“If you want to see clearly, let God be your starting point.”
When we lean on our flesh and our own understanding, the world is murky, dark, and full of misleading principles. Friends, the world is not ours and if we don’t understand that foundational context, we will be a slave to our experiences. To avoid this trap, let God be your foundation.
The world doesn’t change because we have God. No, we change, discerning good from evil, real from fake. God is not here to disappear our obstacles. He’s here to give us the Truth so that we may follow Him. When God is our starting point, the Truth never changes lighting our path forever.
Who or what is your starting point if not God?
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1 Samuel 3
1 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the LORD by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the LORD were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. 2 One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. 4 Suddenly the LORD called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” 5 He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did. 6 Then the LORD called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.” 7 Samuel did not yet know the LORD because he had never had a message from the LORD before. 8 So the LORD called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the LORD who was calling the boy. 9 So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. 10 And the LORD came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.” 11 Then the LORD said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. 12 I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family, from beginning to end. 13 I have warned him that judgment is coming upon his family forever, because his sons are blaspheming God and he hasn’t disciplined them. 14 So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.” 15 Samuel stayed in bed until morning, then got up and opened the doors of the Tabernacle as usual. He was afraid to tell Eli what the LORD had said to him. 16 But Eli called out to him, “Samuel, my son.” “Here I am,” Samuel replied. 17 “What did the LORD say to you? Tell me everything. And may God strike you and even kill you if you hide anything from me!” 18 So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn’t hold anything back. “It is the LORD ’s will,” Eli replied. “Let him do what he thinks best.” 19 As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. 20 And all Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD . 21 The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh and gave messages to Samuel there at the Tabernacle.
“Our lives and behaviors are proportional to the relationship (or lack thereof) with Christ.”
God is faithful in that when we actively seek Him out; He meets us where we’re at. Your obedience is proportional to the growth of your relationship with Him. The great thing is that we control how fast or slow we get to know God in that it is our choice alone to build it. So, the more you honestly pursue Him, the more He will share with you.
It is impossible to serve two masters, so whomever you choose to serve impacts your relationship with the other. If you’re souled out for the opposition, the less influence God has in your life. Conversely, if you’re increasing the effort to build your life around Christ, the tomfoolery of the opposition decreases. The path you choose is up to you.
Are you honest about what influences your life and its impact?
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1 These are the names of the sons of Israel (that is, Jacob) who moved to Egypt with their father, each with his family: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, 4 Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5 In all, Jacob had seventy descendants in Egypt, including Joseph, who was already there. 6 In time, Joseph and all of his brothers died, ending that entire generation. 7 But their descendants, the Israelites, had many children and grandchildren. In fact, they multiplied so greatly that they became extremely powerful and filled the land. 8 Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. 9 He said to his people, “Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are. 10 We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more. If we don’t, and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us. Then they will escape from the country. ” 11 So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor. They forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses as supply centers for the king. 12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became. 13 So the Egyptians worked the people of Israel without mercy. 14 They made their lives bitter, forcing them to mix mortar and make bricks and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands. 15 Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah: 16 “When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too. 18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives. “Why have you done this?” he demanded. “Why have you allowed the boys to live?” 19 “The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women,” the midwives replied. “They are more vigorous and have their babies so quickly that we cannot get there in time.” 20 So God was good to the midwives, and the Israelites continued to multiply, growing more and more powerful. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. 22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live.”
“Growing in your relationship with Christ requires constant self-reflection.”
Accepting salvation means that we are consciously declaring that we need God and are taking Him up on Jesus’ sacrifice. Of course, for us to admit the need for help, we have to be able to accurately assess our shortcomings. When we were blind, it was easier to accept our corrupt and flesh-driven behaviors as truth. Even still, there is (and always will be) a nagging feeling that something is missing. When we fail to develop an authentic connection with God, we will always be looking at a stranger in the mirror.
If you’re tired of worshipping false idols, including yourself, take an honest reflection in the mirror. Ask God to reveal the Truth, and humbly look within to see the Truth of the need for salvation. When we look in the mirror to see who we are without Christ, it becomes clear that we must reflect on who He is to have a better understanding. So friends, let’s not get too high and mighty off of our own reflection. Instead, develop the spiritual maturity to embrace God’s reflection. In doing so, you build your relationship in Christ through self-reflection.
