Ouch!

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Imagine how clearly we could hear God if we let the wounds of yesterday heal.”

TB

One Time

Think back to a time when something painful occurred in your life. It could be a cruel thing a peer or family member said. It could be a life event that changed your worldview. It could be a financial situation that altered how your perceived money. Whatever it is, think about it for a moment. Think about how it changed your view of the world, your view of yourself, and most importantly, your behavior. Now, think about how many times that moment (or several) actually happened over the course of your life. If you sum up the total painful moments and measured them against the years of your life, chances are, it’s quite short in comparison.

So, why am I talking about this? Well, I came to the realization that we (myself totally included) allow a fraction of our life and experiences dictate our whole journey. Meaning, when don’t allow God to reconcile our trials, we don’t heal. Further, when we don’t heal, we are not capable of seeing how God truly sees us, how He sees the world, and how He’s planned amazing things for all of our lives . And, when we don’t have the right sight, we are play toys for the devil. That last line sounds hyperbolic, I know, but hear me out.

Running Scared

The devil has done a phenomenal job of getting us to stew in our fears. Think about it. How we go about our days. How we go about our jobs. How we go about raising the next generation. Everything! Unchecked painful moments get us to take our eyes off of God and then we start looking to ourselves for protection, resources, fake love, you name it. We start creating bogus rules, bogus leaders, bogus laws, bogus love, bogus families, bogus everything.

The problem is because God is the source, the creator, when we don’t consult Him, we consult ourselves and our neighbors. Friends, we don’t see far enough, know enough, love enough, forgive enough to be in charge of really anything. But do you know who benefits when we toil in our unbelief and flesh-driven ways? The devil. Friends, God does not want us fearful, down and out, enslaved, or miserable. But the only way we can know what His plans are for our lives is that we must first come to Him.

Healing Foundation

You may have been through traumatic, painful, and challenging moments in your life, but God does not want you to stay there. We are not able to withstand life and this world on our own. We have to give everything to Christ so that He can show us the way. We do this by allowing Him into our hearts, our minds, and our souls.

Accepting Christ means that you also accept His guidance, love, and wisdom and trust me, it’s way easier to navigate the world with God at the helm. When you give God your burdens, He cleans your wounds, making you a new work in His image. That is something that on our own, we simply cannot do. At best we have cheap generic band aids that require constant maintenance. God’s solution is far better. If you truly desire to leave the fear-based existence behind, give it all to God and watch Him awaken a new sight within you.

Today’s Question

Are you living in fear or are you living in the freedom of Christ?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 5

 “Son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a razor to shave your head and beard. Use a scale to weigh the hair into three equal parts. 2 Place a third of it at the center of your map of Jerusalem. After acting out the siege, burn it there. Scatter another third across your map and chop it with a sword. Scatter the last third to the wind, for I will scatter my people with the sword. 3 Keep just a bit of the hair and tie it up in your robe. 4 Then take some of these hairs out and throw them into the fire, burning them up. A fire will then spread from this remnant and destroy all of Israel. 5 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This is an illustration of what will happen to Jerusalem. I placed her at the center of the nations, 6 but she has rebelled against my regulations and decrees and has been even more wicked than the surrounding nations. She has refused to obey the regulations and decrees I gave her to follow. 7 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: You people have behaved worse than your neighbors and have refused to obey my decrees and regulations. You have not even lived up to the standards of the nations around you. 8 Therefore, I myself, the Sovereign LORD, am now your enemy. I will punish you publicly while all the nations watch. 9 Because of your detestable idols, I will punish you like I have never punished anyone before or ever will again. 10 Parents will eat their own children, and children will eat their parents. I will punish you and scatter to the winds the few who survive. 11 “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will cut you off completely. I will show you no pity at all because you have defiled my Temple with your vile images and detestable sins. 12 A third of your people will die in the city from disease and famine. A third of them will be slaughtered by the enemy outside the city walls. And I will scatter a third to the winds, chasing them with my sword. 13 Then at last my anger will be spent, and I will be satisfied. And when my fury against them has subsided, all Israel will know that I, the LORD, have spoken to them in my jealous anger. 14 “So I will turn you into a ruin, a mockery in the eyes of the surrounding nations and to all who pass by. 15 You will become an object of mockery and taunting and horror. You will be a warning to all the nations around you. They will see what happens when the LORD punishes a nation in anger and rebukes it, says the LORD . 16 “I will shower you with the deadly arrows of famine to destroy you. The famine will become more and more severe until every crumb of food is gone. 17 And along with the famine, wild animals will attack you and rob you of your children. Disease and war will stalk your land, and I will bring the sword of the enemy against you. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Roadside Assistance

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When you’re spiritually out of gas, go to God for some roadside assistance.”

TB

To the Limit

During my time on the road, driving for 7-hour blocks was not uncommon. So much so that I became an expert at driving well past the ‘low fuel’ indicator. Way after the light came on, I’d be driving as if I had a full tank of gas. I knew that I could push it for 50-60 miles before I was in any real trouble. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s done this, minus my mother who I’m sure refills once at the quarter mark, haha. Just as I push my limit with gas in my car, at times I forget to refuel my spiritual tank. This difference is that a low spiritual fuel signal may not be as apparent as the signal in our cars, but it’s even more important in the grand scheme of things.

Out of Gas

When we run out of spiritual gas, weariness, fatigue, listlessness, disappointment, fear, anger– all of the not so great emotions take hold. Somewhere along our journey, we avert our attention from God– who replenishes us each and every day– to whatever issues and troubles plague our day to day lives. This causes us to burn up our spiritual fuel faster, and even more to the point, we begin to stop going to the Holy Fuel Center that is Christ himself. Before we know it, we’ve abandoned the car and are stranded out, unsure of how we got here and how we get back. Thank God (literally) for us, that He is our Holy AAA, offering unlimited tow miles and refills.

Beauty in the Breakdown

Friends, I know for one reason or another, we’re all pretty weary and in need of some spiritual fuel. God is never far from us, no matter where we are in our walks. I know that can be tough to realize, especially when you feel like you’re miles and miles away, I know I’ve been there. When we breakdown (which will happen on occasion), there is a beautiful truth that we have to hold onto. Whatever is causing you to burn through your spiritual fuel is a burden that you or I are not capable of dealing with on our own! God designed us to be in relationship with Him, which is why we must call on Him daily. No matter how near or far you breakdown, God is only one call out, one prayer, heck, one cry for help away. All we have to do is ask.

Today’s Question

What’s keeping you from asking God for spiritual fuel?

Enjoy the reading

Lamentations 2

1 The Lord in his anger has cast a dark shadow over beautiful Jerusalem. The fairest of Israel’s cities lies in the dust, thrown down from the heights of heaven. In his day of great anger, the Lord has shown no mercy even to his Temple. 2 Without mercy the Lord has destroyed every home in Israel. In his anger he has broken down the fortress walls of beautiful Jerusalem. He has brought them to the ground, dishonoring the kingdom and its rulers. 3 All the strength of Israel vanishes beneath his fierce anger. The Lord has withdrawn his protection as the enemy attacks. He consumes the whole land of Israel like a raging fire. 4 He bends his bow against his people, as though he were their enemy. His strength is used against them to kill their finest youth. His fury is poured out like fire on beautiful Jerusalem. 5 Yes, the Lord has vanquished Israel like an enemy. He has destroyed her palaces and demolished her fortresses. He has brought unending sorrow and tears upon beautiful Jerusalem. 6 He has broken down his Temple as though it were merely a garden shelter. The LORD has blotted out all memory of the holy festivals and Sabbath days. Kings and priests fall together before his fierce anger. 7 The Lord has rejected his own altar; he despises his own sanctuary. He has given Jerusalem’s palaces to her enemies. They shout in the LORD ’s Temple as though it were a day of celebration. 8 The LORD was determined to destroy the walls of beautiful Jerusalem. He made careful plans for their destruction, then did what he had planned. Therefore, the ramparts and walls have fallen down before him. 9 Jerusalem’s gates have sunk into the ground. He has smashed their locks and bars. Her kings and princes have been exiled to distant lands; her law has ceased to exist. Her prophets receive no more visions from the LORD . 10 The leaders of beautiful Jerusalem sit on the ground in silence. They are clothed in burlap and throw dust on their heads. The young women of Jerusalem hang their heads in shame. 11 I have cried until the tears no longer come; my heart is broken. My spirit is poured out in agony as I see the desperate plight of my people. Little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets. 12 They cry out to their mothers, “We need food and drink!” Their lives ebb away in the streets like the life of a warrior wounded in battle. They gasp for life as they collapse in their mothers’ arms. 13 What can I say about you? Who has ever seen such sorrow? O daughter of Jerusalem, to what can I compare your anguish? O virgin daughter of Zion, how can I comfort you? For your wound is as deep as the sea. Who can heal you? 14 Your prophets have said so many foolish things, false to the core. They did not save you from exile by pointing out your sins. Instead, they painted false pictures, filling you with false hope. 15 All who pass by jeer at you. They scoff and insult beautiful Jerusalem, saying, “Is this the city called ‘Most Beautiful in All the World’ and ‘Joy of All the Earth’?” 16 All your enemies mock you. They scoff and snarl and say, “We have destroyed her at last! We have long waited for this day, and it is finally here!” 17 But it is the LORD who did just as he planned. He has fulfilled the promises of disaster he made long ago. He has destroyed Jerusalem without mercy. He has caused her enemies to gloat over her and has given them power over her. 18 Cry aloud before the Lord, O walls of beautiful Jerusalem! Let your tears flow like a river day and night. Give yourselves no rest; give your eyes no relief. 19 Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children, for in every street they are faint with hunger. 20 “O LORD, think about this! Should you treat your own people this way? Should mothers eat their own children, those they once bounced on their knees? Should priests and prophets be killed within the Lord’s Temple? 21 “See them lying in the streets— young and old, boys and girls, killed by the swords of the enemy. You have killed them in your anger, slaughtering them without mercy. 22 “You have invited terrors from all around, as though you were calling them to a day of feasting. In the day of the LORD ’s anger, no one has escaped or survived. The enemy has killed all the children whom I carried and raised.”

