“God does not treat us like puppets or slaves, so let’s not do that to each other.”~TB
Since when did following Christ mean that we are meant to be doormats? As followers of Christ, we are meant to strive for a higher standard, but that also means asserting boundaries and holding each other accountable when people get into ‘Pharaoh’ mode. It’s one thing to turn the other cheek when you are wronged. It’s an entirely different story when you allow other people to enslave your time, mind and resources because you think you’re being Christ-like. If you think bowing down to others and allowing poor treatment is an act of humility, I strongly encourage you to read the Bible more carefully.
When you allow others to continually take advantage of you, you are going down a slippery slope. There is a stark difference between forgiving offenses and tolerating abusive behavior. In our lives, we will endure hardship, setbacks, and other uncomfortable scenarios. But, that is not the same as tolerating bad behavior, whether it comes from your boss, your spouse, your landlord or anyone else. If we truly want to be Christ-like, we have to hold one another to a higher standard. That means shedding light on evil deeds, slave mentalities, and the like. The next time you’re dealing with a ‘Pharaoh’, remember that God loves you and does not require you to put up with inappropriate treatment. Forgive, yes. In addition, remember Christ’s standards.
Are you accepting bad behavior?
Enjoy the reading
1In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them.
2Then the king of Assyria sent his chief of staff from Lachish with a huge army to confront King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The Assyrians took up a position beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed.
3These are the officials who went out to meet with them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian.
4Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?
5Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me?
6On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!
7“But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the LORD our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?
8“I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them!
9With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers?
10What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the LORD ’s direction? The LORD himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’”
11Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Assyrian chief of staff, “Please speak to us in Aramaic, for we understand it well. Don’t speak in Hebrew, for the people on the wall will hear.”
12But Sennacherib’s chief of staff replied, “Do you think my master sent this message only to you and your master? He wants all the people to hear it, for when we put this city under siege, they will suffer along with you. They will be so hungry and thirsty that they will eat their own dung and drink their own urine.”
13Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, “Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria!
14This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you.
15Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the LORD by saying, ‘The LORD will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’
16“Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well.
17Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards.
18“Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The LORD will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria?
19What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power?
20What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the LORD can rescue Jerusalem from me?”
21But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.”
22Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian, went back to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king and told him what the Assyrian chief of staff had said.
“Wherever you are, whatever you feel, be honest and come to God with it, and He will listen.”~TB
One of the annoying myths that I’d like to dispel about the archetypal Christian facade is that when talking to God, you have to bury your feelings and behave in a certain manner. Friends that is not so! God knows your heart before you even decide to consult Him, so bring all of you to the table so that you can reap the benefit. In my life, I conversations with Him that range from joy, elation, to frustration and anger. And guess what, He still loves me, warts and all. And, He loves you too. More to the point, when you bring your honest self to God, you then can receive the answers, comfort, and healing we all so desperately need.
I keep a journey that is basically me going through my life with God. It’s a very honest account of my life and my relationship with God, which helps me reflect and grow. I’ll admit, there are times where I will try and minimize how I feel about certain situations in my life. The problem with that is, if you don’t deal or acknowledge what ails you, if you’re not careful, you will start looking for alternate and fake solutions that push you away from the ultimate answer, which is Christ. I take comfort in the fact that Our Father in Heaven loves us as we are, listens to us, and is with all of us no matter how great or how terrible we are. So if you really want to experience the true Peace of Christ, come to Him with all that you are and He will delight in your humility.
Are you keeping it real with God?
Enjoy the reading
1Come here and listen, O nations of the earth. Let the world and everything in it hear my words.
2For the LORD is enraged against the nations. His fury is against all their armies. He will completely destroy them, dooming them to slaughter.
3Their dead will be left unburied, and the stench of rotting bodies will fill the land. The mountains will flow with their blood.
4The heavens above will melt away and disappear like a rolled-up scroll. The stars will fall from the sky like withered leaves from a grapevine, or shriveled figs from a fig tree.
5And when my sword has finished its work in the heavens, it will fall upon Edom, the nation I have marked for destruction.
6The sword of the LORD is drenched with blood and covered with fat— with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of rams prepared for sacrifice. Yes, the LORD will offer a sacrifice in the city of Bozrah. He will make a mighty slaughter in Edom.
7Even men as strong as wild oxen will die— the young men alongside the veterans. The land will be soaked with blood and the soil enriched with fat.
8For it is the day of the LORD ’s revenge, the year when Edom will be paid back for all it did to Israel.
9The streams of Edom will be filled with burning pitch, and the ground will be covered with fire.
10This judgment on Edom will never end; the smoke of its burning will rise forever. The land will lie deserted from generation to generation. No one will live there anymore.
11It will be haunted by the desert owl and the screech owl, the great owl and the raven. For God will measure that land carefully; he will measure it for chaos and destruction.
12It will be called the Land of Nothing, and all its nobles will soon be gone.
13Thorns will overrun its palaces; nettles and thistles will grow in its forts. The ruins will become a haunt for jackals and a home for owls.
14Desert animals will mingle there with hyenas, their howls filling the night. Wild goats will bleat at one another among the ruins, and night creatures will come there to rest.
15There the owl will make her nest and lay her eggs. She will hatch her young and cover them with her wings. And the buzzards will come, each one with its mate.
16Search the book of the LORD, and see what he will do. Not one of these birds and animals will be missing, and none will lack a mate, for the LORD has promised this. His Spirit will make it all come true.
17He has surveyed and divided the land and deeded it over to those creatures. They will possess it forever, from generation to generation.
“If being nice means you have to subjugate the truth, then you’re not being nice; you’re lying.”~TB
Being “nice” is such a weird concept to me. It’s not “nice” to disagree even if you’re position is correct. It’s not “nice” to offend even if what you say is true. We use it as a means to not be honest. But friends, the truth is the truth, whether we want to hear it or not. And people with ulterior motives will shove “nice” down your throat to get you from seeing the truth and to accept their lies. “Nice” is circumstantial, but the Truth never changes. I’ll give you an example
5 or so years ago, when I first began freelancing, I was shucking and jiving, not doing what I needed to in order to run a successful business. I was hiding under the guise of fear and anxiety to avoid the truth: I wasn’t doing the work to make it happen. Fortunately, my mom— who’s great at seeing through my BS— sent me a compelling email calling me out on my nonsense. At first, my feelings were hurt, but then, I called a former boss and in 3 days, I had a job. Imagine that.
Honor in Telling the Truth
My mom could’ve been “nice” and just let me wallow in my stupidity. After all, that would’ve been the safest route. However, she told me a much needed truth: I needed to get off my rear and make some money to take care of myself. People who truly love you will tell you the truth, no matter the consequence. God is the same way. His Truth never changes and depending on the level of stupidity we’re into, sometimes His Truth doesn’t feel all that nice. But considering His Truth is the only Truth, I for one would rather sacrifice my pride to live in the Truth today rather than feel “nice” and suffer the consequences tomorrow. Truth is, the choice is ours to make.
Are you interested in the Truth?
Enjoy the reading
1O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.
2You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt.
3Therefore, strong nations will declare your glory; ruthless nations will fear you.
4But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall,
5or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled.
6In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat.
7There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth.
8He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken!
9In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”
10For the LORD ’s hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem. But Moab will be crushed. It will be like straw trampled down and left to rot.
11God will push down Moab’s people as a swimmer pushes down water with his hands. He will end their pride and all their evil works.
12The high walls of Moab will be demolished. They will be brought down to the ground, down into the dust.
“In matters of communication, intent matters as does grace and mercy.”~TB
When Help Goes Wrong
A few weeks ago, I was making a pot roast for my parents. Man, do I make a mean pot roast. My trick is to allow the roast to slow cook for at least 8 hours. I find that the meat just falls apart yet it retains its juices. One morning, I prepped the dish, and decided to use the day to take care of some tasks. When I got home, I went to check on the pot roast only to find that the meat had already been cut into pieces and it had been slow cooking for only 6 hours! I was livid. Turns out my dad thought he was doing me a solid by chopping up the meat. In his mind, he was helping. In my mind, he butchered (pun intended) my perfected process.
Stop Drop & Roll
My first instinct was to read him the riot act, driving home the point of my process and how the dish was simply ruined (dramatic, I know, but if you love to cook you get it) the meal. But when I saw his face after I informed him of the mistake (and perhaps I had my mean face on) I stopped for a minute and chilled out. I realized that his intention was to help me, not to ruin the dish. This moment did not call for a fire and brimstone approach. Instead of focusing on the mistake, I decided to focus on the intent. How cool is it to have someone want to help out? I simply let it go and then we sat down to play some epic dominoes. God delivered the domino victories to me that day. Justice was served.
It seems like today, we hustle and bustle through life, quickly judging and assessing yet sometimes failing to look at the bigger picture. Relationships are complex in nature and if we fail to recognize the true intent of the people in our lives, we can get things wrong. Sure, an action may have caused an unintended outcome, but that’s what mercy is for. After all God forgives our actions— both good intent and bad. The point is to evaluate a situation on a case by case scenario. In the example above, I had to look at all sides of the equation, not just how I felt in the moment. Had I chosen anger, my dad could have gotten defensive and then we would have had an argument on our hands. Instead, we had the opportunity to laugh at it, play some dominoes and life went on as usual. So the next time someone in your life accidentally offends you, don’t forget to look at their intent with mercy and grace. Remember the mercy and grace that Christ extends to us every second of every day.
Do you consider intent or are you intent on being continually offended?
Enjoy the reading
1Look! The LORD is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. He devastates the surface of the earth and scatters the people.
2Priests and laypeople, servants and masters, maids and mistresses, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, bankers and debtors—none will be spared.
3The earth will be completely emptied and looted. The LORD has spoken!
4The earth mourns and dries up, and the land wastes away and withers. Even the greatest people on earth waste away.
5The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant.
6Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin. They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive.
7The grapevines waste away, and there is no new wine. All the merrymakers sigh and mourn.
8The cheerful sound of tambourines is stilled; the happy cries of celebration are heard no more. The melodious chords of the harp are silent.
9Gone are the joys of wine and song; alcoholic drink turns bitter in the mouth.
10The city writhes in chaos; every home is locked to keep out intruders.
11Mobs gather in the streets, crying out for wine. Joy has turned to gloom. Gladness has been banished from the land.
12The city is left in ruins, its gates battered down.
13Throughout the earth the story is the same— only a remnant is left, like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest.
14But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the LORD ’s majesty.
15In eastern lands, give glory to the LORD . In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
16We hear songs of praise from the ends of the earth, songs that give glory to the Righteous One! But my heart is heavy with grief. Weep for me, for I wither away. Deceit still prevails, and treachery is everywhere.
17Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, you people of the earth.
18Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap, and those who escape the trap will be caught in a snare. Destruction falls like rain from the heavens; the foundations of the earth shake.
19The earth has broken up. It has utterly collapsed; it is violently shaken.
20The earth staggers like a drunk. It trembles like a tent in a storm. It falls and will not rise again, for the guilt of its rebellion is very heavy.
21In that day the LORD will punish the gods in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth.
22They will be rounded up and put in prison. They will be shut up in prison and will finally be punished.
23Then the glory of the moon will wane, and the brightness of the sun will fade, for the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will rule on Mount Zion. He will rule in great glory in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people.
“If you struggle with stumbling blocks seek Christ and wise counsel to learn how to remove them.”~TB
We all have stumbling blocks, that may have come from a hurtful and traumatic experience from our past. Maybe you accidentally choked on an apple and years later the color red makes you anxious. Perhaps the snake scene in Indiana Jones scared you, so now reptiles freaks you out. These are relatively mild experiences, but if you examine your life, I’m sure you can find your own examples. Some triggers are harmless while others can cause problems in our lives or negatively impact those around us. I bring this up because whatever causes us to stumble or to fall, the devil will exploit to the maximum of his ability. His job is to take our eyes from Christ and suck the joy and purpose that God has for each and every one of us. This is where strength in numbers and honest Biblical conversations really come into play.
Talk it Out
I’ve found through the years that if I ask God pointed questions about examining the areas of improvement of my life, the revelations are astounding! Seriously, it’s like divine therapy. Add in the weekly chats with my dad where we volley ideas and concepts back and forth, I get the opportunity to learn a lot. Of course, there’s no harm in talking with a professional either. My point is that in order to improve on our weaknesses and stop being an unconscious henchmen for the opposition, self-awareness is critical.
I’ll give you a personal example. For work, I am a freelance writer, creating content for organizations and universities. For the most part, I love my job and the flexibility and autonomy it brings. Most recently, however, I realized that some contracts present a certain sense of anxious foreboding for me and it impacts my ability to do my job well. In a moment of frustration, I asked God, “what is wrong with me?”. Funnily enough a memory of my former boss popped into my head.
My first big kid job was at Burger King in their corporate operations department. I had a micromanaging boss that enjoyed sending me performance managing emails with the HR manager cc-ed to them. Ironically, my territory was the highest performing within her portfolio, but for one reason or another, she enjoyed singling me out. It got so bad that it affected my personal life and I eventually left. That was 6 years ago.
Now, I realize that subconsciously, I get anxious working with clients who remind me of her. Through no fault of their own, I’ve been projecting my experience onto my clients, which has been hindering the joy and creating in my work. The beauty of this revelation is that I can now intentionally work on my attitude toward certain clients as I don’t want to keep repeating the cycle.
A lot of people believe having a relationship with Christ is just about salvation and escaping the fate of hell. But really, it’s so much more. When Christ influences your life, you experience peace, joy, contentment today. The benefits of Christ don’t start when we die, they’re already here! For this reason, I encourage you to ask Him questions, talk with Him daily, and get some feedback and perspective from elders. Reflective wisdom can help you identify your triggers and remove the root-causes of problems within your life. This all can happen when you seek to know Him.
Are you reaping the benefits of knowing Christ
Enjoy the reading
1In the year when King Sargon of Assyria sent his commander in chief to capture the Philistine city of Ashdod,
2the LORD told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Take off the burlap you have been wearing, and remove your sandals.” Isaiah did as he was told and walked around naked and barefoot.
3Then the LORD said, “My servant Isaiah has been walking around naked and barefoot for the last three years. This is a sign—a symbol of the terrible troubles I will bring upon Egypt and Ethiopia.
4For the king of Assyria will take away the Egyptians and Ethiopians as prisoners. He will make them walk naked and barefoot, both young and old, their buttocks bared, to the shame of Egypt.
5Then the Philistines will be thrown into panic, for they counted on the power of Ethiopia and boasted of their allies in Egypt!
6They will say, ‘If this can happen to Egypt, what chance do we have? We were counting on Egypt to protect us from the king of Assyria.’”
“Fortify your mind like the walls of Jericho, so that you will rely on God’s perfect peace in all of the relationships within your life.”~TB
When you’ve mastered your mind, you begin to understand how truly helpless you are without God. Friends, your foundation has to begin and end with Him. More to the point, loving God above all else is key to loving anyone at all! Experiencing God’s love informs you on how to properly love your brothers and sisters. You cannot truly love someone if you don’t know God’s love. His love is the only infinite and unyielding love there is! Mold your love after the love of Christ and watch how your relationships change. Because God freely loves and forgives, take those same principles and apply them to every relationship in your life. There will be times of mal-intent. There will be times of friendly fire. No matter the case, when God is first in your life, His Truth will reign supreme, giving you the peace and understanding of what it takes to truly love your neighbor.
If you love yourself more than you love God, it will show. But, what does that look like? You love yourself more than God when you allow the influence of external factors dictate your mindset, behavior, etc., overriding your connection to Him. Your mind left undisciplined, will lead you to believe that you are the master and commander of this show. Friends, don’t fall for the lies of your ego and the opposition. The devil knows how to use a weak-minded person and he will use you to cause destruction. Because you are weak, you will gladly participate in his foolishness, as you blindly do his bidding, causing chaos amongst God’s people. Fortunately for us, all things work for Christ and even in your weak-mindedness, God uses it to His benefit. Our strength lies in our weakness because God makes up the difference when we fall short. Remember who loved you first so that you rule your mind accordingly.
Are you giving your weak mind permission to wreak havoc in your life?
Enjoy the reading
1Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense.
2Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.
3Doing wrong leads to disgrace, and scandalous behavior brings contempt.
4Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.
5It is not right to acquit the guilty or deny justice to the innocent.
6Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating.
7The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.
8Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.
9A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things.
10The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.
11The rich think of their wealth as a strong defense; they imagine it to be a high wall of safety.
12Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor.
13Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.
14The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?
15Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.
16Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people!
17The first to speak in court sounds right— until the cross-examination begins.
18Flipping a coin can end arguments; it settles disputes between powerful opponents.
19An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.
20Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.
21The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
22The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD .
23The poor plead for mercy; the rich answer with insults.
24There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
“There will always be times where you will lack the inspiration or desire to pursue Christ. Do the work anyway.”~TB
Everyone experiences a feeling of stagnation or plateau when developing their relationship with God. More often than not it’s due to us disconnecting from Him because we’re off trying to accomplish our own agendas. Friends, remember His will and plan for your life. I can guarantee you that when you allow God to lead, His plan will always bring a better outcome than any plan you could imagine. When you start to feel bored or uninspired, that’s when you need to speak to Him the most.
Have a talk with God
Prayer is like a casual conversation with the wisest being in existence. You don’t have to be ceremonial or ritualistic about it. Come to Him as you are and He will delight in your humility. There are times where I just say, “God, what gives?” and will air out my grievances honestly and openly. When I’m done ranting, I then listen and am inspired by the response! Friends, you can only get answers from God when you communicate with Him regularly. Don’t get too bold in your own thinking, trust that God’s answers are better than yours and you’ll find an infinite well of inspiration in your Heavenly Father.
Are you talking to God or are you only listening to yourself?
Enjoy the reading
1I cry out to the LORD ; I plead for the LORD ’s mercy.
2I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles.
3When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me.
4I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me.
5Then I pray to you, O LORD . I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.
6Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me.
7Bring me out of prison so I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me, for you are good to me.”
“Be present and pay attention while on your walk, as some lessons you’ll want to avoid”~TB
On the Path
On the path requires focus, patience, and presence because, in an upside down world, the devil will not hesitate to throw a decoy in your path. If you are humble enough to heed the teachings in the Bible, some test will be easier than others. Friends, walking and talking with God, not only brings peace, but also discernment. Set your eyes on Him to avoid being derailed.
Off the Path
The devil wants you to be like Red Riding Hood, wandering all willy-nilly while a wolf seeks to destroy you. The threat is real, but not to be feared, unless you didn’t adhere to the teachings. Off the path brings chaos and turmoil, but fortunately for you, God is a loving savior who will place you back on track when things get dicey.
The Added Measure of Discernment
No one’s walk is perfect, and we all will face a “big bad wolf” from time to time due to our negligence. Understand that faith and follow through are critical in being one with God. These aren’t just nice “safety nets” without a purpose. Evil is real and the devil is more than happy to trip you up, especially if you are soldiering on for Christ. Do well to root your attention in the Word, so that you are vigilant, diligent, and discerning when challenges arise.
Are you on the path or are you headed for a wolf’s den?
Enjoy the reading
1I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven.
2We keep looking to the LORD our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.
3Have mercy on us, LORD, have mercy, for we have had our fill of contempt.
4We have had more than our fill of the scoffing of the proud and the contempt of the arrogant.
“When you’re focused on building and maintaining your relationship with God, all other affairs become boring and meaningless”~TB
This world is designed for you to become preoccupied and obsessed with the dealings of your neighbor. Instead of cultivating your talents, your faith, your life, you’d rather open up a screen and see how everyone else is failing. What you fail to realize is that growing with God requires your focus. You cannot serve two masters. Quit being nosey and make something of yourself.
In being nosey, your mindset and focus become noisy, blocking out God and His wisdom. When you can’t hear the Lord, you then lean on your own foolish understanding of the world. You blindly follow the dumb practices of a flesh-driven world, filling your decorative prisons with things that temporarily bring you happiness. By participating in the noise, you abdicate your inheritance as you excitedly embrace your golden handcuffs.
When you obsess over your neighbor, fail to do your Biblical homework, and desire what everyone else has, you are now a prisoner in the worldly system. You can’t blame anyone but yourself, which is difficult to bear, so you become a numb cog in the wheel drudging along. Of course, this is when you cling to your “christian” titles and your judgments of others to make yourself feel better for your complacent lives. Stop looking at your neighbor, block out the noise to avoid a numb lifestyle. Ask God and He will show you what you refuse to see.
Are you a nosey neighbor focused on the noise, numbing your relationship with God?
1Praise the LORD ! Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
2Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD ? Who can ever praise him enough?
3There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right.
4Remember me, LORD, when you show favor to your people; come near and rescue me.
5Let me share in the prosperity of your chosen ones. Let me rejoice in the joy of your people; let me praise you with those who are your heritage.
6Like our ancestors, we have sinned. We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly!
7Our ancestors in Egypt were not impressed by the LORD ’s miraculous deeds. They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them. Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea.
8Even so, he saved them— to defend the honor of his name and to demonstrate his mighty power.
9He commanded the Red Sea to dry up. He led Israel across the sea as if it were a desert.
10So he rescued them from their enemies and redeemed them from their foes.
11Then the water returned and covered their enemies; not one of them survived.
12Then his people believed his promises. Then they sang his praise.
13Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done! They wouldn’t wait for his counsel!
14In the wilderness their desires ran wild, testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland.
15So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it.
16The people in the camp were jealous of Moses and envious of Aaron, the LORD ’s holy priest.
17Because of this, the earth opened up; it swallowed Dathan and buried Abiram and the other rebels.
18Fire fell upon their followers; a flame consumed the wicked.
19The people made a calf at Mount Sinai ; they bowed before an image made of gold.
20They traded their glorious God for a statue of a grass-eating bull.
21They forgot God, their savior, who had done such great things in Egypt—
22such wonderful things in the land of Ham, such awesome deeds at the Red Sea.
23So he declared he would destroy them. But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the LORD and the people. He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them.
24The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them.
25Instead, they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the LORD .
26Therefore, he solemnly swore that he would kill them in the wilderness,
27that he would scatter their descendants among the nations, exiling them to distant lands.
28Then our ancestors joined in the worship of Baal at Peor; they even ate sacrifices offered to the dead!
29They angered the LORD with all these things, so a plague broke out among them.
30But Phinehas had the courage to intervene, and the plague was stopped.
31So he has been regarded as a righteous man ever since that time.
32At Meribah, too, they angered the LORD, causing Moses serious trouble.
33They made Moses angry, and he spoke foolishly.
