Coping Mechanisms

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Your situation may not progress–not because of God– but because you haven’t changed your reaction to your trials.”~TB

Patterned Behavior

In order for us to change and grow closer to God in our walks, we must understand our behavior and the patterns we take when we deal with trials and tribulations. We all develop ways of coping through tough times. But when we look at how we respond to them, it’s more telling than the sinful behavior we participate in. The sin is a symptom of the fact that we chose to follow our flesh for comfort rather than relying on the comfort of God.

Examine

Because we are predictable, if we examine our actions, we can begin to develop new behaviors. Once you understand the underlying behavior of your actions, it’s time to repent and ask God for directions to properly pass your test. Rather than diving into anger, addiction, or any other flesh-driven alternative, you can learn to be still and choose to follow the teachings of Christ instead of the path of destruction.

Today’s Question

Are you a slave to destructive behavior because you haven’t asked God for help?

Enjoy the reading

Malachi 1

1 This is the message that the LORD gave to Israel through the prophet Malachi. 2 “I have always loved you,” says the LORD . But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?” And the LORD replies, “This is how I showed my love for you: I loved your ancestor Jacob, 3 but I rejected his brother, Esau, and devastated his hill country. I turned Esau’s inheritance into a desert for jackals.” 4 Esau’s descendants in Edom may say, “We have been shattered, but we will rebuild the ruins.” But the LORD of Heaven’s Armies replies, “They may try to rebuild, but I will demolish them again. Their country will be known as ‘The Land of Wickedness,’ and their people will be called ‘The People with Whom the LORD Is Forever Angry.’ 5 When you see the destruction for yourselves, you will say, ‘Truly, the LORD ’s greatness reaches far beyond Israel’s borders!’” 6 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name! “But you ask, ‘How have we ever shown contempt for your name?’ 7 “You have shown contempt by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar. “Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices? ’ “You defile them by saying the altar of the LORD deserves no respect. 8 When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 9 “Go ahead, beg God to be merciful to you! But when you bring that kind of offering, why should he show you any favor at all?” asks the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 10 “How I wish one of you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and I will not accept your offerings. 11 But my name is honored by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name is great among the nations,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing contemptible food, you are saying it’s all right to defile the Lord’s table. 13 You say, ‘It’s too hard to serve the LORD,’ and you turn up your noses at my commands,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Think of it! Animals that are stolen and crippled and sick are being presented as offerings! Should I accept from you such offerings as these?” asks the LORD . 14 “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!

Thorn

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Don’t let the thorn in your side rule you, instead allow it to bring glory to the fact that you desperately need God.”

TB

Everyone

As human beings, there will be things we continually struggle with. What I mean by that is we all have certain pitfalls and snares that trip us up. The apostle Paul had a thorn, I have a thorn, you have a thorn, we all have a thorn in our side that nags at us. Each and every day, we must dictate how much of an annoyance that thorn is going to be. Can we remove it? No. But the truth of the matter is that thorn highlights why God is so necessary for our lives.

Distinction

We all know that God created us and the world we encompass. He also gave us free will. So it goes without saying that we’ve all used that free will to do something dumb because we are motivated by flesh-driven desires. This could be pride, lust, contempt, unbridled rivalry, anger, jealousy, simply put, it looks different from person-to-person, but the root remains the same. The point is, by recognizing and honoring the distinct authority that God has in and over our lives, we can look as those thorns rise above their existence to honor God and His sovereignty.

Today’s Question

Are you giving the thorn in your side more attention than you’re giving God?