Fiddle

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Go to God with your weaknesses and ask for help so that the devil will not play you like a fiddle.”

TB

Tune

Though the devil is defeated, he is crafty in the way he gets us off the beaten path. He’s especially cunning at getting us to focus only on our shortcomings and weaknesses. Like a fiddle, he plays us a specific song to get us off the beaten path. He’ll create an enticing tune where the melody is a collection of your weaknesses. Because it’s a catchy tune, if we aren’t close to the Truth of Christ, it’s a song we continue to hear for many years. Like a hit on the radio that we play on repeat, it leads us to believe the worst about ourselves, discourages us from our relationship with God, and ultimately blinds us to the reality of Christ.

Tune Out

We do not need to fear the devil because God is for us. We do, however, need to understand how the devil operates so that we don’t fall prey to his schemes. He will use lies disguised as truth to get you to believe the nonsense that keeps you from being who God called you to be. He does not attack you because you’re weak, he attacks you because of your potential. Think about it, what’s the best way to attack a powerful person? So instead of being played like a fiddle, remember who made you, who keeps you, and who saved you. Tune out the noise of the evil one and tune in to the Truth of Christ. His melody brings everlasting life.

Today’s Question

Are you being played like a fiddle or did you turn the noise off?

Enjoy the reading

Lamentations 1

1 How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave. 2 Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are on her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is no one to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies. 3 After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile. She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place. All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress. 4 The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to her appointed festivals. All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan, her young women grieve, and she is in bitter anguish. 5 Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease. The LORD has brought her grief because of her many sins. Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe. 6 All the splendor has departed from Daughter Zion. Her princes are like deer that find no pasture; in weakness they have fled before the pursuer. 7 In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into enemy hands, there was no one to help her. Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction. 8 Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have all seen her naked; she herself groans and turns away. 9 Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her. “Look, LORD, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.” 10 The enemy laid hands on all her treasures; she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary— those you had forbidden to enter your assembly. 11 All her people groan as they search for bread; they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive. “Look, LORD, and consider, for I am despised.” 12 “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger? 13 “From on high he sent fire, sent it down into my bones. He spread a net for my feet and turned me back. He made me desolate, faint all the day long. 14 “My sins have been bound into a yoke ; by his hands they were woven together. They have been hung on my neck, and the Lord has sapped my strength. He has given me into the hands of those I cannot withstand. 15 “The Lord has rejected all the warriors in my midst; he has summoned an army against me to crush my young men. In his winepress the Lord has trampled Virgin Daughter Judah. 16 “This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed.” 17 Zion stretches out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her. The LORD has decreed for Jacob that his neighbors become his foes; Jerusalem has become an unclean thing among them. 18 “The LORD is righteous, yet I rebelled against his command. Listen, all you peoples; look on my suffering. My young men and young women have gone into exile. 19 “I called to my allies but they betrayed me. My priests and my elders perished in the city while they searched for food to keep themselves alive. 20 “See, LORD, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed, for I have been most rebellious. Outside, the sword bereaves; inside, there is only death. 21 “People have heard my groaning, but there is no one to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my distress; they rejoice at what you have done. May you bring the day you have announced so they may become like me. 22 “Let all their wickedness come before you; deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my sins. My groans are many and my heart is faint.”

Hands Off, Handoff

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“We must take our hands off the things we can’t control and give them the handoff to God.”

TB

Hands Off

Admittedly, though I like to believe that I’m laid-back, I am a low-key control freak, obsessed over the things I cannot control. In my brain, I see the many inefficiencies in life and if I could just get my hands on it, things would be much better (arrogant much?). As such, the things I do have control over tend to be neglected. I’m sure many of us are like that to some degree. The ironic thing is that God is looking at us to put our hands on the things we are meant to be obedient with, while keeping our hands off on the areas where only He can make the difference. This is where trust and obedience really come into play. When we trust that God is sovereign, we can more easily hand off the matters that really aren’t our own.

Handoff

Obsessing over the things we cannot control in our lives is an unnecessary burden. All it does is cause us to remain stuck in neutral, feeling frustrated and hopeless. Friends, the devil likes us to be in this position because when we are preoccupied with what we can’t do, we aren’t doing the things we can do. For example, I forgot to post yesterday because I was focused on a myriad of things that are out of my control to fix. So rather than share the Good News, I stewed in my own thoughts. I share this so that you can look at your own lives and examine what needs to be handed off to God. Friends, our lives aren’t meant to feel burdened, hopeless, or overwhelming. We have to relent and give God control otherwise we end up needlessly stuck in neutral.

Today’s Question

Are you ready to let God be God in your life?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 50

1 The LORD gave Jeremiah the prophet this message concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians. 2 This is what the LORD says: “Tell the whole world, and keep nothing back. Raise a signal flag to tell everyone that Babylon will fall! Her images and idols will be shattered. Her gods Bel and Marduk will be utterly disgraced. 3 For a nation will attack her from the north and bring such destruction that no one will live there again. Everything will be gone; both people and animals will flee. 4 “In those coming days,” says the LORD, “the people of Israel will return home together with the people of Judah. They will come weeping and seeking the LORD their God. 5 They will ask the way to Jerusalem and will start back home again. They will bind themselves to the LORD with an eternal covenant that will never be forgotten. 6 “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray and turned them loose in the mountains. They have lost their way and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold. 7 All who found them devoured them. Their enemies said, ‘We did nothing wrong in attacking them, for they sinned against the LORD, their true place of rest, and the hope of their ancestors.’ 8 “But now, flee from Babylon! Leave the land of the Babylonians. Like male goats at the head of the flock, lead my people home again. 9 For I am raising up an army of great nations from the north. They will join forces to attack Babylon, and she will be captured. The enemies’ arrows will go straight to the mark; they will not miss! 10 Babylonia will be looted until the attackers are glutted with loot. I, the LORD, have spoken! 11 “You rejoice and are glad, you who plundered my chosen people. You frisk about like a calf in a meadow and neigh like a stallion. 12 But your homeland will be overwhelmed with shame and disgrace. You will become the least of nations— a wilderness, a dry and desolate land. 13 Because of the LORD ’s anger, Babylon will become a deserted wasteland. All who pass by will be horrified and will gasp at the destruction they see there. 14 “Yes, prepare to attack Babylon, all you surrounding nations. Let your archers shoot at her; spare no arrows. For she has sinned against the LORD . 15 Shout war cries against her from every side. Look! She surrenders! Her walls have fallen. It is the LORD ’s vengeance, so take vengeance on her. Do to her as she has done to others! 16 Take from Babylon all those who plant crops; send all the harvesters away. Because of the sword of the enemy, everyone will run away and rush back to their own lands. 17 “The Israelites are like sheep that have been scattered by lions. First the king of Assyria ate them up. Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon cracked their bones.” 18 Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Now I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, just as I punished the king of Assyria. 19 And I will bring Israel home again to its own land, to feed in the fields of Carmel and Bashan, and to be satisfied once more in the hill country of Ephraim and Gilead. 20 In those days,” says the LORD, “no sin will be found in Israel or in Judah, for I will forgive the remnant I preserve. 21 “Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them, as I have commanded you,” says the LORD . 22 “Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction. 23 Babylon, the mightiest hammer in all the earth, lies broken and shattered. Babylon is desolate among the nations! 24 Listen, Babylon, for I have set a trap for you. You are caught, for you have fought against the LORD . 25 The LORD has opened his armory and brought out weapons to vent his fury. The terror that falls upon the Babylonians will be the work of the Sovereign LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 26 Yes, come against her from distant lands. Break open her granaries. Crush her walls and houses into heaps of rubble. Destroy her completely, and leave nothing! 27 Destroy even her young bulls— it will be terrible for them, too! Slaughter them all! For Babylon’s day of reckoning has come. 28 Listen to the people who have escaped from Babylon, as they tell in Jerusalem how the LORD our God has taken vengeance against those who destroyed his Temple. 29 “Send out a call for archers to come to Babylon. Surround the city so none can escape. Do to her as she has done to others, for she has defied the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. 30 Her young men will fall in the streets and die. Her soldiers will all be killed,” says the LORD . 31 “See, I am your enemy, you arrogant people,” says the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Your day of reckoning has arrived— the day when I will punish you. 32 O land of arrogance, you will stumble and fall, and no one will raise you up. For I will light a fire in the cities of Babylon that will burn up everything around them.” 33 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “The people of Israel and Judah have been wronged. Their captors hold them and refuse to let them go. 34 But the one who redeems them is strong. His name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. He will defend them and give them rest again in Israel. But for the people of Babylon there will be no rest! 35 “The sword of destruction will strike the Babylonians,” says the LORD . “It will strike the people of Babylon— her officials and wise men, too. 36 The sword will strike her wise counselors, and they will become fools. The sword will strike her mightiest warriors, and panic will seize them. 37 The sword will strike her horses and chariots and her allies from other lands, and they will all become like women. The sword will strike her treasures, and they all will be plundered. 38 A drought will strike her water supply, causing it to dry up. And why? Because the whole land is filled with idols, and the people are madly in love with them. 39 “Soon Babylon will be inhabited by desert animals and hyenas. It will be a home for owls. Never again will people live there; it will lie desolate forever. 40 I will destroy it as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns,” says the LORD . “No one will live there; no one will inhabit it. 41 “Look! A great army is coming from the north. A great nation and many kings are rising against you from far-off lands. 42 They are armed with bows and spears. They are cruel and show no mercy. As they ride forward on horses, they sound like a roaring sea. They are coming in battle formation, planning to destroy you, Babylon. 43 The king of Babylon has heard reports about the enemy, and he is weak with fright. Pangs of anguish have gripped him, like those of a woman in labor. 44 “I will come like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan, leaping on the sheep in the pasture. I will chase Babylon from its land, and I will appoint the leader of my choice. For who is like me, and who can challenge me? What ruler can oppose my will?” 45 Listen to the LORD ’s plans against Babylon and the land of the Babylonians. Even the little children will be dragged off like sheep, and their homes will be destroyed. 46 The earth will shake with the shout, “Babylon has been taken!” and its cry of despair will be heard around the world.

Pain Points

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Don’t shy away from life’s pain points, as there are valuable lessons to be learned from your experience.”

TB

Options

Pain of any kind stinks. It’s an unpleasant, visceral experience that changes our perception. For that reason, it’s important to grieve, and to grieve well. That being said, after our period of grief, we have two options– get up off our mat and walk, or lay down and succumb to living a numbed life. In the natural world, pain seems pointless and cruel, leaving us to be fearful and and without hope. After all, why try again if some other terrible thing is lying in wait? What would be the point. Well, this is where the knowledge of Christ is crucial in our walk.

Hard-earned Wisdom

While pain sucks, when filtering those moments through the Word of God, He will give you wisdom from those experiences. I can say this, any shred of spiritual intelligence or wisdom I may have, was hard-won from some tough times. In those messed up moments of loss, rejection, etc. I learned the true value and necessity of leaning on God. I learned to accomplish more with less. I learned the pure joy and restoration of forgiveness. Long story short, I’ve learned a lot, and I suspect I still have much to learn. My point is, after the experience is over, and you’ve picked up your mat, don’t be afraid to ask God to reveal the point of your pain. In this life, there is growth in all that we do, we first have to embrace a life-learning mindset.

Today’s Question

Are you growing from your pain or are you stuck in a neutral pity party?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 41

1 But in midautumn of that year, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family and had been one of the king’s high officials, went to Mizpah with ten men to meet Gedaliah. While they were eating together, 2 Ishmael and his ten men suddenly jumped up, drew their swords, and killed Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had appointed governor. 3 Ishmael also killed all the Judeans and the Babylonian soldiers who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah. 4 The next day, before anyone had heard about Gedaliah’s murder, 5 eighty men arrived from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria to worship at the Temple of the LORD . They had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and cut themselves, and had brought along grain offerings and frankincense. 6 Ishmael left Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he went. When he reached them, he said, “Oh, come and see what has happened to Gedaliah!” 7 But as soon as they were all inside the town, Ishmael and his men killed all but ten of them and threw their bodies into a cistern. 8 The other ten had talked Ishmael into letting them go by promising to bring him their stores of wheat, barley, olive oil, and honey that they had hidden away. 9 The cistern where Ishmael dumped the bodies of the men he murdered was the large one dug by King Asa when he fortified Mizpah to protect himself against King Baasha of Israel. Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with corpses. 10 Then Ishmael made captives of the king’s daughters and the other people who had been left under Gedaliah’s care in Mizpah by Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard. Taking them with him, he started back toward the land of Ammon. 11 But when Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders heard about Ishmael’s crimes, 12 they took all their men and set out to stop him. They caught up with him at the large pool near Gibeon. 13 The people Ishmael had captured shouted for joy when they saw Johanan and the other guerrilla leaders. 14 And all the captives from Mizpah escaped and began to help Johanan. 15 Meanwhile, Ishmael and eight of his men escaped from Johanan into the land of Ammon. 16 Then Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders took all the people they had rescued in Gibeon—the soldiers, women, children, and court officials whom Ishmael had captured after he killed Gedaliah. 17 They took them all to the village of Geruth-kimham near Bethlehem, where they prepared to leave for Egypt. 18 They were afraid of what the Babylonians would do when they heard that Ishmael had killed Gedaliah, the governor appointed by the Babylonian king.

The Guilt/Gratitude Connection

 

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When guilt rears its ugly head, gratitude is the best strategy to defeat it.”~TB

The Shame Game

I have an annoying tendency to downplay my talents and strengths while drilling down on my areas of improvement. More interesting, I know a lot of people who do that too, which makes me wonder why? I could be “killing it” in different areas of my life, but if I’m not paying attention, my inner video of “greatest shame hits” plays, attempting to eclipse the victories that have occurred. When we lean into those shameful periods and feelings, we fall trap into negative cyclical thinking that ultimately steers us back to the very behaviors we’d like to avoid. An untethered mind is a dangerous place. We all have different inner voices, ideas, and thoughts that can uplift or deter us, which is why it’s so important to know who and what you’re listening to.

