“When you walk with God daily, He gives you your daily bread.”~TB
What if there was a pill that you could take once a day that would change the way you looked at life, people, and the challenges that each day brings? We’d all probably be in line for a lifetime supply. Think about it, if there was something that could radically change our lives for the better, wouldn’t we all do what was necessary to obtain it? Funny thing is, there is someone who can do all that and more and I’m not just being hyperbolic. Maintaining an authentic relationship with Christ is the key to living this life victoriously. Problem is, without faith or vision, we cannot achieve it.
Once a Day
If there’s one thing my dad always points back to it’s the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a great starting point no matter where you are in your walk with God. While there is so much information to distill from it, the daily bread part sticks out to me in that God gives us the resources each day to walk through life triumphantly. I go one daily walks with my dog where I will have a dialogue with God. For an hour or so, I vent, praise, complain, exhort and all the above to Him. Then, I listen and download my daily bread. Chewing on God’s word daily gives us the tools and ability to navigate a backwards world filled with misguided situations. I find that my days are more peaceful when I go on these walks.
Following Christ is not about ‘repent or go to hell’ semantics. Yes, salvation is a gift, but God provides a host of benefits if you choose to listen to His wisdom. Restoration and healing occur when you walk with God because you begin to understand things like forgiveness, mercy, and kindness in a different light. If there is one thing I’d encourage people to do, it would be to forge a relationship with Christ, not out of fear or blind obedience but as a connection between a parent and a child. When you know Christ, you can see Him in a more authentic manner, rather than the tropes we rely on. If you truly want to radically change your days, get your daily bread by talking with Christ each day.
Where do you get your daily bread?
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1“Sing, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem, you who have never been in labor. For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband,” says the LORD .
2“Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense!
3For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities.
4“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.
5For your Creator will be your husband; the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.
6For the LORD has called you back from your grief— as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God.
7“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back.
8In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.
9“Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you.
10For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
11“O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you with precious jewels and make your foundations from lapis lazuli.
12I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems, and your walls of precious stones.
13I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace.
14You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near.
15If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.
16“I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge and makes the weapons of destruction. And I have created the armies that destroy.
17But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD ; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken!
“You will never be able to control the environment or its condition, so weatherproof yourself in God.”
I was having a chat with someone the other day and they put a damper on my goals. I should rephrase that, I allowed their words to impact my resolve. I sulked about it for a minute before whining to God about the situation. As I was walking, I was met with this idea: does the vision change if someone else can’t see it? That stopped me dead in my tracks, and I realized that I cannot take offense to someone who cannot see what I see. None of us can.
Our lives will be filled with ups and downs, peaks and valleys and whatever analogy you can think of. People— well-intentioned or not— will always ‘piss in your Wheaties’ but that doesn’t mean you have to eat them. God works within us in His own way. My walk will look different than yours and everyone else’s. As such, when He puts visions, dreams, goals, and the like into our hearts and minds, it is something that only He and you can see.
So the next time you endure opposition of any kind, remember who gave you sight. He didn’t put things on your heart without a reason. God never promised an easy life, He promised peace. Part of obtaining and maintaining that peace is knowing where it comes from and going back to the source when the weather takes a turn for the worst. If you want the Holy Raincoat, talk to Him and read His Word regularly. When you align with the Source, the storms and bad weather are inconsequential as within He is weatherproof and He lives within you.
Are you ready to get out of the storm?
Enjoy today’s reading
1“Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance— all who seek the LORD ! Consider the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were mined.
2Yes, think about Abraham, your ancestor, and Sarah, who gave birth to your nation. Abraham was only one man when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation.”
3The LORD will comfort Israel again and have pity on her ruins. Her desert will blossom like Eden, her barren wilderness like the garden of the LORD . Joy and gladness will be found there. Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.
4“Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become a light to the nations.
5My mercy and justice are coming soon. My salvation is on the way. My strong arm will bring justice to the nations. All distant lands will look to me and wait in hope for my powerful arm.
6Look up to the skies above, and gaze down on the earth below. For the skies will disappear like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a piece of clothing. The people of the earth will die like flies, but my salvation lasts forever. My righteous rule will never end!
7“Listen to me, you who know right from wrong, you who cherish my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people’s scorn, nor fear their insults.
8For the moth will devour them as it devours clothing. The worm will eat at them as it eats wool. But my righteousness will last forever. My salvation will continue from generation to generation.”
9Wake up, wake up, O LORD ! Clothe yourself with strength! Flex your mighty right arm! Rouse yourself as in the days of old when you slew Egypt, the dragon of the Nile.
10Are you not the same today, the one who dried up the sea, making a path of escape through the depths so that your people could cross over?
11Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
12“I, yes I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?
13Yet you have forgotten the LORD, your Creator, the one who stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. Will you remain in constant dread of human oppressors? Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies? Where is their fury and anger now? It is gone!
14Soon all you captives will be released! Imprisonment, starvation, and death will not be your fate!
15For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea, causing its waves to roar. My name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
16And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely in my hand. I stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. I am the one who says to Israel, ‘You are my people!’”
17Wake up, wake up, O Jerusalem! You have drunk the cup of the LORD ’s fury. You have drunk the cup of terror, tipping out its last drops.
18Not one of your children is left alive to take your hand and guide you.
19These two calamities have fallen on you: desolation and destruction, famine and war. And who is left to sympathize with you? Who is left to comfort you?
20For your children have fainted and lie in the streets, helpless as antelopes caught in a net. The LORD has poured out his fury; God has rebuked them.
21But now listen to this, you afflicted ones who sit in a drunken stupor, though not from drinking wine.
22This is what the Sovereign LORD, your God and Defender, says: “See, I have taken the terrible cup from your hands. You will drink no more of my fury.
23Instead, I will hand that cup to your tormentors, those who said, ‘We will trample you into the dust and walk on your backs.’”
“Family is like a tapestry where each member is a fiber. Individually not as impressive, but woven together, quite formidable.”~TB
I communicate with my parents almost every day. My dad and I will usually have talks after he gets out of school where we talk about God, opera, theories and everything else in between. I’ve had people praise how amazing my relationship with my parents is, but oh friends, it wasn’t always so. What people see from the outside is the culmination of years of work, trial and error.
There were a few years where my dad and I could not throw together a few sentences to each other without getting offended. Yeah, it wasn’t pretty. Looking back, it’s probably because we’re so similar. But, I have to thank God that we never gave up on each other, and eventually we hashed things out, cried, hugged, and moved on. These days, if we’re annoying one another, it’s probably because one of us needs a nap or needs to eat.
I like to think of God as a Master Artist, creating a unique and exquisite tapestry that are families. Each member is a specific thread or fiber, providing a layer of complexity and beauty to the tapestry. Sometimes those fibers snag and if you don’t allow the Master Artist to patch things up, what once was a beautiful woven creation becomes a frayed and tattered garment. Families argue, we don’t always treat each other as we should and in those moments, the opposition will whisper in your ear all of the reasons you should leave or not forgive.
Friends, remember that the devil’s job is to separate us and keep us on opposing sides. It’s easier to cause problems individually than in a unit. Divide and conquer, it’s an effective strategy. But if we can look at each other as God looks at us, we can look past the offenses, learn how to forgive and not look for the reasons to leave, but remember the reasons worth staying. My relationship with my family will never be perfect. I’m prone to putting my foot in my mouth, ha. But, even in the tough days, I try and focus on the gorgeous tapestry that is my family and my, what an amazing creation from the Master Artist. He’s done a great work in you and your family too.
Are you admiring your family tapestry or are you not able to see past the fray?
Enjoy the reading
1Soon after this, Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent Hezekiah his best wishes and a gift. He had heard that Hezekiah had been very sick and that he had recovered.
2Hezekiah was delighted with the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.
3Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men want? Where were they from?” Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon.”
4“What did they see in your palace?” asked Isaiah. “They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied. “I showed them everything I own—all my royal treasuries.”
5Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies:
6‘The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says the LORD .
7‘Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.’”
8Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the LORD is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.”
“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?
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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?
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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?
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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?
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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
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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?
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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?
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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.”