“Do no underestimate (or mistake) the power of God’s will.”
Imagine being powerful and almighty enough to know what happens even when mankind has the choice of free will. Only God knows the ending, and despite that, He gave us the choice to follow Him. It’s humbling when you sit and think about it for a moment.
The ending has been written and it’s set in stone. Luckily for us, we all have the choice and free will to decide where we want to be when we checkout. Friends, rejoice in the truth of choice because God loved us enough to make our own decisions. So with that, we must own our choice.
Do you know the Truth, or do you want to be absolved of your choices?
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1 Then the LORD gave these instructions to Moses: 2 “Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. 3 Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ 4 And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD !” So the Israelites camped there as they were told. 5 When word reached the king of Egypt that the Israelites had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds. “What have we done, letting all those Israelite slaves get away?” they asked. 6 So Pharaoh harnessed his chariot and called up his troops. 7 He took with him 600 of Egypt’s best chariots, along with the rest of the chariots of Egypt, each with its commander. 8 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, so he chased after the people of Israel, who had left with fists raised in defiance. 9 The Egyptians chased after them with all the forces in Pharaoh’s army—all his horses and chariots, his charioteers, and his troops. The Egyptians caught up with the people of Israel as they were camped beside the shore near Pi-hahiroth, across from Baal-zephon. 10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the LORD, 11 and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? 12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” 13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” 15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! 16 Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will charge in after the Israelites. My great glory will be displayed through Pharaoh and his troops, his chariots, and his charioteers. 18 When my glory is displayed through them, all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the LORD !” 19 Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them. 20 The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. But the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night. 21 Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the LORD opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. 22 So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side! 23 Then the Egyptians—all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers—chased them into the middle of the sea. 24 But just before dawn the LORD looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw their forces into total confusion. 25 He twisted their chariot wheels, making their chariots difficult to drive. “Let’s get out of here—away from these Israelites!” the Egyptians shouted. “The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt!” 26 When all the Israelites had reached the other side, the LORD said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back and cover the Egyptians and their chariots and charioteers.” 27 So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the LORD swept them into the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers—the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived. 29 But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides. 30 That is how the LORD rescued Israel from the hand of the Egyptians that day. And the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore. 31 When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the LORD and in his servant Moses.
“When you do things in honest pure Christ-like love, let it cut off from there.
God knows the motives of our hearts, so there is no need for us to placate or broadcasts our good deeds. Love others the way God loves us, expecting nothing in return. If you need a receipt for your love, surely it is not love at all.
Forgiveness does not require acknowledgment from the other party, nor does it result in a perfect resolution every time. However, when we do our part, cutting off our egos and pride, God does His part and forgives us of our debts.
Is your fake love cutting you off from God’s real love?
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1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pay close attention to this. I will make you seem like God to Pharaoh, and your brother, Aaron, will be your prophet. 2 Tell Aaron everything I command you, and Aaron must command Pharaoh to let the people of Israel leave his country. 3 But I will make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 Even then Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. So I will bring down my fist on Egypt. Then I will rescue my forces—my people, the Israelites—from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. 5 When I raise my powerful hand and bring out the Israelites, the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD .” 6 So Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded them. 7 Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three when they made their demands to Pharaoh. 8 Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “Pharaoh will demand, ‘Show me a miracle.’ When he does this, say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh, and it will become a serpent. ’” 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what the LORD had commanded them. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent! 11 Then Pharaoh called in his own wise men and sorcerers, and these Egyptian magicians did the same thing with their magic. 12 They threw down their staffs, which also became serpents! But then Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Pharaoh’s heart, however, remained hard. He still refused to listen, just as the LORD had predicted. 14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn, and he still refuses to let the people go. 15 So go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes down to the river. Stand on the bank of the Nile and meet him there. Be sure to take along the staff that turned into a snake. 16 Then announce to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you, “Let my people go, so they can worship me in the wilderness.” Until now, you have refused to listen to him. 17 So this is what the LORD says: “I will show you that I am the LORD .” Look! I will strike the water of the Nile with this staff in my hand, and the river will turn to blood. 18 The fish in it will die, and the river will stink. The Egyptians will not be able to drink any water from the Nile.’” 19 Then the LORD said to Moses: “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and raise your hand over the waters of Egypt—all its rivers, canals, ponds, and all the reservoirs. Turn all the water to blood. Everywhere in Egypt the water will turn to blood, even the water stored in wooden bowls and stone pots.’” 20 So Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD commanded them. As Pharaoh and all of his officials watched, Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile. Suddenly, the whole river turned to blood! 21 The fish in the river died, and the water became so foul that the Egyptians couldn’t drink it. There was blood everywhere throughout the land of Egypt. 22 But again the magicians of Egypt used their magic, and they, too, turned water into blood. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had predicted. 23 Pharaoh returned to his palace and put the whole thing out of his mind. 24 Then all the Egyptians dug along the riverbank to find drinking water, for they couldn’t drink the water from the Nile. 25 Seven days passed from the time the LORD struck the Nile.