Attitude of Gratitude

So instead of focusing on your past transgressions (we all have them) look at the gifts and grace that God provides you with gratitude. We’ve all been spared the wrath that we each justly deserve and there are so many minor miracles that we all tend to forget about, but they occur each and every day. If you find yourself in a new position, be grateful and reflect on the situations you’ve experienced that prepare you for this new road. The opposition deceives you when you believe that being down and out is the only way of life. Gratitude defeats the nefarious schemes of shame and the opposition. It allows us to see ourselves as God sees us. God’s Will is mighty and wondrous, but it is up to us to individually and consistently put down our cup of shame and pick up the peace of gratitude.

Today’s Question

Are you listening to the lies of shame or embracing God’s mercy with gratitude?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 35

1 This is the message the LORD gave Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah: 
2 “Go to the settlement where the families of the Recabites live, and invite them to the LORD ’s Temple. Take them into one of the inner rooms, and offer them some wine.” 
3 So I went to see Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah and all his brothers and sons—representing all the Recabite families. 
4 I took them to the Temple, and we went into the room assigned to the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God. This room was located next to the one used by the Temple officials, directly above the room of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the Temple gatekeeper. 
5 I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, 
6 but they refused. “No,” they said, “we don’t drink wine, because our ancestor Jehonadab son of Recab gave us this command: ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine. 
7 And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land.’ 
8 So we have obeyed him in all these things. We have never had a drink of wine to this day, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters. 
9 We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops. 
10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor. 
11 But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked this country, we were afraid of the Babylonian and Syrian armies. So we decided to move to Jerusalem. That is why we are here.” 
12 Then the LORD gave this message to Jeremiah: 
13 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me. 
14 The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me. 
15 Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, “Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you would not listen to me or obey me. 
16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Recab have obeyed their ancestor completely, but you have refused to listen to me.’ 
17 “Therefore, this is what the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Because you refuse to listen or answer when I call, I will send upon Judah and Jerusalem all the disasters I have threatened.’” 
18 Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’ 
19 Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’”

Slow Down

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Slow down and be present in your lives so that the opposition does not trip you up in your haste.”~TB

Settle

We’re a busy on the go bunch of people, and despite the high praise of multi-tasking and multi-focus, when our attention is split, we run the risk of being prey for the devil. When you’re too fast, you miss the obvious signs and inconsistencies that evil inserts to get us to focus on fear and forget our tasks. Like a banana peel on the ground to trip on because we are going to fast, we stop to evaluate the lies from the truth. You may sign away your land because you didn’t read the terms of the agreement, you may rush into a relationship because you did not evaluate the character of the other person. You may do immoral things because of fear of your employer. Going at warped speed can cause unnecessary pitfalls and disasters because our eyes are not on the prize, which is Christ.

Break it Down

When my dad is teaching new music to the kids in his class, he is known to break up the parts, teach each phrase one at a time until his students get this. He did this with my siblings and me back in the day. It used to drive me nuts because I was impatient (still am).  The benefit of slowing things down and breaking down the lessons was that you learn each piece, lessening the chance of learning bad habits and mistakes. Slowing it down and breaking the Biblical lessons we learn from God and the Bible have the same effect. When we know the Truth, it’s easier to spot the inconsistencies and blatant lies from the opposition. We know real from fake, true from false, but it takes a careful, studied, and watchful eye. So in all that you do, apply the lessons learned from Christ. To be the most successful you first must slow down and see the world and its experiences for what they truly are.

Today’s Question

Are you slowing down and keeping calm, or are you blazing through hitting every pothole on the way?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 24

1 After King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon along with the officials of Judah and all the craftsmen and artisans, the LORD gave me this vision. I saw two baskets of figs placed in front of the LORD ’s Temple in Jerusalem. 
2 One basket was filled with fresh, ripe figs, while the other was filled with bad figs that were too rotten to eat. 
3 Then the LORD said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I replied, “Figs, some very good and some very bad, too rotten to eat.” 
4 Then the LORD gave me this message: 
5 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: The good figs represent the exiles I sent from Judah to the land of the Babylonians. 
6 I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. 
7 I will give them hearts that recognize me as the LORD . They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly. 
8 “But the bad figs,” the LORD said, “represent King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, all the people left in Jerusalem, and those who live in Egypt. I will treat them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. 
9 I will make them an object of horror and a symbol of evil to every nation on earth. They will be disgraced and mocked, taunted and cursed, wherever I scatter them. 
10 And I will send war, famine, and disease until they have vanished from the land of Israel, which I gave to them and their ancestors.”

Reflection

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Quiet reflection with God breeds thoughtful answers to the issues in your life.”~TB

Jumbled

One of the biggest struggles we face as humans in society is quieting the external noise to understand what is going on internally. The world as we know it is designed to put us in conflict with our natural state. Think about it, with so much external distraction and noise, your internal system functions like a jumbled cassette tape. It’s tough to sort through the chaos of our internal state unless we quiet the noise from outside. However, many of us are engaged in chaotic states because we are too scared of the quiet. Slowing down and taking stock of one’s life brings up some uncomfortable insights and the ugly “g-word”–growth.

Ask Anyway

If the chaos has grown too much and it’s time to get to the heart of the Truth, have a talk with God (which also happens to be the title of a neat Stevie Wonder song.) Honest answers come from an honest reflection and conversation with our Father in Heaven. It doesn’t have to be some dramatic or formal process, just ask a few simple questions and ask for direction. To get the most out of this reflection and quiet time with God honesty and humility are key. It requires us to set aside our foolish and flesh-minded thinking.  Basically, we have to turn our backs on what ails us to receive the Holy antidote that is God’s wisdom. It’s a one-on-one conversation that only you and He can have. No preacher, teacher nor profit can do this for you, so steal away to a quiet place to reflect and chat with the one who calls you His.

Today’s Question

Are you practicing quiet reflection or are you running amok?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 19

1 This is what the LORD said to me: “Go and buy a clay jar. Then ask some of the leaders of the people and of the priests to follow you. 
2 Go out through the Gate of Broken Pots to the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and give them this message. 
3 Say to them, ‘Listen to this message from the LORD, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will bring a terrible disaster on this place, and the ears of those who hear about it will ring! 
4 “‘For Israel has forsaken me and turned this valley into a place of wickedness. The people burn incense to foreign gods—idols never before acknowledged by this generation, by their ancestors, or by the kings of Judah. And they have filled this place with the blood of innocent children. 
5 They have built pagan shrines to Baal, and there they burn their sons as sacrifices to Baal. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! 
6 So beware, for the time is coming, says the LORD, when this garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. 
7 “‘For I will upset the careful plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will allow the people to be slaughtered by invading armies, and I will leave their dead bodies as food for the vultures and wild animals. 
8 I will reduce Jerusalem to ruins, making it a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and will gasp at the destruction they see there. 
9 I will see to it that your enemies lay siege to the city until all the food is gone. Then those trapped inside will eat their own sons and daughters and friends. They will be driven to utter despair.’ 
10 “As these men watch you, Jeremiah, smash the jar you brought. 
11 Then say to them, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: As this jar lies shattered, so I will shatter the people of Judah and Jerusalem beyond all hope of repair. They will bury the bodies here in Topheth, the garbage dump, until there is no more room for them. 
12 This is what I will do to this place and its people, says the LORD . I will cause this city to become defiled like Topheth. 
13 Yes, all the houses in Jerusalem, including the palace of Judah’s kings, will become like Topheth—all the houses where you burned incense on the rooftops to your star gods, and where liquid offerings were poured out to your idols.’” 
14 Then Jeremiah returned from Topheth, the garbage dump where he had delivered this message, and he stopped in front of the Temple of the LORD . He said to the people there, 
15 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will bring disaster upon this city and its surrounding towns as I promised, because you have stubbornly refused to listen to me.’”

 

 

Everything But

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“It’s amazing that we’ll do everything but what God asks us to do.”~TB

Disguised Disobedience

Humans are interesting in that we overcomplicate the simplest of things, making relatively easy tasks appear to be the most challenging obstacles to overcome. If you want the honest answer as to why we do this, it’s disobedience. Of course, we all don’t want to be considered disobedient, so we romanticize it by attributing some reason beyond our control as to why we aren’t doing what we’ve been asked to do. Granted there is fear and letting go of the control ‘button’ that come into play, but if we truly want to hold ourselves accountable in our walk with Christ, it’s best to call a spade a spade; well, in this case, disobedience. I’ll explain.

Trust Issues

We will put our trust in everyone and everything but God, which is ironic because He is the only one that will not fail us. Just look at King Saul, Jonah, or Eli. Those guys disobeyed God (Jonah eventually turned it around but was swallowed by a whale) because they didn’t trust God’s word. There are plenty of other disobedient parties in the Bible, which is why when we study the Word, hopefully, we can learn from their mistakes. My point in saying all this is, God’s Will will be done, whether we take the simple route or the disobedient route. Interestingly enough, choosing God’s Will is the best route, but when we fail to activate our faith or succumb to fear we are not able to see the full picture as He intended.

Toss Out

So, let go of the devices, vices, and perceptions that God is calling you to give up. Ask yourself, what do you stand to lose by following God’s path for you? Conversely, ask yourself, what do you have to gain by doing so? The short answers are nothing and everything. But, we must first allow ourselves to understand that our plans and agendas suck in comparison to the plans laid out by God. Only He was the capability and capacity to see generations and how they intersect and correlate. If you think about the numerical implications of that, it’s mind-boggling! Friends, give up your everything but, pick up your cross and run the race set before you. When we trust that God is sovereign and has our best interests at heart, all other choices are fool’s gold in comparison.