34Israel failed to destroy the nations in the land, as the LORD had commanded them.
35Instead, they mingled among the pagans and adopted their evil customs.
36They worshiped their idols, which led to their downfall.
37They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons.
38They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. By sacrificing them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the land with murder.
39They defiled themselves by their evil deeds, and their love of idols was adultery in the LORD ’s sight.
40That is why the LORD ’s anger burned against his people, and he abhorred his own special possession.
41He handed them over to pagan nations, and they were ruled by those who hated them.
42Their enemies crushed them and brought them under their cruel power.
43Again and again he rescued them, but they chose to rebel against him, and they were finally destroyed by their sin.
44Even so, he pitied them in their distress and listened to their cries.
45He remembered his covenant with them and relented because of his unfailing love.
46He even caused their captors to treat them with kindness.
47Save us, O LORD our God! Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you.
48Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting! Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the LORD !
“When you have an authentic relationship with God, you begin to understand which messages are from Him and which messages are not”~TB
When you regularly engage in walking with the Lord, you begin to see the world differently. Consequentially, you begin to discern the thoughts that are your’s, His, and the evil ones. And with this relationship with Christ, you know that your previous deeds are no longer acceptable. This conviction allows you to put aside foolish behaviors as you seek to mirror the life of Christ. No one’s walk will be perfect, but the messages from God will help you get back on track if you choose to listen.
Walking in sin is much more difficult for the born again because you know the price that was paid for you by Jesus. Of course, there will be times when messages of extreme guilt and worthlessness begin to creep into your head. They may cause you to question your standing with God. Friends, these messages are not from God, but rather the evil one. Condemnation is lamenting over deeds that He has already forgiven you for. If God isn’t repeatedly pointing at your past, why are you? Delete those messages as they deter your path with the Lord.
As you grow in Christ, you will level up in discernment, filtering which messages are important and which ones are unnecessary. This is why it is so important to read the Bible, to talk with God, and to pick up the Cross daily to cast away your former evil selves. Knowing and practicing the difference helps you avert pitfalls and temptations because you know who you are in Christ. The messages will never go away, but when you truly know the Lord, you can filter through the noise.
Which messages are you reading, the good or the evil?
Enjoy the reading
1Let all that I am praise the LORD . O LORD my God, how great you are! You are robed with honor and majesty.
2You are dressed in a robe of light. You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;
3you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds. You make the clouds your chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind.
4The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants.
5You placed the world on its foundation so it would never be moved.
6You clothed the earth with floods of water, water that covered even the mountains.
7At your command, the water fled; at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away.
8Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed.
9Then you set a firm boundary for the seas, so they would never again cover the earth.
10You make springs pour water into the ravines, so streams gush down from the mountains.
11They provide water for all the animals, and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12The birds nest beside the streams and sing among the branches of the trees.
13You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home, and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.
14You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use. You allow them to produce food from the earth—
15wine to make them glad, olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength.
16The trees of the LORD are well cared for— the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17There the birds make their nests, and the storks make their homes in the cypresses.
18High in the mountains live the wild goats, and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes.
19You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set.
20You send the darkness, and it becomes night, when all the forest animals prowl about.
21Then the young lions roar for their prey, stalking the food provided by God.
22At dawn they slink back into their dens to rest.
23Then people go off to their work, where they labor until evening.
24O LORD, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.
25Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small.
26See the ships sailing along, and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea.
27They all depend on you to give them food as they need it.
28When you supply it, they gather it. You open your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied.
29But if you turn away from them, they panic. When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust.
30When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth.
31May the glory of the LORD continue forever! The LORD takes pleasure in all he has made!
32The earth trembles at his glance; the mountains smoke at his touch.
33I will sing to the LORD as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath!
34May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD .
35Let all sinners vanish from the face of the earth; let the wicked disappear forever. Let all that I am praise the LORD . Praise the LORD !