“Hug your brothers and sisters during their times of struggle as love covers a multitude of sins.”
I was talking to someone today who had retaliated against someone who transgressed against them. My first reaction was to tell them that while I understood where they were coming from, they were wrong in how they handled the situation. But after I got off the phone, I realized I missed the bigger picture.
I realized that person is generally a God-fearing and good-natured person. It’s not typical of their character to do something malicious. Then I thought about what that person had to experience in order for them to behave that way. Friends we must understand when people lash out or behave in troubling ways. There is usually a great deal of hurt attached.
I quickly called them back and apologized for my rebuke. Instead, I acknowledged their struggle offered compassionate and understanding to why they reacted so poorly. By meeting them in their need instead of condemning them, we were able to get to the heart of the matter so that they could heal from the experience and move on.
Why is it that when people make mistakes we react harshly? I can tell you from experience, that when I go before God and confess my sins, His response is always in love, kindness, and compassion. Surely He out of everyone has the right to strike me down because of my shortcomings. Instead, like a Father comforting a daughter who’s fallen off her bike, God’s forgiveness is merciful and encouraging.
Love covers a multitude of sins. When we forgive others as God forgives us, we give them the space and grace they need to heal. God doesn’t beat us down when we’re broken. To that same effect, we cannot do so to our brothers and sisters. I know from experience the hardship and heartache that occurs when people that you love are only able to see you for your mistakes. Instead, let’s practice the Christ-like love so that we can help one another heal and grow from our sins.
Are you offering Christ-like love or strong legalistic rebukes?
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1 Again a message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, turn and face the mountains of Israel and prophesy against them. 3 Proclaim this message from the Sovereign LORD against the mountains of Israel. This is what the Sovereign LORD says to the mountains and hills and to the ravines and valleys: I am about to bring war upon you, and I will smash your pagan shrines. 4 All your altars will be demolished, and your places of worship will be destroyed. I will kill your people in front of your idols. 5 I will lay your corpses in front of your idols and scatter your bones around your altars. 6 Wherever you live there will be desolation, and I will destroy your pagan shrines. Your altars will be demolished, your idols will be smashed, your places of worship will be torn down, and all the religious objects you have made will be destroyed. 7 The place will be littered with corpses, and you will know that I alone am the LORD . 8 “But I will let a few of my people escape destruction, and they will be scattered among the nations of the world. 9 Then when they are exiled among the nations, they will remember me. They will recognize how hurt I am by their unfaithful hearts and lustful eyes that long for their idols. Then at last they will hate themselves for all their detestable sins. 10 They will know that I alone am the LORD and that I was serious when I said I would bring this calamity on them. 11 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Clap your hands in horror, and stamp your feet. Cry out because of all the detestable sins the people of Israel have committed. Now they are going to die from war and famine and disease. 12 Disease will strike down those who are far away in exile. War will destroy those who are nearby. And anyone who survives will be killed by famine. So at last I will spend my fury on them. 13 They will know that I am the LORD when their dead lie scattered among their idols and altars on every hill and mountain and under every green tree and every great shade tree—the places where they offered sacrifices to their idols. 14 I will crush them and make their cities desolate from the wilderness in the south to Riblah in the north. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”
“The devil is like an annoying noisy upstairs neighbor. Don’t let him take your peace.”~TB
It is incredibly important for you to remember that the devil is a one hit wonder. His song entices you to take your eyes off the prize that is Christ. He’ll go about it in different ways, but rest assured, it’s the same song, different pitch. Think of him like the frustrating neighbor who cranks up the music because they know it bothers you. Their actions may be annoying, but the secret, rather, the truth is in how you deal with the situation. He can’t do anything to you that can truly affect you. You can however, do his bidding by being the weakest link.
Everyone at one point or another has been the weakest link in any relationship. If you’re the weakest link, it can transpire in a few ways. You cause arguments on arbitrary issues. You’re too legalistic or litigious without balancing your judgement with mercy and grace. You refuse to apologize when you’re wrong. Even worse, you get mad at the person you’ve wronged! To stop being the weakest link, we all have to reflect on our behavior with honesty and humility. Ask yourself, if you love the person that you’re fighting with, is winning the argument that big of a deal? What do you stand to gain if you win the battle but lose the relationship? In those instances, only the devil wins, which is the point!
If you indeed find yourself in the weakest link seat, have a chat with God. There’s a good chance that our issues are ones that we’ve been dealing with for a long time. When you lean on God, you learn to put the sword down and stop fighting. When speaking with God, He will tell you that you’re quarrel isn’t with man, it’s with the opposition. However, you must acknowledge your weak link behavior and that takes some work. No one likes to admit that our number 2’s stink. But they do! So when you embrace humility and recognize that the goal isn’t to be right or to stir discord within your family, friends, or community, you stop being the devil’s plaything. Just ask and you shall receive.
Are you ready to stop being the devil’s pawn or do you enjoy disturbing the peace?
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1This is what the LORD says to Cyrus, his anointed one, whose right hand he will empower. Before him, mighty kings will be paralyzed with fear. Their fortress gates will be opened, never to shut again.
2This is what the LORD says: “I will go before you, Cyrus, and level the mountains. I will smash down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.
3And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness— secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.
4“And why have I called you for this work? Why did I call you by name when you did not know me? It is for the sake of Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one.
5I am the LORD ; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me,
6so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things.
8“Open up, O heavens, and pour out your righteousness. Let the earth open wide so salvation and righteousness can sprout up together. I, the LORD, created them.
9“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’
10How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father, ‘Why was I born?’ or if it said to its mother, ‘Why did you make me this way?’”
11This is what the LORD says— the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: “Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?
12I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command.
13I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people— without seeking a reward! I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
14This is what the LORD says: “You will rule the Egyptians, the Ethiopians, and the Sabeans. They will come to you with all their merchandise, and it will all be yours. They will follow you as prisoners in chains. They will fall to their knees in front of you and say, ‘God is with you, and he is the only God. There is no other.’”
15Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways.
16All craftsmen who make idols will be humiliated. They will all be disgraced together.
17But the LORD will save the people of Israel with eternal salvation. Throughout everlasting ages, they will never again be humiliated and disgraced.
18For the LORD is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. “I am the LORD,” he says, “and there is no other.
19I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found. I, the LORD, speak only what is true and declare only what is right.
20“Gather together and come, you fugitives from surrounding nations. What fools they are who carry around their wooden idols and pray to gods that cannot save!
21Consult together, argue your case. Get together and decide what to say. Who made these things known so long ago? What idol ever told you they would happen? Was it not I, the LORD ? For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior. There is none but me.
22Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other.
23I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to me. ”
24The people will declare, “The LORD is the source of all my righteousness and strength.” And all who were angry with him will come to him and be ashamed.
25In the LORD all the generations of Israel will be justified, and in him they will boast.
“Thank God for tough times because it’s in those moments where we learn most about compassion.”~TB
Displaying empathy isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I have a great deal of it (I cried during the Back Draft fire simulation at Universal Studios because the thought of people in there was heartbreaking for me) internally, but it usually comes out as practical or logical advice to the issue rather than a listening ear. Fortunately for me, I had great examples of empathetic and loving people to model growing up. And even more fortunately, I’ve gone through some dark times where God’s compassion and mercy got me to the other side. These days, I’m so grateful for every harsh moment in my life, because in those tough times, my level of compassion for others— particularly those I don’t inherently relate to— has increased. I’ll give you an example.
Sometime last year, I was at a Starbucks getting some work done. A lady around my age was sitting with a toddler and a car seat. She was very much focused on the phone and kept scolding the child for not sitting still. I remember at the time, I was irritated by her callousness. Clearly frustrated she walked outside with the child and car seat in tow and sat at one of the tables. Soon after, this woman began to cry as her child was happily playing and none the wiser. In that moment, I felt the need to hand her some napkins, which is odd for me because I’m not one to get involved in emotional distress. As I handed her the napkins, I saw a surprised but grateful look on her face and I could hear a voice saying to give her a hug. On a side note, I’m not a hugger, especially when it comes to strangers.
I ask the woman if I could give her a hug and she says yes. At this point, she’s bawling, explaining she missed an important job interview because her daycare fell through. Though I’ve never been in her shoes, I could relate to her feelings of frustration and helplessness. Even more out of character for me, I asked if I could pray for her and she said yes. After, I went back inside, perplexed at my behavior, but grateful to have been some kind of comfort to a person in need. As she left, she waved at me with a smile, and I just remember feeling a weird connection and sense of gratitude from the exchange.