Today’s Question

Are you doing everything but following God?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 18

1 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 
2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 
3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 
4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. 
5 Then the LORD gave me this message: 
6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. 
7 If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, 
8 but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. 
9 And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, 
10 but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would. 
11 “Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.’” 
12 But the people replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires.” 
13 So this is what the LORD says: “Has anyone ever heard of such a thing, even among the pagan nations? My virgin daughter Israel has done something terrible! 
14 Does the snow ever disappear from the mountaintops of Lebanon? Do the cold streams flowing from those distant mountains ever run dry? 
15 But my people are not so reliable, for they have deserted me; they burn incense to worthless idols. They have stumbled off the ancient highways and walk in muddy paths. 
16 Therefore, their land will become desolate, a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and will shake their heads in amazement. 
17 I will scatter my people before their enemies as the east wind scatters dust. And in all their trouble I will turn my back on them and refuse to notice their distress.” 
18 Then the people said, “Come on, let’s plot a way to stop Jeremiah. We have plenty of priests and wise men and prophets. We don’t need him to teach the word and give us advice and prophecies. Let’s spread rumors about him and ignore what he says.” 
19 LORD, hear me and help me! Listen to what my enemies are saying. 
20 Should they repay evil for good? They have dug a pit to kill me, though I pleaded for them and tried to protect them from your anger. 
21 So let their children starve! Let them die by the sword! Let their wives become childless widows. Let their old men die in a plague, and let their young men be killed in battle! 
22 Let screaming be heard from their homes as warriors come suddenly upon them. For they have dug a pit for me and have hidden traps along my path. 
23 LORD, you know all about their murderous plots against me. Don’t forgive their crimes and blot out their sins. Let them die before you. Deal with them in your anger.

Procrastination Station

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Imagine how peaceful we could be if we just did the work.”~TB

Chaos Created

Admittedly, I am the consummate procrastinator. As a creative individual, part of my ‘secret sauce’ is the adrenaline of the last-minute deadline that shoots my imaginative process into high gear. I’ve had incredible success with this model. I’ve also had incredible failures too. More to the point, when you procrastinate in all areas of your life, you’re playing with unnecessary fire. As they say, live by the sword, die by the sword.

Misfires

If you procrastinate long enough or if you’re prone to not doing legitimate work of any kind, you will experience a lot of loss or missed opportunities. One of the not so great things about these experiences is that if you have many that result in a similar ending, you begin to falsely perceive a feedback loop of failure. Even worse, without realizing it, many of us act out this feedback loop subconsciously, resulting in anxiety and a doomsday outlook on certain aspects of life or just life in general.

Circumstantial Evidence

Our brains work to form correlations so that we can come to certain conclusions more quickly based on past experiences. It’s a survival mechanism. The problem is if you’re falsely wired the incorrect information, it makes getting the correct information more difficult, but, not impossible. Many of us tend to discredit what God does in our lives because He’s not physically present turning water into wine right before us. But, imagine if you quieted the noise, looked within and forged that relationship. You’d see God in a more honest and relational way but in order to get to that place, you have to drop the preconceived notions and behaviors and do the work.

Today’s Question

Where would your relationship with God be if you worked as hard as you procrastinated?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 16

1 The LORD gave me another message. He said, 
2 “Do not get married or have children in this place. 
3 For this is what the LORD says about the children born here in this city and about their mothers and fathers: 
4 They will die from terrible diseases. No one will mourn for them or bury them, and they will lie scattered on the ground like manure. They will die from war and famine, and their bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals.” 
5 This is what the LORD says: “Do not go to funerals to mourn and show sympathy for these people, for I have removed my protection and peace from them. I have taken away my unfailing love and my mercy. 
6 Both the great and the lowly will die in this land. No one will bury them or mourn for them. Their friends will not cut themselves in sorrow or shave their heads in sadness. 
7 No one will offer a meal to comfort those who mourn for the dead—not even at the death of a mother or father. No one will send a cup of wine to console them. 
8 “And do not go to their feasts and parties. Do not eat and drink with them at all. 
9 For this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: In your own lifetime, before your very eyes, I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in this land. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. 
10 “When you tell the people all these things, they will ask, ‘Why has the LORD decreed such terrible things against us? What have we done to deserve such treatment? What is our sin against the LORD our God?’ 
11 “Then you will give them the LORD ’s reply: ‘It is because your ancestors were unfaithful to me. They worshiped other gods and served them. They abandoned me and did not obey my word. 
12 And you are even worse than your ancestors! You stubbornly follow your own evil desires and refuse to listen to me. 
13 So I will throw you out of this land and send you into a foreign land where you and your ancestors have never been. There you can worship idols day and night—and I will grant you no favors!’ 
14 “But the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when people who are taking an oath will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ 
15 Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ For I will bring them back to this land that I gave their ancestors. 
16 “But now I am sending for many fishermen who will catch them,” says the LORD . “I am sending for hunters who will hunt them down in the mountains, hills, and caves. 
17 I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me. 
18 I will double their punishment for all their sins, because they have defiled my land with lifeless images of their detestable gods and have filled my territory with their evil deeds.” 
19 LORD, you are my strength and fortress, my refuge in the day of trouble! Nations from around the world will come to you and say, “Our ancestors left us a foolish heritage, for they worshiped worthless idols. 
20 Can people make their own gods? These are not real gods at all!” 
21 The LORD says, “Now I will show them my power; now I will show them my might. At last they will know and understand that I am the LORD .