Comfort Zone

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Thank God for tough times because it’s in those moments where we learn most about compassion.”~TB

Natural

Displaying empathy isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I have a great deal of it (I cried during the Back Draft fire simulation at Universal Studios because the thought of people in there was heartbreaking for me) internally, but it usually comes out as practical or logical advice to the issue rather than a listening ear. Fortunately for me, I had great examples of empathetic and loving people to model growing up. And even more fortunately, I’ve gone through some dark times where God’s compassion and mercy got me to the other side. These days, I’m so grateful for every harsh moment in my life, because in those tough times, my level of compassion for others— particularly those I don’t inherently relate to— has increased. I’ll give you an example.

Act of

Sometime last year, I was at a Starbucks getting some work done. A lady around my age was sitting with a toddler and a car seat. She was very much focused on the phone and kept scolding the child for not sitting still. I remember at the time, I was irritated by her callousness. Clearly frustrated she walked outside with the child and car seat in tow and sat at one of the tables. Soon after, this woman began to cry as her child was happily playing and none the wiser. In that moment, I felt the need to hand her some napkins, which is odd for me because I’m not one to get involved in emotional distress. As I handed her the napkins, I saw a surprised but grateful look on her face and I could hear a voice saying to give her a hug. On a side note, I’m not a hugger, especially when it comes to strangers.

Kindness

I ask the woman if I could give her a hug and she says yes. At this point, she’s bawling, explaining she missed an important job interview because her daycare fell through. Though I’ve never been in her shoes, I could relate to her feelings of frustration and helplessness. Even more out of character for me, I asked if I could pray for her and she said yes. After, I went back inside, perplexed at my behavior, but grateful to have been some kind of comfort to a person in need. As she left, she waved at me with a smile, and I just remember feeling a weird connection and sense of gratitude from the exchange.

Community

I’m not sharing this to get a pat on the back or claim some kind of super Christian status. No, I’m just a very human, human being, who more often than not puts her foot in her mouth. I say all of this to say that when you experience the compassion and comfort that God provides, especially in trying times, you can’t help but share that with your neighbor, even when it calls you to get out of your comfort zone. I started that encounter judging this woman on a quick moment in time that I did not understand. How arrogant! But God used the situation to provide kindness to one of His own. My point is, we will all have moments in life to share the gifts of mercy, grace, and compassion that Christ gives to us every single moment of every day. It’s not only helpful for the person in need, it’s as equally vital to you too. These moments allow us to truly understand what the Body of Christ is and how we all are instrumental to one another.

Today’s Question

Are you sharing the compassion and kindness that God gives you?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 33

1 What sorrow awaits you Assyrians, who have destroyed others but have never been destroyed yourselves. You betray others, but you have never been betrayed. When you are done destroying, you will be destroyed. When you are done betraying, you will be betrayed.
2 But LORD, be merciful to us, for we have waited for you. Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble.
3 The enemy runs at the sound of your voice. When you stand up, the nations flee!
4 Just as caterpillars and locusts strip the fields and vines, so the fallen army of Assyria will be stripped!
5 Though the LORD is very great and lives in heaven, he will make Jerusalem his home of justice and righteousness.
6 In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the LORD will be your treasure.
7 But now your brave warriors weep in public. Your ambassadors of peace cry in bitter disappointment.
8 Your roads are deserted; no one travels them anymore. The Assyrians have broken their peace treaty and care nothing for the promises they made before witnesses. They have no respect for anyone.
9 The land of Israel wilts in mourning. Lebanon withers with shame. The plain of Sharon is now a wilderness. Bashan and Carmel have been plundered.
10But the LORD says: “Now I will stand up. Now I will show my power and might.
11 You Assyrians produce nothing but dry grass and stubble. Your own breath will turn to fire and consume you.
12 Your people will be burned up completely, like thornbushes cut down and tossed in a fire.
13 Listen to what I have done, you nations far away! And you that are near, acknowledge my might!”
14 The sinners in Jerusalem shake with fear. Terror seizes the godless. “Who can live with this devouring fire?” they cry. “Who can survive this all-consuming fire?”
15 Those who are honest and fair, who refuse to profit by fraud, who stay far away from bribes, who refuse to listen to those who plot murder, who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong—
16 these are the ones who will dwell on high. The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress. Food will be supplied to them, and they will have water in abundance.
17 Your eyes will see the king in all his splendor, and you will see a land that stretches into the distance.
18 You will think back to this time of terror, asking, “Where are the Assyrian officers who counted our towers? Where are the bookkeepers who recorded the plunder taken from our fallen city?”
19 You will no longer see these fierce, violent people with their strange, unknown language.
20 Instead, you will see Zion as a place of holy festivals. You will see Jerusalem, a city quiet and secure. It will be like a tent whose ropes are taut and whose stakes are firmly fixed.
21 The LORD will be our Mighty One. He will be like a wide river of protection that no enemy can cross, that no enemy ship can sail upon.
22 For the LORD is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.
23 The enemies’ sails hang loose on broken masts with useless tackle. Their treasure will be divided by the people of God. Even the lame will take their share!
24 The people of Israel will no longer say, “We are sick and helpless,” for the LORD will forgive their sins

Contingent

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God’s love is not contingent on your behavior.”~TB

Not Earned

Salvation is not merit-based. Thank God— literally— as none of us would measure up. Still, even though we know this, many believe that God is waiting to love the ‘new and improved’ version of us. Like, if we could only sin less, be nicer to our neighbors, do more for the community, etc. then God would love us. No, God loves us in our stupor, our good moments, and the not so great ones. Part of growing with God is understanding how immeasurable His love is. That way we stop trying to attain it and recognize that His love is already ours.

 

Unconditional

Being unconditionally loved is a near impossible concept for many, which is why we mistake God’s unconditional love for the warped perception that we may have. Sure, parents get pretty close to it, but even still, God’s love is greater. If you’re able to glean how He loves us and sees us, only then can you begin to move in His ways and teachings. Like Jesus on Earth, He sat with everyone and judged no one. Granted we all fall short of this mark, but experiencing His grace when we do fall, is a wonderful thing. So the next time you’re trying to be a Super Christian— sinless and perfect— remember that God’s love is eternal and unconditional. The best way we can mirror this is to try and pass on that same love and grace to one another.

Today’s Question

Why are you overcompensating for something that is already yours?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 8

1 Then the LORD said to me, “Make a large signboard and clearly write this name on it: Maher-shalal-hash-baz. ”
2 I asked Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah, both known as honest men, to witness my doing this.
3 Then I slept with my wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said, “Call him Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
4 For before this child is old enough to say ‘Papa’ or ‘Mama,’ the king of Assyria will carry away both the abundance of Damascus and the riches of Samaria.”
5 Then the LORD spoke to me again and said,
6 “My care for the people of Judah is like the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, but they have rejected it. They are rejoicing over what will happen to King Rezin and King Pekah.
7Therefore, the Lord will overwhelm them with a mighty flood from the Euphrates River —the king of Assyria and all his glory. This flood will overflow all its channels
8 and sweep into Judah until it is chin deep. It will spread its wings, submerging your land from one end to the other, O Immanuel.
9 “Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified. Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed!
10 Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless. Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed. For God is with us! ”
11 The LORD has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said,
12 “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.
13 Make the LORD of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble.
14 He will keep you safe. But to Israel and Judah he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.
15 Many will stumble and fall, never to rise again. They will be snared and captured.”
16 Preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow me.
17 I will wait for the LORD, who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in him.
18 I and the children the LORD has given me serve as signs and warnings to Israel from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies who dwells in his Temple on Mount Zion.
19 Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead?
20 Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark.
21 They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven
22 and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.

Respect God

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Respecting God is a measure of quality you place on your personal relationship, walk, faith, work, and love for your Father God!” ~ Jon Barnes

Refuse

You have known the commandments of God for some time now and you still play games and disrespect the call for your life, the work you must do, along with the honesty and integrity that you lack. You simply refuse to quit your sin and you make up stories as to how God will continue to forgive you, in your habitual lies. The devil is a master of this game, the father of lies, and you are his child when you disrespect and ignore God’s warnings.

Refusal

Refusal can be very subtle, easy, and off focus so that your vision is blurred, speech is slurred, hearing is dull, taste buds are weak, and your feelings are numb, which is how disobedience grows like a weed in your heart. Your confused mind fall into a deep black hole of denial, delayed, and destructive behaviors, which slowly hardens your heart. God’s respectable lifestyle is nowhere to be found in your life, work, or existence, just fake movements of bla, bla, bla.

Refute

When your lifestyle denies and contradicts the Word of God, you are at war with yourself, God and other good people, since you have changed your mind to live and fight on the other side of justice with the devil.  Your evil, wicked ways, and disobedience are
like witchcraft, casting spells onto people with your lust, lies, greed, deception, and sinfulness. You reject God with a mask and costume as if you can hide from God.
Today’s Question
When you respect God with all of your heart, are you happy and content to love, hear, obey, and share the movements of God with people in your life or are you still in party mode?
Enjoy The Reading

Deuteronomy 5

Ten Commandments for the Covenant Community

Moses called all the people of Israel together and said, “Listen carefully, Israel. Hear the decrees and regulations I am giving you today, so you may learn them and obey them!
“The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Mount Sinai.[a] The Lord did not make this covenant with our ancestors, but with all of us who are alive today. At the mountain the Lordspoke to you face to face from the heart of the fire. I stood as an intermediary between you and the Lord, for you were afraid of the fire and did not want to approach the mountain. He spoke to me, and I passed his words on to you. This is what he said:
“I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
“You must not have any other god but me.
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 10 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those[b] who love me and obey my commands.
11 “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.13 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your oxen and donkeys and other livestock, and any foreigners living among you. All your male and female servants must rest as you do. 15 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day.
16 “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
17 “You must not murder.
18 “You must not commit adultery.
19 “You must not steal.
20 “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
21 “You must not covet your neighbor’s wife. You must not covet your neighbor’s house or land, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
22 “The Lord spoke these words to all of you assembled there at the foot of the mountain. He spoke with a loud voice from the heart of the fire, surrounded by clouds and deep darkness. This was all he said at that time, and he wrote his words on two stone tablets and gave them to me.
23 “But when you heard the voice from the heart of the darkness, while the mountain was blazing with fire, all your tribal leaders and elders came to me. 24 They said, ‘Look, the Lordour God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice from the heart of the fire. Today we have seen that God can speak to us humans, and yet we live! 25 But now, why should we risk death again? If the Lord our God speaks to us again, we will certainly die and be consumed by this awesome fire. 26 Can any living thing hear the voice of the living God from the heart of the fire as we did and yet survive? 27 Go yourself and listen to what the Lord our God says. Then come and tell us everything he tells you, and we will listen and obey.’
28 “The Lord heard the request you made to me. And he said, ‘I have heard what the people said to you, and they are right. 29 Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever. 30 Go and tell them, “Return to your tents.” 31 But you stand here with me so I can give you all my commands, decrees, and regulations. You must teach them to the people so they can obey them in the land I am giving them as their possession.’”
32 So Moses told the people, “You must be careful to obey all the commands of the Lord your God, following his instructions in every detail. 33 Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.

Love,

Jonathan

Offering

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“As a parent, you now know the big picture and job description of providing for your infant child, who is helpless, homeless, hungry, dirty, and needy, as they can offer you nothing in return that you don’t already have.” ~ Jon Barnes

Everything

Now you know God’s Big Picture and job description that only God can have as our Heavenly Father, who has given us everything, far greater than we can comprehend, articulate, say, and see. Sacrifice your own free will and choices to God and he’ll give you the true desires of your heart, because your lifestyle will be Heaven Bound, lacking in nothing, matching the will of God’s ways, mercy, grace, and works of faith.

Baby

What kind of baby are you? Do you cry, complain, eat, and sleep all day or do you give love, thanks giving, and joy from your heart, because that is all you have to give your loving father? As a parent you understand the job and function of the offering, the sacrifice of your free will God gives you so that you freely give your free will of Love back to Him.

Exchange

The exchange rate is not fair because a good parent can give all that He has for all of His Children, yet many will become disobedient, evil, spiteful, hateful, and dishonest, full of pride, greed, and sin, just like the devil. The exchange rate can never be equal, fair, or comprehensible because God’s Love is That Rich, that you are completely blind by its magnitude.

Today’s Question

Are you still a Baby or will you start chewing on the meat of truth to learn more about God’s provision and love?
Enjoy The Reading

Leviticus 10

The Sin of Nadab and Abihu

10 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu put coals of fire in their incense burners and sprinkled incense over them. In this way, they disobeyed the Lord by burning before him the wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded. So fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and burned them up, and they died there before the Lord.
Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when he said,
‘I will display my holiness
    through those who come near me.
I will display my glory
    before all the people.’”
And Aaron was silent.
Then Moses called for Mishael and Elzaphan, Aaron’s cousins, the sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel. He said to them, “Come forward and carry away the bodies of your relatives from in front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.” So they came forward and picked them up by their garments and carried them out of the camp, just as Moses had commanded.
Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not show grief by leaving your hair uncombed[a] or by tearing your clothes. If you do, you will die, and the Lord’s anger will strike the whole community of Israel. However, the rest of the Israelites, your relatives, may mourn because of the Lord’s fiery destruction of Nadab and Abihu. But you must not leave the entrance of the Tabernacle[b] or you will die, for you have been anointed with the Lord’s anointing oil.” So they did as Moses commanded.

Instructions for Priestly Conduct

Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You and your descendants must never drink wine or any other alcoholic drink before going into the Tabernacle. If you do, you will die. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation. 10 You must distinguish between what is sacred and what is common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean. 11 And you must teach the Israelites all the decrees that the Lord has given them through Moses.”
12 Then Moses said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take what is left of the grain offering after a portion has been presented as a special gift to the Lord, and eat it beside the altar. Make sure it contains no yeast, for it is most holy. 13 You must eat it in a sacred place, for it has been given to you and your descendants as your portion of the special gifts presented to the Lord. These are the commands I have been given. 14 But the breast and thigh that were lifted up as a special offering may be eaten in any place that is ceremonially clean. These parts have been given to you and your descendants as your portion of the peace offerings presented by the people of Israel. 15 You must lift up the thigh and breast as a special offering to the Lord, along with the fat of the special gifts. These parts will belong to you and your descendants as your permanent right, just as the Lord has commanded.”
16 Moses then asked them what had happened to the goat of the sin offering. When he discovered it had been burned up, he became very angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons. 17 “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the sacred area?” he demanded. “It is a holy offering! The Lord has given it to you to remove the guilt of the community and to purify the people, making them right with the Lord.[c] 18 Since the animal’s blood was not brought into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the meat in the sacred area as I ordered you.”
19 Then Aaron answered Moses, “Today my sons presented both their sin offering and their burnt offering to the Lord. And yet this tragedy has happened to me. If I had eaten the people’s sin offering on such a tragic day as this, would the Lordhave been pleased?” 20 And when Moses heard this, he was satisfied.
Love,
Jonathan