I’m not sharing this to get a pat on the back or claim some kind of super Christian status. No, I’m just a very human, human being, who more often than not puts her foot in her mouth. I say all of this to say that when you experience the compassion and comfort that God provides, especially in trying times, you can’t help but share that with your neighbor, even when it calls you to get out of your comfort zone. I started that encounter judging this woman on a quick moment in time that I did not understand. How arrogant! But God used the situation to provide kindness to one of His own. My point is, we will all have moments in life to share the gifts of mercy, grace, and compassion that Christ gives to us every single moment of every day. It’s not only helpful for the person in need, it’s as equally vital to you too. These moments allow us to truly understand what the Body of Christ is and how we all are instrumental to one another.
Are you sharing the compassion and kindness that God gives you?
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1What sorrow awaits you Assyrians, who have destroyed others but have never been destroyed yourselves. You betray others, but you have never been betrayed. When you are done destroying, you will be destroyed. When you are done betraying, you will be betrayed.
2But LORD, be merciful to us, for we have waited for you. Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble.
3The enemy runs at the sound of your voice. When you stand up, the nations flee!
4Just as caterpillars and locusts strip the fields and vines, so the fallen army of Assyria will be stripped!
5Though the LORD is very great and lives in heaven, he will make Jerusalem his home of justice and righteousness.
6In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the LORD will be your treasure.
7But now your brave warriors weep in public. Your ambassadors of peace cry in bitter disappointment.
8Your roads are deserted; no one travels them anymore. The Assyrians have broken their peace treaty and care nothing for the promises they made before witnesses. They have no respect for anyone.
9The land of Israel wilts in mourning. Lebanon withers with shame. The plain of Sharon is now a wilderness. Bashan and Carmel have been plundered.
10But the LORD says: “Now I will stand up. Now I will show my power and might.
11You Assyrians produce nothing but dry grass and stubble. Your own breath will turn to fire and consume you.
12Your people will be burned up completely, like thornbushes cut down and tossed in a fire.
13Listen to what I have done, you nations far away! And you that are near, acknowledge my might!”
14The sinners in Jerusalem shake with fear. Terror seizes the godless. “Who can live with this devouring fire?” they cry. “Who can survive this all-consuming fire?”
15Those who are honest and fair, who refuse to profit by fraud, who stay far away from bribes, who refuse to listen to those who plot murder, who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong—
16these are the ones who will dwell on high. The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress. Food will be supplied to them, and they will have water in abundance.
17Your eyes will see the king in all his splendor, and you will see a land that stretches into the distance.
18You will think back to this time of terror, asking, “Where are the Assyrian officers who counted our towers? Where are the bookkeepers who recorded the plunder taken from our fallen city?”
19You will no longer see these fierce, violent people with their strange, unknown language.
20Instead, you will see Zion as a place of holy festivals. You will see Jerusalem, a city quiet and secure. It will be like a tent whose ropes are taut and whose stakes are firmly fixed.
21The LORD will be our Mighty One. He will be like a wide river of protection that no enemy can cross, that no enemy ship can sail upon.
22For the LORD is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.
23The enemies’ sails hang loose on broken masts with useless tackle. Their treasure will be divided by the people of God. Even the lame will take their share!
24The people of Israel will no longer say, “We are sick and helpless,” for the LORD will forgive their sins
“Though we believe without seeing, there is nothing blind about following Jesus.”~TB
When you don’t have a relationship with God it’s easy to think that those who do just blindly follow the teachings of Christ. As if Christians live some cherry pie existence, blissfully and ignorantly enjoying life without troubles. Oh, but if they only knew. Having a an authentic relationship with Christ requires you to ask questions, have doubts, air grievances, complain, moan, mumble, etc. No, to follow Christ isn’t blind, it requires you to keep your eyes and ears open to experience the wisdom that only comes from Him.
The Truth is, though we cannot see in the natural world, God guides us spiritually, helping us to see in other ways. Through Him, we are connected to each other. Through those relationships, we can see how God impacts each and everyone of us. Of course, you must see, hear, and ask these things of God so that you too can see the patterns of His love through us. It is so important to have honest communication with your brothers and sisters in Christ, so that the babes develop their sight and that the wise don’t go blind from bitterness in the trenches. It is the Truth of the Lord that removes the scales of the world to see what is really going on.
Are you blinded by the world?
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Song of Solomon 3
1One night as I lay in bed, I yearned for my lover. I yearned for him, but he did not come.
2So I said to myself, “I will get up and roam the city, searching in all its streets and squares. I will search for the one I love.” So I searched everywhere but did not find him.
3The watchmen stopped me as they made their rounds, and I asked, “Have you seen the one I love?”
4Then scarcely had I left them when I found my love! I caught and held him tightly, then I brought him to my mother’s house, into my mother’s bed, where I had been conceived.
5Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right.
6Who is this sweeping in from the wilderness like a cloud of smoke? Who is it, fragrant with myrrh and frankincense and every kind of spice?
7Look, it is Solomon’s carriage, surrounded by sixty heroic men, the best of Israel’s soldiers.
8They are all skilled swordsmen, experienced warriors. Each wears a sword on his thigh, ready to defend the king against an attack in the night.
9King Solomon’s carriage is built of wood imported from Lebanon.
10Its posts are silver, its canopy gold; its cushions are purple. It was decorated with love by the young women of Jerusalem.
11Come out to see King Solomon, young women of Jerusalem. He wears the crown his mother gave him on his wedding day, his most joyous day
“Don’t allow past experiences and events contaminate a growing relationship with God.”~TB
The world can be a scary and traumatic place, where vulnerable innocent people endure unjust hardships. There is no denying that the human experience can be awful. Some of you have deep wounds, committed by those who were supposed to care for you. Some of those very people probably hid behind ‘religion’, trying to cover up their horrendous practices and abuse. They will be judged and dealt with. Friends, don’t allow the transgressions and evil deeds of others taint your understanding of the Lord. False Christians are exactly that, false. In order to heal, you must step out in faith.
No matter your experience, God can and will work within you to heal your wounds and provide you a joyful existence. There are hope and restoration after a destructive beginning. In order to grow with Him, you must let go of the weight of your past. It’s impossible to elevate to the next level when the weight of unforgiveness, shame, and sorrow are tied to you like cement bricks. Friends, give your burdens to God because you can’t handle them on your own. Finish your race victoriously on God’s team.
Are you allowing your experience contaminate your ability to walk with God?
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1Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD .
2Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.
3They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.
4You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully.
5Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!
6Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.
7As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should!
8I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!
9How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.
10I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands.
11I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
12I praise you, O LORD ; teach me your decrees.
13I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us.
14I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches.
15I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.
16I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.
17Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word.
18Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.
19I am only a foreigner in the land. Don’t hide your commands from me!
20I am always overwhelmed with a desire for your regulations.
21You rebuke the arrogant; those who wander from your commands are cursed.
22Don’t let them scorn and insult me, for I have obeyed your laws.
23Even princes sit and speak against me, but I will meditate on your decrees.
24Your laws please me; they give me wise advice.
25I lie in the dust; revive me by your word.
26I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees.
27Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word.
29Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
30I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations.
31I cling to your laws. LORD, don’t let me be put to shame!
32I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.
33Teach me your decrees, O LORD ; I will keep them to the end.
34Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart.
35Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.
36Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money!
37Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.
38Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you.
39Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good.
40I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.
41LORD, give me your unfailing love, the salvation that you promised me.
42Then I can answer those who taunt me, for I trust in your word.
43Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope.
44I will keep on obeying your instructions forever and ever.
45I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.
46I will speak to kings about your laws, and I will not be ashamed.
47How I delight in your commands! How I love them!
48I honor and love your commands. I meditate on your decrees.
49Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope.
50Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.
51The proud hold me in utter contempt, but I do not turn away from your instructions.
52I meditate on your age-old regulations; O LORD, they comfort me.
53I become furious with the wicked, because they reject your instructions.
54Your decrees have been the theme of my songs wherever I have lived.
55I reflect at night on who you are, O LORD ; therefore, I obey your instructions.
56This is how I spend my life: obeying your commandments.
57LORD, you are mine! I promise to obey your words!
58With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised.
59I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws.
60I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.
61Evil people try to drag me into sin, but I am firmly anchored to your instructions.
62I rise at midnight to thank you for your just regulations.
63I am a friend to anyone who fears you— anyone who obeys your commandments.
64O LORD, your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me your decrees.
65You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as you promised.
66I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge.
67I used to wander off until you disciplined me; but now I closely follow your word.
68You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees.
69Arrogant people smear me with lies, but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart.
70Their hearts are dull and stupid, but I delight in your instructions.
71My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.
72Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver.
73You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.
74May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word.
75I know, O LORD, that your regulations are fair; you disciplined me because I needed it.
76Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant.
77Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your instructions are my delight.
78Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me; meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments.
79Let me be united with all who fear you, with those who know your laws.
80May I be blameless in keeping your decrees; then I will never be ashamed.
81I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word.
82My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me?
83I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, but I have not forgotten to obey your decrees.
84How long must I wait? When will you punish those who persecute me?
85These arrogant people who hate your instructions have dug deep pits to trap me.
86All your commands are trustworthy. Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause.
87They almost finished me off, but I refused to abandon your commandments.
88In your unfailing love, spare my life; then I can continue to obey your laws.
89Your eternal word, O LORD, stands firm in heaven.
90Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created.
91Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans.
92If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.
93I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life.
94I am yours; rescue me! For I have worked hard at obeying your commandments.
95Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind on your laws.
96Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.
97Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.
98Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.
99Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws.
100I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments.
101I have refused to walk on any evil path, so that I may remain obedient to your word.
102I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well.
103How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.
104Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.
105Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
106I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations.
107I have suffered much, O LORD ; restore my life again as you promised.
108LORD, accept my offering of praise, and teach me your regulations.
109My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions.
110The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments.
111Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight.
112I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end.
113I hate those with divided loyalties, but I love your instructions.
114You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.
115Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God.
116LORD, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed.
117Sustain me, and I will be rescued; then I will meditate continually on your decrees.
118But you have rejected all who stray from your decrees. They are only fooling themselves.
119You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum; no wonder I love to obey your laws!
120I tremble in fear of you; I stand in awe of your regulations.
121Don’t leave me to the mercy of my enemies, for I have done what is just and right.
122Please guarantee a blessing for me. Don’t let the arrogant oppress me!
123My eyes strain to see your rescue, to see the truth of your promise fulfilled.
124I am your servant; deal with me in unfailing love, and teach me your decrees.
125Give discernment to me, your servant; then I will understand your laws.
126LORD, it is time for you to act, for these evil people have violated your instructions.
127Truly, I love your commands more than gold, even the finest gold.
128Each of your commandments is right. That is why I hate every false way.
129Your laws are wonderful. No wonder I obey them!
130The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.
131I pant with expectation, longing for your commands.
132Come and show me your mercy, as you do for all who love your name.
133Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.
134Ransom me from the oppression of evil people; then I can obey your commandments.
135Look upon me with love; teach me your decrees.
136Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey your instructions.
137O LORD, you are righteous, and your regulations are fair.
138Your laws are perfect and completely trustworthy.
139I am overwhelmed with indignation, for my enemies have disregarded your words.
140Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much.
141I am insignificant and despised, but I don’t forget your commandments.
142Your justice is eternal, and your instructions are perfectly true.
143As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.
144Your laws are always right; help me to understand them so I may live.
145I pray with all my heart; answer me, LORD ! I will obey your decrees.
146I cry out to you; rescue me, that I may obey your laws.
147I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.
148I stay awake through the night, thinking about your promise.
149In your faithful love, O LORD, hear my cry; let me be revived by following your regulations.
150Lawless people are coming to attack me; they live far from your instructions.
151But you are near, O LORD, and all your commands are true.
152I have known from my earliest days that your laws will last forever.
153Look upon my suffering and rescue me, for I have not forgotten your instructions.
154Argue my case; take my side! Protect my life as you promised.
155The wicked are far from rescue, for they do not bother with your decrees.
156LORD, how great is your mercy; let me be revived by following your regulations.
157Many persecute and trouble me, yet I have not swerved from your laws.
158Seeing these traitors makes me sick at heart, because they care nothing for your word.
159See how I love your commandments, LORD . Give back my life because of your unfailing love.
160The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever.
161Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles only at your word.
162I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.
163I hate and abhor all falsehood, but I love your instructions.
164I will praise you seven times a day because all your regulations are just.
165Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.
166I long for your rescue, LORD, so I have obeyed your commands.
167I have obeyed your laws, for I love them very much.
168Yes, I obey your commandments and laws because you know everything I do.
169O LORD, listen to my cry; give me the discerning mind you promised.
170Listen to my prayer; rescue me as you promised.
171Let praise flow from my lips, for you have taught me your decrees.
172Let my tongue sing about your word, for all your commands are right.
173Give me a helping hand, for I have chosen to follow your commandments.
174O LORD, I have longed for your rescue, and your instructions are my delight.
175Let me live so I can praise you, and may your regulations help me.
176I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten your commands.
“People with empty minds about God are like floating rocks in outer space, walking on the path of destruction, senselessly crashing into everything.”~ Jon Barnes
Reading up on the papers God has written about Himself is a good start for communication, logical learning, and fact-finding. God is smart enough to tell His story to the world all by Himself. He has used all of mankind’s History to reveal the secrets of old.We are no longer with excuse for being ignorant in such a technological age of truthful information, historical facts, and scientific evidence of God’s physical existence, structure, plans, unlimited supply of resources that circulates, rotates, and procreates.
Cut through the mess that is floating in the air, sit down, and re-read the Bible again to pick up more information. The second time you read it will blow your mind.You’ll discover that it seems like you didn’t read it the first time, as you learn so much more upon completion. The stories become more valuable and make natural sense when you complete the process of learning.You just can’t skip through and makeup stuff, based on your will and not the Will of God! The game is up! Keep reading.
People all around the world and even in the church play these dangerous games with God, His Love, Compassion, Mercy, Meekness, Kindness, Long-suffering, Joy, Humility, Integrity, Grace, and His Unlimited Power. The fear of God should be the first step in wisdom for all of us to respect, admire, and commits to honest living, caring, and sharing world wide. However, you cannot do what you don’t believe and my prayer is that people stop playing games so that they can learn more about God. Otherwise, you lose!
Do you think God will give you a Third Chance after you die or will you be floating in hell like the rocks in space for eternity, because of your disobedience?
Enjoy The Reading
2 Kings 2
Elijah Taken Up to Heaven
2 When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”
But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.
3 The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”
“Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.”
4 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”
And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.
5 The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”
“Yes, I know,” he replied, “so be quiet.”
6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”
And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on.
7 Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan.8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.
10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”
11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.
13 Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.14 He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.
15 The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.16 “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.”
“No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.”
17 But they persisted until he was too embarrassed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him.18 When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”
Healing of the Water
19 The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.”
20 “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him.
21 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lordsays: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’”22 And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.
Elisha Is Jeered
23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!”24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.
“Only God has secrets, knowledge, and access to passwords and pass codes that will change your life, save your soul, and help others.” ~ Jon Barnes
We conveniently forget what we know so that we can make up an excuse to not obey God’s love, laws, and living arrangements. While walking the path of confusion, we cling to secret lies of deception to deliver our personal message of hidden agendas, greed, lust, and pride. God can see that we know the truth, yet we pretend to be ignorant. You know better. Your access is off-line. This shouldn’t be a revelation to you.
Your first breath is your password to use God’s computer of life and the breast milk is the food of knowledge and wisdom used to operate the secret system. No instructions of language code use to brief or train infants on how to extract milk to digest. You already knew the secret codes. We know what is right and understand the functions of God’s love. We know the truth, but we forget our password intentionally to keep God’s access cut off from our lifestyle. People hook up, live together, and buy houses, but they don’t get married first? Operator error.
Even though we all have equal access to the resources that God has provided, evil has taken control over our common sense to share, help, save, and manage God’s Good Gifts of life. We repent, yet we don’t mean it. We give, but we want something in return. We save, yet hunger is among us. We love, but is doesn’t last. Our failure to stay connected to God stems from using the off switch we have created to hide God in a secret closet, until we need Him; like fake fathers hiding from their kid’s lives. We reap, but we do not sow?
Do you realize that there is no secret you can hide from God, so why not be honest and let God save your life and soul?
Enjoy Today’s Reading
1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it,because the time is near.
Greetings and Doxology
To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne,5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”[b] and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”[c] So shall it be! Amen.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
John’s Vision of Christ
9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit,and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum,Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword.His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels[e] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
“Today is the best day ever because, our Love for each other Trumps all of the nonsense we face from our past, present and future; So tap into God’s BIG Love and let’s work together.” ~ Jon Barnes
Each day that I tap into God’s Love and spread it all around, I see the results of my true belief in Him with the honest effort of Love infecting others. We all are drawn into God’s mercy, power, and grace that taps into our loving lifestyle and kindness.
As we shed and practice our faith, I begin to peel off and shed dead skin with evil ideas and plans that would prevent me from serving God, being humble, honest, and helpful. We are given many helpful hints when we host God’s commandments and ways, harvesting and passing out the fruit of love with His Spirit. We shed ourselves, shed the process, and shed the love
Together we give, take, and spread the true message of hope, love, and peace that God gives us in our walk with Him. If you find yourself outside of the Shadow of the Almighty, step back inside the shade. We can do nothing without God.
Are you working with God and all people in love, unity, and respect: Do you value God’s Message?
Enjoy Today’s Reading.
5 Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.4 And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.
5 In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest.But God said to him,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”[a]
6 And he says in another place,
“You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”[b]
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heardbecause of his reverent submission.8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Warning Against Falling Away
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.14 But solid food is for the mature,who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.