“Darkness cannot remain when you turn on the Light.”~TB
Fear of the unknown. Many of us have trouble understanding what we cannot see or what we do not know. When we are unaware of the Truth of Christ, we fall prey to fearing the lies and falsehoods of the world and opposition. Like a strange figure in the dark, we are afraid of what could be instead of basking in the light of what is. Just like that strange blob in the darkness, when you flip on the light switch, you realize that it’s a coat on a hanger or some other innocuous object. If you’re like me, you laugh that you were afraid of the initial fear because in reality, there was nothing to fear at all! There are so many ‘afraid of the dark’ situation that we will face in this world. So, instead of bowing down to the fear, turn on the Light that is God.
When you know Who made you and you are in relationship with Him, you understand your purpose and the path becomes lit up and clear. Knowing Christ is like the ultimate luminous source because His Truth exposes the darkness and lies. We read the Bible not out of blind obedience, but because of the Truth and Light it provides for every day of our lives. When the lights are on, you don’t fall prey to the shadows because you see things for what they are instead of fearing what they could be. Of course temptation will remain, but you will see clearly what path and choices you make. So the next time you’re struggling with fear, turn on the Light that is Christ. Cling to His Truth and purpose for your life so that He may light your way and expose the nonsense of the dark.
Are you stalled by the fear of dark shadows or are you walking in the Light of Christ?
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1“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the LORD rises to shine on you.
2Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you.
3All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance.
4“Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home.
5Your eyes will shine, and your heart will thrill with joy, for merchants from around the world will come to you. They will bring you the wealth of many lands.
6Vast caravans of camels will converge on you, the camels of Midian and Ephah. The people of Sheba will bring gold and frankincense and will come worshiping the LORD .
7The flocks of Kedar will be given to you, and the rams of Nebaioth will be brought for my altars. I will accept their offerings, and I will make my Temple glorious.
8“And what do I see flying like clouds to Israel, like doves to their nests?
9They are ships from the ends of the earth, from lands that trust in me, led by the great ships of Tarshish. They are bringing the people of Israel home from far away, carrying their silver and gold. They will honor the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has filled you with splendor.
10“Foreigners will come to rebuild your towns, and their kings will serve you. For though I have destroyed you in my anger, I will now have mercy on you through my grace.
11Your gates will stay open day and night to receive the wealth of many lands. The kings of the world will be led as captives in a victory procession.
12For the nations that refuse to serve you will be destroyed.
13“The glory of Lebanon will be yours— the forests of cypress, fir, and pine— to beautify my sanctuary. My Temple will be glorious!
14The descendants of your tormentors will come and bow before you. Those who despised you will kiss your feet. They will call you the City of the LORD, and Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
15“Though you were once despised and hated, with no one traveling through you, I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all generations.
16Powerful kings and mighty nations will satisfy your every need, as though you were a child nursing at the breast of a queen. You will know at last that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.
17I will exchange your bronze for gold, your iron for silver, your wood for bronze, and your stones for iron. I will make peace your leader and righteousness your ruler.
18Violence will disappear from your land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there.
19“No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the LORD your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
20Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the LORD will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end.
21All your people will be righteous. They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with my own hands in order to bring myself glory.
22The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen.”
“We have to go through the refiner’s fire not to prove to God that we’re worthy, but to help us understand the truth in all of its glory”~TB
We endure testing and trials because it strengthens our reliance on God and the Truth that He is the end all be all. When you live the truth, you begin to recognize the signs of warfare, relying on the Word to still your heart to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Friends, look around you, darkness is real and you have to use the Biblical tools to guard your hearts, minds, and bodies. Make no mistake, if you are asleep at the wheel, you allow someone else to drive your fate.
There is a difference between clinging to salvation and being used by Christ. In the early stages of the walk, we are timid and fearful, only because we have yet to fully embrace God’s truth in all of its glory. As you become battle-tested, you recognize your role with the understanding that He is working through you. You will know if you pass the test when you are able to stand firm against evil in the midst of battle. Peace will come upon you in the trenches when you truly comprehend that God is with you wherever you go, especially when you are in the eye of the storm.
Are you battle-tested or are you AWOL on the sidelines?
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1God is honored in Judah; his name is great in Israel. 2Jerusalem is where he lives; Mount Zion is his home. 3There he has broken the fiery arrows of the enemy, the shields and swords and weapons of war. Interlude4You are glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains. 5Our boldest enemies have been plundered. They lie before us in the sleep of death. No warrior could lift a hand against us. 6At the blast of your breath, O God of Jacob, their horses and chariots lay still. 7No wonder you are greatly feared! Who can stand before you when your anger explodes? 8From heaven you sentenced your enemies; the earth trembled and stood silent before you. 9You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. Interlude 10Human defiance only enhances your glory, for you use it as a weapon. 11Make vows to the LORD your God, and keep them. Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One. 12For he breaks the pride of princes, and the kings of the earth fear him.
“By effectively using the tools and talents God has given you, your ideas and work ethic will improve beyond your own capacity, when you walk with God!”
God will allocate all of the resources you will need to complete, organize, and share the Word of God to people everywhere.Just let your light shine by not living in the darkness of sin.Fight the temptations of old because now you have Jesus helping you out.If you don’t use Him as your main resource, you are doomed to fail. Your Tests will not break You!
When you are familiar with all of the materials in the Bible, you will enjoy re-reading the fun stories to see how much you have matured in God.Practicing your faith is like growing in grace, love, and understanding. Pay close attention to the materials God wants you to use.Learn from the Tests before you take and experience them yourself.Recognize your growth in God.
Write books about how God has helped you out over the years and proclaim the Goodness of God to all of your family, friends, and enemies.It is fun to document your progress, understanding, and service for the kingdom to help inspire others to do better.We are all tools in the hand of God and it is an honor to be of some good use to The Lord of All. Examine your own faith.
How can you be an effective tool and resource for God’s Kingdom, being so negative, with your broken tools and lack of work?
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5 “Call if you will, but who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn? 2 Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple. 3 I myself have seen a fool taking root, but suddenly his house was cursed. 4 His children are far from safety, crushed in court without a defender. 5 The hungry consume his harvest, taking it even from among thorns, and the thirsty pant after his wealth. 6 For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. 7 Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.
8 “But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. 9 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. 10 He provides rain for the earth; he sends water on the countryside. 11 The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. 12 He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. 13 He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away. 14 Darkness comes upon them in the daytime; at noon they grope as in the night. 15 He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. 16 So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.
17 “Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.[a] 18 For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. 19 From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch you. 20 In famine he will deliver you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword. 21 You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes. 22 You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the wild animals. 23 For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you. 24 You will know that your tent is secure; you will take stock of your property and find nothing missing. 25 You will know that your children will be many, and your descendants like the grass of the earth. 26 You will come to the grave in full vigor, like sheaves gathered in season.
27 “We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself.”
“As we all have been given the gift of life, soon it will be taken away, so there is no need to regret, neglect, or forget the love God has given each second to all of us.” ~ Jon Barnes
It would be dreadful to arrive at the end of your life feeling disappointed because you did little or nothing with the love God has given you.You failed to cross the line of true repentance.There is nothing to show for your efforts in reading, learning, or following His footsteps of love in your life.
The personal horror of knowing how unconcerned, disobedient, and careless, you have been with your life is a tragic look to see in the face of a person’s life, just before they die.The despair of hopelessness without Christ in your life is an empty black hole of darkness, waiting to die, sentenced to hell.Believing the devil’s lie over the truth of God is a pity.
You will be ridiculed as you ridiculed the good work that has been done for you in hopes of helping, explaining, sharing, and teaching God’s ways. Ignorance is not a free hall pass to skip class and personal responsibility with God, family, and people.God will judge you.A reality check can be a sobering encounter, in the heart of a true believer who is honest with God and His gift of Salvation.
Are you drunk and drugged up with the foolishness of this world or do you understand and live by God’s Reality of Faith?
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Enemies Oppose the Rebuilding
4 The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were rebuilding a Temple to the Lord, the God of Israel.2 So they approached Zerubbabel and the other leaders and said, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God just as you do. We have sacrificed to him ever since King Esarhaddon of Assyria brought us here.”
3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel replied, “You may have no part in this work. We alone will build the Temple for the Lord, the God of Israel, just as King Cyrus of Persia commanded us.”
4 Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work.5 They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans. This went on during the entire reign of King Cyrus of Persia and lasted until King Darius of Persia took the throne.[a]
Later Opposition under Xerxes and Artaxerxes
6 Years later when Xerxes[b] began his reign, the enemies of Judah wrote a letter of accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem.
7 Even later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia,[c] the enemies of Judah, led by Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel, sent a letter to Artaxerxes in the Aramaic language, and it was translated for the king.
8 [d]Rehum the governor and Shimshai the court secretary wrote the letter, telling King Artaxerxes about the situation in Jerusalem.9 They greeted the king for all their colleagues—the judges and local leaders, the people of Tarpel, the Persians, the Babylonians, and the people of Erech and Susa (that is, Elam).10 They also sent greetings from the rest of the people whom the great and noble Ashurbanipal[e] had deported and relocated in Samaria and throughout the neighboring lands of the province west of the Euphrates River.[f]11 This is a copy of their letter:
“To King Artaxerxes, from your loyal subjects in the province west of the Euphrates River.
12 “The king should know that the Jews who came here to Jerusalem from Babylon are rebuilding this rebellious and evil city. They have already laid the foundation and will soon finish its walls.13 And the king should know that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, it will be much to your disadvantage, for the Jews will then refuse to pay their tribute, customs, and tolls to you.
14 “Since we are your loyal subjects[g] and do not want to see the king dishonored in this way, we have sent the king this information.15 We suggest that a search be made in your ancestors’ records, where you will discover what a rebellious city this has been in the past. In fact, it was destroyed because of its long and troublesome history of revolt against the kings and countries who controlled it.16 We declare to the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, the province west of the Euphrates River will be lost to you.”
17 Then King Artaxerxes sent this reply:
“To Rehum the governor, Shimshai the court secretary, and their colleagues living in Samaria and throughout the province west of the Euphrates River. Greetings.
18 “The letter you sent has been translated and read to me.19 I ordered a search of the records and have found that Jerusalem has indeed been a hotbed of insurrection against many kings. In fact, rebellion and revolt are normal there!20 Powerful kings have ruled over Jerusalem and the entire province west of the Euphrates River, receiving tribute, customs, and tolls.21 Therefore, issue orders to have these men stop their work. That city must not be rebuilt except at my express command.22 Be diligent, and don’t neglect this matter, for we must not permit the situation to harm the king’s interests.”
23 When this letter from King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum, Shimshai, and their colleagues, they hurried to Jerusalem. Then, with a show of strength, they forced the Jews to stop building.
The Rebuilding Resumes
24 So the work on the Temple of God in Jerusalem had stopped, and it remained at a standstill until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia.