean up your own workspace and stop waiting for others to do the job for you.
Today’s Question
Did you notice how people will become inspired to clean up as you clean up all around you and if they don’t, are you praying for them?

 

John 17 

The Prayer of Jesus

17 After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. 4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.
6 “I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, 8 for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.
9 “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. 12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.
13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.
20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!
25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”