“There is no cheat sheet to building a relationship with Christ.”
Getting to know God is personal, and no preacher, teacher, or wise man can do that work for you. There is no fast pass or way for us to jump the line. Yes, we can all encourage each other and share the Good News, but ultimately, you must go to God for yourself.
God is looking to do internal work within all of His children. The only way He can is if you allow Him into all aspects of your life. By doing the work and walking with Him, He can work through you, in ways that only Christ can. So commit to Him and He will heal you.
Are you putting in the work?
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1 The remaining tribes of Israel received land in Canaan as allotted by Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the tribal leaders. 2 These nine and a half tribes received their grants of land by means of sacred lots, in accordance with the LORD ’s command through Moses. 3 Moses had already given a grant of land to the two and a half tribes on the east side of the Jordan River, but he had given the Levites no such allotment. 4 The descendants of Joseph had become two separate tribes—Manasseh and Ephraim. And the Levites were given no land at all, only towns to live in with surrounding pasturelands for their livestock and all their possessions. 5 So the land was distributed in strict accordance with the LORD ’s commands to Moses. 6 A delegation from the tribe of Judah, led by Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, came to Joshua at Gilgal. Caleb said to Joshua, “Remember what the LORD said to Moses, the man of God, about you and me when we were at Kadesh-barnea. 7 I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the LORD, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, 8 but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the LORD my God. 9 So that day Moses solemnly promised me, ‘The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your grant of land and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed the LORD my God.’ 10 “Now, as you can see, the LORD has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise—even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. 11 I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. 12 So give me the hill country that the LORD promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns. But if the LORD is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the LORD said.” 13 So Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave Hebron to him as his portion of land. 14 Hebron still belongs to the descendants of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite because he wholeheartedly followed the LORD, the God of Israel. 15 (Previously Hebron had been called Kiriath-arba. It had been named after Arba, a great hero of the descendants of Anak.) And the land had rest from war.
“We can’t accurately learn and improve if we refuse to listen.”
God will lead us to living water to build us foundationally, healing our wounds and renewing us in Him. While He can provide the water, we must continue to drink and fellowship with Him so that we can receive what He has to offer us.
Your personal well runs dry when your pride inhibits you from learning new concepts from Christ. Friends, we all have wounds and life stories that give us blindspots that only God can remove. For accuracy, drop your pride and listen.
Is your past hindering you from accurately growing in Christ?
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1 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! 2 “The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Mount Sinai. 3 The LORD did not make this covenant with our ancestors, but with all of us who are alive today. 4 At the mountain the LORD spoke to you face to face from the heart of the fire. 5 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: 6 “I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. 7 “You must not have any other god but me. 8 “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. 9 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 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 LORD our 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.
“Don’t get too caught up in this world because the truth sounds like gibberish to fools.”
One of the challenges of walking the narrow path is that few honestly walk it! As such, you must avert your gaze, focusing on Christ if you truly desire to run your race successfully. It can be difficult when you see your peer gladly digest foolishness as it were gospel from the heavens! Friends, don’t get caught up in the babble.
If you have heard the message of Christ, then cling to it because it’s the only thing that brings life. To hear loud and clear, you must tune out the gibberish of a fallen world, mute the temptations of your flesh, and hold on for dear life. While there is a secular price to pay by following Christ, the reward is eternal and infinitely valuable.
Can you hear God’s message, or are you fluent in nonsense?
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1 About this time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married. 2 The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months. 3 But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. 4 The baby’s sister then stood at a distance, watching to see what would happen to him. 5 Soon Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the river, and her attendants walked along the riverbank. When the princess saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it for her. 6 When the princess opened it, she saw the baby. The little boy was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This must be one of the Hebrew children,” she said. 7 Then the baby’s sister approached the princess. “Should I go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” she asked. 8 “Yes, do!” the princess replied. So the girl went and called the baby’s mother. 9 “Take this baby and nurse him for me,” the princess told the baby’s mother. “I will pay you for your help.” So the woman took her baby home and nursed him. 10 Later, when the boy was older, his mother brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. The princess named him Moses, for she explained, “I lifted him out of the water.” 11 Many years later, when Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his own people, the Hebrews, and he saw how hard they were forced to work. During his visit, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his fellow Hebrews. 12 After looking in all directions to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand. 13 The next day, when Moses went out to visit his people again, he saw two Hebrew men fighting. “Why are you beating up your friend?” Moses said to the one who had started the fight. 14 The man replied, “Who appointed you to be our prince and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?” Then Moses was afraid, thinking, “Everyone knows what I did.” 15 And sure enough, Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. When Moses arrived in Midian, he sat down beside a well. 16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters who came as usual to draw water and fill the water troughs for their father’s flocks. 17 But some other shepherds came and chased them away. So Moses jumped up and rescued the girls from the shepherds. Then he drew water for their flocks. 18 When the girls returned to Reuel, their father, he asked, “Why are you back so soon today?” 19 “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds,” they answered. “And then he drew water for us and watered our flocks.” 20 “Then where is he?” their father asked. “Why did you leave him there? Invite him to come and eat with us.” 21 Moses accepted the invitation, and he settled there with him. In time, Reuel gave Moses his daughter Zipporah to be his wife. 22 Later she gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, for he explained, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” 23 Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. 24 God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.
“Don’t be shy in taking your needs to the Lord because God respects an honest plea.”
God delights in hearing from His children and respects when we do so honestly. Friends we need God and He is well aware of who we are, deeds and all.
Because God is righteous and just, wait and listen for His response to that honest plea. It may not be what you thought, however, it will be exactly what you need.
Are you talking with God honestly or are you singing sweet nothings?
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1 When Jacob heard that grain was available in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you standing around looking at one another? 2 I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy enough grain to keep us alive. Otherwise we’ll die.” 3 So Joseph’s ten older brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain. 4 But Jacob wouldn’t let Joseph’s younger brother, Benjamin, go with them, for fear some harm might come to him. 5 So Jacob’s sons arrived in Egypt along with others to buy food, for the famine was in Canaan as well. 6 Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of selling grain to all the people, it was to him that his brothers came. When they arrived, they bowed before him with their faces to the ground. 7 Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where are you from?” he demanded. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied. “We have come to buy food.” 8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him. 9 And he remembered the dreams he’d had about them many years before. He said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.” 10 “No, my lord!” they exclaimed. “Your servants have simply come to buy food. 11 We are all brothers—members of the same family. We are honest men, sir! We are not spies!” 12 “Yes, you are!” Joseph insisted. “You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.” 13 “Sir,” they said, “there are actually twelve of us. We, your servants, are all brothers, sons of a man living in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is back there with our father right now, and one of our brothers is no longer with us.” 14 But Joseph insisted, “As I said, you are spies! 15 This is how I will test your story. I swear by the life of Pharaoh that you will never leave Egypt unless your youngest brother comes here! 16 One of you must go and get your brother. I’ll keep the rest of you here in prison. Then we’ll find out whether or not your story is true. By the life of Pharaoh, if it turns out that you don’t have a younger brother, then I’ll know you are spies.” 17 So Joseph put them all in prison for three days. 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “I am a God-fearing man. If you do as I say, you will live. 19 If you really are honest men, choose one of your brothers to remain in prison. The rest of you may go home with grain for your starving families. 20 But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. This will prove that you are telling the truth, and you will not die.” To this they agreed. 21 Speaking among themselves, they said, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble.” 22 “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy?” Reuben asked. “But you wouldn’t listen. And now we have to answer for his blood!” 23 Of course, they didn’t know that Joseph understood them, for he had been speaking to them through an interpreter. 24 Now he turned away from them and began to weep. When he regained his composure, he spoke to them again. Then he chose Simeon from among them and had him tied up right before their eyes. 25 Joseph then ordered his servants to fill the men’s sacks with grain, but he also gave secret instructions to return each brother’s payment at the top of his sack. He also gave them supplies for their journey home. 26 So the brothers loaded their donkeys with the grain and headed for home. 27 But when they stopped for the night and one of them opened his sack to get grain for his donkey, he found his money in the top of his sack. 28 “Look!” he exclaimed to his brothers. “My money has been returned; it’s here in my sack!” Then their hearts sank. Trembling, they said to each other, “What has God done to us?” 29 When the brothers came to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan, they told him everything that had happened to them. 30 “The man who is governor of the land spoke very harshly to us,” they told him. “He accused us of being spies scouting the land. 31 But we said, ‘We are honest men, not spies. 32 We are twelve brothers, sons of one father. One brother is no longer with us, and the youngest is at home with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33 “Then the man who is governor of the land told us, ‘This is how I will find out if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take grain for your starving families and go on home. 34 But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. Then I will know you are honest men and not spies. Then I will give you back your brother, and you may trade freely in the land.’” 35 As they emptied out their sacks, there in each man’s sack was the bag of money he had paid for the grain! The brothers and their father were terrified when they saw the bags of money. 36 Jacob exclaimed, “You are robbing me of my children! Joseph is gone! Simeon is gone! And now you want to take Benjamin, too. Everything is going against me!” 37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. I’ll be responsible for him, and I promise to bring him back.” 38 But Jacob replied, “My son will not go down with you. His brother Joseph is dead, and he is all I have left. If anything should happen to him on your journey, you would send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave. ”
“Don’t fret about uncomfortable moments, instead ask God to help you learn from them.”
