To the Light

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“In whatever state you are in always come to the light of Christ.”

TB

Darkness

Though we will never be perfect, when we accept salvation, we are no longer condemned. But the devil has other plans. He’ll use our imperfection to make us believe God wants nothing to do with us. And if you’re not careful you can fall into a pattern of darkness that has nothing to do with how God feels about you at all. When you stay in the fake shadow of the opposition, it is when you’re most vulnerable. Fortunately, we all have the choice to move towards the light.

Light

Because Jesus interceded for us, making what was broken, whole, God will always reach out to us. Friends, God loves you, in whatever state you may be in. Like the unconditional love of a parent to a child our Father in Heaven will respond when you call on Him. Salvation covers us from our imperfection and connects us to Christ. So when in doubt, in apathy, in confidence, or in whatever state, shine in God’s light.

Today’s Question

Do you know that God loves you in all seasons of your life?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 45

1 Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. 2 Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace. 3 “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. 4 “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. 5 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. 6 This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. 8 So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt. 9 “Now hurry back to my father and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me master over all the land of Egypt. So come down to me immediately! 10 You can live in the region of Goshen, where you can be near me with all your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything you own. 11 I will take care of you there, for there are still five years of famine ahead of us. Otherwise you, your household, and all your animals will starve.’” 12 Then Joseph added, “Look! You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that I really am Joseph! 13 Go tell my father of my honored position here in Egypt. Describe for him everything you have seen, and then bring my father here quickly.” 14 Weeping with joy, he embraced Benjamin, and Benjamin did the same. 15 Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking freely with him. 16 The news soon reached Pharaoh’s palace: “Joseph’s brothers have arrived!” Pharaoh and his officials were all delighted to hear this. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘This is what you must do: Load your pack animals, and hurry back to the land of Canaan. 18 Then get your father and all of your families, and return here to me. I will give you the very best land in Egypt, and you will eat from the best that the land produces.’” 19 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Take wagons from the land of Egypt to carry your little children and your wives, and bring your father here. 20 Don’t worry about your personal belongings, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’” 21 So the sons of Jacob did as they were told. Joseph provided them with wagons, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he gave them supplies for the journey. 22 And he gave each of them new clothes—but to Benjamin he gave five changes of clothes and 300 pieces of silver. 23 He also sent his father ten male donkeys loaded with the finest products of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other supplies he would need on his journey. 24 So Joseph sent his brothers off, and as they left, he called after them, “Don’t quarrel about all this along the way!” 25 And they left Egypt and returned to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan. 26 “Joseph is still alive!” they told him. “And he is governor of all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned at the news—he couldn’t believe it. 27 But when they repeated to Jacob everything Joseph had told them, and when he saw the wagons Joseph had sent to carry him, their father’s spirits revived. 28 Then Jacob exclaimed, “It must be true! My son Joseph is alive! I must go and see him before I die.”

Jurisdiction

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When you love your brothers and sisters as God loves you, there is no need for you to have jurisdiction over what they do with their lives.”

TB

Cut Short

As we grow closer with God, one of the biggest challenges we must overcome is being puffed up by religious knowledge and foolishly thinking that we have a say in the lives of those we care about. Imagine if God only loved us when we behaved? Surely none of us would make the mark. So, if God doesn’t love you only when you’re on the right path, how can you do the same to your brothers and sisters?

Long Live

Because we only see a fragment of what God sees, there is literally no way for any of us to know how He will use people and situations for the greater good. As such, we cannot play backseat quarterback to those around us. Let’s say you are right about something. So what? There is no special prize for knowing something your peers do not. Instead of condemnation, choose love, and in that way, we can extend grace to each other as God does with us.

Today’s Question

Are you foolish enough to play God?

Enjoy the reading

Habakkuk 2

1 I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the LORD says and how he will answer my complaint. 2 Then the LORD said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. 3 This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. 4 “Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. 5 Wealth is treacherous, and the arrogant are never at rest. They open their mouths as wide as the grave, and like death, they are never satisfied. In their greed they have gathered up many nations and swallowed many peoples. 6 “But soon their captives will taunt them. They will mock them, saying, ‘What sorrow awaits you thieves! Now you will get what you deserve! You’ve become rich by extortion, but how much longer can this go on?’ 7 Suddenly, your debtors will take action. They will turn on you and take all you have, while you stand trembling and helpless. 8 Because you have plundered many nations, now all the survivors will plunder you. You committed murder throughout the countryside and filled the towns with violence. 9 “What sorrow awaits you who build big houses with money gained dishonestly! You believe your wealth will buy security, putting your family’s nest beyond the reach of danger. 10 But by the murders you committed, you have shamed your name and forfeited your lives. 11 The very stones in the walls cry out against you, and the beams in the ceilings echo the complaint. 12 “What sorrow awaits you who build cities with money gained through murder and corruption! 13 Has not the LORD of Heaven’s Armies promised that the wealth of nations will turn to ashes? They work so hard, but all in vain! 14 For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the LORD . 15 “What sorrow awaits you who make your neighbors drunk! You force your cup on them so you can gloat over their shameful nakedness. 16 But soon it will be your turn to be disgraced. Come, drink and be exposed! Drink from the cup of the LORD ’s judgment, and all your glory will be turned to shame. 17 You cut down the forests of Lebanon. Now you will be cut down. You destroyed the wild animals, so now their terror will be yours. You committed murder throughout the countryside and filled the towns with violence. 18 “What good is an idol carved by man, or a cast image that deceives you? How foolish to trust in your own creation— a god that can’t even talk! 19 What sorrow awaits you who say to wooden idols, ‘Wake up and save us!’ To speechless stone images you say, ‘Rise up and teach us!’ Can an idol tell you what to do? They may be overlaid with gold and silver, but they are lifeless inside. 20 But the LORD is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.”