We live in a world that wrongfully teaches people that we are ultimately in control of our lives. Granted, we have the free will to follow any and all directions. But friends, there is one direction that leads to the ultimate destination, and that requires us to put Christ in the driver’s seat of our lives.
When you move by faith, you will ultimately learn that God’s plan for your life far supersedes anything you could dream up for yourself. This is because He knows more than you or I will ever be able to contend with. Whatever is stopping you from being led, let it go. With God’s direction, you’ll get to the eternal destination.
Are you giving up the driver’s seat or do you believe your destination is better than God’s?
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1 “Come, let us return to the LORD . He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. 2 In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. 3 Oh, that we might know the LORD ! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” 4 “O Israel and Judah, what should I do with you?” asks the LORD . “For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight. 5 I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces— to slaughter you with my words, with judgments as inescapable as light. 6 I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. 7 But like Adam, you broke my covenant and betrayed my trust. 8 “Gilead is a city of sinners, tracked with footprints of blood. 9 Priests form bands of robbers, waiting in ambush for their victims. They murder travelers along the road to Shechem and practice every kind of sin. 10 Yes, I have seen something horrible in Ephraim and Israel: My people are defiled by prostituting themselves with other gods! 11 “O Judah, a harvest of punishment is also waiting for you, though I wanted to restore the fortunes of my people.
“In order to be free of what consumes you, you must starve it out.”
Sin doesn’t just go away by praying to God to remove it from your life. No, you must do the work to actively stop the practice of immoral behavior. More to the point, just because it isn’t easy does not mean God gave you free license to live in a particular sin. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you ‘tried’ means that you get a pass. Remember that God alone knows the true motives of our hearts.
Sin is a symptom of a greater issue. It’s the external evidence of an internal problem. For this reason, just merely abstaining from the act does not change the real issue. Sure, you may go for some time without the deed, but if the problem is just tamped down, eventually you will fall back into old patterns. So whether you’re struggling from lust, pride, anger, jealousy, or any other affliction, if you’re truly looking for the answer, you must come to God correctly, by asking Him to reveal what ails you.
Remember that sin is the act of fulfilling a need that only God can. It will never provide you with the peace you’re truly after. Instead of asking God to remove the behavior, humbly submit to Him and ask the honest questions. Ask Him to reveal the true nature of your behavior. Ask Him to show you what ails you. Reflect on the Word to better understand the needs of God’s children. As he reveals to you what these issues are, ask for direction. By doing the deep work, God will honor your resolve by imparting the wisdom necessary to break away from sinful behaviors by strengthening your relationship with Him
Are you ready to draw closer to God to change your ways?
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1 Then the LORD said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the LORD still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them. ” 2 So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine. 3 Then I said to her, “You must live in my house for many days and stop your prostitution. During this time, you will not have sexual relations with anyone, not even with me. ” 4 This shows that Israel will go a long time without a king or prince, and without sacrifices, sacred pillars, priests, or even idols! 5 But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the LORD their God and to David’s descendant, their king. In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the LORD and of his goodness.
We are a product of God’s design. That’s neither good nor bad, it just is. As such, it is vital to understand His unique purpose for you. Continue to build your personal relationship with Him so that you can understand what is and what isn’t.
Freewill isn’t proof that God isn’t. In fact, it’s proof that God is. Quiet the noise around you and study how the world works and how the people under its sway operate. In time you will see the fingerprints of the opposition all over this sin-fallen world.
Understand the choice you make determining if God is or God isn’t. Further, understand that your choice still doesn’t change what is. What it does determine, however, the impact of your account when it’s time to give it. Then you will truly know who God is.
Do you know?
1 On April 28, during the twenty-fifth year of our captivity—fourteen years after the fall of Jerusalem—the LORD took hold of me. 2 In a vision from God he took me to the land of Israel and set me down on a very high mountain. From there I could see toward the south what appeared to be a city. 3 As he brought me nearer, I saw a man whose face shone like bronze standing beside a gateway entrance. He was holding in his hand a linen measuring cord and a measuring rod. 4 He said to me, “Son of man, watch and listen. Pay close attention to everything I show you. You have been brought here so I can show you many things. Then you will return to the people of Israel and tell them everything you have seen.” 5 I could see a wall completely surrounding the Temple area. The man took a measuring rod that was 10 feet long and measured the wall, and the wall was 10 feet thick and 10 feet high. 6 Then he went over to the eastern gateway. He climbed the steps and measured the threshold of the gateway; it was 10 feet front to back. 7 There were guard alcoves on each side built into the gateway passage. Each of these alcoves was 10 feet square, with a distance between them of 8 feet along the passage wall. The gateway’s inner threshold, which led to the entry room at the inner end of the gateway passage, was 10 feet front to back. 8 He also measured the entry room of the gateway. 9 It was 14 feet across, with supporting columns 3 feet thick. This entry room was at the inner end of the gateway structure, facing toward the Temple. 10 There were three guard alcoves on each side of the gateway passage. Each had the same measurements, and the dividing walls separating them were also identical. 11 The man measured the gateway entrance, which was 17 feet wide at the opening and 22 feet wide in the gateway passage. 12 In front of each of the guard alcoves was a 21-inch curb. The alcoves themselves were 10 feet on each side. 13 Then he measured the entire width of the gateway, measuring the distance between the back walls of facing guard alcoves; this distance was 43 feet. 14 He measured the dividing walls all along the inside of the gateway up to the entry room of the gateway; this distance was 105 feet. 15 The full length of the gateway passage was 87 feet from one end to the other. 16 There were recessed windows that narrowed inward through the walls of the guard alcoves and their dividing walls. There were also windows in the entry room. The surfaces of the dividing walls were decorated with carved palm trees. 17 Then the man brought me through the gateway into the outer courtyard of the Temple. A stone pavement ran along the walls of the courtyard, and thirty rooms were built against the walls, opening onto the pavement. 18 This pavement flanked the gates and extended out from the walls into the courtyard the same distance as the gateway entrance. This was the lower pavement. 19 Then the man measured across the Temple’s outer courtyard between the outer and inner gateways; the distance was 175 feet. 20 The man measured the gateway on the north just like the one on the east. 21 Here, too, there were three guard alcoves on each side, with dividing walls and an entry room. All the measurements matched those of the east gateway. The gateway passage was 87 feet long and 43 feet wide between the back walls of facing guard alcoves. 22 The windows, the entry room, and the palm tree decorations were identical to those in the east gateway. There were seven steps leading up to the gateway entrance, and the entry room was at the inner end of the gateway passage. 23 Here on the north side, just as on the east, there was another gateway leading to the Temple’s inner courtyard directly opposite this outer gateway. The distance between the two gateways was 175 feet. 24 Then the man took me around to the south gateway and measured its various parts, and they were exactly the same as in the others. 25 It had windows along the walls as the others did, and there was an entry room where the gateway passage opened into the outer courtyard. And like the others, the gateway passage was 87 feet long and 43 feet wide between the back walls of facing guard alcoves. 26 This gateway also had a stairway of seven steps leading up to it, and an entry room at the inner end, and palm tree decorations along the dividing walls. 27 And here again, directly opposite the outer gateway, was another gateway that led into the inner courtyard. The distance between the two gateways was 175 feet. 28 Then the man took me to the south gateway leading into the inner courtyard. He measured it, and it had the same measurements as the other gateways. 29 Its guard alcoves, dividing walls, and entry room were the same size as those in the others. It also had windows along its walls and in the entry room. And like the others, the gateway passage was 87 feet long and 43 feet wide. 30 (The entry rooms of the gateways leading into the inner courtyard were 14 feet across and 43 feet wide.) 31 The entry room to the south gateway faced into the outer courtyard. It had palm tree decorations on its columns, and there were eight steps leading to its entrance. 32 Then he took me to the east gateway leading to the inner courtyard. He measured it, and it had the same measurements as the other gateways. 33 Its guard alcoves, dividing walls, and entry room were the same size as those of the others, and there were windows along the walls and in the entry room. The gateway passage measured 87 feet long and 43 feet wide. 34 Its entry room faced into the outer courtyard. It had palm tree decorations on its columns, and there were eight steps leading to its entrance. 35 Then he took me around to the north gateway leading to the inner courtyard. He measured it, and it had the same measurements as the other gateways. 36 The guard alcoves, dividing walls, and entry room of this gateway had the same measurements as in the others and the same window arrangements. The gateway passage measured 87 feet long and 43 feet wide. 37 Its entry room faced into the outer courtyard, and it had palm tree decorations on the columns. There were eight steps leading to its entrance. 38 A door led from the entry room of one of the inner gateways into a side room, where the meat for sacrifices was washed. 39 On each side of this entry room were two tables, where the sacrificial animals were slaughtered for the burnt offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings. 40 Outside the entry room, on each side of the stairs going up to the north entrance, were two more tables. 41 So there were eight tables in all—four inside and four outside—where the sacrifices were cut up and prepared. 42 There were also four tables of finished stone for preparation of the burnt offerings, each 31 inches square and 21 inches high. On these tables were placed the butchering knives and other implements for slaughtering the sacrificial animals. 43 There were hooks, each 3 inches long, fastened all around the foyer walls. The sacrificial meat was laid on the tables. 44 Inside the inner courtyard were two rooms, one beside the north gateway, facing south, and the other beside the south gateway, facing north. 45 And the man said to me, “The room beside the north inner gate is for the priests who supervise the Temple maintenance. 46 The room beside the south inner gate is for the priests in charge of the altar—the descendants of Zadok—for they alone of all the Levites may approach the LORD to minister to him.” 47 Then the man measured the inner courtyard, and it was a square, 175 feet wide and 175 feet across. The altar stood in the courtyard in front of the Temple. 48 Then he brought me to the entry room of the Temple. He measured the walls on either side of the opening to the entry room, and they were 8 feet thick. The entrance itself was 24 feet wide, and the walls on each side of the entrance were an additional 5 feet long. 49 The entry room was 35 feet wide and 21 feet deep. There were ten steps leading up to it, with a column on each side.
“Slow down and talk with God to see that ultimately it is He who provides for you.”
Building a life without Christ is like trying to fill a black hole– you simply can’t. Sure, you can make a lot of money, have tons of lovers, drink and imbibe every carnal activity out there, but there will always be a void. You can indulge in every pleasurable thing, constantly having to increase the dosage because you build up a tolerance, but all that happens is that you prolong the inevitable– emptiness. You could be the most perfect secular human being and will still come up short. Why? Because without Christ, we have nothing.
Context is vitally important for man to understand our place in this life. The world teaches us that by our own will, things can be done. Friends, that is not so! The fundamental truth is that God created us. By His design a connection to Him is integral to our wellbeing. But instead, many of us try and fill the divine purpose of Christ with busyness, distraction, gluttony, lust, or whichever vice holds your gaze. Until you give up your worldly master, you will never truly be fulfilled. Until you stop entertaining the smoke and mirrors of the world, confusion will be your best friend. God desires peace and harmony for all of us. In order for us to attain it, we must want to seek the One who can provide all things for us– Christ.
Are going to avoid the One who can fill the void?
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1 On January 7, during the tenth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, turn and face Egypt and prophesy against Pharaoh the king and all the people of Egypt. 3 Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : “I am your enemy, O Pharaoh, king of Egypt— you great monster, lurking in the streams of the Nile. For you have said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it for myself.’ 4 I will put hooks in your jaws and drag you out on the land with fish sticking to your scales. 5 I will leave you and all your fish stranded in the wilderness to die. You will lie unburied on the open ground, for I have given you as food to the wild animals and birds. 6 All the people of Egypt will know that I am the LORD, for to Israel you were just a staff made of reeds. 7 When Israel leaned on you, you splintered and broke and stabbed her in the armpit. When she put her weight on you, you collapsed, and her legs gave way. 8 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will bring an army against you, O Egypt, and destroy both people and animals. 9 The land of Egypt will become a desolate wasteland, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD . “Because you said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it,’ 10 I am now the enemy of both you and your river. I will make the land of Egypt a totally desolate wasteland, from Migdol to Aswan, as far south as the border of Ethiopia. 11 For forty years not a soul will pass that way, neither people nor animals. It will be completely uninhabited. 12 I will make Egypt desolate, and it will be surrounded by other desolate nations. Its cities will be empty and desolate for forty years, surrounded by other ruined cities. I will scatter the Egyptians to distant lands. 13 “But this is what the Sovereign LORD also says: At the end of the forty years I will bring the Egyptians home again from the nations to which they have been scattered. 14 I will restore the prosperity of Egypt and bring its people back to the land of Pathros in southern Egypt from which they came. But Egypt will remain an unimportant, minor kingdom. 15 It will be the lowliest of all the nations, never again great enough to rise above its neighbors. 16 “Then Israel will no longer be tempted to trust in Egypt for help. Egypt’s shattered condition will remind Israel of how sinful she was to trust Egypt in earlier days. Then Israel will know that I am the Sovereign LORD .” 17 On April 26, the first day of the new year, during the twenty-seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 18 “Son of man, the army of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon fought so hard against Tyre that the warriors’ heads were rubbed bare and their shoulders were raw and blistered. Yet Nebuchadnezzar and his army won no plunder to compensate them for all their work. 19 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He will carry off its wealth, plundering everything it has so he can pay his army. 20 Yes, I have given him the land of Egypt as a reward for his work, says the Sovereign LORD, because he was working for me when he destroyed Tyre. 21 “And the day will come when I will cause the ancient glory of Israel to revive, and then, Ezekiel, your words will be respected. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”
“God will be as near or far as you want Him to be.”
God gave each of us the free will to make the decisions for our lives. Some may choose to have a relationship with Him and some may deny His sovereignty, but the Truth remains, it’s our choice to seek God. If you want a life without God, He will allow it. If you desire to walk with Him, He will allow that also.
No matter your choice, God is true to His word. If you come before Him with a humble heart, He will welcome you into His flock. Even if you’ve wandered out into the wilderness, if you call out, He will answer. Even in the seasons where you can’t seem to find Him, He’s right there. That’s because God never leaves, we do. We leave when we follow our fleshly desires. We leave when we put ourselves above Christ. Fortunately for us, God is only one repentant call away.
Did you know God’s place in your life is your choice?
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1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, turn and face Jerusalem and prophesy against Israel and her sanctuaries. 3 Tell her, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am your enemy, O Israel, and I am about to unsheath my sword to destroy your people—the righteous and the wicked alike. 4 Yes, I will cut off both the righteous and the wicked! I will draw my sword against everyone in the land from south to north. 5 Everyone in the world will know that I am the LORD . My sword is in my hand, and it will not return to its sheath until its work is finished.’ 6 “Son of man, groan before the people! Groan before them with bitter anguish and a broken heart. 7 When they ask why you are groaning, tell them, ‘I groan because of the terrifying news I have heard. When it comes true, the boldest heart will melt with fear; all strength will disappear. Every spirit will faint; strong knees will become as weak as water. And the Sovereign LORD says: It is coming! It’s on its way!’” 8 Then the LORD said to me, 9 “Son of man, give the people this message from the Lord: “A sword, a sword is being sharpened and polished. 10 It is sharpened for terrible slaughter and polished to flash like lightning! Now will you laugh? Those far stronger than you have fallen beneath its power! 11 Yes, the sword is now being sharpened and polished; it is being prepared for the executioner. 12 “Son of man, cry out and wail; pound your thighs in anguish, for that sword will slaughter my people and their leaders— everyone will die! 13 It will put them all to the test. What chance do they have? says the Sovereign LORD . 14 “Son of man, prophesy to them and clap your hands. Then take the sword and brandish it twice, even three times, to symbolize the great massacre, the great massacre facing them on every side. 15 Let their hearts melt with terror, for the sword glitters at every gate. It flashes like lightning and is polished for slaughter! 16 O sword, slash to the right, then slash to the left, wherever you will, wherever you want. 17 I, too, will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury. I, the LORD, have spoken!” 18 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 19 “Son of man, make a map and trace two routes on it for the sword of Babylon’s king to follow. Put a signpost on the road that comes out of Babylon where the road forks into two— 20 one road going to Ammon and its capital, Rabbah, and the other to Judah and fortified Jerusalem. 21 The king of Babylon now stands at the fork, uncertain whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah. He calls his magicians to look for omens. They cast lots by shaking arrows from the quiver. They inspect the livers of animal sacrifices. 22 The omen in his right hand says, ‘Jerusalem!’ With battering rams his soldiers will go against the gates, shouting for the kill. They will put up siege towers and build ramps against the walls. 23 The people of Jerusalem will think it is a false omen, because of their treaty with the Babylonians. But the king of Babylon will remind the people of their rebellion. Then he will attack and capture them. 24 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Again and again you remind me of your sin and your guilt. You don’t even try to hide it! In everything you do, your sins are obvious for all to see. So now the time of your punishment has come! 25 “O you corrupt and wicked prince of Israel, your final day of reckoning is here! 26 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “Take off your jeweled crown, for the old order changes. Now the lowly will be exalted, and the mighty will be brought down. 27 Destruction! Destruction! I will surely destroy the kingdom. And it will not be restored until the one appears who has the right to judge it. Then I will hand it over to him. 28 “And now, son of man, prophesy concerning the Ammonites and their mockery. Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : “A sword, a sword is drawn for your slaughter. It is polished to destroy, flashing like lightning! 29 Your prophets have given false visions, and your fortune-tellers have told lies. The sword will fall on the necks of the wicked for whom the day of final reckoning has come. 30 “Now return the sword to its sheath, for in your own country, the land of your birth, I will pass judgment upon you. 31 I will pour out my fury on you and blow on you with the fire of my anger. I will hand you over to cruel men who are skilled in destruction. 32 You will be fuel for the fire, and your blood will be spilled in your own land. You will be utterly wiped out, your memory lost to history, for I, the LORD, have spoken!”
“Wisdom from Christ comes from application and time.”
Today I helped my dad stain his fence. We were using an experimental method of which he was casually staining the fence. And by casual, I mean it was less than perfect. When I asked him why, he said it was ‘good enough’ and when the fence dries, it’ll look great. And, a second coat would fix it in the end. Now, as a child, my father instilled within me the importance of great work and doing the job well. So to see him change his stance was surprising to, say the least. Perplexed, I picked up the brush and began working. After a while, I realized that the evolution of my dad’s method reminded me of the old testament and new.
In the beginning, we had laws and rigid practices. Just like perfect behavior, it was unattainable. When Jesus came onto the scene and died for our sins, God gave us our second chance. Now, we are required to accept salvation. We don’t have to be perfect, we just have to show up. What a profound gift! Christ gets us to the finish line, not our deeds. As I worked on the fence, I had to laugh at myself and the strange behaviors of man. We tend to get stuck in performative actions, trying to achieve perfection, whether it’s in our jobs, our looks, our family, etc. The truth is, perfection is impossible. I’ve observed that if you walk with God as you age, you begin to see His wisdom at work, allowing you to lighten up and accept his gift. When you allow God to give you the ‘second coat’ of salvation, your efforts become more humble, honest, and intentional.
Are you aged in Christ-like wisdom or in man-driven pride?
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1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, how does a grapevine compare to a tree? Is a vine’s wood as useful as the wood of a tree? 3 Can its wood be used for making things, like pegs to hang up pots and pans? 4 No, it can only be used for fuel, and even as fuel, it burns too quickly. 5 Vines are useless both before and after being put into the fire! 6 “And this is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Jerusalem are like grapevines growing among the trees of the forest. Since they are useless, I have thrown them on the fire to be burned. 7 And I will see to it that if they escape from one fire, they will fall into another. When I turn against them, you will know that I am the LORD . 8 And I will make the land desolate because my people have been unfaithful to me. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”
“Building a relationship with God is a worthy labor that pays more dividends than all of the stocks combined.”
When God is the priority in your life, your path becomes clearer as you work to get your affairs in order. Because He knows all and you’ve done the work to connect with the Holy Spirit, your footsteps are directed to the objectives God has for you.
Building that relationship is a labor because we all have a choice. We must deny our flesh-driven desires, turn our eyes above, and work to know our maker. Friends, that is a daily labor as we are painfully human and require consistent and continuous effort to do what is right. Thank God for forgiveness and everlasting love.
To know God is to know Truth and the world goes against that truth. The world will lead you on a carnal path destined for destruction. Spending time with God allows you to discern the real from the fake; Good from evil. Learn to find joy in walking with Christ as He delights in those who seek Him.
Are you doing the labor to know God?
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1 Then the LORD thundered, “Bring on the men appointed to punish the city! Tell them to bring their weapons with them!” 2 Six men soon appeared from the upper gate that faces north, each carrying a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man dressed in linen, who carried a writer’s case at his side. They all went into the Temple courtyard and stood beside the bronze altar. 3 Then the glory of the God of Israel rose up from between the cherubim, where it had rested, and moved to the entrance of the Temple. And the LORD called to the man dressed in linen who was carrying the writer’s case. 4 He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.” 5 Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! 6 Kill them all—old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders. 7 “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with corpses. Go!” So they went and began killing throughout the city. 8 While they were out killing, I was all alone. I fell face down on the ground and cried out, “O Sovereign LORD ! Will your fury against Jerusalem wipe out everyone left in Israel?” 9 Then he said to me, “The sins of the people of Israel and Judah are very, very great. The entire land is full of murder; the city is filled with injustice. They are saying, ‘The LORD doesn’t see it! The LORD has abandoned the land!’ 10 So I will not spare them or have any pity on them. I will fully repay them for all they have done.” 11 Then the man in linen clothing, who carried the writer’s case, reported back and said, “I have done as you commanded.”
“Quirks and flaws, thank God He still loves us all.”
Maybe it’s because I have more time to stay in my head, but lately, I’ve been glaringly aware of my imperfections. Despite my best efforts, I’m not smart enough, not spiritual enough, not wise enough, not nice enough, not content enough, and so on and so on. When you get to that level of stinkin’ thinkin’ (as Joyce Meyer would say) it’s easy to get a ‘why bother’ mentality. No, I am not perfect, and will never be, but that doesn’t make God love me any less. It doesn’t make any of us less cherished by our Father in Heaven. In fact, just look at all of the crazy, flawed, renowned people in the Bible. Those folks had their quirks and flaws, but God loved and delivered them nonetheless.
Maybe it’s just me, but when I think about the many characters’ stories within the Bible, it’s hard not to look up to the people who did great things on behalf of God. Sometimes I forget their humanity and flaws, which is dangerous. That’s because, when you perceive the people in the Bible as perfect or better, we fail to see our similarities and how God can use us as He did them. Think about it, Abraham and Sarah lied about being brother and sister out of fear. David sent a man off to his death just so that he could spend a night with his wife. In spite of their quirks and flaws, we cannot deny the amazing things they did on behalf of Christ.
Obedience over Perfection
The people in the Bible weren’t enough, and yet what miraculous things. were achieved! I don’t acknowledge their flaws to minimize their accomplishments. I mention them to highlight the humanity of their lives. Folks, we’re dumb, prone to sin, lambs who desperately need our Shepherd. Instead of lamenting on the ‘enoughs’ of the world, we should be rejoicing that we aren’t enough, but we serve and are loved by the one who is. This changes the game of perfection to one of obedience. God calls us to obey, not to be perfect, He knows good and well of all the shortcomings and failures that come with a wild bunch of humans. Yet, His love is unfailing and infinite to every one of us. So the next time, you’re feeling the weight of your humanity, give that burden to God and flip open your Bible to see what crazy shenanigans the people before us were getting up to. There’s comfort in knowing the Truth
Are you embracing your quirks and flaws or are you pretending you’re perfect?
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1 This is what the LORD says: “I will stir up a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Babylonia. 2 Foreigners will come and winnow her, blowing her away as chaff. They will come from every side to rise against her in her day of trouble. 3 Don’t let the archers put on their armor or draw their bows. Don’t spare even her best soldiers! Let her army be completely destroyed. 4 They will fall dead in the land of the Babylonians, slashed to death in her streets. 5 For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has not abandoned Israel and Judah. He is still their God, even though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.” 6 Flee from Babylon! Save yourselves! Don’t get trapped in her punishment! It is the LORD ’s time for vengeance; he will repay her in full. 7 Babylon has been a gold cup in the LORD ’s hands, a cup that made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank Babylon’s wine, and it drove them all mad. 8 But suddenly Babylon, too, has fallen. Weep for her. Give her medicine. Perhaps she can yet be healed. 9 We would have helped her if we could, but nothing can save her now. Let her go; abandon her. Return now to your own land. For her punishment reaches to the heavens; it is so great it cannot be measured. 10 The LORD has vindicated us. Come, let us announce in Jerusalem everything the LORD our God has done. 11 Sharpen the arrows! Lift up the shields! For the LORD has inspired the kings of the Medes to march against Babylon and destroy her. This is his vengeance against those who desecrated his Temple. 12 Raise the battle flag against Babylon! Reinforce the guard and station the watchmen. Prepare an ambush, for the LORD will fulfill all his plans against Babylon. 13 You are a city by a great river, a great center of commerce, but your end has come. The thread of your life is cut. 14 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has taken this vow and has sworn to it by his own name: “Your cities will be filled with enemies, like fields swarming with locusts, and they will shout in triumph over you.” 15 The LORD made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens. 16 When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses. 17 The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge! The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make, for their carefully shaped works are a fraud. These idols have no breath or power. 18 Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed. 19 But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession. The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name! 20 “You are my battle-ax and sword,” says the LORD . “With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms. 21 With you I will shatter armies— destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer. 22 With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and young women. 23 With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and officers. 24 “I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem,” says the LORD . 25 “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy,” says the LORD . “I will raise my fist against you, to knock you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble. 26 You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out,” says the LORD . 27 Raise a signal flag to the nations. Sound the battle cry! Mobilize them all against Babylon. Prepare them to fight against her! Bring out the armies of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a commander, and bring a multitude of horses like swarming locusts! 28 Bring against her the armies of the nations— led by the kings of the Medes and all their captains and officers. 29 The earth trembles and writhes in pain, for everything the LORD has planned against Babylon stands unchanged. Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant. 30 Her mightiest warriors no longer fight. They stay in their barracks, their courage gone. They have become like women. The invaders have burned the houses and broken down the city gates. 31 The news is passed from one runner to the next as the messengers hurry to tell the king that his city has been captured. 32 All the escape routes are blocked. The marshes have been set aflame, and the army is in a panic. 33 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor, about to be trampled. In just a little while her harvest will begin.” 34 “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has eaten and crushed us and drained us of strength. He has swallowed us like a great monster and filled his belly with our riches. He has thrown us out of our own country. 35 Make Babylon suffer as she made us suffer,” say the people of Zion. “Make the people of Babylonia pay for spilling our blood,” says Jerusalem. 36 This is what the LORD says to Jerusalem: “I will be your lawyer to plead your case, and I will avenge you. I will dry up her river, as well as her springs, 37 and Babylon will become a heap of ruins, haunted by jackals. She will be an object of horror and contempt, a place where no one lives. 38 Her people will roar together like strong lions. They will growl like lion cubs. 39 And while they lie inflamed with all their wine, I will prepare a different kind of feast for them. I will make them drink until they fall asleep, and they will never wake up again,” says the LORD . 40 “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats to be sacrificed. 41 “How Babylon is fallen— great Babylon, praised throughout the earth! Now she has become an object of horror among the nations. 42 The sea has risen over Babylon; she is covered by its crashing waves. 43 Her cities now lie in ruins; she is a dry wasteland where no one lives or even passes by. 44 And I will punish Bel, the god of Babylon, and make him vomit up all he has eaten. The nations will no longer come and worship him. The wall of Babylon has fallen! 45 “Come out, my people, flee from Babylon. Save yourselves! Run from the LORD ’s fierce anger. 46 But do not panic; don’t be afraid when you hear the first rumor of approaching forces. For rumors will keep coming year by year. Violence will erupt in the land as the leaders fight against each other. 47 For the time is surely coming when I will punish this great city and all her idols. Her whole land will be disgraced, and her dead will lie in the streets. 48 Then the heavens and earth will rejoice, for out of the north will come destroying armies against Babylon,” says the LORD . 49 “Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel and others throughout the world, so must her people be killed. 50 Get out, all you who have escaped the sword! Do not stand and watch—flee while you can! Remember the LORD, though you are in a far-off land, and think about your home in Jerusalem.” 51 “We are ashamed,” the people say. “We are insulted and disgraced because the LORD ’s Temple has been defiled by foreigners.” 52 “Yes,” says the LORD, “but the time is coming when I will destroy Babylon’s idols. The groans of her wounded people will be heard throughout the land. 53 Though Babylon reaches as high as the heavens and makes her fortifications incredibly strong, I will still send enemies to plunder her. I, the LORD, have spoken! 54 “Listen! Hear the cry of Babylon, the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians. 55 For the LORD is destroying Babylon. He will silence her loud voice. Waves of enemies pound against her; the noise of battle rings through the city. 56 Destroying armies come against Babylon. Her mighty men are captured, and their weapons break in their hands. For the LORD is a God who gives just punishment; he always repays in full. 57 I will make her officials and wise men drunk, along with her captains, officers, and warriors. They will fall asleep and never wake up again!” says the King, whose name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 58 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “The thick walls of Babylon will be leveled to the ground, and her massive gates will be burned. The builders from many lands have worked in vain, for their work will be destroyed by fire!” 59 The prophet Jeremiah gave this message to Seraiah son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah, a staff officer, when Seraiah went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah. This was during the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. 60 Jeremiah had recorded on a scroll all the terrible disasters that would soon come upon Babylon—all the words written here. 61 He said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, read aloud everything on this scroll. 62 Then say, ‘ LORD, you have said that you will destroy Babylon so that neither people nor animals will remain here. She will lie empty and abandoned forever.’ 63 When you have finished reading the scroll, tie it to a stone and throw it into the Euphrates River. 64 Then say, ‘In this same way Babylon and her people will sink, never again to rise, because of the disasters I will bring upon her.’” This is the end of Jeremiah’s messages.