Being in untenable circumstances is frustrating, and, it’s natural to want to avoid unpleasant things. Like crabs trapped in an increasingly hot pot, we scramble for the exit door at the first sign of difficulty. That said, when we focus solely on what’s bothering us, we fail to not only enact the teachings of Christ, but we fail to learn how to grow closer to God in our trials. Friends, life is not a utopia. No situation will ever be perfect nor will it be without the potential for conflict or other un-fun things. However, when you commit to entering God’s peace, you learn how to be content in any situation.
Tame Your Mind
When we obsess over what’s wrong in our lives, we fail to see what God is showing us. The next time you’re in a situation where you’d like to escape, ask God what lesson can be learned in that moment. By taking the time to focus on Him and not your circumstance, you begin to see how you can grow and mature. You may be frustrated at work, but God may be giving you a firsthand course in improving patience. Clashing with your spouse may be a lesson in displaying Christ-like love. There are an infinite amount of lessons to be learned in a given lifetime, so ask God so that you may increase your ‘ah ha’ moments.
What is unpleasant in your life and have you asked God what lessons can be learned in those moments?
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1 When Sarah was 127 years old, 2 she died at Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron) in the land of Canaan. There Abraham mourned and wept for her. 3 Then, leaving her body, he said to the Hittite elders, 4 “Here I am, a stranger and a foreigner among you. Please sell me a piece of land so I can give my wife a proper burial.” 5 The Hittites replied to Abraham, 6 “Listen, my lord, you are an honored prince among us. Choose the finest of our tombs and bury her there. No one here will refuse to help you in this way.” 7 Then Abraham bowed low before the Hittites 8 and said, “Since you are willing to help me in this way, be so kind as to ask Ephron son of Zohar 9 to let me buy his cave at Machpelah, down at the end of his field. I will pay the full price in the presence of witnesses, so I will have a permanent burial place for my family.” 10 Ephron was sitting there among the others, and he answered Abraham as the others listened, speaking publicly before all the Hittite elders of the town. 11 “No, my lord,” he said to Abraham, “please listen to me. I will give you the field and the cave. Here in the presence of my people, I give it to you. Go and bury your dead.” 12 Abraham again bowed low before the citizens of the land, 13 and he replied to Ephron as everyone listened. “No, listen to me. I will buy it from you. Let me pay the full price for the field so I can bury my dead there.” 14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “My lord, please listen to me. The land is worth 400 pieces of silver, but what is that between friends? Go ahead and bury your dead.” 16 So Abraham agreed to Ephron’s price and paid the amount he had suggested—400 pieces of silver, weighed according to the market standard. The Hittite elders witnessed the transaction. 17 So Abraham bought the plot of land belonging to Ephron at Machpelah, near Mamre. This included the field itself, the cave that was in it, and all the surrounding trees. 18 It was transferred to Abraham as his permanent possession in the presence of the Hittite elders at the city gate. 19 Then Abraham buried his wife, Sarah, there in Canaan, in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre (also called Hebron). 20 So the field and the cave were transferred from the Hittites to Abraham for use as a permanent burial place.
Life is never what our human expectations perceive it to be. As such, we must know God to know honest joy. Knowledge of God, Who He is, what He’s done, what He will do– gives you clarity and insight into what is. Without it (and even with it when you fail to get out of your own way), all you can see is the human error and failed understanding that naturally comes with being a mere human being.
Friends, you have every authority in how you live your life. You can let every little thing drive you insane, tailoring your life to rigid expectations that will always fail. That is your right, thanks to free will. But, if you truly want to experience the peace of Christ, study, learn and understand the Word so that you can see the joy in everything you enjoy. It’s when we submit to the Grace of God that we enjoy life in joy.
Do you enjoy strife or are you living in joy?
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1 So Abram left Egypt and traveled north into the Negev, along with his wife and Lot and all that they owned. 2 (Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.) 3 From the Negev, they continued traveling by stages toward Bethel, and they pitched their tents between Bethel and Ai, where they had camped before. 4 This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he worshiped the LORD again. 5 Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents. 6 But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. 7 So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. (At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.) 8 Finally Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! 9 The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.” 10 Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the LORD or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram. 12 So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain. 13 But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the LORD . 14 After Lot had gone, the LORD said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. 15 I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. 16 And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! 17 Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” 18 So Abram moved his camp to Hebron and settled near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. There he built another altar to the LORD .
“Don’t let your flesh pacify God’s Will for your life.”
We all have a responsibility to our brothers, sisters, widows, and children as God commanded us to look out for one another. As the body of Christ, God gives us a mission that is as unique to our one on one relationship with Him. When we fail to do our God-given responsibilities, we are following our own fleshly agendas.
You can tell a lot about a person from how they treat the people around them. If your life is selfishly lived for your own pleasure, and yet you call yourself a child of Christ. It’s time to examine your internal behavior. Friends, we cannot serve two masters. So, if you find that you are the master and commander of your own ship, don’t pacify your deeds. Turn to God.
Are you part of the body of Christ or part of your own agenda?
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1 I said, “Listen, you leaders of Israel! You are supposed to know right from wrong, 2 but you are the very ones who hate good and love evil. You skin my people alive and tear the flesh from their bones. 3 Yes, you eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin, and break their bones. You chop them up like meat for the cooking pot. 4 Then you beg the LORD for help in times of trouble! Do you really expect him to answer? After all the evil you have done, he won’t even look at you!” 5 This is what the LORD says: “You false prophets are leading my people astray! You promise peace for those who give you food, but you declare war on those who refuse to feed you. 6 Now the night will close around you, cutting off all your visions. Darkness will cover you, putting an end to your predictions. The sun will set for you prophets, and your day will come to an end. 7 Then you seers will be put to shame, and you fortune-tellers will be disgraced. And you will cover your faces because there is no answer from God.” 8 But as for me, I am filled with power— with the Spirit of the LORD . I am filled with justice and strength to boldly declare Israel’s sin and rebellion. 9 Listen to me, you leaders of Israel! You hate justice and twist all that is right. 10 You are building Jerusalem on a foundation of murder and corruption. 11 You rulers make decisions based on bribes; you priests teach God’s laws only for a price; you prophets won’t prophesy unless you are paid. Yet all of you claim to depend on the LORD . “No harm can come to us,” you say, “for the LORD is here among us.” 12 Because of you, Mount Zion will be plowed like an open field; Jerusalem will be reduced to ruins! A thicket will grow on the heights where the Temple now stands.
Some of us grew up with family members that shared the Good News. Some of us come to know Christ later on in life. Some of us are still en route to opening that door. As we grow and learn more, it’s easy to lament and wish we knew more sooner. Of course, we cannot change the past, but we can use our past to help those who are growing into their lives. Instead of taking the reactive approach, ask God how you can be a resource to others, especially the younger people in the next generation.
They say hindsight is 20/20 and we all have moments where we wished we had a more Biblical perspective. Friends, if you’ve learned a thing or two from God, share it with the next generation. Share with your kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren– anyone within your sphere of influence on the moments and situations they may come by and how they can lean on God to potentially gain wisdom that you did not. By sharing these moments, God gets the glory and the next generation may learn a thing or two.
Are you spreading light or sulking in the darkness of your past?
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1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish. 2 He said, “I cried out to the LORD in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and LORD, you heard me! 3 You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves. 4 Then I said, ‘O LORD, you have driven me from your presence. Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’ 5 “I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. Seaweed wrapped itself around my head. 6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O LORD my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! 7 As my life was slipping away, I remembered the LORD . And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. 8 Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. 9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the LORD alone.” 10 Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.
“God is not the Father of 30-second miracles; therefore we must stick it out.”
Cut & Run
Imagine running one mile and then expecting a 6-pack. Not gonna happen. The same reasoning applies when we expect insta-miracles from Christ. The reason why many fail to see the Hand of God in their lives is that they cut and run, avoiding the work that needs to occur before the real miracles come to pass. We first have to change our hearts and minds before God blesses our lives. This starts by remaining committed.
With consistency and love that only God can teach you, He has the ability to reunite the lost and found through us. We must have the faith and endurance to keep showing up. Irritated at your brother, mother, spouse, sister, or father? Love them anyway. Steady love and compassion (as Christ infinitely bestows on us) allow us to re-count and appreciate those in our lives. But in order to realize this, you have to stick it out.
Are you in it for the long haul?
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1 This is what the LORD says: “The people of Moab have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They desecrated the bones of Edom’s king, burning them to ashes. 2 So I will send down fire on the land of Moab, and all the fortresses in Kerioth will be destroyed. The people will fall in the noise of battle, as the warriors shout and the ram’s horn sounds. 3 And I will destroy their king and slaughter all their princes,” says the LORD . 4 This is what the LORD says: “The people of Judah have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They have rejected the instruction of the LORD, refusing to obey his decrees. They have been led astray by the same lies that deceived their ancestors. 5 So I will send down fire on Judah, and all the fortresses of Jerusalem will be destroyed.” 6 This is what the LORD says: “The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They sell honorable people for silver and poor people for a pair of sandals. 7 They trample helpless people in the dust and shove the oppressed out of the way. Both father and son sleep with the same woman, corrupting my holy name. 8 At their religious festivals, they lounge in clothing their debtors put up as security. In the house of their gods, they drink wine bought with unjust fines. 9 “But as my people watched, I destroyed the Amorites, though they were as tall as cedars and as strong as oaks. I destroyed the fruit on their branches and dug out their roots. 10 It was I who rescued you from Egypt and led you through the desert for forty years, so you could possess the land of the Amorites. 11 I chose some of your sons to be prophets and others to be Nazirites. Can you deny this, my people of Israel?” asks the LORD . 12 “But you caused the Nazirites to sin by making them drink wine, and you commanded the prophets, ‘Shut up!’ 13 “So I will make you groan like a wagon loaded down with sheaves of grain. 14 Your fastest runners will not get away. The strongest among you will become weak. Even mighty warriors will be unable to save themselves. 15 The archers will not stand their ground. The swiftest runners won’t be fast enough to escape. Even those riding horses won’t be able to save themselves. 16 On that day the most courageous of your fighting men will drop their weapons and run for their lives,” says the LORD .
“Commit to spending time with Christ daily to learn the Truth.”
A few years ago, I was “playing rudiments” on a drum pad. I was playing them pretty fast and to my untrained ear, I thought I was doing alright. My dad entered the room and encouraged me. He also suggested I slow it down. I had insisted I was better playing fast, though I complied.
When I slowed down, it was pretty obvious that I was sloppy and did not have command of the technique. I wanted to go fast because it covered up all of my mistakes. In life, we behave the same way. Admittedly, I didn’t keep up with practicing, not because of my dad, but because I wasn’t committed. That and I wanted to rush through the important things, like rudiments to get to the cool fills and rhythms that I couldn’t actually play.
Many of us are like that with Christ. We want all of the ‘cool stuff’ and prestige of Christ, but many don’t understand or care to commit to Christ Himself. When we cling on to vanity desires, we fall prey to the fake and walk away from what’s real. Friends, we must abandon our noncommittal ways.
The opposition does not position sin to be as ugly as it is. If that were the case, we’d resist and flee. So, if that’s the case, how do we spot the Truth; spend recurring time with the Lord. When you know God, and speak with Him on a regular basis, He will teach and show you things that the fake treasures of this world could never compare. That Truth is your’s, but first you must turn down the fast and sloppy techniques and choose the still and sure ways of God.
Who are you committed to?
Enjoy the reading
1 On August 14, during the seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, some of the leaders of Israel came to request a message from the LORD . They sat down in front of me to wait for his reply. 2 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 3 “Son of man, tell the leaders of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: How dare you come to ask me for a message? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will tell you nothing!’ 4 “Son of man, bring charges against them and condemn them. Make them realize how detestable the sins of their ancestors really were. 5 Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : When I chose Israel—when I revealed myself to the descendants of Jacob in Egypt—I took a solemn oath that I, the LORD, would be their God. 6 I took a solemn oath that day that I would bring them out of Egypt to a land I had discovered and explored for them—a good land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the best of all lands anywhere. 7 Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, get rid of the vile images you are so obsessed with. Do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt, for I am the LORD your God.’ 8 “But they rebelled against me and would not listen. They did not get rid of the vile images they were obsessed with, or forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I threatened to pour out my fury on them to satisfy my anger while they were still in Egypt. 9 But I didn’t do it, for I acted to protect the honor of my name. I would not allow shame to be brought on my name among the surrounding nations who saw me reveal myself by bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. 10 So I brought them out of Egypt and led them into the wilderness. 11 There I gave them my decrees and regulations so they could find life by keeping them. 12 And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the LORD, who had set them apart to be holy. 13 “But the people of Israel rebelled against me, and they refused to obey my decrees there in the wilderness. They wouldn’t obey my regulations even though obedience would have given them life. They also violated my Sabbath days. So I threatened to pour out my fury on them, and I made plans to utterly consume them in the wilderness. 14 But again I held back in order to protect the honor of my name before the nations who had seen my power in bringing Israel out of Egypt. 15 But I took a solemn oath against them in the wilderness. I swore I would not bring them into the land I had given them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful place on earth. 16 For they had rejected my regulations, refused to follow my decrees, and violated my Sabbath days. Their hearts were given to their idols. 17 Nevertheless, I took pity on them and held back from destroying them in the wilderness. 18 “Then I warned their children not to follow in their parents’ footsteps, defiling themselves with their idols. 19 ‘I am the LORD your God,’ I told them. ‘Follow my decrees, pay attention to my regulations, 20 and keep my Sabbath days holy, for they are a sign to remind you that I am the LORD your God.’ 21 “But their children, too, rebelled against me. They refused to keep my decrees and follow my regulations, even though obedience would have given them life. And they also violated my Sabbath days. So again I threatened to pour out my fury on them in the wilderness. 22 Nevertheless, I withdrew my judgment against them to protect the honor of my name before the nations that had seen my power in bringing them out of Egypt. 23 But I took a solemn oath against them in the wilderness. I swore I would scatter them among all the nations 24 because they did not obey my regulations. They scorned my decrees by violating my Sabbath days and longing for the idols of their ancestors. 25 I gave them over to worthless decrees and regulations that would not lead to life. 26 I let them pollute themselves with the very gifts I had given them, and I allowed them to give their firstborn children as offerings to their gods—so I might devastate them and remind them that I alone am the LORD . 27 “Therefore, son of man, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD : Your ancestors continued to blaspheme and betray me, 28 for when I brought them into the land I had promised them, they offered sacrifices on every high hill and under every green tree they saw! They roused my fury as they offered up sacrifices to their gods. They brought their perfumes and incense and poured out their liquid offerings to them. 29 I said to them, ‘What is this high place where you are going?’ (This kind of pagan shrine has been called Bamah—‘high place’—ever since.) 30 “Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD : Do you plan to pollute yourselves just as your ancestors did? Do you intend to keep prostituting yourselves by worshiping vile images? 31 For when you offer gifts to them and give your little children to be burned as sacrifices, you continue to pollute yourselves with idols to this day. Should I allow you to ask for a message from me, O people of Israel? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will tell you nothing. 32 “You say, ‘We want to be like the nations all around us, who serve idols of wood and stone.’ But what you have in mind will never happen. 33 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will rule over you with an iron fist in great anger and with awesome power. 34 And in anger I will reach out with my strong hand and powerful arm, and I will bring you back from the lands where you are scattered. 35 I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations, and there I will judge you face to face. 36 I will judge you there just as I did your ancestors in the wilderness after bringing them out of Egypt, says the Sovereign LORD . 37 I will examine you carefully and hold you to the terms of the covenant. 38 I will purge you of all those who rebel and revolt against me. I will bring them out of the countries where they are in exile, but they will never enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 39 “As for you, O people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Go right ahead and worship your idols, but sooner or later you will obey me and will stop bringing shame on my holy name by worshiping idols. 40 For on my holy mountain, the great mountain of Israel, says the Sovereign LORD, the people of Israel will someday worship me, and I will accept them. There I will require that you bring me all your offerings and choice gifts and sacrifices. 41 When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me. And I will display my holiness through you as all the nations watch. 42 Then when I have brought you home to the land I promised with a solemn oath to give to your ancestors, you will know that I am the LORD . 43 You will look back on all the ways you defiled yourselves and will hate yourselves because of the evil you have done. 44 You will know that I am the LORD, O people of Israel, when I have honored my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” 45 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 46 “Son of man, turn and face the south and speak out against it; prophesy against the brushlands of the Negev. 47 Tell the southern wilderness, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Hear the word of the LORD ! I will set you on fire, and every tree, both green and dry, will be burned. The terrible flames will not be quenched and will scorch everything from south to north. 48 And everyone in the world will see that I, the LORD, have set this fire. It will not be put out.’” 49 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, they are saying of me, ‘He only talks in riddles!’”