The Guilt/Gratitude Connection

 

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When guilt rears its ugly head, gratitude is the best strategy to defeat it.”~TB

The Shame Game

I have an annoying tendency to downplay my talents and strengths while drilling down on my areas of improvement. More interesting, I know a lot of people who do that too, which makes me wonder why? I could be “killing it” in different areas of my life, but if I’m not paying attention, my inner video of “greatest shame hits” plays, attempting to eclipse the victories that have occurred. When we lean into those shameful periods and feelings, we fall trap into negative cyclical thinking that ultimately steers us back to the very behaviors we’d like to avoid. An untethered mind is a dangerous place. We all have different inner voices, ideas, and thoughts that can uplift or deter us, which is why it’s so important to know who and what you’re listening to.

Attitude of Gratitude

So instead of focusing on your past transgressions (we all have them) look at the gifts and grace that God provides you with gratitude. We’ve all been spared the wrath that we each justly deserve and there are so many minor miracles that we all tend to forget about, but they occur each and every day. If you find yourself in a new position, be grateful and reflect on the situations you’ve experienced that prepare you for this new road. The opposition deceives you when you believe that being down and out is the only way of life. Gratitude defeats the nefarious schemes of shame and the opposition. It allows us to see ourselves as God sees us. God’s Will is mighty and wondrous, but it is up to us to individually and consistently put down our cup of shame and pick up the peace of gratitude.

Today’s Question

Are you listening to the lies of shame or embracing God’s mercy with gratitude?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 35

1 This is the message the LORD gave Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah: 
2 “Go to the settlement where the families of the Recabites live, and invite them to the LORD ’s Temple. Take them into one of the inner rooms, and offer them some wine.” 
3 So I went to see Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah and all his brothers and sons—representing all the Recabite families. 
4 I took them to the Temple, and we went into the room assigned to the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God. This room was located next to the one used by the Temple officials, directly above the room of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the Temple gatekeeper. 
5 I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, 
6 but they refused. “No,” they said, “we don’t drink wine, because our ancestor Jehonadab son of Recab gave us this command: ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine. 
7 And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land.’ 
8 So we have obeyed him in all these things. We have never had a drink of wine to this day, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters. 
9 We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops. 
10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor. 
11 But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked this country, we were afraid of the Babylonian and Syrian armies. So we decided to move to Jerusalem. That is why we are here.” 
12 Then the LORD gave this message to Jeremiah: 
13 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me. 
14 The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me. 
15 Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, “Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you would not listen to me or obey me. 
16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Recab have obeyed their ancestor completely, but you have refused to listen to me.’ 
17 “Therefore, this is what the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Because you refuse to listen or answer when I call, I will send upon Judah and Jerusalem all the disasters I have threatened.’” 
18 Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’ 
19 Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’”

The Difference

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“As you grow in Christ it’s important to discern the difference between conviction and condemnation.”~TB

Conviction

Each step you take, following Christ, you will see that your old misdeeds of yesterday no longer bring you the same pleasure as they once did. Even still, as you mess up, you will feel the Holy Spirit correct you in your wrongdoing. Conviction is the tug from the Holy Spirit letting you know that you’re doing wrong. It brings you closer to God. Friends, take joy in the correction of conviction. This means that your flesh is being tamed day by day. While we will always fall short of perfection, the conviction of your sin and the condemnation that may occur after are two separate things.

Condemnation

Once you’ve confessed your transgressions to God and have turned away from your wayward behavior, that’s it. Notice how God does not harp on you about who you were yesterday, let alone a decade ago. If you feel the weight of sins that you’ve confessed and fled from creep into your life, that is not of God. Condemnation is the recurring guilt of old behaviors you left behind. Condemnation brings guilt and shame, making you feel stuck, ultimately leading you away from God. The opposition will use this to get you off your walk Consult God daily to understand what is conviction and what is condemnation.

Today’s Quote

Have you spent time with God and the Word to know the difference?

Enjoy the reading

Proverbs 20

1 Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise. 
2 The king’s fury is like a lion’s roar; to rouse his anger is to risk your life. 
3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling. 
4 Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest. 
5 Though good advice lies deep within the heart, a person with understanding will draw it out. 
6 Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? 
7 The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them. 
8 When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good.
9 Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin”?
10 False weights and unequal measures — the LORD detests double standards of every kind. 
11 Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right. 
12 Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the LORD . 
13 If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat! 
14The buyer haggles over the price, saying, “It’s worthless,” then brags about getting a bargain! 
15 Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies. 
16 Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners. 
17 Stolen bread tastes sweet, but it turns to gravel in the mouth. 
18 Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice. 
19 A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers. 
20 If you insult your father or mother, your light will be snuffed out in total darkness. 
21 An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end. 
22 Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the LORD to handle the matter.
23 The LORD detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales. 
24 The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? 
25 Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God and only later counting the cost. 
26 A wise king scatters the wicked like wheat, then runs his threshing wheel over them. 
27 The LORD ’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.
28 Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king; his throne is made secure through love. 
29 The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old. 
30 Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart.