It’s easy to backseat quarterback the lives of others, airily giving advice to a situation you are not actually involved in because you have means. It’s also easy to hide behind words of affirmation and lofty prayer so that it appears that you’re doing some good. But friends, there will be times where God will ask us to put our money where our mouth is.
It’s convenient to pity others when your circumstances are great. It’s obedient to help your brother or sister when there’s nothing in for you. The truth is if God puts you in the position to give, then give. Because though you may think there’s nothing in it for you, you stand to gain a glimpse of understanding the magnitude of what God freely gives to all of us.
Are you being obedient or are you conveniently hoarding all of your stuff?
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1 What sorrow awaits you who lounge in luxury in Jerusalem, and you who feel secure in Samaria! You are famous and popular in Israel, and people go to you for help. 2 But go over to Calneh and see what happened there. Then go to the great city of Hamath and down to the Philistine city of Gath. You are no better than they were, and look at how they were destroyed. 3 You push away every thought of coming disaster, but your actions only bring the day of judgment closer. 4 How terrible for you who sprawl on ivory beds and lounge on your couches, eating the meat of tender lambs from the flock and of choice calves fattened in the stall. 5 You sing trivial songs to the sound of the harp and fancy yourselves to be great musicians like David. 6 You drink wine by the bowlful and perfume yourselves with fragrant lotions. You care nothing about the ruin of your nation. 7 Therefore, you will be the first to be led away as captives. Suddenly, all your parties will end. 8 The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his own name, and this is what he, the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, says: “I despise the arrogance of Israel, and I hate their fortresses. I will give this city and everything in it to their enemies.” 9 (If there are ten men left in one house, they will all die. 10 And when a relative who is responsible to dispose of the dead goes into the house to carry out the bodies, he will ask the last survivor, “Is anyone else with you?” When the person begins to swear, “No, by . . . ,” he will interrupt and say, “Stop! Don’t even mention the name of the LORD .”) 11 When the LORD gives the command, homes both great and small will be smashed to pieces. 12 Can horses gallop over boulders? Can oxen be used to plow them? But that’s how foolish you are when you turn justice into poison and the sweet fruit of righteousness into bitterness. 13 And you brag about your conquest of Lo-debar. You boast, “Didn’t we take Karnaim by our own strength?” 14 “O people of Israel, I am about to bring an enemy nation against you,” says the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies. “They will oppress you throughout your land— from Lebo-hamath in the north to the Arabah Valley in the south.”
“You may think you’re putting one over people, but truthfully you’re only pulling the wool over your own eyes.”
Admittedly, I used to think Jacob (of the Jacob and Esau ilk) was a clever dude. When I was young, I thought, if Esau was dumb enough to trade his birthright for some food, surely, he didn’t deserve it. Getting over on people is a lazy/deceptive person’s way of not doing their God’s honest work while reaping a reward that doesn’t belong to them. In today’s world, many hide behind loopholes or obscure laws to justify this kind of deception. The problem with being clever and tricky is that eventually, it catches up with you. More to the point, through your deception of others, you distort the Truth in your own eyes.
If you simply scan over Jacob’s story, it appears that he lucked out in the end. However, if you take a closer look, he had to struggle for everything he got. Between the wives, the sheep, his sons (they sold their brother into slavery!), his brother, his leg injury– the dude had a lot of targets on his back and he spent a good chunk of his life looking over his shoulder. When I think about his life, and what that entailed, it was clearly evident that the shady seeds he had sown impacted him for his lifetime! While things were reconciled (his brother welcomed him with open arms and he was eventually reunited with Joseph), those things were given by the mercy of God, but only after Jacob had changed his ways. I say all of this to say that we are accountable for our actions, behaviors, and deceptions. God is the ultimate equalizer and if we found ourselves on the Jacob path, He is gracious enough to set us straight, as long as we seek Him.
Are you deceiving yourself by deceiving others?
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1 When Jeremiah had finished giving this message from the LORD their God to all the people, 2 Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other proud men said to Jeremiah, “You lie! The LORD our God hasn’t forbidden us to go to Egypt! 3 Baruch son of Neriah has convinced you to say this, because he wants us to stay here and be killed by the Babylonians or be carried off into exile.” 4 So Johanan and the other guerrilla leaders and all the people refused to obey the LORD ’s command to stay in Judah. 5 Johanan and the other leaders took with them all the people who had returned from the nearby countries to which they had fled. 6 In the crowd were men, women, and children, the king’s daughters, and all those whom Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had left with Gedaliah. The prophet Jeremiah and Baruch were also included. 7 The people refused to obey the voice of the LORD and went to Egypt, going as far as the city of Tahpanhes. 8 Then at Tahpanhes, the LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 9 “While the people of Judah are watching, take some large rocks and bury them under the pavement stones at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace here in Tahpanhes. 10 Then say to the people of Judah, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring my servant Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, here to Egypt. I will set his throne over these stones that I have hidden. He will spread his royal canopy over them. 11 And when he comes, he will destroy the land of Egypt. He will bring death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and war to those destined for war. 12 He will set fire to the temples of Egypt’s gods; he will burn the temples and carry the idols away as plunder. He will pick clean the land of Egypt as a shepherd picks fleas from his cloak. And he himself will leave unharmed. 13 He will break down the sacred pillars standing in the temple of the sun in Egypt, and he will burn down the temples of Egypt’s gods.’”
“Cut your losses on sin, but don’t count people out just yet.”~TB
As a prideful nation, people will always be your downfall. Humans have the capacity to hurt, to steal, to kill– whatever the sin– you name it, we’re capable of it. Even still, whatever the offense, it’s best to forgive it and move on. Just to be clear, this is not to say that you must tolerate poor behavior, no, we must hold each other accountable. That said, forgiving one another as God forgives us allows us to grow and develop into people of Christ. Besides, what do you have to lose by letting go of offenses? More to the point, when you are so consumed with what has happened to you, you lose sight of your potential and what you could be doing to better yourself.
As sin-fallen people, we will never be free of sin. That doesn’t mean that we should not make every effort to improve each and every day. The first step in walking closer with God is to till your own soil. When you cut out the monitoring of the shortcomings of your brothers and sisters, you are then able to reflect on yourself and your personal relationship with Christ. In the midst of that silence, He will impart His wisdom on how you can improve and move forward in your destiny. Friends, where He is taking you requires very little baggage, so why not cut your losses and move on?
Are you cutting the chord to old bondages or the chord to Christ
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1From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me. Let all Israel repeat this:
2From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me, but they have never defeated me.
3My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer had plowed long furrows.
4But the LORD is good; he has cut me free from the ropes of the ungodly.
5May all who hate Jerusalem be turned back in shameful defeat.
6May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop, turning yellow when only half grown,
7ignored by the harvester, despised by the binder.
8And may those who pass by refuse to give them this blessing: “The LORD bless you; we bless you in the LORD ’s name.”
“When all hope seems lost and the odds appear to be stacked against you, rejoice anyway” ~Taryn Barnes
Living in Las Vegas, it’s safe to say that today has been a somber, reflective day. Evil, senseless, acts occur, which can cause us to question our purpose and our faith. As sad and tragic as life can be, we must remember to band together in faith and in love, lifting up our fallen brothers and sisters.
The actions of the person responsible were evil, unconscionable, and just plain without any sense or logic. Though tragedy singes the air, the sense of community, teamwork, and faith envelop this city, with its light drowning the darkness of evil. As the city continues to rebound from this atrocity, I’m hopeful that we will continue to lift up and encourage all those affected.
Question of the day
In the darkness, do you shine your light?
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Numbers 16 NIV
Korah, Dathan and Abiram
1Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent
2and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council.
3They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?”
4When Moses heard this, he fell facedown.
5Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “In the morning the LORD will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him.
6You, Korah, and all your followers are to do this: Take censers
7and tomorrow put burning coals and incense in them before the LORD. The man the LORD chooses will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!”
8Moses also said to Korah, “Now listen, you Levites!
9Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the LORD’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them?
10He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too.
11It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?”
12Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, “We will not come!
13Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? And now you also want to lord it over us!
14Moreover, you haven’t brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Do you want to treat these men like slaves ? No, we will not come!”
15Then Moses became very angry and said to the LORD, “Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of them.”
16Moses said to Korah, “You and all your followers are to appear before the LORD tomorrow—you and they and Aaron.
17Each man is to take his censer and put incense in it—250 censers in all—and present it before the LORD. You and Aaron are to present your censers also.”
18So each of them took his censer, put burning coals and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
19When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the glory of the LORD appeared to the entire assembly.
20The LORD said to Moses and Aaron,
21“Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”
22But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, “O God, the God who gives breath to all living things, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?”
23Then the LORD said to Moses,
24“Say to the assembly, ‘Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’ ”
25Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him.
26He warned the assembly, “Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.”
27So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents.
28Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea:
29If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the LORD has not sent me.
30But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt.”
31As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart
32and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions.
33They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community.
34At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!”
35And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.
36The LORD said to Moses,
37“Tell Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, to remove the censers from the charred remains and scatter the coals some distance away, for the censers are holy—
38the censers of the men who sinned at the cost of their lives. Hammer the censers into sheets to overlay the altar, for they were presented before the LORD and have become holy. Let them be a sign to the Israelites.”
39So Eleazar the priest collected the bronze censers brought by those who had been burned to death, and he had them hammered out to overlay the altar,
40as the LORD directed him through Moses. This was to remind the Israelites that no one except a descendant of Aaron should come to burn incense before the LORD, or he would become like Korah and his followers.
41The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. “You have killed the LORD’s people,” they said.
42But when the assembly gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the tent of meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the LORD appeared.
43Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting,
44and the LORD said to Moses,
45“Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.” And they fell facedown.
46Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put incense in it, along with burning coals from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the LORD; the plague has started.”
47So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them.
48He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.
49But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah.
50Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, for the plague had stopped.