Are you too proud of your own image to see how foolish you’ve become?
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1 Mobilize! Marshal your troops! The enemy is laying siege to Jerusalem. They will strike Israel’s leader in the face with a rod. 2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf. 3 The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the woman in labor gives birth. Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land. 4 And he will stand to lead his flock with the LORD ’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world. 5 And he will be the source of peace. When the Assyrians invade our land and break through our defenses, we will appoint seven rulers to watch over us, eight princes to lead us. 6 They will rule Assyria with drawn swords and enter the gates of the land of Nimrod. He will rescue us from the Assyrians when they pour over the borders to invade our land. 7 Then the remnant left in Israel will take their place among the nations. They will be like dew sent by the LORD or like rain falling on the grass, which no one can hold back and no one can restrain. 8 The remnant left in Israel will take their place among the nations. They will be like a lion among the animals of the forest, like a strong young lion among flocks of sheep and goats, pouncing and tearing as they go with no rescuer in sight. 9 The people of Israel will stand up to their foes, and all their enemies will be wiped out. 10 “In that day,” says the LORD, “I will slaughter your horses and destroy your chariots. 11 I will tear down your walls and demolish your defenses. 12 I will put an end to all witchcraft, and there will be no more fortune-tellers. 13 I will destroy all your idols and sacred pillars, so you will never again worship the work of your own hands. 14 I will abolish your idol shrines with their Asherah poles and destroy your pagan cities. 15 I will pour out my vengeance on all the nations that refuse to obey me.” Micah 4Micah 6 Parallel Compare
“If you aspire to have an authentic relationship with Christ, be sure to get to know Him for yourself.”
Secondhand information about God is like secondhand smoke– it seems harmless, but it’s in fact quite lethal. You could be fed sugar-coated lies about Christ and His teachings and without knowing Him, you’re unable to discern what is true. Friends, do not make the mistake of abandoning your path to salvation to only follow someone else. The imitation will never stand up against the Truth. Further, you surely don’t want to rely on heresay when it comes time to give your account.
If you allow some spiritual person to be the sole conduit of your relationship with Christ, you’re relying on an unreliable narrative. More to the point, you’re depriving yourself of the only One who can provide everything you need. If you want to know all about Christ, ask Him yourself! Come before Him with an open and seeking heart and He will reveal the truth to you as you build a deeper, meaningful relationship with Him. In order to do this, do your due diligence and that is developing an authentic, first-person relationship with the Lord.
Do you know God or are you puffing on that secondhand smoke of misinformation?
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1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? 3 You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. 4 You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. 5 So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. 6 They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them. 7 “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD : 8 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, you abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And though you were my shepherds, you didn’t search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve. 9 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD . 10 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, and I will stop them from feeding themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey. 11 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search and find my sheep. 12 I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. 13 I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. 14 Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign LORD . 16 I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice! 17 “And as for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says to his people: I will judge between one animal of the flock and another, separating the sheep from the goats. 18 Isn’t it enough for you to keep the best of the pastures for yourselves? Must you also trample down the rest? Isn’t it enough for you to drink clear water for yourselves? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Why must my flock eat what you have trampled down and drink water you have fouled? 20 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will surely judge between the fat sheep and the scrawny sheep. 21 For you fat sheep pushed and butted and crowded my sick and hungry flock until you scattered them to distant lands. 22 So I will rescue my flock, and they will no longer be abused. I will judge between one animal of the flock and another. 23 And I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David. He will feed them and be a shepherd to them. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David will be a prince among my people. I, the LORD, have spoken! 25 “I will make a covenant of peace with my people and drive away the dangerous animals from the land. Then they will be able to camp safely in the wildest places and sleep in the woods without fear. 26 I will bless my people and their homes around my holy hill. And in the proper season I will send the showers they need. There will be showers of blessing. 27 The orchards and fields of my people will yield bumper crops, and everyone will live in safety. When I have broken their chains of slavery and rescued them from those who enslaved them, then they will know that I am the LORD . 28 They will no longer be prey for other nations, and wild animals will no longer devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will frighten them. 29 “And I will make their land famous for its crops, so my people will never again suffer from famines or the insults of foreign nations. 30 In this way, they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them. And they will know that they, the people of Israel, are my people, says the Sovereign LORD . 31 You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”
“Do not avoid uncomfortable situations or moments. Instead, walk boldly in the truth that God is with you in all things.”~TB
The world teaches us to avoid unpleasant experiences. Human logic dictates that if the moment induces discomfort, it must be a bad thing, therefore we remove the “yucky stuff” from our lives. What an amazingly ironic and counterproductive paradigm! The problem with that ideology is that it eliminates the most vital and necessary aspect of our spiritual growth. Through the unpleasant times, we get to grow closer and know God in a more personal and one-on-one manner. In fact, it’s those uncomfortable and painful moments where we grow the most. That is if we take them as they are and not as we perceive them to be.
When I was a kid in elementary school, we’d have the opportunity to participate in an art class. Some of the projects included working with clay, making different sorts of things. I loved it. Being able to mold and shape things– essentially making something out of nothing– is something I love. My favorite part was seeing my work after it was fired in the kiln. For those that don’t know, a kiln is a heating chamber that transforms materials in high temperatures. When the clay is heated properly, it is then ready to be turned into a vessel. If you’ve ever worked clay, you’ve seen firsthand how a slippery and malleable substance is transformed into a sturdy and utilitarian product. God is the Kiln to our clay.
In order to be the vessel that God has called you to be, you must learn to reexamine your mind about the kiln process. Trials and tribulations are the firey elements that shore up your vessel. Without them, you remain mushy and unsustainable. When you avoid the molding and kiln of God, your ability to rise to the calling on your life is impossible. Don’t avoid the process, but trust that all things in your life are used to strengthen your relationship with God. Let the Bible mold you and your time with God be the fire that hardens the clay. In doing so, we see as God intended us to see. When that happens, we walk in the way that God called us to.
Are you going through the kiln or do you want to remain mushy and broken?
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1“In that day,” says the LORD, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem.
2They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure.
3And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!
4“Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again? When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
5Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path? Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back? They cling tightly to their lies and will not turn around.
6I listen to their conversations and don’t hear a word of truth. Is anyone sorry for doing wrong? Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”? No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!
7Even the stork that flies across the sky knows the time of her migration, as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane. They all return at the proper time each year. But not my people! They do not know the LORD ’s laws.
8“‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the LORD,” when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies?
9These wise teachers will fall into the trap of their own foolishness, for they have rejected the word of the LORD . Are they so wise after all?
10I will give their wives to others and their farms to strangers. From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that. They are all frauds.
11They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.
12Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them, says the LORD .
13I will surely consume them. There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes. Their fruit trees will all die. Whatever I gave them will soon be gone. I, the LORD, have spoken!’
14“Then the people will say, ‘Why should we wait here to die? Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there. For the LORD our God has decreed our destruction and has given us a cup of poison to drink because we sinned against the LORD .
15We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’
16“The snorting of the enemies’ warhorses can be heard all the way from the land of Dan in the north! The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble. They are coming to devour the land and everything in it— cities and people alike.
17I will send these enemy troops among you like poisonous snakes you cannot charm. They will bite you, and you will die. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
18My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken.
19Listen to the weeping of my people; it can be heard all across the land. “Has the LORD abandoned Jerusalem? ” the people ask. “Is her King no longer there?” “Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols and their worthless foreign gods?” says the LORD .
20“The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!”
21I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief.
22Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?
“God promised a peaceful life, not a perfect life, so it’s important to understand the difference.”~TB
When you follow the world too closely, it can lull you into a false sense of how life is “supposed” to go. Society tells you to follow certain practices, go to school, get a job, buy a house, join the HOA, build a family, etc. These rules seem fine because it gives you a sense of “what to do”. However, these superficial guidelines can make the blind feel a false sense of control or security that lies outside of God. Ironically, what this world teaches you is not rooted in Biblical principle, because the only guaranteed thing in life is God and nothing else. Blindly following this “checklist life” will bring you disillusionment and discontent because this path is the exact opposite of what Christ teaches.
The Impossible Quest for Perfection
Yes, it is important to be part of the community. Yes, one must have a job and educate themselves. None of these goals are inherently wrong. That said, life in this world is a journey and not a successive one at that. The world teaches you that life happens in an upward slope. The Bible teaches you that hills, valleys, and plateaus are normal. If you take the world’s guidelines to heart, prepare for a depressing reality because perfection is impossible! At least, for humanity. Just look at Job, Jonah, Joseph, David, and all of the stories in the Bible. Friends, even God’s favorite people in the Word faced trial after trial, setback after setback, before they experienced any kind of success. And, even after they achieved great things, they still faced opposition. So friends, do not strive for perfection, or the picturesque falsehoods of the world. Strive for peace, which can be found in the teachings of the Lord.
Your life does not have to be perfect to experience God’s perfect peace. No, this type of peace comes from a deep and lengthy time with God Himself. Friends, we cannot learn all that Christ has to teach us unless we take the necessary time to spend sitting at His feet. Through God, you learn that life is messy. Through Him, you learn that He controls all. And, if you rely on His wisdom, you will see that He is in the midst of all facets of your life. Know that He is always an umbrella when life and opposition bring inclement weather. Spending time in His presence strengthens your understanding that the world is a broken and misguided place and that you need to possess the lens of Christ in order to see through the falsehoods. So the next time you’re feeling down because life isn’t perfect, ask God to teach you how to sit in perfect peace.
What is stopping you from living in perfect peace?
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1Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.
2When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
3The man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but if he hangs around with prostitutes, his wealth is wasted.
4A just king gives stability to his nation, but one who demands bribes destroys it.
5To flatter friends is to lay a trap for their feet.
6Evil people are trapped by sin, but the righteous escape, shouting for joy.
7The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.
8Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but the wise will calm anger.
9If a wise person takes a fool to court, there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction.
10The bloodthirsty hate blameless people, but the upright seek to help them.
11Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.
12If a ruler pays attention to liars, all his advisers will be wicked.
13The poor and the oppressor have this in common— the LORD gives sight to the eyes of both.
14If a king judges the poor fairly, his throne will last forever.
15To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.
16When the wicked are in authority, sin flourishes, but the godly will live to see their downfall.
17Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.
18When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.
19Words alone will not discipline a servant; the words may be understood, but they are not heeded.
20There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.
21A servant pampered from childhood will become a rebel.
22An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.
23Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.
24If you assist a thief, you only hurt yourself. You are sworn to tell the truth, but you dare not testify.
25Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.
26Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice comes from the LORD .
27The righteous despise the unjust; the wicked despise the godly
“If God has set you free, don’t be dumb by continuing on with your broken lifestyle.”~TB
Through salvation, you are set free from the bondage that comes from the evils of the world, the devil, and your flesh. God does this so you can live in freedom, so don’t be dumb! But, what does that mean? When you walk with Christ, you begin to see the many dumb practices society pushes onto you. With this new clarity, you have a choice to abandon your old ways and adopt better behaviors. When you stay the course, you begin to crave discipline, hard work, kindness, and humility– all of the wonderful Christ-like traits that the Holy Spirit instills in you when you accept God’s highest gift. Friends, if you’ve received Christ, chose freedom, not freedumb.
If you don’t cultivate your relationship with God, the trappings of this world will consume because you were not careful. Friends, be discerning with what you consider to be freedom. Expensive things trap you in a cycle of debt. Toxic people trap you in a cycle of anguish and trouble. Drugs and bad substances trap you in a cycle of confusion and numbness. Envying your neighbor traps you in a cycle of anger and jealousy within your heart. These things do not set you free, they enslave you. Should you choose this modern slavery, connecting with God’s teaching becomes much more difficult. Avoid the traps and turn to Him. Walking with God helps you see the battlefield as it truly is. He shows you the landmines so that you may not become a casualty.
Do you understand the difference between freedom and freedumb?
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1A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction.
2Wise words will win you a good meal, but treacherous people have an appetite for violence.
3Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.
4Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.
5The godly hate lies; the wicked cause shame and disgrace.
6Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil are misled by sin.
7Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor.
8The rich can pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor won’t even get threatened.
9The life of the godly is full of light and joy, but the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
10Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.
11Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.
12Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.
13People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed.
14The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death.
15A person with good sense is respected; a treacherous person is headed for destruction.
16Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.
17An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing.
18If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored.
19It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them.
20Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.
21Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous.
22Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.
23A poor person’s farm may produce much food, but injustice sweeps it all away.
24Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
25The godly eat to their hearts’ content, but the belly of the wicked goes hungry.
“God isn’t interested in your formalities, your buildings, your ornaments, your performances, or your pandering. He’s interested in the motives of your heart.”~TB
Keep your religious spirit, your virtue-signaling goodness, and moral superiority to yourself. God wants none of it. You cry when religious buildings are destroyed, but you care not for the people He placed in your charge! What good is a building if the people are wicked? Friends, the church is not merely a place, it is within your heart. As He dwells within us, our actions, hearts, and minds must exude His presence. Putting on your Sunday best and turning up your nose at the “heathens” is not Biblical. Well, it is in the Bible, but those people paved the road to Hell.
It’s amazing how quickly the religious mobilize when their image is at stake. Let’s not worry about the exceedingly poor living conditions or the slave wages people are forced to accept. Why do you perform such blasphemous self-promoting acts in the name of God? How impactful is a mission if your actual neighbor is suffering? Truly, you must understand that your deeds are not for Him, they are for yourself. Every formality and hypocritical act performed is a mockery to God. Friends, the state of the world is in disarray! Because the nation has abandoned Him, He will abandon the nation. So cling tightly to your possessions and your neatly adorned items. They are all you have left and soon they too will abandon you.
What are the true motives in your heart?
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1O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying,
2for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
3stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us.
4We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders.
5For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children,
6so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children.
7So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.
8Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.
9The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and fled on the day of battle.
10They did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his instructions.
11They forgot what he had done— the great wonders he had shown them,
12the miracles he did for their ancestors on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.
13For he divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up like walls!
14In the daytime he led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire.
15He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a gushing spring.
16He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river!
17Yet they kept on sinning against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved.
19They even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food in the wilderness.
20Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.”
21When the LORD heard them, he was furious. The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, his anger rose against Israel,
22for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them.
23But he commanded the skies to open; he opened the doors of heaven.
24He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven.
25They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold.
26He released the east wind in the heavens and guided the south wind by his mighty power.
27He rained down meat as thick as dust— birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore!
28He caused the birds to fall within their camp and all around their tents.
29The people ate their fill. He gave them what they craved.
30But before they satisfied their craving, while the meat was yet in their mouths,
31the anger of God rose against them, and he killed their strongest men. He struck down the finest of Israel’s young men.
32But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him.
33So he ended their lives in failure, their years in terror.
34When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously.
35Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer.
36But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues.
37Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant.
38Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back his anger and did not unleash his fury!
39For he remembered that they were merely mortal, gone like a breath of wind that never returns.
40Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.
41Again and again they tested God’s patience and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42They did not remember his power and how he rescued them from their enemies.
43They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the plain of Zoan.
44For he turned their rivers into blood, so no one could drink from the streams.
45He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them and hordes of frogs to ruin them.
46He gave their crops to caterpillars; their harvest was consumed by locusts.
47He destroyed their grapevines with hail and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet.
48He abandoned their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning.
49He loosed on them his fierce anger— all his fury, rage, and hostility. He dispatched against them a band of destroying angels.
50He turned his anger against them; he did not spare the Egyptians’ lives but ravaged them with the plague.
51He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family, the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt.
52But he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely through the wilderness.
53He kept them safe so they were not afraid; but the sea covered their enemies.
54He brought them to the border of his holy land, to this land of hills he had won for them.
55He drove out the nations before them; he gave them their inheritance by lot. He settled the tribes of Israel into their homes.
56But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High. They did not obey his laws.
57They turned back and were as faithless as their parents. They were as undependable as a crooked bow.
58They angered God by building shrines to other gods; they made him jealous with their idols.
59When God heard them, he was very angry, and he completely rejected Israel.
60Then he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh, the Tabernacle where he had lived among the people.
61He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured; he surrendered his glory into enemy hands.
62He gave his people over to be butchered by the sword, because he was so angry with his own people—his special possession.
63Their young men were killed by fire; their young women died before singing their wedding songs.
64Their priests were slaughtered, and their widows could not mourn their deaths.
65Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep, like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor.
66He routed his enemies and sent them to eternal shame.
67But he rejected Joseph’s descendants; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
68He chose instead the tribe of Judah, and Mount Zion, which he loved.
69There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens, as solid and enduring as the earth.
70He chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens.
71He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants— God’s own people, Israel.
72He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.
“We have a society of people who think that they are connected, but they are not.” ~ Jon Barnes
There are so many options to choose from that causes us to move into separate directions and work in isolation than to come together and share.The devil’s job is to divide us to keep good people from working together.Wasting food and not giving it to the poor is an evil act.Making bad harmful products and selling them to people is another evil plot of waste and destruction. We must all use and develop better options.
Build better relationships that will last with love and not lust.Build better products that will last a lifetime with quality, not for quantity and greed.Conserve energy by building things right the first time to pass on to the next generation.Teach people the ways of God so that we can climb out of this mess and evil stress.We can do it if we connect.
What if God’s thoughts were like ours?Would the sun break down each year?How much would it cost us to send a mechanic to fix it?Would we all freeze to death in the meantime? And Yet, the cost of the Sun’s energy is FREE from GOD who provides all things to us, for us, and we are collectively not thankful for our free blessing of the Universe.We don’t even acknowledge that God has done all of the work.
Why are we this disconnected from God and how much more stupid can we get?
Enjoy The Reading
2 Chronicles 1
Solomon Asks for Wisdom
1 Solomon son of David took firm control of his kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him and made him very powerful.
2 Solomon called together all the leaders of Israel—the generals and captains of the army,[a]the judges, and all the political and clan leaders.3 Then he led the entire assembly to the place of worship in Gibeon, for God’s Tabernacle[b] was located there. (This was the Tabernacle that Moses, the Lord’s servant, had made in the wilderness.)
4 David had already moved the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the tent he had prepared for it in Jerusalem.5 But the bronze altar made by Bezalel son of Uri and grandson of Hur was there[c] at Gibeon in front of the Tabernacle of the Lord. So Solomon and the people gathered in front of it to consult the Lord.[d]6 There in front of the Tabernacle, Solomon went up to the bronze altar in the Lord’s presence and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings on it.
7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”
8 Solomon replied to God, “You showed great and faithful love to David, my father, and now you have made me king in his place.9 O Lord God, please continue to keep your promise to David my father, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth!10 Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly,[e] for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?”
11 God said to Solomon, “Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people—12 I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!”
13 Then Solomon returned to Jerusalem from the Tabernacle at the place of worship in Gibeon, and he reigned over Israel.
14 Solomon built up a huge force of chariots and horses.[f] He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities and some near him in Jerusalem.15 The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah.[g]16 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt[h] and from Cilicia[i]; the king’s traders acquired them from Cilicia at the standard price.17 At that time chariots from Egypt could be purchased for 600 pieces of silver,[j] and horses for 150 pieces of silver.[k] They were then exported to the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.
“Today is the best day ever because, our Love for each other Trumps all of the nonsense we face from our past, present and future; So tap into God’s BIG Love and let’s work together.” ~ Jon Barnes
Each day that I tap into God’s Love and spread it all around, I see the results of my true belief in Him with the honest effort of Love infecting others. We all are drawn into God’s mercy, power, and grace that taps into our loving lifestyle and kindness.
As we shed and practice our faith, I begin to peel off and shed dead skin with evil ideas and plans that would prevent me from serving God, being humble, honest, and helpful. We are given many helpful hints when we host God’s commandments and ways, harvesting and passing out the fruit of love with His Spirit. We shed ourselves, shed the process, and shed the love
Together we give, take, and spread the true message of hope, love, and peace that God gives us in our walk with Him. If you find yourself outside of the Shadow of the Almighty, step back inside the shade. We can do nothing without God.
Are you working with God and all people in love, unity, and respect: Do you value God’s Message?
Enjoy Today’s Reading.
5 Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.4 And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.
5 In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest.But God said to him,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”[a]
6 And he says in another place,
“You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”[b]
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heardbecause of his reverent submission.8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Warning Against Falling Away
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.14 But solid food is for the mature,who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.