Enjoy the reading

Zechariah 13

1 “On that day a fountain will be opened for the dynasty of David and for the people of Jerusalem, a fountain to cleanse them from all their sins and impurity. 2 “And on that day,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will erase idol worship throughout the land, so that even the names of the idols will be forgotten. I will remove from the land both the false prophets and the spirit of impurity that came with them. 3 If anyone continues to prophesy, his own father and mother will tell him, ‘You must die, for you have prophesied lies in the name of the LORD .’ And as he prophesies, his own father and mother will stab him. 4 “On that day people will be ashamed to claim the prophetic gift. No one will pretend to be a prophet by wearing prophet’s clothes. 5 He will say, ‘I’m no prophet; I’m a farmer. I began working for a farmer as a boy.’ 6 And if someone asks, ‘Then what about those wounds on your chest? ’ he will say, ‘I was wounded at my friends’ house!’ 7 “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, the man who is my partner,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Strike down the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn against the lambs. 8 Two-thirds of the people in the land will be cut off and die,” says the LORD . “But one-third will be left in the land. 9 I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’”

Decoy

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Study and know the Word so that decoys become obvious.”

TB

Fixate

It’s easy to become fixated on the things outside of our control—unruly coworkers, disconnected spouses, competitive siblings, and so on. There is so much for you and me to become obsessed with, and eventually, those obsessions become problems that weren’t actually problems to begin with! So, why does this happen? We lost sight of the truth and grabbed onto the decoy.

Participation

The decoy only works if we participate. When you engage in a throwaway comment from someone rather than ignoring it, you’ve picked up the decoy. When you reply to an inappropriate message that obstructs your marriage vows, you’ve picked up the decoy. When you’re seeking out images and substances you know you need to put down, you’ve picked up the decoy. Friends, we’ve all fallen for the deceptive decoy, but the great news is that we have God on our side. So, the next time you’re tempted to pick up the decoy, pick up the Word and tune into God instead.

Today’s Question

What decoy are you not leaving alone?

Enjoy the reading

Zechariah 11

1 Open your doors, Lebanon, so that fire may devour your cedar forests. 2 Weep, you cypress trees, for all the ruined cedars; the most majestic ones have fallen. Weep, you oaks of Bashan, for the thick forests have been cut down. 3 Listen to the wailing of the shepherds, for their rich pastures are destroyed. Hear the young lions roaring, for their thickets in the Jordan Valley are ruined. 4 This is what the LORD my God says: “Go and care for the flock that is intended for slaughter. 5 The buyers slaughter their sheep without remorse. The sellers say, ‘Praise the LORD ! Now I’m rich!’ Even the shepherds have no compassion for them. 6 Likewise, I will no longer have pity on the people of the land,” says the LORD . “I will let them fall into each other’s hands and into the hands of their king. They will turn the land into a wilderness, and I will not rescue them.” 7 So I cared for the flock intended for slaughter—the flock that was oppressed. Then I took two shepherd’s staffs and named one Favor and the other Union. 8 I got rid of their three evil shepherds in a single month. But I became impatient with these sheep, and they hated me, too. 9 So I told them, “I won’t be your shepherd any longer. If you die, you die. If you are killed, you are killed. And let those who remain devour each other!” 10 Then I took my staff called Favor and cut it in two, showing that I had revoked the covenant I had made with all the nations. 11 That was the end of my covenant with them. The suffering flock was watching me, and they knew that the LORD was speaking through my actions. 12 And I said to them, “If you like, give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.” So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter ”—this magnificent sum at which they valued me! So I took the thirty coins and threw them to the potter in the Temple of the LORD . 14 Then I took my other staff, Union, and cut it in two, showing that the bond of unity between Judah and Israel was broken. 15 Then the LORD said to me, “Go again and play the part of a worthless shepherd. 16 This illustrates how I will give this nation a shepherd who will not care for those who are dying, nor look after the young, nor heal the injured, nor feed the healthy. Instead, this shepherd will eat the meat of the fattest sheep and tear off their hooves. 17 “What sorrow awaits this worthless shepherd who abandons the flock! The sword will cut his arm and pierce his right eye. His arm will become useless, and his right eye completely blind.”

Provision

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Slow down and talk with God to see that ultimately it is He who provides for you.”

TB

Unsatiable

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.

Provider

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.

Today’s Question

Are going to avoid the One who can fill the void?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 29

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 .”

You need Him

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Stop looking to people, places, or things for things that only God can give you.”~TB

Origin

Every single sin– all the way back to the original sin– is rooted in one basic premise: trying to fill a need outside of God’s will. People look for love, comfort, possessions, revenge, etc. in all the wrong places! The world will tell you it’s ok to shack up with your partner. The devil and your untamed flesh will wholeheartedly agree! Your anger may encourage you to kill someone. Trust me, the opposition will egg you on and then taunt you when you are punished for your crime. Bottom line, nothing good comes from humans arrogantly operating outside God’s will. There are too many dumb outliers in the hands of man that will lead you astray.

Needy

Humans are very needy creatures. We need shelter, food, air, love, support, exercise, coffee (well, some of us), the list goes on and on. Like I said, we’re very needy! When you seek a relationship with God, you will find that in one way or another, He will provide these things for you. The problem is, you’re fighting the world, your flesh, and the devil, which can often temporarily blur the path. This is especially true if you are undisciplined in your walk with Christ. If you are ruled by these three things, you believe that man-made solutions will fulfill you. Friends, no person, place, or thing can give you what you need. In fact, chasing man-made solutions will continually leave you feeling empty. The temporary fix then becomes an addiction of sorts because you need more of it each time you run out. Stop trying to supply your own needs. Seek God first.

Teacher

God is the ultimate provider and if you let Him, He will fulfill every need and then some! God’s love and wisdom are graciously given to those who honestly seek Him. When you understand this fundamental truth, you can then clinically look at your behaviors, thoughts, and deeds. Take a step back and ask yourself, “why am I doing this?”, “does this align with God’s will?”, “Am I relying on my own flawed thinking to justify my sinful behavior?”. Then, ask God for the right answers. In one way another, He will teach you how to discipline and tame your flesh so that you learn to turn to Him in all aspects of your life. Through discipline, the vices and temptations you struggle with cannot enslave you because you know Who gives you what you need. Give all things to God and He will give you everything you need.

Today’s Question

Are you relying on God to fulfill your needs?

Proverbs 7

1 Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. 
2 Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes.
3 Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. 
4 Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family. 
5 Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman, from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman. 
6 While I was at the window of my house, looking through the curtain, 
7 I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense. 
8 He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house. 
9 It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell. 
10 The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart.
11 She was the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at home.
12 She is often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner. 
13She threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said, 
14 “I’ve just made my peace offerings and fulfilled my vows. 
15You’re the one I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are!
16 My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. 
17 I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning. Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses, 
19 for my husband is not home. He’s away on a long trip. 
20He has taken a wallet full of money with him and won’t return until later this month. ” 
21 So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. 
22 He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, 
23 awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life. 
24 So listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words. 
25 Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her. Don’t wander down her wayward path. 
26 For she has been the ruin of many; many men have been her victims. 
27 Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death.

The Edge

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“I prefer not to walk close to the edge of the cliff in life so that I may get back up from the unexpected winds that will blow your way.”  ~ Jon Barnes

The Pusher

Just like a drug dealer or some other evil business person, you can see and smell them coming but you cannot see the wind of activity that they are ready to use to push you over the edge.  The pusher means you harm in a friendly way at first until you are hooked on what they are pushing.  There are many types of pushers.

The Pimp

Slavery and prostitution are cousins of exploitation that use cheap labor, gambling, food, drugs, money, ignorance, and fear to administer the business plan of evil. Extreme capitalism of greed is the mother of this evil, with the devil being the father of lies that fuels the stories. Put your game face on and fight for your freedom in God.

The Storm

Many of us are too close to the edge of the cliff and when we stumble, we expect God to fly down like an eagle to rescue us all the time. We make no room for the storm of uncertainty, which blows in all directions at any given time. As a result, we tend to treat God like a pusher, pimp, or prostitute who is enslaved by our evil business plans. Twisted thinking is always on the edge of disaster, based on evil motives and intent.
Today’s Question
Are you certain that you are praying, fasting, reading, learning, following, and doing the Good Work with God?
Enjoy the reading

Philippians 2

Imitating Christ’s Humility

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Do Everything Without Grumbling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.

25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.

Love,

Jonathan