“Don’t allow your unchecked flesh to turn you into an errand boy/girl for the devil.”
When we decide to let our flesh overrule our understanding of Christ and His teachings, we unwittingly become foot soldiers of tomfoolery. It could be that you’re sowing unnecessary seeds of discord through anger. It could be coveting your neighbor. It could be stealing, and so on. The point is, when we abandon the ways of Christ, our misdeeds are ultimately helping the opposition further his wicked agenda.
At first, it can be challenging to know if your behavior stinks, so ask yourself this: “are there behaviors in my life that are causing strife and destruction?”. If the answer is yes, then it’s time to rebuke your flesh-driven ways and turn to God in repentance. Ask Him to highlight the error of your ways. Allow Him to guide you to better, Christ-centered behaviors so that you don’t get caught up working with the opposition. In time, discipline will override your temptations.
Are you too prideful to see you’re being used for destructive purposes?
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1 So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived as a foreigner. 2 This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing. 3 Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. 4 But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him. 5 One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. 6 “Listen to this dream,” he said. 7 “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!” 8 His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them. 9 Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!” 10 This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?” 11 But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant. 12 Soon after this, Joseph’s brothers went to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem. 13 When they had been gone for some time, Jacob said to Joseph, “Your brothers are pasturing the sheep at Shechem. Get ready, and I will send you to them.” “I’m ready to go,” Joseph replied. 14 “Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are getting along,” Jacob said. “Then come back and bring me a report.” So Jacob sent him on his way, and Joseph traveled to Shechem from their home in the valley of Hebron. 15 When he arrived there, a man from the area noticed him wandering around the countryside. “What are you looking for?” he asked. 16 “I’m looking for my brothers,” Joseph replied. “Do you know where they are pasturing their sheep?” 17 “Yes,” the man told him. “They have moved on from here, but I heard them say, ‘Let’s go on to Dothan.’” So Joseph followed his brothers to Dothan and found them there. 18 When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. 19 “Here comes the dreamer!” they said. 20 “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!” 21 But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. 22 “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father. 23 So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing. 24 Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. 25 Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime. 27 Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. 28 So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt. 29 Some time later, Reuben returned to get Joseph out of the cistern. When he discovered that Joseph was missing, he tore his clothes in grief. 30 Then he went back to his brothers and lamented, “The boy is gone! What will I do now?” 31 Then the brothers killed a young goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in its blood. 32 They sent the beautiful robe to their father with this message: “Look at what we found. Doesn’t this robe belong to your son?” 33 Their father recognized it immediately. “Yes,” he said, “it is my son’s robe. A wild animal must have eaten him. Joseph has clearly been torn to pieces!” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes and dressed himself in burlap. He mourned deeply for his son for a long time. 35 His family all tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “I will go to my grave mourning for my son,” he would say, and then he would weep. 36 Meanwhile, the Midianite traders arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Potiphar was captain of the palace guard.
“If you think following Christ is all about how you feel about it, well, I’ve got some beachfront property in Iowa to sell you.”
God’s love and laws do not change just because we’re not feeling it. No, not every day on this earth will be all sunshine and daisies. There will be plenty of times where you will not feel like picking up the cross and following God to the best of your ability. But for those who’ve put in the discipline to know the Truth, they know that you can override how you feel to be who God called you to be. In reality, feelings are a God-given gift. That said, when you begin to exalt the gift over the gift-giver, then begins the erroneous belief that we are meant to be ruled by our emotions.
When you actively interact with Christ and study the playbook, known as the Bible, you know full well that so many prominent people had to embark on endeavors they didn’t necessarily feel like doing. Friends, it’s all about the discipline in focusing on Christ’s teachings rather than our fleshly emotions. Just like a seasoned athlete who knows how to perform even though they are dead tired, by walking daily with the Lord, you learn how to endure without having your flesh get in the way.
Are your feelings deterring you from getting to know God?
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1 Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. 2 The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, 3 the third by white horses, and the fourth by powerful dappled-gray horses. 4 “And what are these, my lord?” I asked the angel who was talking with me. 5 The angel replied, “These are the four spirits of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work. 6 The chariot with black horses is going north, the chariot with white horses is going west, and the chariot with dappled-gray horses is going south.” 7 The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the LORD said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol. 8 Then the LORD summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit there in the land of the north.” 9 Then I received another message from the LORD : 10 “Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah will bring gifts of silver and gold from the Jews exiled in Babylon. As soon as they arrive, meet them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11 Accept their gifts, and make a crown from the silver and gold. Then put the crown on the head of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12 Tell him, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the LORD . 13 Yes, he will build the Temple of the LORD . Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’ 14 “The crown will be a memorial in the Temple of the LORD to honor those who gave it—Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah.” 15 People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the LORD . And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the LORD your God says.
“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.
Are you listening to the lies of shame or embracing God’s mercy with gratitude?
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1This 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.”
3So I went to see Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah and all his brothers and sons—representing all the Recabite families.
4I 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.
5I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink,
6but 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.
7And 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.’
8So 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.
9We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops.
10We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor.
11But 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.”
12Then 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.
14The 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.
15Time 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.
16The 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.’”
18Then 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.’
19Therefore, 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 plain truth can be extremely harsh, to the point, and blinding, so be kind, considerate, and gentle when you deliver God’s Mercy, Grace, and Loving Message.” ~ Jon Barnes
It should be tough for you to be a bad person, who would want to lie, cheat, steal, enslave, or prevent good people from doing their good work. The Spirit of God should make you feel bad for wanting to behave in an evil manner. You should be able to stop yourself from committing sinful acts by remembering all of the wonderful things God has done for you and that no one loves you more than God.
A beautiful, tough, witty mind will be driven by the heart of God’s laws and commandments with every breath, muscle movement, and thought that comes from each second of your being. The battle is won from within, to be on guard 24 hours each day. Your dreams should reflect your maturity in the daily battle at hand to provide insight into God’s plan for your life. Gently remember that God wants the very best for you and your family in your lifestyle, habits, and fun activities.
Your nervous system is wrapped up with all of your daily habits, thoughts, and actions to give you the nerve to be tough for God and to love His ways and stories of old. Learning, hiding, living, sharing, and giving your best effort become obviously needed, expected, and memorable to God, your family, and all the people around you. Infect everyone with the gentle, subtle nudges of truth, peace, self-control, patience, long-suffering, and kindness that should follow all of your actions. It is tough to be gentle in Christ Jesus.
Will it be tough for God to allow you into heaven, based on His biblical stories, commandments, laws, and lifestyle, if you are a lying, cheating, nasty, hypocrite in your fake personal faith, action, work, and belief system?
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Jesus Sentenced to Death
19 Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. 2 The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him.3 “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face.
4 Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.”5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”
6 When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”
7 The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever.9 He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer.10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”
11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’ Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.”
13 When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha).14 It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people, “Look, here is your king!”
15 “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”
“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.
16 Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus away. 17 Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha).18 There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them.19 And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”20 The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.
21 Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”
22 Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.24 So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did.
25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene.26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
The Death of Jesus
28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips.30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down.32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus.33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs.34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out.35 (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.[)36 These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,”37 and “They will look on the one they pierced.”
The Burial of Jesus
38 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. 39 With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes.40 Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth.41 The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before.42 And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
“Don’t live by the judgments of man, only God can see you as you truly are.”~TB
Every single human being has insecurities, blind spots, and a slew of fallible qualities that make us terrible judges of character. For this reason, you cannot place your value in the hands of others. When we give people the authority to dictate how we see ourselves, chaos and imbalance ensues. That’s because humans are flawed and are unable to judge one another with the grace and unconditional love that can only come from our Father in Heaven. Even with the best intentions, we will fail each other, and we will fall short of each other’s expectations. So when a human condemns your character on circumstantial evidence, do your best to let it go, because holding on to the judgment of others hinders your personal and spiritual growth.
When you care about how you are viewed by others, you are essentially making your peers your god. This cripples you from being who God truly called you to be. You’re so busy worrying about offending, being uncool, or being seen as weird or different, that you don’t know who you are. Fortunately, this happens to all of us, but you don’t have to let it be a lifelong sentence. To really understand your true identity, develop your relationship with Christ. When you engage with Him regularly, He will show you who you really are— His. God’s opinion of you is infinitely more perfect and accurate than even your own parents. Because His opinion and judgment of you never waivers, you can stand firm on His promise and will for your life.
Whose authority are you submitting to?
1Now I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill.
2He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter.
3Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah, you judge between me and my vineyard.
4What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not already done? When I expected sweet grapes, why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes?
5Now let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it.
6I will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns. I will command the clouds to drop no rain on it.
7The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence.
8What sorrow for you who buy up house after house and field after field, until everyone is evicted and you live alone in the land.
9But I have heard the LORD of Heaven’s Armies swear a solemn oath: “Many houses will stand deserted; even beautiful mansions will be empty.
10Ten acres of vineyard will not produce even six gallons of wine. Ten baskets of seed will yield only one basket of grain.”
11What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk.
12They furnish wine and lovely music at their grand parties— lyre and harp, tambourine and flute— but they never think about the LORD or notice what he is doing.
13So my people will go into exile far away because they do not know me. Those who are great and honored will starve, and the common people will die of thirst.
14The grave is licking its lips in anticipation, opening its mouth wide. The great and the lowly and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up.
15Humanity will be destroyed, and people brought down; even the arrogant will lower their eyes in humiliation.
16But the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will be exalted by his justice. The holiness of God will be displayed by his righteousness.
17In that day lambs will find good pastures, and fattened sheep and young goats will feed among the ruins.
18What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!
19They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something! We want to see what you can do. Let the Holy One of Israel carry out his plan, for we want to know what it is.”
20What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
21What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.
22What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold.
23They take bribes to let the wicked go free, and they punish the innocent.
24Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble and dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will rot and their flowers wither. For they have rejected the law of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies; they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25That is why the LORD ’s anger burns against his people, and why he has raised his fist to crush them. The mountains tremble, and the corpses of his people litter the streets like garbage. But even then the LORD ’s anger is not satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike!
26He will send a signal to distant nations far away and whistle to those at the ends of the earth. They will come racing toward Jerusalem.
27They will not get tired or stumble. They will not stop for rest or sleep. Not a belt will be loose, not a sandal strap broken.
28Their arrows will be sharp and their bows ready for battle. Sparks will fly from their horses’ hooves, and the wheels of their chariots will spin like a whirlwind.
29They will roar like lions, like the strongest of lions. Growling, they will pounce on their victims and carry them off, and no one will be there to rescue them.
30They will roar over their victims on that day of destruction like the roaring of the sea. If someone looks across the land, only darkness and distress will be seen; even the light will be darkened by clouds.
“Sometimes God reopens old wounds because they didn’t heal properly.”~TB
If past events and hurts still haunt you, it’s a sign that you have not healed properly. Instead of moving forward, you are stuck in neutral, spinning around aimlessly. Like an old wound that has not healed properly, the overgrowth of the scar tissue of your past still plagues your present, causing you pain. When this happens God will make you revisit old tests. It’s not because He’s punishing you, but rather, He’s reopening the wound, removing the excess scar tissue so that you can properly heal. Friends, deal with your tests, temptations, and demons accordingly. Otherwise, you will be stuck having to reopen poorly healed wounds for the rest of your life.
Traumatic situations aren’t fun and when you endure a painful season, it’s human nature to want to numb the pain and avoid it. Problem is when that avoidance blocks your growth in Christ, those old wounds become a hotbed for disaster. Only true repentance and forgiveness heals these afflictions. Reflect on the Word and study the Truth. Once those old wounds resurface, use the Holy lens of Christ to see things clearly. Every obstacle and tribulation is packed with valuable lessons. Learn from them. Allow these moments to refine your character and your walk with God. When you begin to understand that your pain is subjective and you can control your reaction as you cast your burdens down, then you can live freely in Christ. Let God help you remove the scar tissue of your old wounds so that you may live in peace.
Are old wounds hurting your present and future?
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1LORD, remember David and all that he suffered.
2He made a solemn promise to the LORD . He vowed to the Mighty One of Israel,
3“I will not go home; I will not let myself rest.
4I will not let my eyes sleep nor close my eyelids in slumber
5until I find a place to build a house for the LORD, a sanctuary for the Mighty One of Israel.”
6We heard that the Ark was in Ephrathah; then we found it in the distant countryside of Jaar.
7Let us go to the sanctuary of the LORD ; let us worship at the footstool of his throne.
8Arise, O LORD, and enter your resting place, along with the Ark, the symbol of your power.
9May your priests be clothed in godliness; may your loyal servants sing for joy.
10For the sake of your servant David, do not reject the king you have anointed.
11The LORD swore an oath to David with a promise he will never take back: “I will place one of your descendants on your throne.
12If your descendants obey the terms of my covenant and the laws that I teach them, then your royal line will continue forever and ever.”
13For the LORD has chosen Jerusalem ; he has desired it for his home.
14“This is my resting place forever,” he said. “I will live here, for this is the home I desired.
15I will bless this city and make it prosperous; I will satisfy its poor with food.
16I will clothe its priests with godliness; its faithful servants will sing for joy.
17Here I will increase the power of David; my anointed one will be a light for my people.
18I will clothe his enemies with shame, but he will be a glorious king.”
“You will live according to whoever has your ear, heart, and mind. Choose wisely.”~TB
You will fail. You will disappoint. You won’t measure up. Every man on this earth is fallible, short-sighted, and operates according to their own fleshly desires and motives. Even the best of us suck! For this reason, you must never place your value or worth against the opinions of your brothers and sisters. They lack the Holy lens to assess you as our Father in Heaven can. According to humans, you will have to change your appearance, your tone, your attitude, before you are accepted. And even still, you can follow the rules right down to the letter and still not be enough! So why bother? If you know the truth– which is written down in the Bible– you will know that according to the One who made you, you are accepted as you already are.
You are redeemed. You are forgiven. You are loved. You are accepted. Jesus paid the ultimate price so that we would be set apart in God’s Holy stable. Friends, take comfort in this Truth. God loves you as you are! No, you are not perfect, and yes, you will make mistakes. However, when you come to Him with your imperfections in honest and humble repentance, He will wipe the slate clean and will lovingly remind you that you are His. God’s opinion is mightier, holier, and infinitely more valuable than any man’s opinion on this earth. Remember this fundamental truth so that when people come against you with their manmade requirements and measurements, you will not bow down to imperfect standards. Don’t let foolish people rob you of your joy. You have been spared, so live in peace.
Who’s will are you living according to?
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1Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.
2It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.
3Children are a gift from the LORD ; they are a reward from him.
4Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
5How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.
“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.
“When troubles come your way, break out your spiritual first aid kit.”~TB
You know that your body is capable of getting ill. The same thing occurs within a lackadaisical spirit. When you’re sick, you take medicine to feel better. When you’re spiritually ill, you must rely on the Word and your relationship in Christ. There will be periods of spiritual unrest in which the opposition will find any weakness to cause your spiritual ailments. There is a remedy, which must be applied and practiced each and every day.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Reading the Bible each day keeps the devil at bay. Being a follower of Christ is not a passive endeavor and you must take your spiritual vitamins– applying the teachings of God– daily to receive the maximum impact of Christ. Friends, this relationship has so many nutrients and healing properties if you take the time to apply them daily.
Are you taking your Holy holistic supplements of Christ or are you ok with the synthetic remedies of the world?
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1Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
2Let all Israel repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.”
3Let Aaron’s descendants, the priests, repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.”
4Let all who fear the LORD repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.”
5In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free.
6The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?
7Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me.
8It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in people.
9It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.
10Though hostile nations surrounded me, I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD .
11Yes, they surrounded and attacked me, but I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD .
12They swarmed around me like bees; they blazed against me like a crackling fire. But I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD .
13My enemies did their best to kill me, but the LORD rescued me.
14The LORD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.
15Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things!
16The strong right arm of the LORD is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things!
17I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the LORD has done.
18The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not let me die.
19Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the LORD .
20These gates lead to the presence of the LORD, and the godly enter there.
21I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory!
22The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.
23This is the LORD ’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.
24This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
25Please, LORD, please save us. Please, LORD, please give us success.
26Bless the one who comes in the name of the LORD . We bless you from the house of the LORD .
27The LORD is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar.
28You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you!
29Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
“Take control of your thoughts and feelings as nothing corrupts the heart and mind like mindlessness.”~TB
Life has a way of getting people off track and onto autopilot mode. When your mind is on autopilot, whatever default cycle that is playing in your mind takes over. The opposition uses this time to insert negative and fear-mongering ideas into your brain. If you’re not paying attention, you may think these ideas are your own. Reject them. In a disciplined mind, the teachings of Christ have equipped you to see the trap and avoid it. In an undisciplined mind, the lack of Biblical understanding makes it impossible to discern truth from fiction leaving you in a vicious cycle of fear, anguish, and doubt. In order to break the cycle in your mind, you must firmly plant yourself in the truth.
Purposefully walking with Christ requires intentional action. Get back in the driver’s seat of your mind. Arm your thoughts by reading the Truth and planting it firmly in your brain and heart. Take hold of righteous thoughts and reject the corrupt ones. No one’s thought life will be perfect, but if you allow the fake thoughts to pass you by without much thought, they will not be able to root and rot your brain. Fill your mind with the word of God so that you are awake and able to see when evil is trying to trick you. When you discipline yourself, you will see clearly, making the decision to lead your mind as God intended.
Did you do the reading to get out of the mindless mindset?
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1Praise the LORD, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth.
2For his unfailing love for us is powerful; the LORD ’s faithfulness endures forever. Praise the LORD !